Boris goes to war on 'crazy' No 10 Brexit trade plan: Brexit News for Tuesday 8 May

Boris goes to war on 'crazy' No 10 Brexit trade plan: Brexit News for Tuesday 8 May
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Boris goes to war on ‘crazy’ No 10 Brexit customs plan…

Boris Johnson last night savaged Downing Street’s post-Brexit trade plans. In a major intervention, he branded the proposed customs partnership ‘crazy’ and claimed it would create ‘a whole new web of bureaucracy’. The Foreign Secretary added it would not meet the key test of Britain ‘taking back control’, and would restrict our ability to strike trade deals. The plan, which is backed by Theresa May, was narrowly rejected by her Brexit ‘war cabinet’ last week. Brexiteers now fear No 10 will try to ‘rebadge’ the plan and push it through by picking off two Remain-voting ministers – Sajid Javid and Gavin Williamson – who opposed it last week. – Daily Mail

  • Boris Johnson: No 10’s post-Brexit customs plans ‘crazy’ – BBC News
  • Boris Johnson ‘fed up with Theresa May’s dithering over Brexit and believes he is the only Leave champion left’ – The Sun

… as Jacob Rees-Mogg says Boris would be ‘more aggressive’ as PM in Brexit negotiations…

He said that if Mr Johnson was in charge of the Brexit negotiations he would be “much, much more aggressive” with Brussels than Mrs May – but that this plays into the Prime Minister’s hands as the EU is inclined to give her a better deal to avoid a Eurosceptic Tory leader taking over.  He compared the Prime Minister to King Solomon of Israel, who in the Bible was less tough in his approach to his subjects than his son and successor, King Reheboam. Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I think one of Theresa May’s strengths in negotiation is that she is Solomon to Rehoboam. That is to say my father [Solomon] scourged you with whips, I [Reheboam] will scourge you with scorpions.”  – Telegraph (£)

…after Theresa May delays Cabinet committee showdown over customs partnership plan…

Theresa May has put off another confrontation over her favoured “customs partnership” with the EU this week as she tries to erode cabinet opposition. The prime minister had been expected to try to force through a revised version of the plan at meeting of her inner cabinet on Thursday. Instead the critical issue of how Britain manages its trade borders with the EU will not be discussed until a week on Wednesday, Downing Street sources say. The prime minister has asked Oliver Robbins, her chief Brexit official, to use the extra time to target ministers most opposed to the plan, under which the UK would collect Brussels’ tariffs on its behalf, negating the need for customs checks. A senior government figure said Mr Robbins had offered detailed briefings to ministers before previous meetings, and would do so again. – The Times (£)

The news is expected to inflame concerns among members of the influential European Research Group of 60 Eurosceptic MPs, who are holding a mass meeting in parliament on Tuesday, that Britain will never fully leave the EU.  Dozens of Brexiteer Conservative MPs, together with former Tory Cabinet ministers who are now in the House of Lords, as well as Leave donors and supporters, are expected to attend the meeting to express their concerns about the direction of Brexit.  – Telegraph (£)

  • Tories on brink of civil war in EU customs union row – Express
  • We’ve paid EU £16 billion in tariffs for non-EU goods — and we should scrap the NCP – Liam Halligan for The Sun
  • We must work on building Global Britain — by leaving the EU’s restrictive customs pact now – The Sun editorial

…at which there is speculation that Gavin Williamson could back the proposal after all

The Defence Secretary could be persuaded to change sides and back amended plans by Theresa May for a customs partnership with the EU after Brexit, sources said. They said if the Prime Minister comes back to the table with a tweaked model, Gavin Williamson will look at the options and then decide. He is not firmly on either side, sources told the Mail. But last night those close to him said they would not be drawn on what position he would take. They simply said he would do what is in the ‘best interests of the country’. The customs partnership, backed by Mrs May, was rejected by the Brexit ‘war’ cabinet last week in a knife edge 6-5 vote. Mr Williamson and Home Secretary Sajid Javid both opposed the partnership. Mrs May has been repeatedly urged by Brexiteers to abandon the partnership option, which critics said would keep the UK tied to EU rules. – Daily Mail

Revealed: Britain’s £3 billion ‘sat nav’ system to rival EU’s after Brexit

Ministry of Defence officials have started preliminary work on a £3 billion British satellite navigation system because the UK could be shut out of the European Union’s Galileo network. The move comes amid a deepening row with Brussels over whether Britain can continue to be trusted with Europe’s most sensitive security information in the wake of the Brexit vote. The Government has already started to take legal advice on whether the Government can recoup the Euro1.4 billion euro (£1.2 billion) it has invested in the programme since 2003 after being blocked from the most sensitive elements. – Telegraph (£)

  • Ministry of Defence starts work on £3bn satnav system after UK faces being shut out of EU project – The Sun
  • Brexit Britain’s satellite threat falls flat with Brussels – Politico
  • Galileo won’t work without Britain – Sir Richard Dearlove for Briefings for Brexit

British corporate profits reach all-time high

British firms’ profits rose to a record high in 2017 as a buoyant world economy boosted the UK’s multinational firms, according to data to be published today.Firms reported £153.8bn in profits last year, according to analysis by the Share Centre of annual results published in the first quarter from half of the top 350 companies. That beat the previous record, reached in 2011, by 0.2 per cent.UK PLC revenues also rose significantly, climbing 20.8 per cent to a three-year high of £1.33 trillion, just shy of the all-time peak hit in 2012.City A.M.

French politicians furious after European Commission signals English will be main language after Brexit

Slighted French politicians have hit the roof after the European Commission signalled the English language will become more important in Brussels after Brexit.  New budget proposals reveal funding for English translation will be maintained despite Britain leaving the EU. In the club’s latest seven year budget plan the Commission stated: “Translation and interpretation services in the English language will remain unaffected.”  The European Court of Justice is also exploring the possibility of adopting our mother tongue as an official language as well as French. Socialist MEP Sylvie Guillaume moaned:“It worries me because I don’t really want us to end up speaking a language without subtlety on sensitive subjects.” – The Sun

Job cuts at trade department

Liam Fox’s trade department is set to axe hundreds of officials who promote British exports to countries such as China and Brazil, in cuts that will undermine the government’s claim to be building “a global Britain”. Staff at the Department for International Trade have been told to expect up to 10 per cent of trade promotion jobs to go because of a budget squeeze, which has pitted Mr Fox against the Treasury. – FT (£)

Brexiteers are like ‘toddlers,’ says former minister Nicky Morgan

Brexiteers are like “toddlers” who “stamp their feet” when they don’t get what they want, according to former U.K. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan. Writing for the Conservative Home website Monday, she said, “The reason for this is that they believe their Brexit will be taken away from them.” “I think many of them are like toddlers who want their favorite toy, and stamp their feet with frustration,” she added. – Politico

Gavin Williamson: Britain needs to rediscover its bulldog spirit as it leaves the EU to embrace the world

Today we celebrate Victory in Europe Day and mark the triumphant moment when Britain defeated Nazi darkness and brought the light of freedom to millions. It was a momentous day in our history but also a defining one for our future. Crucial to that victory was not just our strength and spirit as an independent nation, but our ability to build alliances by calling on old friends and counting on new ones, too. We’ve been building those alliances ever since, whether that be Nato – the cornerstone of European security – our unrivalled partnership with the US, or the Commonwealth and many others. – Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson MP for the Telegraph (£)

Iain Duncan Smith: People heroically saw through Project Fear… but Brussels can’t bear to see Britain succeed after Brexit

At the EU referendum almost two years ago, the British people heroically saw through Project Fear. In their determination to embrace national independence, they refused to be intimidated by the deceitful scaremongering about our supposedly apocalyptic future after Brexit. Yet the Establishment has never accepted the democratic verdict of the electorate. Unable to imagine life without the EU’s rule, devoid of any real faith in Britain’s capabilities, key elements of the political class have embarked on a systematic campaign to obstruct and emasculate Brexit. – Iain Duncan Smith for the Daily Mail

Norman Tebbit: Remainer Lords are seeking to wreck Brexit while the people just want efficient bin collections

Conservative peers were not in a cheerful or optimistic mood by the middle of last week. It was not just the predictions of a Corbynista Labour triumph in the local elections or the agonising over Cabinet disagreements on Brexit that set teeth on edge. Led by Lord Patten, loyally supported by Lords Hailsham and Heseltine, the Conservative opponents of self government for the British people were out in force to vote with Lib Dems, Labour and many crossbenchers to wreck the Brexit Bill that has been absorbing the House of Lords for weeks.Of course it is the duty and right of the unelected Upper House to amend defects in legislation passed by the Commons. – Lord Tebbit for the Telegraph (£)

Henry Newman: It’s time to end the discussion on the customs union

This never-ending circular discussion on customs unions is painful, particularly because the question should have been settled during the referendum. It’s now nearly two years since the vote to Leave the EU in June 2016. But we’ve spent months and months rehashing endlessly the exact same points. That’s profoundly damaging.Rewind back to this time two years ago. The leaders of the Leave campaign were talking about the possibility of the UK signing new trade deals after Brexit with the US, Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand – they were talking of life outside a Customs Union. – Henry Newman for The Spectator

Barnabas Reynolds: For a win-win financial services Brexit deal, a reboot is needed

Underlying the EU’s position appears to be a desire, originating principally from France, to prevent the City from being overly competitive by not agreeing to an access deal and then seeking to control UK regulation through the EU’s existing equivalence mechanics. Yet this is to pull at the shorts of the neighbouring runner in the hope of competing better oneself. The UK would just wriggle free. This is where the EU27’s democratic processes need to be given the opportunity to assist. The UK should step away from the melee and publicly explain the pre-requisites for any post-Brexit trade arrangements, refocusing the talks onto a model capable of forming the basis for a lasting agreement that both sides can support. – Barnabas Reynolds for City A.M.

Comment in Brief

  • The strong case for Brexit optimism – Lord Blackwell for the FT (£)
  • Modern students are afraid to criticise the EU – Joanna Williams for Briefings for Brexit
  • Brexit means Brexit: Mrs May, words are not enough – Stephen Mitchell for The Commentator
  • Should the House of Lords be abolished?  – Jonathan Clark of Get Britain Out for CapX
  • Questions on cars for Greg Clark – John Redwood’s Diary
  • Science shunned by Brussels can deliver us a green and pleasant Brexit – Mark Buckingham for the Telegraph (£)
  • The Brexit deal will be a mess. In the end its cheerleaders will abandon it – Rafael Behr for the Guardian
  • Labour must end its ambiguity over Brexit – Chuka Umunna MP for the Independent

News in Brief

  • Jeremy Hunt urged to intervene in negotiations to avoid loss of health insurance card – Independent
  • Source public sector food from UK post-Brexit, farmers say – Guardian