UK negotiators admit Chequers plan gives no competitive advantage to Britain: Brexit News for Friday 7 September

UK negotiators admit Chequers plan gives no competitive advantage to Britain: Brexit News for Friday 7 September
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UK negotiators admit Chequers plan gives no competitive advantage to Britain over the EU…

British negotiators have openly admitted in Brussels that Theresa May’s Chequers deal will not deliver any competitive advantage to the UK over Europe after Brexit. UK officials are making the claim to their EU counterparts in a bid to sell the under-fire plan to Brussels – but news of the admission has enraged Tory Brexiteers who already view Chequers as a sell-out. Anti-Brexit campaigners also seized on the news – saying it raised questions about “what on Earth” the point of leaving the EU actually was. It comes as chancellor Philip Hammond admitted that there may be further austerity cuts if the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal. British negotiators are arguing that a mix of UK commitments to include “non-regression” clauses on EU standards and a commitment to sign up to state aid “level playing field” rules will mean British businesses cannot unfairly undercut EU firms on services. – Independent

  • UK negotiators say EU attacks on Chequers plan are confused – Guardian

…as EU claim to see ‘positive elements’ in UK’s Chequers plan…

The EU has cast doubt on claims its chief negotiator described the government’s Brexit plan as “dead in the water”. Labour MP Stephen Kinnock attributed the remarks – which he said were in French – to Michel Barnier after a meeting in Brussels. EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas urged journalists to wait for a transcript to be published. The Chequers plan contains some “positive elements”, he added. The UK is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019, and negotiations are taking place between the two sides.Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has been meeting Mr Barnier for more negotiations as the two sides seek to reach an agreement before a summit in October. In July the government set out how it wants to trade with the EU – and avoid new border checks in Northern Ireland – after a summit at Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence. – BBC News

…but Dominic Raab threat over Irish border left Michel Barnier ‘furious’

Dominic Raab has threatened Michel Barnier with the prospect that the EU will be forced to order the Irish government to reinstate the border in Northern Ireland in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, the Telegraph can reveal. The Brexit secretary confronted the EU’s chief negotiator over the border issue at a highly-charged meeting in Brussels last month, leaving Mr Barnier “absolutely furious”, according to a senior European source. The angry encounter came in only the second Raab-Barnier meeting and was confirmed to the Telegraph by three separate official sources drawn from both sides of the Channel, and points to sharp souring of the Brexit talks behind the scenes in recent weeks. – Telegraph (£)

  • Four things we learnt from Raab and Robbins’ committee appearance – Max Jeffery for The Spectator

Operation Yellowhammer: Treasury’s secret codename for no-deal Brexit planning revealed

Philip Hammond has labelled the Government’s no deal Brexit contingency planning “Operation Yellowhammer”, according to a secret Treasury document. An unknown aide was photographed carrying the Treasury briefing note, entitled “Operation Yellowhammer – no deal contingency planning”, as they left the Cabinet Office in Whitehall. The document revealed the Government has told departments their “first call” for funding no deal plans should be through “internal reprioritisation” of funding. – Telegraph (£)

  • Operation Yellowhammer: ‘No-deal’ Brexit plans snapped – Sky News
  • Minister accidentally shows off secret documents showing details of ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ plan to cope with no-deal Brexit – The Sun
  • Hammond angers No 10 with warning of ‘no-deal’ spending cuts – FT (£)
  • Leaked ‘no-deal’ Brexit details are quite revealing – Faisal Islam for Sky News

Foreign investors chose UK investment over decision to stick or quit on Brexit

Investors are increasingly keen to push past uncertainty around Brexit, commiting to either putting more money into the UK or cutting back their British exposures rather than sitting on the fence. On balance investing more in the country is the popular choice, indicating that fears over the impact of Brexit may have been unfounded. More than 20pc of institutional investors are planning to increase their UK holdings, the highest so far recorded by State Street’s Brexit barometer, titled the Brexometer. – Telegraph (£)

  • UK employers hire staff at fastest pace in five months – Reuters

David Davis to join forces with Nigel Farage and Kate Hoey to challenge Chequers

David Davis formally announced he was joining forces with Nigel Farage to challenge the Chequers plan. The former Brexit secretary is to appear at a Leave Means Leave campaign rally in a move that will undermine the Prime Minister as she prepares for what is likely to be a stormy Conservative party conference. Brexiteers are aiming to fill a £5million war chest to fight the “dilution” of Brexit. Mr Davis, who resigned over Theresa May’s Chequers agreement in July, will speak at a rally in Bolton on Sept 22 alongside Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader, and Labour MP Kate Hoey. He said: “The Government’s Chequers proposal doesn’t meet the requirements of the referendum. We may be out of Europe but still run by Europe. – Telegraph (£)

Medical supplies ‘unhindered’ in ‘no-deal’ Brexit

Planes carrying urgent medical supplies will keep flying even if the UK quits the EU without a Brexit deal, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told Sky News. The pharmaceutical industry is preparing to stockpile six-week supplies of medicines and airlift time-sensitive products in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit. Government concerns over potential disruption to aviation and rail access to Europe were revealed in leaked documents photographed on Thursday. Mr Hancock said he was confident the government would reach a deal with the EU, but insisted medical supplies would not be interrupted whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations. – Sky News

MPs urged to create a Brexit ‘super ministry’ to give greater clarity

The Foreign Office should be turned into a Brexit “super ministry” with oversight and control over a number of other Government departments, ministers have been told. Bob Seely, who sits on the Commons foreign affairs committee, told MPs that the move would allow for better integration between departments and give greater “coherence” in the approach to foreign affairs.The Tory MP suggested that the Department for International Trade (DIT), Department for International Development (DFID), defence, the Cabinet Office and even the Prime Minister’s office should all fall under the souped-up department’s remit. – ITV News

  • Jeremy Corbyn admits Labour Party has ‘no position’ on second Brexit vote amid growing pressure from within party – The Sun

Brexiteers call for EU staff to man UK ports to solve Irish border stand-off with Brussels

Eurosceptic Tories want EU staff allowed at UK ports to solve the Irish border stand-off. Senior sources told the Sun the incredible move could help to break the logjam around the Irish border in Brexit talks – and “show willing” to Brussels. Under the idea, EU staff would be allowed into ports such as Liverpool and Bristol in the same way UK Border Force man posts at Calais in France. The suggestion is expected to be included among a raft of Brexit blueprints from the Tory Eurosceptic group led by influential Conservatives Steve Baker and Jacob Rees Mogg next week. – The Sun

Brexiteers give Theresa May two-month stay of execution

Theresa May has until November to ditch the Chequers deal before Brexiteers would consider ousting her, senior Conservative figures have claimed. The Brexiteers have in effect ruled out a leadership challenge at the Tory conference. They are happy for the prime minister to stay in post beyond March if she embraces a Canada-style free-trade deal rather than force through her existing plan, which keeps Britain more closely tied to the EU. Brexiteers accept that Mrs May will defend her plan at the conference but those in favour of getting rid of the Tory leader believe her continued support for Chequers will make her toxic in the eyes of party activists. Tory MPs who support Brexit believe that the Chequers blueprint will be undermined by the EU in late October or November. – The Times (£)

Nadine Dorries: Chequers is May’s dementia tax revisited

Her Chequers plan for Brexit was put together secretly, without the knowledge or input of her key ministers. And it’s déjà vu all over again. Leavers and Remainers throughout the country oppose what emerged from her Downing Street bunker. Brussels isn’t happy either – rejecting the plan last week. She has lost support in the polls. She’s lost experienced ministers after they resigned in despair; she has lost MPs, both Leave and Remain supporters, and the nation has lost vital time in the negotiating window. The PM seems completely blind to the consequences of playing the team game of politics in such a presidential way. She announced that she’d be taking personal charge of the final stages of the Brexit process. Given the explosive nature of what she generates in her Downing Street bunker, I fear Brussels will bounce her into another big mistake in the final stages of negotiations. – Nadine Dorries MP for the Daily Mail

Alp Mehmet: On non-EU immigration, the government is asleep at the controls

The question is often asked as to why non-EU net migration has risen to 235,000 for the year to March 2018. That represents an increase of more than 50,000 on the previous year and is 36,000 higher than in the spring of 2010, when the Conservatives took office at the head of the coalition government. All this despite a 2017 Conservative manifesto commitment to ‘bear down on immigration from outside the EU’ and repeated pledges to reduce overall net migration to the tens of thousands (from more than 270,000 currently). A paper issued by Migration Watch UK, How to deliver a significant reduction in non-EU net migration, argues that the Government has failed to make serious efforts to reduce non-EU immigration despite having powers to do so.- Alp Mehmet for ConservativeWoman

Liam Halligan: There’s a way out from Chequers for Mrs May

Trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation rules “isn’t the end of the world” said Theresa May, during Prime Minister’s Questions. She was quoting the WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, the world’s leading trade diplomat. Azevedo first publicly said those words in a Telegraph interview with me in November 2017. He also described UK-EU trade under WTO rules, with no formal free trade agreement, as “perfectly manageable” – discrediting the doom-mongers who claim Britain must bow to Brussels’ every demand as “crashing out” would be “disastrous”. – Liam Halligan for the Telegraph (£)

Anthony Coughlan: Why Brexit makes an Irish departure from the EU more likely

The Irish Government is currently doing its utmost to subvert a meaningful Brexit by playing up the North-South Irish Border as a “problem”, in close cooperation with Michel Barnier and his EU Commission negotiating team — and behind the scenes with “Remainer” elements in the UK. The best solution to this particular problem is that the UK should replace the relevant parts of its domestic legislation implementing the EU Single Market laws with new domestic legislation prohibiting carriage across the land border in Ireland of any goods which the EU would regard as illicit. – Anthony Coughlan for CapX

Asa Bennett: Don’t expect Dominic Raab to chuck Chequers — it’s his job to stick with it

Brexiteers opposed to Theresa May’s vision for Brexit Britain’s future relationship with the European Union have been uniting under the “Chuck Chequers” banner… How will anti-Chequers Eurosceptics secure the Brexit they want? Some might well be hoping that Dominic Raab, the fervent Brexiteer who took over from Mr Davis, will change the Government’s tack from the inside.But their hopes will have been dampened, if not dashed, on hearing what the Brexit Secretary had to say about the Government’s direction yesterday. Mr Raab declined the constant invitations he had from Chequersceptic MPs on the Commons European Scrutiny like Sir Bill Cash to put the plan “out of its misery” and to stop “flogging this dead horse”. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

John Redwood: We Leavers won’t be hood-winked

There is no chance of the government securing a legally binding agreement that implements all the proposals in the Chequers paper. The EU has made that clear, and the government itself has said it will need to make more compromises. This implies it will give the EU more wins over and above those included in the Chequers draft. We need to remember what the EU has in mind and what Chequers glosses over in the negotiations to date. – John Redwood MP for CommentCentral

Brexit in Brief

  • Where is the UK’s tariff schedule for March 30 2019? – John Redwood’s Diary
  • There is a huge opportunity for the Conservative vote to sky-rocket if we stay true to the referendum result – Don Porter and Alex Le Vey for ConservativeHome
  • Governor of the Bank of Anti-Brexit Mark Carney’s self-reappointment sums up what Leave voters revolted against – Mick Hume for Spiked
  • Lewis and Davidson both suffer a Boris burka backlash in our Cabinet League Table – Mark Wallace for ConservativeHome
  • Remainers are staging the first coup against the British people, says former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party – Chopper’s Brexit Podcast
  • Major Chinese paper warns UK on trade talks after warship sail-by – Reuters
  • Ministers face fresh assault on Brexit plans as dozens of angry Tories prepare to unveil challenge to PM’s proposals while Eurocrats say they’re ‘dead in the water’ – The Sun
  • UK music industry sounds Brexit warning – Sky News