Downing Street is drawing up secret plans to dump Theresa May’s Chequers proposal if EU leaders reject it: Brexit News for Wednesday 12th September

Downing Street is drawing up secret plans to dump Theresa May’s Chequers proposal if EU leaders reject it: Brexit News for Wednesday 12th September
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Downing Street is drawing up secret plans to dump Theresa May’s Chequers proposal if EU leaders reject it…

Downing Street is drawing up secret plans to dump Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit blueprint if EU leaders reject it next week. The Sun can reveal that work is underway to “pivot” away from the softer Brexit plan to allow the PM to escape a political disaster. The Tory party meets for its annual conference just 10 days after a crucial EU summit in the Austrian town of Salzburg next Wednesday.The gathering is swiftly turning into a make or break moment for Mrs May’s premiership.Allies fear she will face huge pressure to resign if she is forced to go in front of the Tory faithful with her Chequers plan in pieces. Two different escape options are being looked at. Under the first, Chequers will be parked until talks resume after Brexit day for a loosely-worded fudge on the future relationship instead.The second option is to abandon it altogether and return to a more basic Canada style free trade agreement – but only if the EU gives way on its Irish border hardline. – The Sun

…as Brexiteer MPs reportedly plot to dump Theresa May

I am just going to let this speak for itself. It’s a slightly edited but verbatim account of Tuesday’s weekly meeting of the Brexiter European Research Group faction of the Conservative Party.It requires no additional comment from me, other than I have multiple sources vouching for its veracity.“We’ve just had an ERG mass meeting, 50 odd MPs present, where virtually the only topic of conversation for 40/50 mins was: ‘How best do we get rid of her? What’s the best way to use our letters?'” Comments included: “Everyone I know says she has to go”, “she’s a disaster”, “this can’t go on”. – ITV News

No-deal Brexit would be ‘leap into the normal’ which would boost economy through trade, report Economists for Free Trade…

The EFT report argued that leaving the EU on World Trade Organisation terms would not be a leap in the dark but rather a “leap into the normal” because Britain already trades with more than 100 countries under WTO rules. It also suggested that if Britain left the EU without a trade deal in place, it “actually makes a better trade deal with the EU more likely later” by allowing more time for the details to be worked out. It also suggested tax cuts by the early 2020s as a result of leaving the EU with no deal, citing a huge increase in tax receipts from increased trade with the rest of the world. Mr Rees-Mogg claimed that leaving the EU on WTO terms would enable tariff-free trade with other countries that would lead to an 8 per cent cut in food prices. – Telegraph (£)

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

> Watch on BrexitCentral’s YouTube Channel:

Jacob Rees-Mogg speaks at the Economists for Free Trade report launch

Steve Baker speaks at the Economists for Free Trade report launch

…as Boris Johnson turns up at the report’s launch and lambasts Chequers as  ‘worse than status quo’

Boris Johnson and other leading Tory Brexiteers have attacked Theresa May’s Brexit plan at an event putting the economic case for leaving the EU without an agreement on trade. The Economists For Free Trade report said the UK had “nothing to fear” from a “clean break” from the EU and using World Trade Organisation rules. This could give an £80bn boost to the tax base and cut prices by 8%, it said. Mr Johnson and other Conservative MPs opposed to Theresa May’s Chequers plan for future relations with the EU are facing growing pressure to provide an alternative plan. Mr Johnson, who made a surprise appearance at the launch of the report in Westminster, said Mrs May’s Chequers plan would mean “abandoning our seat around the table in Brussels and continuing to accept the single market legislation”. He added: “That seems to me to be a particular economic risk in Chequers and makes it substantially worse than the status quo.” – BBC News

Eurosceptics say they will release ‘Plan B’ for Irish border today

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the anti-EU European Research Group (ERG) of lawmakers said his group intends to unveil its proposal on Wednesday for how Britain can leave the EU without constructing a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Ireland border question is one of the principal issues holding up a deal between Britain and the EU over Brexit, with less than seven months to go before Britain leaves the bloc. – Reuters

Brits’ wages rise at the fastest rate in three years while unemployment drops by 55,000

Wages are growing at their fastest rate for three years – as firms pay up to fill the biggest number of vacancies on record. Unemployment dropped 55,000 in the three months to July to 1.36 million while pay growth was 2.9 per cent — its highest level since 2015. The Office for National Statistics said vacancies hit 833,000 in July – the highest since current records began in 2001. And they showed that earnings – excluding bonuses – in July were up 3.1 per cent on the same month last year. – The Sun

Michael Gove says farmers who protect the countryside will be rewarded most when Brexit ends ‘perverse’ EU farm subsidies

Farmers who protect the countryside will be first in the queue for post-Brexit state subsidies as they are freed from the “perverse” constraints of EU rules on handouts, Michael Gove says today.The Environment Secretary will announce a new system of “public money for public goods” that will replace the EU’s controversial Common Agricultural Policy, which enriches the wealthiest landowners. The Agriculture Bill, which will be introduced in Parliament today, is the first piece of legislation to detail exactly how any one sector of the economy will change after Brexit. – Telegraph (£)

  • Britain’s farmers do a brilliant job. They can do better after Brexit. Here’s how – Michael Gove MP for the Telegraph (£)

CAA says UK pilot licenses will not need to be reissued after Brexit

British aviation chiefs today denied a report that the UK will have to reissue thousands of pilot licences costing millions of pounds if the country crashes out of the EU without a deal.Mark Swan, Group Director of Safety and Airspace Regulation at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said the report is ‘misleading’ as pilot licences would remain valid for use on UK-registered aircraft as Britain  is a signatory to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Chicago Convention. He added: ‘Our licences are internationally recognised – including by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – both now and after 29 March 2019. ‘The CAA will continue to issue and reissue pilots’ licences when they are lost, damaged, when details need to be changed or pilots’ privileges updated as we do now. ‘Over time, this would include removing references to EASA – a purely cosmetic change. There will be no requirement for licences to be re-issued for any other reason meaning that there will be no change to this process.’The CAA also strongly refutes any suggestion that we are concerned about our ability to provide safety oversight to the UK aviation industry should no-deal be reached between the UK and the EU. The safety of passengers, crew and those on the ground remains our absolute priority and nothing has changed in this respect.’ – Daily Mail

Michel Barnier confronts Dominic Raab over discovery of Brexit no-deal letters to EU27…

Dominic Raab has been reprimanded by Michel Barnier after the EU’s chief negotiator discovered the British government had written to the 27 other member states asking for side negotiations on transport in the event of a no-deal Brexit.The Brexit secretary was confronted by Barnier during their most recent meeting in Brussels over correspondence sent in recent days to EU capitals by the Department for Transport.The letters had asked the member states to prepare to engage with the British government in side deals on aviation and haulage, to allow key trade flows to continue in the event of the UK and the EU failing to come to an agreement on leaving the union by 29 March 2019.The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, had ordered the letters to be sent despite being told less than two weeks ago by the European commission’s most senior trade official, Violeta Bulc, that without a deal this autumn, there would be no other agreements made to protect the UK economy.Barnier is said to have reiterated that message to Raab, telling the cabinet minister: “If there is no deal, there is no trust.” – Guardian

…as Philip Hammond claims the UK will still have to pay a divorce bill even if we leave without a deal

The UK will still have to pay its outstanding financial obligations to the European Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said. Mr Hammond accepted the agreement in December that the UK would pay a £39 billion “divorce bill” would fall if there was no overall deal with Brussels However he said that would not mean an end to the UK’s obligations under international law. Whilst giving evidence to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, he said it could lead to a “time-consuming” process of legal wrangling to establish just how much was owed. He said: “In the context of no negotiated exit, that agreement (to pay £39 billion), like all the other agreements that were settled between December and March subject to the caveat nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, will fall. “What will not fall is our legal obligation under international law to make payments of sums which were due to the European Union. But to quantify those sums could require a complex and time-consuming process of arbitration.” – talkRADIO

Activists to use Labour conference to push for a second Brexit vote…

Labour campaigners for a second Brexit referendum believe they have all but won the battle to force it on to the agenda at the party’s conference in Liverpool, with more than 60 local constituency parties backing a People’s Vote. Local Labour parties (CLPs) can pass “contemporary motions”, calling for individual issues to be discussed, with the top four selected. With less than a fortnight to go until conference opens, party insiders say a second Brexit referendum is way out in front as an issue to discuss, and could reach 70 CLPs backing it by the deadline of Thursday – with the next most popular receiving only a handful of endorsements. More than 200 CLPs have told campaigners they will debate the issue.Several shadow cabinet members have been careful not to reject the idea of a second referendum outright in recent weeks, though the preference of Jeremy Corbyn and his close allies is for a general election that could bring Labour to power. The CLP motions have been coordinated by a series of cross-cutting campaign groups, including Labour for a People’s Vote, and Another Europe is Possible. – Guardian

> Jayne Adye on BrexitCentral today: Where is Labour’s Brexit vision?

…as an old tweet resurfaces which will embarrass the ‘People’s Vote’ crowd

The People’s Vote campaign – coincidentally the same group of people that lost the EU referendum the first time round – have been agitating for a second referendum to try to have another go at the campaign they blew – despite the backing from almost every multinational corporation, world leader, big business lobby group, international organisation, Bank of England, Barack Obama, the entire machinery of government, Keira Knightley etc. Sad.However, it wasn’t so long ago that their Twitter account was singing a rather different tune. Eagle-eyed co-conspirators will note the date – June 7th, 2016 – when the old Stronger In campaign was telling us there would be no re-run of the referendum. Then they lost. Rebranding as “Peoples Vote”, they committed an offence under the Data Protection Act by re-purposing the old digital assets with amusing consequences as seen above. The People’s Vote campaign should follow their original advice and stop begging for a re-run. – Guido Fawkes

Jean-Claude Juncker to announce a federal border police in his State of the Union speech today

Establishing a genuine European border police and turning the control of irregular migration into a community competence will be the core of Commission President’s Jean-Claude Juncker State of the Union speech on Wednesday (12 September), according to Spanish daily El País. According to the Spanish daily, Juncker’s speech will come accompanied by the approval of several legislative projects, among which the creation of a true European Border and Coast Guard service, which will have new powers, held until now by the national authorities only. The new service would have powers for intervening in third countries and participating in the return operations of irregular migrants. – EurActiv

  • State of the Union live blog – Politico

Ireland’s Leo Varadkar pledges ‘best possible deal’ in run-up to Brexit

Ireland’s premier has vowed to bring home “the best possible deal” ahead of the final negotiations to agree the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The UK and EU are hoping to reach agreement in talks over Brexit next month, including for a transition period up to the end of 2020. The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 2019.Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described Brexit as the “greatest challenge” to Ireland since independence. “We’re working tirelessly to get the best possible deal for this country,” he told the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce during a visit to the north-west of Ireland on Tuesday. “This means preparing our businesses and our agriculture sector, as well as ensuring the transport sector is ready for whatever happens. “Ireland’s contingency planning is well advanced. We must plan for all scenarios, including an unlikely one – no deal.” – ITV News

Michael Gove: Britain’s farmers do a brilliant job. They can do better after Brexit. Here’s how

Britain leaving the EU liberates us to do things differently, and better. It’s a chance to take back control of policy levers which have been out of our hands for decades. Nowhere is that more true than in the environment and agriculture.Our farmers already do a great job of protecting our countryside while also producing premium food that’s the envy of the world. But for too long they have been held back by the stifling rules and often perverse incentives of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. Today, this changes.Our new Agriculture Bill marks a decisive shift in how we support farmers. It will reward them properly at last for the work they do to enhance the environment around us. It will help them grow more high quality food in a more sustainable way – and it will ensure public money is spent more efficiently and effectively. – Michael Gove MP for the Telegraph (£)

  • Fisheries protection improvements ‘unlikely to be ready before Brexit’ – ITV News

Dr Lee Rotherham: Just what is so wrong with the PM’s Chequers plan?

Why are so many Eurosceptics (both openly and – if in Government – in pectore) so downbeat about the Chequers plan? To understand that we need to follow the advice of a certain singing

nun and start at the very beginning – not of the clauses, but from the drafting process. As with the court of the Sublime Porte, key is who holds the Sultan’s ear. Here, the whole David Davis opera demonstrated that the Technarchs have held sway. Their compass heading determined that the route has been one of managing administrative change, rather than developing opportunity and pursuing strategic ambition. The project set was short term; tactical not strategic; was underscored with repairs rather than rebuilds; and was reinforced by a huddle of corporate lobbies that had campaigned to Remain. The terms of the Chequers draft correspondingly reflect the low road trodden. On the detail, we explored in a Red Cell paper some of the key fault lines when it came out. There is not space here to repeat the many problems identified in that paper, and points highlighted in other locations such as the Jacob Rees-Mogg letter and latterly by Nick Boles. But it may be useful to silhouette the trend. – Dr Lee Rotherham for CapX

Henry Newman: Why is Theresa May silent instead of defending her Chequers Brexit plan?

Theresa May had almost celebrated her second anniversary as a post-referendum prime minister by the time her government got round to deciding its objectives for the Brexit negotiations. The Chequers deal was an attempt to shape a future relationship with the EU somewhere between the Canada and Norway models – more than a free trade agreement but less than the full single market. Yet having taken so long to make up her mind, the prime minister has since done far too little to defend her policy. No wonder it’s now widely been written off – the latest criticism being former Brexit minister Steve Baker’s contention that 80 Conservative MPs would vote against it. Three major speeches have marked the development of the prime minister’s Brexit thinking – Lancaster House, Florence and Mansion House. There’s been none since the Chequers summit, just a dry white paper. A speech would have allowed May to explain the evolution of her Brexit policy, to defend the change of tack. Instead, Conservative MPs and the public can see that the plan has changed but are left guessing why. The speech could have explained her decision-making, justified the compromise that is central to Chequers and warned parliament, and the EU, of the risks of rejecting it. – Henry Newman for the Guardian

Bernard Ingham: Sort Brexit and then rebuild our national pride

We have wasted more than two years on “negotiating” with a Brussels that reminds me ever more of East Germany. East Germans were shot for trying to cross the Berlin Wall. Now, it seems, we must not be allowed to leave the EU with impunity. And the stiffer the punishment, the better. With all this charade over leaving, the EU’s crumbling institution has continued while Britain has torn itself apart politically over the issue. We, therefore, need a clean break from the EU next March so that we can concentrate on improving the essentials of national life for the benefit of all citizens who want to prosper and advance. – Sir Bernard Ingham for the Yorkshire Post

Ella Whelan: Stop using women to try to kill off Brexit

Having failed to overthrow the largest democratic vote in British history with these methods, the organisers of the profoundly misnamed ‘People’s Vote’ campaign are now trying a new tactic: they are using women to try to break Brexit. Last week, Women for a People’s Vote held its launch event. There were speeches from the president of For Our Future’s Sake (or FFS, as the cool kids call it), arch Remainer Rachel Johnson, and – you guessed it – Alastair Campbell’s daughter Grace. The level of insight at the event was summed up by Campbell Jnr using a dining metaphor for Brexit: ‘We should be able to change our order. It tastes like shit and this isn’t what we ordered.’ Among the lies pushed by these female anti-democrats was the claim that Brexit would deepen the (mythical) gender pay-gap, that almost one million women’s jobs might be negatively affected by Brexit, and that Brexit will mean women ‘losing protection on equal pay, maternity pay, pregnancy, maternity and parental leave, and vital protections against harassment and discrimination’.The idea that women’s rights will go out the window once we leave the EU is historically illiterate. – Ella Whelan for Spiked

Nick Cohen: Why an insurgent Remain could win a second vote

Cold calculation suggests there won’t be a second referendum. It could destroy both the Tory and Labour parties, and in any case, we appear to be heading for a classic EU fudge that will postpone hard choices. But as all predictions in 2018 are likely to be false, and the Tory right appears determined to provoke a crisis, it’s worth understanding why the People’s Vote campaign thinks that next time it will be different.They will be the insurgents and the Brexiters will be defending the status quo. Running against a failed establishment has always been a good tactic, but never more so than in the 2010s. – Nick Cohen for The Spectator

  • Trade Bill passes first hurdle in the House of Lords – BBC News
  • Exports risk delay at borders in no-deal Brexit, watchdog suggests – BBC News
  • NI Police Federation boss rubbishes Brexiteer plan for Irish border – Belfast Telegraph