Sunday Times reveals ‘Theresa May’s secret Brexit deal’: Brexit News for Sunday 4 November

Sunday Times reveals ‘Theresa May’s secret Brexit deal’: Brexit News for Sunday 4 November
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Sunday Times reveals ‘Theresa May’s secret Brexit deal’…

Theresa May’s secret plan to secure a Brexit deal and win the backing of parliament can be revealed today. Senior sources say the prime minister has secured private concessions from Brussels that will allow her to keep the whole of Britain in a customs union, avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland. They expect this to placate remainer Tories and win over some Labour MPs. And in a move that will appeal to Eurosceptics, May is also said to be on course to secure a political deal on a “future economic partnership” (FEP) with the European Union that will allow Britain to keep open the prospect of a free trade deal resembling that enjoyed by Canada. – Sunday Times (£)

…which would mean ‘all of UK to stay in customs union’

Theresa May has reportedly secured concessions from Brussels to keep the whole of the UK in a customs union in the wake of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. The agreement reached would prevent the need for Northern Ireland to be treated differently from the rest of the UK, a main stumbling block during Brexit negotiations. The “secret” deal would avoid the need for an Irish backstop and will be written into the legally-binding deal, according to The Sunday Times. However, Downing Street has poured cold water on the report, calling it speculation. – Independent

  • May’s ‘secret’ Brexit deal avoids Irish backstop – Sky News

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox joins Brexit war cabinet after ministers’ demands

The Government’s chief legal adviser has been given a permanent seat on Theresa May’s Brexit war cabinet after ministers insisted they would not sign off on a deal without his advice. Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General and a Leave-supporting QC, has been quietly added as a 12th member of the Cabinet sub-committee designed to oversee the UK’s negotiations with Brussels. The move comes as Mrs May is believed to be closing in on a deal with the European Union over an insurance plan, or “backstop”, intended to avoid border infrastructure between Northern Ireland and the Republic. – Telegraph (£)

Irish Prime Minister says Brexit is fraying relations between Ireland and Britain

The Irish prime minister says Brexit is fraying relations between Ireland and Britain. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it had also “undermined” the Good Friday Agreement (GFA). The GFA was signed by political parties in Northern Ireland in 1998 and was aimed at establishing peace after 30 years of The Troubles. The UK government says “nothing we agree with the EU will risk a return to a hard border”. The Irish border is one of the biggest sticking points in the Brexit negotiations. – BBC News

  • Brexit is undermining 20 years of peace in Ireland, says Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar – iNews
  • Brexit fraying UK-Irish relations, Varadkar warns – Sky News

Business leaders (who almost invariably backed Remain) demand new referendum on final Brexit terms

Former bosses from BT Group and J Sainsbury will this weekend join dozens of entrepreneurs in demanding a “people’s vote” on the final terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Sky News has‎ learnt that a letter effectively calling for a second EU referendum will warn of economic damage being wrought by “either a blindfold or destructive Brexit”. The letter, which is to be published in The Sunday Times, is understood to have been signed by more than 50 senior businesspeople, and will herald the launch of Business for a People’s Vote, a new strand of campaigning to take place during the coming weeks. – Sky News

UK fish will rot on docks if EU decides to choke British fishermen with paperwork

Dr Bryce Stewart, a marine ecologist and fisheries biologist, warned the European Union will still have “control” over the British fishing industry after Brexit, which could be “catastrophic” for some fishermen. And British fishermen said they feared a post-Brexit scenario where Brussels attempted to both protect the EU’s own industry and punish upstart Britain with swingeing tariffs and choking amounts of paperwork. Dr Stewart told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today: “We export over half of the fish that we catch to Europe and so they have a certain level of control over us because they are our most important market for seafood. – Sunday Express

Arron Banks faces new claims of misleading MPs over Brexit

The controversial businessman Arron Banks may have misled parliament over links between his pro-Brexit campaign and his insurance business during the EU referendum, according to explosive correspondence released by whistleblowers. Hundreds of internal emails leaked by former employees from Eldon Insurance and Rock Services to the Observer reveal that – despite categorical denials by Banks – insurance staff worked on the Leave.EU campaign from their company offices. – Observer

David Davis: Downing Street must publish the dodgy backstop dossier or be damned like Tony Blair

Tony Blair got himself into a mess from which he never recovered concerning the legal advice he received about the Iraq War. His government refused to publish the advice in full until finally it leaked during the 2005 election campaign. When published, it revealed the doubts his attorney-general, Lord Goldsmith, had held about the legality of the war. Blair went on to win that election but his reputation — with regard to his conduct in the run-up to the Iraq conflict — never recovered. We’ve now learnt that the current attorney-general — the straight-talking Geoffrey Cox — expressed his doubts about the prime minister’s Chequers plan to the cabinet on October 16. He is quoted in one report that said “any Northern Ireland-only arrangements for customs after Brexit could mean the province was ‘torn out of the UK’ and leave it ‘controlled by the EU’.” – David Davis MP for the Sunday Times (£)

Tim Shipman: Theresa May’s conjured up a Brexit deal: now to cast a spell over the cabinet

This weekend, the prime minister’s resilience as the flames have licked at her leadership seems, finally, to be paying off. Ministers, their aides, civil servants and European Union officials are all signalling that the outline of a deal, which might satisfy enough MPs to pass parliament, is there to be done — if May has the courage to grasp it and her cabinet and backbenchers let her seal it. – Tim Shipman for the Sunday Times (£)

Daniel Hannan: The Commonwealth is booming – it’s time to embrace free trade with the Anglosphere

Could we form an Anglosphere trade nexus and still enjoy unhindered commerce with our European allies? Yes, in every circumstance except one. We could do it if we had a Canada-style trade accord; we could do it as members of the European Free Trade Association; we could do it, with some restrictions, under the Chequers proposal. But we couldn’t do it if we stayed in the customs union – something that, from sheer mischief, Labour now plans to vote for. – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Frank Field and Andrew Murrison: A Canada-style deal with the EU should be Britain’s goal – but there’s only one way to achieve it

We have reached an impasse in the Brexit negotiations. The talks have stalled, attitudes in Parliament are hardening – and, every day, the risk of no deal rises. No politicians, at least ones who worry about jobs and livelihoods, want out of the EU next March on barebones WTO terms. We need to find another way. We come from different sides of the political spectrum, but both believe our country’s long-term interests are best served by leaving the EU. We also agree that a Canada-style deal should be our goal. We want a mutually beneficial relationship with the EU, with a free trade arrangement that delivers prosperity and lets us make our own laws, control our borders and strike deals around the world. – Frank Field MP and Andrew Murrison MP for the Telegraph (£)

Charles Moore: The faulty logic of a ‘Norway for Now’ Brexit

The campaign ‘Norway for Now’, an idea promoted by Nick Boles, is that Britain should join the European Economic Area and EFTA, until such time as we can move further out of the EU, for example with a Canada-style free-trade deal. This is what Norway and Iceland and Liechtenstein do. The idea sounds nice as a friendly and temporary compromise. But in fact the psychology is wrong. Such arrangements were devised more as an entry chamber to full membership (which is what Norwegian elites still want) than as part of an exit strategy. The Norwegian Prime Minister is now making this point. The point of Leave is to escape the gravitational pull of Brussels. Why make self-contradictory efforts to stay in the orbit and leave it at the same time? – Charles Moore for The Spectator

Adam Boulton: As we near the end of the gruelling Brexit marathon, Theresa May is just limbering up

Brexit deal with the European Union is in sight. Today this newspaper details its likely ingredients. There is the growing possibility of a special summit before the end of this month, where the prime minister will seal the deal with her 27 European counterparts. If a UK-EU agreement is reached, the next — and final — hurdle will be just as daunting for the government as what has come before. Parliament must endorse it in a meaningful vote. That will be the true moment of decision: take it or leave it. The clerk of the Commons, Sir David Natzler, spelt out to MPs last week that there will be no “statutory obligation” on ministers to obey any further instructions backed by a majority of MPs. The prime minister could ignore a vote for another referendum. – Adam Boulton for the Sunday Times (£)

James Crisp: What Britain’s new tech tax means for Brexit, Brussels and Ireland

Philip Hammond’s new tech tax has ratcheted up pressure on Ireland to submit to an EU-wide levy imposed on the US technology giants that its economy depends on. The Chancellor’s announcement of the levy will also strengthen the hand of those, such as Emmanuel Macron of France, who want a similar EU tax on the likes of Facebook and the other major US digital giants. Any EU-wide tax requires the unanimous support of all 28 member states and Ireland, which attracted companies such as Apple with a low corporation tax rate of just 12.5pc, is firmly against the plan. – James Crisp for the Telegraph (£)

Dara Doyle: How did the Irish border become the biggest fight of Brexit?

In the run-up to the U.K.’s 2016 Brexit referendum, the Irish border barely featured in the debate. Two years on, the question of how to keep the 310-mile (500-kilometer) frontier free of checkpoints and patrols threatens to derail Britain’s plans for an orderly departure from the European Union. How did we get here? And what happens next? Dara Doyle for Bloomberg

Daniel Kawczynski: The Home Secretary must not back away from DNA testing for migrants

There are of course many reasons why the UK is one of the best countries in the world to come and live, including our thriving democracy, strong and resilient economy, and open and compassionate society. It is exactly because of these national strengths that the UK must have a fair but robust immigration system. The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union is a seminal moment at a pivotal point in our nation’s history, and leaving the EU will allow the British Government to build a fair and controlled migration system once EU free movement has come to an end. – Daniel Kawczynski MP for ConservativeHome

Brexit in Brief

  • Remainer MPs ‘planning to launch new party by Christmas’ in last-ditch bid to reverse Brexit – Sunday Express
  • French far-right overtakes Macron in EU parliament election poll – Sunday Telegraph (£)
  • Tony Blair urges MPs to vote down any Brexit deal and push for people’s vote – Observer
  • Fury at Labour MEP who said ‘where there’s death there’s hope’ in dig at ageing Brexit voters’ mortality rates – Mail On Sunday