Brexit News for Thursday 16 November

Brexit News for Thursday 16 November
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Ministers see off another day of challenges to the EU Withdrawal Bill…

The second day of debate in the Commons over the EU Withdrawal Bill has ended with the government winning every vote. Amendments had been put forward by Labour regarding issues such as employment rights and environmental legislation after Brexit. However, the government managed to win five votes during the course of the day – despite its majority falling as low as 12 at times. The dates of six more debating days in the Commons will be confirmed later. If passed, the withdrawal bill will bring existing EU law into UK law and allow the government to use so-called Henry VIII powers to change it without full parliamentary scrutiny. – BBC News

> On BrexitCentral today: Video highlights of yesterday’s proceedings

…as fifteen Tory rebels continue to threaten voting against enshrining the leaving date in law

Tory ‘mutineers’ faced a grassroots backlash last night after threatening to frustrate Brexit in Parliament. Fifteen rebels have told party whips they may vote against a bid to enshrine in law the date for leaving the EU. Sources believe the number could top 20 – enough to overturn Theresa May’s slender Commons majority when the issue comes to a vote next month. Tory councillors and voters in the rebels’ constituencies – many of which voted to leave the EU last year – warned this could usher in a Labour government. – Daily Mail

  • Tory revolt swells after No 10 ‘outs EU rebels’ – Times (£)
  • Anna Soubry MP reports threats to police after Daily Telegraph headline – Sky News
  • 11pm 29th March 2019 – John Redwood MP for John Redwood’s Diary

Theresa May reportedly ‘close to offering financial deal to progress Brexit negotiations’…

Theresa May is close to offering a deal on money that would unlock the Brexit negotiations, according to the head of Europe’s centre-right MEPs, who said he had received “positive messages” during a meeting in Downing Street on Wednesday. Manfred Weber, a German leader of the European People’s party (EPP) who is also a close ally of chancellor Angela Merkel, said he had witnessed a substantial shift in the British approach which might now allow EU leaders to move onto the next stage of negotiations. – Guardian

  • Theresa May to offer Brussels £20billion to kick start Brexit trade talks – The Sun

…as a leading German MEP says he is now more confident about resolving Brexit issues…

Manfred Weber, a leading lawmaker in the European Parliament, said on Wednesday he was more confident about Britain and the European Union ironing out difficulties in the Brexit talks. Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the parliament, spoke after meeting Theresa May in London but would not say whether the British prime minister had signalled she was ready to move on a financial settlement with the EU. – Reuters

…while the European Parliament cancels its date with Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to the European Parliament later this month was canceled on Wednesday only a day after it was announced. May was scheduled to meet with the Conference of Presidents — the president of the Parliament and the leaders of the political groups — and not rank-and-file MEPs on Friday, November 24. Details of the meeting only emerged Tuesday. But in a snub to the embattled British PM, the assembly has already canceled, formally because many of them won’t be in Brussels that day, two Parliament officials told POLITICO. – Politico

David Davis to address Berlin economic summit amid signs of Brexit breakthrough

Brexit Secretary David Davis is to make a keynote speech in Germany amid signs of optimism the two sides in the Brexit negotiations are edging towards a breakthrough. Mr Davis’s address, to an economic summit in Berlin, comes after the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned on Friday that progress was needed within two weeks if the talks were to move to the second phase before the end of the year. – Daily Mail

ECB warns banks against Brexit ’empty shells’…

European regulators have warned banks working on post-Brexit plans that they will “need to have substance locally” to serve European clients. The European Central Bank said some of the proposals it has reviewed are inadequate and risk creating “empty shells”. Many banks currently gain access to the European market through UK offices. They have said they are working on contingency plans, adding space in cities such as Frankfurt and Dublin. – BBC News

…as credit rating giant S&P says UK banks are now better placed to deal with Brexit…

The outlook for British banks has brightened according to a leading credit rating agency, with lenders now in a better position to cope with the run-up to Brexit. Standard and Poor’s said last night it has revised the negative outlook on several large UK banks “mostly to stable, and in some specific cases to positive,” following new analysis on the sector. – City A.M.

…and banks urge Brexit trade deal that keeps financial services on track

Britain’s banking industry has called for a post-Brexit trade deal to allow financial services professionals to continue travelling freely across Europe on assignments of up to three years. The proposal, coming shortly after David Davis, the Brexit secretary, promised to seek a similar travel regime for bankers, is one of several recommendations in a report to be published on Thursday by UK Finance, the industry body, and law firm Clifford Chance. – FT (£)

“Brexodus” myth dispelled as figures show record numbers of EU workers in the UK since Brexit

Record levels of EU nationals are now working in the UK, official figures have revealed. An estimated 2.38 million employees from other EU member states were working in Britain from July to September this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found. This is the highest number recorded since comparable records started 20 years ago. In the same period last year there were 112,000 fewer EU employees. It marks the first time year-on-year comparisons of employment levels based on nationality have be made following the EU referendum in June last year. – Sky News

  • If EU nationals are leaving the NHS, why are their numbers going up? – Spectator

Brussels sides with UK in Bombardier tariff row

The European Commission has given the UK its backing in a bitter trade dispute with Washington, hitting out at US moves to levy punitive tariffs on aerospace group Bombardier, which employs thousands in Belfast. Brussels has given the warning it will fight the case to US authorities, which are considering imposing duties of 300 per cent on Bombardier’s C Series jets that American rival Boeing insists receives improper government subsidies. The possible measures have caused uproar in the UK, where the Canadian aircraft maker has a plant that is critical to Northern Ireland’s economy. – FT (£)

Aston Martin seeks ‘common sense’ EU deal

Aston’s vice president took aim at “misleading” reports claiming the brand would move production out of the UK if there was no Brexit deal. Reports that British manufacturer Aston Martin could move production out of the UK post-Brexit have been branded “shameful” and “misleading” by company bosses. Aston Martin has expressed concern in relation to the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), which authorises type approval validation for cars sold in the UK and is currently recognised by the EU. – AutoExpress

Arlene Foster urges PM to focus on positive Brexit and stability

The DUP leader has urged Theresa May to focus on ensuring a positive Brexit. Arlene Foster acknowledged the “febrile” atmosphere at Westminster made it difficult but said it was important to bring stability and address the major issues. Her party agreed a deal with the Conservatives in June whereby the DUP’s 10 pro-Brexit MPs supported the minority Government on key issues like leaving the EU. – Belfast Telegraph

Sturgeon more upbeat on Brexit progress

The first minister last met Theresa May in March, when she said she found it difficult to establish any rapport because Mrs May appeared to be reading from a script. But, after the latest meeting, Ms Sturgeon said relations had thawed and, although Holyrood will still reject the EU withdrawal bill as it stands, the foundations had been laid for changes that could be agreed upon. – Press and Journal

LSE Group lobbies for US support in Brexit clearing battle

The London Stock Exchange Group is lobbying to win American political support in its battle with Europe to preserve London as a global financial center after Brexit. LCH, the clearing arm of the LSE, is among the world’s biggest derivatives clearing houses, guaranteeing the completion of hundreds of billions of euro- and dollar-denominated trades. As part of the Brexit divorce, Brussels would like clearing of euro-denominated transactions to be relocated to Europe, if it can’t have some control of it in London. – Reuters

Gibraltar leader says Checkpoint Charlie-style borders unacceptable post-Brexit

Cold War-style Checkpoint Charlie borders after Brexit will not be acceptable, Gibraltar’s chief minister said. Crossings must not be used as “choke points” for political reasons, Fabian Picardo added. His Mediterranean territory has had a strained relationship with neighbouring Spain for many years. He gave evidence to a Northern Ireland Affairs Committee investigation at Westminster into the Irish border and said he would visit the country soon. Mr Picardo said: “Nobody is going to accept something which looks like, feels like, smells like Checkpoint Charlie. “Don’t see a border as a way of creating conflict, that will only cause real hardship.” – Irish News

  • Gibraltar leader suggests solution that could solve Brexit talks deadlock – Express

How the Netherlands is braced for ‘no deal’

The Netherlands could be one of the hardest-hit EU countries if the UK leaves the bloc without an agreement. The Dutch government is expected to unveil plans this week in preparation for a hard Brexit. The BBC’s Paul Moss has been to Rotterdam to see the adjustments already being made. It is not like they are unaccustomed to challenges. – BBC News

Daniel Hannan: Outside the EU, Britain can copy Singapore or Switzerland – but we have to decide now

As far as I can see, the UK has three realistic options. One is to join the European Free Trade Association. The second is to postpone our departure date to 31 December 2020, solving almost all of the outstanding financial issues and giving ourselves time to put in place whatever arrangements we need on aviation and the like. The third is to walk away from the talks now, assume no deal, and begin to slash taxes and regulations. – Daniel Hannan MEP for IBTimes

The Sun: Theresa May must limit what she is willing to spend on free-trade – but the EU will come crawling as they need us

The EU will not give us a free trade deal without a big chunk of our cash. Those of us who believe a good deal is better than none are realistic about that. So if the Government calculates that the long-term benefits are worth substantially more than the £18billion we have so far put up, so be it. Offer more. Not one penny of it should be transferred until the deal is signed, sealed and delivered. And it cannot be beyond price. There must be a limit to what Theresa May will spend. If she offers £20billion more and Brussels still won’t play ball, let’s walk away. Tycoon James Dyson has dealt with the EU for years. He reckons they’ll come round, fearing for their own economies. – The Sun says

Telegraph: Is no deal still better than a bad deal?

The Government’s Brexit policy is to secure a withdrawal agreement and a free trade deal with the EU. It was set out by Theresa May in her Florence speech and has been reiterated many times since. The old mantra of “no deal is better than a bad deal” is heard less and less in Westminster and Whitehall. Yet unless the EU negotiators think we are serious about walking away without an agreement they have no incentive to show flexibility. This was the lesson of David Cameron’s ill-starred pre-referendum efforts to extract concessions that might have swung the campaign his way. – Telegraph editorial

Chris Grayling: Labour should stop betraying its own voters

Whose side are the Labour Party on? As I’ve listened to them set out their position on Brexit over the past few weeks, the only conclusion that one can possibly draw is that they are definitely not on the side of the United Kingdom. Listening to Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer, you’d never believe that they voted to trigger Article 50, and in fact that they voted for the referendum in the first place. Nor that it was the Labour heartlands that made the difference in the referendum campaign. – Chris Grayling MP for ConservativeHome

Patrick Minford: We should all be optimistic about Brexit – here’s why

The Treasury wants to keep the lid on public spending and limit tax giveaways until UK public finances are sound. This is a good aim, since the Government’s debts are about 80pc of our national income when you strip out the effects of the Bank of England’s operations in the money markets and the debt of RBS. But in March 2019 we formally leave the EU; and probably by mid 2020 we are out of the transition period. We must have the right policies to make sure the economy thrives. For that the Treasury needs to have a positive mindset. Unfortunately, it seems quite determined to take the gloomiest view possible. – Patrick Minford for the Telegraph (£)

Nick Timothy: Theresa May has more room for manoeuvre in Parliament on Brexit than you think

David Davis’s commitment on Monday – that the Government would allow Parliament a vote on the agreement it strikes with the European Union – seems to have taken MPs by surprise. This is odd, because ministers have said since the start of the year that there will be a vote on the final deal, and the choice will be “to accept the deal or move ahead without a deal”. The vote can only be binary. Parliament cannot vote for an agreement that the EU has not offered. It cannot approve an agreement that has not been reached. And it cannot extend the two-year negotiating period set out by Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. – Nick Timothy for the Telegraph (£)

Tom Doughty: The paradoxical case for preparing for no deal

The debate over what the UK’s future relationship with the EU should be has dominated British politics for more than a year. That debate will soon benefit from a lot more detail. Last week, the Government was forced to announce that it will publish Brexit impact reports pertaining to 58 economic sectors across the country, following a House of Commons motion introduced by Labour. The government’s resistance to publishing these reports was based on the claim that doing so would harm their Brexit negotiating position. They were right. And a simple piece of game theory demonstrates why. – Tom Doughty for CapX

Patrick Minford: Refuting the Guardian’s cost of Brexit

The Guardian quotes an NIESR study that suggests food and other imported EU prices will rise if we go to World Trade Organisation rules with no EU trade deal, implying that we levy the same tariffs on the EU as the EU currently does to the rest of the world (‘MFN’ “most favoured nation” tariffs levied on all those with whom one does not have a free trade agreement). This study is quite disingenuous as it assumes we levy these tariffs on the EU and do no Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the rest of the world even though it is central to government policy to do this. – Patrick Minford for Free Nations

Iain Martin: Will Continuity Remain ever give up on trying to stop Brexit?

One of UKIP’s sensible persons (that narrows it down) is Patrick O’Flynn. Patrick was a real loss to journalism when he abandoned Fleet Street for the lure of Brussels and life as an MEP. In a parallel universe he is now a Conservative MP and a rising minister implementing Brexit. Alas, he is stuck for now, only for now, within the tattered remnants of the Faragist movement which was one of the most successful forces in modern British history. It forced the referendum on the squabbling Tories by terrifying them. Now UKIP’s work is mostly done, what with Brexit happening. – Iain Martin for Reaction

Brexit in brief

  • Brexit is just as messy as European integration has been, but is essential – Tim Congdon for Standpoint
  • Scotland needs a good deal within Britain, not just with the EU – John Lamont MP for the Times (£)
  • Politicians deserve to be treated with contempt if Brexit fails – Eddie Hughes MP for the Express and Star
  • Britain has nothing to fear from trading with the EU on WTO terms – Daniel Hannan’s YouTube
  • Brexit ‘not a disaster’ for Grimsby, says Norman Lamont – BBC News
  • Brexit customs hassle as bad as costly tariffs for firms, MPs told – Telegraph
  • UK chemicals sector: We won’t be bogged down by Brexit uncertainty – City A.M.
  • Pier Carlo Padoan: ‘EU integration accelerating after Brexit’ – Channel 4 News
  • Germany hits back at plan to tax every person in Europe to fund Brussels – Express
  • Labour Brexiteer John Mann takes a swipe at his own party over Brexit deadline – Express
  • Spain says Barcelona back in the race to host EU drugs agency – Reuters

And finally… Ex-Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher talks Brexit: “F***ing get over it”

Noel Gallagher has discussed Brexit in a new interview, saying: “It was a legal vote. F***ing get it done and let’s move on.” The Oasis guitarist made the comments in a Facebook Live interview with Noisey earlier today (November 15). Gallagher said that while he didn’t vote in the EU referendum, and agreed more with the Remain camp, he now feels that there’s been too much “noise” in the aftermath, saying that people should “f***ing get over it”. – NME