Vote Leave accuse Damian Collins of spreading fake news: Brexit News for Thursday 9 August

Vote Leave accuse Damian Collins of spreading fake news: Brexit News for Thursday 9 August
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Vote Leave accuse Damian Collins of spreading fake news

Vote Leave has accused the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s ‘fake news inquiry’ of spreading its own fake news.  In a letter sent to the chairman Damian Collins, a Vote Leave Director Daniel Hodson says it is “disappointing” to read statements published in an interim report “which falls into three of [the] Committee’s own definitions of ‘fake news’: manipulated content, misleading content and false context of connection.” Damian Collins, who campaigned for Remain, has been investigating the roll of fake news in the referendum campaign with the DCMS Committee. But Vote Leave has accused him of making a number of false claims that were refuted by the Committee’s own published dossier, including the idea that Vote Leave and BeLeave campaign groups shared data. – BrexitCentral

>Today on BrexitCentral: Vote Leave’s letter to Fake News Chair Damian Collins

Tory members plot Brexit rebellion at party conference…

Theresa May is facing outright rebellion at this year’s Conservative party conference, as aggrieved party members plot tactics to force her hand on Brexit. Activists are thought to be plotting protests against both the Prime Minister and Chequers-backing MPs at the conference in early October, just weeks before the crunch European Council to discuss Brexit. In a further blow to May, City A.M. understands that Tory associations are mulling action including withdrawing long-standing loans to party HQ in response to May’s perceived failure to deliver on the Brexit vote, with many grassroots members at odds with her Chequers plan. – City A.M.

  • Time running out for Theresa May as 50,000 sign Brexit petition – Express

…as Theresa May’s Brexit plans ‘could breach World Trade Organisation rules’  

Top legal experts warned last night Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit plan could be illegal. Expert Professor David Collins said there was a major risk of the UK breaching World Trade Organisation rules on tariffs and trade. After examining the PM’s White Paper he said there was a “serious” chance “at least two” parts of the Facilitated Customs Arrangement (FCA) that would break international trading laws. Prof Collins said the worst case scenario was that the FCA would have to be abandoned, or significantly modified.- The Sun

>Today on BrexitCentral: Professor David Collins says May’s Chequers plan could be illegal under WTO rules

Jeremy Corbyn is facing an ambush which could force him to back a second referendum

Jeremy Corbyn faces an ambush by 300 regional Labour parties to force him into backing a second Brexit Referendum. A nationwide campaign will be launched next week urging activists to sign a motion to be put to the vote at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Liverpool next month. A vote in favour at conference would compel the Labour leadership to accept a so-called “People’s Vote”. Sources told The Sun the motion may also demand Labour then campaign “to remain in the EU” – The Sun

  • Gina Miller says the only way forward is a general election or another referendum – Express

EU27 mull trade-off over Single Market for goods…

Leaders of the EU27 are considering a deal in which the UK could remain in the Single Market for goods without having to compromise on freedom of movement. The Times reports that member states are willing to abandon one of the four freedoms – said to be indivisible – if Theresa May accepts more concessions on the UK side. They are expected to include adopting all the EU’s new environmental, social and customs rules. The potential trade-off marks the first major chink in the unified position and goes against what chief negotiator Michel Barnier recently laid out. He recently said such a proposal, which was put forward in the Chequers deal,  – City A.M

  • EU leaders are starting to show some belated but flawed flexibility on Brexit – The Times (£)

…as Michel Barnier confirms his team are preparing to soften their ‘red lines’ to move talks on

European Union bosses are planning on redrafting their draconian Irish backstop in order to make their offer more acceptable to the British Government in a move which could unlock the Brexit negotiations.Brussels maintains the backstop – the mechanism to prevent the hardening of the Irish border – must be included in the withdrawal agreement. However, its inclusion has plagued negotiations and left them on the brink of no deal.The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has confirmed his Article 50 task force are redrafting their offer ahead of negotiations resuming after a summer break on August 16-17.In recent public appearances, he has spoken of the need to “de-dramatise” the situation in order for both sides to overcome the obstacle. – Express

Entrepreneur Peter Hargreaves said Theresa May’s Brexit team are cowards and the best option is no deal…

Theresa May’s Brexit team have been blasted as are cowards by one of the biggest Leave donors, who has declared that “no deal” is the best option for Britain. Billionaire Peter Hargraves said “there isn’t one person on our Brexit team that has a clue” and blasted the Prime Minister for being a “Remainer”. He added that he would bet his “entire wealth that we would get free trade” if we exited the EU without an agreement with Brussels. – The Sun

  • Financier says he will ‘bet entire £3.5 billion fortune’ Britain will get free trade with EU under no deal Brexit – Telegraph (£)
  • Tycoon Peter Hargreave’s £3bn ‘guarantee’ on no-deal Brexit – The Times (£)
  • Peter Hargreaves: Government hasn’t got ‘a clue’ on Brexit – City A.M.

…as UK’s trade exports hit record high of £616billion in fresh vote of confidence for Brexit

Britains trade is booming as we prepare for Brexit – with exports hitting a record £616billion high. In the last year our trade balance has narrowed as more and more goods and services are being exported all over the world, fresh figures reveal. Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Britain was continuing to defy the gloom mongers by proving critics wrong as we gear up for Brexit. Our top exports were cars, medicinal products, power generators and aircraft in the last 12 months, ONS figures showed.

May tells Sturgeon to back Brexit deal

Theresa May has said the Scottish government should get behind her Brexit proposals, following talks with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The prime minister said Scotland should not try to “sow the politics of division”. Mrs May insisted all parts of the United Kingdom should support the deal, which was agreed by the cabinet. The SNP leader said after talks with Mrs May she still has concerns Britain could be forced to quit the EU without a formal deal. Ms Sturgeon said afterwards: “My concern about the increasing prospect of a no deal Brexit certainly wasn’t allayed in that meeting. “We discussed obviously the position around the Chequers agreement. The prime minister’s position continues to be that she thinks Chequers is the basis of an agreement on the future relationship, notwithstanding that everybody else thinks that it’s not.” – Sky News

  • Theresa May in Scotland for talks with Nicola Sturgeon – BBC News

Wetherspoons launch new beer mats supporting ‘no deal’ Brexit

Leading pub chain JD Wetherspoon is launching a new “Brexit beer mat” to press home its view that prices will be lower if the UK does not reach a trade deal with the EU. Around half a million of the mats will be distributed to 875 pubs, including a message to the three main political party leaders which says: “The vast majority of the public strongly objects to the crazy Government plan to pay £39 billion to Brussels, with nothing in return.”Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin, a strong supporter of Brexit, said lawyers have stated there is no legal obligation for the UK to pay anything on leaving the EU. He said: “We are calling on the Government not to pay the money. The message on the beer mat also makes it clear that, from our viewpoint, the Government should also choose free trade, on leaving the EU, by ending the taxes or ‘tariffs’ which the EU imposes on more than 12,000 non-EU imports.”Under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, EU imports would also be tariff-free in this case. Ending tariffs means lower prices in shops and pubs.” – Talk Radio

  • JD Wetherspoon launches new ‘Brexit beer mats’ to press home pub chain founder’s view that prices will be lower if Britain doesn’t reach a trade deal with the EU – Daily Mail

President of Calais region furious over ‘scandalous’ move to cut out French ports from post-Brexit trade route

An EU plan to exclude French ports from new shipping routes linking Ireland with the Continent after Brexit is “scandalous and unacceptable”, the leader of the northern French region said yesterday. Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Hauts de France region that includes the ports of Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk, urged the European Commission to review its decision to ship goods via Belgium and the Netherlands instead of France. The proposal adopted by the European Commission last week is intended to prevent Irish exports to the Continent from being delayed by UK customs checks if Britain can no longer be part of EU routes after Brexit. – Telegraph (£)

‘Police’ project fear warning actually came from politicians

Remainers have been making plenty of this front page story in the Times this morning which claimed that the police have warned Sajid Javid that a no-deal Brexit would “pose a risk to public safety.” However, any super-sleuth detectives who investigated the story themselves will have pieced together the clues that this was not in fact a letter from the Old Bill themselves but from a small group of Police and Crime Commissioners – politicians, not police. ‘Ello ‘ello…- Guido Fawkes

  • Police commissioners concern over ‘no deal’ – BBC News
  • Farmers Union blasted for scaremongering by claiming Britain would run out of food in months after no-deal Brexit – The Sun
  • Border Force staff face eight-week holiday ban next spring amid panic over ‘No Deal’ Brexit – The Sun

America dismisses EU ‘blocking statute’ as Iran sanctions finally bite

America has dismissed the European Union’s attempt to minimise the impact of its Iran sanctions as the first phase of penalties kicked in three months after Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal. A senior US administration official said a move by Brussels, with the support of Britain, to impose a “blocking statute” protecting European businesses trading with Iran was “not something that we’re particularly concerned by”. The comment came just hours after Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, issued a joint statement with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and the EU expressing “deep regret” at America’s decision to reimpose sanctions. – Telegraph (£)

Support for May’s handling of Brexit falls to record low…

British voters approval of Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit negotiations has fallen to 22 percent, according to the ORB International pollster on Monday, the lowest figure it has recorded. Approval of the government’s handling of Brexit talks rose as high as 55 percent in the first half of 2017 but has since fallen as the government struggles to strike a deal on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union. According to the poll of around 2,000 adults, 60 percent of voters were not confident May would get the right deal, up from 56 percent last month while 22 percent thought she would get the right deal and the rest didn’t know. – Reuters

…as another poll says Brits no longer care what sort of Brexit we get as long as Government ‘gets on with it’

Most Brits no longer care what sort of Brexit the country gets or when it happens – they simply want the Government to get on with it. With the issue of leaving the EU still dominating UK politics, it seems voters have had enough of the talking, and just want action. According to Delta Poll, six out of ten Brits agreed that they no longer care how or when we leave – they just want it over and done with.- Yahoo

  • The public’s growing exhaustion with Brexit offers Theresa May a lifeline – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

James Frayne: Those pressing for a second referendum have no idea of the damage it would do

A total collapse of trust in the political class. Most obviously, at least those that voted Leave, as well as a sizeable chunk of Remain voters, would conclude that the political class had lied to them on a matter of fundamental importance. “You lied” would be the new Leave campaign’s top message and would, at the very least, make the campaign extremely competitive. This sense of betrayal would continue for many, many years to come. Remain politicians and commentators seem to have ludicrously convinced themselves that the real anger lies on their side. They’ve got no idea. James Frayne for ConservativeHome

The Telegraph: It is imperative to prepare for a No Deal withdrawal from the EU

The Government has misjudged the willingness of EU governments to inflict harm on themselves, their businesses and their people in pursuit of unity. They were warned that this would happen early on. Yannis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, said the UK should avoid negotiations because he had seen at first hand how mendacious and underhand the Commission’s tactics were. From the beginning, the Commission has relied upon an inflexible mandate from the other 27 member states that has left the UK unable to focus on its future relationships until Brussels was satisfied on the issues of money, citizenship and Ireland. This sequencing has been at the root of the negotiating problems and is, arguably, against the spirit and even letter of EU law. – The Telegraph editorial

Clare Foges: The EU was always going to punish us for Brexit

On Easter Island in the South Pacific, hundreds of vast stone heads each  weighing around 12 tonnes gaze into the distance, keeping their secrets about how they got there. One theory goes that the Rapa Nui people cut down  all their trees in order to move the monuments into place, thus destroying their fertile land and the wood to build fishing canoes, leading to food shortages, internecine warfare, cannibalism and the destruction of their  own civilisation. If true, the felling of Easter Island’s trees is perhaps the only act of self-sabotage in history that rivals Brexit. – Clare Foges for The Times (£)

Richard Black: A bad deal on financial services will hurt the EU just as much as the City

The publication last month of the Government’s White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU grabbed headlines for the immediate political fallout. But the document, a product of the heated discussions held by ministers at Chequers on 6 July, was also seen as an abandonment of the UK’s original plan for financial services. In place of “mutual recognition”, the UK has a new position, which is being termed “enhanced equivalence”. It offers greater regulatory autonomy to the UK in exchange for less access to the single market. – Richard Black for CapX

Mark Wallace – May’s Chequers “charm offensive” continues with a letter to Tory members – but is it making any difference?

The leadership evidently realises the situation it created for itself, but is struggling to catch up with it. May is at pains to say that she appreciates there is a problem – “I know that some people are concerned “…”I am well aware of the strong feelings members of our Party have…”. But this is August. It is over a month since the Chequers summit, which somehow Downing Street appears not to have expected to produce any discontent, and the Prime Minister is still having to work to explain what she is doing and why to her own Party members, still less to the wider electorate. When you’re reduced to having to write to them all in the hope of persuading them that your scheme is “in no sense a concession to [the EU’s] demands”, it isn’t going well. – Mark Wallace for ConservativeHome

John Redwood: Spending the £39 bn – cutting VAT

Once we take back control of our money and laws we can review the incidence and level of VAT. It becomes a UK tax on 29 March next year, after years of it being an EU imposition. I have set out before my wishes. Surely most can agree we should abolish VAT on green products. We wish to encourage people to have more draught excluder and insulation, and to have better controls on their heating systems, yet the EU charges them top rate VAT on it all. Lets simply abolish it… We should also abolish VAT on female hygiene products. These changes would create some loss of tax revenue, but are easily accommodated within the savings of £39bn if we leave without giving the EU a present.  – John Redwood’s Diary

Roger Bootle: Interest rates are now closer to normal, what comes next is a matter of confidence

The group called Economists for Free Trade (of which I am a member) has consistently argued that a no deal outcome in which we trade on WTO terms and move towards free trade through Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and/or unilateral tariff reductions, can bring some large gains to GDP. These can be larger still if we radically reshape our regulatory regime. Imagine what will happen after March if and when, as I expect, it turns out that the scare stories have been exaggerated. And then comes the good news about FTAs going to be signed with the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, China and many others. – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph (£)

James Bartholomew: Amid the Brexit turmoil, investors are keeping their calm – with good reason

No one now knows what kind of Brexit will emerge. It could be anything from near-continued membership of the EU to trading on World Trade Organisation terms. In the face of all this fury and uncertainty, the reaction of the British stock market has been extraordinary. It has barely moved. The .FTSE 100 index has swayed gently between about 7,500 and 7,800 since the end of April. It is almost as if investors don’t really think that the terms of Brexit are going to make that big a difference. More precisely, they don’t really believe that it will make that big a difference to the economy or, at least, to the companies in which they have invested. – James Bartholomew in the Telegraph (£)

Comment in Brief

  • The ticking Brexit clock demands clarity from both sides, but also adds to the risk of No Deal – Henry Newman for ConservativeHome
  • Brexit predictions for the Autumn – Iain Martin for Reaction
  • Why the no-deal Brexit scaremongering is wildly overblown – Ken Worthy for CapX
  • Britain can most effectively gain global influence by governing herself well – Alex Morton for ConservativeHome
  • Alastair Campbell struggles to be reasonable  – Steerpike for The Spectator
  • Shore was right then and he is still right now – Kathy Gyngell for ConservativeWoman
  • Can we ever heal the Brexit divide?- Walter Ellis for Reaction
  • This distrust of innovation does the EU no favours – Warwick Lightfoot for the Times

News in Brief

  • Nicola Sturgeon ready to pick a fight with PM by demanding future assurances and a Brexit ‘Plan B’ – The Sun
  • Christmas could be cancelled for MPs over Brexit backlog, a Government minister warns – The Sun
  • Brexit should not stop extraditions to UK, court rules – The Times (£)
  • TUI says prepared for hard Brexit – Reuters
  • Danish eurosceptics plotting to use Brexit as blueprint to quit EU – Express
  • Theresa May seeks to shore up support for Brexit plan among Tory members – ITV
  • Pound falls lower against the dollar and euro – BBC News
  • Sajid Javid refuses to fly the Union Jack at all border posts after Britain leaves the EU – Daily Mail
  • Is a second referendum on Brexit possible? Seven questions that need to be answered – Constitution Unit
  • Frustrated EU chief says Donald Trump is ‘easier to negotiate with’ than indecisive Theresa May – The Sun
  • Timeline – Brexit at breaking point? Diary dates for Britain’s EU departure – Reuters
  • The Current Shambles by Richard Tuck – Richard Tuck for Briefings for Brexit
  • EU leaders want Theresa May to make more concessions before they let her promote Brexit blueprint – The Sun
  • Theresa May urges SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to back EU deal plans amid Scottish Government’s No Deal Brexit fears – The Sun
  • Brits no longer care how we leave the EU – they just want it over and done with, new poll says – The Sun
  • Britain will team up with the EU to protect UK firms from Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran – The Sun
  • Pound falls to year-low as Brexit fears rumble on – City A.M.
  • Remoaner mocked for bizarre road trip to spell out ‘stop brexit’ on map of Europe using £11,000 he’d saved for a house – The Sun
  • Patients in Europe will miss out on vital medication if there is ‘no-deal Brexit’, warns drug giant AstraZeneca – The Sun