Cabinet agrees to keep Britain tied to EU rules on goods indefinitely: Brexit News for Saturday 7 July

Cabinet agrees to keep Britain tied to EU rules on goods indefinitely: Brexit News for Saturday 7 July
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Cabinet agrees Brexit proposal that would keep Britain tied to EU rules on goods indefinitely…

Theresa May won her battle with Eurosceptic ministers on Friday night as she announced the Cabinet had signed up to a Brexit deal that keeps Britain tied to EU rules and regulations indefinitely. The Prime Minister said Britain would establish a “free trade area for goods” with the EU, allowing for frictionless trade and avoiding the need for a hard border in Northern Ireland. A new customs arrangement will treat the UK and EU “as if [they are] a combined customs territory” and Britain will adopt a “common rulebook” with the EU on industrial goods and agricultural products. The deal amounted to a significant victory for Remainers in the Cabinet, as it keeps Britain closely aligned with the EU customs union and single market and is largely the “soft” Brexit they sought. There were no resignations from Leave-supporting ministers, but some Eurosceptic Tory MPs viewed the deal as a “total betrayal” by both the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. – Telegraph (£)

The Cabinet has backed the softest form of Brexit, with the UK becoming a rule-taker on goods and agri-foods and facing severe consequences if we ever attempt to diverge on anything. They have also backed Number 10’s rebadged customs plan. Despite vows from David Davis and other Cabinet Brexiters to fight Theresa May’s Brexit proposal, it appears tonight that they have conceded on every point and that Downing Street has succeeded in forcing through an ultra-soft Brexit as the agreed government policy. The Sun reports that Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Gavin Williamson all sold out and backed the PM. A senior ERG MP tells Guido: “This looks like a total betrayal from both No10 and the Cabinet. We will be total rule takers and our ability to strike trade deals will be severely hampered. Cabinet Brexiters promised us they would fight this. If what Number 10 says is true, this is not Brexit.” – Guido Fawkes

  • May’s Soft Brexit wins as Brexiteers get handed crushing defeat – The Sun
  • Prime Minister hails “business-friendly customs model” – City A.M.
  • May pitches her new plan to its target audience – the EU – ConservativeHome
  • Cabinet back Theresa May’s third way. How will Brussels respond?.- Katy Balls for The Spectator
  • The deal is done – Laura Kuenssberg for BBC News
  • Eurosceptics are incandescent – Telegraph (£)
  • ‘Stitch-up’ Brexit plan torn apart by Brexiteers – Sky News
  • ‘Brexit in name only’ Iain Dale says Britons will never vote again after Chequers plan – Express 
  • Sir Bill Cash ‘disappointed’ by new Soft Brexit plan – Express
  • May’s Brexit in name only is a betrayal of the nation – Joshua King for The Commentator
  • Theresa May has betrayed us all – and Brexiteer ministers are letting her get away with it – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

…as Theresa May promises to ‘sack Boris Johnson if he undermines her plans’…

Mrs May has promised senior allies that she will sack Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, if he seeks to undermine the peace deal, The Times understands. She is said to have been uncompromising as she confronted her ministers and is thought to have told them that a Canada-style free trade deal favoured by Brexiteers would risk breaking up the Union. In a statement released towards the end of the meeting Mrs May said that the cabinet “has agreed our collective position for the future of our negotiations with the EU”. – The Times (£)

  • Theresa May appears to have imposed some discipline on her fractious cabinet – The Times editorial (£)
  • May has chosen her prey well – Boris Johnson is already wounded – Matthew Parris for The Times (£)

…after David Cameron was ‘deployed by Theresa May’ to persuade Boris Johnson not to quit

David Cameron was deployed by Theresa May to bring Boris Johnson onside ahead of a crunch Cabinet meeting on Brexit, sources have told The Telegraph. The former Prime Minister met with the Foreign Secretary on Thursday evening, ahead of the talks at the Prime Minister’s Chequers retreat today. He is said to have tried to convince Mr Johnson that Theresa May’s plan is the only one which will be accepted by Parliament and he should therefore back it. – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson and David Cameron had secret meeting hours before crunch Brexit summit – and ex-PM ‘convinced Foreign Secretary not to quit’ – The Sun
  • ‘Worst of both worlds’: Johnson and Cameron savage Brexit plan – Sky News

How Downing Street orchestrated the carefully planned Chequers coup

Theresa May took on the Eurosceptics in her cabinet and at 6.45pm on a balmy Friday evening at Chequers, it became clear that they had blinked. For months, the Brexiters in Mrs May’s cabinet had claimed that if the prime minister deviated from the path of a “true Brexit” she would face cabinet resignations, a leadership challenge and political chaos. Faced with such warnings, Mrs May repeatedly delayed the moment of reckoning. But this week was a carefully planned political coup, as the prime minister decided to risk a Eurosceptic rebellion and put economic stability first. On Monday, Downing Street briefed the BBC that a new plan was on the way, without revealing any more. Details were trickled out over the week, with a careful eye on the reaction, but the full documents were only released late on Thursday, giving her critics little time to co-ordinate. – FT (£)

Michel Barnier seemingly dismissed May’s Brexit plan before it was agreed by Cabinet

Michel Barnier dismissed Theresa May’s Brexit plan before it had even been agreed by Cabinet today – vowing not to ‘damage’ the single market. The EU’s chief negotiator set his face against compromise after the PM suggested the UK could stick to the bloc’s rules on goods. He insisted the single market had taken 45 years to assemble and could not be ‘unravelled’ or reduced to a ‘supermarket’. In remarks bound to infuriate UK politicians, he also accused them of ‘dramatising’ the EU’s proposals to keep Northern Ireland subject to its rules in order to avoid a hard border with the Republic. The pre-emptive strike came as Mrs May mounts an all-out bid to force through her ‘third way’ trade plan through Cabinet despite a massive onslaught from more than half-a-dozen senior ministers led by Boris Johnson. – Daily Mail

Donald Trump is ready to offer the UK a zero-tariff trade deal

Donald Trump is ready to offer Theresa May a “zero tariff” trade deal to help get Brexit Britain booming, his ambassador has revealed. Diplomat Robert ‘Woody’ Johnson said the US President – due to visit the UK next week – wants a “quick deal” to drastically increase trans-Atlantic trade between the “special relationship” allies after Britain quits the EU. “The President thinks it’s time to go,” he said, adding: “The sky’s the limit.” The offer, which could slash the prices of US imports for British consumers and boost job creation on both sides of the Atlantic, was hailed as a massive vote of confidence in the UK’s future outside the European bloc. And it came as the Prime Minister edged close to an EU departure deal with Brussels by winning Cabinet backing for her Brexit plans. Aides said a crunch meeting of the full Cabinet at Chequers, Mrs May’s countryside retreat, saw “constructive and positive” discussions after months of wrangling between ministers. – Express

Airbus boss says UK Government has ‘no clue’ how to handle Brexit

The Government has “no clue” how to execute Brexit, the boss of Airbus has warned. Tom Enders, chief executive of the European plane manufacturer, claimed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will be “damaging for the UK”. He told a press conference in London: “The sun is shining brightly on the UK, the English team is progressing towards the final, the RAF is preparing to celebrate its centenary and HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) still has no clue, no consensus on how to execute Brexit without severe harm. – Telegraph (£)

  • Airbus chief says ministers have ‘no clue’ on Brexit – BBC News
  • Aviation agency hunts staff for ‘no deal’ Brexit – Sky News

Labour could back second referendum, says Sir Keir Starmer

Labour could still support a second Brexit referendum, Sir Keir Starmer has said. The shadow Brexit secretary said his party was not “ruling out” a public vote on the final deal Theresa May negotiates with Brussels. He also admitted that the UK leaving the EU means “things will get worse” in the short-term. Jeremy Corbyn has previously dismissed calls for a “People’s Vote” on the Brexit agreement but, speaking at a private meeting of the Labour Business Group, Sir Keir said it remained a possibility if Parliament rejects the deal. – Independent

Top hotel boss Sir Rocco Forte urges Theresa May to embrace ‘national freedom’ by taking Britain fully out of EU – despite moaning business chiefs

Top hotel boss Sir Rocco Forte has urged Theresa May to embrace the “national freedom” that will come with a full, clean Brexit. The global entrepreneur, who has hotel chains all across the continent, says little will change for his business after we leave the EU, and slaps down scare-mongering warnings from other business chiefs. In an uplifting article in the Daily Mail today, he said the big business lobby were peddling “untrue” myths about what will happen after Brexit, saying he won’t have any problems recruiting for his firms. The international hotelier has a chain of 11 establishments – including three in Germany, three in Italy and one in Belgium. Urging Mrs May to embrace Brexit’s opportunities as she gathers her cabinet together to Chequers today, he wrote: “national freedom beckons if the Government seizes the moment and truly liberates us from the bureaucratic and undemocratic monster of the EU”. The only way she can rebuild her authority is to deliver on the decision of the British people they made in 2016, he argued.  – The Sun

John Longworth: Theresa May has betrayed us all – and Brexiteer ministers are letting her get away with it

So now we see Theresa May’s true colours. The much-anticipated result of the Chequers summit has been more warm words, just like in Florence last year, which mean something completely different. This is a bad deal for the UK which will only slide further as the EU take more and more. Our weak Prime Minister has driven the process of leaving the EU inscrutably into a corner, in concert with her Chancellor. She has delayed preparations for a WTO global trade option and refused to use this as negotiating leverage. She has totally misled 17.4 million voters and left it as late as possible to reveal that she remains a stubborn Remainer. – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

Andrew Cadman: Brexiteers, go down in flames of glory!

Well, the fix is in. It is to be as the pessimists feared – Brexit In Name Only. A process in British history that was started with great courage by the electorate ends in cowardice, failure and moral corruption by our ‘leaders’. The people have been let down by the politicians in a way that may have terrible repercussions for the rest of our lives.By all reports Brexiteers are very gloomy, extremely angry, but will refuse to act. Plus ça change . . . Apparently the excuse this time is that they expect May to go after ‘Brexit’ is achieved and don’t want to move until then. They are wrong. Do not underestimate Theresa May. She is a snake; a devious, cowardly snake, yes, but also a personally highly ambitious one, who will clearly stop at nothing to remain in position. – Andrew Cadman for ConservativeWoman

Joshua King: May’s Brexit in name only is a betrayal of the nation

The Prime Minister’s Brexit plan, put to the Cabinet at the PM’s country retreat, Chequers, today is a clear derogation of duty and makes a mockery of our democratic system. Theresa May is setting the nation on course for the softest possible Brexit – the worst possible outcome. In a meeting with the European Research Group on Tuesday, the Chief Whip, Julian Smith MP, promised the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan would follow the Conservative Manifesto ‘to the letter.’ This means Leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. However, it is clear Mrs May has no plans to honour the spirit of those commitments, as she seeks to sign Britain up to a re-named Customs Union and an ever so slightly diluted Single Market membership. In terms of customs, the Prime Minister is offering what ITV’s Political Editor, Robert Peston, described as ‘largely the Customs Partnership rebranded’. – Joshua King for The Commentator

Sean Walsh: The European project is intellectually corrupt

The European Union’s stated aim of an ever-closer union is based upon an intellectual confusion. It is the character of the EU itself that should determine our perception of it rather than the hum-drum trivial distractions we see daily. Our colourful foreign secretary wants to “do the business” with “business”. Naturally there is a deeper point here and naturally, the commentariat chose to stay shallow. To shape -or constrain- our post-Brexit future on the basis of the self-declared interests of one sector of business is to get things the wrong way round. – Sean Walsh for CommentCentral

Brexit in Brief

  • Would a second referendum disrespect the first? – Thomas Simpson for Briefings for Brexit
  • Hard Brexiteers are being mugged by reality on trade – Ben Kelly for Reaction
  • How we can climb out of the Brexit mire – and why it would pay the EU to help – Lee Rotherham for ConservativeWoman
  • Evidence-based policy or fake news? Eleven Economic Propositions made by Remain – Briefings For Brexit for Briefings for Brexit
  • The EU has been forced to bow to reality over immigration control – Ashley Fox MEP for ConservativeHome