Brussels has an incentive to get a Brexit deal done, says Boris Johnson: Brexit News for Thursday 4 July

Brussels has an incentive to get a Brexit deal done, says Boris Johnson: Brexit News for Thursday 4 July
Sign up here to receive the daily news briefing in your inbox every morning with exclusive insight from the BrexitCentral team

Brussels has an incentive to get a Brexit deal done, says Boris Johnson…

Brussels has an incentive to get a Brexit deal done with the UK as it prepares for a “mission of federalist integration” under the new European Commission president, Boris Johnson says. The Tory leadership hopeful said he was looking forward to working with Ursula von der Leyen, who has been nominated by the leaders of the bloc’s member states to become the president. He said the activities of the 29 Brexit Party MEPs, who turned their backs during the EU anthem Ode To Joy on the opening day of the new European Parliament session, showed the “radical change” in Strasbourg and underlined the need to “get this thing over the line”. The former foreign secretary played down the prospect of the UK Parliament blocking a no-deal Brexit if he was unable to secure the “great, great deal” he was expecting from Brussels. – Canberra Times

…as he refuses to rule out quitting if he fails to deliver Brexit by Halloween…

Boris Johnson has refused to say whether or not he will quit as prime minister if he fails to deliver Brexit as promised by Halloween. The Tory leadership front-runner dodged questions on whether he will throw in the towel in No10 if he can’t get us out by October 31, despite his repeated promises that he will. He only would say when asked by a Conservative Home reader: “We will leave by October 31st”. Boris has insisted that he will quit with or without a deal by the end of October, or it will be a total disaster for the Tories. “If we fail to come out on October 31st I believe we are courting mortal retribution from the electorate – a haemorrhage of trust from which we will not recover,” he said today. – The Sun

…while Nigel Farage claims neither Johnson nor Jeremy Hunt have the guts to deliver Brexit by October 31st

Neither Boris nor Hunt have the guts to leave the EU by October 31, Nigel Farage has blasted. The Brexit Party boss, who has taken his seat again as a member of the European Parliament, said he didn’t trust either of the Tory leadership hopefuls to leave on time as promised. Mr Farage, who has hinted he may be able to work with the two PM wannabes if they get us out on time, attacked them both for saying they would replace the hated Northern Irish backstop – even though they both voted for a deal with it in. On Good Morning Britain today, Mr Farage said: “I was astonished yesterday, both of them were in Belfast talking about this tricky issue of the Irish backstop. – The Sun

European Commission President nominee said Brexit is a ‘loss for everyone’ and claimed Britain wouldn’t get a deal with EU

The new president of Europe calls Brexit a “bubble of hollow promises” which means “everybody loses”. Ursula von der Leyen, who’s set to be the next European Commission president, is fiercely opposed to Britain’s EU exit. She has also warned German firms to prepare for No Deal – predicting the next PM may not be able to get a better deal. Ms von der Leyen was yesterday named as EU leaders’ pick to run the powerful Commission currently headed by Jean-Claude Juncker. She will take office on November 1 – one day after the UK is scheduled to leave. – The Sun

> Luca Siepmann on BrexitCentral yesterday: Ursula von der Leyen may be a Euro-federalist, but on Brexit she will be a pragmatist

Jeremy Corbyn appears to back a second referendum as he urges Government to ‘go back to the people’…

Jeremy Corbyn has appeared to back a second referendum as he urges the Government to put the vote back to the people. In a comment that suggests he is moving closer to a People’s Vote, Mr Corbyn told Theresa May that in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit that would “crash the economy” the best thing to do would be “to go back to the people”. “We made it very clear what the danger of no-deal is and we will do everything to prevent a no-deal exit because we know the damage it will do to jobs and living standards in this country,” he said.  Speaking at PMQs, Mr Corbyn told the Commons that the Government had “comprehensively failed on Brexit”. “No-deal threatens to crash the economy,” he said. – Telegraph (£)

WATCH: Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn clash over Brexit at PMQs

…as Sir Keir Starmer says MPs would ‘stand in Johnson’s way’ to stop No Deal

Keir Starmer has warned Boris Johnson that MPs will “do everything to stand in his way” if he tries to force through a “bad deal or a no-deal Brexit”. Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to be Britain’s next prime minister, has suggested he will “disaggregate” Theresa May’s “otherwise defunct” withdrawal agreement and implement its less contentious elements. But research commissioned by Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, from the House of Commons library suggests this would still require the government to bring legislation before parliament, which MPs could then reject or amend. The library’s experts said: “Without an act of parliament, the UK cannot ratify the withdrawal agreement.” – Guardian

Ex-HMRC Brexit official says no-deal plans must be ramped up

The British official who was in charge of Brexit border plans has warned the government’s contingency preparations for a no-deal departure would have to be ramped up again this month if they were to be effective. Karen Wheeler, a former director general of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Brexit border delivery group, said the civil service had done all it could to prepare for a no-deal departure in March, but that might not be enough to prevent problems. She said the intense and detailed work carried out in Whitehall on contingency planning for the first scheduled Brexit day on 29 March was “like preparing for a crisis”. Wheeler added: “I think we felt we had done everything we could to mitigate as far as we could, but there were some areas of no deal where really the consequences did feel particularly difficult. Of course, goods and trade at the channel and Northern Ireland was one of the other areas where you can’t mitigate and all you can do is cope with the consequences.” – Guardian

Liam Fox blames MPs over Canada deal delay

MPs’ opposition to a no-deal Brexit has hindered UK efforts to replicate an EU trade deal with Canada, says International Trade Secretary Liam Fox. On Monday, Buzzfeed News reported that Canada was refusing to extend its existing deal with the EU to the UK if there is no Brexit agreement. Mr Fox said “mixed signals” from Parliament had made it “very difficult” for ministers during talks. But Labour said Mr Fox had been “stubborn and ideological”. The EU’s deal with Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) has been in force provisionally since September 2017. Some 98% of all tariffs on goods traded between Canada and the EU have become duty free since then. – BBC News

WATCH: International Trade Secretary Liam Fox at the International Trade Committee

Macron won the EU top jobs poker game – but may yet pay for his victory

Emmanuel Macron was the victor once the smoke of 27 hours of intense summit negotiations cleared in Brussels to reveal the nominations for the EU’s most influential posts for the next five years. But the victory came with a cost, with the losers from the brutal power-broking left bruised and resentful and the EU’s first tentative steps towards reducing its democratic deficit in ruins. The disruptive French president played his cards skillfully in the poker game of the EU’s top jobs. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was made an offer she couldn’t refuse – Ursula von der Leyen, a German conservative and one of her close allies, leading the European Commission, the most powerful of the jobs up for grabs. – Telegraph (£)

MEPs choose Italian David-Maria Sassoli as new European Parliament President

Italian former journalist David-Maria Sassoli has been selected as the new president of the European Parliament. Mr Sassoli, 63, received the support of 345 out of a total of 667 MEPs in the second round of voting in Strasbourg. The centre-left politician beat three other candidates and will assume the role of assembly speaker immediately. The vote comes a day after EU leaders agreed nominations for the bloc’s top jobs, with a woman for the first time proposed as European Commission chief. – BBC News

James Forsyth and Katy Balls: Boris Johnson on his plan to unite Britain

‘I’m going to stick ruthlessly to script,’ says Boris Johnson. ‘This is not the stage of the campaign when you innovate.’ He’s right to worry about the timing. The new Tory leader won’t be chosen for just over two weeks but the ballot papers go out this weekend. Boris is the odds-on favourite. This is the most important week of the campaign and he’s determined to come across as a serious, game-changing leader, not the loveable yet unreliable joker. The old Boris would mess up his hair before going on television. Today, when we meet in his House of Commons office, he quickly puts on a jacket — as if getting dressed for a job interview. He’s making a sales pitch. ‘Years of watching this thing decay, three years of drift and dither, have filled me with not just an understanding of government but also a very clear picture of how to get it done,’ he says. ‘My determination burns with a magnesium brightness to get it done and to deliver.’ – James Forsyth and Katy Balls interview Boris Johnson MP for The Spectator

Boris Johnson: My No. 10 dream for Sun readers

There is only one way to rebuild trust in politics, and that is to get Brexit done. We must come out of the EU by October 31. We must deliver on the will of the people, or we Conservatives will face extinction. Kick the can and we kick the bucket. And by the way, I think it is time we had someone who campaigned for Brexit — and who really understands and believes in the project — to get us out properly. I believe we can get a great deal — but the only way to do that is to prepare to leave without one. This is a very great country, the fifth biggest economy in the world, and the people of this country are fed up with being told that they can’t do this or that, or that we are not up to it. We need to get Brexit done by October 31, and then use the opportunities that Brexit provides. – Boris Johnson MP for The Sun

Allister Heath: The EU is a sham democracy, and its pitiful new leaders are the proof

Thank you, Eurocrats, for being yourselves. The best cure for Europhilia is always to observe the EU’s big beasts at their unguarded worst, wheeling and dealing in their natural habitat, unencumbered by any attachment to democracy, accountability or even basic morality. The spectacle of the past few days made for compulsive watching: we witnessed rare footage of the secretive process that propels so many retreads and second-rate apparatchiks into positions of immense power in Brussels and Frankfurt, utterly disregarding public opinion. Peeking into Europe’s dystopia was certainly the right medicine for pre-Brexit Britain, guaranteed to convert erstwhile moderates into raging Brexiteers as they looked on, aghast, at the shocking disconnect between elites and people. – Allister Heath for the Telegraph (£)

John Longworth: Why my fellow Brexit Party MEPs turned our backs on the Orwellian EU empire

As I entered the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, I thought I had seen this before: it is like the Death Star out of Star Wars. Only a superstate could have two Parliaments and five Presidents! Perhaps the numbers are a deliberate ploy to mask the lack of actual democracy. After a short pre-meeting, the largest Party in the EU entered the “hemicycle” – eurospeak for the assembly – with a session due to start at 10am, late by half an hour- of course. Now was the time to have some fun. The session began. We sat and were ordered to stand by the EU Parliament President who declares we must stand for the national anthem! What nation? So we stood, turning our backs on the Ode to Joy: I never signed up to an anthem of a superstate. – John Longworth MEP for the Telegraph (£)

Andrew Lilico: This new lineup confirms the EU’s ambitions to build a superstate

The European Council has agreed upon its nominees for the top jobs running the EU for the next few years. They have to get through the Parliament, but that seems largely a formality. The main four jobs are: President of the European Commission – Ursula von der Leyen; President of the European Council – Charles Michel; President of the European Central Bank – Christine Lagarde; and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – Josep Borrell Fontelles. The surprise choice amongst these was the top job – von der Leyen. She is currently the German defence minister. Ideologically, she is perfect for where the EU should be going from here. She is a longstanding advocate of what she calls “a united states of Europe – run along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the USA”, repeating this ambition on multiple occasions since 2011. – Andrew Lilico for the Telegraph (£)

Peter Foster: Ursula von der Leyen’s appointment could be good for Britain – but EU Brexit strategy won’t change overnight

Ever since David Cameron tried – and failed, to the satisfaction of most Conservatives – to renegotiate Britain’s place in the European Union, there has been a quiet confidence in British politics that the Germans would moderate more stringent EU positions. Either in the form of big business interests (those export-dependent car makers) or German political leadership (the dependable Angela Merkel counteracting the increasingly shrill Emmanuel Macron of France) the Germans could be relied upon for common sense. Which is why the decision by EU leaders to nominate Mrs Merkel’s defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the head of the next European Commission could well be seen as a positive step. – Peter Foster for the Telegraph (£)

Kai Weiss: The EU commission stitch-up shows Brussels at its very worst

The European Union awaits a new leadership team. A month after the European elections, Europe’s Head of States agreed yesterday to propose Geraman defence minister Ursula von der Leyen as new Commission President. The Belgian Charles Michel will be the new Council President, Spaniard Josep Borrell the new High Representative for Foreign Affairs (aka the EU’s Foreign Minister), and France’s Christine Lagarde is the new president of the European Central Bank. The deal is not quite sealed yet – the European Parliament will still need to agree to the appointments in votes in the next weeks. While there is much to say about the candidates themselves (much of it not overly flattering), the process of how this leadership group became the compromise agreement is more telling about the current state of the EU. A flurry of clandestine back room deals showed Brussels’ semi-democratic tendencies at their very worst. – Kai Weiss for CapX

Asa Bennett: Watch out Boris, a no-deal Brexit could turn Theresa May into a chief Tory rebel

Prime Minister’s Questions is rather pointless when the Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn has to get answers from will be gone in a matter of weeks, which is why he turned his fire on the “fantasy” plans of the two men vying to succeed Theresa May. To make his case against a no-deal, the Labour leader could not resist seizing on the warning made by Philip Hammond that it would cost the public finances as much as £90 billion. The Chancellor has been increasingly rambunctious in his warnings against a no-deal, so will not mind giving Mr Corbyn ammunition, as he concluded that he will have no future in a Boris Johnson cabinet. Therefore, Mr Hammond is going down fighting for what he believes in before being sent back to the backbenches, alongside fellow no-deal critics like Rory Stewart and David Gauke. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Gerard Lyons: It will take relentless focus for Britain to come out of the no-deal Brexit shock on top

The two leadership candidates have made clear their aim to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement. Their Plan A is a future free trade agreement with the EU. This is a desirable outcome. The challenge is that this depends upon raw politics, here and overseas. Thus we need to prepare for Plan B – no deal – where the UK leaves the EU at the end of October without any agreement on what replaces our existing relationship. We and they would become third countries to each other. It is a complex area, with near-term challenges for both. It would be an economic shock. ​My preference is for a deal and an agreement on a transition period to our future relationship. While I would not call myself a supporter of no deal, it may become the only viable option for leaving and finally moving on. I share the view that increased preparation for a no deal improves the prospect of achieving Plan A. It strengthens your bargaining position. – Gerard Lyons for the Telegraph (£)

Telegraph: The latest backroom-dealing in Brussels shows the Franco-German alliance in action

The white smoke that finally appeared above the Brussels conclave of EU leaders on Tuesday evening signalled that a choice had finally been made: we have a new Commission president. It was not, however, the nomination anyone had expected. Ursula von der Leyen, currently German defence minister, will replace Jean-Claude Juncker in a surprise move that will also see Christine Lagarde take over the European Central Bank after seven years at the IMF. The dispositions follow the usual horse-trading among EU states, with the two biggest players, Germany and France, still ending up with key posts after earlier nominations were rejected. As President Emmanuel Macron put it, this was “the fruit of a deep Franco-German entente”. Others less charitably inclined might describe it as a stitch-up. – Telegraph (£) editorial

Brexit in Brief

  • Enough with the Nazi analogies. The Brexit Party is not ‘fascist’ – Charlotte Gill for the Telegraph (£)
  • Sometimes it’s better to say nothing and concentrate on Brexit – Ann Widdecombe MEP for the Express
  • No one can rule out no-deal recession – Beth Rigby interviews Stephen Barclay MP for Sky News
  • Met police slam Electoral Commission and demolish latest loony Remoaner lawsuit – Guido Fawkes
  • Nigel Farage claims EU investigation into undeclared gifts from Brexiteer Arron Banks is ‘over and dealt with’ – Telegraph (£)