Ursula von der Leyen narrowly wins vote of MEPs to become European Commission President: Brexit News for Wednesday 17 July

Ursula von der Leyen narrowly wins vote of MEPs to become European Commission President: Brexit News for Wednesday 17 July
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Ursula von der Leyen narrowly wins vote of MEPs to become European Commission President…

Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has been narrowly elected president of the EU Commission following a secret ballot among MEPs. The centre-right defence minister will replace Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November. She secured the backing of more than half of the members of the European parliament on Tuesday evening. The Commission drafts EU laws, enforces EU rules and has the power to impose fines on member states if necessary. “The trust you placed in me is confidence you placed in Europe,” Mrs von der Leyen, who is the first woman to be elected president of the European Commission, said in a speech immediately after the vote. “Your confidence in a united and strong Europe, from east to west, from south to north. It is a big responsibility and my work starts now,” she added. “Let us work together constructively.” – BBC News

…after vowing to block any attempt to ditch the Irish backstop, but offering a further extension to Brexit talks…

The first woman to run the European Commission has vowed to block attempts by the next prime minister to ditch the Irish backstop… After promises on Monday night by Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to remove the Irish backstop Mrs Von der Leyen vowed to defend the withdrawal agreement, putting her at odds with the next prime minister. “The withdrawal agreement concluded with the government of the UK provides certainty,” she said. “It protects the rights of citizens and peace and stability on the island of Ireland — these two priorities are mine too.” She added that her commission would be willing to give Britain another extension to Brexit, beyond October 31 to find a way out of the impasse. – The Times (£)

> WATCH: European Commission President candidate Ursula von der Leyen’s speech to the European Parliament

…setting up a clash with Boris Johnson as she warns May’s Brexit deal is non-negotiable

Ursula von der Leyen, who was confirmed as the first woman president of the European Commission in Strasbourg on Tuesday, has said she would support a Brexit extension but warned the Withdrawal Agreement would not be renegotiated. The election of Mrs von der Leyen by the European Parliament came as Boris Johnson sent tremors through Westminster by significantly hardening his Brexit demands by rejecting either a time-limit or a unilateral exit mechanism to the Irish backstop as insufficient to satisfy MPs. Mr Johnson’s apparent rejection of either compromise proposal was seen as a significant hardening of the line, since these were the two concessions that prominent Brexiteers had demanded earlier this year as the price of their support for Mrs May’s deal. Mr Johnson has insisted Britain must leave, with or without a deal, on the Oct 31 Brexit deadline. Mrs von der Leyen, 60, said that guaranteeing “peace and stability on the island of Ireland” and citizens’ rights were her Brexit priorities, echoing the EU’s long held insistence that the divorce treaty would never be renegotiated. Mrs von der Leyen, who will lead the commission for the next five years, said: “The Withdrawal Agreement concluded with the government of the United Kingdom provides certainty where Brexit created uncertainty. However, I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date, should more time be required for a good reason,” the former German defence minister added, to catcalls from Brexit Party MEPs in the chamber. – Telegraph (£)

Nigel Farage suggests von der Leyen’s euro-federalism is ‘an updated form of communism’ which makes Brexit even more popular

The Brexit Party leader sparked both laughter and shouts of anger from MEPS in Brussels on Tuesday after he suggested Ursula von der Leyen – who is expected to become the next president of the European Commission – was a communist. Having been chosen as a candidate by EU leaders earlier this month, the German defence minister must win the backing of at least 374 MEPs in a confirmation vote on Tuesday in order to secure the job. But Farage called on the European parliament to reject von der Leyen, who is a political ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel. “What you’ve seen from Ursula von der Leyen today is an attempt for the European Union to take control of every single aspect of our lives,” he told MEPs. She wants to build a centralised, undemocratic, updated form of communism… where nation-state parliaments will cease to have any relevance at all,” Farage continued to a chorus of jibes and laughter. “I have to say from our perspective, in some ways I’m really rather pleased because you’ve just made Brexit a lot more popular in the United Kingdom. Thank God we’re leaving.” – Huffington Post

> WATCH: The Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage responds to Ursula von der Leyen’s speech 

EU sources insist Brussels will reject outright Johnson and Hunt’s backstop plan…

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt’s Brexit plan to axe the Irish border backstop from the withdrawal agreement will be rejected outright by the European Union, EU sources have said. Informed sources say that it is doomed to failure and if the next prime minister goes to Brussels with such a plan, he will be told in “no uncertain terms” that it amounts to a declaration of no deal. Brussels had already rebuffed such a plan when the Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, who is now part of Johnson’s campaign, met the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, last week. In what was seen as “spinning for a Boris plan”, Barclay told Barnier that the backstop was dead five times during the meeting. Sources say he told Barnier that they wanted a series of mini deals and alternative arrangements for the Irish border. He was told that was Brexit fantasy and a non-starter, and that the “mini deals” outlined in EU contingency plans were temporary and only covered the “bare bones” such as aviation, mobile phone roaming and haulier driver licences. They did not include the major issues such as trade or the Irish border. – Guardian

…as Amber Rudd suggests their hardened Brexit position will ‘collide with reality’…

The hardening of the positions of Tory leadership candidates Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson on Brexit will “collide with the reality,” Amber Rudd said Tuesday. Speaking at Politico’s Playbook Live event in London, the work and pensions secretary said she had been surprised by the candidates’ apparent unwillingness to rule out any compromise on the controversial Northern Ireland backstop — the mechanism negotiated as part of the Withdrawal Agreement to avoid the need for a hard border. At their final head-to-head debate on Monday evening, both candidates declared the backstop “dead” and rejected the idea of a hypothetical five-year time limit (even though such a compromise is not on offer from the EU). Rudd, a key figure in the Remain campaign who is backing Hunt to be the next prime minister, said: “I was surprised by what they both said and I think their views will collide with the reality when whichever one wins starts negotiating and starts dealing with parliament, which may be more difficult than they think to engage with.” But the Cabinet minister said she believed there would be a “window” of opportunity for the new prime minister to make progress on the Brexit impasse. “I do think that a new prime minister will get a hearing. They will get a hearing from parliament and a hearing from the EU,” she said. – Politico

  • Amber Rudd warns Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt their Brexit plans will ‘collide with reality’ – PoliticsHome

…while the Northern Ireland Committee Chair also takes them to task over the backstop

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have taken a “very dangerous step” by promising not to have a backstop in any Brexit deal, the chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has said. Conservative MP Simon Hoare was responding to comments the two men made in a debate on Monday. The backstop is a way of maintaining a soft Irish border in the absence of other solutions. It would involve significant continuing alignment between the UK and EU. During the Brexit process some Conservative ministers and MPs have suggested the backstop could be acceptable if it had a time limit. But in a debate hosted by the Sun and TalkRadio, Mr Johnson said his policy would be “no to time limits or unilateral escape hatches or these kind of elaborate devices, glosses, codicils and so on which you could apply to the backstop”. “The problem is really fundamental. It needs to come out.” Jeremy Hunt agreed, describing the backstop as “dead”. Mr Hoare told Sky News that the comments were “worrying and depressing” and that the men had taken a harder position than “diehard” Brexit supporters. He added: “This is a very, very dangerous step that both men seem to have taken yesterday.” – BBC News

Dominic Grieve admits MPs might not be able to block a no-deal Brexit (although they can topple the government)…

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve has warned that while MPs may not be able to block a no-deal Brexit, they could topple a Tory Government trying to take the UK out of the EU without a deal. The Conservative MP acknowledged that blocking a no-deal Brexit is “technically” difficult but sounded a warning to both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt that whoever inherits Number 10 will face a significant rebellion in the Tory Party. Both of the candidates for party leadership has said they are prepared to leave the UK without a deal, with front runner Mr Johnson hardening his position during a debate on Monday night, warning that he wants major changes to the withdrawal agreement. This has been ruled out on numerous occasions by European officials. But Mr Grieve warned that any attempts to give up on negotiations and pursue a no-deal exit would prompt a number of senior Tory MPs to vote against their own Government in a confidence motion, that could mean the end of their time in office. Mr Grieve said that blocking a no-deal Brexit in Parliament is “technically” difficult but added that: “if a government persists in trying to carry out a no-deal Brexit, I think that administration is going to fall.” – iNews

> LISTEN: Dominic Grieve MP on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme 

…as he compares Tory members to the Taliban and claims his colleagues are ‘too afraid to speak out over Brexit’

A senior Tory MP has compared Conservative grassroots members to the Taliban and warned that MPs are afraid to speak out over Brexit due to fears of being deselected. Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, argued that there was Conservative support for a second referendum but some MPs were reluctant to act following confidence motions against several pro-EU Tories. Speaking at an event in London, Mr Grieve said Boris Johnson had been “radicalised” over Brexit, leaving a Final Say referendum as the only credible option to thwart a disorderly exit from the EU in the autumn. His comments came after Mr Johnson told a leadership hustings that the Irish backstop proposal was “dead” and vowed to scrap it from any Brexit deal. Mr Grieve, who has led a string of Brexit rebellions, said there was a “substantial number” of Conservative MPs for whom “no-deal is completely unacceptable” but admitted that there was a lot of “can-kicking” underway.He told a People’s Vote event: “They do exist. They sometimes have concerns about their own local associations and the fear of being deselected, I think there is absolutely no doubt about that. There has been a sort of Talibanisation of sections of the Conservative Party grassroots membership, with some vociferous minorities that are often capable of dominating meetings coming along trying to get rid of MPs, interestingly enough, who have been totally loyal but simply have indicated by the occasional expression of doubt that the purity of the ERG Brexit vision might be mistaken. They have been at the rough end of quite a lot of difficulty and I think that’s one of the reasons why they tend to hide a little behind the parapet.” – Independent

Labour MP Sarah Champion backs No Deal over no Brexit

Labour MP Sarah Champion has refused to commit to backing any attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to bring down the Tory government, stressing she would prefer no-deal to no Brexit. The Rotherham MP said she did not know how she would act in a vote of no confidence designed to stop a no-deal Brexit. She stressed “if it came to it I would take no-deal if that meant we could leave”, warning Corbyn against making Labour an outright Remain party. A vote of no confidence to bring down the government is seen as a potential last resort for MPs looking to stop the new prime minister, whether Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, taking Britain out of the EU with no deal. But the margins are tight and the admission from Labour MPs in Leave seats like Champion and Caroline Flint that they would prefer no-deal to no Brexit suggests a Tory PM may be able to force it through the Commons. When asked whether she would back a vote of no confidence in the government, Champion told BBC Politics Live: “I don’t know. Ask me closer to the time.” She warned that Labour would lose her support if it became an outright Remain party. – Huffington Post

  • Fresh Labour splits as ex-frontbencher says she would prefer no-deal to stopping Brexit – PoliticsHome

> WATCH: Labour MP Sarah Champion discusses no-deal on Politics Live 

Ex-UK Ambassador to the EU says he told May in 2016 that her three Brexit priorities for Ireland were incompatible

Theresa May was warned that her three Brexit priorities for Ireland were incompatible back in 2016, the UK’s former ambassador to the EU has said. Sir Ivan Rogers also said he discussed the same dilemma with Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to become the next British prime minister. The former diplomat told the Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday that Mrs May’s speech setting out her Brexit red lines prompted him to think they would cause a stir in Brussels. He said that he and then cabinet secretary Lord Jeremy Heywood had no sight of the address before it was delivered. Sir Ivan said that in 2016 he delivered “one of the most unpopular things” he had told to the PM. He said it was that “you have made three commitments in good faith to different audiences, but they are not really compatible with each other. You have said to the Irish, under no circumstances will a hard border be erected across the island of Ireland. “You have said to the Democratic Unionist community under no circumstances will there be divergence from the rest of Great Britain. And you have said to the right of your own party that you are heading out of the customs union. You can’t do all three. You have got to choose two of the three.” – Irish News

Team Johnson considering plan to suspend parliament before Brexit…

Boris Johnson could send MPs home for up to two weeks in October under plans being considered by his campaign. Campaign sources have confirmed they are looking at scheduling a Queen’s speech to mark the start of a new parliamentary session in early November. Parliament is prorogued for between one and two weeks ahead of a Queen’s speech, meaning MPs would in effect be unavailable to stop a no-deal Brexit immediately before October 31. The campaign confirmed this was one option being looked at but no decision has yet been made. Some Tory MPs are already planning to try and stop a no-deal divorce with the EU in the knowledge they may no longer be coming to Westminster for the final two weeks in October. Guto Bebb, a Tory MP who wants to stop no-deal and hold a second referendum, confirmed he had heard the plan and was trying to work out what to do. He told Sky News: “[I] read consideration is being given in the Boris camp for proroguing parliament without a deal. “This is likely to be the case in the event a no-deal Brexiteer is in the whips’ office.” A Johnson campaign source said: “A number of ideas are under consideration, including this one.” Some of those involved in transition planning in Whitehall have been told of the possible plan for Mr Johnson. – Sky News

…while Michael Gove makes a pitch for a position in a Johnson Cabinet

Michael Gove has made a pitch to be in Boris Johnson’s cabinet regardless of whether it pursues a no-deal Brexit and has lavished praise on his former bitter rival who stands on the brink of becoming prime minister. Gove set out his view that Johnson and Jeremy Hunt would be “great prime ministers” and claimed “we can trust them both to do the right thing on every critical issue. His attempt to bury the hatchet with Johnson, who is likely to enter No 10 next week, comes three years after Gove sunk his former friend’s last leadership bid with a stinging character attack. Speaking at Kew Gardens, the environment secretary would not say which of his former leadership rivals he would vote for in the contest but claimed to have deep admiration for them both after watching them in cabinet. “I won’t say who I’m going to vote for, it will be the love that dare not speak its name,” he said, dismissing his previous criticism of Johnson as unfit to be prime minister as “based on events at that time”. He described Johnson as having been “passionate about the environment for decades, claiming that when they first met “he described himself to me without prompting as a passionately green Tory and in every role he has had he has championed the environment”. – Guardian

Top EU civil servant Martin Selmayr to quit post

The European Commission’s top civil servant Martin Selmayr, whose sudden promotion to that post last year angered EU lawmakers and earned a rebuke from the European Ombudsman, will step down next week, a Commission spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Secretary-General Selmayr, a frank-speaking German lawyer, was Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief aide before he was promoted in an abrupt two-step process. According to an unwritten EU convention, the bloc’s top civil servant, who runs a 30,000-strong administration in Brussels, should mot be of the same nationality as the Commission head. Asked if Selmayr, 48, was quitting his post, Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said ‘yes’ in a text message. She did not elaborate. Last year’s Commission decision to first appoint him as deputy secretary-general and then promote him minutes later when the serving secretary-general suddenly retired was criticised as “coup-like” by European Parliament deputies. – Reuters

Politicians, not civil servants, to blame for Brexit deadlock says PACAC chair

Leading Brexit campaigner and senior select committee chair Bernard Jenkin has urged supporters of the UK’s exit from the European Union to blame politicians not civil servants for the fact that the country remains in the bloc. In an article first published in the Financial Times, Jenkin, who chairs the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, said wrote that the civil service is “a much criticised and misunderstood institution” amid the Brexit debate. Writing after a week in which the Sir Kim Darroch, the UK ambassador to the US, resigned after the leak of diplomatic cables that were criticised by some Brexit supporters  as undermining the UK’s plans for a close relationship with the US after Brexit, Jenkin said the contention by some Eurosceptics that the civil service is impeding Brexit was a “false notion”. “The only reason the UK is still trapped in the EU is because of ministers, not the civil servants or the diplomats. Theresa May’s government could have done far more, with much more enthusiasm – and with more transparency – to prepare for leaving the EU on March 29, the scheduled Brexit date,” Jenkin wrote. “In fact, both former and serving Brexit ministers regularly describe how preparations for leaving are shelved, unannounced and hidden, blocked by other ministers who prefer to spread fear about Brexit rather than reassurance,” he said. “There was no legal impediment whatsoever to the UK leaving on March 29. Mrs May simply chose not to leave. There is, however, a lesson from all of this for the new Conservative leader and prime minister, entering No 10 for the first time later this month.” – Civil Service World

Unemployment falls to lowest level in 45 years and wages surge by highest rate in a decade (despite Brexit)

Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 45 years despite the ongoing political chaos and uncertainty over Brexit, new figures revealed today. Wage growth also increased at the highest rate in more than 10 years since the financial crash in a boost for the economy, statistics released by the ONS showed. Employment was up by 28,000 in the three months to May to 32.75 million, with higher numbers of working women contributing to the strong labour market, the Office for National Statistics said. Unemployment fell by 51,000 to 1.29 million in the period, with the 3.8 per cent rate seeing it at its lowest level since the end of 1974. Meanwhile NHS pay rises and an increase in the national minimum wage helped increase workers’ take-home pay. The figures cover the period between February and May this year, during which the UK missed two deadlines to leave the EU. – MailOnline

Volume of exports to the UK grow in May despite Brexit clouds

Exports to Great Britain increased by €52 million, up 4%, to €1.25 billion in May 2019 compared with May 2018, despite the growing uncertainty over Brexit. According to the latest export and import figures from the Central Statistics Office, exports to Great Britain accounted for 9% of Ireland’s total exports. Imports from Great Britain, however, decreased by €65 million, or 4%, to €1.5 billion in May 2019 compared with May 2018. Imports from Great Britain were 22% of the value of total imports in May 2019. The value of goods exports to Great Britain in the first five months of 2019 was €6 billion (9%) on the first five months of 2018, while the value of goods imports from Great Britain for the period increased to €8.2 billion (12%). – Checkout

Eight Conservative MPs: As former Remainers, we want to see Brexit by the end of October

On behalf of the Conservative Party we would like to apologise for taking over every newspaper and television news screen with our leadership contest. Boris, Jeremy and, before them, the wider cast, have provided the drama which seems to have left every other story in the shade. There have been insults, surges and occasional gaffes and there has been blanket coverage. Yet what has become clear, to the evident dissatisfaction of those who tweet and anchor political channels, is that the Conservative Party comes over as generally moderate and decent. As supporters of Boris we have been proud of the way that he has set out a positive vision of the future and not resorted to abuse or negative briefing. Member voting is coming to an end and it’s essential that the party, led by Members of Parliament, comes back together around the programme of the new leader and shows the unity which is vital for effective government. Leaving the EU is an essential prerequisite for the party to regain public trust and then be able to support a dynamic, pro-enterprise economy upon which our security, stability and prosperity depend. We campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum but have always believed that the decision of the British people should be respected. It is on this basis that we all agree that there should be no further delay beyond October 31. The British people have been patient but Brexit can be delayed no longer. – Robert Buckland QC MP, Thérèse Coffey MP, Graham Stuart MP, Dr Dan Poulter MP, Robert Halfon MP, Chris Skidmore MP, Maria Miller MP and Maggie Throup MP for The Times (£)

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Philip Hammond’s negative view of no-deal Brexit is pure silliness – it could boost our economy by £80bn

Last week, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond warned against a no-deal Brexit, suggesting it would cost the UK economy £90 billion. It is disappointing to see his predictions still so heavily reliant on the Treasury’s “Project Fear” economic model first published in November 2018 – especially when several recent models employed by economists independent of the Government, notably the World Trade Model developed at Cardiff University, have found the opposite: that the total positive impact of no-deal could be in the region of about £80 billion. This £170 billion discrepancy can be accounted for by examining the assumptions fed into the Treasury model, which range from the absurd to the merely dubious. The most egregious is the failure to include the annual savings from no longer paying the £20 billion annual gross budget contribution to the EU. This omission tells you all you need to know about the Treasury’s pessimistic mindset. The assumption with the greatest negative impact is the idea that “behind the border” non-tariff barriers will suddenly spring up. Simply stated, this means the Government believes that all sorts of new product standards will face our exporters and importers, despite over 20 years of shared rules and standards. This is predicted to lead to new compliance costs so high they would depress GDP by a staggering 4.2 per cent, accounting for around half of the £90 billion negative impact cited by Mr Hammond. The Treasury, of course, fails to acknowledge that such behaviour on the EU’s part would be illegal under WTO anti-discrimination rules. Put simply, the idea that we will be poorer in the long-term and even in the short-term after Brexit is a myth. – Jacob Rees-Mogg MP for the Telegraph (£)

Matthew Lynn: Is ‘because of Brexit’ the new ‘despite Brexit’?

Unemployment is at record lows. Wages are rising at the fastest rate in a decade. The gender gap is evaporating, creating a more equal society. Which country is that? France, perhaps, as it benefits from president Macron’s reforms? Or Germany, as it reaps all the benefits of the Single Market and the single currency? Well, not quite. In fact, it is Britain. Despite Brexit, to use the obligatory two words that now have to be firmly placed in front of any positive news about the economy, the UK continues to evolve into one of the best places in the world to be an employee right now. And although most of the mainstream economics profession remains in denial about it, it is increasingly evident that leaving the EU, even though it hasn’t quite happened yet, is having a positive impact. – Matthew Lynn for The Spectator

George Freeman: The UK economy needs Brexit to be a science and innovation “moonshot” moment

After nine years in government, choosing a third Prime Minister in three years, the Conservative Party has to reunite and renew its popular mandate. But that won’t happen with a leader who promises more of the same. The only way we can win the next general election and keep a Marxist out of Downing Street is by choosing a candidate with a positive vision, communication skills and profile to take the battle to Corbyn’s New Left. But I’m backing Boris Johnson for more than just his skills as a campaigner. The scale of the crisis the Conservative party faces is unprecedented in recent decades. This is a 1975, 1945 or 1905 moment of real change. As I set out in my recent book Britain Beyond Brexit, this is no time for tinkering. We are about to embark on a new chapter in our nation’s history. To succeed, we will need an economic policy that is as fresh and bold as that of the Thatcher enterprise revolution forty years ago. The central insight of Thatcher’s generation was that private enterprise was the engine of our mutual prosperity. In seven years, that administration rescued Britain from being the sick man of Europe and made us the enterprise capital of the world. We face such a crisis moment again. But the economic challenge this time is different. With a huge post-crash debt legacy, low growth and an economy dependant on cheap labour, we need a new economic growth cycle to raise living standards for all. The crisis we face demands a profound response. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to put science and innovation at the heart of a new UK economic policy for Global Britain Beyond Brexit. Boris Johnson has embraced that mission. He is the only candidate in this contest with the vision and charisma to make it happen. If we get this right, we can put in place the foundations of prosperity for a whole new generation, just as Thatcher’s reforms did forty years ago. The prize is a truly great one – for the life chances of future generations.  We must seize it. – George Freeman MP for Reaction

The Sun: Sun readers know a winner when they see one – Boris Johnson has to be our next PM

Boris Johnson is the right man to be our new Prime Minister. The Sun believes that. More importantly, so do our readers. We also believe Jeremy Hunt, after his terrific leadership campaign, must be kept in one of the most senior Cabinet jobs if Boris wins. Britain needs Boris in Downing Street at this crucial point in our history. He projects optimism and determination, the perfect antidote to the last three years of Brexit agony. He has a gift for communication and an infectious humour that inspires voters, even those not normally inclined to vote Tory. He is a winner, twice elected Tory Mayor of left-leaning London because millions recognised him as the tolerant and inclusive politician he is and not the hard-right caricature Remainers now pretend. Only Boris could have led the Leave campaign to victory in 2016 — and we believe only he possesses the belief and doggedness to secure Brexit and win back voters from Nigel Farage’s party. To deliver Brexit, with a better deal or none, to unite our divided country and to save our economy from the wrecking ball of Corbyn’s Marxism. After that it must capitalise on our new independence outside the EU by striking trade deals worldwide and lowering taxes to create a more dynamic economy. That will turbo-charge growth, raise our standard of living, attract huge amounts of foreign investment, create jobs and generate billions more for public services. Boris is best placed to do all of it. Better placed than Mr Hunt, a former Remainer and Theresa May loyalist who is unlikely to appeal much to Brexit voters. – The Sun says

Brexit in Brief

  • Are the Conservatives now officially the no-deal Brexit party? – Robert Peston for The Spectator
  • Who is Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission? – ITV News
  • Next PM told post-Brexit US trade deal is No1 priority, says poll – Express