Theresa May warns EU she is still a ‘bloody difficult woman’ over Brexit: Brexit News for Sunday 16th September

Theresa May warns EU she is still a ‘bloody difficult woman’ over Brexit: Brexit News for Sunday 16th September
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Theresa May warns EU she is still a ‘bloody difficult woman’ over Brexit

Theresa May has insisted that she can still be a “bloody difficult woman”, just days before she tries to persuade EU leaders to back her Brexit plan. The Prime Minister’s fighting talk comes as she faces increasing pressure from senior Brexiteers to dump her Chequers proposals. The Prime Minister, who was famously branded a “bloody difficult woman” by Tory MP Ken Clarke, told the BBC’s Panorama show that side of her character is “still there”, but saved for appropriate moments.In the programme, due to be broadcast tomorrow night, she said: “There’s a difference between those who think you can only be bloody difficult in public and those who think, actually, you bide your time, and you’re bloody difficult when the time is right – and when it really matters.” Mrs May also revealed that she is “a little bit irritated” by the current leadership debate within her party, adding: “This is not about my future, this is about the future of the people of the United Kingdom.” She also condemned the language recently used by former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who is among those being tipped to take over from her. Mr Johnson referred to part of her Chequers plan as a “suicide vest around the British constitution”. But Mrs May said his words were “completely inappropriate”. – Express

Sajid Javid says no-deal Brexit would be opportunity for ‘tax incentives’ and attracting global talent

Britain should respond to a no-deal Brexit with tax cuts, increased spending on infrastructure and policies that will draw “global talent” to the country, Sajid Javid has suggested.bThe Home Secretary told a specially convened Cabinet meeting last week that the Government should introduce new “tax incentives”, thought to include ­targeted cuts, to help the economy withstand the effects of leaving the EU without an agreement.bThe intervention, seen as a rebuke of Philip Hammond’s insistence the Treasury could not afford tax cuts, will be welcomed by senior Brexiteers who have urged the Chancellor to prepare radical reforms of the economy to take advantage of the “opportunities” of Brexit.It is likely to be seized on by EU leaders, who fear the UK will use Brexit to transform into a low-tax economy that could draw business away from the Continent. Today, Priti Patel, the former cabinet minister, and Steve Baker, who ­resigned as Brexit minister in July, ­accuse Theresa May’s officials of selectively leaking sections of a separate presentation by Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, in order to create fear over the consequences of voting down Mrs May’s Chequers plan. – Telegraph (£)

Mark Carney predicts ‘£16bn boost to economy’ if Theresa May secures Chequers Brexit deal with EU

Theresa May‘s blueprint for Brexit could give the economy a £16bn boost if the prime minister reaches a deal with Brussels, the governor of the Bank of England reportedly told a meeting of the cabinet. The assessment of Ms May’s Chequers compromise plan for Brexit is the latest detail to emerge from Mark Carney‘s presentation to senior ministers earlier this week on the possible effects of no deal. According to the Financial Times, Mr Carney said there would be an economic bounce should the prime minister negotiate a deal similar to Chequers, which aims for a free trade area for goods, including agriculture, with the EU.“Carney said that we would recover three quarters of the growth lost after the 2016 referendum because Chequers would imply more access to the European market than under current assumptions,” a cabinet source told the FT. – Independent

Boris Johnson says he supports May, but opposes her Brexit plan

Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said he supports Prime Minister Theresa May and his opposition was not to her but to her proposals for exiting the European Union, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday.Following a week in which reports surfaced of a plot by Johnson’s fellow eurosceptic colleagues to oust May, Johnson, bookmakers’ favourite to succeed her, was quoted as saying he wanted her Chequers Brexit plan dropped, not her.b“It’s not about the leadership. It’s about the policy. It’s not about changing prime minister. It’s about chucking Chequers,” he is reported to have told the newspaper at an event in Washington D.C. in the United States.Johnson quit as foreign secretary in July after May’s Chequers proposal, named after a country house where it was put forward. It called for the free trade of goods with the EU, with Britain accepting a “common rulebook” that would apply to those goods. Opponents of the plan, like Johnson, say that would leave Britain subject to decisions made in Brussels without any input. – Reuters

Bafta chief says UK entertainment industry will ‘thrive’ post-Brexit

The UK entertainment industry will “thrive” post-Brexit, even if the country crashes out of the EU without a deal, a Bafta executive has said. Critics of Brexit have warned of the possible implications of a no-deal departure, including a drastic fall in house prices and chaos at the country’s borders. However, Chantal Rickards, Bafta’s chief executive in Los Angeles, is confident the entertainment industry will remain unscathed. She told the Press Association: “Post-Brexit I think the world is going to be fine. The creatives will always find a way of working with each other.“Creative talent crosses borders, climbs walls and makes sure there is a collaborative entity at the heart of it, so I think that whatever happens with Brexit the creative industry will thrive.”She added: “Whether it’s deal or no deal, they will find a way of working that works for everybody.” – Belfast Telegraph

London mayor Sadiq Khan calls for a second referendum…

The mayor of London has issued a dramatic call for another referendum on EU membership, insisting that the people must be given the chance to reject a Brexit deal that will be bad for the economy, jobs and the NHS. Writing in the Observer, Sadiq Khan says that, with so little time left to negotiate, there are now only two possible outcomes: a bad deal for the UK or “no deal” at all, which will be even worse. “They are both incredibly risky and I don’t believe Theresa May has the mandate to gamble so flagrantly with the British economy and people’s livelihoods,” he writes. Khan says that backing a second referendum was never something he expected to have to do. But so abject has been the government’s performance, and so great is the threat to living standards and jobs, he says, that he sees no alternative than to give people a chance to stay in the EU. – Observer

  • The people must have another vote to take back control of Brexit – Sadiq Khan for the Observer

…as it emerges Tony Blair has asked the EU to ‘make us an offer’ to end the impasse

The European Union should make Britain an offer over Brexit to put an end to the “paralysis” of the UK government, Tony Blair has said. The former prime minister said Europe should step in when asked what the EU can do to help Britain break through its political impasse.He told the Open Future Festival, organised by the Economist: “I think there is paralysis in the British Parliament, my view is they should make us an offer.” Blair said there was a “fundamental dilemma” which the past months of negotiations had never resolved, which was either stay close to Europe or break completely with the single market and customs union. – Huffington Post

  • Tony Blair, Nick Clegg and John Major meet with European leaders in secret plot to keep Britain in the EU – The Sun on Sunday

Lib Dems call for Remainer ministers to back vote on Brexit terms…

Ministers who campaigned to remain in the EU have been urged to “break cover” and publicly back a second referendum on Britain’s membership. Lib Dem former minister Tom Brake used his party conference speech to blast Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg while calling on remainer Tories to take action…Mr Brake, who was mistakenly introduced on stage as the “spokesperson for exiting the MP”, added: “Time is running out for Tory ministers who discretely share their concerns with fellow remainers in other parties, whilst publicly endorsing the Government line. “You have to break cover too, abandon the ministerial limo, hand back your red box. “Put the country’s interests first, as you did two years ago in the EU referendum campaign.” – ITV News

…as former leader Nick Clegg claims the chance of MPs refusing to back May’s Brexit deal is ’30 per cent and growing’

There is an increasing chance that MPs will reject a Brexit deal brokered by Theresa May over the next six months, according to Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg. The chances of Parliament voting against the Government’s Brexit proposals is 25-30% and growing, with a catastrophic no-deal by far the least likely outcome, Mr Clegg has said. Mr Clegg highlighted that the most likely scenario between now and March 29 would be that the Prime Minister manages to ‘wangle’ a ‘pig in a poke’-style Brexit agreement through Parliament. – Mail on Sunday

Tim Shipman and Caroline Wheeler: Brexit: battered, boxed in but still chasing a deal, Theresa May has hurdles yet to clear

The hope in No 10 that EU leaders might hand Barnier new instructions this week, allowing him to accommodate May, have been dashed by Brussels officials. “There might be some warm words but there’s no sign of a new mandate,” one source said. Indeed, the commission still believes that it is May who needs to make the concessions and it is planning to demand preferential access to Britain for EU citizens in exchange for a trade deal when the crunch talks finally come to a head.This would be at a special summit expected in the week of November 12. Both sides appear concerned that the other will try to run out the clock, forcing the choice between a preferred deal and no deal. “The appetite for brinkmanship on both sides is high,” an EU source said. May’s best hope seems to be to nail down a withdrawal agreement and a political declaration about future trade that would leave the details until later. One insider said: “The deal will be so vague, offering only a deal on European citizens, the Irish border and promising a trade deal that will protect jobs and the economy, that it will be so innocuous it cannot possibly offend anybody.” – Tim Shipman and Caroline Wheeler for the Sunday Times

James Forsyth: May must walk tall in the mountains and sell her Brexit plan to EU in Salzburg showdown

It is the most important dinner that Theresa May will have ever had. On Wednesday night in Salzburg, Austria, she will have a chance to try to persuade other EU leaders to bite on her plan for Britain’s future relationship with the bloc.The next morning EU leaders will meet without her, to decide on their response. May needs them to say or, preferably, do something that shows her plan is making headway and is a realistic way forward.“The Government has got to show that it is making some progress,” admits one leading Cabinet minister. No one in Downing Street is expecting a dramatic breakthrough at this summit, though…If this does not change soon, it will be time for Mrs May to change tack. At the same time, the Government must step up its preparations for life outside the EU. “Project After” is looking into how Britain can benefit from the freedoms it will have once it has left. But ministers tell me that it “needs more work”.This should be a priority for the Government. For Brexit does not guarantee this  country’s success or failure. It is what we do after Brexit with our new-found flexibility that will ­determine that. The Government must be ready to seize this moment. – James Forsyth in the Sun

Telegraph: Trust in the Electoral Commission is lost

It is now clear that the Electoral Commission, the quango in charge of monitoring the EU referendum, failed in its most elementary purpose. It told the official Leave campaign that a certain type of donation would be perfectly permissible. Yet it subsequently denied giving this advice and fined both Vote Leave and an individual activist. Last week, the High Court ruled that the Commission had provided advice that was inaccurate. Given that Vote Leave, understandably, believed it was operating according to the rules, why have the fines not been rescinded? How could the public still have confidence in the Commission given this charade? It gets worse: this newspaper has documented anti-Brexit statements made by members of its board – and we can now report that a lone pro‑Brexit Tory nominee to the Commission, Karl McCartney, has been rejected in favour of yet another Remainer… A new electoral body is needed to restore trust. – Telegraph editorial

> Matthew Elliott on BrexitCentral on Friday: Why the Electoral Commission’s defeat in the High Court matters

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Theresa May must not get caught in a Von Trapp at the EU summit in Salzburg to make Brexit a success

This coming week could be pivotal for Brexit. The Prime Minister will head to the continent on Thursday to visit Salzburg — like Bath, a world heritage city — to discuss her Brexit or Chequers proposals with other leaders of European governments…the British Government seems desperate to agree something on almost any terms. Chequers rubbed out the Prime Minister’s red lines to leave the UK “half in, half out” subject to EU regulations in crucial areas of the economy, and to the European Court of Justice. The vassal has been put in chains. This desperation means it will be important to watch carefully what comes out of Salzburg. – Jacob Rees Mogg MP for the Sun on Sunday

Adam Boulton: Music to May’s ears: EU heads working on how to solve a problem like Brexit

Successive British leaders resisted the bureaucratic drive towards “ever-closer union” ever more fiercely. Fear of being subsumed into a European superstate motivated many British Brexit voters in the 2016 referendum. The fact that a significant leaders’ summit is taking place this week in Austria is in itself a small strike back against Brussels’ imperialism. The “informal summit of heads of state or government, Salzburg 2018” may well be the inflection point at which the UK making an orderly withdrawal from the EU becomes more rather than less likely…Britain is on course to withdraw from the EU on time but only into a 21-month transition period. Not much would change immediately in practice, because most of the big questions on the future relationship will have been fudged. The Conservatives can then resume their never-ending internal row over Britain and Europe, as usual without paying much attention to what is really happening inside the union. – Adam Boulton for the Sunday Times (£)

Sadiq Khan: The people must have another vote – to take back control of Brexit

It’s now been two years and nearly three months since the EU referendum. I’m sure I speak for most of the country when I say it feels like we’ve been talking about Brexit for far longer. It’s no secret I campaigned for the UK to remain and I’ve said all along that any form of Brexit – no matter how hard or soft – would result in fewer jobs, less prosperity and a reduced role for Britain on the world stage. The evidence for this is irrefutable. However, the will of the British people was to leave the EU. I respect that and wanted us to make the best of the situation. That’s why, since the referendum, I’ve given the government my support where appropriate as they’ve tried to negotiate with the EU. It’s why, despite our many differences, I’ve worked closely with the Brexit secretary and other cabinet members to push for the best possible deal. It’s time to take this crucial issue out of the hands of the politicians and return it to the people so that they can take back control. Another public vote on Brexit was never inevitable, or something I ever thought I’d have to call for. But the government’s abject failure – and the huge risk we face of a bad deal or a “no deal” Brexit – means that giving people a fresh say is now the right – and only – approach left for our country. – Sadiq Khan for the Observer

James Forsyth: Philip Hammond raises the prospect of delaying Brexit day

Philip Hammond’s political tin ear has struck again. As I write in The Sun this morning, he has twice been slapped down in Cabinet this week. On Tuesday, he talked about ‘squealing’ about universal credit and was chastised by the Chief Whip for his language. Those sympathetic to Hammond point out that he was referring to Labour when talking about ‘squealing’. But it was still a poor choice of words when discussing changes to the benefits system.Then at the ‘no deal’ Cabinet on Thursday, Hammond raised the prospect of delaying Brexit day.- James Forsyth for The Spectator

Kathy Gyngell: Mark Carney and the house price ‘collapse’: Anatomy of a BBC fake news story

According to Andrew Neil, the Governor of the Bank of England has belatedly said he *didn’t* predict house prices would collapse with a no-deal Brexit, some time after the claim made most front pages and became ‘fact’. Now Governor Carney belatedly says he didn’t predict house prices would collapse with no-deal Brexit, sometime after the claim makes most front pages and becomes “fact”. From Dublin, he now claims he didn’t make prediction, just that Bank could cope if it happened. – Kathy Gyngell for ConservativeWoman

News in Brief

  • One of Britain’s biggest online pharmacies stockpiling up to a million Viagra pills in preparation for hard Brexit – Mail on Sunday
  • Brexit threat to peace claims are reckless, says ex-Ulster Unionist leader Lord Empey – Belfast