Michel Barnier says a Brexit deal with the UK is ‘realistic’ within eight week: Brexit News for Tuesday 11th September

Michel Barnier says a Brexit deal with the UK is ‘realistic’ within eight week: Brexit News for Tuesday 11th September

Michel Barnier says a Brexit deal with the UK is ‘realistic’ within eight weeks…

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier once again struck an optimistic tone as he said a deal on the U.K.’s orderly withdrawal from the bloc is possible within eight weeks. The pound gained. Barnier told a conference on Monday in Bled, Slovenia, that it was “realistic” and “possible” to get an agreement by the start of November to allow time for the deal to be approved by the British and European parliaments. Still, he warned that several issues, including the contentious matter of the Irish border, need to be resolved. The pound jumped as much as 1 percent on his comments and traded at $1.3023 at 4:10 p.m. in London, up 0.8 percent on the day against the U.S. dollar after reaching the highest level in a month. – Bloomberg

  • Barnier sends sterling to a five-week high on Brexit deal hopes – CNBC
  • EU ready to strike Brexit deal in ‘six to eight weeks’ declares Barnier – Express

…with EU leaders expected to announce an extraordinary Brexit summit for November…

EU leaders are expected to announce during a meeting in Salzburg next week that an extraordinary Brexit summit will take place in November, as they give Michel Barnier extra encouragement to strike a deal with the British prime minister. Discussions on the state of play in the talks will take place over a two-hour lunch at an informal summit in Austria, at which leaders are likely to instruct the EU’s chief negotiator to work with the best of Theresa May’s Chequers proposals. The EU27 will insist there needs to be resolution on the issue of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland by the time of a leaders’ summit in October in order for a deal to be possible.However, the special summit – likely to be held on 13 November – would then allow EU heads of state and government to wrap up the terms of a political declaration on a future deal on trade, security, aviation and fisheries, among other issues. – Guardian

…while Theresa May orders ministers to tour the country selling Chequers to local Tories…

With claims yesterday, however, that up to 80 Tory MPs would be prepared to vote down a deal based on the Chequers agreement, Downing Street is to begin a concerted drive to reduce opposition. The prime minister has instructed every cabinet minister to tour the country before the Conservative Party conference this month to hammer home the message that Chequers is the “only deal” on the table. Each minister has been told to visit at least two constituency associations in the next two weeks to make the case for Mrs May’s strategy and counter the campaign led by Boris Johnson to “chuck Chequers”. – The Times (£)

  • Boris Johnson will keep ‘throwing rocks’ at PM’s Brexit plan, say allies – Guardian
  • Keep your head down, dismayed Brexiteer allies urge Boris Johnson – The Times (£)

…as Brexiteer MPs brace for a new fight over EU laws

May is already facing resistance from Brexit-backers over a so-called “backstop” clause aimed at keeping the Irish border open after the split. But those lawmakers are also determined to fight a government plan to put off the moment at which European Union law in Britain will be repealed, according to two people familiar with the situation who asked not to be named. Earlier this year, in an attempt to placate her party, May put the date of Britain’s departure into the EU (Withdrawal) Act. This meant that European law would cease to apply in Britain from March 29, 2019. But in July, the government said parts of EU law will need to apply after that date, and so proposed that the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which has yet to be put before Parliament, would “save” EU law for a “time-limited period.” “I’m dead against any saving power,” said Marcus Fysh, a Conservative lawmaker, in an interview. He said he was concerned that it might see EU law continue to apply in the U.K. for an unknown length of time. “If it’s in any sense extendable then it’s a massive risk to us.” – Bloomberg

UK enjoys fastest growth in almost a year

Britain reeled off its fastest economic growth for nearly a year in the three months to July thanks to strong consumer spending lifted by the World Cup and unusually warm weather, official figures showed on Monday. Gross domestic product in the three months to July was 0.6 percent higher than in the previous three-month period, the Office for National Statistics said, gathering pace from 0.4 percent growth in the three months to June – and at the top end of forecasts in a Reuters poll. – Reuters

Anglo-Dutch giant RELX moves HQ to London

Anglo-Dutch giant RELX has decided to move its headquarters to London… despite Brexit. Worth around £33bn, RELX is the parent company of a number of publishers including Elsevier, Reed, LexisNexis and MLex. RELX had a dual corporate structure based in the UK and the Netherlands but has decided to move its HQ entirely to London, unlike Unilever who went the other way after successfully lobbying the Dutch Government for tax incentives. – Guido Fawkes

Jacob Rees-Mogg backs Economists for Free Trade work on Brexit on WTO terms

A no-deal Brexit would boost the UK economy by £1.1 trillion over 15 years, Jacob Rees-Mogg will say, as he argues that crashing out of the EU is preferable to Theresa May’s Chequers plan. The leader of the 60-strong European Research Group of Conservative Eurosceptic MPs will say there is nothing to fear from a no deal Brexit, as Britain’s trade with World Trade Organisation countries has grown four times faster than trade with countries that have a deal with the EU… Mr Rees-Mogg will speak today at an event in Parliament hosted by Economists for Free Trade, at which he will argue that a Canada-style free trade deal with the EU would be the best option for Brexit, but that no deal would be “a very good second best”. – Telegraph (£)

  • Rees-Mogg shuts down Brussels in passionate Commons speech on EU bill – Express


> Professor Patrick Minford on BrexitCentral today: Why a World Trade Deal – Brexit on WTO terms – would be highly advantageous

Flying squads of tax inspectors ‘could roam Northern Ireland’ in draft Brexit plan to rival Chequers

Arch-Eurosceptics believe a Hard Border with the EU could be avoided by “Inland Clearance” that would see goods made for export subject to spot checks from officials in factories and at arrival destinations. It came as Tory backbencher Steve Baker said Theresa May faced a “catastrophic split” if she pushed ahead with her Chequers plan given more than 80 MPs are signed up to defeat the PM’s blueprint. No 10 said critics of her plan had yet to come forward with a credible alternative which would avoid the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. “Chequers is the only plan on the table which will deliver on the will of the British people while avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland,” Mrs May’s spokesman blasted. – The Sun

  • No 10 refuses to consider plans to have EU staff at British ports – Guardian

Brexit has saved the EU from a populist wave, says Guy Verhofstadt

Brexit has saved the European Union from the wave of  Eurosceptic politicians that wanted to destroy the bloc, Guy Verhofstadt has said. The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator claimed that Britain’s torturous exit from the EU had cowed populist politicians across Europe. Mr Verhofstadt, who supports the creation of a United States of Europe, told the Ouest France newspaper, “Fortunately, we have Brexit. It illustrates the populist wave, but it has also provoked a resurrection of attachment to the EU within public opinion.” – Telegraph (£)

SNP ministers reject plea by Scottish farmers to back Chequers Brexit plan

Nicola Sturgeon’s government has rejected a plea from Scotland’s farmers to “get your shoulder to the wheel” and swing behind Theresa May’s Chequers plan. Mike Russell, the SNP’s Constitutional Affairs Minister, said the Prime Minister was presenting people with an “utterly false choice” between her blueprint and a “catastrophic” no deal Brexit. Speaking ahead of a Holyrood statement on the devolved administration’s Brexit preparations, he insisted that staying in the EU single market and customs union was still an option. – Telegraph (£)

‘They should be grateful!’ Brexiteer MP warns EU will pay heavy price if they reject deal

Tory Brexiteer Crispin Blunt said Britain has been “negotiating on our knees” with the European Union as he ridiculed the bloc’s decision to reject proposals. Mrs May’s Brexit plan, calling for close regulatory alignment with the EU’s single market for British exports, is a firm push towards a soft Brexit. The proposal includes plans to create a ”common rule book” – involving a free trade area with the EU on industrial and agricultural goods. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier rejected Mrs May’s plans and ruled out any special economic relationship with the UK – claiming it would unravel the entire “European project”. – Express

RMT boss delivers broadside against those wanting a second referendum…

Unions could undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s agenda for change if they back a referendum on the EU exit deal, Mick Cash warned today. The RMT leader said the labour movement should refuse to “line up” with Blairites and Tories in backing a “people’s vote”… Mr Cash, whose union represents transport staff, seafarers and oil workers, said: “We need to understand those in the Westminster bubble are calling for a people’s vote for the sole reason of a second referendum on the EU. They are your Chuka Umunnas, your Chris Leslies, your Peter Mandelsons your Tony Blairs, the Lib Dems.” He said these politicians “want us in the EU so that the EU can stop Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for nationalisation and for state aid and for workers’ rights.” – Morning Star

…as Corbynista union bosses at the TUC conference ‘threaten a general strike’ unless Brexit is delivered

Delegates at the TUC conference in Manchester yesterday voted to keep open the option of a referendum on the final Brexit deal. And TUC boss Frances O’Grady reiterated her calls to extend Article 50 process – which would keep Britain as an EU member beyond next March. But the militant Bakers Union echoed the RMT in savaging plans for a People’s Vote – and warned there should be no “dilution” of the EU vote. And Unite boss ‘Red Len’ McCluskey also spoke out against the campaign – storming: “That people’s vote has already happened”. Sarah Woolley, organising regional secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union threatened mass industrial action if Brexit isn’t delivered properly. – The Sun

Lord Hague: Britain is facing its worst constitutional crisis for 200 years – this is what will happen and how to avert it

With 200 days to go to the date set for Britain to leave the European Union – 29 March 2019 at 11pm – it is worth thinking about what will happen between now and then if everybody means what they say. For if they do, the United Kingdom could be headed for a major constitutional and political crisis, and it is best to be aware of that before further and still more trenchant statements are made. A very long list is developing of ideas that various participants are dead against. Steve Baker, Conservative MP and former minister, has said that at least 80 fellow Tory MPs are prepared to vote against a deal with the EU based on the Chequers proposals of the Prime Minister. – Lord Hague for the Telegraph (£)

Tom Harris: Calls for a second referendum are not about democracy – they are cynical and manipulative

In a weekend where people who ought to know better tried to weaponise the English language for their own political ends – who knew “call off the dogs” could be characterised as hate crime? – it’s perhaps time to call out those who claim that particular words mean one thing when it’s plain that they don’t. At all. For example, take the campaign for “A People’s Vote”. The correct phrase should actually be “A Second Referendum on Whether Britain Should Leave The EU”. But that is too long-winded, especially for headline writers. Nevertheless, it more accurately describes the campaign supported by MPs from across the political spectrum and, as of yesterday, the TUC. – Tom Harris for The Telegraph (£)

IEA: No-Deal Brexit Fear-Checker on the electricity in Northern Ireland

Governments and operators on both sides of the border are committed to maintain the Single Electricity Market (SEM). This is also in keeping with the EU’s stated commitment to deliver competitive energy market and value to consumers, as its termination would be prejudicial not just to NI but to consumers in the ROI. Given the success of the SEM and the obligations of cross-border cooperation under the Belfast Agreement, there is no good reason not to expect it to continue. – IEA

The Sun: It is unlikely Michel Barnier will soften his position on Brexit deal significantly

The Chequers offer is already so over-generous it has triggered Cabinet resignations and Tory mutiny. If Barnier now wants to make it work for fear of a No Deal, it is a signal for us to realise the EU is on the back foot and to extract more concessions. Mrs May must not give an inch over free movement or anything else. Nor commit a penny of our divorce bill without tying it to a decent deal. It would be fatal for her. Chequers looks almost dead as it is. Even if Barnier breathes life into it, many Tories are still vowing to vote it down. – The Sun says

Rafael Behr: The Remainers’ biggest problem? Voters have switched off

There is no rule that says people have to be interested in the things politicians want them to care about. For years, Eurosceptics got that wrong. Most British citizens went about their lives unbothered by the European Union. Brussels was an object of compulsive loathing for only a tiny number. Their good fortune was to find in David Cameron a malleable prime minister who could be pressed into calling a referendum on a question few voters had ever thought to ask themselves. The cranks got their hobby horse into the political Grand National – and, credit where it’s due, they won. – Rafael Behr for the Guardian

Brexit in Brief

  • The ERG dog that didn’t bark in the Johnson-preoccupied night – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome
  • Populist Sweden Democrats won election by reshaping Swedish politics – Iain Martin for Reaction
  • Boris Johnson, Brexit and party splits are set to dominate the conference season – Owen Bennett for City A.M.
  • Stop using women to try and kill off Brexit – Ella Whelan for Spiked
  • Strategic thinking for defence – John Redwood’s Diary
  • ‘You want to do a runner on the EU bill?’ Tory MP claims UK under no obligation to pay EU – Express
  • Tory MP Johnny Mercer says he opposes Chequers because his voters do –  ConservativeHome
  • ‘Article 50 will be extended!’ Lord Mandelson adamant a Brexit postponement now ‘inevitable’ – Express