EU trade Commissioner foresees 'financial services for fishing' Brexit bargain: Brexit News for Tuesday 14 January

EU trade Commissioner foresees 'financial services for fishing' Brexit bargain: Brexit News for Tuesday 14 January
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EU trade Commissioner foresees ‘financial services for fishing’ Brexit bargain

The EU’s trade commissioner has suggested there could be a last-minute trade-off with Brussels offering the City of London access to European markets in return for European fleets retaining their fishing rights in British waters. The UK’s financial services sector will lose its automatic right to serve Europe-based clients at the end of the transition period and the EU will need to negotiate access to UK waters for its fishing boats. Phil Hogan, the former Irish minister who is now trade commissioner in Brussels overseeing the next stage of the Brexit negotiations, told the Irish Independent: “There certainly will be trade-offs, particularly at the end of the negotiations. The EU will be seeking concessions on fishery access and the UK will very probably be seeking concessions on financial services.” – Guardian

Boris Johnson seeks to calm Northern Irish concern over Brexit plan…

Prime Minister Boris Johnson sought to assuage concern in Northern Ireland that his Brexit deal will economically cut off the region from the rest of the UK. The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland dogged the divorce talks between the UK and the European Union for two years before Johnson effectively agreed to keep the region in the EU’s customs union and large parts of its single market. That was opposed by unionist parties, who argued the move risks creating barriers to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and splitting the UK. “The only circumstances in which you could imagine the need for checks from GB to NI, as I have explained before, is if those goods were going on into Ireland and we had not secured — which I hope and am confident we will — a zero tariff, zero quota agreement with our friends and partners in the EU,” Johnson told reporters in Belfast on Monday. – Bloomberg

…as he hails the ‘wonderful’ reopening of Stormont but refuses to reveal funding package

Boris Johnson has hailed the reopening of Stormont as “wonderful” and praised the compromise made by both sides in restoring power-sharing in Northern Ireland. He met Northern Ireland’s newly-appointed leaders for talks set to focus on how much the Government will stump up to support the return of devolution. But he refused to confirm whether a reported £2 billion finance package would be provided to help the powersharing deal, saying its “not just about money. It is about leadership, it is about getting the public the services they need, particularly in healthcare,” he said, but he added how the UK government would “do everything we can to support”. – ITV News

Liam Fox warns that Brexit risks being sabotaged by meddling pro-EU civil servants…

Boris Johnson must carry out a sweeping overhaul of the Civil Service to stop pro-Brussels mandarins from sabotaging Brexit, senior Tory Liam Fox warns. In a speech to a Westminster think tank, the former Cabinet minister will say many Whitehall chiefs remain determined to keep the UK as closely tied to the EU as possible after the departure from the bloc at the end of the month. He is to urge the Prime Minister to break up key Government departments and introduce a wide-ranging Civil Service Act to shake up the Whitehall management structure. “The case for change is now too strong to resist,” the former International Trade Secretary will say. We need Whitehall structures designed for our post-EU future and a civil service that is able to wean itself quickly away from two generations of Euro-centricity,” he will add. – Express

…and urges Boris Johnson to merge the Foreign Office and DfID

Boris Johnson must “slaughter sacred cows” by merging the Foreign Office (FCO) and Department of International Development (DfID), the former international trade secretary Liam Fox is to say in a major speech pushing a proposed Whitehall shakeup. Ministers have been considering a merger of the FCO and DfID for months, but in recent weeks it was reported that the plans advocated by Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s chief strategist, had been put on hold. Fox, still influential in Conservative policy making, is to urge Johnson not to grant a last-minute reprieve to DfID in an attempt to buy political peace. In a speech to the Institute for Government on Tuesday he will argue “the Conservative victory has created a political moment which is as important as Mrs Thatcher’s victory in 1979”, and as a result the reshaping of Whitehall must be as radical. – Guardian

  • Liam Fox urges Boris Johnson not to cave in to Whitehall ‘self-interest’ and press ahead with shake-up – PoliticsHome
  • Former trade minister asks: ‘Do we really need an industrial strategy?’ – Telegraph (£)

Theresa May’s former top aide brands Johnson’s Brexit deal ‘bad for the Union and the economy’

Gavin Barwell, who was the former Prime Minister’s chief of staff for two years, also warned there was no chance of the Government agreeing a new trade deal with the EU by the end of the year. He spoke out as he made his maiden speech in the House of Lords. Peers are debating the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will put the UK’s departure from the EU into law. Mr Johnson managed to renegotiate the deal which had been previously agreed with Brussels when Mrs May was still in Number 10. The biggest change will see customs checks carried out on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, effectively putting a border in the Irish Sea. The new-look deal also makes clear the UK will have a more distant economic relationship with the EU after Brexit, something Lord Barwell said was “akin to Canada’s” trading arrangement with the bloc. – PoliticsHome

> WATCH: Lord Barwell: I believe the referendum result must be implemented

Nigel Farage ‘will not take a penny’ of £153,000 MEP golden goodbye

Nigel Farage “will not take a penny” of the £153,000 windfall he could claim for his 20-year stint as a member of the European parliament, his spokesman has said, as the UK’s 73 MEPs are set to be told on Monday night about any cash payouts they are due. Farage could leave the EU on 31 January with a pre-tax golden goodbye worth €178,657 (£152,992) under a European parliament “transition allowance” for ex-MEPs, a calculation based on his 20 complete years since 1999. Asked about the transition allowance, a spokesman for Farage said: “He won’t take a penny.” In 2017, Farage told Sky News he would “probably” take the money, but did not expect the parliament to give it to him. – Guardian

Big Ben will not bong for Brexit, as cost spirals to half a million pounds

Big Ben will not bong for Brexit, after projected costs spiralled to half a million pounds. The issue was discussed at a meeting of the House of Commons Commission on Monday morning, but it was dismissed over financial and logistical issues. A letter, signed by 60 MPs, had previously called on the Government to allow the 13-tonne bell to ring symbolically at 11pm on Jan 31 to mark our departure from the EU. However, the meeting was told that the cost had rocketed to £500,000 – from an original estimate of £120,000 – because the floor that supports the temporary equipment used to strike Big Ben had already been removed. – Telegraph (£)

‘Festival of Brexit’ boss says 2022 event will bring ‘joy and happiness’

The boss of a new £120 million national festival planned for 2022 has claimed he will “bring the nation together” with “joy, hope and happiness”.  Martin Green’s event has been mocked as a “festival of Brexit” ever since it was announced by former prime minister Theresa May in 2018. It was given the go-ahead by Boris Johnson last year. Green, who oversaw the Olympic ceremonies and Hull during its year as UK City of Culture, told The Guardian there was “no doubt that we have been through a particularly divisive time in the discourse of our daily lives, and as we go forward, let’s see how the great creativity and ingenuity of the UK can help re-find that common ground”. – Independent

News outlets face ban on broadcasting from outside Parliament over safety concerns

News organisations are facing a ban on broadcasting from a green outside Parliament, after the Speaker expressed fears that it had become a security risk. For years TV stations have set up camp on College Green opposite the House of Lords to provide live coverage of politics, often erecting temporary studios there during major events such as general elections. But Lindsay Hoyle is poised to withdraw permission for TV crews to use the patch of land which belongs to the Parliamentary estate after it became a magnet for protesters craving attention. Sources close to the new Speaker say he is concerned over the safety of the ‘tented village’ after a string of worrying incidents. Last week videos posted to social media showed gang of men hounding Labour supporter and journalist Owen Jones and former Conservative MP Anna Soubry as they left makeshift TV studios on the green. – Telegraph (£)

  • Time to demolish Bercow-backed shanty town outside Parliament – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)

Tom Harris: Emily Thornberry is everything that is wrong with the middle-class, Remainer Labour Party

The problem with the Labour Party’s leadership election system is that it’s impossible to know just how popular each candidate is among ordinary members unless they first prove they’re relatively popular – or at least tolerated – among MPs first. For instance, in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn fell far short of the support he needed from his parliamentary colleagues to get onto the ballot paper. Fortunately for him, and unfortunately for the party’s electoral prospects, there were enough fools and opportunists in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) who chose to signal their Left-wing virtue to their local members by “lending” him their nomination. It was only then that Corbyn’s popularity among the grassroots became evident, and the rest is history. – Tom Harris for the Telegraph (£)

Tim Worstall: Has Brexit really ‘cost Britain £130bn’?

According to the respectable folks at Bloomberg Economics, Brexit has already cost the UK £130bn and that figure will rise by the end of this year. That might be true, of course, or it might be that we’re being assailed by a kind of statistical propaganda. The fact the likes of Will Hutton are lauding the figure suggests the latter. As ever with these kind of scary figures, it’s worth interrogating how the researchers did their calculations. In this case the ‘cost’ is the loss in economic activity – GDP – resulting from our decision to leave the EU. There is, of course, a principled argument that GDP is not the be all and end all of political life. Things like democracy, and freedom also matter. Being the master of one’s own fate has real value, as all those countries not signed up to a deeply integrated political union have realised. – Tim Worstall for CapX

Brexit in Brief

  • Leo Varadkar suggests Ireland faces snap election next month – FT (£)
  • Boris Johnson rejects idea of creating UK department of immigration – Politico
  • MEP yells ‘Shut your big gob’ at rowdy MEP redundancy meeting – Guido Fawkes