Theresa May reportedly planning on forcing the Cabinet into fresh Brexit compromises: Brexit News for Wednesday 10 October

Theresa May reportedly planning on forcing the Cabinet into fresh Brexit compromises: Brexit News for Wednesday 10 October

Theresa May reportedly planning on forcing the Cabinet into fresh Brexit compromises…

Theresa May is preparing to bind her cabinet into further compromises to her Brexit blueprint before European leaders meet next week. The prime minister will hold an extended discussion on Brexit at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the eve of her trip to Brussels, where she hopes to outline a compromise deal on the Irish border.The discussion is expected to include a commitment to keep the whole of the UK in an effective customs union with the EU after Brexit, but with a “clear process” of steps to exit. A government source said that ministers feared they could be bounced into swallowing several potential changes to the customs arrangement and the areas of EU law that the UK must follow after Brexit. “Will they ‘do a Chequers’ and say back it or f*** off,” the source asked. – The Times (£)

…ahead of a plea to EU leaders over dinner at next week’s make-or-break summit

Theresa May is to make a fresh plea to EU leaders directly next week in a bid to unblock a Brexit deal at the start of a make or break summit. It emerged yesterday that the PM has accepted an invitation to address a dinner of the 27 national bosses in Brussels next Wednesday night before they discuss whether to soften the EU’s hard line. The gathering has been dubbed “the moment of truth” for any Brexit deal by EU Council president Donald Tusk. But Mrs May is refusing to make any deal until Brussels negotiators climb down from a series of hardline positions. – The Sun

Dominic Raab says he’s ‘confident of a Brexit deal’ in the coming weeks…

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said he is “confident of a Brexit deal” by this autumn. Mr Raab addressed MPs on the latest negotiations on Tuesday evening, making the bold claim. Speaking at the House of Commons, Mr Raab said the final few weeks of talks are “always going to be tough” but that was all the more reason for the UK to “hold our nerve”. He added: “I remain confident we will reach a deal this autumn,” saying it is “time for the EU to match the pragmatism we have shown”. Labour’s shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer argued against Mr Raab’s claim however, saying the statement would have been “much better coming from the Prime Minister”. He said: “It’s no good hiding behind the badge of the Salzburg summit as informal. – Evening Standard

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel: Dominic Raab updates MPs on the state of Brexit negotiations

…while Penny Mordaunt refuses publicly to back the PM’s Chequers plan…

Penny Mordaunt has publicly refused to back Theresa May’s Chequers plan for Brexit amid growing concern over Britain’s exit deal with the EU. The international development secretary, who campaigned for Leave in the referendum, said she would not give a ‘running commentary’ on the prime minister’s plan, saying simply that the ball was ‘firmly’ in the EU’s court on what happened next.The Portsmouth North MP said the PM still had her ‘support’ and that she was ‘not in any way expecting that situation to change’. But she suggested that the prime minster may have to amend her Chequers plan to get a final deal, saying that ‘we don’t know where this is going to end up.’“The prime minister can count on my support. But what I would say is that we don’t know where this is going to end up. We are at a critical moment now. The ball is firmly back in the EU’s court; we are waiting for them to respond,’ she said. – Portsmouth News

…and David Davis warns Tory MPs that backing Chequers would have ‘dire’ electoral consequences…

David Davis has written to Conservative MPs warning that the party faces “dire” electoral consequences if Theresa May continues to pursue a Chequers-style deal with the EU27. As talks in Brussels reach their final, frantic stage, the former Brexit secretary’s pointed letter, sent to all his parliamentary colleagues, was one of a series of interventions on Tuesday by critics of the prime minister’s approach. “No 10’s stated position that there is only a binary choice between her Chequers plan and no deal is not correct. A third way does exist,” Davis said, urging Downing Street to switch to advocating the Canada-style trade deal he has long preferred. – Guardian

  • Senior Tories launch concerted attack on May’s Brexit plan – Guardian

> Yesterday on BrexitCentral: David Davis tells Tory MPs that the Government should immediately reset its negotiating strategy

…although it is suggested thirty Labour rebels ‘would defy Corbyn’ and back a Chequers-style deal

A group of about 30 Labour MPs would be prepared to defy Jeremy Corbyn and endorse a Chequers-style deal at the eleventh hour to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Senior MPs have told The Times that a group of between 30 to 40 backbenchers would break with the leadership unless it ultimately backed a negotiated exit agreed with Brussels. The group is made up of those who both oppose a second referendum on the terms of Brexit, or believe that the proposal cannot command the support of a majority of MPs in the House of Commons without their support. – The Times (£)

Arlene Foster reiterates Brexit ‘red line’ in Brussels meeting with Barnier

DUP leader Arlene Foster has told the EU’s chief negotiator that any Brexit deal must not cross her party’s “red line” by placing any economic barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. And a UK-EU deal could be on the table within 10 days, according to Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann, after he also met Michel Barnier in Brussels yesterday. Mrs Foster said she would need to read the fine print of any deal proposed by the UK Government. She said she had not seen a text of Theresa May’s so-called hybrid backstop. “We cannot talk in a vacuum. We need to see what has been proposed and we will check that against what we have called our red line,” she said. The DUP has said it will not support any extra barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and Britain. – Belfast Telegraph

Brexit makes Scottish independence more likely, Sturgeon tells SNP

Nicola Sturgeon has told the Scottish National party conference that Brexit makes independence more likely than ever, as she challenged activists to increase their efforts to persuade voters across the country of the case for leaving the UK. Insisting that Westminster’s chaotic handling of Brexit over the past two years made her “more confident than ever that Scotland will be independent”, a buoyant Sturgeon told activists in Glasgow “our task now is to step up our work to update and strengthen the case”, but did not offer any specific timetable for staging a second referendum.“We must show people that with the powers of independence we can fully realise our country’s vast potential. And take our case to every home, community and workplace across the land.” – Guardian

Brexit Britain’s booming tourist industry to hit 2020 visitor target this year

The UK will beat a major tourism target two years early, VisitBritain has claimed. Forty million annual inbound visits were expected to be recorded by 2020, but a total of 40.9 million will be achieved in 2018, according to the tourism organisation. These visitors are expected to boost the economy by spending £26.3 billion. Inbound visits reached a record 39.2 million in 2017 – up 4% on the previous year – while spending rose by 9% to £24.5 billion. – ITV News

Britain should not fear Brexit, says new Australian High Commissioner in London, George Brandis

In trying to give meaning to Brexit, Brandis sees the future opportunities dominated by international trade. “Well, it certainly does open up the opportunities for Britain to become more engaged as an international citizen and, in particular, it opens up the opportunities for Britain when it comes to international trade. Britain’s trade policy for 40 years has essentially been sub-contracted to the EU…now it will and indeed must have an independent trade policy which will give Britain much greater flexibility of movement beyond Continental Europe.“Continental Europe will continue to be Britain’s most important trading partner for obvious reasons – close proximity and integration of the economies – irrespective of Brexit. Nevertheless it does create huge opportunities for Britain beyond Europe, across the Atlantic and in Asia and Australasia.” – CapX

/*COMMENT*/

Philip Johnston: The shambolic Battle for Brexit is almost over, but the Battle for Britain has just begun

When the Battle for Brexit is over, will the Battle for Britain begin; or more accurately, the Battle for the United Kingdom? Will the political forces unleashed by the referendum of June 2016 tear apart one of the most successful and enduring unions the world has seen? There seems no obvious reason why they should. After all, the UK existed in one form or another for 266 years before we joined the Common Market, if we date it from 1707 and the Union of the English and Scottish parliaments – or 370 years if we take James’s accession to the throne as James I and VI as our starting point. It is a union that has lasted, apart from the rupture with Ireland in 1921, for more than four centuries – a tumultuous historical period during which the frontiers of continental Europe were reset countless times by war, revolution and insurrection. Its immutability has been our mainstay as a nation. But for how much longer? – Philip Johnston for the Telegraph (£)

The Sun says: Arlene Foster was right to stick it to Michel Barnier — but why did she have to?

We applaud DUP leader Arlene Foster for sticking it to Brussels’ Michel Barnier. But why did she have to?It is surely already obvious to him, and our Government, that the Tories will be sunk by any Brexit proposal dividing Northern Ireland from the mainland. Barnier just keeps trying it on. Downing Street indulge him. But the DUP, on whom they rely, won’t be bounced into it. And Ms Foster’s preferred solution to the absurdly over-hyped Irish border “problem” is right too: using the customs technology even Barnier admits would work elsewhere.Our Government must hold firm to its commitment to opt for No Deal over the bad ones Brussels aims to force us into. The Treasury is finally preparing for radical cuts in red tape to boost our economy in that event. Germany’s firms are starting to panic about the potential collapse of their exports to the UK. Do not flinch, Theresa. Once the EU realise we aren’t bluffing they will make a deal . . . and the border issue will be fixed in no time. – The Sun says

Katy Balls: Why the DUP should worry Theresa May more than the European Research Group

here has been an argument in recent weeks that the Prime Minister is less reliant on the DUP than she was a year ago so she can get away with making decisions that could leave its MPs unhappy. This is because as the Brexit deal has verged more on the soft side, No 10 can look to Labour votes. However, this seems rather optimistic thinking. Steve Baker today has said there are 40 Brexiteers ready to vote the deal down. That number may reduce as the time of the vote approaches but even with everything going to plan for May there are only around 20 Labour MPs seen to be likely to vote with the Tories on Brexit. It follows that May needs the DUP votes for the deal – and then their support after if the confidence and supply agreement is to continue. The problem is that the DUP – and some Tory MPs – believe May has not learnt her lesson from December. It was then that No 10 tried to bounce the DUP into agreeing a statement on the Irish border. Foster saw red and it led to Theresa May having to cut her working lunch with Michel Barnier short. This was followed by a series of days where the government had to nervously wait for the DUP to come up with a form of words that they deemed satisfactory. – Katy Balls for the Spectator

Emma Little-Pengelly: Theresa May must stop Brussels turning Northern Ireland into an EU vassal

Our Union is more than its common institutions, common history and its four constituent members.   Our Union is one of the largest economies in the world, built on its own single market. The primary market for what Northern Ireland produces is elsewhere in the UK, as it is for Scotland.  What is good for the GB economy is good for NI business. This is why we wish to see a new Global UK succeed with economic imbalances addressed through new bold initiatives like the Northern Powerhouse. A key part of that new global approach will be free trade agreements. For Northern Ireland’s people and economy to contribute, participate and benefit from this then it needs to maintain free and unfettered access to and from Great Britain and be a full beneficiary of them. – Emma Little-Pengelly MP for the Telegraph (£)

Rachel Reeves: I won’t prop up Theresa May’s dog’s dinner of a Brexit plan

The desperation of Theresa May and her minsters to secure a decent Brexit deal is painfully obvious to all.Less obvious are the lengths they are prepared to go to save their political skins by cobbling together a shoddy compromise that satisfies no one.According to the Guardian, their latest ruse is a plan to try to persuade Labour MPs to support whatever emerges from the government’s concessions in Brussels as minsters scrabble to avoid a “no deal” outcome.My constituents in Leeds West voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. I respect their decision and want to make sure they get the best possible outcome from this process. However, there is no way I will prop up this government and rescue the prime minister by supporting their dog’s dinner of a Brexit deal that would leave my constituents and the rest of the country far worse off. No one voted to be poorer. – Rachael Reeves MP in the Guardian

George Monbiot: The one good thing about Brexit? Leaving the EU’s disgraceful farming system

I’m a remainer, but there’s one result of Brexit I can’t wait to see: leaving the EU’s common agricultural policy. This is the farm subsidy system that spends €50bn (£44bn) a year on achieving none of its objectives. It is among the most powerful drivers of environmental destruction in the northern hemisphere. Because payments are made only for land that’s in “agricultural condition”, the system creates a perverse incentive to clear wildlife habitats, even in places unsuitable for farming, to produce the empty ground that qualifies for public money. These payments have led to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of hectares of magnificent wild places across Europe. – George Monbiot for the Guardian

Tony Hockley: Taking back control of agriculture must mean empowering local communities, not Whitehall

Repeated statements from Michael Gove indicate that he understands the strong desire within the communities responsible for our iconic landscapes to protect and improve the environment they care for. They also reveal an appreciation of the value of traditional farming practices to these landscapes, and of their fragility. It is impossible to know, however, whether a successor at DEFRA will show the same consideration. The Agriculture Bill, therefore, leaves far too much at stake. If the “unfrozen moment” presented by Brexit to take back control is really to be used to maximum advantage for our countryside then it must be made much clearer that power really will be devolved to some of the most fragile communities that manage it day in and day out. Self-determination will finally set people free to deliver the full diversity of public goods, with direct accountability for their achievements. Taking back control of our landscape must mean more than the prescription of one public body simply replaced by the prescription of another. – Tony Hockley for Conservative Home

Comment in Brief

  • Backstop can benefit Northern Ireland, but only if DUP plays ball – Peter Foster for the Telegraph (£)

News in Brief

  • The five biggest obstacles to a Brexit deal – Politico
  • Whitehall plans for slaughter of sheep after no‑deal Brexit – The Times
  • Germany plans rules for orphaned British-style companies post-Brexit – Reuters
  • Civil Service advertises for ‘resilience advisers’ to cope with Brexit – ITV News
  • British diplomats keep calm and carry on in EU – Politico