Dozens of Tory Eurosceptics join economists in lambasting the Chancellor over his Brexit forecasts: Brexit News for Sunday 14 October

Dozens of Tory Eurosceptics join economists in lambasting the Chancellor over his Brexit forecasts: Brexit News for Sunday 14 October
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Dozens of Tory Eurosceptics join economists in lambasting the Chancellor over his Brexit forecasts…

In a highly unusual show of strength, a letter attacking the Government over its Brexit forecasts was signed by 63 Conservative MPs, including David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptic backbenchers, and Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister… The letter from Tory backbenchers, organised by the Economists for Free Trade group of Eurosceptic economists and Mr Baker, blames the Government for leaking negative Brexit forecasting and insists that Mr Hammond should release the modelling it uses. The letter was also signed by Conservative donors including Sir David Ord, the managing director of the Bristol Port Company, and leading businessmen including Sir Rocco Forte, the hotelier.  – Telegraph (£)

> Patrick Minford on BrexitCentral today: It’s time the Chancellor came clean about his absurd Project Fear economic modelling

…as David Davis encourages a Cabinet mutiny to force Theresa May to change course over Brexit…

David Davis today calls for a cabinet uprising against Theresa May over Brexit — as MPs and ministers said they are ready to oust her if she does not change course. The former Brexit secretary accuses the prime minister of pressing ahead with a “flawed” plan to keep Britain in a customs union, a proposal he brands “completely unacceptable”… May now faces an onslaught from at least nine ministers wanting her to change tack when the cabinet meets on Tuesday — with credible threats to resign from at least four. They are demanding a date be set to leave the customs union or a break clause, to be triggered in London, not Brussels. Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, is said to be “considering her position”… Both the Scottish secretary, David Mundell, and Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Tories, have also made clear they would resign if Northern Ireland faces new controls that separate it from the rest of the UK — because that would fuel the case for Scottish independence. – Sunday Times (£)

…while Boris Johnson renews calls for the Irish ‘backstop’ to be scrapped

Boris Johnson today renews his call on Downing Street to scrap the Irish backstop. Writing in today’s Belfast News Letter (see link to the full essay below), the influential Tory MP said it was “now completely obvious that the government made a dreadful mistake in December last year” agreeing the border backstop…Theresa May’s administration in key votes if she agrees a regulatory border in the Irish Sea, that would in effect leave Northern Ireland in the EU single market.The government has for months ruled out an internal UK border, but has increasingly added the word “customs” to any references to an Irish Sea border, which leaves open the prospect of border for goods.Mr Johnson writes: “The fatal error was not to challenge the EU’s position that the only way of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland — an objective we all share — is for Northern Ireland to have the same regulations for trade as Ireland and the rest of the EU. – Belfast News Letter

  • ‘The only way to put things right on Brexit and avoid Suez is to ditch the backstop on the Irish border’ – Boris Johnson for the Belfast News Letter

Jacob Rees-Mogg vows to stop the UK being tied to the Customs Union indefinitely

Jacob Rees-Mogg stares straight ahead through his owlish glasses when asked the question gripping Downing Street as Brexit talks enter their endgame: will he and his fellow Eurosceptic Tories blink? The leader of the 60-strong European Research Group, the pro-Brexit group of Tory MPs that could hold the fate of the country in its hands, insisted that if Theresa May capitulated to unacceptable Brussels demands, they would vote down her deal. “I’m not the most hardline member of the ERG,” he said, still holding his gaze. “By the time you get to me there are several dozen members that are more hardline than me. And I’m not going to blink.” Mrs May now faces one of the biggest calls of her political career: a deal may be within reach in Brussels this weekend, but can she sell it in the House of Commons and to her party’s hardcore of Brexit true-believers? – FT (£)

Leaks suggest DUP leader now sees no-deal Brexit as ‘likeliest outcome’

The head of the Northern Irish party that props up British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is “ready” to trigger a no-deal Brexit and now regards it as the “likeliest outcome,” The Observer newspaper reported on Saturday, citing a leaked email. The newspaper said Arlene Foster told Ashley Fox, leader of Conservative Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), she had a “hostile and difficult” exchange at her meeting this week with Michel Barnier, the French official leading the European Union’s negotiating team. “AF said the DUP were ready for a no deal scenario, which she now believed was the likeliest one,” according to the email, whose sender or recipient the newspaper did not identify. The Observer said it was one of several emails “leaked from the highest levels of government” that it had seen. – Reuters

German paper claims a Brexit deal ‘could be agreed today’

A Brexit deal could be agreed by negotiators in Brussels in secret on Sunday before being presented to the British Government next week, it has been claimed. Internal documents, believed to be from the team working under chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, have been leaked in Germany. Reporters from one of Germany’s largest newspapers, Süddeutsche Zeitung, were allegedly given access to documents which carried a timetable. On the papers, it was claimed an agreement on the Brexit deal with Britain should be reached on Sunday. The ‘provisional timetable’ and its content was presented to the EU ambassadors on Friday to make them aware of the EU’s position, it was claimed. Highlighted in red on Sunday, the papers say: ‘Deal made, nothing made public (in theory)’. According to the same timetable, Britain will be given access to the offered deal on Monday. Within days, if it is agreed, there should be a joint public announcement by British Brexit Minister Dominic Raab and EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels. – Mail Online

Nicola Sturgeon to unveil alternative Brexit plans

A “common sense” alternative to the UK Government’s Brexit plans is to be set out in a new Scottish Government paper, Nicola Sturgeon has revealed. The publication, due out on Monday, will reinforce the case for continued membership of the single market and customs union, Scotland’s First Minister said. It will also argue that the UK Government’s “false choice” between a “bad, possibly blindfold” Brexit deal and a no-deal scenario should not be accepted. – ITV News

English football should embrace Brexit, says Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish

In an extensive interview with i, he explains why he believes English football has been presented with an opportunity to revolutionise the game; to massively enhance Gareth Southgate’s England squad, to dramatically decrease transfer fees and finally open up the clogged pipeline of global talent outside of Europe and ultimately to make Brexit work for football. “We’ve got the biggest league in the world, the most attractive league in the world, a massive revenue generator for Britain, an important brand for Britain,” Parish, 53, says. “What it says about us, it’s probably the most recognisable British brand we’ve got abroad. So, the point about this is we can do what we want. We can allow what we want. One would hope that instead of having an artificially low bar for people from the EU and a ridiculously high bar for everybody else, we would make a more sensible solution so that we can bring in talent from all over the world.” – i News

/*COMMENT*/

David Davis: Brexit panic has started on the Continent. Now we must drive a hard bargain

This is the moment of truth for the government’s Brexit negotiations. We are facing a historic decision: precisely what sort of agreement will govern our relationship with the European Union, and what will be our future as a free nation? As we approach the October meeting of the European Council on Wednesday, the auguries are not good. Our television screens have been filled with pictures of Downing Street aides scurrying around Whitehall to try to sell the proposals, and of previously quiescent cabinet ministers being summoned to No 10 in an attempt to calm their fears. At one level this incipient panic is understandable. The government’s strategy has three fundamental flaws, all of which are surfacing as we approach the endgame. – David Davis MP for the Sunday Times (£)

Dan Hannan: Brexit on Theresa May’s terms would be the worst of all worlds

We are heading for the worst possible outcome on Brexit – an outcome more painful and humiliating than either staying or leaving. Under the proposed withdrawal terms, the United Kingdom would remain in the EU’s customs union. The arrangement would supposedly be temporary, but both sides privately recognise that it is so favourable to the EU, and so injurious to Britain, that Brussels would promptly lose any interest in further discussions. A deal sold in this country as a contingent backstop would be treated by Eurocrats as a definitive settlement. There would be no more talks. – Dan Hannan MEP for the Telegraph

Priti Patel: What part of ‘We voted to leave the customs union’ don’t you get, Prime Minister?

When we went to the polls, my party pledged that we would take back control of our borders by leaving the European single market. We pledged that we would take back control of trade. That trade deals would be made in Britain rather than Brussels. To do this, we would leave the EU’s Customs Union. It does not get clearer than the pledge: “We will no longer be members of the single market or customs union.”  Our manifesto also promised that our laws would be made in the UK and interpreted by judges here, not in Europe. That’s why the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposal was not right. Under such a deal, we would be required to follow EU laws under the EU rule book and we would still be subject to the European Court of Justice. We would be out of Europe, yet still run by Europe. – Priti Patel MP for the Sun on Sunday

Anne-Marie Trevelyan: I fear we will be in a permanent temporary customs union over which we have no control of the escape mechanism

I am still struggling to get my head around the idea promoted by those who would prefer that we remain, that a similar free trade deal to Canada’s for the UK would be a “hard” or “extreme” version of Brexit, and that those who make a case for it are “right wing nationalists”. Perhaps it is simply that EU leaders are as grumpy about us leaving as they were all those years ago at having to welcome us into the EEC in the first place… I continue to be concerned that the Chequers proposal could not give us this regulatory freedom and trade independence. It would tie us to EU regulations and limit our control of tariff schedules and regulatory policy through the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) and “common rulebook”. I have waited to see how the PM gets on, since I was never convinced that the EU would accept it anyway, and consider it to be the opening lines of a conversation. I remain concerned that we simply won’t be seen as a credible trading partner by non-EU nations if we don’t have control over these things. – Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP for the Telegraph (£)

Henry Newman: Even without a deal, there are long-term gains from Brexit

It seems more and more likely now that the U.K. could be forced to leave the EU without a deal in March of next year. There are plenty of criticisms to make about the conduct of the British side in the negotiations, but overall the prime minister has negotiated in good faith and sought to agree a future relationship far closer than many Brexiteers would have wanted. Yet the negotiations are at an impasse. No deal is a growing possibility. Why? Because of the so-called Irish backstop — the only real outstanding issue preventing an orderly divorce. The ultimate irony of the current Brexit imbroglio is that negotiations are in danger of falling apart over an inability to find an insurance policy to prevent a hardening of the Irish border. And, because of an inability to find a legally-watertight insurance policy to prevent that hardening of the border, there might be no deal and so a possible hardening of the border. Yes. It really is that silly. – Open Europe’s Henry Newman for Politico

Simon Wolfson: The no-deal ‘economic Armageddon’  is a myth – big businesses like mine will be just fine

The company I work for, Next, is one of the UK’s largest traders. We move over £4 billion of stock around the globe and cross most of the world’s customs borders. We have taken steps to ensure we have the administrative systems and legal structures needed to allow the business to continue to run smoothly – deal or no deal. We have set up bonded warehouses, which allow us to defer customs payments until goods are distributed to shops and customers. That means goods can move across customs borders and between bonded facilities, without incurring duties. Our preparations mean there will be little or no direct impact on our trading operations or costs, even from no deal Brexit. – Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise for the Telegraph (£)

Boris Johnson: ‘The only way to put things right on Brexit and avoid Suez is to ditch the backstop on the Irish border’

It is now completely obvious that the government made a dreadful mistake in December last year.The agreement on Ireland it made then was based on false premises. The DUP, and some of us from within government, said at the time it would limit our choices and tie our negotiating hand. It is now clear we were right. Its implications for the unity of the United Kingdom are severe. The only way to put things back on the right track is to ditch the backstop and then to chuck Chequers. – Boris Johnson for the Belfast News Letter

Norman Lamont: Chuck Chequers or risk letting in Corbyn

And if there is a deal, what sort of deal would that be? Can the Prime Minister be right to insist there is no alternative to her Chequers plan for Brexit? Theresa May’s attempt to push it through in the teeth of serious opposition from her own party is a big gamble, one that could end up destroying the Government and breaking up the party in the process. Many of her backbenchers are now hostile to the Chequers deal. Some Cabinet Ministers are threatening to resign.This latest crisis goes back to July and a marathon Cabinet meeting at Chequers, her country home.There, a new Brexit plan was agreed which envisaged that the UK and Europe would maintain close harmony for trade in goods; that the British courts would take European law into account in their rulings; and it suggested a complicated customs arrangement allowing the UK to apply different trade tariffs to goods bound for Britain and for Europe. Freedom of movement would be ended. Yet there is clearly no majority in the House of Commons for Chequers or any similar deal. In fact, there is no majority for anything – for a Canada-style free trade agreement, for ‘no deal’, for a second referendum, or even for an Election. And faced with such chaos, the Prime Minister has decided the best course is to stick to Chequers, despite its clear lack of popularity. – Lord Lamont for the Mail on Sunday

Sunday Times: Mrs May’s Brexit dance could be her last waltz

Prime ministers, like cats, have only so many lives. Theresa May managed to use up quite a few of hers with last year’s failed general election, which in normal circumstances would have had the Tory party’s men in grey suits knocking on her door. She used up several more during the Brexit negotiations and also lost cabinet ministers in the process. We will soon know whether the prime minister who danced her way onto the stage in Birmingham 11 days ago is now facing her last waltz…Mrs May is caught up by the truth of another Irish saying: that if you want to get to a destination, you wouldn’t start from here in the first place. Were she able to turn the clock back she might think, in that first flush of shock after the referendum, of pushing the EEA (European Economic Area) option of staying in the single market, favoured by many Brexiteers, whether as a destination in itself or as a staging post on the way to a looser association. Words come back to haunt you. As it is, she is in the worst of all worlds. A prime minister whose mantra is “nothing has changed” is being forced to change. Her political weakness is not lost on those on the other side of the negotiating table. Her Brexit approach, which is given the thumbs-down in most polls, has further undermined trust in mainstream politics. And the prize at the end of it, even if she can overcome all her hurdles, would be a Brexit that is neither one thing nor the other. The electoral danger for the Tories looms large. – Editorial from the Sunday Times (£)

Comment in Brief

  • Theresa May digs in her heels as Brexit wobble turns into stampede – Tim Shipman for the Sunday Times (£)
  • The MEPs’ expenses scandal sums up everything that is wrong with the EU – Dia Chakravarty for the Telegraph (£)
  • The UK between Isolationism and Global Britain – Robert Tombs for Briefings for Brexit
  • Mrs May damages the Union she wants to defend – John Redwood’s Diary

News in Brief

  • Fishermen fight back with Brexit message for EU – Express
  • Labour MPs reveal they are ready to rescue Theresa May’s Brexit deal in Commons vote – Independent