May to appoint Cabinet Minister for 'no deal': Brexit News for Monday 8 January

May to appoint Cabinet Minister for 'no deal': Brexit News for Monday 8 January
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Theresa May set to appoint a ‘Cabinet minister for no deal Brexit’ in reshuffle…

A “Cabinet minister for no deal” is to be appointed by Theresa May as part of the reshuffle of her top team which begins on Monday, the Telegraph can reveal. The new minister is likely to be based in the Department for Exiting the European Union alongside David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, to provide regular updates on preparations for leaving the EU without a trade deal. They would attend Cabinet and control a significant budget, but would not be a Secretary of State. The appointment will be seen as an attempt by the Prime Minister to demonstrate to her EU counterparts and to Brexiteers that Britain is serious about leaving the EU without a deal if talks fail. – Telegraph (£)

  • Theresa May ‘to appoint minister for no deal’ – The Sun

…while Brexit-supporting Andrea Leadsom is reportedly to be replaced

Theresa May is to reshuffle her cabinet on Monday, with a number of new faces expected to join her top team. No 10 has described reports Education Secretary Justine Greening and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be among those moved as “all guesswork”. Current ministers reported to be vulnerable include Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Business Secretary Greg Clark and party chairman Patrick McLoughlin. Philip Hammond, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd and David Davis are among key figures expected to stay in place. – BBC

  • Raab, Stewart, Rees-Mogg and Cleverly are our panel’s top choices for Cabinet promotion – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome
  • Parliament returns to face 2018’s pivotal questions – Andrea Leadsom for the Times (£)

This must be more than just a managerial exercise. The Government faces what is arguably the most crucial 12 months in recent UK history, the year when the country’s long-term future will be decided. Brexit will inevitably influence the Prime Minister’s dispositions, with the prospect of a minister charged with preparing the country for 
no deal, a pragmatic, if controversial, idea. It is of paramount importance that the team at the centre of these momentous events should be of the highest possible calibre. This means promotions should be made on the basis of ability and not of tokenism. – Telegraph editorial (£)

  • Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle must be boldSun editorial

FT claims ministers want UK to remain in EU medicines agency with ECJ oversight

Britain is pushing to remain under EU regulation for medicines after Brexit, the latest sign ministers want to stay close to Europe in some sectors despite the bloc warning the UK cannot “cherry-pick” parts of the single market. The move follows calls for the UK’s chemicals and aviation industries to continue to be regulated by EU agencies, keeping them within Europe’s standards and safety regime and under the auspices of the European Court of Justice. Three senior government figures have told the Financial Times that the UK hopes to be regulated by the European Medicines Agency, even as the body moves from London’s Canary Wharf to a new post-Brexit home in Amsterdam. – FT (£)

Cameron ‘feared being ousted if he didn’t agree to EU referendum’

David Cameron feared he would be ousted as Tory leader if he did not commit to holding a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, his former communications chief has said. Sir Craig Oliver said Mr Cameron would have been hit by a wave of Conservative defections to Ukip if he had not promised to give the country the opportunity of an in/out vote. In an interview for the BBC Radio 4 series The Cameron Years, Sir Craig said Eurosceptic backbenchers had been “lining up” to become “kamikaze pilots” and bring him down. Following months of speculation, the then prime minister announced in January 2013 that there would be a referendum if the Conservatives were returned to power in the general election in 2015. – Birmingham Mail

Farage to be ‘the voice of 17.4 million’ as he meets Michel Barnier today

Nigel Farage will seek to cast himself as the voice of 17.4 million leave voters when he meets the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Brussels. The lifelong Eurosceptic campaigner is due to meet Barnier at the European commission headquarters on Monday at 11am (1000 GMT). Speaking on his LBC radio show on Sunday morning, Farage claimed the EU had not heard the views of 17.4 million leave voters and argued immigration was the main factor that had driven people into the polling booths. “I genuinely don’t think Mr Barnier has heard the views of the 17. – Guardian

Weak pound and global growth drive manufacturing rebound…

Manufacturers in the UK are celebrating a surge in growth as the strong global economy combined with the weak pound pushes up demand for British goods. Industrial production – which includes manufactured goods as well as output from mines and energy firms – is thought to have risen by 0.4pc in November, returning to growth after a flat October. Official figures on Wednesday are expected to signal the return of a sustained expansion for British industry. “The world economy is buoyant, the eurozone is buoyant, the pound is very competitive,” said Martin Beck at Oxford Economics. “This is perfect if you are an exporter, it is a sweet spot.” – Telegraph (£)

  • British factories cash in on overseas demand The Times (£)
  • UK factories optimistic for 2018 despite Brexit concerns – Guardian

…as Ford picks Britain to build diesel engines for best-selling US pick-ups

Ford is to build thousands of new diesel engines in the UK, as the US car giant prepares a non-petrol alternative for its iconic pick-ups across the pond. A diesel version of the Ford’s best-selling F-150 truck is to go on sale in the US this spring, the firm announced today. Ford is hoping to gain a marketing edge in the popular pick-up market, as rivals also explore more efficient engines. With petrol prices stabilising in the recent months in the US, pick-up sales have surged. In 2017 Ford sold 896,764 F-series trucks, its biggest year since 2005. – City A.M.

What May told Marr: the PM’s thoughts on NHS, rail fares, Brexit and Trump

May said she expected to reach an agreement with the EU on a transition – or “the implementation period”, as she put it – by the end of March. She indicated that she expected the “meaningful vote” parliament has been promised on the final Brexit deal to take place before the end of the year. – Guardian

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s Youtube Channel: Theresa May talks Brexit on Andrew Marr

Strip out-of-touch political parties of their tax-free status, say furious Leave donors facing huge bills

Letters which could lead to tax demands running into millions of pounds have been sent to major Leave donors, as well as a Remain donor. In the letters the tax authorities seized upon a relatively obscure area of inheritance tax laws which forces people to pay the 20 per cent tax upfront on large “gifts”. Donations to major parties with more than one MP are tax-free. The demands will disproportionately hit Leave supporting donors because the various ‘out’ campaigns were financed by entrepreneurs rather than mainstream publicly listed companies which tended to back Remain. Mr Hosking gave £1.6million to the Leave campaign and so is facing a potential inheritance tax bill of up to £320,000 from HMRC. – Telegraph (£)

Brexit donors are understandably aggrieved at HM Revenue and Customs’ inheritance tax grab on their personal donations at the time of the referendum (report, December 28). Until such time as HMRC pursues donors to the Remain side as well as Leavers or produces precedents of prior tax gathering efforts in previous referendums (to say nothing of Remain’s IHT-immune corporate backers or the £9 million taxpayer-funded leaflet), they will suspect this to be part of a witch hunt by an Establishment countering the result of the referendum. The question is less whether the HMRC grab is lawful, than which public figures have nudged them to act in this un-British, capricious and retrospective way? And why did it take 18 months to produce this hindsight tax that no one had thought of before? – Jeremy Hosking and Stuart Wheeler’s letter to the Telegraph (£)

EU regions demand Brexit compensation from EU budget

Regions most exposed to Brexit want the European Union to create a special fund to mitigate the pain. Calls from across the Continent for the EU to help cushion the impact of the U.K.’s departure come ahead of an intense push to draft the EU’s next long-term budget plan. Brussels confronts not just the Herculean task of filling a €9 billion-per-year hole that will be left by the U.K.’s departure, but also reconciling competing visions of how the budget should be used to tackle major issues such as migration. – Politico

Scottish Government to release post-Brexit economic impact predictions

The Scottish Government is to release its predictions of post-Brexit economic impact, as part of a push to remain in the Single Market. Analysis will focus on the most “realistic” trade options the UK will face on leaving the EU and will detail growth, investment and productivity among other measures. It comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the first few months of 2018 as a “window of opportunity” for protecting Scotland’s place in Europe. She said: “The Scottish Government believes that continued membership of the EU is the best option for Scotland and the rest of the UK. – The Herald

  • Nicola Sturgeon urges Scots to be “assertive” over Brexit – The Herald

Juliet Samuel: If the EU refuses a Brexit deal for the City, we should abandon its vast regulatory nonsense

War and Peace is 1,200 pages long. Bleak House spreads to 1,000. Dodd-Frank, the US’s sprawling overhaul of financial regulations after 2008, runs to 848 pages – earning itself the nickname “Dodd-Frankenstein”. And the EU’s bumper trade deal with Canada reaches a hearty 1,600 pages. Last week, surmounting all of these achievements, the EU introduced a truly spectacular piece of regulation. “Mifid 2” is its name and it weighs in at a princely 7,000 pages. That’s 1.4million paragraphs, or six Bible-lengths. It must surely be a contender for the longest piece of red tape ever. – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)

Roger Bootle: Ignore the doom-mongers. Brexit should be a cause for optimism

Last week I wrote on the outlook for the UK economy in the year ahead without even mentioning Brexit once. This was not accidental. Nor was it because of a suspicion that you are all bored to death by the subject (although you may well be). Rather it reflected my judgment that the Brexit negotiations will not play a major role in determining how the economy fares this year. – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph (£)

Michael Sippitt: The glass is full of opportunity when it comes to global trade

Despite President Trump’s America First philosophy, the UK’s bumbling (though still unclear) exit from the EU, or any number of other “glass half empty” stories that dominate the news, the reality for business generally is that life goes on and deals can and must be done. Undoubtedly, certain important industries fear any new barrier to the international trade on which they have long built their business models, so often reliant on complex supply chains with multiple cross border product flows. Damage to such industries does of course carry risk for some national economies and directly affected workers. – Michael Sippitt for City A.M.

Warwick Lightfoot: We should subsidise farmers for providing ‘public goods’

Brexit presents a big opportunity to improve the way we support farming and put the consumer at the heart of food policy. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has, at great expense, reduced agricultural productivity by lessening competition and supporting inefficient farmers. – Warwick Lightfoot for City A.M.

Larry Elliott: Why the UK economy hasn’t led to buyer’s remorse

We’ve all been there: that moment when you get home and realise you didn’t want that new jumper and couldn’t really afford it either. It is known as buyer’s remorse, and it was a concept that gave the remain camp comfort as it reeled from the shock of defeat in the EU referendum vote in June 2016. In the context of Brexit, buyer’s remorse meant that people who had voted to leave would quickly regret what they had done because the economy would plunge instantly into the stonking recession predicted by the Treasury in the run-up to the plebiscite.- Larry Elliott for the Guardian

Brexit Comment in brief

  • Keeping order at the border – to prepare for a smooth Brexit – Charlie Elphicke MP for ConservativeHome
  • European Union countries are taking the wrong approach on defence – Peter Lyon for TheConservative
  • Ranting Remainers just can’t get used to losing – Michael St George for ConservativeWoman
  • If Remainers want to stop Brexit, they should make the transition period last as long as possible – John Rentoul for the Independent

Brexit News in brief

  • Merkel battles to save future as parties split over migrants – The Times (£)
  • Who’s who in the Bulgarian EU presidency – Politico
  • Firms face cash VAT demand on European goods after Brexit – The Times (£)

And finally… Chairlift diplomacy turns to Brexit in parliamentary ski race

For the past 62 years a delegation of British MPs has traipsed to the ski slopes of Switzerland to learn a thing or two from their counterparts about surviving a hazardous decline. This year the seven-strong team had other reasons to ask the advice of the Swiss, grilling them on life outside the European Union and the single market. The captain of the British team, Henry Smith, Tory MP for Crawley, came 8th out of 22 in the 940m slalom race in Davos, albeit the best performer from the Westminster delegation. Mr Smith said: “Switzerland is a country that has never been a member of the European Union or the single market . . . nevertheless there are significant parallels and therefore we had some useful political discussions.” – The Times (£)