Minister quits, says May’s deal cedes control, and calls for second vote: Brexit News for Saturday 10 November

Minister quits, says May’s deal cedes control, and calls for second vote: Brexit News for Saturday 10 November
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Jo Johnson quits Government saying no-deal better than May’s deal, but calls for a second referendum…

The Government has been rocked by a resignation over Brexit policy from a minister who has concluded that the likely deal to be struck by the Government will “leave us trapped in a subordinate relationship to the EU with no say over the rules that will govern huge swathes of our economy”. But the minister in question is not a Brexiteer, but Remain-backing Transport Minister Jo Johnson, whose resignation reminds us that there is discontent at the Government’s position from all swathes of opinion on the Tory benches both inside and outside the Government. In his resignation blog post this afternoon he wrote that the Government’s proposals would leave the UK “out of Europe, yet run by Europe” – a line I first heard used by his brother Boris Johnson’s former parliamentary private secretary, Conor Burns, in his speech at the BrexitCentral rally at this year’s Conservative conference. – BrexitCentral

  • Jo Johnson said Britain now “stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War” – Telegraph (£)
  • Jo Johnson, brother of Boris, resigns over Brexit – Politico
  • Jo Johnson: Why I cannot support the government on Brexit – Sky News
  • Boris Johnson’s brother Jo Johnson quits over Brexit and demands a second referendum – The Sun
  • Jo Johnson resigns from UK government, calls for referendum to avoid Brexit vassalage or chaos – Reuters
  • Jo Johnson exit exposes Theresa May’s weakness – The Times (£)
  • Jo Johnson resignation could upend Brexit – Iain Martin for Reaction
  • Will Jo Johnson’s exit shift Brexit balance? – Laura Kuenssberg for BBC News

>WATCH: Jo Johnson quits over deal which would ‘cede control’ to Germany and France

…as it emerges he wrote the Tory pledge to honour the referendum result

Jo Johnson, who resigned today calling for a second referendum, was the lead author of the Conservative Manifesto in 2015 when the Conservatives pledged to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership and “honour the result of the referendum, whatever the outcome”: “David Cameron has committed that he will only lead a government that offers an in-out referendum. We will hold that in-out referendum before the end of 2017 and respect the outcome. “We will honour the result of the referendum, whatever the outcome.” Jo Johnson wasn’t just elected on a manifesto to hold a referendum and honour the result – he literally wrote the pledge himself. His actions today are the height of hypocrisy… – Guido Fawkes

May’s Brexit deal suffers major setback after EU ‘rejects’ UK arbitration mechanism

Theresa May’s hopes of securing a Brexit deal have suffered a major setback after the EU signalled it could not accept a key plank of the UK’s plans, HuffPost has been told.  The EU27 have rejected Britain’s proposed model for independent arbitration of a temporary customs partnership with the bloc, senior Whitehall sources have revealed. The fresh diplomatic roadblock emerged as rumours swirled that at least one Cabinet minister was on the edge of quitting in the wake of the resignation of transport minister Jo Johnson. The arbitration mechanism was seen by several members of the Cabinet -including Attorney General Geoffrey Cox – as crucial to the UK retaining its right to control any future links to the EU. But figures in Brussels have made clear in recent days they cannot accept the plan, creating an impasse that could spark fresh fears of a collapse in the talks and a ‘no deal’ Brexit. “They think they’ve got us on the run,” one senior figure told HuffPost. “But they haven’t. We’ve drawn a line in the sand.” – Huffington Post

UK economy grows at fastest rate since late 2016

The UK economy grew by 0.6% in the three months to September, with warm weather boosting consumer spending, the Office for National Statistics said. The figure for the third quarter is in line with predictions from the Bank of England and other forecasters. However, buoyant growth in July was offset by a slowdown in August and September. It is the highest quarterly growth figure since the fourth quarter of 2016, when the economy grew 0.7%. Analysts warned the economy had “little underlying momentum” and growth would decline in the final three months. – BBC News

Not only are the forecasts of collapse if we left the EU becoming more and more laughable with every quarter that passes. It now looks increasingly likely that we will actually out-perform the rest of Europe as we leave the EU – and that will surely change the debate. With our departure from the EU now just a couple of quarters away, the British economy appears to be trundling along perfectly happily. It is not spectacular, and not as good as the United States. But with record levels of employment, real wages rising and even the trade deficit falling, it is in perfectly decent shape.  – Matthew Lynn for The Spectator

Jeremy Corbyn tells Der Spiegel: ‘We can’t stop Brexit’

Der Spiegel: Not just Labour, but the whole country is extremely divided at the moment — not least because of Brexit. If you could stop Brexit, would you?

Corbyn: We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognize the reasons why people voted Leave.

Der Spiegel: Some people have argued that if Labour had had a pro-EU leader, the result of the Brexit referendum would have been different. What would the EU have to look like for you to support it?

Corbyn: I’ve been critical of the competitions policy in Europe and the move towards free market, and obviously critical in the past of their treatment of Greece, although that was mostly the eurozone that did that. My idea is of a social Europe with inclusive societies that work for everyone and not just for a few. – Der Spiegel

  • Jeremy Corbyn: ‘We can’t stop Brexit’- Politico

May faces rebellion threat over EU fishing ‘demand’

Theresa May could face fresh a fresh rebellion of Tory MPs over reported EU demands for access to UK fishing waters after Brexit. Senior Brussels diplomats were quoted in The Telegraph saying EU fishing fleets must be granted access in exchange for a UK-wide customs union forming part of the backstop deal. They reportedly want to “extract a high price” for the concession if a trade deal is not reached before the expected transition period ends in December 2020. The claims have raised anger from Brexit supporters. Sammy Wilson, Brexit spokesman for the minority government’s partner the Democratic Unionist Party, said Mrs May must face down the demand and keep her promises to the electorate. He added allowing EU fishing vessels access to UK waters was “going to raise the ire of Scottish MPs”.  – Sky News

Philip Hammond won’t rule out Northern Ireland backstop…

Chancellor Philip Hammond has been pressed on whether the Brexit withdrawal agreement will include an EU proposal to keep Northern Ireland tied to its customs union and single market. The proposal, a back-up plan to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic in the absence of a free trade deal, is opposed by the UK government. But the DUP suspects a reference to it could be included in the final withdrawal agreement, despite the prime minister telling them she could not accept any circumstances in which it would come into force. Mr Hammond told the BBC the government “will not do anything that puts our union at risk” but did not directly rule out such a “backstop” could be included in the agreement.  – BBC News

  • UK will not accept Brexit deal which separates Northern Ireland from UK says Jeremy Wright – Reuters

…after the DUP denounce ‘broken’ Brexit promise

Theresa May has gone back on a “promise” to her Democratic Unionist Party backers about the nature of the “backstop” clause to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland if U.K.-EU Brexit negotiations fail, the party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said Friday. May has said repeatedly that the EU’s backstop proposal to keep Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs zone if Brexit talks collapse is unacceptable because it would create an economic border within the U.K. – Politico

  • “The UK joined as one nation and must leave on that basis.” The DUP’s letter to May – full text – Conservative Home

Ministers present no deal plan to Theresa May

Cabinet ministers have presented Theresa May with a detailed plan for a “no-deal” Brexit amid increasing fears MPs will vote down her deal in the House of Commons. The plan emerged after Jo Johnson, a transport minister, resigned from the government over Brexit and vowed to vote against Mrs May’s deal in the Commons. A group of senior ministers briefed the prime minister on the secret plan earlier this month. It could be deployed in a bid to avoid a chaotic exit if no agreement can be reached or if a deal is voted down. The scheme would see the UK pay £18bn and continue to follow EU rules for a further 18-24 months after leaving in March with no deal, effectively as a third-party nation.  – Sky News

EU leaders demand scrutiny of Brexit deal

Theresa May has been dealt a blow in the Brexit negotiations by EU leaders ahead of a crunch week during which the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, had been expected to visit Brussels to unveil the negotiated agreement. Ambassadors for the EU27, including France and Germany, told the European commission that they would need to scrutinise any deal reached with the British before it was made public. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has largely been given free rein until now. An “optimistic” timetable would have seen Raab arrive on Tuesday to present the legal text agreed between the commission and the British government. – Guardian

David Davis says a no-deal Brexit is ‘not intimidating or frightening’

Leaving the European Union without a deal in March doesn’t scare former Brexit Secretary, David Davis. He tells Christopher Hope on this week’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, “I don’t find ‘no deal’ intimidating at all – it is not the best outcome but I don’t find it frightening. But the Government and the European Union do.” He admits “there will be a bumpy first year” after a no-deal Brexit but the UK will be able to keep the £39 billion ‘Brexit bill’, adding: “That’s a lot of hospitals and schools.” On the Brexit talks, Mr Davis says MPs should be given the full legal advice on Theresa May’s Brexit deal because it is “fundamental” to understanding the final deal. – Telegraph (£)

EU Council approves Medicines Agency relocation text

The Council of the EU approved the legal text today to relocate the European Medicines Agency from London to Amsterdam due to Brexit. The text confirms the drugs regulator will begin the move to a temporary location in Amsterdam from January 1, and that the Netherlands should take “all necessary steps” to ensure the agency can be housed in its permanent home from November 16, 2019. – Politico

Jo Johnson: Why I have resigned – and why we need a second referendum

Brexit has divided the country. It has divided political parties. And it has divided families too. Although I voted Remain, I have desperately wanted the Government, in which I have been proud to serve, to make a success of Brexit: to reunite our country, our party and, yes, my family too. At times, I believed this was possible. That’s why I voted to start the Article 50 process and for two years have backed the Prime Minister in her efforts to secure the best deal for the country.- Jo Johnson MP for The Spectator

Arlene Foster: Theresa May’s Brexit plan will ‘handcuff’ Britain to EU and leave Brussels holding the keys

Last week, I wrote to the Prime Minister outlining broad concerns about the direction of travel…I wrote in the hope of reassurance and with the desire that an acceptable deal for us all was within grasp.  Instead, I received confirmation that we were right to be concerned. If what is outlined in the reply is the type of deal the Prime Minister intends to conclude, then the DUP could not support a deal which annexes Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Indeed, many others in Westminster and throughout the United Kingdom, true to their commitments to respect the referendum, the national interest and to the Union, have contacted me to voice their concern.  Equally we cannot be assured that this current proposal will be the final deal. The European Union ‘price’ for agreement appears to rise daily whether it be our fishing industry or an ever-growing list of level playing field commitments. – Arlene Foster MLA for the Telegraph (£)

John Longworth: Brino will sink with Theresa May, leaving Clean Brexit to win the day

The Prime Minister is about to present to her cabinet, Parliament and the country with the worst deal in history. But ironically, after all these months of subterfuge and bullying, it now seems that she cannot win as all possible outcomes end with her removal as leader of the Conservative Party, a new cabinet, a new PM and a new policy. For some time I was a little gloomy as to the prospects of a proper Brexit being delivered, the Brexit that people voted for, but the passage of time – the proverbial ticking of the clock – has filled me with optimism as I can now see little prospect of the country avoiding a clean Brexit. – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

James Forsyth: Theresa May doesn’t have a Brexit deal to put to her ministers and the clock is ticking

There will be no emergency Cabinet meeting this weekend. Theresa May still doesn’t have a deal to put to her ministers. But with the clock ticking — on Tuesday the Cabinet was meant to decide on whether to book ferry space to bring in essential supplies in the event of no deal — there is an intense scramble on to get a deal.As one government source tells me: “If there’s no November Council, then no deal goes into overdrive.” With Mrs May determined to avoid no deal, there probably will be some kind of agreement shortly. But it will be flawed –– and Mrs May should say so. I admit this sounds odd: Why would a Prime Minister admit that a deal they have negotiated isn’t great? But if Mrs May tries to say that this agreement is perfect, and that there is no risk of any part of the UK getting stuck in the backstop — which would leave it in an EU customs union but with no say over the trade deals the EU is doing — then she will easily be disproved. – James Forsyth for The Sun

Robert Hutton: Can May get her Brexit deal through Parliament?

Theresa May is edging closer to a Brexit deal. But before anyone cracks open the English sparkling wine, she has to get it past Parliament, where she doesn’t have a majority and her Conservative Party is split. So how will she cobble together the votes? Target: 320. There are 650 members of Parliament in the House of Commons, known as MPs. Of these, the Speaker and his three deputies don’t vote. The seven members of Sinn Fein don’t take their seats. That leaves 639 MPs, so if everyone votes, 320 are needed for a majority. – Robert Hutton for Bloomberg

Comment in Brief

  • We could not be further from a Brexit deal, so let the Irish border showdown begin – Juliet Samuel for The Telegraph (£)
  • Is Blockchain the solution to the Irish border question? – Joel Casement of Get Britain Out for Comment Central
  • Why May’s Brexit deal is hard to stomach, but the alternative is worse – The Spectator podcast
  • Why everyone wants a taste of Brexit – Joanna Rossiter for The Spectator
  • Brexit drama? You ain’t seen nothing yet… – Mark Fox for Reaction
  • We’re entering the phase of this shambles where no sane Leaver or Remainer MP can put their name to May’s offer – Matthew Parris for The Times (£)
  • How far would the UK go to secure an all-UK customs backstop? – Aarti Shankar for Open Europe

News in Brief

  • Military ties will stay strong in no-deal Brexit, says forces chief – FT (£)
  • Lidington expects Brexit deal in coming weeks – Reuters
  • Irish PM says Brexit deal in coming weeks ‘more likely than not’ – Reuters
  • German minister says Brexit deal more likely than not – Reuters
  • Brexiteers will vote down Theresa May’s deal even if PM seals exit from EU’s customs union rules – The Sun
  • Labour’s Diane Abbott tells pro-EU campaigners Leave would win a second Brexit Referendum – The Sun