David Davis 'to lead Cabinet revolt against Theresa May' over 'stitch up' customs deal with the EU: “Brexit News for Saturday 21 April” is locked Brexit News for Saturday 21 April

David Davis 'to lead Cabinet revolt against Theresa May' over 'stitch up' customs deal with the EU: “Brexit News for Saturday 21 April” is locked	 Brexit News for Saturday 21 April
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David Davis ‘to lead Cabinet revolt against Theresa May’ over ‘stitch up’ customs deal with the EU…

David Davis is leading a Cabinet revolt over plans by No 10 to strike a deal with Brussels that Brexiteer Tories say would be a ‘betrayal’. The Brexit Secretary objects to plans by Downing Street to stay in a customs ‘partnership’ with the EU that would allow the UK to strike trade deals around the world – but collect import tariffs on behalf of Brussels. Mr Davis is understood to have told No 10 that the idea is unworkable and would be greeted with fury by many Tory MPs. He is believed to be supported by other Cabinet Ministers, including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. And Mr Davis is publicly backed today by one former Government Minister, who argues that the plan could lead to the ‘complete derailment’ of Brexit. – Mail on Sunday

…although the Telegraph suggests Theresa May would back the ‘hybrid’ plan…

Theresa May is backing a plan for Britain’s future relationship with the European Union that would tie up firms in regulation and make trade deals with other countries “impossible”, senior Brexiteers have warned. Well-placed sources told The Sunday Telegraph that Mrs May had signalled her support for a “hybrid” plan drawn up by senior civil servants under which a post-Brexit Britain would collect customs duties on the EU’s behalf for goods destined for the bloc. The warnings came amid broader concerns about whether the Government could back down on its pledge to leave the customs union altogether, amid overwhelming opposition in the House of Lords and the prospect of a fresh Commons vote this week. – Telegraph (£)

…while the Sunday Times claims Theresa May ‘may surrender over customs union’

Theresa May’s team has privately admitted she may have to accept permanent membership of a European customs union, after a secret wargaming exercise concluded that even Brexiteers such as Michael Gove and David Davis would not resign in protest. The prime minister has insisted that the UK will leave the common tariff area so it can pursue free trade deals outside the EU. But one of May’s political team told a meeting on March 20 that she and senior aides “will not be crying into our beer” if parliament forces the government’s hand — a position that will enrage some Brexiteers. The Lords voted last week to stay in a customs union and 10 Tory MPs are expected to do so in the Commons, overturning May’s majority. In the crunch meeting — attended by Oliver Robbins, May’s chief Brexit negotiator — officials predicted Gove and Davis would accept that outcome while only Boris Johnson and Liam Fox would be likely to quit. The foreign secretary has publicly said staying in a customs union would be “worse” than remaining in the EU. – Sunday Times (£)

  • May warned of no confidence vote if she backs down on customs union – PoliticsHome
  • Ministers must rein in their naked ambition and focus on making Brexit a success – The Sun says
  • Boris Johnson and Michael Gove ‘risk wrecking Brexit’ with Tory leadership plot – Sun on Sunday

> Hugh Bennett on BrexitCentral on Friday: The EU is cynically exploiting the Irish border to try to keep Britain under the thumb

> Joseph Hackett on BrexitCentral last year: The ‘New Customs Partnership’ – untested for a very good reason

David Jones MP: Bang goes Brexit if we fall for this customs con trick – Former minister David Jones on how the EU is ‘trying to bully us into a bad deal’

I suspect that Brexit Secretary David Davis’s wily Brussels counterpart, Michel Barnier, is simply preparing the ground for a grand ‘compromise’ in which, ever so reluctantly, the EU signs up to something it apparently did not want. It is all part of the tortuous negotiation dance, a baroque ballet to befuddle the Brexiteers. I tell the Prime Minister today that such a con trick on the British people cannot be countenanced. I speak for many Tory MPs when I say that whatever the consequences, we could never vote for it. Far better for Britain simply to go – to leave the EU on open, honest terms. – David Jones MP for the Mail on Sunday

  • Why the Government’s customs partnership proposal won’t work – Bernard Jenkin MP for ConservativeHome
  • Globalists versus little Europeans – John Redwood’s Diary

Project Fear got its sums wrong by £100 billion, economist claims

The author, Timothy Congdon, a world-leading monetary analyst, describes Mr Osborne’s doom-laden forecasts as “preposterous”, pointing out that they were incorrect by nearly five per cent of GDP. Describing the consequences of this enormous error as “seismic”, Mr Congdon said: “Instead of employment falling by hundreds of thousands, it has risen by hundreds of thousands. “Instead of house prices going down, they have gone up. Instead of the public finances lurching more heavily into deficit, they have been better than at any time since the Great Recession. “Above all, Mr Osborne’s scary rhetoric about a return of the Great Recession now looks preposterous. Despite all his supposed capability, he could not have been more wrong.” – Express

EU warns UK ‘cannot be trusted’ with sensitive data, as hopes fade for future EU-UK security partnership

Britain’s hopes of building a deep security partnership with the EU have been cast into fresh doubt after Brussels issued a warning to EU member states that the British government cannot be trusted to handle sensitive crime data, the Telegraph can reveal. The potentially provocative move by the European Commission’s Brexit negotiating team has raised questions among British officials about whether Europe is “really serious” about having an enduring and stable relationship with the UK after Brexit. It comes after UK ministers threatened this week to quit the EU’s new €10bn Galileo satellite network over EU threats to block the UK from using its military applications because of concerns over the UK’s data security standards. – Telegraph (£)

EU investment fund closes door on UK tech start-ups

The EU’s investment arm has shut down funding to British start-ups in a move that deprives young technology companies of a key source of financial support. The European Investment Fund put just €61m (£53m) into UK-focused funds last year, a 91pc drop on 2016. The freeze comes despite UK taxpayers continuing to fund the EIF, which is majority owned by the European Investment Bank. The fund has, at times, accounted for up to a third of all the investment in UK-based venture capital funds. – Telegraph

Jacob Rees-Mogg skewers the Home Office for ‘deep-rooted failures’ over immigration

Mr Rees-Mogg, who is the head of the 60-strong European Research Group of Tory backbenchers, said the Home Office was “failing to manage policy properly”. The MP said: “We are not the sort of country that demands to see your papers, but I’m afraid pro-Europeans think we should be. They buy into the EU-style relationship between individual and state. It’s a shift to the state being powerful and individual being weak.” This follows on from weeks of pressure on Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Theresa May. – Express

Vince Cable urges SNP to give backing to second Brexit vote

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has urged the SNP to put the “wider national interest” before “narrow party advantage” and back proposals for another Brexit referendum. His party wants a public vote once the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU are known. Nicola Sturgeon has said a second ballot could become “irresistible”, but has stopped short of fully endorsing one. Addressing the Scottish Lib Dem conference in Aviemore, Sir Vince said support for the campaign to stop Brexit was building. – STV

President Trump could visit UK as early as July

U.S. President Donald Trump will visit Britain midway through 2018, possibly in July, British newspapers reported on Saturday, citing government sources in Washington and London. A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said officials were still working out the details of a visit by Trump after the Daily Mail, citing a British government source, said that dates in mid-July have been pencilled in. Britain is keen to reinforce its “special relationship” with the United States as May’s government prepares to leave the European Union, a divorce that will shape the country’s standing in the world, but Trump has yet to visit London. – Reuters

Bernard Jenkin: Anti-Brexit Lords are pitting Parliament against the people

The Brexit wreckers in the House of Lords have started to inflict significant defeats on the Government this week. They plan to send back to the Commons a raft of amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which are designed to subvert Brexit, or even stop it altogether. Of course, the Lords — like much of the British Establishment — are completely out of touch. Probably 80 per cent of peers or more voted Remain, including the ex-EU commissioners and former civil servants and diplomats who sold Britain down the EU river in the first place. They forget. Parliament voted overwhelmingly to have the referendum. The people voted Leave in the largest single democratic vote ever held in our country. Parliament voted overwhelmingly to invoke Article 50, which implemented the final decision to leave. More than 80 per cent of voters at the last election backed parties who said they now supported Leave. The Lords are entitled to challenge the Commons to think again on any piece of legislation, but this is beyond that. – Bernard Jenkin MP for the Sun on Sunday

> J C D Clark on BrexitCentral today: Remainers cannot claim to have the ‘constitution’ on their side when they invoke ‘parliamentary sovereignty’

> Shanker Singham on BrexitCentral last week: The House of Lords is harming the British national interest by interfering in crucial trade negotiations

Telegraph: There must be no compromise on the customs union

It would be the worst of both worlds for Britain, being subject to the EU’s trade rules without being able to influence them. And we would be blocked from pursuing separate trade deals with the rest of the world. Economically, this would be catastrophic. Those who imagine European markets are the be-all and end-all for the UK don’t grasp that they are shrinking as a percentage of the world economy, while the developing world is growing fast. To compete, Britain needs to be diversifying its markets and looking further afield – to China, to India, to the economies of the future. If Remain’s economic case for a customs union is so plainly flawed, they stick to it because their real motivations are political. They want to make the process of leaving the EU appear at once painful, yet so limited in benefits that they can say to the voters “Was it really worth it?” – and thus reverse Brexit altogether. – Telegraph editorial (£)

Dominic Lawson: A border with the EU works for the Swiss. It can work in Ireland after Brexit

The EU does not want Brexit to be painless or straightforward, even when it could be. That would only encourage other nations to secede, which would never do. Meanwhile Labour’s plan to co-opt Ms Morgan and a handful of other “remainer” Tories in a Commons vote on this issue has the great potential merit, aside from the possibility that they think they are doing the right thing, of defeating the government on its raison d’être. But their talk of preventing violence at the border is either cant or scaremongering. – Dominic Lawson for the Times (£)

Macer Hall: Fudge is threatening to return to the menu at Westminster as the parliamentary battle over Brexit heats up

Brussels-loving MPs and peers, frustrated at their failure to halt the country’s looming departure from the EU, sense a chance to at least Brexiteers sick is growing. Morale in the Remain camp was boosted this week by two Government defeats in the House of Lords over Theresa May’s flagship EU Withdrawal Bill.  Lord Patten, a former European commissioner who receives a lavish EU pension after swearing an oath of loyalty to Brussels, led the way as the unelected peers began amending the legislation in an attempt to keep the UK tied into the bloc’s customs union. Ministers are braced for further defeats next week. – Macer Hall for the Express

Liam Halligan: Why the Commonwealth is the key to a trade boom

In her 2009 Christmas mes­sage, the Queen said that the Commonwealth “in lots of ways is the face of the future”. While many dismissed last week’s Commonwealth summit, there is much truth in Her Majesty’s remark. Boasting numerous fast-growing emerging markets and spanning five continents, the 53-member Commonwealth will play a major role in the future of the world economy. Far bigger than the European Union, for instance. Back in 1980, the nine nations then in the EU accounted for 30pc of global gross domestic product – measured by purchasing power parity, adjusting for prices. Today, although the EU now has three times more member states, its world GDP share has plunged to 16pc. The Commonwealth has fared differently. In 1980, its members made up 15pc of the global economy. Today, the figure is 18pc. – Liam Halligan for the Telegraph (£)

James Forsyth: Why Brexiteer ministers are so concerned at the moment

Senior Cabinet Brexiteers are more concerned about the project than they have been in some time, I write in The Sun this morning. The reason for this is that there is a concerted push underway to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU for good even after December 2020. If Britain is to take full advantage of the opportunities that Brexit offers, this must be resisted. A customs-arrangements between Britain and the EU which speeds up checks, minimises bureaucracy and helps maintain cross border supply chains would be sensible, and mutually beneficial. What wouldn’t be, is a situation where the EU determines both the taxes charged on goods coming into this country from the rest of the world and which countries can export their goods to Britain tariff and quota free. But this is what staying in a customs union with the EU would mean—as the Turkish experience demonstrates. – James Forsyth for the Spectator

Dia Chakravarty: If the world feels good about Brexit, why don’t we?

The meeting of Commonwealth leaders in London could have been a prelude to the Global Britain project; instead, the headlines were rightly focused on the appalling Windrush debacle. Nevertheless, there is plenty of good news out there to report on Brexit Britain – so it’s frustrating that many commentators are failing to shake off the doom and gloom. First, it was announced last week that the pay squeeze is officially over: wage growth has overtaken inflation for the first time in over a year. Unemployment has also hit a 43-year low. And the pound – which had fallen, heralding Britain’s descent into poverty we were told – has recouped a lot of its lost value. Far from the promise of the country being ruined by simply voting to Leave, as we were warned by the Remain campaign, things are actually ticking along just fine – and there’s even evidence to suggest that things might just get better. – Telegraph (£)

Oliver Wiseman: Fix the immigration system to make a success of Brexit

Those caught in the Windrush trap faced a series of overlapping and contradictory sets of rules. They were asked to provide decades’ worth of evidence of something they never thought they’d have to prove. At one point, their right to live in the country they call home appeared to hinge on the existence of paperwork that was sitting in sacks in the basement of a Home Office building in Croydon and then incinerated. To fix the immigration system – and to make a success of Brexit – the Government must appreciate that what is true of other parts of the state is also true of our border controls. No matter how sensible a system sounds on paper, it will never work properly if it depends on the competence of the man or woman in Whitehall. – Oliver Wiseman for CapX

Brexit in brief

  • Windrush scandal due to pro-European ‘papers, please’ attitude, says Rees-Mogg – Telegraph (£)
  • No deal on Brexit will be disastrous for the food industry, MPs warn – ITV News
  • Allotments at risk from alien invader: EU data law – Times (£)
  • Lib Dem Lord Newby interview: ‘Broad coalition’ of Lords fighting May’s Brexit plan – Yorkshire Post
  • Learn lessons of Windrush fiasco as we set sail for Brexit – Sunday Times editorial (£)