Brexit News for Sunday 14 May

Brexit News for Sunday 14 May
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EU court threatens Brexit trade deal

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is set to pave the way for a hard Brexit by handing 38 national and regional parliaments the power to veto trade deals. In a move that further clouds the prospects of a swift and comprehensive UK-EU deal, the European Union’s highest court is expected to extend the veto rights to regional parliaments through a ruling on the EU’s 2014 trade agreement with Singapore. Judges will decide on Tuesday whether the European Commission has the sole authority to ratify the deal, or whether it must be put to the vote across member states. They are expected to follow a preliminary opinion in December that recommended giving parliaments a say. – Sunday Times (£)

Theresa May will reportedly vow to cut net net migration to tens of thousands despite seven years of failure…

Theresa May will this week gamble her credibility on cutting net migration to below 100,000 a year. The PM is to persist with the controversial target by writing it into the Tories’ election manifesto this week. She will take the bold step despite seven years of failure and warnings from senior colleagues that it is unachievable. Mrs May is convinced she can finally deliver where predecessor David Cameron failed once Britain leaves the EU. But some ministers have privately warned here that writing the pledge in stone will leave her a hostage to fortune. – Sun on Sunday

…as tech whizz begs Government to not let Brexit stop them hiring

The founder of Britain’s newest “unicorn” has warned that the hi-tech industry would suffer if the government imposes curbs on hiring skilled overseas workers after the UK leaves the European Union. Herman Narula, who created virtual reality firm Improbable with Cambridge University friend Rob Whitehead in 2012, said the UK must remain “ a welcoming beacon to the world”. “It’s still unclear what post-Brexit Britain will entail, whether it will be easier or harder to bring people in from overseas,” said Narula, who was born in India but moved to Britain when he was three years old. “Anything that makes it more insular would fundamentally be a mistake”. – Sunday Times (£)

Theresa May needs stronger mandate in EU to make Brexit a success, Philip Hammond hints

The Chancellor, who is attending a G7 meeting in Bari, Italy, this weekend, said good progress to secure the UK’s position had been made but there is more work to do. Speaking to Reuters, Mr Hammond said: “The G7 is the club of the world’s leading democratic economies and I am here to push Britain’s agenda to ensure a fair deal for Britain out of global trade. – Express

Philip Hammond calls China a ‘natural partner’ as he seeks post-Brexit trade deals

The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has called for closer economic ties with China as Britain enters a new, post-Brexit era. Speaking at the start of a summit in Beijing celebrating President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road initiative”, Hammond heaped praise on his hosts and said Britain was a “natural partner” for Beijing as it pushed ahead with a massive infrastructure campaign some call the most ambitious in history. “China and the UK have a long and rich trading history. Indeed, the English first attempted to find a trade route to China in the 16th century although it took us four decades to find one,” Hammond told the opening session of the two-day forum. – Observer

The rise of the ‘Re-Leavers’ points towards a Conservative landslide

The outcome of Britain’s EU referendum was split 52/48, but today opinion is less evenly balanced. In the wake of the vote for Brexit, it has become commonplace to say that the UK is a nation divided. But while most people still think they voted the right way last summer, as we approach the general election the story is not as simple as the division between Leave and Remain might suggest. On the question of Brexit, the electorate can be broken down into three core groups instead of two: the Hard Leavers who want out of the EU (45 per cent); the Hard Remainers who still want to try to stop Brexit (22 per cent); and the Re-Leavers (23 per cent) — those who voted to Remain last summer but think that the government now has a duty to leave. – FT (£)

Millionaire Brexit donor targets 140 Remain MPs in general election

A leading donor behind the Brexit victory has pledged to fund a campaign to oust almost 140 pro-Remain MPs in an attempt to ensure there is “no backsliding on Brexit” after the election. Jeremy Hosking, the multimillionaire City asset manager, told the Observer he was prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds targeting MPs who backed staying in the EU, despite representing areas that voted for Brexit. – Observer

‘Goodwill on both sides’ to resolve Irish border issue, says Theresa May

Theresa May has said there is “goodwill on all sides” to resolve the border problems thrown up by Brexit on the island of Ireland. During a visit to an agricultural show in Northern Ireland, the prime minister also said she was “personally engaged” in resolving the current powersharing deadlock in Belfast. She said she hoped an agreement would be reached by the deadline shortly after the UK’s general election on 8 June. – Observer

Michael Gove brands Labour ‘coalition of chaos’ over Brexit…

Former education secretary Michael Gove has accused Labour of being its own “coalition of chaos” over alleged splits in the party’s position on Brexit. Mr Gove said the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn would take Britain out of the single market whereas a group of leading Labour former shadow ministers launched a campaign on Friday to remain part of the trading bloc. Former shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, who has spearheaded the campaign, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was no split on the issue, with his proposals simply going one stage further than that proposed by the Labour leadership. – BT

….as Remainers urge united strategy for election

There is little unity in most discussions about Brexit. But unity was the theme at a “convention” on Britain’s post-referendum future, with pleas for unity in the general election.Anthony Grayling, the Oxford philosopher, said it was vital that “as many votes as possible are cast for anti-Brexit candidates” and Nick Clegg, the former Lib Dem leader, said politicians were “duty-bound to work together”. Members of the audience at Brexit and the Political Crash, organised by journalist Henry Porter and co-sponsored by the Observer, repeatedly urged speakers and panellists to unite against Brexit. – Observer

Federation of Small Businesses urges small firms ‘must be put at the heart of EU trade talks’

In the face of troubling trade statistics last week, the Federation of Small Businesses has urged the Government to keep Britain’s small firms ‘front of mind’ as it embarks on a post-Brexit trade campaign. In the week that figures showed a widening in Britain’s trade deficit in the first quarter of this year, FSB chairman Mike Cherry said: ‘As the next Government embarks on a post-Brexit global trade drive, small businesses should be front of mind. – Mail on Sunday

BMI boss: leaving EU will boost business flights as British companies need better connections

Air travel is likely to be given a boost by Brexit as business passengers make more trips to the Continent to make new trade partners and develop ways to continue existing operations. Jochen Schnadt, chief commercial officer of airline BMI Regional, said he was confident Britain’s exit from the European Union would lead to British companies wanting better connections with Europe. – Mail on Sunday

Was our Eurovision song a Brexit lament and a plea for reconciliation with Brussels

Britain’s Lucie Jones suffered a Brexit backlash, coming a lowly 15th in last night’s Eurovision Song Contest – despite her song Never Give Up On You being described by fans as a thinly veiled love letter to our continental neighbours. Portugal’s Salvador Sobral romped to victory in the annual contest while Jones, sitting in a respectable 10th place after the judges’ vote, slumped to 15th after viewers across Europe awarded her a measly 12 out of a possible 492 points. – Mail on Sunday

Pop star Harry Styles reveals he’s a Remoaner and says Brexit heavily influenced his new album

Harry Styles came out as a Remoaner last and said that Brexit is the “wrong direction” for the UK. The teen crush has revealed that he does not want to leave the EU and that his new album is heavily influenced by politics. The 23-year-old even told The Sunday Times Style magazine that he will vote for “whoever is against Brexit”. He said the push to leave the EU is “creating the kind of world he does not want to live in”. The former One Direction member played a last-minute secret gig at The Garage in Highbury, north London, last night. – Sun on Sunday

Christopher Booker: ‘Hard borders’ post-Brexit will make red tape even worse

Why, on Friday, was Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, snooping around the Northern Irish border – having previously been the first non-head of state or government ever to address both houses of the Irish parliament? The answer, of course, is that one of the three items at the top of Barnier’s agenda for the talks – along with the rights of EU citizens in the UK and that “divorce bill” – is the need to keep a “soft border” between Ireland and the North. – Sunday Telegraph

John Curtice: David Cameron hints why Mrs May needs a larger majority for Brexit negotiations on campaign trail

In short, Mr Cameron appears to have been suggesting that Mrs May needs a big majority to overcome potential trouble within her own party, rather than disruption from the opposition. If so, his comments imply that rather than making it easier for Mrs May to stand up to Brussels, a big majority might help make it easier for the Prime Minister to strike a compromise with the EU. Having such an ability might well be thought to be in the “national interest”. But, if so, Mr Cameron’s remarks imply there is more than immediately meets the eye to Mrs May’s vision of “strong and stable leadership”. – John Curtice for The Sun on Sunday

David Goodhart: The easy way to open doors yet cut migration

Theresa May is doggedly sticking to her “tens of thousands” target for net migration, amid much huffing and puffing from businesses addicted to foreign labour and from vice-chancellors. It is her signal of intent and reassurance to the large majority that wants control of our borders for a purpose: to return to more moderate levels of immigration. But there are many ways to skin a cat. And there is, I believe, a way to accommodate the wish of most British people to stop the country changing too quickly while remaining open to flows of students and skilled workers: the future of immigration should be increasingly temporary. We have already been quietly moving in this direction. – David Goodhart for the Sunday Times (£)

Tina Stowell: The question that voters are asking in this election is – who’s with us, and who’s against us?

The video clip of Matthew Elliott getting Tony Blair bang to rights on him not accepting the EU Referendum Result is worth watching. And both wings of the Labour Party have much to learn from their own response to the result.
But they are not alone. The Conservative Party may well be in a much stronger position than Labour right now, but if it is to remain there, it too has to learn the same lessons. – Baroness Stowell for ConservativeHome

Brexit comment in brief

  • Britain has an important role to play in China’s continued development – Liu Xiaoming for the Sunday Telegraph
  • With Britain leaving, Ireland must lean in to the EU – Brian Hayes for the Sunday Times
  • Why is the Bank of England so mesmerised by Brexit? – John Redwood for John Redwood’s Diary

Brexit news in brief

  • European business are preparing to cut use of UK suppliers following Brexit – Mail on Sunday
  • ‘We need you!’ Remainer breaks down as she begs Verhofstadt ‘not to forget about us’ – Express
  • EU uncertainty pays off for ‘white collar man’ – Sunday Times