Brexit News for Sunday 9 April

Brexit News for Sunday 9 April

Ford sees a future in UK after Brexit, says CEO Mark Fields

Mr Fields said: “We need to make sure that all of our facilities around the world are globally competitive. “We are very proud to be in the UK and we are going to be in the UK for quite some time but it’s going to be really important, particularly because Article 50 is now triggered, that from our standpoint there needs to be free trade between the UK and the continent.” – BBC News

Eurosceptics think ending EU payments more important than stopping free movement…

Eurosceptics believe ending EU payments after Brexit is more important than stopping free movement, a new poll has found in a warning shot to Theresa May. Leave voters asked to rate Brexit negotiating targets by importance put ending contributions into the EU budget above immigration controls. The Prime Minister has repeatedly declined to rule out paying the EU to securing some of the bloc’s advantages, saying only any amount will not be “vast”. The findings put pressure on Mrs May as she attempts to deliver on the Brexit vote while minimising economic disruption in two years of negotiations. The polling of 10,000 voters – one of the biggest surveys of public opinion since the EU referendum – was conducted by former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft. – Daily Telegraph

…as Leave means Leave calls for unskilled workers to be be banned from entering UK for five years

Unskilled migrants would be banned from entering Britain for five years, under a Brexit blueprint to be unveiled this week. It would help the government finally to hit its 2010 election pledge by cutting the annual number of arrivals to 50,000. The new “fair, flexible and forward-thinking” immigration policy would guarantee all migrants the same rights as Brits after five years. But they would only be allowed in if they have passed an English language test and have the offer of a job with a salary of at least £35,000. And they would have to take out a five-year private health insurance policy to prevent dependency on the NHS until they are qualified settlers. – The Sun

Britain set for export boom as economists hike growth forecasts

Britain is on the verge of an export and spending boom as economists rule out the likelihood of a slowdown this year. Strong global growth combined with the weak pound is expected to send overseas sales soaring, giving businesses the confidence to ramp up investment. Economists anticipate a surge in foreign demand combined with business investment, reinforcing growth even as inflation dents households’ spending power. Companies were initially spooked by Brexit and feared that investment would plunge, but growth was supported by strong consumer spending last year. Economists at the EY Item Club believe the economy will grow by 1.8pc this year, in line with 2016’s expansion. That is a big improvement from the 1.3pc growth it previously forecast, with rising exports and a strong global economy driving the upgrade. – Daily Telegraph

‘Less climate concern’ key to Brexit trade…

Civil service documents, photographed on a train, reveal that Britain plans to scale down its concern over climate change and the trade in illegal wildlife to clear the way for post-Brexit trade deals. Details of the policy change were contained in the papers of a senior civil servant at the Department for International Trade (DIT) photographed by a passenger earlier this month. They include the speech notes of Tim Hitchens, the director-general of economic and consular affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The notes show he will tell diplomats and trade negotiators that they need to change their focus if the UK is to fulfil Theresa May’s vision of Britain as “a great, global trading nation”. “You have a crucial role to play in posts in implementing our new approach to prosperity against the huge changes stemming from last year’s Brexit vote,” the notes say. – The Times (£)

…as ex-minister warns on trade deals delay

Britain may not be in a position to strike free trade deals until after the next general election, a former trade minister has warned. Lord (Ian) Livingston said it will take the government between “12 and 24 months” after Britain quits the EU to start signing agreements with new partners. That could leave Theresa May with no trade deals in place by the time of the next election, scheduled for May 2020. Britain is barred from entering formal talks with other countries until March 2019, when it quits the single bloc. However, international trade secretary Liam Fox hopes to have lined up a number of deals that can be signed soon after Brexit. Livingston, a trade minister in the coalition government, said such a prospect may be unrealistic: “Expressing a desire to do a trade deal is very different from agreeing one,” said the former BT chief executive. “We don’t know the position with the EU, so it’s quite difficult to do a trade deal [with potential partners].” – The Sunday Times (£)

Former Vote Leave chief Matthew Elliott says that Brexit and free trade will be negotiated in tandem

Elliott, who backs May’s “Global Britain” vision, argued that the negotiations should go on at the same time. “To me they are basically two sides of the same coin so they must be done in a tandem,” he said. “No doubt some preliminary discussions will be had first. For example, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU will be agreed first, but then very quickly they will get onto the terms of the free trade agreement.” Away from the EU, Elliott said a free trade agreement between the US and UK is “crucial” for Britain’s future economic prosperity and such a deal could serve as a “bedrock for a free trade zone between Anglosphere countries”. – Matthew Elliott interview by Ian Silvera for International Business Times

  • Video: Chief Executive of Vote Leave Matthew Elliott believes free trade and Brexit will be negotiated at the same time – IBTimes

Germany’s secret plot to snatch London trade after Brexit revealed

The UK Government is desperate to cling on to London’s reputation as one of Europe’s key financial hubs long after it quits the union. But some firms seem to have other ideas, threatening to ditch the British capital in a move to the continent. Now Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has waded into the furore after he revealed his hopes of moving European Union banking supervision to Germany after the UK quits the Brussels bloc. – Daily Express

Eurozone recovery helps Britain beat Brexit blues

Britain’s economy should weather the Brexit process, in large part because Europe is booming, according to an influential forecaster. Exporters have been able to enjoy the benefits of a weaker pound thanks to resurgent demand from across the Channel, said Peter Spencer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club. “With unfettered access to the single market for now and a weaker pound, exporters are enjoying the best of both worlds,” said Spencer. “The world economy is firing on all cylinders at the moment and the remarkably strong eurozone is a big part of that. It’s nothing like the last time we had a big devaluation, in 2008.” The sterling crash after the financial crisis did little to boost British exports, partly because our biggest trading partner — the eurozone — remained mired in a debt crisis. The eurozone is poised to enjoy its strongest quarter of economic growth in nearly six years, business surveys by IHS Markit showed last week. – The Times (£)

Nigel Farage reveals Donald Trump ‘loves Brexit’ and sees Britain as ‘America’s most important ally’

Nigel Farage has revealed that President Donald Trump “loved Brexit” and “loves Britain”. Mr Farage told the Daily Star that Trump’s links to the UK through his Scottish mother means he sees Britain as a key ally. He said: “The President is on our side. Donald’s mum was Scottish and that link to the UK is important for him. “He sees us as America’s most important ally – whereas Obama went to Merkel.” The former Ukip leader also hit out at Remain supporters who “can’t accept that they lost” the Brexit vote – and added he is worried about freedom of speech in the UK. He said: “There’s a lot of rage on the Remain side. These people just can’t accept that they’ve lost. “It must infuriate them when polls show if we had the referendum again tomorrow the majority in favour of liberty would be even larger. “We were brought up to see two sides to any argument and accept the right to disagree.” – The Sun

Lord Ashcroft: Big decision has been made so just get on with it

For an event that was supposed to change everything, Brexit has made strikingly little difference to domestic politics. The single biggest reason, according to my latest research, is that most people, however they voted in the referendum, think a democratic decision has been made and needs to be implemented: even among remain voters there is very little appetite for trying to block or delay our departure. Thus the Liberal Democrats are struggling to become the party of the 48 per cent (or even the 12 per cent, according to recent polls), and Labour’s confused stance on Brexit is the least of its problems. I found Theresa May with a staggering 37-point lead over Jeremy Corbyn on the question of who would make the best Prime Minister, and there is no real opposition in sight for the Conservatives. – Sunday Telegraph

The Sun Says: Traitor Peter Mandelson has reached new low urging EU to stiff Britain over Brexit… and he’s only serving himself

When it comes to treachery Peter Mandelson is in a class of his own. Booted out twice from senior government roles for dodgy dealings, he still managed to grease his way back in. The Brexit-hating peer is in line for a £34,600-a-year pension from Brussels after swearing an oath of loyalty to European institutions. So it should be no surprise that one of the most self-serving of politicians takes every opportunity to look after his own interests. But it still comes as a shock when he tells a German newspaper: “One can only advise the Europeans one thing — forget Britain and take care of your own interests.” – The Sun on Sunday Editorial

Guy Verhofstadt: The EU will defend its interests in the Brexit talks, but will also be generous to British citizens

Since the UK referendum on European Union membership, I have received thousands of letters from UK citizens angry that their European identity is being taken from them against their will. From a 15-year-old in the South West of England upset with his parents and grandparents for voting to leave because he hoped to study in Germany, to a 90-year-old man who survived the Blitz in London, but still believes that, for all its failings, the EU has a fundamental role in cementing peace in Europe. Within days of Article 50 being tabled we were reminded of the important role the EU has played in unifying European nations, when some who should know better compared Gibraltar to the Falkland Islands and suggested the British Prime Minister would be justified in taking military action against Spain, despite the fact that no one threatened the sovereignty of Gibraltar. – Guy Verhofstadt for The Independent

Jeremy Warner: Make no mistake, self preservation will be the EU’s top Brexit priority

When discussing Britain’s future relationship with Europe, we tend inevitably to focus on what Britain most wants from it, rather than what makes sense for the European Union. Yet as any chess player knows, it is as important to work out your opponent’s strategy as your own. Turning the telescope round the other way for a moment, it is plain that the worst possible outcome for the EU would be for Britain to leave the single market and then thrive thereafter. It would only encourage others to follow suit. For the high command, holding the edifice together is more important than almost anything else. Even those with much trade with the UK to lose are prepared to make big sacrifices to this end. – Jeremy Warner for the Daily Telegraph (£)

Robert Colvile: The English aren’t jingoists on Brexit – they’re realists

Brexit, argued Chris Deerin on CapX this week, has done something to the English brain. It’s stripped away judgment, perspective and a sense of humour. It’s caused a galvanic outpouring of nationalist feeling on everything from Easter eggs to passport colour to the sovereignty of Gibraltar. In short, it’s turned us into the kind of boggle-eyed monomaniac nutballs that are normally seen wrapped in the Saltire and voting for Nicola Sturgeon. There is certainly a strain of Brexiteering opinion that indeed tends towards the boggle-eyed. That seems to think that all we have to do to get the EU deal of our dreams is to dress David Davis up in a Union flag waistcoat and send him over to bang on the table while a couple of gunboats loiter off the Belgian shore. That any concession to Brussels, in any form, is tantamount to an admission of national defeat. – Robert Colvile for CapX

Brexit comment in brief

      • As we turn from Europe, the mortar binding the UK together cracks – Adam Boulton for The Sunday Times (£)
      • Wales needs the Conservatives ‘hwyl’ for the opportunities of Brexit – Matthew Smith for ConservativeHome
      • Theresa May’s comments on EU migration have freed her from the Eurosceptic right wing of her party – John Rentoul for The Independent
      • There’s still a lot to play for: the four elements of a pro-European hard Brexit – Simon Hix for the LSE’s European Institute
      • The irony of the EPP outflanking the Tories on the right – Henry Hill for ConservativeHome

Brexit news in brief

      • In the new Great Game, the only way is East – The Sunday Times (£)
      • Fifty European politicians would welcome an independent Scotland to EU – The Sunday Herald
      • Brexit triggers ‘mini-boom’ for lawyers, says Baker McKenzie chair – FT (£)
      • If Britain is to step up from global spectator to global player then we must fund our Armed Forces – Simon Heffer for the Daily Telegraph
      • How to bring UK’s manufacturing heartland back – Szu Ping Chan for the Daily Telegraph

And finally… Brexit has made it harder to be a stand-up comedian. Ha ha…

One thing I’ve learned as a stand-up comedian is that “the consensus of the car is not the consensus of the room”. Even if an audience laughs at what you’re saying, this still doesn’t mean they agree with you; they just think you’re funny… According to reports this week, many liberal, London-based comedians have been finding this out the hard way. They’ve apparently been startled to discover that anti-Brexit jokes aren’t necessarily popular outside of the cosy embrace of the M25, and that audiences have, let’s say, a more nuanced view of their own masochistic idiocy… I have to admit to feeling a grim satisfaction in hearing that, in some towns on the circuit, comedians are having to confront views other than their own, and can’t just spit “Brexit!” and get the entire crowd on side the way they could yelling “Thatcher!” in the Eighties. Apart from anything else, this is good for comedy. It means you have to sharpen your tools. – Simon Evans for the Daily Telegraph