Brexit News for Friday 6 October

Brexit News for Friday 6 October
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Britain prepares to dig in on Brexit bill with EU refusing to open trade and transition talks this month

Britain will refuse to tell Europe how much it is prepared to pay to settle the so-called “Brexit bill” when Brexit negotiations re-open in Brussels next week, the Telegraph can reveal, in a move that risks plunging the Brexit talks into fresh crisis… Senior Whitehall sources said that negotiators will refuse to say which financial “commitments” Britain will honour, setting up a fresh showdown with Brussels. The UK stance was taken after it became clear EU negotiators will not open talks on a transitional deal and trade talks at this month’s October European Council summit, despite Mrs May’s recent offer to pay €20bn during a transition deal. “There won’t be any political movement from the British side on the bill until the EU broadens its package to discuss transition and the future relationship,” said a highly-placed UK Whitehall source, adding that the UK would still seek to hold “technical talks” on the bill. – Telegraph (£)

Brussels praises its ‘excellent relationship’ with May as rumours grow she could be ousted

An EU Commission spokesman said the bloc was looking forward to welcoming British negotiators for the fifth round of Brexit talks next week, stressing its “very strong state of readiness”. But he refused to comment on whether or not a change of UK prime minister at such a crucial juncture in the talks would mean they had to be suspended, saying the EU does not “interfere in domestic processes”… EU officials have repeatedly stressed the thing they most value in their opposite numbers is not so much ideology, but rather the authority to carry through on their word… [EU Commission deputy chief spokesman Alexander Winterstein said]: “We have an excellent working relationship with the prime minister and her entire team and the next round [of the negotiations] will be held next week.” – Express

  • Theresa May lacks clout to clinch a Brexit deal, warn European diplomats – The Times (£)
  • Grant Shapps behind plot against Theresa May – The Times (£)
  • Rebel MPs admit they don’t have the numbers to oust Theresa May after fresh bid to topple her following her nightmare conference speech – The Sun
  • Amber Rudd urges the Prime Minister not to resign at crucial ‘turning point’ for Britain – Telegraph (£)
  • Brexit is Theresa May’s lifeline. Both Leave and Remain MPs need her to stay – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

UK’s new supreme court chief calls for clarity on ECJ after Brexit

Parliament should give judges “as much clarity as possible” in setting out the UK’s relationship to the European Union’s court of justice after Brexit, the new president of the supreme court has urged… Asked about what the future relationship should be between the UK’s supreme court and the ECJ, Lady Hale said: “We hope that the European Union Withdrawal Act will tell us what we should be doing … saying how much we should be taking into account [judgments from the ECJ]. We would like to be told because then we will get on and do it. We will do what parliament tells us to do. We would like parliament to give us as much clarity as possible.” – Guardian

Michel Barnier ignores transparency pledges as he fails to record meetings around Europe

The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator has echoed calls across the bloc for transparency but regularly fails to officially highlight his own meetings and speeches. Mr Barnier spent September jetting across the union holding events with elite audiences – with many not reported on his online diary of events… According to Politico, Mr Barnier met the Cercle Gaulois in Brussels but has officially revealed nothing of what was discussed. This comes despite Brexit being discussed at length both in this meeting and various other undisclosed events in September, the website reveals. – Express

Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland and Ireland are ‘allies’ in the Brexit negotiations

Ireland and Scotland will be allies in the Brexit negotiations, Nicola Sturgeon has said… After talks with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar – which focused on Brexit – Ms Sturgeon told an audience of about 1,500 business figures that staying in the European single market and the customs union is the obvious answer to the negotiations. – ITV News

  • SNP Commons boss implores Scottish Tories to join forces on single market – PoliticsHome
  • Article 50 author Lord Kerr says Westminster is trying to break Scotland’s devolution settlement – The National

Boris Johnson’s Remain-supporting father says he’s now backing Brexit after Juncker set out vision of all-powerful EU government

Stanley Johnson said a recent speech by the European Commission president convinced him the EU was moving ‘at an ever-increasing speed in a direction we really don’t want to go’. In the run-up to the referendum, Mr Johnson repeatedly attacked his son’s stance on Brexit, saying staying the bloc was crucial for stopping climate change. But the former MEP said he had now come to believe the push in Brussels for much closer integration could not be prevented. ‘For me the critical moment came a couple of weeks ago when EU Commission President Juncker gave his State of the Union address to the European Parliament,’ he wrote on the BrexitCentral website. – Mail

  • Boris Johnson’s Remainer dad now backs Brexit – thanks to Juncker – Express
  • Boris Johnson’s dad now backs Brexit saying it’s ‘the time to bail out’ after hearing about Jean-Claude Junker’s vision of a Brussels-dominated utopia – The Sun
  • Stanley Johnson backs Brexit: “The time has come to bail out” – Guido Fawkes

> Stanley Johnson yesterday on BrexitCentral: I’ve finally been convinced to back Brexit by Jean-Claude Juncker

Dutch firm TMF to move HQ from Amsterdam to London in a boost for UK business

Dutch firm TMF is to move its headquarters from Amsterdam to London in the wake of its £1bn float on the London Stock Exchange in a boost for the capital. The firm said that the move was “a vote of confidence for the UK”, amid concerns that some companies would look to relocate to continental Europe once Britain leaves the European Union… [TMF] counts Netflix, Toshiba and Volvo among its around 15,000 clients. The firm said: “Brexit has not been a barrier to the company choosing London, in fact the UK’s exit from the EU could actually present an opportunity to TMF Group, given that business complexity and companies moving across borders are key drivers of its business growth.” – Telegraph

UK’s northern cities lobby David Davis over EU funding

Britain’s biggest cities are lobbying the government to replace European investment funding after Brexit as they make their voice heard in the exit process. David Davis, the minister in charge of the UK government negotiations, on Thursday met three northern mayors to listen to their concerns. Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram of Liverpool city region and Ben Houchen of Tees Valley pressed for the same amount of cash from a proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund that will replace EU solidarity payments. – FT (£)

German firms told to prepare for a ‘very hard’ Brexit

Germany’s biggest business lobby group has warned companies operating in the UK to prepare for a “very hard Brexit”. The Federation of German Industries (BDI) accused Theresa May’s Government of being “at odds” with itself on a clear strategy for the looming divorce, claiming the outcome was “completely open”… The UK is currently a much bigger market for Germany in value terms – underlining its importance to Germany’s export-driven economic model. According to central bank figures, Europe’s largest economy exported €116bn (£104bn) of goods and services to Britain in 2016. – Sky News

US attacks plans to split agricultural import quotas between UK and EU after Brexit

The US is leading a group of countries challenging Britain’s plans to retain EU import restrictions on agricultural goods after Brexit… Imports of food and animal products into the EU are restricted by internationally agreed quotas, which set a limit on the amount of a given product that can be imported before steep tariffs are applied. The government plans to divide these quotas with the EU, so that the EU27 limit on a given product will be reduced by an amount equal to Britain’s new quota, which will be calculated according to UK’s historical take-up. However, the US and six other big agricultural exporters have written to the UK and EU representatives in Geneva to warn that they “cannot accept” an agreement based on splitting the quotas without discussion. – The Times (£)

European Medicines Agency moves to plug staffing gap after Brexit

The European drugs regulator has issued a multimillion pound tender for temporary workers, acknowledging that it may lose staff when it is forced to leave London after Brexit. Based at Canary Wharf, the European Medicines Agency carries out assessments and issues approvals of drugs that cover all 28 member states. However, when Britain leaves the EU it will move to one of 19 remaining member states that are bidding to host it. – FT (£)

Henry Newman: Brexit – and the unresolved Cabinet row that has the power to force resignations

It’s the struggle within Whitehall between those advocating a relationship based around the Canada-EU trade deal – the so-called ‘CETA plus’ option – and those who prefer to be far closer to a Norway-style arrangement, almost within the Single Market and European Economic Area, in an ‘EEA minus’ model… A key difference between the two options is the extent to which the UK can diverge from the EU in regulatory terms. Under CETA plus, the UK would have the freedom to follow EU rules in some sectors, but not others. In an EEA minus model, the UK would effectively be in a regulatory ERM. New directives, rules and regulations would be ‘faxed’ over to Whitehall and we would have to implement them. It would mean regulation without representation, for the UK would have lost its MEPs, Commissioner and seat around the Council table. The UK must reject the option of being a rule taker for anything other than a short transitional period. – Henry Newman for ConservativeHome

Alex Michelin: Why post-Brexit Britain should look east for economic inspiration

The government has already started this charm offensive with its “Britain is open for business” rhetoric, and policy watchers at home and abroad will be keeping a keen eye out for changes to corporation tax, business rates, entrepreneurs’ tax relief, immigration criteria, and other potential enticements. A glance east to Singapore reveals a blueprint of what the UK can expect when it finds itself outside the EU. Today, Singapore has the world’s third highest GDP per capital and is a regional powerhouse… Ultimately, everything that makes the UK (and London in particular) such a globally attractive location – language, geography, heritage, and assets – will remain unaffected by Brexit. With the right long term strategy, a position as the “Singapore of Europe” could set the UK up to thrive alongside its continental neighbour. – Alex Michelin for City A.M.

Daily Express: Treacherous MEPs cannot claim to speak for Britain

Earlier this week the European Parliament voted on whether or not Brexit talks should progress. There was no surprise when members voted heavily in favour of the EU’s ludicrous position that Britain needs to make more upfront promises on money, citizens’ rights and the Irish border before trade can be discussed. What is surprising is that treacherous British MEPs, including two Conservatives, defied Her Majesty’s Government, the British public and our national interest to side with the Brussels bureaucrats… Fortunately this is not a major setback. The motion was not binding and the Parliament has little real power anyway. That said, British MEPs siding with Brussels has sent a terrible signal to the rest of Europe… The very least they can do is resign their seats. – Express editorial

  • What are Conservative MEPs doing voting against trade talks? – Henry Hill for ConservativeHome

> Yesterday on BrexitCentral: Fury as British MEPs vote against UK starting post-Brexit trade talks

Daniel Hannan: Madrid’s violent tactics will only push Catalans towards independence

Bizarre as it seems to outsiders, Rajoy’s authoritarian response is popular in most of Castilian-speaking Spain, and not just with his core voters. When the police were dispatched to Catalonia, patriotic crowds cheered them on their way. Yet paradoxically, Rajoy has done more to advance Catalan separatism than any Barcelona politician, breathing new life into a flagging cause… To see how Madrid has destroyed that status quo, try to imagine London taking a similar line over Scotland. Suppose that, instead of agreeing terms for a referendum with Alex Salmond, David Cameron had had him prosecuted. Picture Tory politicians in London calling for Scots to be ‘Anglicised’, as a Partido Popular minister demanded the Catalans be ‘Hispanicised’. Try to visualise Met officers knocking pensioners aside as they carted ballot boxes out of schools. – Daniel Hannan for the Spectator

  • Catalonia independence will see ‘euro crisis return with a vengeance’, says Daniel Hannan – Express
  • Spain storm may end in a civil war, says EU official – Mail
  • Catalonia demonstrates the folly of a United States of Europe – Marian L. Tupy for CapX
  • Spain and the EU test democratic legitimacy and consent – John Redwood’s Diary

Brexit in brief

  • Theresa May can restore some of her credibility by putting Boris Johnson in charge of Brexit – Mary Dejevsky for the Independent
  • Irrespective of Brexit, the issues of fairness and the move to a new digital age must be resolved – Mark Price for the Telegraph (£)
  • Without visa reform, universities could lose vital technical staff after Brexit – Hollie Chandler for the Guardian
  • Niger’s EU-funded migration crackdown has made the journey even more treacherous – Ty McCormick for Foreign Policy
  • Ukip loses access to €1.5m of EU funds – The Times (£)
  • Stop stirring and find a job, Macron tells laid off workers in Égletons – The Times (£)

And finally… Brighton shop stocking ‘Brexit Blue’ cheese outrages customers

A cheesemongers caused a stir among shoppers in Brighton for selling cheese called Brexit Blue. The people of the seaside town – where the majority voted to remain in the European Union, took to social media to express anger toward the Brexit-themed cheese, sparking a row between remainers and leavers… Brexit Blue is produced by GM Boyer of Camberwell in London who presented the cheese to Theresa May at the British Cheese awards in June. – i News