Brexit News for Tuesday 13 June

Brexit News for Tuesday 13 June
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Tory and Labour MPs plot secret deal to ensure ‘soft Brexit’…

Senior Cabinet ministers are engaged in secret talks with Labour MPs to secure cross-party backing for a soft Brexit, it has emerged. Some of the most senior members of Theresa May’s team have been discussing how to force the Prime Minister to make concessions on immigration, the customs union and the single market. There have also been discussions of a cross-party Brexit Commission to agree common ground between the parties and ensure an orderly withdrawal from the EU. Labour is expected to use the talks as leverage to demand an end to the public sector pay freeze among a series of concessions in next week’s Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament. – Telegraph (£)

  • Philip Hammond drums up City support for soft Brexit – Politico
  • Cabinet Remainers plot with Labour to ‘soften’ Britain’s departure from the EU – Daily Mail

…as Ruth Davidson demands priority for trade over cutting immigration…

Ruth Davidson has used her newfound influence in Westminster to tell Theresa May she must pursue a softer “open Brexit” which prioritises free trade over cutting immigration. The Scottish Conservative leader met the Prime Minister before sitting in on a “political cabinet” meeting at No 10 after her 13 Scottish MPs effectively kept Mrs May in power. She claimed afterwards there was a “clear recognition” that the government must seek a general consensus on how to leave the EU and must prioritise the economy. The high-profile Remain campaigner has been tipped as a possible future prime minister. She wants the country to have the ability to trade in “as free a way as it does at the moment”, but accepts the UK may not remain in the single market. – Telegraph

  • Ruth to scotch a hard Brexit – The Sun

…and Nicola Sturgeon declares ‘Hard Brexit’ is ‘dead in the water’

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded Brexit negotiations are ‘paused’ in the aftermath of Theresa May’s election disaster. The SNP leader, whose own position is under threat after losing 21 seats, is in London with her MPs today and said Mrs May’s hard Brexit is ‘dead in the water’. Ms Sturgeon wants all major parties to meet and agree a cross-party ‘four nation’ approach to the Brexit negotiations before the Government heads to Brussels. She said: ‘The approach to Brexit has to change in light of this election. The Tory cabal kicking up a hard Brexit approach is dead in the water.’ – Daily Mail

  • `Not credible´ for May´s Government to negotiate Brexit, says Sturgeon – PA

Tory concern at Brexit Department reshuffle

When May became PM one of her more sensible appointments was putting staunch Leaver David Jones in the Brexit department. The move allayed concerns among Leavers that May would sell out on Brexit. She has now decided to sack Jones, a knowledgeable and competent minister, after just 11 months in the job. George Bridges, Brexit minister in the Lords, was widely respected by all sides and quickly gained a reputation as one of the most impressive ministers in the government. He has also now left DexEU. May has replaced him with Baroness Anelay, a Remainer… This is all going down really badly among Tory Leavers. – Guido Fawkes

It has emerged that George Bridges has quit as a Brexit minister. He was highly rated by David Davis, his erstwhile boss, and had established himself as one of the most able ministers in the government – precisely the sort of person they can’t really afford to lose at this time. So why has he gone? Apparently because he’d been contemplating moving on for some time, and it seemed like a good time… – Fraser Nelson for The Spectator

Michel Barnier warns delay means Britain risks leaving with no deal…

Britain risks crashing out of the EU in March 2019 without a deal on future relations if it “wastes” more of the limited time available for Brexit talks, the union’s chief negotiator has warned. With Westminster still grappling with the uncertainty of a hung parliament, Michel Barnier urged London to start talks “very quickly” and appoint a negotiating team that is “stable, accountable and with a mandate”. “Next week, it will be three months after the sending of the Article 50 letter,” he said, referring to the notification of withdrawal talks lasting two years. “We haven’t negotiated, we haven’t progressed. Thus we must begin this negotiation. We are ready as soon as the UK itself is ready.” – FT (£)

  • ‘I can’t negotiate with myself’ says Barnier – Telegraph

…as Davis says Government has planned for ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario

The secretary of state for exiting the European Union has said the government has “worked up in detail” the “no deal” option on Brexit. David Davis also told the Today programme now the Conservatives had resumed power they would be taking a look at their manifesto and “pruning away” certain elements. – BBC

Davis said criticism of Theresa May is the “height of self-indulgence” – and signalled the Government would continue to pursue a hard Brexit… But the leader received strong backing from Mr Davis, who told the BBC ‘Radio 4 Today’ programme: “Look, I view the stuff in the papers this weekend as the absolute height of self-indulgence, on [the part of] people who speculate on leadership or so on or getting involved in it. “We have been given an instruction by the British people and the decision by the British people is now for us to go back and do the job, not to bicker amongst ourselves whose fault it was or whatever.”  – Independent

  • May’s Brexit plan has not changed, her spokesman says – Reuters

Brexit talks to start next week (but possibly not on June 19)

Formal talks on Britain’s exit from the European Union may not begin on June 19 as that is the same date the government is due to set out its policy programme for the new parliament, Brexit minister David Davis said on Monday. Davis, whose Conservative Party is due to put its policy programme or Queen’s Speech to parliament on June 19 after failing to win a majority at last week’s election, said the Brexit talks would begin at some point next week. “It’s in the week of next week, basically, is the first discussions,” Davis told Sky News when asked about the practicalities of the negotiations.  – Reuters

Theresa May’s new chief of staff claims that austerity and Brexit cost the Tories the election

Anger over Brexit and austerity caused the Tories to lose seats, Theresa May’s new chief of staff has told the BBC. Gavin Barwell, who lost his Croydon Central seat but has since taken a key role in Downing Street, said Labour had “tapped into” concerns about the impact of years of public sector pay freezes. Speaking before his latest appointment he told Panorama his party must do more to listen to Remain voters’ concerns. The Tories won 42.4% of the vote but Theresa May lost her overall majority. The party’s failure to win outright after Mrs May’s decision to call a snap election has led to recriminations and calls for the prime minister – who is seeking to form a minority government with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party – to step down. – BBC

Brussels insists on power to control euro clearing after Brexit

Brussels has decided it must have the power to force parts of London’s lucrative euro clearing business to relocate to the EU after Brexit if needed to preserve financial stability. The European Commission will say on Tuesday that it wants a new system to vet whether, and under what conditions, non-EU clearing houses should be allowed to handle large volumes of euro-denominated business. The plans are a direct response to concerns in Paris and some other capitals about London maintaining a post-Brexit role as a pillar of EU securities and derivatives markets, when it will no longer be covered by the bloc’s rules.- FT (£)

EU leaders meet to discuss Brexit on anniversary of EU referendum

EU leaders are preparing to meet without Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the Brexit negotiations on the one-year anniversary of the EU referendum. On 22-23 June, the EU Council will convene to discuss migration, security, jobs, and Brexit. May will attend the summit, which will be her first meeting with EU leaders since the UK election. However, she will be excluded from an after-dinner meeting, when the EU27 nations will discuss the progress of Article 50 talks. It is not yet clear how far Brexit negotiations will have progressed by the time the EU Council meets, however. Negotiations were due to start on 19 June, and European politicians have said they are ready to sit down with Britain.- City A.M.

MEPs want new parliament after €1bn building doesn’t meet EU standards

The European Parliament’s main building in Brussels is only 24 years old but its management wants to tear it down and build a new one for nearly half a billion euros. The Parliament’s administration — under Secretary-General Klaus Welle — is weighing options that include refurbishing the building or a total rebuild. Either option is hard to explain to EU taxpayers and will be an easy target for Eurosceptics, who already pillory Parliament for having two seats — in Brussels and Strasbourg. – Politico


Dominic Lawson: The Tory plot to derail Brexit

After the election, comes the coup. I don’t mean a coup against Theresa May by Conservative MPs. The parliamentary party want to keep her in place, if only as a marionette whose strings they will pull mercilessly until the time comes to cut them. No, the coup is against the electorate itself — and the plotters are the small number of Tory MPs who see May’s humiliation as an unexpected opportunity to destroy her plan to take the UK out of the EU single market and customs union. Their number, I’m told, is no more than ten, but they are counting on the support of the most formidable woman — no, make that the most formidable person of either gender — in British politics. I refer to Ruth Davidson…. – Dominic Lawson for the Daily Mail

Michael Gove: Theresa May is the right leader to deliver Brexit

Almost exactly a year ago, the United Kingdom stood on the brink of an historic choice. The question on the ballot paper was simple – should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? I believe the real question was about much more than that. The British people were being asked whether they wanted to forge a bright new future for their country, in full control of its own destiny. We know the answer. The decision was made for the United Kingdom to be a country in control of our own money, our borders and our laws. – Michael Gove MP for The Telegraph (£)

Douglas Carswell: Calm down – Brexit is still on course

For those who always wanted Britain to remain in the EU, the dramatic loss of Theresa May’s majority means we are now heading for a so-called soft Brexit.  Never mind that the notion of a being half in and half out the EU is a legal nonsense. Or that the offer of being half in and half out is not on the table.  All that matters is their soft Brexit – so circumstance must be pressed into explaining why it must happen.But imagine Mrs May had won a hundred seat majority. Those same soft Brexiteers would be telling us that we were heading towards a soft Brexit precisely because Mrs May had won such a strong hand.  She could now afford to ignore the hardliners on the Tory backbenches… blah blah. Or something. – Douglas Carswell for CapX

Ross Clark: It’s delusional to claim the election result was a vote against Brexit

If the British people really rejected Brexit they would have voted Lib Dem or Green in England, and either Lib Dem, SNP or Plaid Cymru in Scotland or Wales. They were the anti-Brexit parties, and between them they polled 12 per cent of the vote. Tim ‘twelve seats’ Farron might like to go round claiming that Theresa May is an illegitimate Prime Minister who has lost authority on her Brexit plans, but the reality is that his anti-Brexit electioneering strategy failed far more miserably than her campaign did. – Ross Clark for The Spectator

Stewart Jackson: If people really regretted Brexit they would have vote Lib Dem

More than 80 per cent of voters supported parties committed to leaving the European Union and that, inherently, means quitting the Single Market and the existing Customs Union. It is a mandate that must be respected. Those MPs calling for a “national consensus” in our dealings with the EU are too afraid to speak plainly of their real intention – to stymie our exit, to play for time , to obfuscate in the hope that, Micawber-like, something will turn up to keep us in the EU or maybe, EU-lite.” – Defeated Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson in the Express

Brexit comment in brief

  • May has a rock-solid mandate to deliver a Brexit for all parts of Britain – Christopher Howarth for ConservativeHome
  • Brexit will defeat the Government unless it recognises that everything has changed – Lord Hague for the Telegraph (£)
  • Weakened Theresa May should consider a cross-party commission on Brexit – Telegraph editorial (£)
  • A softer Brexit may be May’s best hope – for now – Ryan Bourne for City A.M.
  • French government needs to tackle Calais problems – Express editorial
    Young people turned out to reject May’s insular vision for Britain – now we must offer them a European future – Seb Dance for LabourList

Brexit News in Brief

  • Labour Brexit policy in confusion after senior MP claims party backs remaining in a ‘reformed’ EU single market – Independent
  • DUP under pressure to explain large Brexit donation – The i
  • Number of EU nurses seeking work in Britain drops by 96 percent – Reuters
  • Why one top strategist is saying Britain will not leave the EU – Express
  • LSE bullish on outlook despite failed merger, Brexit uncertainty – Reuters
  • Kosovo’s anti-Brussels party doubles in popularity in face of accession talks Express
  • Likelihood of ‘hard Brexit’ recedes after UK election, say economists – Reuters