Irish premier reportedly refusing to take PM’s calls: Brexit News for Wednesday 14 February

Irish premier reportedly refusing to take PM’s calls: Brexit News for Wednesday 14 February
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Boris Johnson warns it would be ‘intolerable and undemocratic’ for Britain to be subject to EU laws after Brexit…

In a major Brexit speech in central London on Wednesday, the Foreign Secretary will say that the benefits of membership of the Single Market and Customs Union are “nothing like as conspicuous or irrefutable” as is claimed by pro-Europeans. He will warn that failing to “take back control of our laws” will make it impossible for Britain to strike free trade deals and “exploit the changes in the world economy”… Mr Johnson will make clear that stopping Brussels from imposing laws on Britain after it leaves the EU in March 2019 must be a red line. – Telegraph (£)

  • Intolerable, undemocratic, a disastrous betrayal: Defiant Boris will today draw his red lines on Brexit and warn Theresa May she cannot let the Britain stay shackled to the EU – Daily Mail
  • Britons will no longer tolerate Brussels laws, warns Boris Johnson – The Times (£)
  • Boris Johnson to demand Theresa May not agree to follow any EU rules after Brexit – The Sun

…as he prepares to say Brexit is a reason for hope not fear

Boris Johnson is to attempt to reassure voters who are angry and alienated by Brexit that the UK’s split from the EU is a cause for “hope not fear”. The foreign secretary will use a speech to try to build bridges with those who voted to remain in the EU, saying their belief in European solidarity is based on “noble sentiments”. “It is not good enough to say ‘you lost, get over it’,” he will say. But he will also insist those who want to stop Brexit cannot prevail. In the speech in London, he will say that that holding another referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU would be a “disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal”. – BBC News

  • Boris Johnson to ask opponents to kiss and make up for Valentines speech – Sky News
  • Boris Johnson warns thwarting Brexit vote would be disastrous – Guardian
  • Boris Johnson: Brexit ‘betrayal’ would be ‘disastrous mistake’ – Politico
  • ‘A disastrous mistake’ Boris condemns Remainer plot to stop Brexit in new push to leave EU – Express
  • Boris Johnson: Stopping Brexit would be ‘disastrous’, Foreign Secretary to warn – Independent
  • Boris Johnson’s big idea on Brexit is just preposterous – Oliver Kamm for The Times (£)
  • No love lost on the road to Brexit – Sir Vince Cable MP for The Times (£)
  • Boris Johnson’s Valentine’s speech is a chance to prove his critics wrong – Katy Balls for the Spectator

Theresa May to fly to Berlin for crunch talks with Angela Merkel on Friday…

The Prime Minister will visit the Chancellor on Friday as part of her Government’s charm offensive as Britain tries to get the upper hand in the second round of negotiations with Brussels. It comes as several countries in the bloc have expressed anger at the stance of the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier. And Ms Merkel herself is in a weak position as she struggles to form a Government after her party lost a number of seats in the recent general election… After the PM speaks to Ms Merkel in the Chancellery she will make a major security speech in Munich on Saturday. – The Sun

  • May to hold crunch talks with weak Merkel in Berlin as PM demands Brexit transition deal – Express

…as key Macron ally warns Michel Barnier that Brussels ‘humiliating’ Britain would spark a surge in euroscepticism across the EU

France has warned other EU nations punishing Britain will only fuel further exits from the bloc. Emmanuel Macron’s right-hand man said Brussels should “never humiliate” a quitting member state. Benjamin Griveaux predicted handing out a beating to the UK would spark a surge of support for eurosceptic parties in upcoming elections. The En Marche! MP, who is his party’s spokesman and a close ally of President [Macron], made the remarks to the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris… But he also insisted eurocrats would “have to be firm” in ensuring Theresa May does not succeed in splitting the club’s unity during trade talks… His remarks came after it was reported that up to 12 Member States are mulling a rebellion against the hard line pushed by Paris and Berlin. – The Sun

  • ‘Punishing’ UK in Brexit talks would backfire on EU, France admits – Telegraph (£)
  • Brussels ready to offer Britain a better deal on trade amid disarray at Barnier’s hardline approach – Daily Mail
  • Austria warns Brussels to cut spending after Brexit – Express
  • Czech businesses afraid referendum law debate may lead to possible Czexit – Bloomberg

Irish premier reportedly refusing to take PM’s calls as he throws another Brexit tantrum

Big-mouthed Irish PM Leo Varadkar has infuriated Theresa May be refusing to take her calls, The Sun can reveal. In an unusual diplomatic snub, the rookie Taoiseach has ignored a handful of attempts at getting in touch by No10 during tense negotiations over Brexit and efforts to form a new power sharing executive in Northern Ireland… A Whitehall source said: “it has happened more than once.” Yesterday Mr Varadkar restarted his public war of words with the British government – despite welcoming a meeting with Mrs May in Belfast on Monday… Dublin said: “Taoiseach is in regular contact with Prime Minister May, both directly through meetings and telephone contacts and through their respective senior officials.” – The Sun

  • Dublin port prepares for UK to leave single market and customs union – FT (£)
  • The Northern Irish parties need to make one last push for compromise – Times leader (£)

> Lee Reynolds on BrexitCentral today: Remainers are insulting Northern Ireland to caricature it as forever standing on the precipice of violence

City policy chief calls out EU on hardline stance – but warns EU27 unity might wane…

The City of London’s policy chief has raised concerns that the EU “isn’t signalling receptive messages” on financial services, but has suggested the EU’s unity may deteriorate as negotiations progress. Michel Barnier has drawn criticism from the UK for saying that financial services could not be included in a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK, and that a transitional agreement was not a “given”. Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, said there was still a “bit of persuasion to be done” to secure market access for the Square Mile. Speaking to City A.M., McGuinness said: “It is worrying that we’ve got an EU27 that isn’t, for whatever reason, receptive, isn’t signalling receptive messages at the moment on some of these key issues that we want to address as well. So I think we’ve got a lot of work to be done.” She said the EU27 countries were “very united on the whole”, but added: “I think that might change over the course of this year when people start looking at the details of what settlement is proposed.” – City A.M.

…as Japanese banking giant signs for huge new office in the City

A Japanese banking giant has given a vote of confidence to the capital by signing for a vast new office space at the redeveloped Broadgate scheme on Liverpool Street. The European arm of Sumitomo Mitsui will take 161,000 sq ft at 100 Liverpool Street, part of the Broadgate development… Despite fears Brexit uncertainty will lead to a fall in leasing activity, figures published by CBRE in December suggested businesses had signed deals for 1m sq ft of office space in the capital in November, driven by the highest City take-up since 2004. The figure was pushed up by three City deals over 100,000 sq ft, including a 125,400 sq ft sublet by Lloyds Banking Group at 125 London Wall, while a co-working provider took 117,700 sq ft at One Poultry, and Hyperion Services signed for 115,800 sq ft at One Creechurch Place. – City A.M.

UK borders not ready for Brexit, warn MPs amid fears of backlogs

A report by the select committee of home affairs has raised concerns about the border force, which it says is already stretched because of “inadequate resources” and will be under more pressure because of new immigration checks for EU nationals and customs changes. It warns that additional pressure on staff could lead to a collapse, undermining faith in the system. The report comes amid growing concern about how the Home Office is going to cope with Brexit, after critics said the department has a poor track record implementing new IT systems on time and on budget. – Telegraph

  • Border Force not ready for extra checks, claim MPs – The Times (£)
  • Brexit immigration plan delays are fuelling anxiety, MPs warn – Guardian
  • Britain’s borders may not be ready for Brexit due to ‘serious failings by ministers’, MPs say – The Sun
  • Immigration system unprepared for Brexit, warn MPs – FT (£)
  • Time has run out for May’s Brexit immigration plan – Yvette Cooper MP for The Times (£)

Boris Johnson: Brexit is the great project of our age and does not mean Britain being insular — it means being more global

If we are to carry this project through to national success — as we must — then we must also reach out to those who still have anxieties. It is not good enough to say to remainers: you lost, get over it. Let us address their concerns and show that Brexit is a great national endeavour with immense economic and political benefits… To those who worry about coming out of the customs union or the single market, please bear in mind that the economic benefits of membership are nothing like as conspicuous or irrefutable as is sometimes claimed. In the last few years, plenty of non-EU countries have seen far more rapid growth in their exports to the EU than we have, even though we pay a handsome membership fee. It is only by taking back control of our laws that UK firms and entrepreneurs will have the freedom to innovate, without the risk of having to comply with some directive devised by Brussels, at the urgings of some lobby group, with the aim of holding back a UK competitor. That would be intolerable, undemocratic and would make it all but impossible for us to do serious free trade deals. – Boris Johnson MP for The Sun

Telegraph: Remainers and Leavers alike deserve to know how Brexit will make their lives better

There is a distinct rhythm to Brexit talks. David Davis and Michel Barnier meet routinely. Mr Davis smiles broadly and says nice things. Mr Barnier smiles wanly and says something disobliging. Then, every six months or so, the Prime Minister emerges to make a heavily trailed, rather technical speech, which No 10 apparently thinks is a viable substitute for a rolling communications strategy laced with charm, enthusiasm and energy… Mr Johnson, the best communicator in the Government by far, has the chance to set the tone for the next stage of Brexit, one which will settle the terms of transition from next March and aim to ensure that, at its end, Britain truly has the liberty of action craved by those who voted to Leave. He will seek to address the concerns of those Remainers who fear that Brexit is a lurch backward to an era besmirched by racism and protectionism. The opposite is the case… The campaign may be over, but the need to enunciate a clear vision of where Britain wants to position itself on the global stage after Brexit is not. – Telegraph editorial (£)

The Sun: Boris Johnson’s message to Remoaners is a vital fightback against EU fanatics trying to halt Brexit

The Foreign Secretary’s vision for Britain is a breath of fresh air in a time where doom-mongers paint a dreary and unchallenged idea of our nation. Buccaneering Boris is back — and about time too. It’s good to see a senior Minister flying the flag for Brexit, rather than apologising for it. The Foreign Secretary’s article must start the fightback against the doom-mongers who think the country’s going to the dogs — and have been almost unchallenged on our TV screens. What do they want from Brexit? The same old customs union but with a different name. The same old Brussels bureaucracy. Some of them sit around the Cabinet table. Let’s be clear — we will make a success of this, but only if Britain is truly freed from the shackles of Brussels. We can’t get stuck in regulatory purgatory, strangled by EU red tape now and unable to write our own rules for new industries in the future. This is a strong and successful country that is ready to take on the opportunities that Brexit brings. Nobody should be scared of what leaving means. – The Sun says

Kevin Curran: Here’s how blockchain could solve the post-Brexit Irish border question

A Blockchain is ultimately a distributed database that maintains an ever-growing list of data records secured from tampering or revision… Blockchain potentially offers a system of recording customs data in a manner that can be shared both securely and transparently with multiple parties thus reducing administrative costs and time delays. In this way, border agents, could inspect shipment data of the entire supply chain… The European Union’s trust based Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) system allows exporters with a proven track record to be granted faster customs clearance. Blockchain could provide the infrastructure for AEO quite efficiently. Blockchain can lead to savings such as a change in tariffs when the destination of goods change. Here the Blockchain simply gets updates therefore pre-pay maximal tariffs are no longer needed and ‘smart contracts’ automatically calculate new tariffs. – Professor Kevin Curran for the Telegraph (£)

Paul Ormerod: Master the art of brinkmanship to run Brexit rings around Barnier

To his credit, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator appears to have a stronger grasp of the insights of game theory than his UK counterparts… [Barnier’s] draft document published last week includes a so-called punishment clause that would allow Brussels to ground aircraft and block trade if the UK failed to obey EU rules during the transition period. The counter ploy to such an irrational move – which would harm the EU as well as the UK – is not to cower and capitulate. It is to play brinkmanship yourself… We could threaten to walk out of the talks altogether. Several European countries such as Poland appear to be seriously concerned about this prospect. But we need back-up material for this to seem like a real threat; Barnier has to think that we would really do this. Much of the doom and gloom from the Remain camp is all about short-term economic prospects if we leave. Our negotiating team should make it clear that in the longer run the UK would be better off outside the grip of the central planning mentality of the European Commission, even if there were transitional costs… The EU is frightened of an innovative, lightly taxed UK, which embraces, rather than resists, the rapid pace of change in the world economy. – Paul Ormerod for City A.M.

Brexit comment in brief

  • Liz Truss knew how to help Global Britain take off. We should learn from her success – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • Down Under sees ‘huge’ upside of life after Brexit – Express editorial
  • Meet the young Brexiteers with no regrets about leaving the EU – James Rothwell for the Telegraph (£)
  • Why ‘Our Future, Our Choice’ is wrong in trying to stop Brexit – Alastair Benn for Reaction
  • The Tories will win over the electorate by showing they are prepared to put the national interest first – Sir Roger Scruton for the Telegraph (£)
  • We should cheer further interest rate rises, not fear them – Andrew Lilico for Reaction
  • FAQ: How customs unions work. The EU loves them, Britain doesn’t. Here’s why – Jacob Hanke for Politico

Brexit news in brief

  • UK has ‘huge misunderstanding’ over how EU customs union works says senior MEP – Politico
  • Brexit will be good for women, says city leader Dame Helena Morrissey – The i
  • EU tax treats could mean windfall for relocating bankers, study finds – Telegraph
  • Corbynista holds talks in Greece as hard left seeks wider influence – The Times (£)
  • Brexiteer artists come out of closet – The Times (£)
  • David Cameron tried to block Jacob Rees-Mogg from becoming an MP as he’s ‘too posh’ – The Sun
  • And finally… AC Grayling says Government is plotting to get navy ship sunk to distract from Brexit – Guido Fawkes