Brexit News for Monday 13 November

Brexit News for Monday 13 November
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Brexit minister David Davis dismisses Michel Barnier’s two-week divorce bill deadline…

Brexit secretary David Davis has dismissed a two-week deadline set by EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier for clarity on a Brexit “divorce” bill. “In any negotiation, each side tries to control the timetable,” said Davis, speaking to Sky News, adding that there was no expectation in the coming weeks of any number on how much the UK owes Europe upon leaving the bloc. “The real deadline on this of course is December… they invented this phrase sufficient progress, it’s in their control as to what it really is… we’ll do this sequencing but don’t imagine you’ll have a number or formula by the end of it, we’ll get towards that process but you won’t have a number or formula before we move onto the next stage,” he said. – City A.M.

  • Theresa May will stay as PM throughout Brexit, forecasts David Davis – BT
  • Britain won’t offer a new figure on Brexit bill to unlock talks – Reuters

> On BrexitCentral’s YouTube: David Davis on Sky News’s Sunday With Niall Paterson

…as Michel Barnier says the EU is preparing for possible collapse of the Brexit talks…

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, says he is planning for the possible collapse of Brexit negotiations with the UK. Mr Barnier was talking to French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche days after giving the UK a two-week deadline to clarify key issues. Failing to reach an agreement was not his preferred option, he stressed. The UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis has said it is time for both sides “to work to find solutions”. On Friday, Mr Davis insisted good progress was being made across the board, and that the negotiations had narrowed to a “few outstanding, albeit important, issues”. – BBC News

…and says ‘no deal’ Brexit could see dogs and cats ‘unable to cross the channel’ and planes not able to land

The EU’s Brexit negotiator faces a bitter backlash after claiming a ‘No Deal’ will make it impossible for Brits to take their pets across the Channel. Michel Barnier told a French newspaper “dogs and cats” would be affected by the Brexit vote as he advised all sides to prepare for the possibility that talks will fail to reach an agreement. He added that British planes “may not be able to land” in Europe after March 2019 – despite airline execs insisting there will be no problems. Officials earlier this year warned a Hard Brexit could see Britain removed from the EU’s pet passport scheme – used by 250,000 cats and dogs to the Continent on holiday each year. – The Sun

Theresa May to urge EU businesses to press for Brexit trade talks at Downing Street meeting today…

European business leaders will meet Prime Minister Theresa May later on Monday to voice concerns about the future of UK-EU trade. Experts from groups including the CBI and BusinessEurope will stress the need for a transitional deal that preserves the status quo after Brexit. They will urge the government to clarify the future relationship between the UK and the rest of the EU. The next round of Brexit talks is due to start in mid-December. They will meet Mrs May at No 10, as well as Business Secretary Greg Clark, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Economic Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay. – BBC News

…as it is suggested a trade deal may not be signed until after Brexit

Downing Street appears ready to concede that trade deal negotiations will not be complete before Brexit, in a move that could affect the longevity of Theresa May’s premiership. One of Mrs May’s closest allies suggested at a private meeting that the future trade deal with the EU might not be finalised before Britain left the EU on March 29, 2019. The senior Downing Street aide said that they expected Britain to be able to strike only the “heads of agreement” of a deal. This would mean that further EU-UK negotiation would be necessary after Brexit. The aide also called the period after 2019 a “transition” period, despite Mrs May using the term “implementation”, which signalled that negotiations would be complete by then. – Times (£)

Ireland’s Taoiseach says he will not threaten to veto Brexit talks ‘at this stage’

Ireland will not threaten to use a veto on Brexit talks “at this stage” over the lack of progress on the border with Northern Ireland as the government is in a very strong position with all EU member states behind it, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said today. Brussels wants three issues broadly solved before it decides in December whether talks can move on to a second phase about trade: the exit bill, safeguarding expatriate rights and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which will be the UK’s only land frontier with the EU after its departure. After the latest round of negotiations this week, Ireland said there was still a way to go between the two teams on the border before moving on to trade, raising the possibility that the government could block the sides advancing if it is not satisfied. – Irish Independent

Gove ‘wouldn’t block’ PM over EU divorce bill

Michael Gove has said the PM must be given “flexibility” to negotiate a Brexit deal and he would not stop her if it meant paying more to the EU. “I would not block the prime minister in doing what she believed was right,” he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show. The so-called divorce bill has been one of the main sticking points in Brexit negotiations so far. Theresa May has said the UK will honour commitments made but has not put a final figure on what will be paid. – BBC News

  • Michael Gove promises to deliver ‘green Brexit’ – iNews
  • ‘Green Brexit’ will safeguard environment – Times (£)
  • Britain doesn’t need another green quango – Matt Ridley for the Times (£)

> On BrexitCentral’s YouTube: Michael Gove speaks to Andrew Marr

‘Europe is the slowest growing area!’ Sir James Dyson hails ‘fantastic opportunity’ outside EU

The Brexit supporting inventor hailed Britain’s opportunities outside the European Union as he tore into the bloc. Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, the founder of the Dyson company explained the positives of leaving the EU. He said: “There is fantastic opportunity outside Europe, there is an opportunity within in Europe, but Europe is the slowest growing area in the world, all the other areas are much faster growing. “I think 90 per cent of future growth will come from outside the EU. – Express

  • Sir James Dyson: Britain should walk away from Brexit negotiations over ‘outrageous’ divorce bill demands – Telegraph (£)

> On BrexitCentral’s YouTube: Sir James Dyson speaks to Andrew Marr about Brexit

Growth accelerates in almost every corner of the UK

Growth is on the up across almost the entire country as rising demand and low unemployment boosts the economy. It hit a nine-month high in October, according to Lloyds’ purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a survey of manufacturing and services businesses. Nearly every region saw growth levels accelerate – and only in the South East of England, the East Midlands and in Northern Ireland did the rate of business growth actually slow down. However, even these regions have economies that are growing, just at a slightly slower pace. – Telegraph

  • Business growth hits six-month high in London – City A.M.

May’s Brexit transition ‘impossible to achieve’, claims Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, is set to reopen the debate on the government’s EU withdrawal legislation this week by arguing that Theresa May lacks the authority in her own party to deliver a transitional arrangement and avoid an economic cliff edge. As the government’s Brexit legislation returns to the Commons on Tuesday for a marathon debate, Sir Keir is set to trigger a vote that will call for a time-limited transitional deal on the same terms that the UK currently has and which will mean staying in the single market and customs union. – FT (£)

Polish PM hails pushback against deeper European integration

It is almost two years to the day since Beata Szydlo’s Law and Justice party swept into office in Poland — and the reverberations are still being felt around the continent. Melding Catholic social conservatism, statist economics, and a scepticism towards deeper European integration, Ms Szydlo’s government has overseen rapid economic growth and rising living standards in Poland — as well as a series of clashes with Brussels. – FT (£)

EU seeks to boost defence cooperation as 20 member states sign PESCO agreement to improve military mobility

The European Union will move towards closer defence ties Monday with more than 20 states signing a landmark pact that aims to boost cooperation after Brexit and counteract Russian pressure. Similar efforts to deepen military links have been frustrated for decades, partly by Britain’s fierce opposition to anything that might lead to a European army. But Brexit and Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 has once again brought the need for a strong European security stance back into focus. – FirstPost

  • PESCO and EU defence – John Redwood for John Redwood’s Diary

How a meeting with Guy Verhofstadt made MP realise UK must leave without Brexit deal

Conservative MP Christopher Chope attended talks in Brussels with MPs from the Brexit Select Committee including Labour’s Hilary Benn. The British MPs met EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, and MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who represents the European Parliament in Brexit talks. Mr Chope had been optimistic for the meetings after Theresa May’s Government seemed to be making progress in Brexit talks. But the meetings made him realise there was no way the EU will ever allow Britain a good deal – so talks will ultimately be pointless. Writing for BrexitCentral, he said: “The only withdrawal deal on offer from the EU would require the UK to agree to the EU’s demands without any guarantee of being able to secure a reasonable future trade deal on terms better than the WTO.” – Express

> Christopher Chope MP on BrexitCentral: After meeting Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt, I’ve concluded that ‘no deal’ will be better than their deal

Deadline looms for German coalition talks

German political parties grappling to form a government have set a deadline of Thursday to produce an agreement that will pave the way for formal coalition talks. The arduous negotiations have exposed deep rifts over everything from refugees to energy and climate change. But one of the most intractable disputes, participants say, is over Europe. An inability to agree a common line on the EU could have big implications for the framing of Germany’s response to Emmanuel Macron’s proposed reforms of the EU and, in particular, the French president’s vision of deeper eurozone integration. – FT (£)

David Paton: A Budget for Brexit to boost the UK economy: Why politicians should plan for reaping the benefits of a post-Brexit boom

To read many of the press reports about the Brexit negotiations, you might be forgiven for thinking that leaving the EU is a disaster waiting to happen that can only be averted by agreeing a deal with the EU with as few changes to the status quo as possible. If such a view prevails, the UK is in danger of missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revitalise our economy to the benefit of industry, consumers and the public sector. In truth part of the problem can be laid at the door of economists. Many in the profession have been quick to exaggerate the potential costs of a “clean” Brexit while downplaying or even ignoring the benefits. – David Paton for City A.M.

Telegraph: MPs voted to begin the Brexit process. They must not attempt to subvert it now

A Westminster war of attrition will not help the Brexit negotiating team, which is currently facing an obdurate EU position reinforced by an ultimatum to stump up more money within a fortnight or be denied further talks about trade and other arrangements. The political uncertainty at Westminster is emboldening the EU to prevaricate in the expectation that a domestic crisis in the UK can change the bargaining terms. Some MPs have genuine concerns over aspects of the Bill, notably the powers the executive is taking in order to strike down laws. But improving the measure is one thing; wrecking it quite another. MPs voted to begin this process by an overwhelming majority and they cannot now seek to thwart it through procedural paralysis. – Telegraph (£) editorial

Charles Moore: Only EU theology prevents the UK and Ireland from resolving their Brexit border issues

How ridiculous is the EU’s position about the Irish border in relation to Brexit. Britain and Ireland share a massive common interest in a border which is easy to cross. It is a commercial and human necessity – especially for the Republic. We established this in bilateral treaties many years before we both joined what was then the European Economic Community. We successfully maintained it – despite the need for vigilance because of terrorism – right through the Troubles. – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)

Fraser Nelson: Since Article 50 was triggered, a no-deal Brexit has been the default

Earlier this morning, Paul Mason made a point that you hear quite often: there’s no chance of no deal on Brexit, because there is no parliamentary majority for no deal. Michael Gove and John Redwood can say that “no deal is better than a bad deal” as much as they like, but they would not get that past the Commons. It’s understandable, given recently chaos, to imagine that if things are falling apart then Brexit might be one of them. Lord Kerr, who helped draft the Article 50 withdrawal clause, said last week that “the Brexiters create the impression that… having sent in a letter on 29 March 2017 we must leave automatically on 29 March 2019 at the latest. That is not true.” – Fraser Nelson for the Spectator

Roger Bootle: The political turmoil over Brexit is at odds with the economic reality

We are now entering one of the worst periods in the run-up to Brexit. The clock is ticking and EU negotiators are trying to ratchet up the pressure. Meanwhile, there appears to have been little solid progress with regard to the trade agreement that Theresa May has been seeking. The EU continues to press for more money upfront before it will deign to negotiate on trade. The British government should stand firm. There is nothing in the Lisbon Treaty to say that a departing country should make a large payment to the EU before starting trade talks. And there is nothing in economics justifying the payment of a large sum to the EU in return for “access” to the single market. – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph (£)

Juliet Samuel: A battle for the soul of global trade is raging while the British Government is fatally distracted

Is this “global Britain”? According to the Government’s official line, Britain outside the EU will be “going global” and becoming “a beacon for free trade”. These are worthy ambitions. Looking at the Government today, however, “global” is not the word that comes to mind. Consider the past two weeks. Even as the EU ratcheted up its rhetoric, three of Britain’s most senior ministers focused on international affairs became embroiled in scandals of their own making. Our defence and international aid ministers had to go, and the Foreign Secretary yet again managed to shoot his mouth off. The likelihood that we are forced to leave the EU with no deal, due both to our own Government’s incompetence and the EU’s absurd and excessive demands, is rising. – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)

Paul Goodman: May’s Brexit negotiating position has held up much better than some claim – or you may think

It cannot fairly be claimed, if one looks back at the story of the negotiation to date, that the Government has been driven off its negotiating fundamentals: leaving the EU by the end of March, 2019; quitting the jurisdiction of the ECJ; taking back control of our borders; ending Single Market membership, and ending Customs Union membership (currently the subject of another push by the EU27 and Commission over the Irish border). Furthermore, our media is not set up to probe the differences and divisions among our negotiating partners, which are no less real for not being adequately covered. Certainly, there are aspects of the strategy that should have been handled more deftly, such as the future of EU nationals in Britain, but its essence remains intact – however much a small minority of Conservative MPs, and others, might wish it to be otherwise. – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Brexit in brief

  • The Great Repeal Bill: Helping to remove the phantom financial services ‘cliff edge’ – Barnabas Reynolds for City A.M.
  • Ministers must not use Brexit to bypass democracy – Nicky Morgan MP and Yvette Cooper MP for the Times (£)
  • Remembrance Day should be a day of truce in the Brexit war – Samuel Coates for the Spectator
  • War metaphors have no place in the Brexit debate – Helene von Bismarck for the Times (£)
  • Brexit Britain is in denial over immigration – Matthew Goodwin for Politico
  • Europe’s four freedoms are its very essence – Wolfgang Munchau for the FT (£)
  • Letters: Conceding loads of money in EU negotiations will get Britain nowhere – Telegraph (£)
  • We should consider joining EFTA – which would give us the brake on unskilled EU migration that we may need – James Cartlidge for ConservativeHome
  • Jersey and Guernsey’s Chief Ministers are in the UK today to discuss Brexit – ITV News
  • Brexit’s critical five weeks: The key dates as the clock ticks – Bloomberg
  • British businesses eye up USA to cover Brexit shortfall as interest doubles in 12 months – Express
  • ‘Argument no-one else has made’ Wetherspoon boss reveals how UK can outsmart Juncker – Express
  • Sir Anton Muscatelli: ‘Give EU students free tuition after Brexit’ – Times (£)