UK can change mind on EU single market until 2021, says Michel Barnier: Brexit News for Thursday 12 April

UK can change mind on EU single market until 2021, says Michel Barnier: Brexit News for Thursday 12 April
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UK can change mind on EU single market until 2021, says Michel Barnier…

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has told Theresa May she can change her mind on leaving the bloc’s single market up until 2021. Michel Barnier revealed Brussels would consider a reversal of the Government’s commitment to quitting the single market even after Brexit. The European Commission official suggested the UK could yet abandon its “red lines” within the planned Brexit transition period, which is due to last until 31 December 2020. Speaking to a group of European newspapers, as reported by Suddeutsche Zeitung, Mr Barnier said: “If Britain decides to change its red lines, we too will change our positions, we remain open, there are no dogmas.” – Sky News

But Iain Duncan Smith shot back: “Whatever he thinks is irrelevant – we’re leaving on March 29th next year. The UK has chosen quite categorically to leave the single market and the customs union. It would do Barnier and the rest of the Commission a lot of good to stop trying to interfere in UK democratic processes. Instead they should get on and do their damn job and do what he’s supposed to do, which is to make a good arrangement for both the UK and the EU.” – The Sun

…after he said Britain must stay permanently bound to EU regulations after Brexit if it wants a trade deal

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator says he will insist on a “non-regression clause” in a future trade deal which ties Britain to the bloc’s strict standards after Brexit. Michel Barnier said he welcomed a 25-year plan by environment secretary Michael Gove under which the UK pledged to be a “global champion” of green policies when it leaves the EU in March next year. But he warned at the European Parliament on Tuesday that the EU would be “extremely vigilant” in policing any attempts by the UK to cut its rules and regulations in a bid to gain a competitive advantage over its neighbours. He said a future trade deal “should include a non-regression clause and prevent the reduction of pre-Brexit standards.” – Business Insider

> John Longworth on BrexitCentral today: The simultaneous push for post-Brexit regulatory alignment from the CBI and Michel Barnier is shameless – and wrong, of course

Brexit means the UK will get a ‘better or larger’ trade deal with Canada, says Justin Trudeau

Canada’s prime minister says Britain can negotiate an ‘even better or larger’ trade deal after Brexit. Justin Trudeau said he would be happy to open talks with Britain ‘the day after’ Brexit next year and said he believed ‘the best trade deals are the win-win trade deals’. Speaking to the Times, he said the EU’s free trade agreement with Canada should be seen as the starting point for negotiations with the UK. He said: ‘The rolled-over or specific Ceta arrangement between Canada and the UK is just the floor, or the first step. After that, we very much look forward to negotiating an even better or larger or more impactful deal to encourage the deepening of trade ties between Canada and the UK. Canada is firmly of the opinion that the best trade deals are the win-win trade deals.’ – Daily Mail

  • Canada champions UK trade deal – The Times (£)

Germany’s banking boss says London will remain Europe’s main financial hub after Brexit despite attempts to lure services to Frankfurt and Paris

The boss of Germany’s national bank today admitted London will remain Europe’s biggest financial hub after Brexit. Bundesbank leader Andreas Dombret said there is widespread ‘reluctance’ among bankers living in the capital to move abroad. And he said the Square Mile will remain the continent’s ’eminent financial centre’ after Britain quits the bloc. His words come as political leaders across Europe compete to try to lure London’s lucrative financial services away. – Daily Mail

> On BrexitCentral’s YouTube: German banking boss Andreas Dombret: I believe London will stay financial hub of Europe

Exports of UK goods and services soar by 10% as Britain prepares to quit the EU…

Britain’s exports to the rest of the world have soared by 10 per cent as we prepare to quit the EU, official stats revealed today. The trade boom saw sales of UK goods and services add an extra £60billion to the economy in the past year. Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that Britain raked in a total of £627.6billion in exports. But the overall trade deficit stood at £27.5billion as the UK continued to import more than we sell abroad. In the previous year, exports totalled £568.2billion – meaning they have risen by 10.4 per cent. Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “The UK is entering a period of unprecedented economic opportunity, with latest figures showing a surge in exports together with optimism for continued export growth in the years ahead.” – The Sun

…as Liam Fox hires ex-Barclays executive as UK’s first exports chief

Ex-Barclays executive John Mahon hired by Liam Fox as UK’s first exports chief. A former Barclays executive is being parachuted in as Britain’s exports chief as ministers prepare to negotiate a string of trade deals in the months leading up to the country’s exit from the European Union. Sky News has learnt that John Mahon, who until recently ran Barclays’ corporate banking unit, has been recruited by Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade (DIT) to the new post of director-general for exports. The appointment of Mr Mahon is understood to have been announced internally by the DIT earlier on Wednesday, with an external statement expected on Thursday. – Sky News

Bid to stop Brexit: Remainers to launch £1m campaign to keep the UK in Europe

Pro-Remain groups are launching a £1million campaign to stop Brexit this weekend, The Telegraph can reveal. The campaign will call on Parliament to give the public a vote on the terms of the final deal, with the chance to stay in the EU if they vote against it. MPs from all three major political parties, including Anna Soubry, a Tory, and Chuka Umunna, from Labour, will join forces with anti-Brexit campaigners to demand the chance to remain – branded The People’s Vote. Richard Reed, a businessman and the vice-president of the National Union of Students, is also expected to speak at a rally in central London to launch the campaign on Sunday. – Telegraph

Donald Tusk says he is ‘furious’ about Brexit and brands it ‘one of the saddest moments’ of the 21st Century

Donald Tusk has claimed he is ‘furious’ about Brexit and branded it ‘one of the saddest moments’ of the 21st Century. The EU chief revealed his anger at the UK vote in a speech in Dublin, warning it could smash the bloc. Mr Tusk said dealing with the Brexit negotiations was monopolising most of his time and complained it threatened how the EU works. The President of the European Council is in charge of coordinating EU leaders and will be a key player if Britain is to get a deal from the negotiations. He has made repeated trips to Ireland to express solidarity with premier Leo Varadkar, handing Dublin an effective veto on the whole deal over the Irish border. – Daily Mail

Vote Leave ‘did nothing wrong’ says Michael Gove

Leading Brexiteer Michael Gove has said he and the Vote Leave campaign did nothing wrong during the EU Referendum campaign. The Conservative MP dismissed the recent allegations that the campaign breached spending rules and used stolen Facebook data to target voters as sour grapes from remain campaigners. Mr Gove was one of the leading figures in the official Vote Leave Brexit campaign, alongside former Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart and Boris Johnson. During a local election campaign visit to the BirminghamLive office he was asked if he, or the Vote Leave campaign group, had done anything wrong. – Birmingham Live

EU criminals in British prisons cost us £140 million

Data released by the Ministry of Justice in response to a Freedom of Information request showed that 4,024 EU nationals languished in prisons in England and Wales in 2017… The figures were released in response to a request from Get Britain Out, a cross-party pressure group campaigning for a full break with Brussels after the UK leaves the EU next year. Jayne Adye, director of Get Britain Out, said: “Foreign criminals in our prisons represent a huge cost to the British taxpayer, at a time when we have huge domestic priorities. – Express

Fury as Royal Mail snubs Brexit for extinct and endangered species stamps

Royal Mail chiefs were slammed last night after announcing a fresh set of stamps highlighting extinct and endangered species – and still snubbing Brexit. The Eurasian beaver and pool frog will be showcased on a series of stamps released next month. The Royal Mail have repeatedly said Britain leaving the EU isn’t an event important enough to recognise. But they will put on sale the successful reintroductions of the sand lizard, large blue butterfly, osprey and stinking hawk’s-beard plant, illustrated by Wiltshire-based artist Tanya Achilleos Lock, next week. The Sun is campaigning for a special set of commemorative Brexit stamps to mark Brexit Day on March 29 2019. – The Sun

Priti Patel: A post-Brexit immigration system can support Britain’s global ambitions

From the end of 2020, when Britain withdraws fully from the European Union, we will finally be able to set our immigration policy according to our own national interests. Regaining control of our borders and immigration policy was a crucial factor in the the referendum, and the British public called for change. For many who voted remain, immigration policy was also a concern, which is why David Cameron sought to renegotiate the EU’s immigration rules. As a country, we recognise the immense benefits that migration has brought to our economy and society. As the daughter of a migrant, I know the sanctuary, welcome and opportunities that Britain provides. Regaining control of our borders does not mean slamming the door shut and as we approach the final year of our membership if the EU, Britain can show leadership by mapping out a positive future for our immigration system. – Priti Patel MP for ConservativeHome

Shanker Singham: Can the UK become “a global leader” in free trade post Brexit?

The United Kingdom is doing two things in trade policy terms. First, we are leaving the European Union. Second, we are embracing the rest of the world. We must do both of these things well. I fully acknowledge that this will not be an easy journey, but the fact that it is difficult does not mean it is impossible. The global trading system is in crisis. We have had no serious global round for 23 years, about a third of the lifetime of the post-war economic architecture. In 1997, you would have been quite optimistic – looking out at future services’ liberalisation, having just concluded a basic telecoms agreement, with financial and energy services up next, including disciplines on domestic regulation and competition. But the subsequent 20 years yielded virtually nothing in terms of concrete liberalisation. This is one of the reasons that global trade plateaued in 2015 according to the Global Trade Alert of the University of St. Gallen, and why regulatory protectionism has massively increased since the financial crisis. – Shanker Singham for Reaction

Asa Bennett: Barry Gardiner has summed up Labour’s Brexit plan – and his colleagues know it

Few have escaped unscathed after encountering Barry Gardiner, one of Jeremy Corbyn’s fiercest attack dogs. His bite has been felt by everyone from Michael Gove to Emily Maitlis to Piers Morgan. His savaging of anyone who questions Labour has made him a cult figure among Corbynistas; some hail him as “the People’s Gardiner”. Others prefer “the mailman”, because – as one ardent Corbynista explained on Twitter – “he always delivers”. The shadow international trade secretary was never going to let his followers down by letting rip into his own party’s policies in public. But he has privately shared his thoughts on Labour’s flagship Brexit tests, the six criteria set out by Sir Keir Starmer as a way to determine whether it would back any deal. “Well let’s just take one test – the exact same benefits,” he said. “B******s . Always has been b******s and it remains it”. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Mark Brolin: The time for muddling along on Brexit is over

Has the fishing industry been sold out? Has Northern Ireland been sold out? Has the UK offered to pay too much? Would the UK do well even if leaving the EU in a heartbeat? Sure, if you are strongly convinced that the net value of EU membership is negative – as I am – it might feel spontaneously tempting to answer all such questions affirmatively. Still, politics is the art of the possible. In practice this to no small degree boils down to coming across as the most reasonable (balanced) alternative. Not least during the implementation phase. Which is why it would be self-defeating to leave in a way that appears rash to many people. Not because it would necessarily be either rash or wrong; but because if many voters are led to believe it is rash and wrong it empowers the Brexit obstructionists. – Mark Brolin for CapX

John Redwood: It’s time our world-class universities asked tough questions of the EU

Universities at their best are places for informed debate and open minds. We have world-class institutions in the UK. When I return to academia, I look forward to meeting expertise, knowledge, longer-term, more balanced views and new ways of seeing things. I also look forward to the UK developing a more positive, outward-looking universities policy as we leave the EU, recognising the global nature of modern scholarship. Our universities have much to offer and many excellent scholars. As we earn more of our livings from the knowledge economy, they will become ever more important. In referendum debates I attended in universities, I hoped the Remain disputants would be well versed in the grand project of economic, monetary and political union. Instead, like the rest of the Remain campaign, most of them denied that was what the EU is about. – John Redwood MP for the Telegraph (£)

James Forsyth: Will Britain find a new role in the world after Brexit?

After Britain has left the EU, European Union nations will account for 72 per cent of Nato’s membership but only 20 per cent of its military expenditure. This is not a sustainable position. EU states will have to raise their defence spending considerably over the coming years. But even if that happens, Britain will have an important role to play in Europe’s defence against both Russian aggression and the Islamist terrorist threat. Encouragingly, the UK and the EU do seem to be moving towards a sensible security partnership after Brexit. The EU’s stronger than expected support for the UK over the Salisbury attack was a clear sign that it wants a close relationship on these matters after Brexit. No attempt was made to show the British that the decision to leave had affected the level of EU support for them over this incident. – James Forsyth for the Spectator

Brexit in brief

  • The eurozone has been expanding, but there are worrying signs ahead – Simon Nixon for the Times (£)
  • The recklessly provocative Murdoch office raids justify perfectly why Britons voted to quit the EU – Nigel Farage MEP for the Telegraph (£)
  • Aping the Eurozone’s overly tight monetary policy would be the quickest way to a Corbyn government – Sam Bowman for ConservativeHome
  • Stop sacrificing free trade by banging the protectionist drum – Vince Cable MP for City A.M.
  • Controversial EU rules ‘risk giving Russia monopoly over Europe’s fertiliser market’ – Telegraph
  • Hammond warns ‘catastrophe’ for Ireland situation if no EU deal – Reuters
  • Tesco share price surges after it announces 800% profit rise defying Brexit doom-mongers – Express
  • Britons in France grill ambassador over post-Brexit rights – Guardian
  • Lakeland sees possible opportunity in hard Brexit – Irish Times