Brexit News for Thursday 15 June

Brexit News for Thursday 15 June
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Theresa May reportedly considering sweetener deal to let EU nationals bring non-EU spouses to the UK after Brexit…

The UK is considering sweetening its offer to Brussels over European Union citizens’ rights by allowing them to bring non-EU spouses into the UK after Brexit, The Telegraph can reveal. Whitehall sources said the move, which is being discussed by ministers, could form part of a “generous” package measures that aim to kick-start Brexit negotiations in Brussels on Monday… One source said: “It’s still the overall position that EU citizens in UK will enjoy the same rights as UK citizens, but in some cases – perhaps for EU citizens with permanent residence – it is possible they will retain extra rights that they held at the time of entry. The final details are being discussed, but it is important to note this will be a small and diminishing category of people and it is important to get these talks moving now.” – Telegraph (£)

…as the Chancellor and other top Tories urge Theresa May to put jobs before immigration in Brexit talks…

Chancellor Philip Hammond joined forces with Home Secretary Amber Rudd to demand the weakened PM prioritise jobs over tough immigration controls. With just five days to go before exit talks formally begin, the senior ministers – who backed Remain – also insisted Mrs May take account of last week’s disastrous general election result to shift to “a more pragmatic approach” to them. Mr Hammond is also expected to repeat his demand in public tomorrow night, as he delivers the Chancellor’s annual Mansion House speech… His incendiary intervention comes as spiralling Brexit tensions among angry Tory MPs again threaten to reignite a new party civil war over Europe. Last night’s 90 minute-long showdown came at the first meeting of the Cabinet’s new Brexit negotiations committee. Mr Hammond – who the PM wanted to sack before the election result – and Ms Rudd were ranged against Leave champion Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis. – The Sun

…and May is warned not to give in to Hammond on the Customs Union amid warnings that ministers ‘will quit’

Theresa May will face Cabinet resignations if she gives in to demands from Philip Hammond to water down Brexit, senior Tories warned last night… [Hammond] is now said to be pressuring Mrs May to adopt a strategy that would keep Britain in the EU customs union – even though this would give EU judges a say over British laws and limit the options for striking new trade deals around the world… But Eurosceptic Tories last night warned they would not accept any backsliding from Mrs May on the issue. A senior Tory source said at least three Cabinet ministers were prepared to quit if the Prime Minister bowed to the demands of her Chancellor. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has told friends his job would be pointless if the UK stayed inside the customs union. – Daily Mail

  • Hammond poised to challenge May over Brexit priorities – FT (£)
  • The charge of the soft Brexit brigade – Charlie Cooper for Politico
  • Philip Hammond’s Brexit plan is the worst of all worlds – Ross Clark for The Spectator
  • Remaining in the Customs Union is the very worst mistake the UK could make – Paul Ormerod for City A.M.
  • Philip Hammond isn’t out to sabotage Brexit: staying in the Customs Union for a bit is wise – Ben Kelly for the Telegraph (£)

New Brexit Minister Steve Baker slaps down David Cameron as he warns that Theresa May will not dilute Government’s Brexit approach

Steve Baker, who was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the EU in the Prime Minister’s post-election reshuffle, insisted there would be “no change” in the Government’s drive for a clear break with Brussels. He spoke out to settle Euro-sceptic nerves on his first full day in his post after the former chancellor [Ken Clarke] and ex-prime minister claimed Mrs May will have to alter her course and opt for a less drastic cut in ties to the EU… Mr Baker said he did not “foresee any change” in the Government’s approach to leaving the EU. He said: “The reality is, where we stand follows logically from leaving. So if we are leaving, what we need to do is do it smoothly and successfully and gain economic benefit. If we are having economic benefit that means we need to be able to control our trade policy. So that’s where I think we should be.” Pressed on the debate about whether Britain should quit the customs union, he added: “These are decisions which the Government will have to take, but I’m quite clear and I’ve made my position public in the past.” – Express

  • Thanks for your advice on Brexit, David Cameron – but nobody will be listening – Jack May for the Independent

Pro-Brexit MP Steve Barclay appointed City Minister

A former director of Barclays Bank who has also worked as a financial regulator has been appointed City minister by Theresa May. Steve Barclay, who backed the Vote Leave campaign, takes over the brief for the financial district at a time when other cities across the EU are aiming to grab business from the City after Brexit… Miles Celic, the chief executive of lobby group TheCityUK, welcomed his appointment. “It is vital we have more champions of business representing our industry in parliament,” he said. “As we begin the Brexit negotiations, it will be essential for the government and industry to maintain a strong, open and constructive dialogue.” – Guardian

  • City of London Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley will today warn the Square Mile must “help shape our negotiations with the EU” – City A.M.
  • Brexit to prompt ‘very few changes’ at Rothschild as revenue soars – Telegraph

Britain could only stay in the EU on worse terms, says Guy Verhofstadt

Britain is welcome to change its mind and remain in the European Union, but can only stay on poorer terms, a senior EU official has said. Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said that Brexit can be halted, but if Britain reversed course it should not expect to keep getting its EU budget rebates or opt-outs from key EU rules. He told the parliament: “Yesterday, Emmanuel Macron, the new French president, spoke about an open door. That if Britain changes its mind it would find an open door. “I agree. But like Alice in Wonderland, not all the doors are the same. It will be a brand new door, with a new Europe, a Europe without rebates, without complexity, with real powers and with unity.” – Sky News

Tim Farron quits as Liberal Democrat leader, citing his faith (rather than the failure of his anti-Brexit strategy)

Tim Farron has resigned as head of the Liberal Democrats, explaining he felt it “impossible” to be a committed Christian and lead the party. The Westmorland and Lonsdale MP said he has decided to quit in the face of continuing questions over his faith… The shock announcement came just hours after the party’s openly gay home affairs spokesman Lord Paddick announced he was quitting, citing “concerns about the leader’s views on various issues”… The Liberal Democrats won an extra four MPs at this month’s General Election from their 2015 result, boosting their total to 12. But the party failed to return nearer to their 2010 level of 57 seats, despite hoping to attract the support of pro-Remain voters. – Sky News

  • Why Tim Farron had to go – Stephen Bush and Patrick Maguire for the New Statesman

New SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford says Indyref2 remains Scotland’s ‘insurance policy’ against Brexit

The SNP’s new Westminster leader has undermined Nicola Sturgeon’s claims she is still weighing up whether to press ahead with a second independence referendum after arguing it was Scotland’s “insurance policy” against Brexit. The First Minister described as “nonsense” allegations that she has already decided to plough ahead with her blueprint to break up Britain despite the SNP’s General Election mauling… But only hours later Ian Blackford said the SNP will “make sure” that the option of another referendum is available for Scots if they are unhappy with the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. – Telegraph

  • Who is the SNP’s new Westminster leader Ian Blackford? – Telegraph (£)

New Tory MP Kemi Badenoch pours scorn on the notion of a Brexit divorce bill

Though she admits Brexit will be “tough initially”, she still considers leaving the EU the right decision. What if we get no deal? “My husband’s nervous. If companies think: ‘We don’t want to be here’ it will impact a lot of people. But I don’t think it will get to that. People talk about a divorce bill. You can’t be married to 27 people. It wasn’t a marriage — it was a business partnership that we have decided isn’t quite working for us. Will it be tough? All change is tough.” – Kemi Badenoch MP interviewed in the Evening Standard

Nick Timothy: ‘Soft’ Brexit is not Brexit

There has long been talk of a choice between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ forms of Brexit, with the latter requiring membership of the EU’s single market. Since that would involve accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, vast annual membership payments to the EU, and the continuation of free movement rules, people who voted to leave the European Union might wonder whether advocates of a ‘soft’ departure really do understand that Brexit means Brexit. – Nick Timothy, former joint Chief of Staff to Theresa May, for The Spectator

  • Nick Timothy: Brexit still has to mean Brexit – Guido Fawkes
  • Former Theresa May aide Nick Timothy blames Sir Lynton Crosby for general election disaster – Telegraph (£)

John Longworth: No deal may be the very best deal

The PM has so far allowed a fallacy to develop, the characterisation of success or failure in the negotiations as to whether the UK achieves a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, or not. Nothing could be further from the truth. An FTA is merely the cherry, on the icing, on the cake, nice to have but nowhere near as satisfying as the cake itself… Just three measures; deregulation, the re investment in the UK of our net contribution to the EU, and the removal of external tariffs imposed by the EU, would together amount to 7.2 per cent boost to our economy, between £120 and £150 billion… On top of this we can abolish the Common Agricultural Policy, repatriate our fisheries, make Free Trade deals around the world and cut out the cost of migrants. Each migrant in a low skill job costs the UK taxpayer a net £3,500 per year in welfare subsidies and public services. Making Britain an open, enterprise economy is the way to prosperity and making Brexit an economic success, while retaining the sovereignty that people voted for. – John Longworth for the Express

> John Longworth on BrexitCentral today: Britain must not be taken in by the “soft Brexit” snake oil peddlers

Jill Rutter: Passing the Great Repeal Bill is crucial to our future

While the prime minister sought a mandate to stop parliament frustrating Brexit (and the rest of her legislative programme), her precarious position has put her ability to pass this legislation in a timely way, or indeed at all, at risk. Those who want to frustrate whatever type of Brexit the prime minister ends up pursuing may seek to hold the legislation hostage… Now that Article 50 is triggered, government has to plan on the basis that we will leave the EU on March 29th 2019, potentially with no deal in place… The choice is between preparing as best we can for no deal, including the passage of the Great Repeal Bill, or risking multiple cliff-edges and falling into legal hiatuses where European laws cease to apply with no UK law to replace them. – Jill Rutter for The Times (£)

Leo McKinstry: The establishment Brexit stitch-up is already under way

Ever since Britain voted last June to leave the European Union, the pro-Brussels establishment has plotted to reverse the result. Refusing to accept the will of the people, they have used parliamentary manoeuvres, court cases, media propaganda and collusion with EU bureaucrats. But so far nothing has worked. Until now Brexit has remained firmly on course. But a dark new opportunity for retreat has arisen due to the outcome of the general election. Theresa May has lost her previously strong position on Brexit, handing the initiative to the enemies of British sovereignty. On the continent the oligarchs of Brussels glory in her problems. Within her Cabinet there is a new confidence among the pro-EU forces led by Chancellor Philip Hammond. From the Tories’ political graveyard emerge the ghouls of statesmen past to rattle their Europhile chains. – Leo McKinstry for the Express

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: A hard Brexit risks no Brexit at all

The surest way to prevent Brexit ever happening is for hardline eurosceptics to overplay a weak hand. Ideological greed will get the better of them. The vote for British independence can be consummated only if done safely, in manageable steps over many years, and with broad political consent. It cannot be done without securing a degree of acquiescence from British youth and the devolved nations. Nor is it necessary to force through Brexit in a militant fashion. What Leavers seek can largely be achieved with statecraft, subtlety, and patience. It certainly cannot it be done if the nation is frightened, and frightened it will be if Brexit ultras push through a scorched-earth withdrawal from the EU in an economic downturn. – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit comment in brief

  • From crème brûlée Brexit to resignation: the five strategies open to Theresa May – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • Warning: the EU’s integration drive may backfire – Rachel Cunliffe for City A.M.
  • Why Greece is Germany’s ‘de facto colony’ – Matthew Karnitschnig for Politico
  • Ukip should never ape the Establishment. We must rediscover our radical core – Bill Etheridge MEP for the Telegraph (£)
  • A ‘no deal’ Brexit is the perfect cover for the Tories to bring about their small state agenda – Matt Zarb-Cousin for the Independent
  • Ballsing up the election is one thing, but Theresa May can think again if she wants to gamble with our Brexit negotiations – Rod Liddle for The Sun
  • Tories must hold very tightly onto nurse, to save Brexit and the country – Gerald Warner for Reaction
  • Now May should say sorry to our EU friends and soften her Brexit stance – Jenni Russell for The Times (£)
  • London’s MPs have the power to change the course of Brexit – Simon Jenkins for the Guardian
  • A Swiss-style arrangement with the EU is a win-win for everyone – Daniel Hannan MEP for The Sun
  • Ministers must listen to the business community on how, when and, even, if we Brexit – James Quinn for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit news in brief

  • Macron’s anti-sleaze champion ‘used EU funds to pay secretary’ – The Times (£)
  • New EU laws to cut mobile roaming costs in Europe – Sky News
  • Europe’s battle against roaming surcharges isn’t over – Politico
  • Aerospace industry warns against ‘hard Brexit’ – Telegraph
  • Half of skilled EU workers in UK plan to leave because of Brexit, claims survey – Independent
  • Anthony Joshua has some Brexit advice for Theresa May (video) – Telegraph