Brexit News for Tuesday 28 March

Brexit News for Tuesday 28 March

Sir Tim Barrow to hand-deliver Article 50 letter to Donald Tusk tomorrow

Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s permanent representative in Brussels, is to personally hand over a letter from the British government to the European council president, Donald Tusk, to provide notification of Britain’s intention to leave the European Union. The career diplomat, who was appointed three months ago after the resignation of his predecessor, will leave a routine meeting of EU ambassadors to deliver the article 50 letter to Tusk at 12.30pm BST on Wednesday, at precisely the same time as Theresa May will stand up to inform the House of Commons that the UK has notified the EU of its intention to leave. Once the letter is received by the European council, the clock will begin ticking on two years of talks regarding the terms of withdrawal allowed under article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. – The Guardian

  • UK backing away from threat to leave with no deal, say EU diplomats – The Guardian

Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon meet ahead of Article 50

The prime minister has met Scotland’s first minister in a Glasgow hotel as she prepares to formally trigger Article 50. Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon held talks for about an hour during the prime minister’s trip to Scotland. Ms Sturgeon said the talks were cordial but she was “frustrated by a process that appears not to be listening”. The prime minister had earlier repeated her opposition to an independence referendum during the Brexit process. The Scottish Parliament is expected to back Ms Sturgeon’s call for a referendum on Tuesday. – BBC

  • EU membership would cost Scotland £1bn a year – Daily Express
  • PM vows Brexit will make UK stronger as she meets Sturgeon – Daily Mail
  • May’s Scotland gambit is to place Brexit at the heart of her Unionist appeal – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Calls to ‘cut the EU red tape choking Britain after Brexit’

Britain must sweep aside thousands of needless EU regulations after Brexit to free the country from the shackles of Brussels, a coalition of senior MPs and business leaders have demanded… Today The Daily Telegraph calls on the Conservative Party to promise a bonfire of EU red tape in its 2020 manifesto to put Britain on a radically different course… According to a House of Commons report, ministers will have to import 19,000 EU rules and regulations onto our statute books as part of the Great Repeal Bill, which will take shape in a white paper published on Thursday. EU regulations are estimated to cost Britain a total of more than £120 billion per year. The Common Agricultural Policy alone reportedly costs £10 billion in direct costs and by inflating food prices. After Brexit occurs in 2019, the merits of each regulation will be assessed before a decision is made on whether to jettison it or not. – Daily Telegraph

  • We need to have a ‘root and branch’ review of EU regulations before the 2020 general election – Iain Duncan Smith for the Daily Telegraph (£)

Daily Telegraph: Brexit is a golden chance to throw some EU regulations on a bonfire

Tomorrow, Britain triggers Article 50. This will put us on a course out of the European Union and into the wider world. But what type of country do we wish to be at the end of that journey? The Brexit process is about reclaiming sovereignty, but it must also be about reforming the state. Many people voted for Leave because they are sick and tired of EU rules governing their lives and their businesses. Now the Government says that after it has repatriated laws and navigated Brexit, it will also try to get rid of as many regulations as possible. That is an excellent ambition. This newspaper will stubbornly pressure them to achieve it. – Daily Telegraph Editorial 

Brexit ‘will not lead to migrant cap’

A strict cap will not be placed on immigration from the European Union after Britain leaves, the Brexit secretary indicated last night. In the clearest sign that the government will not attempt a big restriction immediately after Brexit, David Davis said that migration levels would rise and fall depending on need. He added that the public were in favour of migration “so long as it is managed”. Asked if there would be a fixed cap, Mr Davis said: “No.” He said: “I don’t think most people oppose migration, I think most people are in favour of migration so long as it’s managed. The point is, it will need to be managed.” – The Times (£)

UKIP unveil six Brexit tests including full control of borders

The UK must have “full control” of its borders and territorial waters after Brexit, UKIP has said as it set out six tests for Theresa May as she prepares to begin the process of leaving the EU. UKIP wants full “maritime sovereignty” and Parliamentary supremacy over laws, no “divorce bill” nor payments to the EU budget after the UK’s withdrawal. Party leader Paul Nuttall said UKIP would act as the “guard dog” of Brexit…Mr Nuttall set out six key objectives that he says any acceptable final agreement must be judged against: In a speech on Monday, Mr Nuttall said that the UK’s exit – set in motion by last year’s Leave referendum vote – must be “done and dusted” by the end of 2019. – BBC

  • Ukip’s post-Brexit rebrand could see yellow and purple colours and pound sign logo dropped  – Daily Telegraph
  • Ukip calls for homeless or unemployed EU citizens to be deported after Brexit – Independent

Labour insist on six tests for Brexit deal

Labour will not support any Brexit deal negotiated by the government unless it meets the party’s “six tests”, the shadow Brexit secretary has said. Any deal must include a strong relationship with the EU and the same benefits the UK currently has from the single market, Sir Keir Starmer said. The UK should “honour our obligations” regarding any “divorce bill”, he added. – BBC

  • Theresa May should ‘face down’ Brexiteers in her Government, says Labour’s Keir Starmer – Independent
  • What red lines should Labour lay down for the Brexit negotiations? – Richard Corbett for LabourList
  • Theresa May wants a Brexiteer’s Brexit. She won’t get it without a fight [Monday] – Keir Starmer for The Guardian
  • At long last, the Labour Party have picked a side on Brexit! – Tom Harris for the Daily Telegraph

Downing Street warns Tory rebels amid claims they could stop EU withdrawal

Downing Street has warned Tory rebels they will be defying the “will of the people” if they stymie the Government’s legislation to make Brexit a reality. Number 10 said it was determined to deliver on the June 23 referendum result after rebels told The Independent Theresa May faces a “legislative swamp” after she triggers Article 50 later this week. In an apparent slap down to Brexit Secretary David Davis – who has said the UK’s deal would provide the “exact same benefits” as EU membership –  the Prime Minister’s spokesman also said Ms May’s position was only to win the “best possible deal”. – The Independent

  • Remain MPs list 10 Brexit promises to ‘hold government to account’ – The Guardian
  • Pro-EU Tories demand Theresa May does quick deal on paying Brexit bill – The Guardian 

Siemens ‘committed to London’ whatever the outcome of Brexit talks

Bosses at German engineering giant Siemens – one of Britain’s biggest foreign employers – today pledged the company was “committed to London in the long-term” whatever the eventual outcome of Brexit talks.Speaking at an event in Berlin to promote trade links between London and Germany, Juergen Maier, Siemens’ UK chief said “London and the UK remains an important market for Siemens and is a good place to do business.“We will continue to apply our expertise in technology and engineering to the challenges that face cities, particularly urban transit and air quality. “London remains a leading centre for innovation and technology and we see many opportunities for collaboration on talent, digitalisation and investment in the years ahead.” – Evening Standard

May’s ‘global Britain’ gets boost as Qatar looks at £5bn investment

Theresa May’s ambitions to create a “global Britain” after Brexit have been boosted by Qatar’s announcement that it expects to invest £5bn in the UK over the next five years.On Monday, two days before the planned triggering of article 50, Qatari investors at a London conference suggested they were unperturbed by the prospect of Britain’s departure from the EU and were looking for further opportunities to build on already significant investments in the UK that include the Olympic Village in east London, the Shard building, Harrods department store and a stake in Sainsbury’s. – The Guardian

  • Qatar Petroleum CEO says Brexit not a game-changer for UK investment – Daily Mail

How Cameron’s friends at Uber ‘plotted to stop Brexit’

Uber was accused of political ‘back scratching’ last night amid claims it tried to help David Cameron by encouraging young people to register to vote in the EU referendum.The online taxi firm was among 30 technology companies that attended a meeting at Downing Street last year to discuss plans to get 18 to 24-year-olds to vote. At the time, young people were expected to vote overwhelmingly for Remain. Following the meeting, Uber agreed to launch a pop-up window in its app encouraging users to register. – Daily Mail

Farage berates arch-Remainer Campbell in Brexit TV row

Nigel Farage and Alastair Campbell were embroiled in a shouting match on live TV yesterday. The former Ukip leader and the ex-Downing Street spin chief clashed ferociously over Brexit – accusing each other of ‘loathing democracy’ and turning the country into a ‘laughing stock’. The brutal exchanges came during an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain – Daily Mail

William Hague: Too many in Europe still think Brexit can be stopped. We must show them we are serious

Spending the last few days in Germany, I have found people here puzzled, offended, and feeling slightly bereft by the prospect of Britain’s exit from the EU. They consider they are losing the one other major country that has a strong sense of financial and economic discipline, and they are right.Most striking of all is the number of people, here and in other parts of Europe, who still ask if it will really happen. ‘Is opinion changing in Britain?’, they ask. When the negotiations become difficult, will the British lose heart? What about a second referendum, or an election bringing in a different government? To Germans it seems so unimaginable and illogical to leave the EU that they cannot believe that rational people like us really will go through with it. William Hague for the Daily Telegraph

Henry Newman: To make the most of Brexit, Britain must leave the EU’s customs union

why should we leave the customs union? If Britain remains a member it won’t be able to decide its own trade policy. Given the vote to leave the EU, it makes little sense to be bound by the rules with no seat at the table. Staying in the customs union is an attempt to protect the status quo but comes at the cost of giving up important flexibility. The UK wouldn’t be able to realise the opportunities of Brexit, including by signing trade deals with the largest and fastest-growing economies, such as the USA, China, Japan and India, with which the EU has been unable to make an agreement. – Henry Newman for the Daily Telegraph

  • The cost and benefit of leaving the Customs Union – Henry Newman for Open Europe
  • A plan for UK-EU trade outside the Customs Union – Vincenzo Scarpetta for Open Europe
  • Nothing to declare: A plan for UK-EU trade outside the Customs Union – Full text of Open Europe report

>BrexitCentral Podcast with Henry Newman: Article 50. What Next?

Shanker Singham: Both sides want a Brexit trade deal – here’s where to start

The EU agreement is part of the bilateral pillar, but only part of it. There are other agreements which the UK should conclude including the agreements that the UK has through the EU, as well as new ones with places such as the US. Plurilaterally, the UK should initiate discussions among a group of like-minded countries to push deeper into the behind-the-border barriers that hurt the UK’s powerful services trade exports. This can only be done with countries who are as committed to open trade, competition, and property rights protection as the UK. Multilaterally, we are in the process of the rectification of UK schedules in the World Trade Organisation. Shanker Singham for CapX

  • There are plenty of creative trade deals Brexit negotiators can strike – Allister Heath for the Daily Telegraph (£)

The Times: Stormont and Brexit

The stakes for Theresa May’s government are just as high. Failure to bring back power sharing would bring with it potentially grave complications for the Brexit process that starts in earnest with the invocation of Article 50 tomorrow. As we report, the government has admitted for the first time that Northern Ireland would have a legal right under the Good Friday Agreement to a referendum on leaving the UK to join the Republic of Ireland (and thus the EU) if polls showed an appetite for such a move after Brexit.As yet such a referendum is merely hypothetical. Northern Ireland voted last year by 56 per cent to 44 to remain in the EU. That by no means corresponds to a vote to leave the UK even if EU membership were at stake, but the balance is a delicate one. – The Times leader (£)

  • There’s little evidence yet that Northern Ireland will leave the UK – Henry Hill for ConservativeHome

Iain Duncan Smith: My personal journey to leaving the EU

I was 21 and at Sandhurst, completing my officer training for the Scots Guards, when the Common Market first caught my attention. Even though I had two parents and two sisters living and working in Rome, the subject of our membership of the EEC never really came up. Although I didn’t get much involved with the referendum, like many of my colleagues I was aware of the arguments about sovereignty but paid them little heed, believing what we were told – that this was simply about being a member of a ‘Common’ market place and I felt we should stay in. – IDS for ConservativeHome

Brexit comment in brief

  • How Brexit could benefit the City and the EU – Mark Field MP for the Daily Telegraph (£)
  • Brexit will be a huge challenge for London – but our best days still lie ahead – Lloyd Dorfman for City A.M. 
  • The reports of Angela Merkel’s political demise have been greatly exaggerated – William Cook for The Spectator Coffee House
  • May will pay price for Brexiteers’ promises – Rachel Sylvester for The Times (£)
  • EU nurses no longer want to work in Britain – Suzanne Moore for The Guardian 
  • Turkey is an essential post-Brexit partner to Britain – Nick de Bois for ConservativeHome

Brexit news in brief

  • City of London asks UK banks asked to draw up plans to show they are prepared for Brexit – The Guardian
  • Sex Pistol singer John Lydon comes out in support of Trump, Brexit and Nigel Farage – Independent
  • Britain risks rushing into ‘politically-motivated’ trade deals ‘unlikely to have many economic benefits’, claims LSE professor – Independent
  • “We will put the interests of the Union – both the parts and the whole – at the heart of our decision-making.” May’s Scottish speech: full text – ConservativeHome
  • Consumer groups fear Brexit will bring rising prices – The Times (£) 
  • Brexit won’t be completed in two years, says former Foreign Office head – BBC
  • Brexit: EU’s chief negotiator tells Theresa May she won’t get a new trade deal if she slashes taxes and rights – Independent
  • Brexit: Food chiefs warn on EU tariffs – BBC
  • German gov’t worried a ‘hard Brexit’ would cause market turbulence-report – Daily Mail
  • Brexit question draws U.S, Russian, Chinese interest at WTO – Daily Mail