A full Brexit trade deal won’t be possible without delaying beyond 2020, claims new European Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen: Brexit News for Thursday 9 January

A full Brexit trade deal won’t be possible without delaying beyond 2020, claims new European Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen: Brexit News for Thursday 9 January
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A full Brexit trade deal won’t be possible without delaying beyond 2020, claims new European Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen…

A full Brexit trade deal won’t be possible without delaying beyond 2020, the new EU boss warned Boris Johnson today. Ursula Von der Leyen promised a “truly ambitious” new partnership with Britain, but said it would be very tricky to get a deal done this year. It comes on her first visit to the UK as EU boss, taking over from Jean Claude Juncker at the end of last year. Her comments are a blow for Boris Johnson, who has repeatedly promised he can sort a bumper trade deal by the end of 2020 when we finally leave the EU. Despite no longer being a member, it would mean Britain remaining by all the bloc’s rules as well continuing to fork out into the EU’s budget. Mr Johnson has met with the European Commission chief later today for crunch talks at Downing Street. – The Sun

  • Boris Johnson’s deadline for deal is impossible, says EU chief Ursula von der Leyen – The Times (£)

…and she tells Britain’s youth: don’t settle for ‘isolation’…

The president of the European Commission has urged Britain’s youth to not to settle for “isolation” after Brexit, and said they would not have to accept the new “status quo” negotiated by Boris Johnson. In her first official visit to the UK Ursula von der Leyen told an audience of students in London that the Brexit deal negotiated would be “for your generation” to live with and that they would have the option of changing it. She suggested that if Britain’s youth were not satisfied with what was negotiated, they should not accept the status quo and instead could “turn things into how they should be”. – Independent

> WATCH: Ursula von der Leyen: “The result of the referendum was a bitter pill to swallow” 

…as she warns of ‘tough talks’ ahead while Boris Johnson calls for a ‘positive’ new partnership…

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has warned the UK there are “tough talks ahead” in free trade negotiations over the next year. Mrs von der Leyen said the UK cannot expect free movement of goods and services without free movement of people, and there would be a “more distant partnership” between the UK and EU in future. “The truth is that our partnership cannot and will not be the same as before. And it cannot and will not be as close as before – because with every choice comes a consequence,” she said. “With every decision comes a trade-off.” Speaking at the London School of Economics, her alma mater, Mrs von der Leyen said there would be “no compromise” from the EU on the integrity of the single market and customs unions during the negotiations. – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen have ‘positive’ meeting – Guardian

…and the PM tees up a fight over fishing in the talks to come

Boris Johnson told European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen that Britain would insist on “maintaining control of UK fishing waters” after it leaves the EU, setting up a big clash with Brussels as the two sides prepare for testing negotiations after Brexit. During Mr Johnson’s first meeting with Ms von der Leyen since she took office last month, the prime minister laid down his terms, insisting that any trade deal with the EU must be complete by the end of 2020 and that Britain would “not align” with the bloc’s rules. Downing Street said Mr Johnson reiterated that Britain wanted “a broad free-trade agreement covering goods and services and co-operation in other areas”. It would exclude free movement and European Court of Justice jurisdiction. – FT (£)

  • Salami tactics loom for Brexit trade talks – Politico

Boris Johnson under fire from Brussels over fresh threat to EU citizens in the UK

Brussels has sounded the alarm at a fresh threat to EU citizens living in the UK after Brexit, as the Commission’s president arrives in London for talks with Boris Johnson. The prime minister is under fire over sudden plans to “water down” an independent watchdog meant to protect citizens’ rights during the exit process. The independent monitoring authority (IMA) was stipulated in the Brexit agreement, but under the UK’s planned implementation of the deal its powers will be split up and cannibalised by other bodies.  A letter sent by Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, raises “concern” that EU citizens may not have a fully-independent organisation through which to make complaints against the government – amid a backdrop of serious distrust between EU citizens and the British state. – Independent

Theresa Villiers seeks to reassure farmers over Brexit trade deals

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers has sought to reassure farmers that high food standards will be protected as the nation seeks international trade deals after Brexit. Concerns have been raised that food produced to lower environmental and welfare standards than are permitted in the UK will be allowed into this country under future trade deals – undercutting the competitiveness of the domestic agricultural sector. But Ms Villiers said: “Our strong British brand is built on high standards to which we hold ourselves. The high standards of British farming are the backbone of our biggest manufacturing sector of food and drink.” – Eastern Daily Press

Sir Keir Starmer takes big early lead over Rebecca Long-Bailey among MPs in Labour leadership race 

Keir Starmer has leapt into a big early lead in support from fellow Labour MPs in the party’s leadership race. The shadow Brexit Secretary has already secured 23 nominations – enough to put him on the ballot paper – leaving rival Rebecca Long Bailey trailing badly with just seven. The leading leftwing candidate has only one more MP signed up than Jess Phillips (6), with Lisa Nandy (2) and Emily Thornberry (1) also struggling. The sixth candidate – another leftwinger, Clive Lewis – has yet to secure a single nomination, the first list released by the Labour party showed. The level of support at Westminster is not necessarily the best guide to who emerges as Labour leader – as Jeremy Corbyn’s astonishing grassroots triumph in 2015 proved. – Independent

  • Barry Gardiner confirms he is ‘considering’ surprise bid to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader – PoliticsHome

Four Brexit Party rebels join the Tories as MEPs in time for crucial EU vote on deal

Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, Lance Forman, Lucy Harris and John Longworth last month quit Nigel Farage’s party to help the Prime Minister seal a huge parliamentary majority at the general election. The Leave campaigners, who became independent MEPs, will now move to sit alongside Tory parliamentarians in the European Parliament ahead of a vote on the withdrawal agreement at the end of the month. On her decision, Ms Rees-Mogg, an MEP for the East Midlands, said: “During the last few days of our membership of the EU, it is important that Boris’s Tories have a strong support in the European Union, as the UK’s governing party. Pro-Leave voters have now won four elections in a row and finally have a government that has listened, I will continue to support all Brexit supporters from within the only party that can deliver it.” – Express

  • Four former Brexit Party MEPs – including Rees-Mogg – join the Conservative Party – ConservativeHome

Holyrood votes to reject Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal to take UK out of the EU

MSPs have voted to reject Boris Johnson’s deal to take the UK out of the EU. The Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill is expected to complete its passage through the House of Commons on Thursday but MSPs were able to voice their disapproval of the legislation at Holyrood on Wednesday. Under the devolution agreement, legislative consent is required for issues affecting devolved policy areas. In practice, however, the UK Government is able to still proceed against the will of the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish administrations. Having urged MSPs to vote to refuse consent to the Bill, Mike Russell, Scotland’s Constitutional Relations Secretary, described the legislation as “uniquely offensive to Scottish democracy”. – Daily Record

James Forsyth: Boris’s blueprint for Brexit

For the first time since the referendum, the United Kingdom has a strong government that knows what it wants from Brexit. This will make the second round of the negotiations with the EU very different from the first. Theresa May famously declared, and repeated, that ‘Brexit means Brexit’. This was a soundbite designed to conceal fundamental differences within her cabinet about what it did actually mean. They were never resolved. Many in her cabinet, and especially the Brexiteers, thought that Brexit must mean fully leaving the customs union and the single market. But Philip Hammond, her Chancellor, and Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, thought that it was essential to avoid ‘friction’ at the border and so rallied other Remain colleagues against this approach. The absurd consequence was that 27 EU governments ended up more united on Brexit than the British cabinet. As one Brexit veteran concedes, ‘The EU attack that we weren’t clear what we wanted had a quite lot of truth to it, as we never resolved the friction question.’ – James Forsyth for The Spectator

John Longworth: My fellow former Brexit Party MEPs and I are joining the Tories to help Boris deliver

A year ago it seemed that the hope of a Brexit Britain was fading. Despite my best efforts, the entrenched parliamentary Remain establishment was hellbent on keeping us as close to the EU as to be a vassal state, oven-ready to rejoin. The European Research Group had failed to remove the Tory incumbents, Parliament was determined to stop us leaving at all. The March to Leave, joyous as it was, was ignored. – John Longworth MEP for the Telegraph (£)

Robert Tombs: Britain after Brexit – it’s time to decide on our place in the world

‘Global Britain’: a phrase that provokes mockery and even indignation. As an alternative to EU membership many consider it impossible and worse, undesirable. Are we capable of true independence, or is this an illusion? Does ‘global Britain’, as its bitterest critics accuse, draw on imperial nostalgia and nationalistic arrogance? Or is it a rational response to a changing world? It is certainly not a new response. Britain has been a global player since the 1730s. Since the early 1800s we have had to be: with a population of 14 million we were no longer able to feed ourselves, and Britain’s enemies looked forward to the day when it would starve. Sir Robert Peel abolished the protectionist Corn Laws to import the cheapest food available: ‘We might on moral and social grounds prefer cornfields to cotton factories, but our lot is cast.’ – Robert Tombs for The Spectator

Patrick Minford: Mark Carney is right: Brexit must free the City of London from Brussels red tape

Mark  Carney has been no friend of Brexit but in his latest interview with the FT he has got two things absolutely right. First, he has pointed out that the City, as the world’s leading financial centre, needs to be regulated here and certainly not by Brussels. The government of Boris Johnson has made it clear that regulatory alignment is in general not on the trade talks table; and that plainly includes City regulation. Some have argued that the City should exchange regulative authority for ‘access’ to the EU’s financial markets. This, as Carney clearly understands, would be nonsensical. – Patrick Minford for the Telegraph (£)

The Sun: New EU chief must not waste time hoping to erode Boris Johnson’s Brexit red lines — Britain won’t be bound by Brussels

The EU’s new chief must not waste her time or Britain’s pining for us to keep free movement, stay shackled to Brussels’ rules or extend our “transition period” beyond this year. It’s not going to happen. We welcome Ursula von der Leyen being “ambitious” about striking a new, “unprecedented” trade deal with “zero tariffs and zero quotas”. We too want to remain “the best of friends and partners”. But we implore Brussels not to expend energy hoping to erode Boris Johnson’s Brexit red lines. Without them he would not have his 80-seat majority. And he simply has no desire to soften Brexit. Britain will not be bound by Brussels. Yes, goods will flow less freely at our borders. That is the price of freedom and the many new opportunities this Government, unlike the last, looks ­genuinely keen to exploit. – The Sun says

Comment in Brief

  • With John Bercow gone and the Remainers vanquished, PMQs has been utterly transformed – Michael Deacon for the Telegraph (£)
  • My clash with Alastair Campbell convinced me it’s time to hug a remainer – Claire Fox MEP for The Spectator
  • What will boundary changes mean for British politics? – Matt Singh for CapX
  • Salami tactics loom for Brexit trade talks – Politico
  • What now for Tory Brexit ‘Spartans’ – lay down their spears, or sharpen them for a new battle? – Telegraph (£)