May's customs partnership 'all but dead' after Gove joins Boris in savaging proposal: Brexit News for Monday 14 May

May's customs partnership 'all but dead' after Gove joins Boris in savaging proposal: Brexit News for Monday 14 May
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Theresa May’s customs partnership plan ‘all but dead’ after Michael Gove joins Boris Johnson in savaging proposal…

Ahead of a crunch Cabinet showdown on Britain’s future trading relationship with the EU on Tuesday, the Environment Secretary said the Prime Minister’s favoured option has “significant question marks” over it. The leading Brexiteer said Mrs May’s system was “flawed” and would leave Britain acting as the EU’s “tax collector”… Appearing on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Gove was pressed on what he thought of the Foreign Secretary’s comments. He said: “Across Government, across Cabinet, there is agreement that neither of these two models is absolutely perfect. And with the new customs partnership, Boris pointed out that because it’s novel, because no model like this exists, there have to be significant question marks over the deliverability of it on time.” – The Sun

  • Gove doubts whether No 10 customs plan is ‘deliverable’ – BBC News
  • Michael Gove casts doubt on post-Brexit customs deal – The Times (£)
  • Damian Green: We’ll end up with Max Fac – Guido Fawkes
  • Theresa May’s Brexit options attacked by Conservative factions – FT (£)

> WATCH: Michael Gove: Customs Partnership would make UK ‘tax collector’ for EU

…as Gove says May must ‘crack on’ with Brexit to head off danger of customs union

The Environment Secretary stressed it was “critical” to avoid any extension of the current customs regime, despite widespread doubts about the Government’s ability to deliver an alternative by the end of 2020. Mr Gove also warned that Britain will end up being a “tax collector” for the EU under Theresa May’s current proposals for a customs partnership, even before a Cabinet working group to improve the plan has had its inaugural meeting… Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith warned Tory rebels that if they try to keep Britain in the customs union they will “literally plunge a knife into the heart of Government and particularly to the Prime Minister”. He reminded them that leaving the customs union “was in the manifesto and all my colleagues stood on that”. – Telegraph (£)

  • Michael Gove rules out extending Brexit transition deal after Brussels plans to keep Britain under EU rule for extra six months – The Sun

> WATCH: Michael Gove: No extension to transition period

Labour’s Brexit chief Keir Starmer can’t say how leaving EU will benefit Britain and refuses to rule out second referendum

Required to finish the sentence “Brexit will be good for Britain because…” he said it was “very difficult for me to complete” as he voted to Remain in the referendum. This is despite the fact he is in charge of his party’s policy on Brexit – which is for the UK to leave the single market and the customs union. Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, Sir Keir also failed to rule out a second referendum, after reports student unions around the country are calling for another vote… Asked if Labour could back a second referendum he did not explicitly rule it out, instead he replied: “Well, the focus of our attention has been that there should be a meaningful vote in parliament.” – The Sun

> WATCH: Sir Keir Starmer can’t name any benefits of Brexit

Theresa May’s post-Brexit immigration policy set to be unveiled after ordering Sajid Javid to speed up plans

Britain’s much-anticipated post-Brexit immigration policy will be unveiled within weeks after Theresa May ordered new Home Secretary Sajid Javid to speed up the plans. His predecessor Amber Rudd triggered alarm among Brexiteers by repeatedly delayed publication of the new immigration proposals – and officials said they wouldn’t be ready until the autumn. But No10 said the Prime Minister has now intervened to ensure Mr Javid publishes an immigration White Paper before the summer recess in July… It means Britain’s post-Brexit immigration policy will be published before the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee’s exhaustive study of the labour needs of each sector of the economy in September. – The Sun

  • May intervenes to speed up new UK immigration plan – Politico

DUP’s Sammy Wilson accuses Irish FM Coveney of having head ‘stuck in sand’

The DUP MP Sammy Wilson has accused the Irish foreign minister of having his head “stuck in the sand” for refusing to consider technology as a solution to the Irish border. Simon Coveney dismissed the idea of using such infrastructure post-Brexit on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme. He claimed it would put the Good Friday Agreement at risk and a seamless border was the only answer. Mr Wilson said he was “belligerent, interfering and Brit bashing”. He claimed the tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) was using Brexit as an “excuse to break-up the UK”. “The fact is that the border issues can all be dealt with by technology but Coveney and co have stuck their heads in the sand, refusing to even consider this solution,” he added. – BBC News

> WATCH: Simon Coveney: I’m not flexible on the Irish border

> WATCH: Iain Duncan Smith: EU playing poor political game with Northern Ireland border

City headhunter claims bosses increasingly doubt UK will fully leave the EU

Doubts about Brexit going ahead were becoming more common in business, sources said, and some of the City’s most respected figures had become increasingly confident about discussing the possibility that Britain could remain in the bloc. Kit Bingham, a headhunter at Odgers Berndtson, which works for two thirds of companies in the FTSE 100, said that he routinely heard senior figures questioning whether Brexit would happen. “Increasingly they tell us, albeit generally in private, that a Brexit in name only, with the current customs, trading and regulatory rules still in place, is the most likely way forward,” he said… Samuel Tombs, an economic forecaster, said that the transition deal would probably become permanent, adding: “Brexit will be continually delayed as much as possible.” – The Times (£)

Britain must do more to make money from bright ideas in science and technology after Brexit, minister says

Britain must return to its roots as a “science and technology superpower” if it is to make the the most of Brexit, the Universities and Science Minister has said. Sam Gyimah has called on Britain to rediscover its “spark of genius” and to turn bright ideas generated in universities and laboratories into commercial success… Mr Gyimah adds that the Government has shown it is intent on seizing the opportunities thrown open by Brexit via a £4.7bn fund for science and research, the largest increase in investment since Britain first voted to join the European Economic Community. Today, he will join Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, in launching UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a new national funding agency which will see eight existing bodies responsible for financing academic research merge… While Britain has been at the forefront of coming up with the “best innovations”, Mr Gyimah acknowledges that all too often ideas that germinate here often end up being “developed and commercialised elsewhere”. – Telegraph (£)

  • Britain must reclaim its place as the world’s great innovator to prosper after Brexit – Sam Gyimah MP for the Telegraph (£)

MI5 chief calls for post-Brexit security plan in face of Vladimir Putin’s ‘aggressive and pernicious actions’

The head of MI5 will appeal to European leaders on Monday not to put at risk their “shared strength” by weakening security and intelligence sharing after Brexit. In a speech to European security chiefs, Andrew Parker, MI5’s Director General, will tell them that continued cooperation has never been more crucial in the face of Russia’s “aggressive and pernicious actions”. Mr Parker’s intervention made pointedly in Berlin – the first time a serving head of MI5 has given a public speech on foreign soil – comes at a critical time in Brexit negotiations. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, is expected to lay out Brussels’ vision on security at a conference on the same day, having previously said the UK will cease to have any involvement in security and defence planning once it leaves the EU. – Telegraph (£)

  • UK urgently needs post-Brexit foreign policy plan, House of Lords committee says – Bloomberg
  • Britain’s security requires constant review against terrorist groups and malign states – Times leader (£)

EU regulation that will cost UK £1bn to be imposed ‘after we have left’

Fury at “overburdened and heavy-handed” EU regulations looks set to continue even after Britain has “legally left” the bloc. Shock reports [this weekend] showed how dozens of UK theatres face shut down as they scramble to implement a new EU regulation which will come into force by 2020… Hugh Bennett, from Brexit Central, called the move, which could cost British theatres £1 billion, “a classic example of EU micromanagement”. Speaking on Sky News, Mr Bennett said: “It may look fine on paper to Eurocrats who have spent their entire life at the commission, and never had a real job. But out there in the real world, it has consequences. It is the small theatres and the small businesses who face those consequences. The theatre community is by no means pro-Brexit, but to have the entire industry unite against this shows just how poorly thought through it is.” – Express

> WATCH: Hugh Bennett attacks EU theatre light ban

Telegraph: There is so little time left to get Brexit right. What is Theresa May doing?

The EU summit, at which key decisions are due to be made about the UK’s post-Brexit customs arrangements, takes place at the end of next month… This means just five weeks remain for this matter to be settled; and yet the Government has not even got a unified position… If these divisions are so fundamental, it is hard to see them being settled in five weeks. One side will need to give way and Mrs May is determined it will not be her… Is it the PM’s strategy to call all these bluffs by maintaining uncertainty until the last minute, when she will push for her preferred option as the only way of avoiding a breakdown? In her weekend article, she promised to deliver Brexit but said compromise was needed. The question many Leavers are now asking themselves is whether the Brexit on offer will be worth it. – Telegraph editorial (£)

Peter Lilley: Sovereignty or prosperity? It’s a false choice. They go hand in hand

The issue has returned because the Government’s “EU Exit Analysis” claims that if we ‘take back control’ from the EU we will be worse off than if we remained – even as a non-voting member – inside its main institutions. As a professional economist, I learnt that to evaluate an economic study one must elucidate the assumptions on which it is based. These are often well hidden – even from the authors’ consciousness. Although the EU Exit Analysis claims it is based on a different methodology from the Treasury’s referendum Analysis of the Long Term Impact of EU Membership, both are based on the same three assumptions… Taken together the Treasury’s assumptions imply that big countries should grow faster, and therefore be richer, than small countries. So Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and New Zealand should be among the poorest countries of the Asia/Pacific, not among the richest. And how come Switzerland, Norway and Iceland (not only small, but outside the EU) are the richest countries in Europe? And why has Europe, since establishing the largest, most integrated Internal Market, been the slowest-growing continent in the world? – Peter Lilley for ConservativeHome

Juliet Samuel: Brexiteers believe they are in control. But their position is far weaker than they think

Each time it seems as if Theresa May is about to betray the Eurosceptics, she pulls back. But her conciliatory feints disguise the truth: the Brexiteers are in a weak position, and it’s getting weaker. At the heart of this weakness is the agreement that Mrs May struck in December. Few Brexiteers except Mr Gove seem to realise it, but that was the moment when the Prime Minister gave up on everything they want. Her policy since then has been to drift until confronted, and then make a “strong statement” to convince the Eurosceptics that she’s still on board. Surprisingly, this seems to be working. Mrs May surrendered on two major issues: the cash and the Irish border… In her desperation for a “breakthrough”, the Prime Minister agreed to a form of wording that is wholly incompatible with her Brexit promises… Despite all of this, the Brexiteers act relaxed. When I asked Parliament’s chief Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg, why, he shrugged it off. The Irish backstop is a “meaningless” piece of paper, he said. Legally, perhaps. But diplomatically, that piece of paper is a set of shackles, and it’s one that the EU and Ireland fully intend to use. – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)

Lord Mayor of London: A National Trade Academy for educating the next generation of British exporters

I have visited Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Indonesia, and I can say with confidence that the phrase “Made in the UK” is held in very high esteem. It is seen as a hallmark for quality. The problem is that we are not fully capitalising on this reputation. The unfortunate truth is that while we are producing exceptionally high-quality products and services, we need to work harder at bringing them to the world’s markets… One of the opportunities of exiting the EU is that we will be able to forge an independent trading relationship with the rest of the world, especially the many countries which are growing rapidly. – Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of London, for City A.M.

Roger Bootle: Our PM must show leadership and ditch any form of customs union

The case for remaining in the EU in some shape or form increasingly reminds me of one of those creatures from Greek mythology that can grow umpteen heads. As soon as you have chopped one off, another appears. Theresa May is still interested in the plan for a new customs partnership (NCP) which we thought had been killed off by a vote against it in the Brexit inner Cabinet. But apparently not… [T]he customs union and the single market may appear to be mere details. But they aren’t. They go right to the heart of what the EU is about. The customs union dates back to the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. It also goes right to the heart of the EU’s budget. For about 12pc of its total income comes from the tariffs that we, and other members, are bound by the customs union to levy on imports from outside… The single market works well for goods but it is very patchy indeed for services. Our comparative advantage lies mainly in services, whereas the rest of the EU’s lies mainly in goods. So under the single market we have opened up our markets to the things where they have a comparative advantage, but they have done very little to open up theirs in the areas where we have a comparative advantage. – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph (£)

Comment in brief

  • Does the EU fear that Britain outside the union will thrive? – Martin Townsend for the Express
  • Attacking Britain as racist is pious drivel – UN academic’s shoddy report into a supposed surge of Brexit xenophobia twisted the facts to fit a predetermined view – Libby Purves for The Times (£)
  • PM is right to go back to basics with Brexit – Express editorial
  • May must show leadership on Brexit – Anna Soubry MP letter in The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Norwegian PM Solberg says London should reconsider Norwegian model despite its ‘political deficit’ – FT (£)
  • EU’s three poorest members want to join the Euro – Bloomberg
  • UK government to host summit on why other countries should join the EU – Independent
  • David Miliband relaunches political career 8 years after brother Ed stabbed him in the back by joining anti-Brexit group – The Sun
  • David Miliband joins Nick Clegg and Nicky Morgan in call for soft Brexit – Sky News
  • Corbyn must change stance, says Lord Kinnock – BBC News