Brexit News for Wednesday 11 October

Brexit News for Wednesday 11 October
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Philip Hammond refuses to budget for ‘no deal’ Brexit

It would be irresponsible to spend taxpayers’ money now in preparation for a “no-deal” exit from the European Union, the chancellor believes. In a move likely to anger staunch Brexiteers, Philip Hammond uses an article in The Times today to make clear that he will not commit billions of pounds in next month’s budget to planning for a hard breakaway. It comes after the prime minister refused to say if she would back Brexit were there to be another referendum. Theresa May said in a radio programme yesterday that she refused to answer “hypothetical questions”. The chancellor has faced pressure from ministers who want the government to show more of its planning for a hard Brexit. – The Times (£)

As chancellor of the exchequer, it is my duty to be realistic about these challenges, and to carefully navigate the economy through this process in a way that protects our jobs, supports our businesses, underpins the prosperity of working families, and secures our public finances for decades to come. I also need to ensure that we are prepared for all outcomes, including a no-deal scenario. The government and the Treasury are prepared. We are planning for every outcome and we will find any necessary funding and we will only spend it when it’s responsible to do so. – Philip Hammond MP for The Times (£)

  • Hammond rejects committing taxpayers´ money now to prepare for `no-deal´ Brexit – PA
  • No cash for ‘no-deal’ Brexit, says Hammond – BBC
  • As a Brexiteer, this is why I think Philip Hammond should go – Tim Montgomerie for the Evening Standard

> On BrexitCentral today: The Treasury must not send global trade to the back of the queue

Theresa May refuses to say if she’d vote for Brexit in new referendum…

Theresa May refused to answer three times whether she would vote for Brexit if there was another EU referendum today. The Prime Minister campaigned for Remain during last year’s referendum, but has been charged with delivering Brexit since taking over from David Cameron. But speaking to Iain Dale exclusively on LBC, Mrs May refused to give a straight answer to the question. She said: “Well, I voted Remain for good reasons at the time, but circumstances move on. “The important thing now is we should all be focused on delivering Brexit and delivering the best deal. “But you’re asking me to say how would I vote in a vote now against a different background, a different international background, a different economic background.” – LBC

…as Damian Green says Britain would be better if Remain had won

After Theresa May refused to say three times in an interview with Iain Dale on LBC whether she would back Leave in a second EU referendum, the Prime Minister has provoked the ire of some in the Brexit camp. But Brexiteers can take heart that May’s comments are positively eurosceptic compared with those of her First Secretary of State. Damian Green has been touring the television studios this evening to talk about the government’s race disparity audit. Also on the agenda is Brexit. First, the former Remain campaigner told Channel 4 News that he would vote Remain if another EU referendum was held.- Steerpike for The Spectator

Barnier breaks ranks with push to begin Brexit trade talks…

Michel Barnier is pushing European governments to give him permission to begin exploring transition and trade talks with Britain next week in the face of opposition from Germany. Behind closed doors the EU’s lead negotiator has unexpectedly become Britain’s best hope for moving on to discussions on how to prevent a cliff  edge for businesses after March 2019. But the German government is pressing hard for Britain to give further guarantees on the financial settlement it will make when it leaves, before  a European council meeting next week. “Germany wants more and it wants it more or less in writing,” said one diplomat. “That is toxic for the British. The Times (£)

…as Donald Tusk announces December deadline for breakthrough

EU Council boss Donald Tusk last night put a December deadline on a Brexit breakthrough before planning for the EU’s own doomsday no deal scenario. And yesterday it emerged the German government are plotting to try kick talks about a Brexit transition deal into the New Year — prompting fears of a business exodus. Mr Tusk, who represents all EU leaders, insisted Brussels was still working towards a deal with Britain adding “we are negotiating in good faith and hope for ‘sufficient progress’ by December.” But he warned that if there is no breakthrough by the end of the year, “then – together with our UK friends – we will have to think about where we are heading.” – The Sun

  • Tusk says EU nations will not talk to UK on trade without Brussels – Express

EU citizens living in Britain could lose access to NHS without Brexit agreement…

In a fresh warning to Brussels about the consequences of the Brexit talks collapsing, the Prime Minister made clear that the legal status of around three million European nationals could be drastically altered by the lack of an agreement between the Government and the bloc. Some rights currently enjoyed by EU nationals living in the country could “fall away” if there was no deal, Mrs May said. She also admitted being unable to guarantee the status of an estimated 1.2million Britons living in other EU countries in event of a “no deal” scenario. Her remarks – in a phone in show on LBC Radio – followed her declaration earlier this week that the Government is accelerating preparations for life outside the EU in case the currently stalled negotiations break down. – Express

…as Theresa May can’t guarantee status of UK citizens in EU in event of `no deal´

Theresa May has admitted she cannot guarantee the status of an estimated 1.2 million UK nationals living in other EU countries if Britain fails to reach a withdrawal deal with Brussels. And she warned that rights held by more than three million EU nationals in the UK could “fall away” if the hoped-for agreement is not sealed by the date of Brexit in March 2019. Answering questions from callers on an LBC radio phone-in, Mrs May was challenged by a woman from north London called Nina, who has been in the UK for 30 years, over whether the PM could guarantee her right to stay following Brexit. – PA

  • Dutch nationals living in Britain will be allowed dual citizenship – Guardian
  • Never bluff the EU: if Britain talks defiance it must be deadly serious – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)

Britain could join trans-Atlantic trade alliance bigger than the EU if there is no deal on Brexit

Britain could join a formal trade alliance with the US, Canada and Mexico if Britain is unable to secure a post-Brexit deal with the EU under plans being considered by ministers. The Telegraph understands that the Government is examining the possibility of joining the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as Nafta, as part of its planning for a “no deal” scenario. Joining Nafta would enable the UK to boost its trade with three of the world’s economic powerhouses, which have a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of £17.2 trillion, compared with the EU’s GDP of £15.7 trillion. –  Telegraph (£)

Liam Fox’s International Trade department has been working on “Project After”, considering UK’s options when we leave the EU. A number of potential bilateral deals have made quite a bit of press – with the US, Canada, Australia and Japan, in particular. Another option might be for the UK to participate in some new multilateral trade deal, such as the CANZUK free trade agreement championed by the Canadian Conservative Party.But a third option, not incompatible with the others, might be to attach the UK to some existing multilateral trade deal. – Andrew Lilico for the Telegraph (£)

  • Greg Clark continues pushing for Bombardier tariffs removal – City A.M.

Brussels could exploit insider knowledge of UK in Brexit trade talks, former top negotiator says

EU officials could exploit insider knowledge about the UK gained from decades of conducting talks on its behalf if the two sides attempt to sign a trade deal, a former lead negotiator has warned. Andrew Hood, who served under David Cameron as a legal adviser and senior UK-EU policy negotiator, told the Telegraph that Britain lacked “inherent expertise” in trade talks. –  Telegraph (£)

Huge number of border guards must be hired to avoid customs chaos after Brexit

A huge number of border guards need to be hired by March to avoid customs chaos on Brexit in 2019, officials claim. MPs were warned today that unless the Government sanctioned a “considerable” recruitment drive, Border Force will not have the manpower to cope with the extra checks required. And David Wood, former Immigration Enforcement chief, said new staff would have to be hired 12 months before Brexit so they can be vetted, trained and in place when we leave. He told the Home Affairs Select Committee: “I don’t think under current resources the challenge of Brexit can be met – and certainly not smoothly.” – The Sun

  • Home Office will ‘struggle to cope’ with challenges, says former official – Independent

Mark Wallace: May wisely prepares for No Deal – but treads a dangerous line on the ECJ and transition

This site has long shared the Government’s view that the best chance of the Brexit talks producing a good deal rests on making absolutely clear that the alternative is leaving the EU without a deal. Those who criticise the idea that “no deal is better than a bad deal” somehow fail to see that sending a message to Brussels that Britain will settle for anything – as the Labour manifesto suggested – is a fast way to ensure they offer us very little, at an extremely high cost. No negotiation that begins with one party telling the other “name your price, I’ll buy regardless” ends well for the customer. – Mark Wallace for ConservativeHome

Asa Bennett: Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are the ravens in the Brexit tower – if they leave, Theresa May will fall

Theresa May has never been so vulnerable. She lost the Conservatives’ majority in an election she called and then failed disastrously to reassert her authority at her party’s conference last week. Her admission to Jacob Rees-Mogg on Monday that the European Court of Justice could still “govern the rules we are part of” during a post-Brexit transition seemed like a red rag to her Eurosceptic colleagues. Those on the backbenches have made their disquiet clear. They are entitled to do so, given that Mrs May said in August that “what is absolutely clear, when we leave the European Union we will be leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice”. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

John Longworth: No Brexit deal is not just better than a bad deal — it could be the best deal

Giving evidence to the House of Lords Committee on the European Union reminded me of an early media outing when I was director general of the British Chambers of Commerce some years ago. Having stepped out of an entrepreneurial business environment into the world of politics, it struck me that our political leaders were pygmies by comparison with their historical predecessors. And so it seems they continue to be, not only in their inability to stick up for Britain, but their incapacity to grasp the game they are in and the opportunities that lie within their reach. – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

John Redwood: Borders open for trade

The EU is labouring under various misapprehensions about the UK. It seems to think if it hangs tough the UK will make more generous offers. It feels it has no need to engage on trade as if their access to our market will stay the same whatever the outcome of the talks. They need to realise if we leave without a deal we will put in the current EU tariff schedule with the EU outside our border paying the tariffs to comply with WTO rules. They apparently think if they block an open border proposal made by the UK for Northern Ireland the UK will give in and agree that all or part of the UK has to stay in the customs union. – John Redwood’s Diary

Julian Jessop: If the EU doesn’t want to play ball, Britain needs to get ready for a clean Brexit

With Brexit talks proceeding at a snail’s pace, the mantra that “no deal is better than a bad deal” may soon be put to the test. The UK needs to be prepared to walk away if the EU is unwilling to show more urgency and flexibility. Indeed, a clean break in 2019 could still be a good outcome, even if not necessarily the best.Of course, this partly depends on what “no deal” looks like. Article 50 requires the EU to negotiate and conclude an agreement with the UK “setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union”. – Julian Jessop for the Telegraph (£)
Brexit in brief

  • One million illegal migrants ‘unlikely ever to be removed’ – The Times (£)
  • MPs urge David Davis to publish Brexit impact assessments – Guardian
  • Is Britain negotiating to fail? – Walter Ellis for Reaction
    UK government must get serious about No Brexit deal – Alexander Fiuza for Get Britain Out
  • Oblivious to detail. Arrogant. Rash. Fearful of conflict. How Cameron wrecked Britain’s European dream. – James Elles for ConservativeHome
  • Trade-off of sovereignty for market access is certain – Anastassia Beliakova for the Telegraph (£)
  • The SNP has badly misjudged the Scots. We will never love the EU more than we love Britain – Tom Harris for the Telegraph (£)
  • Faint-hearted politicians have no place in negotiating Brexit – Brian Monteith for City A.M.
  • Brexit impact studies should be published for all to see – David Lammy and Seema Malhotra for the Times (£)