Brexit News for Sunday 10 September

Brexit News for Sunday 10 September
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Anti-Brexit marchers rally in Parliament Square

Thousands of protesters in favour of the UK staying in the European Union have marched in Westminster. The People’s March for Europe took a route through central London before a rally in Parliament Square. Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said there were a growing number of people worried about Brexit’s impact. The march came ahead of MPs voting on Monday on a bill that will overturn the act that took the UK into the EU and end the supremacy of EU law in the UK. – BBC

Blue wigs, berets and other headgear were in abundance, as were Exit From Brexit placards. A few could be seen wearing blue T-shirts with the words Remoaner Till I Die. Some Brexit voters took to social media to mock the marchers for turning their backs on last May’s democratic decision. Leave.EU tweeted: “We don’t need to march. We won.” – Express

David Davis urges MPs to ‘give the people what they voted for’…

Brexit Secretary David Davis has called for the ‘moaning’ MPs to back the Government’s so-called ‘Great Repeal Bill’ – or face a “chaotic and uncertain” withdrawal from the EU. The bill scraps the European Communities Act and transposes more than 19,000 EU laws and regulations into UK law, allowing a smooth exit as Britain leaves the Brussels bloc. Some senior Tories have said that they share Labour’s concerns about an element of the bill which gives the Government powers to push through changes to legislation without full parliamentary scrutiny. – Sunday Express

…as Labour’s Keir Starmer tells Theresa May to scrap it entirely

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, today calls on Theresa May to ditch her “fatally flawed” EU withdrawal bill and “start again”. On the eve of the second reading tomorrow, Starmer calls the legislation an “affront to parliament and the principle of taking back control”. In his strongest attack on the bill to date, he adds: “The prime minister should now act in the national interest: realise this bill is fatally flawed, drop it and start again. “If she does, there is still time to bring forward new legislation that can command the support of all sides of the House of Commons and devolved administrations. This bill cannot.- Sunday Times (£)

Tony Blair gets tough on migrants 13 years after opening doors

Tony Blair today demands tough new immigration rules, arguing that the open borders he presided over as prime minister are no longer appropriate. Blair has put his name to a report calling on the government to force European Union migrants coming to Britain to register on arrival so they can be counted in and out of the UK. Those who failed to register would be banned from renting a home, opening a bank account or claiming benefits. In an explosive intervention that will electrify the Brexit debate, the former prime minister argues that by bringing in proper immigration controls it would be possible to take back control of Britain’s borders without leaving the EU.- Sunday Times (£)

Mr Blair’s conversion, and that of his fellow federalist-minded politicians, has come too late. There were good reasons to open Britain up to eastern European migrants in 2004 — a tight job market and solidarity with the former communist states — but the fact that the scale of this flow was becoming a problem should have been recognised much sooner. Instead, such concerns were dismissed as extremist or racist. It is suspected that Mr Blair was honing his credentials as a “better” European than the leaders of Germany or France, just as he vainly pursued membership of the euro. Responding now, in an attempt to keep Britain in the EU or something close to it, smacks of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. – Sunday Times Editorial (£)

  • Blair finally gets it – Daily Mail
  • Only a hard Brexit is on offer — and that will do Britain immense damage – Tony Blair for the Sunday Times

Government sources say personal attacks show why EU will never get its £90bn

Britain is winning the Brexit negotiations and personal attacks by Brussels simply prove the EU “doesn’t like it up them”, say Government insiders. Brexit minister David Davis’s team has been “emboldened” by Jean-Claude Juncker’s jibes because they prove the EU is “losing all the arguments”.  Meanwhile, leading Brexiteers including Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg said demands for the UK to pay a multi-billion pound “divorce” bill would fall on deaf ears because no money could be paid without the backing of MPs.  Those from Leave constituencies are unlikely to support anything deemed “excessive”. – Sunday Express

EU chiefs launch series of leaks in bid to ruin Britain’s Brexit demands, claim officials

Slippery EU chiefs have mounted a dirty tricks campaign in a bid to undermine Britain’s Brexit demands, it has been claimed. Furious officials believe senior Eurocrats have sanctioned damaging leaks to wreck the credibility of David Davis. They have accused them of “drip-feeding poison” to business chiefs, civil servants and friendly journalists. Sources reckon European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s allies have formed a “black ops” unit to attack the Brexit Secretary. One insider said: “It’s clear their strategy is to weaken the UK’s position by making us look incompetent, weak or out of our depth. “Hardly a single meeting has taken place without a damaging story about the British delegation appearing. “More often than not it’s an over-spun account of a private discussion. Sometimes they are just smears.” – Sun on Sunday

Scrap passport checks for ‘non-suspicious’ groups to reduce post-Brexit border queues, say unions

The UK’s Border Force may have to consider “waving through” non-suspicious groups such as elderly tourists to avoid snaking queues at ports and airports after Brexit, a union chief has said. Lucy Moreton, the general secretary of the Immigration Services Union (ISU), warned that border workers would not be able to cope with an increased workload created by tougher passport controls and intense political pressure to reduce queuing. This could lead to border officers taking an “intelligence-led” approach to controls where they “wave through” groups of people who were clearly not planning to outstay their visas in Britain, she said. – Telegraph (£)

Nigel Farage urges German populists to campaign on Brexit

Nigel Farage urged the right-wing, populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) to make Brexit an issue in the final stretch of the German general election campaign. On a visit to Berlin with just over two weeks to go until polling day, he also called on the AfD to pressure Chancellor Angela Merkel to get the EU to make concessions to the U.K. in its divorce negotiations. “Nobody talks about Brexit, nobody talks about what the implications of Brexit for Germany would be,” the former leader of the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) told journalists Friday afternoon before addressing AfD supporters at a campaign event in a Renaissance fortress on the outskirts of Berlin. “I’m very keen, if I possibly can, to inject something into this debate,” he said. – Politico

Boris Johnson says EU has legal duty to discuss future trade now

Boris Johnson has sparked fresh hostilities with Brussels, by claiming the EU’s approach to the Brexit negotiations fails its own legal duty. The Foreign Secretary claimed the EU is obliged to bow to British pressure to start talking about a future trade deal – just days after EU leaders again insisted the “divorce” must be settled first. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, together with leaders of the European Parliament, poured cold water on trade talks starting next month, as originally hoped. – Independent

Juncker’s Chief of Staff ‘told journalist he’d smack him in the gob’

The German Eurocrat widely considered to be the most powerful man in Brussels has been accused of threatening to punch a political journalist in the mouth. Martin Selmayr, chief of staff to the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, reportedly told Peter Müller, Europe editor of the German magazine Der Spiegel, that he would “smack” him in the “gob”. Selmayr who made headlines after being blamed for leaking details of a meeting between Theresa May and EU officials earlier this year, is said to have shocked guests at a reception for German bankers.- The Sunday Times (£)

Leaked memo from City’s Brexit envoy reveals ‘sobering’ analysis of EU stance

Brussels shows no interest in finding “long-term solutions” to Brexit and could ignore the interests of European Union business, a leaked memo to financial leaders has warned. There is just a “one per cent” chance of the EU agreeing to start discussing a trade deal in October as the UK wants, according to a source quoted in the note. There is also no appetite for creating a “bespoke” transition deal that will allow Britain to retain the benefits of EU membership for years after formally leaving, it is warned. – Sunday Telegraph (£)


David Davis: Back this Repeal Bill, or we face a chaotic future

“Empty vessels make the most noise”, the saying goes. And one thing’s for sure — this week has been a noisy one. Accusations of a power grab have flown around Westminster as the Repeal Bill entered its Second Reading. And fantastical conspiracies about “watering down” workers’ rights, and health and safety legislation, led to heated debates over the airwaves. Those vacuous charges – made by opposition members who should know better – do not reflect the realities that underpin the Government’s concerted effort to prepare the country for the day we leave the EU.  – David Davis for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Tony Blair: Only a hard Brexit is on offer — and that will do Britain immense damage

…there is no discussion about Brexit that can set aside discussion of immigration. My government in 2004 did not invoke the transitional arrangements when eastern Europe joined the EU that would have delayed the freedom to work – though not freedom of movement – until 2011. Back then the economy was strong, the workers were needed and actually the biggest annual numbers came post-2011. But the real point is that the times were different; the sentiment was different; and intelligent politics takes account of such change. The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is publishing a paper, EU Migration: Examining the Evidence and Policy Choices.- Tony Blair for the Sunday Times (£)

James Forsyth: Labour is threatening its electoral coalition by voting against the EU withdrawal bill

Up to now, Labour have managed to have their cake and eat it on Brexit. At the election, Labour MPs in Brexit-backing seats could say their party didn’t oppose leaving the EU and had voted for Article 50. At the same time, Labour hoovered up votes elsewhere in the country from those angry at Brexit. Remarkably, 39 percent of Financial Times readers voted for the party despite Jeremy Corbyn’s hostility to high earners and the City.But, as I say in The Sun this morning, Labour are threatening this coalition by voting against the EU withdrawal bill.- James Forsyth for the Spectator

Adam Sammut: The Last Night of the Proms is a time for great music, not refighting the EU referendum

Brexiteers might not be thrilled by the highlights of this year’s Proms season, devised by the BBC at taxpayers’ expense: Bach, Brahms, Beethoven – all foreigners, and German at that. But this evening we come to the Last Night – when it’ll be time for them to don the Union Jack socks, crack open the beer and belt out “Rule Britannia, Britannia Rules the Waves” in anticipation of the glory days to come, with our borders firmly in place. Will that really be the case though? Anyone who’s watched the Last Night knows how the Beeb bends over backwards to devise a programme as international as possible. – Adam Sammutfor the Telegraph (£)

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Triumphant Brussels likens Brexit to the Third Reich

So it has come to this. Brexit is now akin to the worst episodes of totalitarian mass murder in the 20th century.“EU policymakers and officials are returning to their desks with a spring in their step,” writes the Brussels think-tank, Friends of Europe, the high priests of EU orthodoxy.“This summer has seen the ‘Brexit effect’ quietly gathering momentum, so much so that it’s shaping into one of the most spectacular own-goals of European history, on a par with Germany’s Third Reich or the Russian Revolution.” All that is missing is Mao’s Great Leap Forward. – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)

When it comes to Brexit progress, what counts as ‘sufficient’?

This autumn, two words will matter more than any other when it comes to Brexit: “sufficient progress.” It is the great test Brexit negotiators will face — barring something unexpected — ahead of the European Council’s summit in October. As set out in the EU27’s negotiating guidelines, the European Council (minus Britain, of course) will decide whether talks over the summer on so-called exit issues — notably citizens’ rights, the Northern Irish border and the Brexit bill — have progressed far enough. Only then will they permit negotiators to move on to the next stage, and the bit the U.K. really wants to talk about — the future relationship with the EU and trade. – Charlie Cooper for Politico

Andrew Adonis: The way forward on Brexit is a new vote on whatever EU deal is reached

here there is no vision, the people perish, says the Book of Proverbs. As the slow-motion car crash of Brexit advances, we need a plan for stopping it. Here goes. Brexit is a revolution which devours its children. Most of those who spawned or supped with it have already vanished (Cameron, Hague, Osborne) or are disappearing beneath the waves (May and the three Brexiteers: Fox, Davis and Johnson). Month by month in Brussels, David Davis is undergoing the same political evisceration that Theresa May endured during the election campaign. It has little to do with the cunning Michel Barnier or the crude Jean-Claude Juncker. – Andrew Adonis for the Observer

Brexit comment in brief

  • How divisions among Leave-backing MPs helped May to win the last leadership election – David Jeffrey for ConservativeHome 
  • We need to call the EU’s bluff, and prepare for a no-deal outcome – Dia Chakravarty for the Sunday Telegraph (£)
  • The biggest worry for sterling is not Brexit, but Jeremy Corbyn – Jeremy Warner for the Telegraph (£)
  • Brexit will speed up once Merkel has won – Liam Halligan for the Telegraph (£)
  • An unloved Prime Minister. An inadequate Foreign Secretary. And a hamstrung Trade Secretary. What a Brexit mess. – Kieron O’Hara for ConservativeHome

Brexit news in brief

  • UK passport — made in France? – Sunday Times (£)
  • Growing scrutiny over Angela Merkel’s nation’s trade surplus – Sunday Express
  • EU immigration offer could lead to Brexit reversal, claims AdonisObserver
  • Hungarian justice minister: ECJ decision ‘very worrying for the future’ – Politico
  • UK government is buying MORE wine from UK than any other country – Sunday Express
  • Astrazeneca boss: Brexit uncertainty stopped signing of Downing St letter – City A.M.
  • Denmark refuses to accept any more refugees – The Times (£)
  • European Union has become a German empire, warns Sir Bill Cash – Express
  • From Urals to Ukip: racy tale of Arron Banks’s Russian wife – Sunday Times (£)
  • Britain’s maritime industry to rule the waves again after BrexitSunday Express