DUP furious at plan to leave Northern Ireland a 'rule taker' from EU: Brexit News for Saturday 3 November

DUP furious at plan to leave Northern Ireland a 'rule taker' from EU: Brexit News for Saturday 3 November
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DUP warn Dominic Raab against leaving Northern Ireland a ‘rule taker from Brussels’…

Arlene Foster hopes ‘we are close to a deal that will work for Northern Ireland’, but DUP warns against ‘two-speed’ backstop with regulatory checks down Irish Sea. Dominic Raab remains ‘confident’ that a ‘good deal’ can be done ‘for all corners of the United Kingdom’ Sinn Fein lament “box-ticking exercise” and accuse him of coming in like “thief in the night”. The Democratic Unionist Party has warned that new EU proposals on the Irish border would be “catastrophic” for Northern Ireland and leave it a “rule taker from Brussels”. – Telegraph (£)

It is quiet out there, too quiet in the views of many Brexiteers in government. Their suspicions are raised by the fact that when things go silent in Brussels, that’s when the real negotiating is being done. They fear that right now a deal is being done that they’ll be bounced into supporting. They worry that since last week’s Cabinet meeting, there hasn’t been any new Brexit offer put either to Cabinet or the inner cabinet, yet technical talks have resumed in Brussels. They fear that a deal will be agreed. Then, they’ll be faced with a choice of rejecting it and having to take the blame for no deal and the chaos that would involve or accepting the agreement with all its flaws.This fear of being bounced has been heightened by Theresa May’s mood. Those who have seen her this week describe her as “astonishingly upbeat” and convinced that a deal will soon be done. – James Forsyth for The Sun

  • DUP turn down EU compromise on the Irish border backstop as Brexit deadlock continues – The Sun
  • Separate customs territory for Northern Ireland ‘unacceptable’ – PM May’s spokeswoman – Reuters

…after Irish Foreign Minister says a Brexit deal can be agreed within weeks…

Simon Coveney has said that a Brexit deal is possible this month as EU diplomats suggested that negotiators had made significant progress. Senior diplomats have said that a backstop post-Brexit customs arrangement covering all of the UK could give Britain scope to set trade rules while keeping Northern Ireland aligned with the EU. This would mean that Britain and Northern Ireland would remain a single customs territory under World Trade Organization rules, linked in a customs union with Ireland and the rest of the EU. – The Times (£)

…that would include regular bilateral summits to maintain ties post-Brexit…

Britain and Ireland will seek to hold regular summits between leaders and ministers after Brexit to maintain ties strained by Britain’s decision to leave the EU, senior ministers from both governments said on Friday. Relations between the two have improved markedly since Ireland gained independence from Britain following a bloody struggle almost a century ago. But ties have been tested over the last two years with Ireland a key player on the opposite side of the Brexit negotiating table to Britain. Arguments over how to manage the border between EU-member state Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland have threatened the talks. – Reuters

…with sterling on course for its second best week amid optimism for a divorce deal

Sterling gained on Friday, putting it on course for its second best week of 2018 amid optimism for a Brexit deal. Signals from the Bank of England also indicated that if the exit from the European Union is smooth more interest rate hikes could be on the way. The pound enjoyed its best day of the year on Thursday as a market heavily short the currency rushed to adjust to the possibility that a Brexit deal will be clinched in the coming weeks – removing a major uncertainty overshadowing the economy and the BoE as it tries to bring inflation back to target. – Telegraph (£)

Downing Street rebuked for its customs checks claim

The statistics watchdog has rebuked Downing Street over a central claim that Theresa May used to sell her Chequers plan to ministers and MPs. Senior government figures said that 96 per cent of goods entering the UK would not undergo customs checks under its plan for a future trading relationship with Europe. That claim was key to selling the plan for the so-called facilitated customs arrangement to ministers and MPs after previous proposals were rejected. Analysis for The Times, however, cast doubt over the central pledge that the vast majority of businesses would pay the right tariff or no tariff at the border. – The Times (£)

> Lord Lilley on BrexitCentral last month: The deceit at the heart of Chequers

France signs Ireland deal that could leave UK lorries in Calais queue for hours

France has agreed to fast-track Irish lorries through Calais in a deal that could force British truckers to face gruelling queues lasting for hours. Paris struck a deal with the Republic of Ireland to fast-track its commercial drivers crossing the Channel from Dover to the French port. The agreement was made between Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday. Mr Coveney said: “We’ve had quite detailed discussions in terms of differentiating Irish trucks from British trucks. Under the right circumstances Irish trucks will not need to be inspected, whereas UK trucks may need to be inspected.” But the deal has angered haulage firms in the UK, who have blasted the EU for an apparent attempt to punish and humiliate Britain over Brexit. – Express

UK asks drug companies to sign no-deal Brexit gag clause

Drug companies advising the U.K. government on how to maintain medicine supplies after a no-deal Brexit have signed strict non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) barring them from revealing information on planned border arrangements and supply routes. The government is being so secretive that information is only being provided to firms orally, or via hard copies of documents that must be returned at the end of meetings, according to a draft NDA document published by Department of Health and Social Care. Firms consulted on no-deal arrangements are threatened with injunction if they breach the terms of the agreements. – Politico

EU plans post-Brexit London ’embassy’

The European Union plans to have a 29-strong team of diplomats in London to represent it after Brexit. It will be called a “delegation” – not an embassy – and will be part of the EU’s foreign policy arm, the European External Action Service (EEAS). There will also be a mission with five staff in Belfast to oversee the implementation of the withdrawal agreement in Northern Ireland – if there is a Brexit deal. The plans will be discussed next week. They will be presented for approval by ambassadors from the 27 remaining EU countries on Wednesday. The European Commission has offices in all member states. Currently it has a team of 27 staff based at Europe House, in Smith Square, Westminster. – BBC News

Single mum set up anti-Chequers campaign from living room

In the past few weeks, Tory MPs have publicised their Brexit concerns in an unusual way. First a trickle, then a couple of dozen, and at last count 51 Conservatives have made online pledges for “StandUp4Brexit”, a Twitter campaign opposing a deal along the lines the prime minister outlined at her country home this summer. Last week saw its most high-profile signing – Boris Johnson, joining other former cabinet ministers in opposing any deal in which they fear Britain may stay in the customs union and remit of the European Court of Justice oversight indefinitely. As Downing Street enters the frantic final phase of negotiations, the number of MPs apparently keen to derail the deal in parliament is causing some concern. But who is behind it?  – Sky News

Liam Fox: When we speak for ourselves, we flourish – and our status in the WTO is no exception

As part of our work to set up the UK’s own trade policy for the first time in over 40 years, we are currently establishing our independent goods “schedule” at the World Trade Organisation (WTO)… Before we leave the EU, the UK needs to separate its schedules from the EU’s. As part of this process, WTO members have a chance to respond. A small number expressed reservations and would like to discuss further. Last week, I announced that the UK intends to open negotiations at the WTO to address these concerns. This has been purposefully misunderstood by those wishing to stop Brexit as evidence that our WTO strategy isn’t working. They are wrong. – International Trade Secretary Liam Fox MP for the Telegraph (£)

The Spectator podcast: will the EU project crumble after Merkel leaves?

Angela Merkel is stepping down but what is her legacy and can the EU project survive without her? On this week’s Spectator podcast, we also take a look at whether WhatsApp has made it harder for MPs to plot; and ask: should Brits be allowed to forage for wild mushrooms? Merkel has been Germany’s Chancellor and Europe’s de facto leader for 13 years. In this week’s cover piece, Douglas Murray argues that her departure is the end of the federalist EU project. On the podcast, Douglas is joined by Sophie Pedder, the Economist’s Paris bureau chief and Emmanuel Macron’s biographer. – The Spectator podcast

Matthew Karnitschnig: Angela Merkel is on her way out, but it might not help the UK get a good deal

Add this to the myriad questions that Angela Merkel’s looming departure as German chancellor raises: Will her exit bury London’s hopes that Germany will intervene on its behalf and steer the Brexit talks in the U.K.’s favor? If the short history of Brexit is any indication, the answer has to be “No.” Desperation is known to breed false hope; in the U.K.’s case, it has progressed to full-blown delusion. This week the Spectator’s James Kirkup documented how David Cameron misread Merkel from the beginning. “Cake was never on her menu, either before or after the referendum,” he wrote. It seems the more Merkel resisted Downing Street’s overtures, the more convinced the Conservative Party became it was all just part of an elaborate negotiating ritual, as if Germans had suddenly become masters of subtlety. – Matthew Karnitschnig for Politico

  • Weakened Merkel leaves the EU even less capable of bold decisions – but is there a final sting in her tail? – Peter Foster for the Telegraph (£)

> David Scullion on BrexitCentral: Merkel might be going, but the common rulebook would still mean Berlin rules

Robert Peston: Theresa May is rubbing salt into the wounds of the Tory Brexit bunch

The flurry of overnight speculation that a deal had been done to guarantee post-Brexit access for the City to the EU was all a bit odd. It’s true that a few weeks ago, the Treasury over the course of a couple of days successfully negotiated some “high level principles” for what the future access relationship might be for UK-based banks and other financial institutions to the EU’s single market. But this is a million miles from a deal – which would not and could not be negotiated in its practical detail for months and even possibly years. – Robert Peston for The Spectator

John Redwood: Italy and the EU

what is the point in Euro countries debating economics in General Elections? The biggest items in the Italian election were economic. Did the economy need a stimulus? Does Italy need lower taxes? Should it reverse some of the big cuts in spending made at the EU’s request earlier this decade? Do people want a basic income from the state? Voters answered clearly. In the north they wanted tax cuts and a boost. In the south they wanted better benefits and a boost. All across Italy they wanted to roll back the pensions cuts of 2011. They elected a Lega/Five Star government who set out to carry through their wishes. – John Redwood’s Diary

Brexit in Brief

  • People in Brussels expect a Brexit deal will be struck, but fear time is running out – Syed Kamall MEP for ConservativeHome
  • UK builders pick up pace in October  – Reuters
  • Businesses ‘won’t need to carry out extra EU checks’ – BBC News
  • Travellers ‘face being thrown out of Britain after Brexit because they don’t have proof they can stay’ – The Sun
  • Second referendum campaign claim majority in Labour seats back second referendum – Guardian
  • French President Emmanuel Macron says Europe is as unstable and divided as it was before World War Two – The Sun
  • Government urged to revive fishing for endangered tuna in UK waters after Britain leaves EU – Independent
  • Brits who take their pets to Europe must pay £90 by the end of November in first No Deal Brexit charge from the EU – The Sun

And finally… Guinness may run out with no-deal, claims Vince Cable

Pubs could run out of Guinness after Brexit if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, a British politician has claimed. Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats leader, was speaking after he and Christine Jardine, an Edinburgh West MP, met executives from Diageo in Edinburgh to discuss the impact of Brexit. The company, whose brands include Guinness, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Baileys, emphasised that its products would be available regardless of the Brexit outcome. Sir Vince said: “If the Irish border is a problem then they have a serious problem as a company. You can envisage a situation in which Guinness and Baileys . . . are seriously disrupted.” – The Times (£)