Don’t be fooled: EFTA or EEA membership would not let us take back control: Brexit News for Wednesday 5th September

Don’t be fooled: EFTA or EEA membership would not let us take back control: Brexit News for Wednesday 5th September
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Dominic Raab says he will not roll over on the Chequers deal…

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday insisted he will not “roll over” and give up on the government’s plan for a future relationship between the UK and EU, in spite of strong criticism from Brussels and Eurosceptic Tory MPs who claim it is already dead.Mr Raab told MPs he was not discouraged by warnings from Michel Barnier, EU chief negotiator, that Brussels could not accept any proposals that split up the bloc’s single market. The Brexit secretary said he was “confident” the proposals, dubbed the Chequers plan, provided the basis for a final deal with the EU.“Having presented these proposals, we are not going to roll over to Brussels,” Mr Raab said in his first Commons statement on the state of the Brexit negotiations since the summer break.Mr Raab also said some “people in the European Union” and some MPs were trying to “politicise” the issue of the Northern Ireland border to “mould Brexit in their own way”. – FT (£)

  • Chequers feedback from EU positive, says Raab – BBC News
  • Raab to be grilled by European Scrutiny Committee today amid growing criticism of the Government’s plans – ITV News

> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel: Dominic Raab updates the House of Commons on the Brexit negotiations

…as Michel Barnier tells MPs Chequers is ‘dead’ and Theresa May ‘should adopt a Canada-style Brexit deal’…

The European Union has warned that Theresa May’s Chequers plan is “dead” and is urging her to adopt a Canada-style deal favoured by Boris Johnson, according to Eurosceptic Tory MPs. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, “made clear” to MPs on the Brexit select committee that the Chequers plan is “not acceptable” during a meeting in Brussels. MPs who were present at the meeting in Brussels on Tuesday said that Mr Barnier proposed an “alternative” post-Brexit plan based upon the EU’s free trade deal with Canada. Separately it emerged that Germany has started to prepare for a no deal Brexit by hiring new customs staff. – Telegraph (£)

  • It’s time to accept the Chequers deal is dead – Evening Standard editorial

…while a new poll suggests less than one in five people expect Britain to secure a good deal

Fewer than one in five voters now expect Britain to secure a good Brexit deal as Theresa May’s plans remain under fire, according to damning new research. The proportion of people expecting a good deal has slumped dramatically from 33 per cent in February last year to just 17 per cent in June 2018, the survey showed.  The data was conducted and shared ahead of the publication of the Prime Minister’s heavily criticised Chequers plan for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. Some 57 per cent of voters now predict Britain will end talks with a bad deal, up from 37 per cent since February 2017. That’s according to the survey for NatCen Social Research. – Evening Standard

David Davis aims to see off Chequers by backing new plan for a Canada-style Free Trade Agreement…

Brexit Secretary David Davis is poised to throw his weight behind a fully-fledged alternative to the government’s Brexit strategy as part of a major intervention ahead of the Conservative party conference. City A.M. understands the pro-Brexit big-hitter, who resigned in the wake of Theresa May’s Chequers plan, will endorse detailed proposals for an advanced free trade agreement currently being compiled by a team of Westminster trade experts and lawyers. Davis has been highly critical of the Chequers plan, claiming it would be “almost worse than staying in the EU”. May’s proposal, named after her official country residence where she presented it to her cabinet, would see the UK remain closely aligned to Brussels on goods and regulation. It is widely unpopular among pro-Brexit MPs, and Davis’s impending intervention is likely to dilute further the already lukewarm support for May’s preferred policy. Sources suggest Davis is being lined up to author a foreword to a 140-page “Alternative Brexit Plan”, which is due to be published later this month and which will make the case for a Canada-style trade deal, with improved provisions on areas such as services and security. The comprehensive proposal is being coordinated by trade expert Shanker Singham of the Institute of Economic Affairs, in collaboration with at least one other think tank and a leading City law firm. – City A.M.

…as Boris Johnson plans a 1,000-strong rally at Tory conference

Ever since Boris Johnson resigned, Tories have wondered what he’ll do at conference. We now have an answer: he’ll address a thousand-person rally on the Tuesday, inside the secure zone. The event will be hosted by Conservative Home, the influential Tory website. This is a headache for Tory conference planners. Boris Johnson’s appearance on Tuesday, where he will reiterate his call to ‘chuck Chequers’, will overshadow everything else that is on that day. Given that Johnson’s Telegraph column comes out on Monday, there’s a good chance that he’ll be the big story of the conference for two days out of the four. This is, to put it mildly, not ideal for Theresa May as she tries to reassure Tory members about what her Chequers proposals mean. In making this one-day dash to conference, Johnson is following a tried and trusted method; it is what he used to do when David Cameron was leader. By only turning up for 24 hours, he ensures that his arrival becomes a big story and that he doesn’t become stale as these conference so often can. He’ll also raise the bar for Theresa May’s speech, the next day. – Spectator

EU27 to offer Theresa May a ‘carrot and stick’ approach to Brexit…

The EU27 are planning a “carrot and stick” approach to Brexit at an upcoming summit, offering Theresa May warm words on the Chequers proposals to take to the Conservative conference alongside a sharp warning that they need a plan for Northern Ireland within weeks.The twin statements from the EU leaders at the meeting in Salzburg later this month would seek to give the British prime minister some evidence of progress in negotiations on the future trade deal as she seeks to fight off the threat of rebelling MPs.However, under the plans being discussed among the 27, a shot would be fired across May’s bows on the issue of a backstop for Northern Ireland, an issue on which officials and diplomats are becoming increasingly frustrated. – Guardian

…as Brussels warn member states to avoid a series of bilateral Brexit seminars in London

Brussels wants everyone to know it is still in charge in the Brexit talks.The European Commission last week warned member countries against allowing their officials to attend a series of bilateral seminars on Brexit put on by the U.K. government in London, according to EU officials and diplomats.At a regular meeting of EU27 Brexit officials last Friday, held to debrief diplomats on the latest round of talks with the U.K., the Commission said it has been made aware of the London events put on for EU27 diplomats and billed by the British government as “technical seminars.”“[The Commission] urged member states not to engage in bilateral talks,” said one of the diplomats, who added that several countries confirmed they have been approached by the U.K.The U.K.’s approaches to member countries come at a crucial time in the talks, with less than seven weeks until the supposed deadline for an agreement. So far, the EU’s negotiating strategy has held firm against attempts by London to drive a wedge between national capitals in order, potentially, to gain an advantage in the talks. While individual countries have welcomed British ministers to national capitals to discuss Brexit — notably during a summer blitz of U.K. diplomatic activity to sell Theresa May’s Brexit white paper — they have stuck firm to the line that negotiations can only happen through Michel Barnier’s Article 50 task force in Brussels.- Politico

DexEU’s Permanent Secretary Philip Rycroft confident plans are in place for ‘no-deal’ Brexit

The most senior official in Britain’s Brexit ministry said on Tuesday he was confident that plans were in place for the possibility of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.“What I am confident is that there are plans in place,” Philip Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), told a committee of lawmakers in parliament.“They are at a level of detail which satisfies the team at DEXEU … we are constantly monitoring those plans to make sure they are kept up to date.” – Reuters

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel:DexEU’s Philip Rycroft answers questions from the Exiting the European Union Committee

Ex-Bank of England Governor Mervyn King attacks ‘incompetent’ Brexit planning

Former Bank of England governor Lord King has blasted Brexit preparations as “incompetent”.The Brexit supporter said it “beggared belief” that the world’s sixth-biggest economy should be talking of stockpiling food and medicines.This left the government without a credible bargaining position, he said.”A government that cannot take action to prevent some of these catastrophic outcomes illustrates a whole lack of preparation,” he said.”It doesn’t tell us anything about whether the policy of staying in the EU is good or bad, it tells us everything about the incompetence of the preparation for it.” – BBC News

Mark Carney may stay on as Bank of England Governor for ‘smooth’ Brexit

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has signalled that he is prepared to extend his tenure following talks with the chancellor.Responding to speculation he could serve beyond June 2019, he told MPs on the Treasury select committee: “Even though I have already agreed to extend my time to support a smooth Brexit, I am willing to do whatever else I can in order to promote both a smooth Brexit and an effective transition at the Bank of England.” Mr Carney said he expected an announcement shortly. – Sky News

Andy Burnham calls for Article 50 extension to avoid ‘no-deal’ Brexit…

The Mayor of Greater Manchester has warned that a no-deal Brexit would be “disastrous” for the North West of England. Andy Burnham is due to speak in Westminster today, calling on the government to extend the March 2019 negotiation deadline, if no detailed agreement is reached with the EU.Mr Burnham says the last resort of a second referendum would be better than crashing out without terms being agreed. – ITV News

…while GMB boss calls for a second referendum on the Brexit deal

The GMB has become the largest union to date to back a referendum on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, urging Labour to “follow suit”. General Secretary Tim Roache told the BBC “false promises” had been made during the 2016 referendum and it was time to “let the people decide”.But he said that the vote should be on the terms of exit, not on whether Brexit would actually happen, which he said had already been decided. The UK is to leave on 29 March 2019.The cross-party People’s Vote campaign, which is backed by the Lib Dems and Greens as well as many Labour MPs, has said a referendum must be held on the outcome of the negotiations with the EU, including the option to remain in the bloc. – BBC News

> On BrexitCentral today: Backing a second referendum would cause Labour ‘severe trouble’ in its heartlands

Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin slams the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy

Brexiteer business owner Tim Martin blasted Theresa May’s approach to the Brexit negotiations claiming the Prime Minister should have been focussing on leaving the European Union rather than putting all her efforts into getting a deal.Speaking on BBC Politics Live, the British tycoon argued the Brexit negotiations should have been focused on the advantages of leaving the Brussels bloc. The owner of Wetherspoons branded Theresa May’s negotiation approach a “great tragedy” adding the entire focus should have not been on getting a deal from the getgo. He said: “The great tragedy of the whole Brexit thing is that the whole point of the vote was to decide whether we leave or whether we stay and the Government priority has not been on leaving, it’s been on getting the deal. “And as soon as you make that a priority everything becomes very confused.” – Express


Robert Peston: David Davis may win his Canada-style Brexit deal

David Davis may have won. What do I mean? Well I am hearing from multiple sources that the only trade deal the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier will countenance is Davis’s cherished Free Trade Agreement, what he called Canada Plus, rather than any version of May’s Chequers plan.Here for example is the debrief of an MP on the Brexit select committee chaired by Hilary Benn, who met Barnier yesterday in Brussels: “Remarkable how dismissive Barnier was of the two central pillars of Chequers – customs and common rule book for goods. It’s not a matter of how it will fare in Parliament. It won’t be agreed by the EU. We are back to Canada-style FTA”. – Robert Peston for ITV News

Evening Standard: It’s time to accept the Chequers deal is dead

Prime Ministers often have a different recollection of events from the rest of us.“At Chequers in July,” Theresa May wrote this week, “the Government came together around a set of proposals that could break the deadlock” on Brexit.Except, that is not what happened. Her Government didn’t come together, it fell apart. The Foreign Secretary and the Brexit Secretary resigned. There is no Chequers Agreement. There is instead a great big Chequers Disagreement — and it has shattered the Tory truce that has endured since the EU referendum. Mrs May spent two years trying to avoid this moment. “Brexit means Brexit” was her answer to questions of detail, as she waited for the EU to blink first and let Britain have its cake and eat it. It was a huge miscalculation. Brussels didn’t blink. It didn’t need to. Chief negotiator Michel Barnier had secured the key concessions he needed from Mrs May on money, citizens’ rights and — crucially — the Irish border last December. He could sit tight and let the self-activated Article 50 timetable grind us down. By this summer the Prime Minister had no option left but do what she had been loathe to do: put forward her own detailed plan for Brexit. – Evening Standard editorial

Stewart Jackson: It’s time to aim for a Canada-style Brexit. And if that fails, WTO it is

It’s pretty clear now that a consensus has emerged that Theresa May’s Chequers Deal went too far. The UK was offering too many concessions – in the shape of a Common Rulebook, subservience to the European Court of Justice and a glorified customs union in all but name. Conservative members don’t want it, Leave voters don’t want it and the British people don’t want it. Even Remainers like Justine Greening are now openly dismissive of the Prime Minister’s plans. Polls like the one in yesterday’s Telegraph show that Chequers presents an existential threat to the electoral prospects of the party. Eight in 10 voters don’t rate the Tories as handling Brexit well – and that rating has fallen off a cliff since Chequers. Downing Street’s facile “It’s Chequers or no Brexit” is rightly seen as a risible and simplistic analysis. – David Davis’s former Chief of Staff Stewart Jackson for the Telegraph (£)

The Sun says: No wonder a tsunami of populism and extremism is surging through the continent — the EU is a cesspit of waste

The stench of corruption in Brussels — condemned now by its own watchdog — is stomach-turning. Jean-Claude Juncker installed his Britain-hating henchman Martin Selmayr as European Commission secretary-general in a sinister stitch-up which broke every rule and stuck two fingers up at voters.He and his officials concocted an elaborate ruse to promote Selmayr suddenly to deputy, then immediately to the top job. The vacancy was never advertised. The EU ombudsman found the Commission guilty of four counts of “maladministration”. Will Juncker resign? Will Selmayr be fired? Will they hell. They got what they wanted. They will carry serenely on.This is the rotten truth behind the “liberal utopia” of Remainer fantasy. The EU is a cesspit of waste, inflated salaries and expense accounts, sickening cronyism and sniggering contempt for citizens. – The Sun says

Tim Newark: Brexit will give a huge boost to the British workforce

For UK companies have got used to hiring foreign workers. In 1997 the number of migrant workers was 928,000; in 2018 it was 3.54 million. All thanks to New Labour’s open door drive towards a low wage economy. But now with Brexit we have a golden opportunity to get British people working again and the Government’s new apprenticeship scheme could well be the answer – and not just for youngsters either as many older people are applying for apprenticeships too.Again and again, British industry leaders complain they can’t find the right skilled workers for job vacancies across the UK. And yet we have record numbers of young Britons going to university and racking up £50,000-plus debts…The Brexit-supporting entrepreneur opened his own Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology where students do not fork out fees but get paid to work alongside top engineers. A bigger kick-start, however, will be delivered by a successful Brexit.,,Brexit is a golden opportunity to improve the quality of our workers. We should start banging the drum for a renaissance in British industry and services. That means providing more and better job training for all our workers – whatever their age.- Tim Newark for the Express

Michael Deacon: Is there a more miserable job in politics than Brexit Secretary?

Secretary of State for Brexit. It’s a job you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. The rows. The stress. The endless, pulverising pressure. Look what it’s done to poor Dominic Raab – and he’s only been in the job a few weeks. Before he took over from David Davis in July, he was a swaggering, surefooted backbencher. Now he looks a nervous wreck.Take that speech he gave two weeks ago about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. The sweat was cascading off him. He couldn’t have looked more uncomfortable crossing the Sahara in a snowsuit. Desperately he tried to soak up the sweat with a tissue – but still it kept pouring down him. Never mind a handkerchief. He’d have struggled with a mop and bucket.This afternoon, as the Commons returned from its summer recess, Mr Raab made a statement to MPs about the latest Brexit developments. He at least managed to sound a bit less nervous this time: his voice didn’t tremble, his forehead didn’t glisten, and at no point was he forced to remove his shirt and wring it out like a dishcloth. – Michael Deacon for the Telegraph (£)


Comment in Brief

  • Brexit will not help us curb immigration – Max Hastings for the Times (£)
  • A scrambled Brexit is best for our Fawlty Towers Government – Anne McElvoy for the Evening Standard
  • Shocked by Brexit, we launched the first party for the Erasmus generation – Colombe Cahen-Salvador for the Guardian
  • Brexit will prove to be beginning of the end for Union – Steve Cardowine for the Scotsman

News in Brief

  • Martin Selmayr slammed for scandalous EU power grab – Guido Fawkes
  • Irish border issue being used by some to thwart Brexit – Belfast Telegraph
  • SNP MP tells Raab Brexit will lead to independence – The National
  • Angela Merkel delivers stunning Brexit negotiations warning – Express