PM urged to make clean break after Leave voters back Tories in Local Elections: Brexit News for Saturday 5 May

PM urged to make clean break after Leave voters back Tories in Local Elections: Brexit News for Saturday 5 May
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Theresa May urged to pursue clean Brexit after stronger than expected showing in local elections…

Theresa May has been urged to pursue a “no compromise” Brexit after the Tories saw off Jeremy Corbyn’s challenge with a stronger than expected local election result. On what Mrs May described as a “strong night” for the Conservatives, her party made gains across the country, including London, as Leave supporters backed the Prime Minister and Labour’s predicted clean sweep in the capital failed to materialise. With the Labour leader facing questions over whether “peak Corbyn” has now been and gone, Tory grandees said Mrs May had a stronger mandate than ever to press ahead with a clean break from the EU. – Telegraph (£)

  • May is urged by leading Brexiteers to seize on local election Tory surge to push for a clean break – Daily Mail
  • Results show that voters want hard Brexit, ministers tell May – The Times (£)

…as Boris Johnson says EU customs pledge was ‘key’ to local election results

Promising to leave the EU’s single market and customs union has been a “key part of Tory electoral success”, Boris Johnson has claimed. On Twitter, the foreign secretary said Labour had been “abandoned” in many Leave-supporting areas and was not trusted to “deliver Brexit”. It was a mixed night for the Tories, who saw off a Labour challenge in London and gained four councils. But they lost control of Trafford and the Lib Dems gained Richmond in London. – BBC News

  • Brexit haunts England’s local elections – Tom McTague for Politico
  • Local election results will embolden Tories’ hardcore Brexit wing – Matthew Parris for The Times (£)
  • Calm down Remainers: the local election results won’t change Brexit – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • Forget Corbynism — the real ‘momentum’ is with Brexit – Brendan O’Neill for Spiked
  • For better or worse, the Tories are now the Brexit party – Matthew Goodwin for the Telegraph (£)
  • Local election results make it clear Leavers are relying on Tories to deliver Brexit in full – The Sun editorial

Computer delays could mean Britain will be trapped in EU Customs Union ‘for years’ says Tory chairman

Britain could stay in the EU’s customs union for years after Brexit, the Tory chairman Brandon Lewis suggested yesterday. The long extension would be needed to prepare the technology for Theresa May’s complicated Customs Partnership plan, in which the UK would collect EU tariffs. During that time Britain could not sign any independent trade deals. The idea has left the PM at loggerheads with senior Leavers, who refused to give their support at a tense No10 dust-up.  Today, Sun columnist James Forsyth reveals No10 has launched a two-week operation to strong-arm Brexiteers into changing their minds. Mrs May’s allies warn failure to back her idea would risk Brexit. The four key Cabinet Leavers, including Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis, say her “unworkable” scheme would cede control to Brussels. – The Sun

Brexit plan reportedly drawn up for border checks between Northern Ireland and rest of UK

A backup plan to impose border checks on trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK at ports and airports to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland after Brexit has been drafted by senior civil servants. Despite the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) angrily rejecting any suggestion of a border “in the Irish Sea”, a leaked paper reveals that officials have been working on a blueprint “to be deployed as necessary in the negotiation process”. The proposal is described as “infinitely preferable” to a hard land border on the island of Ireland and the risk of a return to violence. The European Union has already rejected Theresa May’s two main proposals: maximum facilitation, which would involve some border infrastructure, and a customs partnership, in which the UK would mirror Brussels’ customs rules and collect tariffs for the EU. – Guardian

Topics agreed for post-Brexit relationship talks…

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union agreed a broad structure for further talks on their future relationship after Brexit, dividing economic issues from those on security, the EU said on Friday.“It is a way of moving forward,” an EU official said after three days of talks in Brussels. The list of topics was, however, not a set of formal headings for future agreements nor would it determine the make-up of negotiating sub-committees. In a statement, the European Commission’s Brexit Task Force headed by chief negotiator Michel Barnier listed four broad types of discussion.  – Reuters

  • Brit negotiators hail Brexit breakthrough on trade deal with Brussels – The Sun

> David Campbell Bannerman MEP today on BrexitCentral: Don’t be disheartened, Brexiteers – here’s why we should be confident and upbeat

…as EU scrutinises post-Brexit security deal

EU officials who began talks with Britain on Friday on security ties after Brexit will raise problems that diplomats say may mean cooperation against terrorism and crime will be weakened more than many expected. Among indications that what seemed the least fraught bit of Brexit is proving trickier is a recent EU report, described to Reuters, which slams Britain’s lackadaisical use of a key EU travel and crime database – the so-called Schengen Information System (SIS). Brussels also frets that London cannot be trusted to respect the privacy of EU citizens’ data after Brexit. – Reuters

Ex-minister Justine Greening hits out at eurosceptic Tories for behaving ‘like Russia at the UN’…

A former Cabinet minister has accused a group of eurosceptic Conservative MPs of acting like Russia at the UN by “vetoing things they don’t like” when it comes to Brexit. Justine Greening, who resigned as education secretary after Theresa May tried to move her in a reshuffle in January, said the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs needs to face reality. It comes after the 60-strong ERG issued an ultimatum to the Prime Minister over the EU’s customs union. But Ms Greening, who backed Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, told Sky News there needs to be give and take and no one side will get absolutely everything it wants in the negotiations. – Sky News

…but Jacob Rees-Mogg retorts that he is merely holding the Government to its manifesto

In an exclusive interview with Kay Burley, Jacob Rees-Mogg said they were simply encouraging the Government to keep its promises. He told Sky News: “I have no authority to veto anything. “I’m a backbench Tory MP. “The Conservative manifesto said that we would leave the customs union and we would leave the single market. “I believe that politicians should implement the promises that they’ve given in manifestos. “So all I’ve been doing – and other members of the European Research Group have been doing – is encouraging the Government to stick to the promises it has made and the Prime Minister Theresa May has made very clear in her various speeches, whether it’s the Lancaster House, Florence or Mansion House speech. – Sky News

Global deal values expected to hit a record high in the first half of 2018

A new record could be made in the first half of 2018, according to accountancy firm Deloitte, as the value of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is set to soar to new heights.The value of deals announced in the first four months of 2018 has already surpassed $1.7bn (£1.3bn), the highest since total for this point in the year since the millennium and already far above the $1.3bn announced in the whole of 2017’s first half.This was the fastest growth rate in value ever, as the number of deals appears to be stabilising. – City A.M.

James Forsyth: Customs-built chaos can screw the Tories if party is seen to ‘sell out’ on Brexit deal

Number 10 is not giving up on its plan for a complex, customs partnership with the European Union despite a majority of the Brexit inner Cabinet arguing against the idea at Wednesday’s crunch meeting. Instead of abandoning it, No10 has told civil servants to make some tweaks to it — in the hope of making it more acceptable. “The new customs partnership is dead in its current form but a customs partnership isn’t,” warns one Government source. Why does all this matter? Well, the customs partnership idea, which would involve the UK collecting tariff revenues on the EU’s behalf, would make the UK a much less attractive country to do trade deals with. To be fully effective, it would also  require the UK to essentially copy all EU regulations on goods. James Forsyth for The Sun

Philip Aldrick: Brussels’ decision to take expert advice gives hope for a Brexit deal

Brussels’ intransigence has been agonising for UK regulators. As a cross-border risk, it needs a cross-border solution. European regulators want to help, but politicians have tied their hands. Financial services is seen in Brussels as a goose to be plucked. All those high-paying jobs and tax receipts are mouth-wateringly alluring. The strategy has been to make staying in the City a business risk so that firms move their operations. Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator, could not have been clearer last week when he told banks to “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”. – Philip Aldrick for The Times (£)

Sir Richard Dearlove and Gwythian Prins: Galileo isn’t viable without Britain

Galileo is not viable without British participation on two fronts. In technology, about 80% of Galileo contracts are for secure data systems and, according to UK Government statistics, the majority of these have been awarded to UK companies. Geo-strategically we would be allowing the EU the use of Britain’s unique network of globally-located ground stations. – Former MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove  and Gwythian Prins for Briefings for Brexit

Charles Moore: The Peers vs the People power grab confirms the thesis that led to Brexit

Last Monday, Viscount Hailsham moved Amendment 49 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, in the House of Lords. I realise there can be few less enticing ways of starting a newspaper column, so please let me explain.First, a word about Lord Hailsham himself. Even the invariably well-informed readers of The Daily Telegraph may struggle to call to mind exactly who he is. I can assist by deploying the words “Douglas Hogg” and “moat”. As Mr Hogg, the future viscount was an MP. In claiming his parliamentary expenses, according to the Telegraph investigation at the time, he pleaded costs of “around £2,000” for the cleaning of his moat in Lincolnshire. – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)

Comment in Brief

  • British Policy and Russia after Brexit – Andrew Wood for Briefings for Brexit
  • Brexit offers chance to deliver reform our immigration system needs  – John Baron MP for CommentCentral
  • Pulling together as one Tech Nation will give Britain the edge – Gerard Grech for the Telegraph (£)
  • The Bank of England is deliberately slowing the economy – John Redwood’s Diary
  • Europhiles like Olly Robbins shouldn’t dictate government policy – Robert Bates for Get Britain Out
  • In defence of Olly Robbins – Peter Oborne for The Spectator
  • The EU is dying – let’s bid it farewell – Frederick Forsyth for the Express

News in Brief