EU to concede use of technology to maintain frictionless Irish border: Brexit News for Monday 17th September

EU to concede use of technology to maintain frictionless Irish border: Brexit News for Monday 17th September
Sign up here to receive the daily news briefing in your inbox every morning with exclusive insight from the BrexitCentral team

EU to concede use of technology to maintain frictionless Irish border…

The European Union is secretly preparing to accept a frictionless Irish border after Brexit in a move that raises the prospect of Theresa May striking a deal by the end of the year. In a concession to British concerns, EU negotiators want to use technological solutions to minimise customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Under the EU plan, goods could be tracked using barcodes on shipping containers under “trusted-trader” schemes administered by registered companies. This would remove the need for new border infrastructure…In a development that could help the prime minister to sell her Brexit plans to a sceptical party, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is working on a new “protocol” text outlining a plan to use technology to minimise checks. The proposals are to be circulated to European governments after the Conservative Party conference on October 3. – The Times (£)

…as Brussels looks at other ways of ‘de-dramatising’ the border issue…

Brussels is discussing with Dublin plans to put British officials — rather than EU inspectors — in charge of checking goods heading to Northern Ireland, as part of a bid to unlock stalled talks on the “backstop” plan for the Irish border. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is looking at the option as part of a move to “de-dramatise” the row over the Irish border, which remains the biggest obstacle to a Brexit deal at a special summit scheduled for mid-November… Under the proposal British officials would carry out limited checks at ports on the UK mainland to reassure Brussels that goods heading to Northern Ireland met single market rules. Checks could also be carried out on ferries or at factories on the mainland under “trusted trader” schemes. – FT (£)

…while Boris Johnson warns the EU’s existing Irish backstop would lead to  ‘a total write-off of Brexit’

The UK is heading full throttle for a total write-off of Brexit if it continues with Theresa May’s disastrous plans for the Irish border, Boris Johnson has claimed. The backstop deadlock is being used to force Britain into becoming a vassal state and the talks are on course to end in a “spectacular political car crash”, the former foreign secretary says. Mr Johnson said the European Union’s fallback position for the Irish border would mean Northern Ireland was “annexed” by Brussels. Alternative plans set out by Mrs May would “effectively” keep Britain in the bloc, he added. – Mirror

  • We are heading for a car crash Brexit under Theresa May’s Chequers plan – Boris Johnson MP for the Telegraph (£)

Theresa May declares: ‘It’s either my deal or no deal’…

Theresa May has told the BBC that MPs will have a choice between her proposed deal with the EU – or no deal at all. In an interview with Panorama, she is also critical of plans by Brexiteers to resolve the Irish border issue. But ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson claims the government’s failure to resolve the border question has led to a “constitutional abomination”.A BBC-commissioned survey indicates more people across the UK think the impact of Brexit will be negative.Speaking to the BBC’s Nick Robinson, Mrs May says that if Parliament does not ratify the Chequers plan “I think that the alternative to that will be having no deal”. – BBC News

…as Michael Gove says Chequers plan is right ‘for now’

MPs could undo the Chequers deal once the UK has left the EU, Michael Gove has claimed, saying the prime minister’s proposal was the “right one for now”. The environment secretary, a prominent Brexiter, has regularly made a similar case in private to MPs, urging them to back May to see through Britain’s exit rather than risk an impasse in parliament or a general election. If the EU changed its rules to disadvantage Britain, he said, it would be up to parliament to “chart this nation’s destiny” and potentially change the relationship, he said. – Guardian

> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel: Michael Gove on Marr 16/09/18

Nigel Farage to join cross-party tour of Britain drumming up support for a no-deal Brexit

Battles are set to ramp up yet again – as Nigel Farage prepares a tour of Britain trying to push a No Deal scenario. The ex-Ukip leader is teaming up with other senior Brexiteers and holding a series of high-profile rallies designed to put pressure on Theresa May. And the PM is also being squeezed on the other side as calls grow for a second referendum which could keep us in the EU. Mr Farage is leading the push to convince ministers they should ditch the proposals agreed at Chequers – and instead adopt a No Deal approach where we trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms. He is headlining at least six rallies over the next few weeks, visiting towns including Bolton, Torquay and Gateshead with the Leave Means Leave group. The former Ukip boss will speak alongside senior Tories such as David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg, as well as Labour figures including Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey. In a direct challenge to Mrs May, one rally will take place in Birmingham on the same day the Tory party conference starts in the same city. Businessman Richard Tice said today: “Leave Means Leave will be travelling across the country to make the case that the Prime Minister should chuck the Chequers plan and save £39billion by adopting a World Trade Deal.” The group is also placing adverts in local newspapers pushing for a WTO Brexit. – The Sun

Sadiq Khan accused of hypocrisy after calling for second EU referendum…

Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan was slammed for hypocrisy and trying to delay Brexit by both Labour and the Tories yesterday after he called for a second referendum on the final deal. In a Sunday newspaper article he said voters should have the final say on what happens next. But the BBC’s Marr Show played him an LBC clip of him speaking in July 2016 warning that holding a second referendum would lead to cynicism amongst voters. Last night Tory party chair Brandon Lewis said: “Labour need to rule out trying to delay Brexit. Across the country, Labour politicians are calling for a referendum rerun that would take us all back to square one. “Now they have gone further and admitted that they want to keep the UK in the EU beyond March 2019 – almost three years after the country voted to leave.”Brexiteer Tory Theresa Villiers insisted voters just wanted the Government to get on with the job. – The Sun


> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel:

Sadiq Khan grilled by Marr on his call for a second referendum

Jonathan Isaby discusses Khan’s call for a second referendum on Sky News

Jonathan Isaby discusses Sadiq Khan’s second referendum call on BBC News

…as dozens of local Labour branches submit conference motions supporting another public vote

A total of 151 Brexit-related motions have been submitted by local Labour parties, with dozens asking the party’s annual conference to back either a general election or a fresh public vote on the final Brexit deal.It comes after one of Labour’s most powerful figures, Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, called for another vote on Brexit, insisting there are now just two possible outcomes for the UK in the negotiations – either a bad deal, or a no-deal. It is likely to pile pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, who has refused to rule out the idea, but has consistently said that it is not Labour policy to support a fresh referendum. – Independent

  • Labour at war over a second vote on Brexit – The National

Poll finds most voters believe the Government has handled the Brexit negotiations badly…

Half the public believe Brexit will have a negative impact on the country, while an overwhelming majority are critical of the Government’s handling of the exit talks, according to polling. Just a third of voters think they will be better off in five years as a result of Britain quitting the European Union, the ComRes survey for BBC Radio 5 Live found. Some eight out of 10 voters, 79%, think the exit negotiations have been handled badly by the Government. – ITV News

…while another report reveals only one in six Brits trust the Government to tackle migration

A tiny 13 per cent of people think MPs tell the truth about immigration and one in six trust the Government on the issue, a shock study has found.The largest ever public consultation on immigration, coordinated by think tank British Future and anti-prejudice campaigners HOPE not hate, spoke to nearly 20,000 people across the UK, in face-to-face meetings and surveys.The gargantuan poll also found a third believe the UK should not offer a preferential immigration deal to the EU – even if businesses were to lose out. It comes ahead of the second Migration Advisory Committee report on EU migration and its effect on the economy – to be published Tuesday.The report’s authors urged the government to use Brexit to rebuild trust in the immigration system by engaging more with the public on it. The report makes 40 recommendations for the future of immigration policy. – The Sun

Independence poses a far greater threat to Scots than a no-deal Brexit, warn Scottish business leaders

Scottish independence would be at least eight times as damaging to the economy as a no-deal Brexit, according to business leaders who have vowed to mount a “forceful” campaign against a second referendum. A report published by the pro-union group Scottish Business UK (SBUK) will claim that the cost of leaving the EU without a deal will pale in comparison to the damage wrought on Scotland’s economy if the SNP achieves independence. – Sunday Times (£)

US has a ‘robust appetite’ for a great post-Brexit deal with UK, says Trump’s Ambassador in London

Donald Trump has a “robust appetite” to give the UK a great post-Brexit deal, America’s ambassador to Britain said last night. Woody Johnson, who has known the president for 35 years, said the “special relationship” between Britain and America would become ever more critical to “what we have to face in this rough world”. But the ambassador warned that the nature of any bilateral trade relationship would depend on our deal with the EU, saying: “If Britain gets tied up with too many EU mechanisms, you have to look at what’s left.”  The billionaire heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical empire and the owner of the New York Jets football team urged Britain to have faith in itself and its abilities. He said: “I’m very positive, no matter what form Brexit takes, that it will be good. I’d like to tell the British people to have confidence: have faith in your own abilities, your own culture, your own environment, your language and laws. “When you get your country back you can get whatever you want. It’s going to be good.” – Express

/*COMMENT*/

Boris Johnson: We are heading for a car crash Brexit under Theresa May’s Chequers plan

If the Brexit negotiations continue on this path they will end, I am afraid, in a spectacular political car crash. In the ensuing recriminations the road will be cordoned off. The investigative teams will roam around trying to work out how the British civil service – this purring Rolls Royce – could have come such a cropper. What distracted us? What caused us to swerve? How did Britain end up upside down in the ditch with all four wheels spinning lazily in the air? To understand the origin of the disaster, you need to go back a few hundred paces to a fatal patch of oil on the road. It is called the Irish backstop. That was where the skid began. If we are to get out of this mess, and get the great British motor back on track, then we need to understand the Irish backstop, and how it is being used to coerce the UK into becoming a vassal state of Brussels…We need to challenge the assumptions of both these Irish backstops, or we are heading full throttle for the ditch with a total write-off of Brexit. We are straining at the gnat of the Irish border problem – in fact we haven’t even tried to chew the gnat – and we are swallowing the camel of EU membership in all but name. – Boris Johnson MP in the Telegraph (£)

Priti Patel: First Project Fear, then Carney’s doomsday briefing. No. 10 must knock off the Brexit scaremongering

The Government needs to call time on its latest Project Fear campaign. It’s time they stopped talking down our country and started to believe in Britain and the tremendous opportunities that lie ahead after Britain leaves the EU. During the European referendum, the Treasury was rightly derided for its Project Fear campaign. They said 800,000 people would lose their jobs and the country would plunge into a deep recession. They said GDP would fall 6% while house prices would fall by 18% if we voted out. Against their regressive backdrop the British public voted to Leave and the fearmongering was proven false. Fast forward two years, the UK continues to have record employment, growing manufacturing output, over £100 billion of exports to the USA, more than twice as much as exports to any other country, and the UK economy is worth more than £2 trillion. Investors and businesses continue to set up in Britain as shown by Chanel who are establishing their global office for their global brand in Britain. Boom! Another glowing reference and sign of confidence in the UK. – Priti Patel MP for the Telegraph (£)

Iain Duncan Smith: Chequers is the worst of all worlds for us and the EU

Over two years since the referendum and with endless twists and turns inside Parliament you’d be forgiven for wondering why we haven’t left the EU already. During this time, a determined group of people, with vast funding, have sought to reverse the referendum result. Yet notwithstanding all the argument and double dealings of these people, one simple fact remains. In the biggest exercise in democracy ever in this country, some 33.5 million turned out to vote and by over 1.2 million votes the people voted to leave the EU.I have heard this dismissed by some as not binding because those who voted to leave didn’t understand what they were voting for. As one Remainer I heard put it, those who voted didn’t count as they were too old, too stupid and too poor to make such a decision.But the uncomfortable truth Remainers cannot escape is that the vote was binding on politicians and we must deliver on it. To that end, this week could be crucial for the Prime Minister, as she prepares to meet heads of government from across the EU in Salzburg…The PM should be conscious of this as well in Salzburg. That’s why she might want to reflect on the need to propose a new plan for a free trade deal and thus, in chucking Chequers in the city of Mozart, turn an operatic tragedy into one of harmony and hope. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for the Express

Kathy Gyngell: The Mail’s Brexit ‘suicide’ begins with a vengeance

It hasn’t taken long. I am referring to the Daily Mail’s Brexit re-education programme of its readers. We warned of the ramifications of the coup that ditched Paul Dacre in July. John Smith wrote in TCW: ‘For readers who intend to keep buying the Mail, brace yourselves for a kinder, softer, less probing and less interesting newspaper. In appointing Geordie Greig to the top job, I think Lord Rothermere has made the wrong decision. I also think he has made a big mistake. Time will tell.’ He reminded us of Dacre’s response to anxious readers that the paper would not stick to its guns on Brexit. ‘My answer to them – and others – is unequivocal,’ Dacre warned in the Spectator. ‘Support for Brexit is in the DNA of both the Daily Mail and, more pertinently, its readers. Any move to reverse this would be editorial and commercial suicide.’ It looks as though that suicide process has begun – with a vengeance. In the editor-in-chief’s grand office on the top floor of the Mail’s building in Kensington, the brooding Mr Dacre is present but powerless. It does not bear thinking about what must be going through his mind. Twelve days ago his successor as Mail editor, Geordie Greig, set out his stall, beginning as he clearly meant to go on, and within a week the Daily Mail’s ‘screaming handbrake turn on hard Brexit’ was under scrutiny in Press Gazette, the publication that reports on British journalism. – Kathy Gyngell for Conservative Woman

Tom McTague, David Herszenhorn and Jacopo Barigazzi: How Brexit deal will be struck

Get ready for the Brexit Big Bang. After more than a year of excruciating negotiations, and despite continuing fierce differences, the U.K. and the EU have reached a shared understanding of how they can clinch a deal. It will be hard, fast and with a bang, at a yet-to-be-arranged special summit in Brussels in November, according to senior government officials and diplomats in Brussels, the U.K. and other EU capitals. There is still no guarantee of success, particularly given the continuing sharp divide over how to solve the Irish border issue, and the timetable could yet slip further. But if a deal is clinched, according to the diplomats and officials in Britain, Brussels and Berlin, it will come at a highly scripted moment to be quickly followed by EU27 leaders approving the package. Both sides hope it will be a “transformative” political moment for Theresa May, with the goal of a jolt of momentum that will help the U.K. prime minister force a deal through parliament before her opponents can pick it apart. – Politico

  • Deal or no deal? May’s moment of truth on Brexit – FT (£)

Liam Halligan: UK growth rate does not warrant the gloom

‘But, Secretary of State, Britain is the slowest-growing economy in the G7,” declared one of this country’s most experienced broadcasters, in the midst of a radio interview about the Government’s preparations for a “no-deal” Brexit. It is often said that, since the vote to leave the European Union in June 2016, the UK has been at the bottom of the growth league among the world’s most advanced economies. This assertion is made with particular frequency, of course, by those determined to reverse that historic referendum result. Yet it’s not true. UK GDP expanded by 1.8pc in 2016, placing us ahead of the US, France and Canada, among others. Last year, our growth was 1.7pc – still better than Japan and Italy, both in the G7 the last time I checked. – Liam Halligan for the Telegraph (£)

Trevor Kavanagh:  Brussels will blink first — as they don’t want Jeremy Corbyn in No. 10 either

Theresa May flies to Austria this week on a desperate mission. Her task is to sell her botched Chequers deal on Brexit to 27 EU leaders who think it is rubbish.Her half-in, half-out formula has been trashed by Tories, Labour and even by Brussels. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it. But this self-described “bloody difficult woman” believes she alone can ram it through. Either she knows something nobody else does . . . or her fabled “polished turd” is about to hit the fan. – Trevor Kavanaugh for the Sun

Comment in Brief

News in Brief

  • Robot bricklayers ‘could be commonplace’ post Brexit – Belfast Telegraph
  • ‘One track’ SNP won’t help stop Brexit – The Scotsman
  • Austria and Germany pledge to ‘do all we can’ to avoid hard Brexit – The Independent