Brexit News for Tuesday 10th January

Brexit News for Tuesday 10th January

Jeremy Corbyn to declare today that Britain “can be better off after Brexit”…

Jeremy Corbyn will claim on Tuesday that “Britain can be better off after Brexit”, in his first major intervention of the year… In a speech that has been billed as a relaunch of his leadership, Corbyn will say the country voted for Brexit to “regain control over our economy, our democracy and people’s lives”. – Huffington Post

…as he shifts Labour’s position on freedom of movement…

Mr Corbyn, who has previously advocated the EU principle of freedom of movement of the bloc’s citizens and now shifted position, saying that the opposition party is “not wedded” to the idea. Labour wants “fair rules and reasonably managed migration” in the settlement between the UK and EU but the country cannot afford to lose full access to the single market, Mr Corbyn will say. – Daily Express

…and calls for an historic return to state aid programmes post-Brexit

“We will push to maintain full access to the European single market to protect living standards and jobs. But we will also press to repatriate powers from Brussels for the British government to develop a genuine industrial strategy essential for the economy of the future,” Corbyn will say. “Tory governments have hidden behind EU state aid rules because they don’t want to intervene. But EU rules can also be a block on the action that’s needed to support our economy, decent jobs and living standards. Labour will use state aid powers in a drive to build a new economy, based on new technology and the green industries of the future.” – City A.M.

  • Corbyn kicks off new year populist pitch with stinging attack on the Brexit chaos delivered by Tory “ruling elite” – LabourList

Angela Merkel threatens to restrict EU single market access unless Theresa May accepts free movement

Angela Merkel has stepped up pressure on Theresa May over Brexit by saying that the European Union must consider limiting UK access to the single market if it fails to accept free movement of EU citizens… Speaking to civil servants in Cologne, Mrs Merkel said it was important for the EU to make clear that “access to the single market can only be possible on the condition of respecting the four basic freedoms. Otherwise one has to talk about limits”. – Daily Telegraph

Theresa May refuses to accept the terms “hard” or “soft” Brexit

Theresa May denied on Monday that the UK was heading for a ‘hard Brexit’… “I don’t accept the terms hard or soft Brexit. What we are doing is going to get an ambitious, good, the best possible deal for the United Kingdom in terms of trading with, and operating within, the single European market. But it will be a new relationship because we won’t be members of the EU any longer.” – EurActiv

  • Theresa May blames media for the pound slumping after misrepresenting her views on “hard Brexit” – The Sun
  • No, really, Theresa May isn’t bluffing: we’re heading for a hard Brexit – Stephen Bush for the New Statesman
  • Why Brexit is still undefined – Gavin Hewitt for the BBC

Fresh legal battle launches today to try and keep UK in single market

Mr [Peter] Wilding and Mr [Adrian] Yalland will today launch Single Market Justice, a campaign group aimed at preventing a so-called “hard Brexit” without parliamentary approval. The legal battle hinges on Article 127 of the agreement establishing the European Economic Area in which the single market operates. The government insists that EEA membership ends automatically with Brexit, because Britain was only a member in its capacity as an EU state. The challengers argue that Britain is a party to the agreement in its own right and thus Article 127 must be triggered separately and with parliament’s assent, as the High Court ruled with Article 50. – The Times (£)

Brexit Britain ‘first in line’ for US trade deals, Boris Johnson declares after Trump team talks

The UK is ‘first in line’ for trade deals with the Us post-Brexit, Boris Johnson has claimed. The Foreign Secretary jetted across the pond to hold talks with president-elect Donald Trump’s advisors, just 11 days before he is sworn into office. Mr Johnson, who was beaten to be the first UK political to have an audience with the billionaire by Nigel Farage, reiterated the importance and continued existence of the ‘special relationship’ between the two countries. – Daily Express

The UK’s tech entrepreneurs have finally recovered from the Brexit shock

Just under half (49 per cent) of the more than 2,000 people working in tech and digital, including founders and chief executives, surveyed by Tech City UK are positive about business for the year ahead, compared to just eight per cent polled in June after the vote. Positivity for the year ahead improved in the capital, with 35 per cent now expecting things to improve compared to just six per cent in June, though the bounce back was less pronounced than that experienced nationwide. – City A.M.

Treasury Committee Chair Andrew Tyrie demands details in Theresa May’s Brexit plans

Senior Tory Andrew Tyrie is demanding the government explains its hopes for the Single Market as part of a Brexit plan promised last year. Last year, Prime Minister Theresa May committed to revealing more on the UK goals ahead of triggering Article 50, and now Tyrie, who chairs parliament’s influential Treasury Committee, is demanding that any disclosure includes specific information. – City A.M.

Boris Johnson ‘punched the air like Maradona’ after Brexit victory

Boris Johnson arrived at the Vote Leave headquarters the morning after the Brexit referendum hugging staff and “punching the air like Maradona after a great goal”, according to the man who led the winning campaign. Dominic Cummings, a former adviser to Michael Gove who was appointed campaigns director for the leave camp, said it was nonsense that Johnson and Gove did not expect to triumph and were consequently regretful. – The Guardian

More Britons want greater control of immigration than EU free trade – poll

Greater control of immigration is more important for Britons than access to free trade with the European Union during negotiations for the UK’s departure from the bloc, according to a poll on Monday. Britain has said it will trigger formal negotiations with the EU by the end of March, starting a two-year process to define the future relationship of the UK with its biggest trading partner. Pollster ORB found that 46 percent of Britons agreed that greater control over immigration was more important than access to free trade, while 39 percent disagreed. – Reuters

New Zealand should scrap EU agricultural talks in favour of trade with post-Brexit Britain, says Kiwi MP

New Zealand should be looking to build agricultural trade links with post-Brexit Britain rather than starting planned negotiations with the European Union, an influential lawmaker has said. On Tuesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet to discuss bilateral trade negotiations, which could start in the coming months. – The Independent

Former Australian PM Tony Abbott says UK should leave EU customs union to strike deals with Commonwealth

Britain should leave the European Union’s customs union so it can strike trade deals with “economically advanced” Commonwealth countries, a former prime minister of Australia has said. Tony Abbott backed a report co-authored by Tory MP James Cleverly, calling for the UK to withdraw from the tariff-free customs union to give it the ability to strike new deals with the likes of India and Australia. The report pointed out that 8% of the UK’s exports go to Commonwealth countries – a share that is growing and is already nearly double that of China. – Daily Telegraph

Tony Abbott: Brexit frees Britain to strike a deal with Australian friends

Brexit means that Britain is back. The country that gave the world the English language, common law and the Mother of Parliaments is once more to seize its destiny as a global leader. This is an exciting time for Britain and an exhilarating one for the countless millions elsewhere who appreciate Britain’s unique contribution to Western civilisation. It’s good that Britain will no longer be constrained by the statism and bureaucracy of Brussels. It’s also good that the remaining members of the European Union will now have to rethink how much of their sovereignty they wish to surrender. – Tony Abbott on CapX

> James Cleverly on BrexitCentral: The time is ripe to embrace trade with the Commonwealth

Allister Heath: Enough misery from the currency markets – even without trade deals Brexit wouldn’t be a disaster

It is possible… that the EU wants to impose tariffs and other protectionist measures on the UK when we leave, rather than maintaining the current free trade in goods (and the partially free trade in services). If this does happen, I very much hope that it doesn’t last and that in time all barriers can be removed again. But even were the EU, in a fit of destructive, mutually damaging pique decided to go down that road, it wouldn’t be a disaster. – Allister Heath for the Daily Telegraph (£)

Janan Ganesh: Theresa May is decisive over Brexit but we choose not to listen

Nobody is obliged to like this conservatism, but reading it as indecision is a transparent coping mechanism for the liberal-minded. They are spoilt for fairer grievances against Mrs May. She commits mandate-creep every time she spins last year’s referendum result as a clamour for her social reforms. – Janan Ganesh for the FT (£)

Daniel Hannan MEP: Brexit economic experts are like medieval doctors with leeches – pseudoscience to trick the layman

The country, or at least its commentariat, owes Michael Gove an apology. When, during the Brexit referendum, the then Lord Chancellor dismissed experts’ prophecies of an immediate contraction following a Leave vote, he was howled down as an irresponsible rabble-rouser. Now some of the most prominent experts are themselves admitting that Gove had a point. Last week, Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s chief economist, described Gove’s criticism as “a fair cop” given the “disconnect” between the forecasts and what has in fact happened since the vote. You can say that again, Andy. The Bank of England, the Treasury and the IMF, as well as almost every ratings agency and most private banks, had predicted that a Leave vote would crash the economy. – Daniel Hannan MEP for the International Business Times

Christopher Howarth: EEA membership is incompatible with running our own migration policy

As EEA membership would not allow the UK to control EU migration it would not respect the result of the referendum or even the will of the Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer, who has illogically calls for migration to be reduced while seemingly sticking up for the internal market/EEA. Membership of the EEA would leave the UK trapped in the majority of the EU policy areas without a say on its future direction or the ability to benefit from the opportunities of Brexit. It is time that Labour abandoned this idea. Rather than reprise the arguments of the past, the UK should ditch the language of the EEA. We do not want “membership” of the internal market as we are leaving the EU and becoming “external”. Instead we want access to the internal market, most favoured nation status or a reciprocal trade deal. – Christopher Howarth for ConservativeHome

Brexit comment in brief

  • As we leave the EU, we need to reinvent farm subsidies – Jean Blaylock for Open Democracy
  • PM harnessing the Brexit revolution to change party and the country – Faisal Islam on Sky News
  • Was the Richmond Park by-election really a setback for Brexit? – David Elstein for Open Democracy
  • When will Theresa May stop talking in riddles about Brexit? – Michael Deacon for the Daily Telegraph

Brexit news in brief

  • FTSE 100 matches longest record-setting streak in 33-year history as pound slides on Brexit fears – Daily Telegraph
  • HSBC reminds us a “smooth and painless” Brexit could happen – Bloomberg
  • Italian anti-euro Five Star Movement split with Ukip grouping in European Parliament – Daily Telegraph 
  • Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt’s dream of European Parliament Presidency in tatters after backroom deal with Five Star Movement turns sour – Daily Express
  • Late Christmas shoppers boost December retail sales – FT (£)
  • France ‘after Britain’s leading role in NATO because of Brexit’, think tank warns – Daily Express
  • Chancellor denies Brexit preparations ‘badly handled’ – Irish Times