Tory Brexit tensions still profound despite Cabinet deal: Brexit News for Sunday 8 July

Tory Brexit tensions still profound despite Cabinet deal: Brexit News for Sunday 8 July
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Tory Brexit tensions still profound despite Cabinet deal…

You can’t resolve 40 years of differences with an extra 40 minutes. The cabinet meeting on Friday to get the grumpy group on board with Theresa May’s plan for Brexit ran a little longer than her team had hoped, by 40 minutes. But now they are cock-a-hoop over what they achieved. Tensions in the Tory Party over Europe are still profound. But the Brexiteers were subdued with some neat Whitehall manoeuvring, and strong political arguments in preparation. – BBC News

…as Theresa May tells Brussels it’s time to ‘get serious’…

Theresa May has told Brussels to “get serious” about Brexit negotiations as she neutered cabinet Brexiteers — but faced a concerted effort by hardline Eurosceptics to oust her. In an interview with The Sunday Times, the prime minister called on Brussels to ditch their “rigid approach” to negotiations and finally start taking her proposals “seriously”, after she struck a deal with her cabinet on Friday. In a message to Brexit voters, May said that her package would fulfil her pledges to take back control of Britain’s borders, laws and money, declaring: “I won’t let you down.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • One game at a time and we can win like Southgate, says steely PM – Sunday Times (£)
  • May insists ‘I won’t let people down’ over Brexit plan –  ITV News
  • Theresa May tells ITV News: All ministers have to sell her Brexit plan and there’ll be no more dissent – ITV News
  • PM in push to gain support from eurosceptics after cabinet approves Brexit plan – Sky News
  • Mrs May puts the ball into Europe’s court – Sunday Times editorial (£)

> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: May says all ministers have to sell her Brexit plan

…while refusing to rule out EU citizens getting preferential rights to come to Britain after Brexit…

Theresa May has suggested EU citizens could be given preferential rights to come to the UK after Brexit. The prime minister insisted freedom of movement will end when Britain leaves the EU but said the issue of whether to give citizens of European countries special treatment has yet to be decided. She also hardened her stance on dissent in her party, warning cabinet ministers they face being sacked if they speak out against the government’s Brexit policy. It comes after the cabinet agreed a plan for Britain’s future relationship with the EU following a day of talks at the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat. – Independent

> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: PM does not rule out preferential treatment for EU migrants

…as some Brexiteers suggest the Chequers plan spells electoral disaster for the Tories…

One senior government figure said Mrs May had backtracked from her professed “red lines” in the EU negotiations in a move that could lead to a “seismic moment” in which millions of voters buy into opposition party assertions that the Conservatives “do not care about ordinary people”. The source warned: “If that narrative takes hold, 1997 will look like a vicar’s tea party”… This weekend pro-Brexit MPs expressed anger that Leave-supporting members of the Cabinet had not taken a greater stand against the agreement – including resigning – to make their disagreement public. One senior MP said: “Brexiteer ministers have put their careers before their country. They are traitors to the nation.” – Telegraph (£)

  • Theresa May’s EU deal under fire from Brexiters – Observer
  • Conservative MPs slam Theresa May’s ‘soft’ Brexit plan as ministers are branded cowards for caving in to compromise – Sun on Sunday
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg says Theresa May’s ‘soft’ Brexit agreement could be worse than a ‘no deal’ after Chequers summit – Sun on Sunday
  • Labour now ahead following May’s Brexit sellout – Guido Fawkes
  • Change Britain/BMG Poll: Conservative support likely to falter should May not deliver deal that is credible for Brexiteers – BMG
  • Ex-Brexit minister concerned May’s plan could harm trade with US – BBC News
  • Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns prepared to vote against Theresa May’s EU deal – LBC
  • Conservative MP Nigel Evans ‘content with deal’ – BBC News

…and explosive Brexiteer legal advice demolishes Cabinet’s plan…

Guido can publish in full a briefing note being circulated by Tory Brexiteer MPs tonight that demolishes the Cabinet’s plan. It was produced by Martin Howe QC, a leading barrister and expert in EU law who has delivered around 10 presentations to the ERG over the last two years. His legal opinion is the Chequers proposals would involve the permanent continuation in the UK of all EU laws which relate to goods, their composition, their packaging, how they are tested etc etc in order to enable goods to cross the UK/EU border without controls. All goods on the UK manufactured in the UK for the UK domestic market, or imported from non-EU countries, would be permanently subject to these controls. – Guido Fawkes

…as it emerges Boris Johnson stunned the Chequers summit with a four-letter outburst over the PM’s Brexit plans

Boris Johnson has opened up an astonishing new Government split with a crude outburst against Theresa May’s new Brexit policy. The Foreign Secretary stunned fellow Ministers with his four-letter dismissal of the Prime Minister’s plan at Friday’s special Chequers summit designed to unite the Cabinet. His comment risks making him the first victim of Mrs May’s fresh crackdown on dissent. Mr Johnson – who has been accused of betrayal by Tory Brexiteers for not blocking Mrs May’s ‘soft Brexit’ proposals – spoke out against the plan for the UK to remain in line with Brussels rules in a new free trade zone with the EU. – Mail on Sunday

  • Johnson criticises May’s EU customs plan – BBC News

Ireland’s Leo Varadkar welcomes Brexit plan agreement

Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar has welcomed a proposal by UK cabinet ministers over the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Mr Varadkar said he had discussed the plan with Theresa May in a “good phone call” on Saturday. He tweeted that the proposals “can input into talks on the future relationship”. The plan was agreed by UK cabinet ministers at a 12-hour meeting on Friday. – BBC News

This is what the EU really thinks about Theresa May’s new Brexit plan

Publicly, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has cautiously welcomed a UK government paper agreed by ministers after a Cabinet away day on Friday, setting out Theresa May’s proposals for the future UK–EU relationship. But, privately, the 27 EU leaders have already been informed by Brussels that May’s plans would cross red lines the leaders set out in the EU’s negotiating position, BuzzFeed News can reveal. The EU27’s initial assessment, the details of which have been seen by BuzzFeed News, is that proposals included in the paper – such as remaining in the single market for goods without the single market’s other freedoms (people, services, and capital), and a clear legal oversight mechanism – are unacceptable. – Buzzfeed

Nicola Sturgeon says ‘game on’ to try and keep UK in EU Single Market after Chequers deal

Nicola Sturgeon has declared it is “game on” for campaigners hoping to keep the UK in the single market and the customs union after Brexit, after the Cabinet signed up to plans which could keep the UK closely tied to Brussels. After a day of intensive discussions at Chequers, Theresa May managed to secure the agreement of her top ministerial team to proposals setting out the country’s future relationship with the European Union. The plans, which still have to be assessed by the 27 other nations of the EU, would result in the creation of a UK-EU free trade area for goods, with a “common rulebook”. – Evening Telegraph

Philip Hammond and Chris Grayling: Theresa May’s pragmatic yet principled Brexit vision is the right one for the whole country

The key to meeting the challenge of our new relationship with the EU, is our new free trade zone for goods. In order to provide a deal that builds our future prosperity and safeguards jobs and livelihoods across the country, we need frictionless access to each other’s markets for goods once we have left. So we will establish a new free trade zone for goods which is underpinned by commitments to high standards and a common rule book. It would ensure there were no routine customs checks or controls between the UK and the EU and will allow the UK to control its own tariffs for trade with the rest of the world and strike new trade deals with other nations. This will protect the integrated supply chains so vital for businesses here and in the EU. – Chancellor Philip Hammond MP and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP for the Telegraph (£)

Michael Gove and Greg Clark: We’re friends reunited in the Battle for Britain

We need to make sure we take advantage of new opportunities offered by life outside the EU and safeguard important economic relationships with our close neighbours and trading partners. Delivering on the Referendum means giving Parliament and the British people the final say on our laws, thus securing space for British entrepreneurs to innovate and create new jobs, allowing us to control migration so we can welcome the most talented people to our shores, creating new trading opportunities for British business, getting rid of the wasteful and bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy, and taking back control of our territorial waters so we can revive our fishing industries and our coastal communities. But we also know that in the negotiations we’re undertaking with the EU, there has to be give and take. – Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP and Business Secretary Greg Clark MP for the Mail on Sunday

Sajid Javid and Liam Fox: We back ‘generous’ Brexit offer agreed at Chequers — it’s time for EU to show movement

At Chequers on Friday, the Cabinet agreed a collective plan to deliver on the next stage of Brexit. A plan that will allow us to take back control of our laws, money and borders, and protect British jobs in everything from fishing to manufacturing to financial services. It will end freedom of movement, restore the supremacy of UK courts and stop us sending vast sums to Brussels each year, with a Brexit dividend worth billions for domestic priorities like our long-term NHS plan. Our UK-EU free trade area, with a commitment to maintaining a common rule book for goods and agricultural products, will mean frictionless trade, protecting jobs and honouring our commitments in Northern Ireland. – Sajid Javid and Liam Fox for the Sun on Sunday

David Lidington: Our Brexit solution will enable us to take back control

Making sure Brexit works for the whole United Kingdom has been a priority for the government from the very start. It is why we made strengthening the Union one of our objectives for the negotiations. It is also why we have been assiduous in sharing and discussing our plans with the devolved governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. While the EU Withdrawal Act ensures that Brexit will work for all the devolved nations and our UK devolution settlements, the special requirements of Northern Ireland, which uniquely shares a land border with another EU member state, present a more formidable challenge. Both the UK and the EU have made a sincere commitment to the people of Northern Ireland: there will be no hard border. – Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington MP for the Observer

Iain Duncan Smith: The Government’s Brexit plans raise serious questions about future trade deals outside the EU

An early look at the small amount of information the Government has put out leaves me deeply concerned about the nature of our future relationship with the EU. It raises serious questions about whether or not we will be able to strike genuine and serious trade arrangements with other countries round the world. It doesn’t appear to be a common rule book at all but the UK accepting the EU’s rule book for all existing regulations. This would lock us into so many of those bad regulations that many small businesses had hoped would be scrapped… Although Parliament might have the final say before new EU regulations are implemented, it appears at first glance that to exercise that new so-called freedom would come at a price. Perhaps my most important concern is whether we would be able to negotiate proper trade deals with non-EU countries… This agreement ties us to EU standards, making it impossible for us to strike mutual arrangements on the import and export of goods with other countries. No self respecting nation will entertain such a deal. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for The Sun on Sunday

Andrew Bridgen: Boris Johnson thinks he’s Churchill – but this so-called Brexit deal proves he’s really Chamberlain

This so-called Brexit deal is nothing short of a betrayal of the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU. What on earth were the staunch Leavers in the Cabinet doing? Where was Boris Johnson? At Chequers on Friday, we needed him to emulate his hero, Winston Churchill. Instead, he gave us a modern-day version of Neville Chamberlain. Sadly, the Foreign Secretary was not alone in apparently waving the white flag of appeasement in the direction of Brussels. Other Brexiteer buccaneers and recent Brexit converts also jumped ship. – Andrew Bridgen MP for the Mail on Sunday

The Sun on Sunday: Three vital questions Theresa May must answer

There remain serious questions about not just the compromise that Theresa May has forced on her Cabinet but on the final deal she plans to sign with Brussels. One, does it genuinely give us the ability to sign free trade deals across the rest of the world, strengthening our links with emerging markets and with the Commonwealth? Two, does it genuinely end freedom of movement, or does the woolly language in Downing Street’s statement still give people the chance to come here on the off-chance they might find a job? Three, can a future Government genuinely seek to diverge further away from the EU in certain areas without Brussels blowing the whole deal up, or charging us a king’s ransom to do so? If the answer to any of those is no, then the Prime Minister will never be forgiven. – The Sun on Sunday says

Henry Newman: Britain has put forward a sensible Brexit proposal. The EU would risk everything if it demands more concessions now

With a Hung Parliament and the UK chalking up a series of errors in the negotiations – beginning with triggering Article 50 without a clear plan, agreeing to settle money before talking trade, and making no serious preparations for “no deal” – the Government’s policy now seems the best way forward. There are things to quibble about not least whether the new Facilitated Customs Arrangement can work. But this broad policy has the best chance of delivering a Brexit which respects the Referendum result, and allows the country to come back together again and move on… Some Brexiteers wish we could go our own way, but they should accept that relinquishing some control over limited areas of regulation will help secure a good deal with the EU… EU capitals should take this Chequers plan seriously. And if they don’t the Government has committed to stepping up preparation for all scenarios. That must include planning to leave without a deal, if Brussels remains intransigent.  – Henry Newman for the Telegraph (£)

Dominic Lawson: Ministers must mug up on the art of the no deal Brexit

Of all the low-down dirty tricks. On a day of energy-sapping heat at the Chequers “Brexit showdown”, the prime minister ordered for her assembled cabinet beef fillet followed by bread-and-butter pudding. Carefully disguised as patriotic British fare, this is the sort of menu that in such weather would stun any diner into somnolent acquiescence. But then Downing Street had already softened up the minority of former “leave” campaigners by authorising a remarkable public statement from a “government source” declaring that “it will be a long walk down a mile-long driveway” for those who “can’t face making the right decision for the country”. – Dominic Lawson for the Sunday Times (£)

Sunday Telegraph: This was the weekend that the Brexit dream died

We are still technically leaving, more or less, but there will be no revolution, no new deal between elites and voters, no great reset. Millions of people have indeed been betrayed, let down by a political class that had promised to implement the referendum in its true spirit: it is now clear that we are en route for associate membership of the EU, a looser, renegotiated arrangement rather than a real break. It is the sort of deal that, in his dreams, David Cameron might have obtained to stop us from leaving, had the Germans been amenable; it will be the most limited of all possible Brexits. The Government’s customs plan offers some weakening of ties, some new freedoms. But this is an opening bid by the UK, so more concessions are likely to come (especially given the Government’s record for giving the EU largely what it wants). – Sunday Telegraph editorial (£)

Robert Peston: How Theresa May trounced the Brexiteers

Tory MPs and ministers have consistently under-estimated their leader. What Theresa May achieved at Chequers yesterday was extraordinary. She persuaded her cabinet to sign up for a Brexit plan that drives a coach and horses through what the Brexiters in her team – especially Boris Johnson and Michael Gove – said Brexit was all about, during that historic referendum campaign. What is more, at Chequers yesterday, Gove was a cheerleader for a plan that would enshrine in treaty what is supposedly anathema to his Brexit cause – that the UK now and forever would be subject to European Union rules and regulations governing the quality and safety of the goods we make and buy and also the food we produce and consume. – Robert Peston for the Spectator

  • How May crushed the Brexiters – Robert Peston for ITV

Tony Parsons: Theresa May must learn from Angela Merkel about leaders who ignore the will of their voters

The career of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor since 2005 and the effective leader of the European Union, is ready to be left out for history’s bin men. Merkel suddenly looks like bratwurst long past its best-by date. Just a few short years after she actively encouraged the Third World to relocate to Western Europe, Frau Merkel finds herself agreeing to refugee detention camps being built from Africa to the Austrian border. In fact, in a last-ditch effort to hold her collapsing coalition together and salvage her disintegrating career, Merkel seems willing to agree to anything. Locking up asylum seekers who first registered outside Germany? Mass deportations of illegal immigrants? Jawohl! And don’t mention the #RefugeesWelcome hashtag. – Tony Parsons for the Sun on Sunday

Brexit in brief

  • Theresa May has put her own survival ahead of the sovereignty of the United Kingdom – Janet Daley for the Telegraph (£)
  • In a bid to appear ‘pragmatic’, Mrs May is losing the power battle with the EU – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)
  • Brexit rebels beaten, victorious Theresa May reveals our future is… with Europe – Adam Boulton for the Sunday Times (£)
  • No deal is better than a bad deal – John Redwood’s Diary
  • Theresa May’s big gamble is that the EU will now give her what she wants – Independent
  • ‘Behave on Brexit or we’ll punish you’ EU threatens to cut off funding for rebel states – Express
  • Nato summit: Fears Trump may pull troops out of Europe – Telegraph