Norway-style Brexit now 'dead' after Corbyn tells Labour MPs he won't back EEA: Brexit News for Tuesday 15 May

Norway-style Brexit now 'dead' after Corbyn tells Labour MPs he won't back EEA: Brexit News for Tuesday 15 May
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Norway-style Brexit now ‘dead’ after Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour MPs he won’t back EEA model…

A Norway-style ‘soft Brexit’ has been declared “dead” after Jeremy Corbyn signalled he would not back plans for the UK to join the European Economic Area (EEA). In a move that will dismay some former Remainer voters, the Labour leader told a weekly meeting of his MPs that he didn’t want the UK to end up as a ‘rule taker’ from Brussels. The EEA issue was the focus of a packed meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) on Monday night, with more than 20 backbenchers asking questions about the party’s stance on the crunch topic. Several MPs, including former Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, wanted to know if the party would back the House of Lords amendments to keep the UK in the EEA or a single market. – Huffington Post

Jeremy Corbyn has sparked confusion among Labour MPs about the party’s future Brexit plans. One backbencher said he left open the option of backing Britain staying part of the European Economic Area (EEA) in a Norway-style deal. But another said the leader made clear the option was “dead”. A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn refused to rule out Labour backing an amendment to the flagship Brexit bill that would make EEA membership an “objective” for the UK negotiating team. – Sky News

  • Labour frontbencher endorses ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit deal, exposing yet another rift among party leaders – The Sun

Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson on BrexitCentral today: Britain should not be taken in by the EEA option – its existing members increasingly want to leave

…after David Miliband says UK should join European Economic Area after Brexit

David Miliband said Britain should accept Norway’s offer of “safe harbour” in the European Economic Area (EEA) as he warned Jeremy Corbyn against being the “midwife of a hard Brexit”. Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister, suggested her country was open to Britain joining the EEA in comments immediately seized upon by Remainers as they fight for as soft a Brexit as possible. Mr Miliband described the moment as “significant” as he urged Mr Corbyn to change tack and pledge to keep the UK in the European single market. – Telegraph (£)

  • David Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nicky Morgan warn against ‘hard Brexit’ – Sky News
  • Miliband is returning from the political grave to keep us tied to the EU – The Sun
  • UK needs Brexit ‘safe harbour’, says David Miliband – BBC News
  • David Miliband: “Those of us who lost shouldn’t accept that the case for minimising the damage is lost” – ConservativeHome
  • The unbelievable cheek of pampered political princes David Miliband and Sir Nick Clegg – Iain Martin for Reaction
  • If May listened to the Gang of Three and stayed in the Customs Union she would not survive – Andrew Gimson for ConservativeHome
  • For failed politicians like David Miliband, conspiring against Brexit is a chance to have power again – Tim Stanley for the Telegraph (£)
  • David Miliband’s arrogance to try and return to UK politics and tell us how to handle Brexit is repugnant – The Sun editorial
  • 18 times David Miliband has reportedly returned to save British politics – New Statesman

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: Caroline Flint says Brexit-bashing Clegg has disavowed the public 

Prime Minister has been meeting Tory backbenchers in Number 10 to find a way through Brexit impasse…

Theresa May met nearly every Conservative backbench MP to head off a rebellion over her plans for a customs deal with the European Union. Scores of Tory MPs went into 10 Downing Street today for briefings with Theresa May, Julian Smith, her chief whip, and Gavin Barwell, chief of staff about Brexit. Mr Barwell presented a series of slides setting out the pros and cons of the two options for Britain’s trading arrangements with the European Union after March next year like “price comparison website”, one insider said. – Telegraph (£)

  • Theresa May calls crisis meetings with her MPs in No10 as she tries to head off rebellion on Brexit after Cabinet row on customs plan – The Sun
  • Theresa May hits wall over EU customs deal as she admits both her current options are unworkable – Telegraph (£)
  • Theresa May will deliver, but what exactly? And when? – The Express editorial

…as Theresa May and Jacob Rees-Mogg clash over Brexit deal

Theresa May confronted Jacob Rees-Mogg at a meeting with Tory MPs designed to break the deadlock over Britain’s future customs arrangements with the EU, The Times has learnt. The pair clashed yesterday over the impact of rival plans on the Irish border, in what witnesses described as the prime minister “sending a tough signal” to hardline Brexiteers that she was not prepared to jeopardise the Union. It came after Mrs May went over the heads of her squabbling cabinet with a personal appeal to scores of backbench Tory MPs to help to settle Britain’s position. She issued an open invitation to all 315 Conservative MPs to attend Downing Street briefings on the rival options that have split her top team. – The Times (£)

  • If the Irish Government obliges us to choose between the Republic and the Union, then we will choose the Union – Jacob Rees-Mogg MP for the Telegraph (£)

Barnier says ‘little progress’ in Brexit talks since March

Brexit talks have made “little” progress since March, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier said there was a “risk of failure” in two key areas – Northern Ireland, and how the agreement will be governed. He said June’s EU summit was a “key rendezvous” to reach a deal that can be ratified before the UK leaves. And he defended the EU’s stance over the UK’s involvement in the new Galileo sat-nav system. The UK has played a key role in the programme’s development so far, but faces being shut out of key elements of the programme after Brexit. UK ministers are now considering setting up a rival version. – BBC News

  • There has been ‘no significant progress’ on Brexit since March says EU’s chief negotiator as Cabinet customs row threatens to put trade deal on hold – The Sun

Gibraltar Brexit talks deadlocked over Spanish airport demands

Negotiations over the post-Brexit future of Gibraltar are deadlocked on the issue of security at the territory’s airport, raising fears of a deepening stand-off between Britain and Spain on the contentious issue of the The Rock. Sources on the UK and Gibraltar side of the negotiations said that Spain had touched a “red line” with its demands to have police stationed at the airport which is partially situated on a disputed isthmus that links the territory with mainland Spain. “The Spanish crossed a red line,” said a source with knowledge of the talks which started this year in a bid to avoid a last-minute stand-off over Gibraltar. – Telegraph (£)

UK companies warned not to sign new deals on European satellite programme

British technology companies have been warned not to sign new deals to work on the pan-European Galileo satellite navigation as a Brexit row blows up. Business Secretary Greg Clark has written to 13 UK businesses involved in sensitive work on the project, such as coded communications, saying they must have the Government’s sign-off to start new contracts. At issue is an argument over Britain’s role in Galileo after the UK leaves Europe in 2019. – Telegraph (£)

Holyrood set to reject Westminster Brexit powers bill

MSPs are set to formally refuse to give Holyrood’s consent to the UK’s main piece of Brexit legislation. The Scottish and UK governments are at odds over the EU Withdrawal Bill and what it could mean for devolved powers. Labour, Green and Lib Dem MSPs are expected to back SNP members in rejecting the Westminster bill, saying it would restrict Holyrood’s powers. The Scottish Conservatives will vote against, and have blamed the SNP for the failure to find an agreement. UK and Scottish ministers have said the door is still open to finding a deal, although both sides have admitted they remain some distance apart. – BBC News

  • Sturgeon warns of catastrophic ‘no deal’ Brexit – Reuters

Jeremy Hunt warns Boris Johnson over undermining Brexit negotiations

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a warning to Boris Johnson this morning over comments the foreign secretary made last week over Theresa May’s post-Brexit customs plans.Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Hunt said: I do think it’s important that we have these debates in private, not just because of collective responsibility which is what democracy depends on, but also because this is a negotiation and so on the EU side, if they see divisions in the open then they will exploit that. City A.M.

  • Boris Johnson told to shut up and keep criticism of Theresa May’s Brexit plans private or EU will ‘exploit’ our divisions – The Sun

MI5 chief calls for close security cooperation with Europe after Brexit

Britain and the EU need to maintain a close security relationship after Brexit to counter the threat posed by Russia and the terror group Islamic State, MI5 chief Andrew Parker is expected to say today. “In today’s world, we need that shared strength more than ever,” the head of Britain’s intelligence services will tell EU heads of state in Berlin, according to Reuters.  – Politico

  • MI5 chief – Not aware outside influence determined outcome of Brexit vote – Reuters

Asian-owned Dorsett Hotels plans £700m UK expansion

Asian hotelier Dorsett Hotels is set to ramp up its UK presence by ploughing £700m into opening new sites in London and Manchester. Chief executive Winnie Chiu said her company had only recently opened two hotels in London’s Aldgate and Shepherd’s Bush but had plans build five or six more across the two cities in the next few years. Dorsett Hotels is owned by Far East Consortium, one of Asia’s largest developers and hotel operators which was founded in 1972 by renowned Hong Kong entrepreneur Deacon Chiu, the late grandfather of Ms Chiu. – Telegraph (£)

Steerpike: United Nations’ British racism report gaffe

Brexit Britain is a more racist country than before the referendum, according to the United Nations, whose inspector told us on Friday that anti-foreigner rhetoric has now become ‘normalised’. But how did Tendayi Achiume, the UN’s special rapporteur on racism, manage to make such a stark finding having spent just 11 days in Britain? After all, if her ‘end of mission statement’ is anything to go on, Mr S. thinks her conclusions might have been somewhat cobbled together. Achiume, it seems, didn’t even get a chance to run her damning report through a spellcheck before publishing it. – Steerpike for The Spectator

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel: Isaby says biased UN report based on Guardian view of Britain

Jacob Rees-Mogg: If the Irish Government obliges us to choose between the Republic and the Union, then we will choose the Union

In recent weeks like-minded colleagues have suggested that I adopt a more conciliatory position as regards the Government’s Brexit negotiations. If we were to do so it would completely undermine the heart of why we voted to leave, rendering our almost-reclaimed sovereignty a myth. If we do not push on with firmness and tenacity the harm being done to our fishermen will continue, our powers to protect our borders will be compromised and our money will be squandered by needlessly paying the EU’s ransom upfront.. Brexiteers, like me, have done our best to be agreeable.  The chief negotiators for the UK have been reasonable. However, if the EU insists upon being intransigent and tries to make an example of the UK to warn other member states what their fate is if it dares to challenge its authority we will reach stalemate. – Jacob Rees-Mogg MP for the Telegraph (£)

Henry Newman: The more we look back to the referendum, and re-fight its battles, the less we get ready for the future

The never-ending circular discussion in the UK political class is certainly dull, but it’s also profoundly damaging. The more we seek to re-take decisions which have been previously addressed, the less time and energy we have to focus on the real choices facing the country in the future. We are also in danger of not seeing the wood for the trees – of missing the bigger picture: for example, the EU’s protectionist moves to exclude the UK from the Galileo satellite system. If the EU excludes us from projects which are in our joint shared interest, this will have inevitable repercussions for our future relations, in security but also in trade. These are the issues which we should be debating, and pressing with our allies on the Continent. – Henry Newman for ConservativeHome

Tim Stanley: For failed politicians like David Miliband, conspiring against Brexit is a chance to have power again

I don’t know why elite liberals hate Brexit. It’s done wonders for their careers. Anyone who quit, was sacked or lost an election is welcome to have another go if it’s in the name of Remain: like coming out as gay or a Scientologist, it guarantees a second look. Hence yesterday, Nicky Morgan, Nick Clegg and David Miliband took to the stage to demand that Britain stay inside the single market. Cue the usual speculation that Mr Miliband is launching a political comeback.The standard caveats to a takedown of a politician apply: I’m sure the former foreign secretary is well intentioned, and his case for remaining in the European Economic Area has its merits. – Tim Stanley for the Telegraph (£)

Brexit in Brief

  • Take business advice from Lord Bilimoria? I don’t think so! – Andrew Pierce for the Daily Mail
  • Beware nonsense claims about the customs union and Ireland – William Davison for CapX
  • Forget the free-trade agreements – here’s how Brexit Britain can work with China – Bruno Maçães for UnHerd
  • The world agrees: post-Brexit Britain can win big on trade – Joshua King for The Conservative
  • British EU staff ditch UK passports – Reuters
  • EU rough sleepers will get hundreds of thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded compensation after they were illegally booted out of the UK – The Sun
  • No takers for the Italian job: Coalition parties bid for more time – City A.M.