Brexit News for Monday 7 August

Brexit News for Monday 7 August
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Government reportedly willing to accept £36bn Brexit bill once the EU agrees to talk trade…

Senior Whitehall officials have concluded that such an offer – the first time a precise figure has been proposed – is the only way to break the current deadlock in negotiations. However, the UK will only agree to pay the sum – equivalent to €40 billion – it if the EU agrees to negotiate the financial settlement as part of a deal on future relations, including a trade deal. Three separate sources in Whitehall and government with knowledge of the UK’s negotiating strategy confirmed the figure, dismissing previous reports that Theresa May would agree to a £50bn bill as “too high”…“We know their position is €60bn, but actual bottom line is €50. Ours is closer to €30bn, but the landing zone is €40bn, even if the public and politicians are not all there yet,” the senior Whitehall source added. – Telegraph (£)

…but Downing Street rejects the figure as “far above” what was being discussed…

Theresa May last night ruled out paying a £36 billion “divorce bill” to leave the EU after Tory MPs warned it would not get through parliament. Downing Street denied that Mrs May was prepared to meet Brussels halfway on how much the UK will continue to pay the EU after it leaves to break a deadlock in negotiations. Sources close to the prime minister said £36 billion, the figure reported by The Sunday Telegraph, was far above what she was willing to consider or was being discussed… Both EU and British sources have described €40 billion as the possible “landing zone” for a settlement covering Britain’s withdrawal and a likely transition period until the end of 2022. – The Times (£)

  • Downing Street denies UK willing to pay €40bn Brexit divorce bill – Guardian

…as Brexit negotiators are accused of trying to ‘ram through’ the £36bn bill while Eurosceptics are on holiday

Brexit negotiators have been accused of trying to “ram through” a £36bn divorce bill while most of the Cabinet is on holiday amid a furious backlash from ministers and senior eurosceptic Conservatives… The scale of the divorce bill has infuriated eurosceptic Cabinet ministers and Tory MPs, many of whom believe that Britain is under no legal obligation to pay anything when it leaves the EU and should in fact get some money back. – Telegraph (£)

  • Conservative MPs angered by reports of £36bn Brexit ‘divorce bill’ – Sky News
  • Eurosceptic Tory MPs claim ‘absurd’ £36bn Brexit bill will struggle to get past Parliament vote – The Sun
  • Eurocrats want Britain to pay for basket case EU economies crippled by Euro – Express
  • Stop calling it a Brexit ‘divorce bill’: Britain and Europe are neighbours, not lovers – Dia Chakravarty for the Telegraph (£)

Michael Gove says EU boats will still fish British waters after Brexit

Michael Gove has told European fishermen that they will still be able to catch “large amounts” in British waters after Brexit because Britain’s industry cannot process all the fish itself. The environment secretary, speaking during a trip to Denmark, said Britain did not have the boats “or the production facilities to catch all the fish in British waters”, according to reports in the Danish media. The comment, made as the first round of withdrawal talks between Britain and the EU continues, has delighted the European fishing industry but alarmed the British one. – The Times (£)

  • Gove confirms post-Brexit foreign access to UK fishing grounds – BBC News
  • Farage slams Gove for saying Britain’s waters will be open to Europe – Express

Spain vows not to try to recover Gibraltar during Brexit talks

Authorities in the tiny rocky outcrop fear Spain will influence the complex negotiations between the EU and Britain in order to try to gain authority over Gibraltar. But in an interview with Spain’s conservative daily ABC, [Spanish Foreign Minister] Alfonso Dastis said he didn’t want to “jeopardise” the deal by demanding that Gibraltar change its status – a stance that Britain would likely never accept.” “I won’t make an agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom conditional on recovering sovereignty over Gibraltar,” he said. – Telegraph

  • Greek MEP demands Elgin Marbles become part of Brexit negotiations – Telegraph

Cabinet minister Priti Patel clarifies Government’s Brexit stance on free movement

Ms Patel, the International Development Secretary, told Sky News: “There’s a very clear position and that position has been outlined by the Prime Minister in her Article 50 letter but also through the negotiations being led by David Davis. “You know, come March 2019, the United Kingdom will be leaving the European Union. With that, that means we’ll be taking back control of our borders and our immigration policy, which means an end to free movement.” – Sky News

  • Labour MPs ask Corbyn to commit to free movement post-Brexit – Guardian
  • Labour divisions erupt again as MPs demand free movement stays after Brexit process is complete – Daily Mail
  • Young EU migrants could be given two-year work visas ‘to boost economy’ after UK leaves – Independent

> WATCH: Priti Patel tells Sky News that freedom of movement will end in March 2019

Lib Dem boss Sir Vince Cable accuses hard-line Leavers of being ‘Brexit jihadis’ who are prepared to become a ‘martyr’ for our EU exit

In a bizarre intervention, the new party leader blasted those who voted to quit the EU and were willing to accept economic pain as a “badge of honour”. The Remainer was referring to fresh polling last week which said that 40 per cent of Brexiteers are so dedicated to the cause of our EU exit that they would be prepared to lose their jobs in order to ensure it goes ahead. – The Sun

  • Not martyrs or masochists: Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable launches a ferocious attack on desperate Brexit fanatics whose zealotry is igniting a new McCarthyism – Sir Vince Cable MP for the Mail on Sunday
  • Older MPs are older and more rebellious than ever, new research shows – Telegraph
  • ‘Father of the House’ Ken Clarke vows to keep fighting against Brexit – FT (£)
  • Vince Cable is wrong, the opportunities of Brexit appeal to all ages – Telegraph editorial

> Darren Grimes on BrexitCentral today: Vince Cable is irresponsibly and divisively stirring up generational tensions over Brexit

Jean-Claude Juncker dismisses talk of calling off Brexit

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, has rebuffed claims that Britain will not leave the EU and said he expects Brexit to happen. Mr Juncker’s comments come after Malta’s prime minister and Ireland’s Taoiseach cast doubts over whether the UK will ultimately leave the bloc…Vince Cable has also predicted that Brexit will not, in the end, happen, despite the British government’s insistence that Brexit means Brexit. – Telegraph

  • Member states rebel against Juncker’s ‘completely inappropriate’ threat to start US trade war – Express
  • Jean-Claude Juncker interview on Brexit, Donald Trump’s management style and his own record in office – Florian Eder for Politico
  • European Council President and former Polish PM Donald Tusk admits ‘question mark’ over Poland’s EU future – Express
  • Donald Tusk questioned by Polish prosecutors over plane crash – Sky News

Irish PM Leo Varadkar: ‘I do not want an economic border’

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said he wants free movement of people, goods and services between the UK and Ireland after Brexit… In a speech at Queen’s University, Belfast, Mr Varadkar said: “I do not want an economic border on the island. Nor do I want one between Ireland and Britain. And by an economic border I’m not talking about currency or variations in tax rates, I am talking about a barrier to free trade and commerce.” – ITV News

  • Irish PM calls for specially created EU-UK customs union after Brexit – FT (£)
  • Irish PM proposes new customs union or “deep free trade agreement” with the UK – Guido Fawkes
  • Irish PM Varadkar urges Stormont parties to return to powersharing as Brexit looms – Sky News
  • Leo Varadkar warns ‘clock is ticking’ on Brexit talks – BBC News
  • Ireland’s Taoiseach talks tough on Brexit – James Forsyth for the Spectator
  • The Irish Government is playing a dangerous game on Brexit and Northern Ireland – Eamon Delaney for the Hibernia Forum

Theresa May must prepare ‘credible’ plan for no Brexit deal, says former Bank of England Governor Lord King…

Lord King said: “If you are going to have any successful negotiation, you have got to have a fallback position which the other side understands and believes is credible. So we need to able to say if we can’t reach an agreement we will nevertheless leave and we can make it work.” He added: “It’s not the first preference of anybody, I’m sure. But it’s got to be a credible fallback position otherwise those negotiating on the other side will not take any notice of what we would like to achieve in the negotiations – why should they, if we had absolutely no alternative but to give in to what they demand?” – Telegraph

…as current BoE Governor Mark Carney predicts that the UK’s financial sector could double in size in 25 years

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England (BoE), believes the UK’s financial sector could double in size within the next 25 years. In comments made to the Guardian on 10 July and published today, Carney said the City could prosper after Brexit to reach a size 20 times as big as GDP. Carney said that “if the UK financial system thrives in a post-Brexit world, which is the plan, it will not be 10 times GDP, it will be 15 to 20 times GDP in another quarter of century because we will keep our market share of cross-border capital flows.” – City A.M.

  • Brexit transition deal important to avoid economic harm says Mark Carney – City A.M.
  • RBS unveils £939m profit – and plans for a small Amsterdam HQ after Brexit – City A.M.
  • Swiss private bank Julius Baer expands in UK with new offices in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow – City A.M.
  • Real danger for City is slow suffocation, not cliff-edge Brexit, warns finance chief – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)
  • For the City to flourish post Brexit, it is vital everyone plays by the rules – Stephen Martin, IoD Director General, for the Telegraph (£)
  • The Bank of England tells us we have a supply-side problem – Gerard Lyons for NetWealth

Business group urges cabinet to agree on Brexit transition

The Institute of Directors (IoD) called on the cabinet to come up with a “transitional agreement” to smooth the move to Brexit. It wants it to bridge the “the Brexit Gap” between leaving the EU and setting up new trading arrangements… The group criticised the cabinet for engaging in what it called “a range of speculative arguments over transition”. – BBC News

  • IoD backs Philip Hammond’s vision for a transitional deal – City A.M.
  • Senior Tory MP Andrew Bridgen calls for Philip Hammond to be sacked for attempting to delay Brexit – Express
  • Keep the transition simple, and focus Brexit negotiators’ efforts on the eventual, permanent deal – Marcus Fysh MP for ConservativeHome
  • Transition: a solution searching for a problem – Peter Lilley for the Telegraph

NHS to recruit an army of British nurses after Brexit instead of paying expensive agency staff

Officials in the Department of Health are drawing up a new workforce plan to create thousands of posts for home-grown nurses amid concerns that fewer medical professionals will come to the UK after Brexit… [Health Secretary Jeremy] Hunt has already unveiled plans to expand the number of medical training places to skill up an extra 1,500 British doctors every year from 2018/19. – Telegraph

Government setting up trade dispute resolution body with 130 staff

Britain is setting up a body to tackle trade disputes when it leaves the EU, government advertising has revealed. The Department for International Trade is creating the UK Trade Remedies Organisation, which it hopes will be operational by October 2018, six months before Brexit in March 2019. The body wants to recruit about 130 staff, but may have little to do immediately after Brexit if Britain has an association with the EU customs union that prevents trade deals during a transition. – The Times (£)

Conservative MPs: Brexit is not a problem to be overcome – it is an opportunity to be seized

Supporting Brexit is too often portrayed as a vote to turn the clock back. Nothing could be further from the truth. For us, the Referendum was about two competing visions of Britain’s future – and we are excited about our prospects as a dynamic, global, independent nation. It is vital we start emphasising this optimistic vision. Because if we sleepwalk into seeing the next two years as an exercise in damage limitation, we will wake up to find a once in a generation opportunity has slipped through our fingers. – Rishi Sunak MP, Suella Fernandes MP, Will Quince MP, Kit Malthouse MP & Michael Tomlinson MP for the Telegraph (£)

Wolfgang Münchau: The UK cannot stay in the EEA

We are now reading that a group of Labour and Tory MPs want to force a vote “to keep the UK in EEA, at least for a transitional period”. We hate to break it to you, but no, you can’t stay in the EEA. After March 2019, you are a third country. You will not be in the single market. You will not be in the customs union. The EEA is a treaty between the EU, of which the UK will no longer be a member, and all but one Efta country… There is no off-the-shelf package to pick from as Philip Hammond put it. We know of course what he means – a continuation of the status quo minus political representation, for a time-limited period… This is what we presume people mean when they talk about EEA membership. But it is nothing of the kind. The UK and the EU agree on applying EU rules to the UK for a time-limited period. – Eurointelligence

Catherine McGuinness: Don’t worry about finance jobs moving abroad – our capital’s appeal is unique

What London can offer is unmatched by the other EU member states vying for the regulatory agencies. From top quality schools and universities, to a rich, vibrant and thriving cultural scene, the capital provides world class attractions in culture, arts, entertainment, dining and open spaces – it is unique. Whatever happens, the UK will remain the place to be for financial and professional services across Europe and around the world. – Catherine McGuiness, Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation, for City A.M.

Juliet Samuel: If Britain is to avoid more Brexit mistakes, we must rid ourselves of our German delusions

Germany has no Machiavellian plan to create and rule an EU superstate. Its citizens just tend to think, haughtily, that other Europeans would be better off if they were more, well, German. And in many cases, they are right. Britain’s misunderstanding of Germany is behind many unforced errors… Eurosceptics thought German pragmatism and love of free trade would set the tone for Brexit, but failed to factor in Berlin’s rigid, ideological commitment to the EU… By understanding Germany’s particular priorities, we can avoid provocative rhetoric about its trade surplus and instead use language – of shared democratic values and responsible trade – that generates goodwill. – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)

Pieter Cleppe: Don’t believe the bad news about Brexit

Nobody should blame the British media for taking a critical look at whatever the British Government does. A scrutinising media is a great asset and mainland Europe can probably learn something from the UK. But when it comes to Brexit negotiations, there’s plenty of negativity being reported, and not enough attention paid to the progress being made. – Pieter Cleppe for CapX

Sunday Telegraph: Britain wants friendship, the EU wants a fight

Indeed, the progress of these talks – or lack of it – reflects a cultural divide. The British are simply on the look-out for a good bargain, to part with the Europeans as friends we can do business with. Brussels, by contrast, is stubbornly bureaucratic, opaque and prepared to cut off its nose to spite its face. And that is exactly why Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016. – Sunday Telegraph editorial

Daniel Hannan: Why we should all embrace depending on the rest of the world for our food

For Britain, a net food importer with relatively efficient farms, the CAP was an especially bad deal: in 2014, we paid in £4.6 billion and got back £2.9 billion. Those figures are enough to tell us that, after Brexit, we can give our consumers and our taxpayers a better deal while still supporting our farmers. Buying food at world rather than EU prices would, according to OECD figures, cut grocery bills by 17 per cent. – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit comment in brief

  • Twelve principles to unite Remainers and Leavers – Daniel Hannan MEP for ConservativeHome
  • Project Fear was nothing more than a colossal Treasury blunder – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph (£)
  • Ready on Day One to meet the Brexit Borders Challenge – Charlie Elphicke MP for ConservativeHome
  • Look to the communications sector for how an open-facing UK can thrive outside the EU – Mark Gallagher for City A.M.
  • Europe needs to stop treating British holidaymakers like cattle if they actually want tourists to visit – Tony Parsons for The Sun
  • ‘We respect the referendum result, but…’ – Mick Hume for spiked
  • Brexit negotiations are a sham, it is time for Britain to walk away – Gerald Warner for Reaction
  • Britain can uphold our bold but sensitive approach to regulation while seizing opportunities in agriculture and medicine – Matt Ridley for The Times (£)
  • How the Government can give us all a Brexit bonus – Joseph Hackett for Get Britain Out
  • Western leaders must take a harder line on the migrant crisis and crack down on sea crossings – Clare Foges for The Times (£)

Brexit news in brief

  • UK to deepen trade in Asia as Minister paves way for ‘wealth of opportunity’ with trip to South Korea and Malaysia – Express
  • Government wants to lower cost of exporting whisky as part of post-Brexit trade deals – Sky News
  • Brexit uncertainty putting brakes on new car market – Mail/PA
  • Brexit negotiations ‘have not begun well’, claims former mandarin Sir Simon Fraser – BBC News
  • Pro-EU activists to stage ‘stop Brexit’ march during Tory conference – Guardian
  • Merkel tells Trump she regrets opening borders to migrants – Express
  • MEPs reveal plans for EU army, navy and air force deployable without national MPs’ approval – Express
  • Britain should introduce UK-only passport lanes, says minister – Telegraph
  • Fight back with UK-only passport lanes – minister urges reaction to EU’s ‘abusive’ border – Express
  • Billionaire sports tycoon confirmed as US ambassador to Britain – The Times (£)