May accused of 'declaring war' on her MPs amid anger at 'Project Fear 2.0': Brexit News for Monday 7 May

May accused of 'declaring war' on her MPs amid anger at 'Project Fear 2.0': Brexit News for Monday 7 May
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Theresa May under fire for silencing Eurosceptics amid anger at ‘Project Fear 2.0’…

Theresa May has been accused of silencing Eurosceptics while allowing her pro-European Business Secretary to resurrect “Project Fear” over plans for a post-Brexit customs partnership with the EU. Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, suggested that 3,500 jobs at Toyota could be at risk if the Prime Minister bowed to pressure from other members of her Cabinet and dropped the plans… His intervention prompted a furious backlash from Eurosceptics, who said that Mr Clark’s intervention had been “licensed” by Downing Street. They accused No 10 of double-standards, highlighting the fact that Eurosceptics opposed to the Customs Partnership plan like Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and David Davis are unable to make their opposition publicly… A Eurosceptic Cabinet source said: “It’s Project Fear all over again, it’s not going to work. These tired old arguments were all trotted out during the referendum and the electorate wholeheartedly rejected them. It’s time we stopped fighting the battles of the past and went for a true Brexit. No 10 is silencing Brexiteers while unsubtly putting forward the Business Secretary to make the case for staying in the customs partnership.” – Telegraph

…as she is accused of “declaring war” on her Eurosceptic MPs…

Furious Eurosceptic Tory MPs accused Downing Street of reviving George Osborne’s anti-Brexit ‘Project Fear’ and being in the grip of “Remainers”. They insisted there was no way Greg Clark would make such an “extraordinary” public comment without backing from No.10… One senior Tory said: “This is declaration of war. They have decided they have nowhere else to go. But if enough people get fed up they will ask for a vote of confidence in Theresa May.” … Rattled Downing Street sources yesterday said it was “nonsense” to say Greg Clark’s comments were part of an orchestrated move. But business lobby groups [including] the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce had both tweeted support for Mr Clark – saying “practical” solutions were more important than “ideology” – within minutes of him speaking… Brexit backers predicted No.10 will place huge pressure on Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and new Home Secretary Sajid Javid to change their minds and back a customs partnership in the coming days. One said: “Watch this space, I expect Gavin to be offered the billions he’s been seeking for the Defence Budget any time now.” – The Sun

  • Theresa May accused of resurrecting ‘Project Fear’ after claims 3,500 jobs at risk over customs union deal – Telegraph
  • Greg Clark’s Project Fear 2.0 – Guido Fawkes
  • Brexiteer anger as May ploughs on with customs plan – The Times (£)
  • Brexiteers fury as Cabinet Remainers storm ahead with plans to tie us to EU with customs ‘partnership’ – The Sun
  • May risks ire of Tory rebels over customs plan – FT (£)
  • UK-EU customs partnership ‘still on table’, claims Greg Clark – BBC News
  • PM’s customs option remains on the table, Business Secretary insists – Sky News
  • CBI backs Greg Clark’s call for Brexit customs partnership – Telegraph
  • Coordinated Remain effort to back customs partnership – Guido Fawkes
  • Theresa May must stick to her guns and push for a customs partnership with the EU – Independent editorial

> WATCH: Open Europe’s Henry Newman: Big mistake for Number 10 to put customs partnership back on the table after decisive rejection

…as Jacob Rees-Mogg warns Theresa May’s ‘customs partnership’ would effectively keep UK in EU

The Prime Minister has put forward a hybrid “customs partnership” model which would see Britain collect tariffs on behalf of the EU for goods destined for the block, with firms potentially claiming back a rebate if products remained in the UK on a lower-tariff regime… Yet according to Mr Rees-Mogg, this would not work as “to be effective it would have to keep us in the single market as well,” he told ITV’s Peston on Sunday. He said it would be “odd” for the Prime Minister to back a policy that effectively breached her commitment on leaving both the customs union and single market, two policies she has previously set out… He told Robert Peston: “This Project Fear has been so thoroughly discredited that you would have thought it would have come to an end by now.” – ITV News

> WATCH: Jacob Rees-Mogg: Customs partnership means we would not be leaving EU

Arlene Foster calls for ‘less rhetoric and more engagement’ from the EU on the Irish border and Brexit

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said she she would like the European Union to take a more sensible approach to the Brexit negotiations. Mrs Foster said she would like to see less rhetoric and more engagement from the EU on the way forward. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, was in Northern Ireland earlier this week. Mrs Foster said she regretted the tone of what he had to say… Mrs Foster said the DUP did not believe that the UK needed to stay in the customs union to have “free flow between ourselves and the Republic of Ireland”. “In August of last year, the government put forward various proposals,” she said. “We were disappointed there was not the engagement from the European Union at that time. What we would like to see from the European Union is less rhetoric and actually more engagement in relation to the pragmatic way forward.” – BBC News

  • Foster: ‘Free flow’ Border possible outside customs union – Irish Independent

> WATCH: Arlene Foster: The British people voted to leave the customs union – that is our position as well

> Alexander Redpath today on BrexitCentral: Barnier is alienating Northern Ireland’s Unionists with his cynical behaviour on the Irish border

Fear of Corbyn’ prompts tough EU line on Brexit

Britain faces restrictions on post-Brexit trade and draconian measures to enforce free-market policies because the European Union fears a future Jeremy Corbyn government. Senior European officials have told The Times that concerns over Labour’s economic policies are the main reason for the EU’s insistence on a tough “level playing field mechanism” in a future deal after Britain leaves… EU negotiators are highlighting post-Brexit concerns about lower social and environment standards “because it is better public relations”, but European governments are more worried about the prospect of state subsidies and a return to public ownership in key services should Mr Corbyn become prime minister. “The idea that Conservatives would legislate a race to the bottom is a myth and no one really believes it, even if some Tories have helped create it. The real fear is state subsidies under a Jeremy Corbyn government,” a senior Brussels source involved in Brexit negotiations said. – The Times (£)

Top Labour MP Caroline Flint tells pro-EU Lords and MPs to ‘stop playing games’ over Brexit

Former Minister for Europe Caroline Flint said planned amendments to key Brexit legislation by peers in the Lords would bind Theresa May’s hands in the negotiations. And she said “passionate” Remain voters had to understand “most people feel we should get on it with it.” The Doncaster MP stormed: “I campaigned for Remain in the 2016 EU Referendum. We lost. “The country would probably have made the same decision had the referendum been held at any time in the previous decade. If Labour fails to stand by the 2016 vote, we risk alienating many traditional Labour voters.” – The Sun

  • Might some Labour MPs oppose a customs union? If so, are the Tory whips making contact with them? – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Britain would have been paying up to £22 billion a year to the EU in the 2020s had we voted to stay, says Change Britain

Brussels last week proposed a new Commission budget of at least £1.13 trillion for 2021-2027. Pro-Brexit Change Britain said that given our typical contribution during our membership, the Commission would have spent even more had we remained. And our share would have been £22 billion a year – or £431 million a week before any rebate – up from over £13 billion. Change Britain chair, ex-Labour MP Gisela Stuart, said: “These figures lay bare the eye-watering sums of money UK taxpayers would have had to hand over to Brussels had we voted to stay.” – The Sun

Tim Morris: Ignore the scaremongering. Britain’s ports can thrive after Brexit

There has been a lot of talk that Brexit will cripple our ports, clogging them up with paperwork and bureaucracy, with queues backing up on roads around them all over Britain’s coastlines. In fact, the opposite is true: Britain’s ports can thrive after we leave the European Union… [T]he large ports that handle container mega carriers – bringing products like the device you’re reading this article on – can in fact be as much as 95 per cent non-EU. UK ports already have the systems and processes in place to handle global trade highly efficiently and effectively… The UK can set regulation that is right for our competitive, private sector-led national context, rather than being lumbered with rules written for the statist monopolies elsewhere in Europe… A case in point is the wholly inappropriate EU-mandated Port Services Directive or ‘PSR’. The PSR is a ham-fisted attempt by Brussels bureaucrats to force competition onto a sector that is largely state run. But vigorous competition is already a hall mark of the UK major ports sector, producing benefits to consumers and exporters and delivering jobs and investment. So the PSR only succeeds in tying UK port operators in unnecessary red tape just as they should be – and the country needs them to be – redoubling their efforts to provide the best gateways possible for an independent trading Britain post Brexit. – Tim Morris, Chief Executive of the UK Major Ports Group, for ConservativeHome

David Goodhart: I was a Remainer, but I’m sick of the economic doom and gloom – Brexit is an exciting opportunity to do things differently

I voted Remain but like most moderate Remainers I accept that the other side won and now just want the best possible deal. I am agnostic on the Customs Union but increasingly frustrated by how uber-Remainers have framed the whole debate around the economic costs of Brexit. Before it is too late we need to focus on those areas of policy where we can, potentially, regain national control and change the way we do things. That will not only raise the spirits by reminding us of some of the good reasons why we have taken this momentous step, it will also better inform the key Brexit trade-off: do we retain close regulatory alignment to minimise economic disruption but thereby forgo our potential freedoms, or should we grasp those freedoms and risk an economic hit at least in the short term? – David Goodhart for the Telegraph (£)

Nick Ferrari: The pro-EU elite must stop lording it over us

Last week their naked ambition was laid bare. Put bluntly, they consider them­selves more intelligent and therefore more influential than you, the voters who delivered the mandate to leave the Euro­pean Union. In the eyes of those who packed the House of Lords to hand down yet another defeat to the Government over its Brexit stance, the idea of one man, one vote is a fallacy. You can have your votes; they can choose to ignore them. If you were one of the 17.4 million who turned their back on the EU be in no doubt: this ghastly crew of largely un­ elected no-­marks, lacklustre failed politi­cians and place-men and women who pick up a rather handy £300 a day just for turning up, view you as an ill-­informed and potentially racist moron. Never mind this was the biggest man­date seen in the history of this country. – Nick Ferrari for the Express

Comment in brief

  • Lords single market debate poses challenge to Corbyn and May – George Parker for the FT (£)
  • After Brexit, the use of English in the EU is likely to be even more common – Maïa de La Baume for Politico
  • For too long, the Party has appeased Brexiteer obsessives. It’s time for One Nation Tories to fight back – Nicky Morgan MP for ConservativeHome
  • Humanising the Home Office: Sajid Javid has a chance to show a more compassionate face of Conservatism – Times leader (£)
  • Leave vote has placated the public on immigration – Alex Massie for The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Lord Adonis apologises after tweeting ‘racist’ cartoon of Sajid Javid – Telegraph
  • Lord Adonis apologises for Sajid Javid cartoon tweet – BBC News
  • Nicola Sturgeon urged by former chief aide to focus on stopping Brexit, not indyref2 – Telegraph (£)