No-deal Brexit would be tragic for Europe, Jeremy Hunt tells the French: Brexit News for Thursday 2 August

No-deal Brexit would be tragic for Europe, Jeremy Hunt tells the French: Brexit News for Thursday 2 August
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No-deal Brexit would be tragic for Europe, Jeremy Hunt tells the French…

Jeremy Hunt warned that a no-deal Brexit would be “a tragedy for Europe” as he visited Paris to lobby for French support for Theresa May’s Brexit proposals after a lukewarm response from Brussels. The foreign secretary gave the warning in an interview on French radio in which he sought to highlight the potential economic and diplomatic damage to the whole continent if Britain crashed out of the European Union without a withdrawal agreement… “It could change the feelings of the British people towards Europe with a profound impact on our international partnership which is so important for the international order.” Mr Hunt said it was important that he voiced these concerns to his French counterpart because this was “a very, very important and historic moment. “In the end if we want a strong partnership with Europe, it must be reciprocated,” he said. – The Times (£)

…as he warns the likelihood of No Deal is “increasing by the day”

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Mr Hunt warned EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier that the bloc’s current approach could inflict a “breakdown in relations and trust between Britain and European countries” which would be a “profound geo-strategic mistake”.“The probability of No Deal is increasing by the day until we see a change of approach from the European Commission who have this view that they just need to wait and Britain will blink. That is just a profound misunderstanding of us as a nation. There is real chance of No Deal by accident. Everyone is assuming, no, no, no, this will never happen. Well, actually, it could.” – Evening Standard

  • Hunt pleads for France and Germany to overrule the EU and strike a Brexit deal – Daily Mail
  • Britain seeks EU nations’ support to avoid ‘messy divorce’ – Yahoo

…as May cuts short holiday for Brexit talks with Macron tomorrow

Theresa May is cutting short her summer break in Italy to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to try to persuade him to soften his approach to Brexit. The prime minister will become the first foreign leader to meet Macron at his summer home, Fort de Brégançon, in the south of France on Friday in an attempt to convince him to sign him up to her Chequers deal. The French government has not entirely rejected the UK’s latest Brexit plan, although Macron is thought to be foremost among European leaders to have privately expressed concerns about whether it could work. – Guardian

UK takes heart at Angela Merkel’s reported rethink on Brexit…

All good Brussels diplomats have their ears attuned to one particular thing: the sound of Angela Merkel moving. Like the creak of a sail-rig as a ship begins to turn, a sign of change in the German chancellor’s position can prove decisive. Ms Merkel cannot dictate outcomes in the bloc’s negotiations, but the EU’s centre of gravity moves with her. Little wonder that London is delighted at hints that Ms Merkel is rethinking her strict approach to Brexit. Theresa May left her last meeting in Berlin encouraged that the chancellor is becoming more understanding — and, whisper it, flexible. It is heartening news for the British prime minister as she prepares to meet France’s President Emmanuel Macron this week. – FT (£)

  • Warning to Merkel: Change Barnier’s mind on Brexit or Germany will suffer – Express
  • German sources deny Brexit deal offer amid warning from pro-EU camp – Guardian

…while Brussels may offer May a Brexit ‘fudge’ to prevent a no-deal scenario

The EU is willing to “fudge” crucial Brexit negotiations — and offer Britain a vague blueprint for future ties with the bloc — if it helps Theresa May avoid a “no deal” outcome and win parliamentary backing for a withdrawal treaty. The development comes as the UK prime minister steps up talks with EU leaders, including a meeting with France’s Emmanuel Macron this week. Since the start of talks last year, Brussels, Berlin and Paris have stressed the need for a “political declaration” on future relations that would unambiguously make clear what kind of trade relationship the EU and the UK will have after Brexit. Formal trade talks will begin only after Britain is scheduled to leave on March 29 next year. – FT (£)

May told she will need to make further concessions if she wants to win over Labour MPs to back a Brexit deal…

Without an automatic majority in the House of Commons, and facing a revolt from as many as 80 pro-Brexit lawmakers, some of the premier’s officials still believe their best chance of getting a Brexit deal ratified in Parliament is to convince Labour to back it. But that won’t be easy. And if she can’t get her final agreement through the House of Commons, the U.K. will be on course to crash out of the EU with no deal in place. “She’s going to have to compromise further, and if she does, she may find that the Labour Party will be willing to support a softer Brexit,” said Labour MP Wes Streeting, who attended Lidington’s briefing. “She’s going to have to engage constructively and seriously with the opposition.” Bloomberg

…as she warns her MPs that Labour could stop Brexit by using an ancient Parliamentary procedure

Theresa May has reportedly warned Tories of a Labour plot to stop Brexit if MPs vote down the deal she gets back from Brussels with an ancient Parliamentary procedure. Ministers say Number 10 have instructed them to warn colleagues the opposition plan to use a “humble address” in the Commons.This would block the UK leaving without a deal, thereby tying the UK to bloc if the Prime Minister cannot get her agreement with the EU approved. – The Sun

  • May fears Labour no-deal Brexit ambush – FT (£)
  • Is Labour plotting Article 50 extension? – Economic Voice
  • May warns Corbyn could force her to extend negotiations – Express
  • Corbyn’s Brexit policy likely to be challenged at Labour conference – Guardian
  • Theresa May warns Conservative MPs to back her deal or risk delaying Brexit – Business Insider

Eurosceptics furious that our contributions to the EU budget have actually increased

Britain’s contributions to the EU budget has soared by 9 per cent since last year, official figures have shown. And the total contribution is going to be even higher for the next few years – even after we leave the EU.The UK coughed up £8.8billion to the bloc’s budget for 2017/18, compared to £8.1 for 2016/17. That includes the total amount of cash paid in, minus the billions we get back from subsidies and as part of a rebate – and works out at around £169 million a week. But finally leaving the EU next March isn’t going to stop the billions we pay towards the bloc’s long list of projects. The stats show that we’re on track to pay £10.8billion next year, and £12.2billion for the year 2020 as part of our divorce bill. – The Sun

  • Britain’s EU budget bill rises by 9% to £8.8billion (and it will go up AGAIN next year even though we’ll have left) – Daily Mail

Japan backs Britain joining trans-Pacific trade group…

Japan today backed Britain joining a huge trans-Pacific trade zone after Brexit in a boost for the UK’s hope of signing new deals for exports. Experts had dismissed as ‘unlikely’ Britain hopes of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), also known as TPP11. But after meeting with International Trade Secretary Liam Fox in Tokyo today,  Japanese minister Toshimitsu Motegi said he would ‘spare no efforts to support the UK’ in joining CPTPP. – Daily Mail

  • Japan will “spare no effort to support the UK” in joining the CPTPP –
  • Japan pledges to back UK in trade deal after EU exit – Express
  • Japan OK with Britain joining the TPP – Japan Times

… as China opens door to post-Brexit trade deal

China has offered to begin formal trade negotiations with Britain, paving the way for a broad agreement after Brexit. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, welcomed the offer in Beijing yesterday and promised to weigh up the benefits of talks with the world’s second-largest economy. China has been grappling with the impact of a fierce trade dispute with the US. President Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $500 billion of its exports. Mr Hunt gave a joint press conference yesterday with Wang Yi, China’s most senior diplomat, who he said had offered “to open discussions about a possible free trade deal done between Britain and China post-Brexit . . . That’s something that we welcome and we said that we will explore”. – The Times (£)

City of London slashes Brexit job-loss estimate…

The U.K. financial services sector could suffer as few as 5,000 job losses as a result of Brexit, according to a new estimate by the City of London Corporation — far lower than the industry had initially feared. The figures come from an internal City report, to be released in September. In an interview with Politico, Lord Mayor of the City of London Charles Bowman said the analysis estimates that between 5,000 and 13,000 jobs will have gone by the U.K.’s leaving date of March 30 next year. That is far lower than most previous estimates. In a widely cited report published in 2016, Oliver Wyman estimated that industry job losses could eventually be as high as 75,000 with banks and other institutions forced to move large numbers of staff to locations in the EU27. Xavier Rolet, the former chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, predicted job losses of over 200,000. But the Bank of England has estimated Day One job losses of around 10,000 in the case of a hard Brexit. – Politico

  • City of London cuts Brexit job loss estimate – City A.M.
  • Just 5,000 jobs are expected to go in the City because of Brexit – Daily Mail
  • Lord Mayor says Brexit hit to City less than feared – BBC News
  • Doom-monger City bosses revise claim 200,000 jobs could go after Brexit and say it may now be fewer than 5,000 – The Sun

> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: Victoria Hewson tells BBC News that there are still more net jobs being created in the UK financial sector

…as take-up of City office space jumps up 10% in a year

Take-up of offices in the Square Mile jumped 10 per cent over the last year, as demand for City of London commercial space shows no sign of slowing down. In the 12 months to June roughly 3.5m square feet was taken up in London’s financial district, rising 31 per cent higher than the 10-year average for the area. The City “core” accounted for the vast amount of take-up, with 68 per cent of acquisitions taking place within its borders so far this year, while demand for “fringe” areas of the City tailed off, according to Savills. – City A.M.

Home Office leak reveals Theresa May could keep free movement in a no-deal Brexit…

Theresa May’s government is considering allowing the free movement for EU citizens at the UK border to continue if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, according to confidential details of a Home Office meeting leaked to Business Insider. Border Force officials met in January to discuss contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit. Among the options considered was a plan to allow “no more checks at the border,” according to written notes of the meeting sent to BI.A source close to the Home Office explained that the Border Force would likely have little other choice than to carry on allowing EU citizens freely into the UK as it would not have the staffing capacity, resources, or infrastructure to implement a new registration scheme in a no-deal scenario.- Business Insider

  • If Theresa May wants to deliver Brexit, accepting free movement could be her only route – Huffington Post

…as Michael Gove reportedly discusses keeping the UK in the Single Market if May’s strategy fails

Michael Gove, the Eurosceptic UK environment minister, has privately discussed a backstop plan that would keep the UK in the EU single market if Theresa May’s Brexit strategy failed. At a recent dinner, Mr Gove talked with moderate Conservative MPs and peers about a scenario in which the UK would remain “parked” in the European Economic Area, like Norway, to avoid the chaos of a disorderly “no deal” exit. The idea of the UK’s staying in the EEA in the event of Brexit talks collapsing has been gaining ground among some Conservatives, even though such an outcome would outrage hardline Eurosceptics and could trigger the downfall of Mrs May. – FT (£)

Theresa May told WTO rules deal with the EU would turn UK into an economic powerhouse

Theresa May’s hand has been massively strengthened in the Brexit negotiations after a new study revealed that using World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules instead of making a deal with the EU will turn Britain into an economic powerhouse. The research carried out by eminent former Harvard economist and entrepreneur Michael Burrage reveals that countries which do not have a trade deal with the EU and rely on WTO rules – known as the World Trade Deal option – strongly outperform their rivals. – Express

> Michael Burrage today on BrexitCentral: A World Trade Deal under WTO rules is now the best option for the UK

UK to overtake eurozone growth again

The UK is now expected to have overtaken the eurozone in the second quarter of this year, after official figures showed that the bloc’s economy expanded by only 0.3 per cent between April and June compared with the previous three months. The UK is expected to have grown by 0.4 per cent when the first estimates are released in a fortnight’s time. The figures from Eurostat, the eurozone’s statistics agency, suggest that the 19-nation bloc is slowing after a last year’s boom. The eurozone is the UK’s biggest trade partner so a slowdown in its economy affects Britain as demand for exports falls. – The Times (£)

> Patrick Minford on BrexitCentral today: The public finances tell the tale of the steadily improving economy (despite Brexit…)

Brexit is no reason to cut EU staff numbers, says Commission

The European Commission called on member countries not to use Brexit as an excuse to cut the number of staff working in the EU institutions…The paper, which was discussed by European commissioners earlier this month, argues that “English will remain an official and a working language, and therefore the institutions will require their linguistic staff currently in place,” so translators and interpreters will still be needed. – Politico

Jonathan Isaby slaps down Owen Jones over contingency planning

Jonathan Isaby rebuked attempts from Owen Jones to criticise the Government for announcing plans to stockpile food and medicines to prepare for a Brexit no deal. After Mr Jones urged Leave supporters to take responsibility for the uncertainty surrounding the success of Brexit negotiations with the European Union, Mr Isaby reminded the left-wing activist the Government “needs to prepare”. Discussing the announcement on Sky News, Mr Isaby said: “The Government needs to prepare for every scenario. If the Government weren’t preparing for every scenario, I dare say Owen would be the first person out there saying it was irresponsible of the Government not to be doing that. – Express

> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: Jonathan Isaby vs Owen Jones

Asa Bennett: Only the EU elite could think lecturing the British people would help stop Brexit

The referendum campaign showed how little the British people appreciate lectures. Remainers hoped that President Obama would put voters off Brexit when he infamously warned them that it would leave Britain at the “back of the queue” for a trade deal with the US, but his intervention backfired as many concluded it was preachy and patronising…Only the European elite could think that the best way to get the British people to allow them to keep interfering in their lives is to interfere even more. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Brian Monteith: Remain lost the Brexit vote – deal with it

We were told by David Cameron it would be our choice, that there would not be a second vote to change our minds and those terms were accepted in Parliament by an overwhelming majority. Just because the result went the “wrong” way for one half of the population does not justify submitting everyone to another vote. – Brian Monteith for The Scotsman

Ann Widdecombe: Just tell Brussels to take it or leave it

Am I the only one who despairs at the sight of the Prime Minister of Great Britain trailing around Europe begging its leaders to back her version of Brexit? For goodness sake dear, just tell ’em to take it or leave it. Say we will leave without a deal and that therefore we will pay no divorce money and then make long overdue and serious preparations to do just that. – Ann Widdecombe for the Express

The Sun: Brexit deniers are playing with fire with their campaign of outraged hysteria

What you’re seeing on TV and social media are not dispassionate, concerned voices arriving independently at the same terrifying conclusions about Brexit’s “risks”. It is an orchestrated plot, backed by millions of pounds . . . a script written the day Remain lost the referendum. The plan was always to reverse defeat by throwing up endless obstacles, by concocting myriad excuses to de-legitimise a vote they would never have questioned had they won . . . and by relaunching Project Fear to terrify the country about the consequences. – The Sun says

  • Brexit’s new Project Fear threatens liberal democracy – Bill Jamieson for The Scotsman
  • Don’t believe the Brexit doomsayers: Project Fear’s predictions in 2016 were wrong. They will be wrong again – Mark Wallace for i News

Alex Brummer: Why Theresa May must listen to Crawford Falconer on Brexit

He is convinced that after a period of psychological and economic adjustment to being outside the EU, Britain’s fortunes will thrive. He cannot understand why people are ‘so negative about our future’, and says the world is ‘begging’ to do trade deals with us. Some will scoff, of course, saying his upbeat comments are simply the pipedream of a pro-Brexit ideologue. But that could not be further from the truth. For Falconer is a man with 25 years of experience in international trade negotiations. He was New Zealand’s ambassador in Britain (although born in Scotland, he was brought up a Kiwi), as well as his adopted country’s permanent representative to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). – Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Varadkar and Coveney have made a huge miscalculation by putting their faith in Brussels

Mr Varadkar is under no illusions about what are the ultimate hopes of his deputy, who has form in trying to topple party leaders. However, they have been as one in refusing to resolve the mostly bogus border problems by working out technical solutions with the UK. Indeed, the Taoiseach suspended the useful work his predecessor had initiated on just that. Instead, both men enthusiastically do the bidding of the key Brussels strategists Jean-Claude Juncker, the commission president, and the two men he appointed to make a good deal for Britain impossible, naysayer Michel Barnier and German lawyer Martin Selmayr, whom in March Juncker elevated without warning into the top civil service job in the European Commission. – Ruth Dudley Edwards for the Belfast Telegraph

Peter Foster: Why Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit deal is not dead in the water quite yet

Politicians, cowardly by instinct, don’t vote for chaos – just look at how Greece stepped back from the brink when its clash with the Europe financial establishment came to a head in 2015. The Tory party, historically, has prized party unity over its ideological divisions on Europe. Keeping Corbyn out will justify supporting the government for many softer rebels. So the choice will be stark: embrace an orderly, marginal Brexit today with the prospect of ‘improving’ it when trade talks begin tomorrow – or plunge the country into immediate disruption and chaos. All the EU needs to do now is give Mrs May enough concessions to make that a non-choice. – Peter Foster for the Telegraph

Allister Heath: The kamikaze Brexit strategy of this Government beggars belief

For months now, I’ve been worried that we are heading for a Suez-style catastrophe – but I was wrong. This is much worse. Suez was actually a remarkable feat of scheming, planning and logistics: Britain and France landed paratroopers along the Canal – no mean achievement – and defeated the Egyptian forces… Instead, the government continues to prevaricate, to obfuscate and to stick its head in the sand, reducing our negotiating leverage by the day and paving the way for a politically unacceptable surrender. How long will this madness last? And will MPs really allow this charade to continue when they return in September? – Allister Heath for the Telegraph (£)

Rupert Darwall: How Brexiteers can still save Brexit

The real obstacle to using the EEA as the first and definitive step out of the EU is that it would put the Prime Minister in the uncomfortable position of admitting that a superior strategy had always been available. For her to accept it would be tantamount to a catastrophic admission that her whole Brexit strategy had failed. Furthermore, her duplicity in arriving at the Chequers Plan and the way she has tried to sell it to sceptical voters means she’d be just about the last person to be trusted with leading the second phase of the negotiations on Britain’s long term relationship with the EU in accordance with the principles set out in her Lancaster House speech and subsequently reneged on. – Rupert Darwall for The Spectator

Comment in Brief

  • A simple alternative to a no-deal Brexit – Tim Hammond for CapX
  • We’re on brink of political anarchy — so we need a clean Brexit to stop EU vultures – Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun
  • A no-deal Brexit will not happen. Here’s why – Jonathan Lis for The Guardian
  • How the ‘People’s Vote’ is a fix  – The Blue Anchor
  • Why introducing identity cards after we leave the EU is a very bad ID-ea and an affront to our liberty – Mick Hume for The Sun


News in Brief

  • Theresa May to overrule Sajid Javid and insist on special lane for British  passport holders at airports after Brexit – The Sun
  • Mandelson attacks Brexit backers as ‘nationalists’ who ‘hate foreigners’ – Daily Mail
  • Lord Owen: ‘Parliament has let down the country and Theresa’s May’s bespoke Brexit plan will end badly’ – Telegraph (£)
  • MP report calls for new devolution rules due to Brexit – Belfast Telegraph
  • Lack of post-Brexit migration plan threatens to divide the UK, MPs warn – Telegraph (£)
  • Future of fishing dependent on Brexit – Northumberland Gazette
  • Tory ‘respect the result’ petition attacked Labour for “following swathes of EU rules with no say” – Guido Fawkes
  • Former minister accuses Number 10 of withholding ‘no deal’ Brexit plans – PoliticsHome
    Brexit middle ground disappearing from under Theresa May’s feet – Sky News
  • Czechs want good relations with UK after Brexit, Babiš tells May – Prague Monitor
  • 13-mile Brexit lorry park to last ‘many years’ – Sky News
  • Government’s ‘no deal’ Brexit plans lost on M20 motorway- Sky News
  • Britain’s car industry cautions – No-deal Brexit is our nightmare – Reuters