Brexit News for Saturday 11 November

Brexit News for Saturday 11 November
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UK has two weeks to offer clarity on bill or trade talks will not open, claims Michel Barnier…

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator, today set Britain a two week deadline to make sufficient progress in the Brexit talks and kickstart discussions on a future UK-EU trade deal. The EU is refusing to talk trade or a possible transition deal until it judges enough progress has been made on the contentious issues of the Brexit bill, Ireland and citizens’ rights. Theresa May in her Florence speech promised the EU 20 billion euros to cover Britain’ EU Budget contributions until the end of the current financial period in 2020.  She said the UK would honour its commitments to the EU. – Telegraph (£)

  • Barnier gives UK two weeks to clarify key issues – BBC
  • Brexit MPs warn Theresa May over EU’s ‘unacceptable’ divorce bill demand – Independent
  • ‘Don’t be bullied by the EU’ says Jacob Rees-Mogg – Express
  • Barnier’s Brexit deadline highlights May’s political weakness – Isabel Hardman for the Spectator
  • Whatever David Davis says or promises the EU — it will never be enough for Michel Barnier – The Sun editorial

…as David Davis stands firm on Irish border issue

Any deal between Britain and Brussels cannot jeopardise the “constitutional and economic integrity” of the United Kingdom, David Davis has warned as he adopted a tough posture on Northern Ireland. Speaking after the conclusion of the latest round of Brexit negotiations, Mr Davis admitted there had been “frank discussions” on the question of the Irish border. A leaked EU paper concluded that the avoidance of “regulatory divergence” on the island of Ireland was “essential” to safeguard the peace process — meaning that the province would have to maintain the rules of the EU’s single market and customs union. – The Times (£)

  • EU demands to keep Northern Ireland in single market – Daily Mail
  • Davis stands firm on Irish border – BBC
  • EU wants to split Northern Ireland from Britain – The Times (£)
  • Irish PM calls for Ulster to stay in single market ‘due to Gerry Adams pressure’ – Express
  • EU threatens the Republic of Ireland with a hard border – John Redwood’s Diary
  • The government should admit the need for a hard border in Northern Ireland – The Times editorial (£)

UK industrial output jumps in September

The UK’s industrial output grew at its fastest pace so far this year in September, according to official figures. Production rose by 0.7% compared with the month before, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, boosted by machinery and equipment output. Separate data showed the UK’s trade deficit in goods and services narrowed by more than expected in September. However, construction output fell by 1.6% in the month, the ONS said. ‘Mixed’ outlook The increase in industrial production was better than analysts’ forecasts, and the fastest growth seen since December last year. Manufacturing output – a subset of industrial output – also rose by 0.7% in September. – BBC

  • The economy is growing faster than we think – Allister Heath for the Telegraph (£)

Government reportedly facing rebellion from pro-EU Tories over plans to enshrine Brexit date in law

Theresa May is facing a rebellion from pro-European Tory MPs who have vowed to vote against her “crass” plans to enshrine the date the Britain leaves the European Union in law. The Government on Thursday tabled an amendment which formally commits Britain to leaving the European Union at 11pm on 29 March, 2019 ahead of a debate and vote in the Commons next week. She also warned Tory rebels in an article in The Daily Telegraph that she would not “tolerate” attempts to “stop or delay Brexit” as the EU withdrawal bill makes its way through Parliament. – Telegraph (£)

Brexit trade deal could be blocked by EU members claims Article 50 author

A future trade deal between the UK and Brussels could be blocked by referendums in European Union countries, a former Foreign Office chief has indicated. Lord Kerr, the architect of the Article 50 process for leaving the European Union, hit out at Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as he claimed voters were in danger of being “misled” over Government claims that Brexit could not be reversed. – PA

The true cost of EU membership – almost £1 billion a week

Membership of the EU is costing Britain almost £1billion a week, a new study has revealed. It puts the true cost of Brussels rule at £980million – almost treble the disputed figure of £350million quoted by Boris Johnson in the referendum campaign and displayed on the side of the Vote Leave battle bus. The revelation came as British and EU negotiators began the sixth round of Brexit talks in the Belgian capital yesterday.  And it was welcomed by Eurosceptics who said it showed why we need to leave the European Union as quickly as possible. – Express

Daily Express: European Court of Justice rules ‘violent offender’ will stay in the UK

This is a man who has 30 criminal convictions and has been jailed many times for assaults, robberies and possession of a knife.Yet this “prolific and violent offender” (the judge’s words) has been awarded (by the same judge) £78,500 in compensation. This is because the judge ruled that the Home Secretary had unlawfully kept Mohammed in prison for 445 days while there were attempts to deport him. So £78,500 is his payment for about 15 months spent in prison. – Express editorial

Kathy Gyngell: The good news about Brexit – not brought to you by the BBC

Those of you locked out behind the Financial Times paywall may have missed this bit of Brexit good news, reported by their Financial Editor Patrick Jenkins a few days ago: ‘A week ago UBS became possibly the first big bank to come out with an upbeat view on Brexit. Via a combination of public announcements and private briefings, it became clear that the Swiss bank now planned to move only 250 or so jobs from London to an EU location such as Frankfurt, or just 5 per cent of its London headcount. At the start of the year, it had sounded alarm bells over a possible move of 1,000 roles’. – Kathy Gyngell for ConservativeWoman

Steve Moore: Forget the Twitter echo chamber of doom – most of us are happier and more content than ever before

Inside the SW1 beltway, it is easy to conflate the sclerotic Brexit process and the daily toll of scandals and incompetence in Westminster, and assume that, as the New York Times Steve Erlandger has it, we are undergoing a ‘full blown identity crisis’. But it would be a category error to do so. Just look at the numbers. This morning, the ONS published the latest national well-being survey and guess what? We are overwhelmingly satisfied with our lives, feel that what we are doing is worthwhile, and are happy on a daily basis. In fact these are the highest ratings for personal well-being since the survey was first carried out in 2011.  – Steve Moore for Reaction

Daily Telegraph: Theresa May has to justify a Brexit strategy based on compromise

Maybe it is time to bring on the Brexiteers. Some Eurosceptic MPs are reportedly warming towards offering cash for access and there is plenty of talent within the Cabinet that ought to be deployed to sell the policy. Unfortunately, they are either under fire or tied up with controversy, some of which defies sense. For instance, what Boris Johnson said about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe – mistakenly suggesting that she had been teaching journalism when she was arrested in Iran – was regrettable, but the domestic response has been disproportionate. – Telegraph editorial

Lee Rotherham: Civil service dissidents must rout the Remainers

Psychologically, Brexit will have been a shock to departmental seniors. For decades, the acquired wisdom has been that the UK’s future is strategically associated with the EU institutions, and that the best the UK could achieve was to mitigate and slow the process of integration. What was lacking, in their eyes, was an alternative. EFTA was thought to be delivering free trade too slowly, so, incredibly, Whitehall planners bought into what would turn into the red tape alternative. EEC membership, despite all its political sores, was seen as unavoidable to an elite that had lost its nerve. Perhaps ironically, it was this fallacy that proved to be the one key element of the old fatalistic mindset that the Thatcher Revolution missed. – Lee Rotherham for ConservativeWoman

Comment in Brief

  • Why the Government is resisting calls to devolve Brexit powers at once – Henry Hill for ConservativeHome
  • Neither Remainers nor Leavers have a leader – Matthew Parris for The Times (£)
  • The devolution drift must change if we’re to take back control after Brexit –  Jessica Studdert for ConservativeHome
  • We’ll never stop Brexit or Trump until we address the anger fuelling both – Jonathan Freedland for the Guardian

News in brief

  • Sturgeon ‘substantially in dark’ over Brexit talks – BBC
  • David Davis says City is ‘very much in my mind’ as Brexit talks resume  – Telegraph
  • Tory MP and Brexiteer touted as next Conservative leaderThe Sun
  • Why Italy should back Britain in talksExpress
  • Fury amid fears UK could join EU Army after Brexit – Express