Boris Johnson urges Theresa May to ditch Irish backstop in plan for 'SuperCanada' Brexit deal: Brexit News for Friday 28th September

Boris Johnson urges Theresa May to ditch Irish backstop in plan for 'SuperCanada' Brexit deal: Brexit News for Friday 28th September

Boris Johnson urges Theresa May to ditch Irish backstop in plan for ‘SuperCanada’ Brexit deal…

Boris Johnson is calling on Theresa May to rip up her Brexit “backstop” agreement with the EU and negotiate a Canada-style free trade deal to “fulfil the instruction of the people”. The former foreign secretary describes Mrs May’s Chequers plan as a “moral and intellectual humiliation” which will “cheat the electorate” if it forms the basis of a Brexit deal because it would leave Britain “half in, half out” of Europe. “There has been a collective failure of government, and a collapse of will by the British establishment, to deliver on the mandate of the people,” Mr Johnson says. The Government must now have the “guts” to scrap the “democratic disaster” of Chequers, he urges, and “truly take back control of our laws and our lives”. Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Johnson sets out in detail an alternative six-point plan for Brexit which, he says, will make Britain “rich and strong and free”. – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson issues a blistering attack on Theresa May by savaging her Chequers Brexit proposals on the eve of the Tory party conference – Daily Mail
  • My plan for a better Brexit – Boris Johnson MP for the Telegraph (£)

…with prominent eurosceptics rallying to back Johnson’s Brexit plan

Prominent Conservative Eurosceptics began lining up behind Boris Johnson’s Brexit vision on Thursday night, including Jacob Rees-Mogg and the party’s former Brexit minister who described it as a “pivotal” moment. The 4,600-word essay, entitled My plan for a better Brexit, sets out Mr Johnson’s proposal for a Canada-style free trade deal to fulfil the British people’s demand to leave the European Union. Steve Baker, who in June resigned from the Department for Exiting the European Union in protest at Theresa May’s strategy, urged supporters to read it. “A brilliant, pivotal article from @BorisJohnson which #MustBeRead,” he wrote on Twitter. Mr Rees-Mogg, who chairs the powerful Eurosceptic European Research Group, echoed the former foreign secretary’s comments in the Daily Telegraph, saying negotiations had been “badly conducted”. – Telegraph (£)

Jeremy Hunt warns the EU not to ‘underestimate Theresa May’ after her Brexit plan was blasted in Salzburg

Jeremy Hunt has warned the EU not to “underestimate Theresa May” after her Brexit plan was blasted at the Salzburg summit. The Foreign Secretary said opponents did not “appreciate the steel at the heart of that lady” as he urged Brussels to get serious and give proper consideration to the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposals. And he called for calm over the current impasse over getting an agreement done – claiming there was always going to come a point in negotiations “where everyone was looking into the abyss”. Mr Hunt backed his boss’ resolve and warned EU leaders and doubters in the UK “underestimating Theresa May is one of the biggest mistakes that you could make right now”. Speaking to Sky News ahead of a UN meeting with fellow diplomats, said: “Negotiations require two parties to engage seriously, that hasn’t been happening and Britain is not going to keep coming back with more. – The Sun

Brussels rolled out the red carpet for Jeremy Corbyn yesterday…

It was the European Commission’s own vote of no-confidence in Theresa May. Top EU officials rolled out the red carpet for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday, welcoming May’s arch-rival to the Commission headquarters and giving him a significant platform at a highly sensitive stage in the Brexit talks. Corbyn, who has harshly criticized May and her Conservative Party for mismanaging Brexit, has yet to unveil a credible departure plan of his own. But after being welcomed for meetings with the EU’s top negotiator, Michel Barnier, and Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr, Corbyn seized on the moment to present himself as a credible substitute for the embattled prime minister. Labour Party operatives gathered a large scrum of journalists outside the Berlaymont building, the Commission headquarters, where Corbyn said he had used his meetings to present the Labour perspective on Brexit. He insisted he is not meddling in the negotiations and said EU officials did not offer any response to his statements. – Politico

…where he warned Michel Barnier Labour could vote down a Brexit deal offered to the UK…

Jeremy Corbyn urged Michel Barnier to stop a no deal Brexit in Brussels on Thursday but told the EU’s chief negotiator that Labour would vote down any agreement that did not respect its six tests in Westminster. The threat to bring down the Government and trigger a general election comes just days before the Conservative Party Conference, where Theresa May will face Brexiteers after her hard-won Chequers plan was dismissed by the EU at a disastrous summit in Salzburg. On Wednesday Barry Gardiner, the shadow trade secretary, said that Labour was ready to “bend” its Brexit red lines but Mr Corbyn signalled he would still insist on the six tests being met. After meeting Mr Barnier, Mr Corbyn said: “He was interested to know what our views were and the six tests we have laid down by which will the British government to account.” – Telegraph (£)

….prompting Nigel Farage to brand Corbyn the EU’s ‘useful idiot’…

Jeremy Corbyn was last night accused of putting Britain’s push for a Brexit deal at risk by holding talks with the EU’s chief negotiator in Brussels. A day after using his party conference speech to threaten to vote down a deal in the Commons, the Labour leader flew to the Belgian capital with shadow EU exit secretary Sir Keir Starmer to discuss Brexit with Michel Barnier. He used the meeting to tell the diplomat of his intention to reject any deal that fails six tests set by his party. But Brexit campaigners attacked his intervention as a fresh attempt to undermine the country’s negotiating position in his drive to bring down Theresa May’s Government.  Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, a leading figure in the Leave Means Leave campaign, said the meeting “was clearly an attempt to undermine negotiations after he promised to vote down May’s deal”, adding: “He is obviously believed by the European Commission to be a useful idiot. But I’m sure working class people who voted Leave will feel betrayed and angry at his ill thought-out strategy to betray British interests.” – Express

…while Barry Gardiner says Labour would be prepared to ‘bend’ its red lines to secure a Brexit deal

Labour is prepared to “bend” its red lines on Brexit in order to secure a good deal with the European Union, Barry Gardiner has said amid reports that the party is prepared to throw Theresa May a lifeline. In a boost for the Prime Minister, the shadow international trade secretary said that “none of us want” a no-deal Brexit that would take Britain “off the edge of that cliff”. Mr Gardiner, who earlier this year described his party’s six tests for leaving the EU as “b——-”, said that if the option facing the country was a deal or crashing out of the bloc, “we’re prepared to bend our red lines”. His remarks came hours after Jeremy Corbyn suggested that Labour could vote for Mrs May’s deal if she was prepared to compromise and keep Britain inside a customs union and protect jobs and workers’ right. – Telegraph (£)

Most UK companies yet to begin preparations for Brexit

Nearly two-thirds of UK companies are still not preparing for Brexit and, in the event of a no deal, many would cut both investment and recruitment, a survey of 2,500 enterprises across the country has found. Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, which conducted the research last month, said failure to reach a political agreement would have “real-world consequences”. “With six months to go until the UK’s planned departure, firms still don’t have answers from government to the most basic questions about future trading conditions . . . and our risk register shows sufficient progress has been made on only a handful of issues,” he said. – FT (£)

Brussels must show more flexibility in Brexit talks, says German business chief

Brussels risks forcing Theresa May into a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario unless it offers more flexibility on the Chequers proposal, the head of German Industry UK has warned. Dr Bernd Atenstaedt, whose trade body represents more than 100 UK-based German firms, including Airbus and BMW, said he was “very disappointed” by the EU’s flat rejection of Chequers at a summit in Austria last week. “We were very happy with Chequers as it proposed a common rule book and would permit some free movement of skilled workers. We even issued a statement at the time welcoming it.” Dr Atenstaedt told the Telegraph. – Telegraph (£)

‘Brexit will help society’s poorest!’ – Jacob Rees-Mogg says wages will rise once UK leaves EU

Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed Brexit is the “real shake-up” the country needs when it comes to minimum wages because it will have positive impacts especially on people who are the least well off. Appearing on BBC Question Time, the Tory MP was answering a question from an audience member who complained to him about “greed-is-good” capitalism and minimum wages for workers in care homes. His comments came after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took aim at large corporations in the UK, claiming they were too interested in profit in his conference speech on Wednesday. The arch-Brexiteer responded to his complaint by insisting that leaving the EU will result into a rise in income for the unprivileged. He explained: “It is really important Brexit delivers for the people who are the least well off.” – Express

Boris Johnson: My plan for a better Brexit

The next few weeks are critical. If we continue on the current path we will, I am afraid, betray centuries of progress. From the development of parliamentary democracy to the industrial revolution the British have been first movers. They have been most willing to challenge received wisdom, to expose vested interests  and to put their leaders to the test. So in June 2016 it was no surprise that they voted to leave the EU – because they had a clear insight into the way that institution works and its manifest flaws. They saw a body that has evolved far beyond the “Common Market” they were invited to join, a superstate with no real democratic control. The British were told that it was politically essential for them to stay in the EU; and yet they saw an institution that responds to every problem with a call for more integration – to the point where it now has five presidents and plans for at least one of them to be directly elected by the entire population of the EU, hardly any of whom will properly understand who that person is or what he or she is doing. – Boris Johnson MP for the Telegraph (£)

Philip Collins: Tory unity on Brexit could see off Labour

Finally, in his conference speech, the leader of the Labour Party gave a clear lead. “If, when the final terms are known,” he said, “this party comes to the conclusion that these terms are not good enough . . . then the only right and proper and democratic thing is to let the people decide the issue.” Hugh Gaitskell’s speech in 1962 shows that Europe is the hardy perennial of British politics, although Jeremy Corbyn said nothing so clear 56 years on. Instead, Labour spent a week in tactical contortion, searching for a clever ruse to discomfit Theresa May. As the Conservatives head for Birmingham for their own conference there is in fact an easy way out. – Philip Collins for The Times (£)

Jeremy Warner: There is no point negotiating with the European Union – just ask Yanis Varoufakis

The other day, Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s one time finance minister, posted one of those self satisfied, “As I wrote some time ago…the same holds true today”, type observations on Twitter. He was talking about the hopelessness of Theresa May’s task in attempting to negotiate a mutually beneficial trade deal with an intransigent Brussels. Drawing on his own experience during the Greek debt crisis, he had said that she was running at a brick wall, and so far he’s been proved absolutely correct. Mrs May is notionally sticking with her doomed Chequers plan, but there are in truth only three options left, all but one of which breach her red lines in some way or another. – Jeremy Warner for the Telegraph (£)

Jenny Pearson: Keir Starmer’s Brexit position could cost Labour the next election

Because of their trade union education and long parliamentary and internationalist experiences, you’d have no qualms about sending Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell in to negotiate with the most unscrupulous, unelected, neoliberal power bloc in the world, the EU. We’d be foolish to think that Keir Starmer would be a reliable pair of hands to do so. After his Labour Party speech I thought that if he went up against Barnier he would get eaten alive and very quickly run back saying that a second referendum, with Remain as the objective, would be the only viable alternative. While the party leadership and major unions like my union Unite are clear that we are leaving the EU and should not jeopardise this or rerun the referendum, Starmer doesn’t seem to understand the message. We are not for turning. We are leaving the EU on March 29 2019. To argue to stay in or prevaricate about it will lose us the election. – Jenny Pearson for the Morning Star

The Sun Says: Jeremy Corbyn is desperate to overturn Brexit and betray working class Leave voters

Any idiot can make a Brexit deal with Brussels – all it takes is abject surrender, the Jeremy Corbyn strategy. If selling out Leave voters doesn’t bother you then yes, Michel Barnier and Martin Selmayr — the German bully running the show — will delightedly hear how you intend to achieve it. Which explains why they were so keen to give him an audience yesterday. Betrayal is very much in Corbyn’s plans, as he made clear at his conference. Not only because his party is now firmly behind a second referendum with “Remain” as one of the options. But because he is also determined to stay in the EU’s Customs Union — and thus not leave at all. – The Sun says

Matthew Smith: Half of Britons believe Theresa May would keep Britain in the EU if she could

With John McDonnell indicating on Monday that Labour would not support any second referendum that included an option to remain in the EU, there was a revival of previous speculation that the Labour leadership has never actually been committed to the Brexit outcome that they backed at the referendum. Similarly, Tony Blair recently suggested in an interview that he believes that Theresa May does not think Brexit is a good idea. Now a new YouGov survey has asked the nation what they think various politicians would do on Brexit if they didn’t have to worry about what the public or their party would think or do about it. – The Times (£)

Jonathon Shafi: Labour shouldn’t back a vote on Brexit – it would play into the hands of the far right

There is no reset button. Perhaps this is the most important thing to understand about the developing political crisis. Especially as we are only in the opening phases of a protracted crisis of the institutions that run western capitalism. The wheels of the next economic crash are already turning. The social forces that are now at play – reflected in the deepening polarisation and a host of radical insurgencies – cannot be reordered into the pre-2008 financial crisis state of affairs. Nor can time be turned back on the question of Brexit. We should be clear that those campaigning for another referendum do not want a ballot on the terms of the Brexit deal. They want to overturn the 2016 result. Many progressives support this, understandably. Brexit has been dominated by the radical right. Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and their acolytes ran a shameful campaign that targeted immigrants and weaponised decades of demonisation propagated by the right-wing press. – Jonathon Shafi for the Independent

John Redwood: Why Britain is better off if we make our own rules

I accepted the verdict of UK voters as a young man in 1975 when I was on the losing side of the referendum on staying in the EEC. I decided I had to make the best of it. When I entered Parliament in 1987, I tried to limit the EEC/EU to what people voted for, a common market. My worry had always been it was a much mightier political project, but pro-Europeans always told us in the early years it was not a currency and political union in the making. Later, of course, it became obvious that it was a currency union, with a political union in the offing. So what changed my mind about the common market part of it? – John Redwood MP for the Yorkshire Post

Brexit in Brief

  • A ‘Canada Plus’ Brexit is entirely possible if we choose to embrace it – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)
  • Calling an election would be an act of utter madness – Tim Newark for the Express
  • Oh, Jeremy… he fails to name one of his party’s Brexit tests – Express
  • School warns Brexit may add to cost of trips – The Times (£)
  • Britain failed to grasp Brexit and should vote again, fumes Macron – Express