UK and EU agree text of draft withdrawal agreement: Brexit News for Wednesday 14th November

UK and EU agree text of draft withdrawal agreement: Brexit News for Wednesday 14th November

UK and EU agree text of draft withdrawal agreement…

UK and EU officials have agreed the draft text of a Brexit agreement in a significant breakthrough for the talks. A cabinet source told the BBC that the document has been agreed at a technical level by officials from both sides after intensive talks this week. Theresa May will chair a special cabinet meeting on Wednesday to get ministers’ backing for the exit terms. The Sun reported that every minister was being asked to see the PM for one-to-one talks on Tuesday evening. The future of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been the last major outstanding issue to be settled amid disagreements over how to avoid physical checks until a future trade relationship is in place. – BBC News

  • UK and EU provisionally agree text on Brexit withdrawal treaty – FT(£)

…as Theresa May calls emergency Cabinet meeting for this afternoon to seek approval for the deal

British and European negotiators reached a draft agreement late on Monday night, and the Prime Minister has spent much of the day analysing it with her team of advisers. Cabinet ministers are going in to Number 10 for a series of one-to-one meetings with Mrs May this evening as she tries to persuade them to back her plan. In recent weeks the negotiations have centred on how to maintain an open border in Ireland after Brexit, by far the most contentious aspect of the talks. It is understood that the draft document contains proposals for the UK to stay in a customs arrangement with the EU while a long-term free trade deal is thrashed out. – PoliticsHome

  • May calls emergency cabinet meeting to sign off Brexit deal – Guardian
  • Theresa May to call on ministers to back her Brexit deal at crunch Cabinet meeting – PoliticsHome

May accused of ‘betrayal’ by Tory and DUP Brexiteers…

Theresa May will put her future in the hands of senior ministers today as she asks them to sign off a Brexit deal in the face of accusations of betrayal. The prime minister was trying to sell the divorce deal and pact on the future relationship with Europe last night to a reluctant cabinet, which is due to meet at 2pm to agree it. Leave-supporting cabinet ministers were coming under intense pressure to reject the deal as senior Brexiteers and the DUP launched a pre-emptive strike on what they claimed was an abject surrender. Mrs May’s efforts to secure cabinet backing will be further undermined by a leaked diplomatic note seen by The Times spelling out how the EU intends to force Britain to accept a longer-term alignment with its rules. Despite this, she will claim to have won a crucial battle over the so-called backstop, which would come into force after the transition period and before a final deal on the future relationship. – The Times (£)

  • Theresa May faces backlash after unveiling deal to Cabinet – Telegraph (£)
  • May tells her cabinet, this is the deal – now back me – Guardian
  • Brexit draft deal backlash: Mordaunt calls for centuries-old convention to be thrown aside – Express

…as Jacob Rees-Mogg rallies rebels…

The attempted Brexit coup took place with only minutes’ notice, having been arranged in the late afternoon in the offices of Iain Duncan Smith — an ex-Tory leader who fell victim to insurrection in his party. At 5.30pm yesterday in Central Lobby, the fulcrum of parliament between the Commons and the Lords, Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Tory hard Brexiteers, stood next to Nigel Dodds, Westminster leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), to demand that they wrest back control of Brexit from Theresa May. The newly inked text of the Withdrawal Agreement was barely dry, having been sent by Olly Robbins, Mrs May’s Europe adviser, back to Downing Street at lunchtime. Although a few elements had started to leak through Whitehall backchannels, several cabinet ministers were still unaware of the contents and were being called into Mrs May’s study for discussions. For Mr Dodds and Mr Rees-Mogg, who between them represent potentially 50 Commons votes, it was already enough. – The Times (£)

…and former leader Iain Duncan Smith says Theresa May’s days are numbered

Theresa May’s days ‘are numbered’ Iain Duncan Smith said on Tuesday night amid a furious backlash from Brexiteer Tory MPs over the Prime Minister’s draft Brexit deal. The former Tory leader and a dozen Eurosceptic MPs convened a hurried press conference in Parliament moments after reports of the deal emerged in the Irish press to attack the deal. Mr Duncan Smith said that if the reports proved to be correct Mrs May had “broken her own red lines”. The union was also under threat with SNP leaders almost certain to demand the same partial regulation in Scotland as is reportedly planned for Northern Ireland. Asked by The Telegraph “if the Government’s days are numbered” because of the deal, Mr Duncan Smith said: “If this is the case, the answer is almost certainly ‘yes’. “The Government will have put itself in an impossible position – because they are trying to promote something which they themselves said they would never promote. – Telegraph (£)

Passing a Brexit deal through the Commons is ‘mathematically impossible’, says senior Tory backbencher

Theresa May’s Brexit deal will not get through the House of Commons, it has been claimed. As negotiations with Brussels enter the ‘end game’, the Prime Minister has been warned it is ‘mathematically impossible’ for her deal to succeed. Tory Brexiteer Mark Francois said he had ‘up to 80’ colleagues willing to vote against Mrs May’s Chequers plan. He has been joined by Remainers keen to boot out the plan as well as the DUP who are demanding there be no concessions with the EU over the Irish border. Mr Francois, who is a senior member of the European Research Group (ERG), told Newsnight, that Mrs May was doomed to failure. He told Emily Maitlis: ‘Quite a few Remainers following Jo Johnson’s resignation are saying they would vote against Chequers. ‘The DUP have said they will vote against Chequers, some of the SNP, some of Liberal Democrats. ‘And the Labour Party are likely to oppose Chequers, too. – Metro

Eurosceptic Labour MP Kate Hoey suggests she will vote against Theresa May’s deal

Brexiteer Kate Hoey has become the first Labour MP who campaigned to leave the EU to suggest she will vote against the deal Theresa May returns from Brussels with. The remarks from Labour’s Vauxhall MP, who campaigned alongside Nigel Farage in the referendum, follow the prime minister’s claim that the Brexit negotiations are now in the “endgame”. But Ms Hoey’s comments will come as unwelcome news in Downing Street – given Ms May has often relied on Labour Brexiteers to back the government in significant votes related to Britain’s exit from the EU. In a scathing article for the Labour List website, Ms Hoey said the Irish government is “in cahoots with the EU has deliberately made the border an issue and unfortunately our prime minister” and that Ms May’s officials had “fallen for it completely”. – Independent

Jeremy Corbyn among opposition party leaders demanding ‘meaningful’ vote on Brexit deal

Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP’s Westminster chief Ian Blackford, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts and Tory veteran Ken Clarke all signed the document. It followed last night’s announcement by Downing Street’s that a draft agreement had been struck between the UK and EU sides, with Cabinet expected to sign up to the deal later today. However ministers last month said attempts to change the wording of the motion will not affect the agreement or the timing of Britain’s departure next March. In their letter, the opposition leaders said: “Recent interventions from government ministers have suggested that you and your government may seek to limit or constrain the process on the final vote, in an attempt to muzzle parliament.” “While we recognize parliament will have to approve or disapprove any agreement, it would be reckless to present this vote as take-it-or-leave-it without parliament being able to suggest an alternative.” They add that MPs should “as a minimum” be allowed to table multiple amendments, insisting it would be reckless to pose a “take-it-or-leave-it” on Mrs May’s agreement or a no-deal outcome. – PoliticsHome

  • Vote on May’s deal an ‘opportunity’ for single market access, Sturgeon says – Express

Government will be forced to publish Brexit legal advice following Tory and DUP rebellion

Theresa May will be forced to publish in full the legal position supporting her Brexit deal following a rebellion by Tory MPs and her DUP allies. Labour deployed an arcane parliamentary procedure known as a humble address on Tuesday afternoon to obtain the legal advice provided by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox. Hardline Brexiteer Tory backbenchers and the DUP refused to support the government and vote against Labour’s motion. Both groups want legal assurances that the proposed Northern Ireland backstop will not keep the UK in a customs union with the EU indefinitely. In an admission that defeat had become inevitable, the government ordered Tory backbenchers to abstain to avoid an embarrassing losing vote count being recorded.- Huffington Post

  • Government forced to publish secret legal advice after humiliating Commons defeat – Independent
  • Ministers to reveal legal advice on Brexit withdrawal agreement – FT(£)

Tony Blair says it is ‘gut-wrenching’ that Labour is not calling for second Brexit vote

Tony Blair is to hit out at Jeremy Corbyn’s “abject refusal” to lead the UK “out of the Brexit nightmare”. The former prime minister will say it is “gut-wrenching” that Labour is not leading the call for a second referendum. And he will condemn the “stupidity” of the “far left” for denigrating the record of the New Labour years in government. In a speech in London, Mr Blair will argue that left-wing populism is not the answer to populism on the right and instead the “progressive centre” must recognise and address the anxieties which have fuelled the phenomenon. On Brexit, Mr Blair will repeat his call for a second referendum because Theresa May’s proposals – “Brexit in name but tied still to Europe in reality” – will disappoint those on both sides. “Whatever the people voted for, they didn’t vote for this,” he will say. – Telegraph (£)

  • Tony Blair accuses Jeremy Corbyn of ‘abject failure’ over Brexit – PoliticsHome

Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna PLOT to force second referendum with fresh demands

Nine pro-EU Tory MPs are waging a new Brexit battle as they signed a cross-party amendment to the Finance Bill. This amendment calls on ministers to disclose an impact assessment of the Brexit deal expected to be struck by EU and UK negotiators and the current terms of Britain’s EU membership. Cabinet ministers have so far committed only to publishing an impact assessment comparing the Brexit plan to a no-deal scenario. But Remainers brand a choice between a deal and no deal a “false” one and are now pushing for a new assessment, hoping it will turn Britons who are still on the fence to back the People’s Vote campaign demanding a second referendum. The new amendment has been tabled jointly by arch-Remainers Labour MP Chuka Umunna and Tory MP Anna Soubry. Despite not having signed the amendment yet, Tory MP Jo Johnson expressed today his disdain against the government for refusing to publish a proper comparison with the terms of Britain’s EU membership. – Express

Angela Merkel calls for “real European army”

Angela Merkel, addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg today sung the praises of “European unification” and called for a European Army. She began her remarks by saying she was appearing before MEPs “with joy but also with gratitude, in front of the greatest parliament of the world.” After calling Brexit “a deep wound,” the German Chancellor called on the EU to “work on a vision of creating a real, true, European army.” After shouts of indignation from predominantly UKIP MEPs, Merkel said “I am really pleased about this I’m annoying some people.” – Guido Fawkes

  • Merkel joins Macron in calling for a ‘real, true European army’ – Guardian

EU says British citizens will not need visas to visit member states in event of no-deal

British travellers will not need visas to visit the European Union for short stays even if there is a no-deal Brexit, the European Commission has said. Commissioners made the recommendation to put the UK on the visa-exempt list at a meeting in Strasbourg on Tuesday. The policy is dependent on the UK continuing to offer reciprocal visa-free access for EU citizens. Travel advice issued by the Commission says: “The European Commission has proposed to the EU legislator to exempt UK nationals from visa requirements for short-term stays”. – Independent

  • EU ratchets up pressure on UK with no-deal visa proposal – Guardian
  • Britons should get visa-free EU travel even in case of no-deal Brexit, says EU Commission – talkRADIO

Michael Gove’s department ‘too complacent’ over risks to trade and food safety after exit from EU

Michael Gove’s department is too complacent about the potential disruption Brexit could bring to vital trade and food safety, an influential Commons committee has warned. In a critical new report, the Public Account Committee (PAC) sounded the alarm over fundamental issues for food, chemical and animal importers and exporters that are yet to be resolved and the lack of no-deal advice given to small businesses. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will be one of the Whitehall departments that is hit hardest by Brexit, due to the UK’s entanglement with complex EU’s environmental and farming laws. Yet the PAC warned that many of its Brexit contingency plans are dependent on goodwill from the EU, the devolved nations and other departments. It comes after Mr Gove, the environment secretary, was accused of “poaching” staff from Natural England, the agency responsible for protecting landscape and wildlife areas, in order to prepare his department for Brexit. – Independent

Britain to forge ‘even better’ trade deals with Norway post-Brexit

Liam Fox met with Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, this week to negotiate the British-Norwegian trade relationship post-Brexit. The UK trade Minister revealed his plans to negotiate an even more liberal trade deal than the one currently in place after Brexit is finalised. And Mr Fox said he hoped the new trade agreement with Norway will come into force on January 1, 2021, when the transition period for Brexit is set to end. He added: “We are now in the process of discussing the level of ambition we should set for that agreement. “What we have said from the UK is that all new agreements we enter should be at least as liberal as those we have today.” In response Mr Røe Isaksen said: “Our starting point is clear. “The relationship our countries have in investment and trade will be as it is today. – Express

Brexit hopes boost both sterling and euro

The euro and sterling climbed higher this morning as investor confidence rose on news Britain had struck a draft divorce deal with the European Union after more than a year of talks. The rise in the euro and sterling led investors to take profits on the US dollar, which retreated from a 16-month high. Sterling traded at $1.3009 this morning – gaining 0.3% – after Britain and the European Union agreed a preliminary text that would allow the UK to leave the EU with a deal that avoids a chaotic hard Brexit departure. The challenge for British Prime Minister Theresa May is now to sell this deal to the parliament, where hardline Brexit supporters accuse her of surrendering to the EU. Riding on the positive sentiment around a potentially orderly Brexit deal, the euro gained 0.1% to trade at $1.1301 today. – RTE

David Davis: Even Baldrick would baulk at Mrs May’s latest cunning Brexit plan

In a cunning plan of Blackadder proportions, the Government aims to offer Parliament a binary choice – accept a Chequers-based deal or exit without a deal. This is wholly disingenuous. Even Baldrick would have blushed at this false dichotomy. Let’s look at the facts. Chequers is an unsustainable zombie plan. The British people voted to take back control of money, borders and laws. Chequers fails to deliver on this and therefore fails to deliver the Brexit that 17.4 million voted for. A common rule book overseen by the European Court of Justice; a facilitated customs arrangement that breaks the Tory 2017 manifesto pledge; and a backstop that threatens the UK’s constitutional integrity. These concessions go far beyond the pale. Ministers know this, Conservative MPs know this, and the British people know this. In any event, such a deal would not get through the Commons. – David Davis MP for the Telegraph (£)

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Brexit has become an issue of trust – and this government has lost it

The drama reaches a crescendo, the excitement is almost too much and the Prime Minister appeals to the national interest to gather support for her deal. It is as if a play had been put on for the nation’s benefit with words meaning what you will and the suspension of reality allowing a player to say that something weak looks strong. As Shakespeare had it, “A goodly apple rotten at the heart, /O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!” Since Theresa May became Prime Minister, her words have sought to give reassurance, albeit sometimes of an elliptical kind. “Brexit means Brexit” and “no deal is better than a bad deal” are phrases that come to mind. At an early stage, Mrs May even set out a vision for the United Kingdom as “a truly global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too”. This meant leaving the customs union because “full Customs Union membership prevents us from negotiating our own comprehensive trade deals”. – Jacob Rees-Mogg MP for the Telegraph (£)

Kate Hoey: There’s no need for an Irish hard border – it’s just a barrier put up by scaremongers

During all my years as an MP, the interest shown in Northern Ireland by most of my colleagues has been minimal. Even with over a thousand members there, the party still disallows Labour candidates to stand in elections. So it has been rather ironic that in the Brexit debate Labour MPs have been queuing up to mention Northern Ireland. What happens at the border after we leave the EU has become the “big sticking point” causing our Prime Minister to make commitments to backstops that few understand and even fewer support. The repeatedly stated aim of the EU, the UK and the Irish government is to avoid creating a hard border. They never actually define what a hard border is, but I assume that they mean not having huge structures acting as barriers with flashing lights and cameras as used to be there. It is conveniently forgotten that those barriers were only there when the IRA was active, bombing and killing our soldiers and police officers. A border is there at the moment, although not visible. – Kate Hoey MP for The Sun

Paul Goodman: Raab, Cox, Gove, Fox, Mordaunt – all these Cabinet members, and others, should resign tomorrow if necessary

As this month began, we set five tests for any Brexit deal that Theresa May might recommend to her Cabinet members. As the Prime Minister summons Cabinet members for one-to-one meetings this evening, with a full Cabinet meeting due tomorrow, it is possible that there are reassuring answers to all these questions. But it is also possible that, as we wrote then, the proposed deal would wreck the prospect of meaningful trade deals, hand over £40 billion for no bankable gain, and potentially threaten the break-up of the UK. It is very unlikely that May has called that formal meeting of all Cabinet members tomorrow on the same basis that she previously called informal meetings of some of them – in other words, to test the water. It looks as though she has summoned it to recommend whatever has been agreed by Sabine Weyand and Olly Robbins. Otherwise she would scarcely be calling some of its members one by one as we write. – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Mark Wallace: Lower immigration, the unspoken upward pressure on wages

In September, the ONS reported wages were growing at the fastest rate in three years. Today, the latest edition of those figures shows a further improvement, to the fastest rate since 2008. What’s more, it’s another quarter in which wage growth has outstripped inflation. In other words, people are getting better off in real terms. There’s a Brexit aspect to the positive news on wages, too, as I pointed out a couple of months ago. The general context for rising wages is near-full employment, but there’s also the specific circumstance of falling net immigration. If the supply of workers is more constrained than it might otherwise have been, that’ll be contributing to upward pressures on pay. ConservativeHome was far from alone in arguing in 2015 that such an effect might come about from a Leave vote. Indeed, Stuart Rose, head of the Remain campaign, memorably argued at the time of the referendum that: “If you are short of labour, the price of labour will go up.” – Mark Wallace for ConservativeHome

Asa Bennett: Mrs May cannot afford to lose Dominic Raab — so he can throw his weight around

Dominic Raab could well be the most powerful Brexiteer in the cabinet right now. And I can’t be accused of suggesting that out of sycophancy, given that in his early days I dubbed him “Brexit Secretary in name only”. He has been struggling to make his mark on the negotiations. All his campaign for a legal link between the divorce bill and a future trading relationship has yielded from Michel Barnier is the suggestion that “we may work” on it. His demand for the United Kingdom to have the right to exit the backstop after three months has been rebuffed by the EU, and shunned by Downing Street. That prompted an ally of Mr Raab to rage to the Sun that he was “being undermined at every turn.” But now he has picked a battle he could actually win: challenging Mrs May to take the prospect of no deal Brexit more seriously. – Telegraph (£)

James Kirkup: Why MPs should back Theresa May’s Brexit deal

Many things about the politics of Brexit are mystifying. Some are minor puzzles: Why don’t people read the documents they say they’re angry about, for instance? And some are major enigmas: Why don’t politicians talk about the economic and social problems that drove the Leave vote instead of fixating on misunderstood abstractions like sovereignty? Yet here we are, staggering into the ‘endgame’ of the most consequential negotiations in our postwar history and the debate has come down to a pair of Old Etonians talking about vassalage. I wonder how many people of Sunderland thought that’s what they were voting for in June 2016. – James Kirkup for the Spectator

Brian Monteith: Let’s embrace No Deal and get planning for life after Brexit

There is an anecdote doing the rounds at the moment where an acquaintance of a civil servant jests “I suppose you’re doing your best to stop Brexit!”, to which the official, not knowing that his friend voted Leave and was pulling his leg, replies “You bet I am, and every one of us too”. True or not, it captures the mindset of our government as it hurtles towards a very bad deal – so bad that, had it been put on the ballot paper, we would have called foul and not voted for it. Under the model that Theresa May is still trying to push through, we will end up with colony status – still under the judgement of European courts, still accepting Single Market rules, still within the customs union straightjacket, still accepting petty diktats on what taxes to levy and how pretty our vegetables should look. It did not have to be this way. From the off, our government and the civil service have been planning to stay instead of planning to leave. They have prostrated themselves before EU negotiators, signalling that they would not walk away but could accept any deal, no matter how bad. This is why, whenever you think that we have already conceded enough, the Prime Minister is forced to concede even more – until the next time when she concedes yet more again. – Brian Monteith for City A.M.

Telegraph: Remainers must not be allowed to hijack the ‘no-deal’ narrative

For more than two years, politicians and – often in fury or despair – British voters have been gripped by the nature of this country’s Brexit deal with the EU. But now the hour is approaching for that deal to be unveiled, something different is being openly discussed: no deal. Lord Hague, in his latest Telegraph column, says that, if it comes to it, Remainer ministers should join in fully preparing the country to leave without a deal. Gordon Brown has weighed in to thwart the 2016 vote. Even Jo Johnson’s Friday resignation was ultimately a reflection on the merits of walking away. That is a profound change. A kind of political omertà has hung over the subject since negotiations began. It was the end game that dared not speak its name. If no deal was spoken of at all, it was written off in monolithic terms: a catastrophe to be avoided at all costs. – Telegraph (£) editorial

Telegraph: The finishing line is in sight for Theresa May but she may yet falter at the last leg

After months of false starts, angry showdowns, and almost unfathomable debates over obscure matters, it appears the Brexit talks are finally drawing to a close. Reports suggest that a deal has been reached at a “technical” level and a special Cabinet meeting will be held today for ministers to thrash out the Government’s position. If the Cabinet accepts it, an EU leaders’ summit could be held later in the month to finalise the agreement. A vote in Parliament would follow to allow MPs to ratify the deal. Except, matters are unlikely to run so smoothly. Debate in recent weeks has centred on the need for a mechanism to allow the UK to leave the so-called “all-UK backstop”. Will this materialise, and if so will it give powers of oversight to the European Court of Justice? Several ministers have signalled that they will not support an agreement that leaves the country unable to express its sovereign right to leave any arrangement made with the EU. – Telegraph (£) editorial

Matthew Smith: After two years polling Britain’s views on Brexit, nothing has changed

In October 2016, four months after Britain voted to leave the EU, YouGov asked the nation what they thought the impact of Brexit would be on various things such as the economy, public services and job security. Two years later the most recent edition of this survey reveals that — despite the best efforts of both sides of the debate to paint a picture of either a sunny or stormy Brexit — expectations remain pretty much the same. The single biggest shift in attitudes is over the impact of immigration. In our 2016 survey 39 per cent of Britons believed that immigration into the UK would remain at much the same level. This has since fallen nine points to 30 per cent, with a concurrent increase of six points in those who think immigration levels will decrease, to 52 per cent. This is hardly a huge shift, and on many of the other possible effects of Brexit opinion has been essentially static. Matthew Smith for the Times (£)

James Blitz: The Jo Johnson effect

Jo Johnson’s resignation from the government last week was a big surprise for most MPs. Four days on, the questions over it are still lingering at Westminster. Was this the start of a deeper rebellion by pro-European or moderate Tory MPs against Theresa May’s deal? Or was it a lone protest — powerful, eloquent, well-timed — but doomed to fail? It is too early to judge, of course. Most Conservative ministers and MPs are waiting to see what kind of deal  Theresa May strikes with the EU (if she can). They will then see how events play out in cabinet. Only then will MPs start making their own positions clear in the run-up to the Commons vote. But there are signs that Mr Johnson’s move has had an effect. As one Tory MP, a May loyalist, told me: “We’ve had resignations over Brexit before and people tend to move on. But Jo’s has made waves. It’s forcing a lot of my colleagues to think hard.” – James Blitz for the FT(£)

Professor Gwythian Prins: Chequers and Security

The ancient Chinese used a fearsome weapon: the shashoujian, or Assassin’s Mace. You never saw it coming and it killed you stone dead. There is an Assassin’s Mace hidden in Mrs May’s Chequers Plan. Attention is focused on its humiliating economic surrender: rule-takers on trade. As the Attorney-General warns, we risk becoming permanent prisoners. But hidden within Chequers, there is a surrender still more extreme – one that threatens our key defence and security partnerships. Mrs May offered the EU a ‘tailored partnership’ in defence and security as an inducement for the ‘cherry-picking’ trade arrangements already flatly rejected by the EU at Salzburg. – Professor Gwythian Prins for Briefings for Brexit

Jasmine Whitbread: Business has spoken: The UK cannot afford a no-deal Brexit

We thought that we were heading towards the final furlong – at long last, a Brexit deal – after an interminable period which has seen runners and riders fall and many a twist and turn along the way since the public voted to leave the EU in June 2016. Then the minister Jo Johnson resigned, and speculation is now mounting of an impending cabinet mutiny against Theresa May from both leading Brexiteers and the Remainer wing of the Conservative party. It would seem that all bets are currently off. What we need now are some level heads and clear voices. In the run-up to the referendum, most businesses were unambiguous about their preference to remain in the EU. This was based on the belief that the benefits of membership of a customs union, the Single Market, regulatory alignment and access to talent and skills were essential to our national prosperity, and significantly outweighed the costs. That view was backed up by analysis which demonstrated the negative economic impact of leaving, supported by assessments from the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England among others – though that was before experts went out of fashion. – Jasmine Whitbread for City A.M.

Brexit in Brief

  • The Sun: Theresa May’s Brexit deal must be rejected by Cabinet if we are not freed from the EU – The Sun editorial
  • British MEP warns of eurosceptic uprising as he ridicules ‘aggressive’ EU superstate – Express
  • No-deal or hard Brexit makes united Ireland poll more likely, says Irish ambassador to UK – Politico
  • MEP furiously demands Brussels stop ‘meddling in everything’ – Express
  • Trump mocks Macron over world wars as Merkel calls for ‘real, true European army’ – Telegraph