Brexit News for Thursday 4 January

Brexit News for Thursday 4 January
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Britons upbeat about 2018

Most Britons believe that their job will be safe in 2018 and house prices will rise, according to a wide-ranging poll for The Times which also suggests that voters stayed resolute despite the political turmoil of the past 12 months. Undeterred by a turbulent 2017, more than half the population think that their personal financial situation will stay the same or improve over the next year, according to the annual YouGov “state of the nation” poll. Most Britons believe that they can weather a second interest rate rise, after the first increase for a decade, to 0.5 per cent, was imposed in November. – The Times (£)

  • Poll shows Leave lead over Remain stronger than at the referendum – YouGov
  • Buoyant British economy is set to power past France by 2020 – Daily Mail
  • London’s stock markets finished the trading year in style, shrugging off jitters over Brexit to bow out at record highs – Times (£)
  • The ‘Architect of Project Fear’ admits Brexit will have a ‘limited’ impact on the economy – Business Insider
  • The shallow, failed forecasters of Project Fear – John Redwood MP for The Commentator
  • Don’t believe the pessimists; the UK economy will do just fine in 2018 – Jeremy Warner for the Telegraph (£)

Whitehall warned there can be no ‘excuses’ for going slow on Brexit preparations – including no deal…

Ministers have warned Whitehall that there can be no more “excuses” for going slow on Brexit preparations, including readying the UK for the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal. A team of 100 officials in David Davis’s Brexit department will this month urge mandarins to intensify Brexit preparations as they return a series of delivery plans to Whitehall. Mr Davis’s department will subsequently produce monthly “progress reports” to ensure each Government department is enacting the plans. – Telegraph (£)

  • Boris Johnson says he’s winning the Cabinet battle for a clean break from EU red tape – The Sun
  • British bureaucrats must ‘kick addiction’ to Brussels red tape after Brexit – Telegraph (£)

…as Davis braces for Brexit talks to ‘turn nasty’ over services and the City…

David Davis warned of more ‘thunder and lightning’ to come in Brexit talks today – as he vowed that financial services must be covered by any deal with the EU. The Brexit Secretary delivered a stark message to Brussels that they will not be allowed to ‘cherry pick’ a free trade deal that excludes the City of London. He admitted the negotiations would not be ‘straightforward’ but said the UK wants ‘the full sweep of economic cooperation’, with minimal barriers to trade in both goods and services. His comments challenge those of Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, who has repeatedly said the final Brexit deal cannot include financial services. – Daily Mail

  • Brexit Secretary warns Brussels it can’t ‘cherry pick’ a deal with Britain – The Sun
  • EU will try to stay united by holding City hostage – The Times (£)
  • Forcing euro clearing from London will damage the EU far more than Britain, LCH boss warns Brussels – Telegraph
  • A “smart” Brexit deal could serve as a model for the EU’s future relations with other non-EU states says German Foreign Minister – BBC News
  • European leaders will not let Michel Barnier’s Scrooge shtick towards Britain last – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

…and Brussels troublemaking is blamed for reports claiming the Brexit Secretary has been sidelined

David Davis’s Brexit department believes Brussels is trying to undermine the government’s negotiating position by claiming he has been sidelined from talks on Britain’s future outside the EU. Davis is formally the government’s lead negotiator in the talks with the EU27, which are due to resume in the new year. Olly Robbins, the senior Whitehall official who worked in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) before transferring to No 10 earlier this year, plays an increasingly important role. But DExEU blamed Brussels troublemaking for a report in the Times that Davis had been “sidelined”, with Robbins holding face-to-face meetings with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier. – Guardian

  • May affirms confidence in Davis – FT (£)

UK looks to join Pacific trade group after Brexit

Britain has held informal talks about joining a flagship Pacific trade group, in an audacious bid to kick-start exports after Brexit. The proposal, being developed by Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade, would make the UK the first member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that does not border the Pacific Ocean or the South China Sea. It would help to reinvigorate TPP, a key initiative of Barack Obama’s administration that appeared fatally wounded when Donald Trump withdrew the US last January. The 11 remaining members, including Australia, Japan and Mexico, agreed in November to continue with a successor deal, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. – FT (£)

  • Joining the TPP would show Britain’s trading ambition is truly global – Matt Kilcoyne for the Telegraph (£)
  • Britain hires more than 100 experienced trade negotiators hired to strike new deals around the world – Express
  • The 42 different types of trade relationship with the EU (so far) – Lee Rotherham for ConservativeHome
  • Liam Fox says greatest risk to Brexit is ‘self defeating pessimists’ talking Britain down – Express

Priti Patel calls for Electoral Commission to probe claims that the Remain campaign overspent during referendum and ‘flouted the rules’

Former Cabinet Minister Priti Patel has demanded Britain’s election watchdog open a probe into overspending by Remain in 2016’s bitter Brexit referendum. The devout Brexiteer said it could not be right that Britain Stronger in Europe were able to “blatantly flout the rules to feed the British people their propaganda” in a hard-hitting letter to the Electoral Commission seen by The Sun. Her complaint followers an investigation launched against Leave campaigners on similar allegations. The former aid minister, who quit in November, pointed to claims that more than £1 million was channelled to groups opposing Brexit by big money donors who were secretly working together. – The Sun

  • Remain campaigns coordinated spending – Guido Fawkes
  • Remain donors funnelled £1 million to new campaigns set up in weeks before referendum – Guido Fawkes
  • Remain groups shared data, suppliers and campaign materials – Guido Fawkes

Labour’s Lord Adonis resigns as the Government’s infrastructure tsar, branding Brexit a ‘nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump’…

Ex-Labour minister Andrew Adonis tonight quit as the chairman of the Government’s National Infrastructure Commission with an astonishing rant over Brexit. In a leaked draft of his resignation letter, Lord Adonis complained Brexit was a ‘dangerous, populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump’. He told Theresa May that future generations would ‘marvel at your wanton destruction’ if she continued to push through a Brexit defined by the ‘voice of Ukip’. Lord Adonis, first appointed by George Osborne to the powerful post in 2015, was pushed to resign by Downing Street following a series of incendiary comments about Brexit and threats to undermine flagship laws. Brexiteers told MailOnline Lord Adonis was ‘condescending’ and had refused to accept the result of the referendum. – Daily Mail

  • 10 bonkers things Adonis said about Brexit – Guido Fawkes
  • The Remain cause, and Lord Adonis – Owen Jones for Medium

…as Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘cake and eat it’ approach to Brexit…

Jeremy Corbyn is trying to have his “cake and eat it” on Brexit and should come out and oppose the UK leaving the European Union, Tony Blair has said. The former Prime Minister claimed Labour’s position on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc is “confusing” and that it would be “far better” if it made the case that leaving “isn’t and never was the answer”. He warned: “If Labour continues to go along with Brexit and insists on leaving the Single Market, the handmaiden of Brexit will have been the timidity of Labour.” – Telegraph

…while Tory grandee Lord Heseltine says he would prefer a Corbyn Government to Brexit

Michael Heseltine, the Tory grandee and former deputy prime minister, has suggested a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn could be less damaging than Brexit. The peer made the claim, which is remarkable for a senior Conservative, in an interview for the Limehouse podcast about liberal and EU politics, as he was pressed on how catastrophic he believes Brexit will be for the UK. Heseltine, a longstanding pro-EU politician, signalled that he still views a Labour government as having a negative effect on the country, but said leaving the EU could be worse in the long term. He also suggested Labour would eventually turn against Brexit and the Conservatives would be “left holding the baby”, as leaving the EU grows more unpopular. – Guardian

  • Lord Heseltine has allowed his pro-EU passion to get the better of his anti-Left judgment – Telegraph editorial (£)
  • Theresa May faces calls to withdraw Tory whip from Lord Heseltine over ‘disloyal’ Brexit comments – Telegraph (£)
  • Prime Minister warned she will be ‘brought down’ if she goes for soft Brexit – The Sun
  • Vast majority of Conservative Party members back clean Brexit while nine in ten oppose second EU referendum – Telegraph

Labour to seek to force another vote on UK’s adoption of EU charter of rights

Keir Starmer has torn into the government’s “woefully inadequate” analysis of how the EU charter of fundamental rights will be covered by British law after Brexit, warning that essential protections will be lost. The shadow Brexit secretary said Labour would force a vote on the issue this month at the next stage of the EU withdrawal bill, as the government was still refusing to transpose the charter into UK law. The government managed to head off a rebellion on the issue by Conservative MPs, led by the former attorney general Dominic Grieve, by promising a “right-by-right analysis” of how UK law already covers the same ground as the charter on areas such as children, the environment, data and consumer rights. – Guardian

  • Labour voters could abandon party over Brexit stance, poll finds – Guardian
  • Jeremy Corbyn denies that Labour’s position on Brexit is “confusing” as he rules out support for a second referendum – Sky News

Michael Gove: Farmers will receive subsidies for opening up countryside and improving environment after Brexit

Farmers will be rewarded with subsidies for opening up the countryside to the public and improving the environment after Brexit, Michael Gove will say. The Environment Secretary will announce plans to replace EU subsidies with a new system which pays farmers to improve “public access” to their land so that people can enjoy more of the countryside. He will say that as part of a “green Brexit” farmers will be paid subsidies for improving the environment by planting woodlands, turning fields into wildflower meadows and providing new habitats for animals. – Telegraph (£)

  • Farming subsidies to stay for five years after Brexit – BBC News

Irish PM sparks new row by vowing to create a united Ireland which would break up the UK

Ireland’s PM was branded “immature” and accused of grandstanding by the DUP after he admitted he wants to see the UK break apart. Leo Varadkar said he will try and persuade unionist voters to support a united Ireland – in comments likely to enrage the DUP and Brexiteers. The country’s PM is supposed to guarantee the Good Friday Agreement, which states it is up to the people of Northern Ireland to decide whether to stay in the UK or not. But he told reporters today he is keen to see Northern Ireland join the Republic in a new state covering the whole island of Ireland. Mr Varadkar said: “In terms of a united Ireland, our constitution is clear on this. Our constitution aspires to there being a united Ireland. – The Sun

Brexodus, what Brexodus? Europeans flock into UK

Builders from other member states employed in Britain this year totalled 156,000, up from 145,000 at the end of 2016 – a rise of nearly eight per cent. The previous year saw only a six per cent rise. The population survey shows the upward trend over the past six years carrying on despite the EU referendum result. There had been warnings that Brexit threatened firms’ access to EU workers and could hit plans to tackle the housing crisis. Under the divorce deal reached with Brussels this month, EU citizens who arrive by March 29, 2019 and have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for five years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely. – Express

  • Osborne claims Theresa May “single-handedly blocked” her colleagues’ attempts to remove international students from immigration figures – Times (£)

David Davis: How we will deliver the best Brexit in 2018

In December we reached an important milestone in Britain’s negotiations to leave the EU. So, what next? First, Donald Tusk has approved an immediate start to initial discussions on the future relationship, and though EU guidelines will not be agreed until March, when Michel Barnier and his team will be able to confirm their positions, talks about the implementation period begin early in the New Year. At the same time we will begin a deep and open exploratory dialogue to discover a new, mutually acceptable point of balance in our relationship with the EU. The process for transitioning into the new arrangements should be agreed early on, given that each side’s positions are well known. – David Davis MP for the Telegraph (£)

Kate Hoey: My party, Labour, must stop trying to sabotage Brexit

For a strong supporter of leaving the European Union like me, who represents a Remain-voting constituency, it is easy to be downhearted amid the Westminster-establishment bubble, steeped as it is in metropolitan liberal journalism. Most of my Labour colleagues seem to take their opinions only from The Guardian, the Today programme and Newsnight. The negativity of the reporting on the EU negotiations from these outlets is relentless. Anything good is “despite Brexit” and bad news is always attributed “to Brexit”. Michel Barnier’s words are treated as gospel, while UK negotiators are continuously undermined. – Kate Hoey MP for the Telegraph (£)

John Longworth: Leavers have every reason to be optimistic about the year ahead

In the run up to Christmas, we learned that the CBI was reporting manufacturing order books at a 30-year high and export order books at a 20-year high. Forbes magazine reported that the UK is the best place in the world to do business. The Bank of England said that the City of London is Europe’s Banker and advocated what amounted to unilateral financial “passporting” into London. The EU chief negotiator declared that any transition period must end in 2020 (hurrah!). There was an agreement on a move to the next phase of negotiations with the EU. Should we feel optimistic? – John Longworth for ConservativeHome

  • Why 2018 will be good for go-it-alone UK as we edge closer to Brexit Britain – John Longworth for the Sun

Dominic Lawson: How blessed we are that Brexit’s enemies are such a deluded, comical rabble

Who did the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain choose last month to be their figurehead? Lord Malloch-Brown, that’s who. Malloch-Brown, who called Brexit ‘a betrayal of our country’, is a consultant- cum-lobbyist on an epic scale, which includes membership of The Guardian’s ‘global advisory panel’. But, as that newspaper’s own columnist Matthew D’Ancona pertinently observed, Malloch-Brown is ‘the very incarnation of what made people vote Leave in the first place’. – Dominic Lawson for the Daily Mail

  • Wise up guys, Brexit is going to happen so 2018 must be the year the whining stops – Tony Parsons for the Sun on Sunday

Mark Stone: Will Brexit spell the end of the City of London’s financial dominance? No

EY has been tracking city firm intentions since the referendum. Their figures are revealing. It counts job announcements until the end of November and concludes that the number of roles companies are intending to move out of the City of London has actually fallen from estimates a year ago. In late 2016, EY said that an estimate of 12,500 jobs would leave the City of London for places like Frankfurt. A year on, they say that despite the number of companies now saying they will relocate staff doubling, the actual number of staff to leave has fallen to 10,500. That number may sound like a lot of jobs, but it represents just a fraction of the City of London’s skilled financial workforce. – Mark Stone for Sky News

Daniel Hannan: The Brexit transition proposal would turn Britain into a vassal of the EU

Under the proposed transition terms, Britain would remain a full EU member until the end of 2020, except in one respect. We would lose the ability to veto new EU laws. We would pay as members, follow the rules as members, accept free movement as members and, it is suggested, adopt new laws passed during the transition period. We would remain subject to the European Court of Justice – a far more politicised court than Poland’s, whose judges repeatedly twist the law in favour of closer integration. We would even, according to Michel Barnier, be subject to the EU’s customs union, and thus forbidden to strike our own trade deals. The only change is that we would have no say over what those deals were. We would, in short, be choosing vassal status of our own free will. Now you might argue that it is only for 21 months. How much damage, you might ask, can the EU do during that time? – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Telegraph (£)

  • Stop crying, remoaners! There’s never been a better time to be British – Daniel Hannan MEP for the Sun

Liam Halligan: Don’t relax yet, Brexiteers – the drumbeat for a second referendum is getting louder

The public have voted and I do think it’s seriously disrespectful and politically utterly counter-productive to say ‘sorry guys, you’ve got it wrong, we’re going to try again’.” So said Vince Cable in September 2016. Since then, though, Cable has become Liberal Democrat leader. Now he’s pushing hard for a second referendum on European Union membership. Earlier this week, Cable’s party tried passing a Commons amendment to hold a referendum on the final Brexit agreement in December 2018, vowing to campaign to stay in. The Liberal Democrats, it seems, aren’t democrats at all. And they’re only ‘liberal’ until the electorate makes a decision they oppose.- Liam Halligan for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit in brief

  • Britain must not get stuck in transition – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome
  • Embracing the future will deliver a high-tech Brexit – Liam Fox for the Telegraph (£)
  • Brexit could be the wake-up call Britain needs to deal with fundamental economic issues – Dean Turner for the Telegraph (£)
  • Think Catalonia puts Madrid in a bind? No, it’s the EU that’s now in a no-win situation – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)
  • Let 2018 be the year the liberal counter-revolution against Brexit and Trump is routed once and for all – Tim Stanley for the Telegraph (£)
  • 10 Lords trying to shape Brexit in 2018 – Annabelle Dickson for Politico
  • Theresa May’s 2018 resolution should be to look beyond Brexit – Spectator editorial
  • Eurozone’s fleeting boom is an illusion – Britain won’t remain the sick man of Europe for long – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)
  • Gibraltar accuses the EU of treating its citizens ‘shamefully’ over Brexit – Telegraph
  • Fifty Tory MPs back new lotto game to let public pay for new royal yacht – Telegraph (£)
  • Scottish legal action over whether the UK can reverse Brexit gets go ahead – Telegraph
  • I was too partisan over Brexit to become Tory leader, says George Osborne – Telegraph
  • France’s northern ports fight to stop hard Brexit – FT (£)
  • Olympic meddle: MEPs could set up Team EU for 2036 Games – Telegraph (£)