Norwegian Prime Minister rejects the Norway model as a temporary arrangement for the UK: Brexit News for Wednesday 31st October

Norwegian Prime Minister rejects the Norway model as a temporary arrangement for the UK: Brexit News for Wednesday 31st October

Norwegian Prime Minister rejects the Norway model as a temporary arrangement for the UK…

Oslo has poured cold water on a proposal from Tory MPs to adopt a Norway-style trading relationship with the EU to break the deadlock over Brexit and the Irish border. At a press conference in Oslo, Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg said allowing Britain to become a member of the EEA/Efta trading bloc, which has a very close relationship with the EU, would be “difficult” to accept. “If you asked us if we would welcome Britain, we would welcome any good cooperation with Britain. But I don’t think it’s easy to think that you should – I know the British discussion – to enter into an organisation you are preparing to leave at the same time is also a little bit difficult for the rest of us,” she said.  – Telegraph (£)

  • Norwegian PM torpedoes hopes for Norway-style Brexit deal – Express

…and Theresa May repeats that the EEA model would not deliver on the referendum result…

Theresa May has again rejected a Norway-style deal with the EU after Brexit. The move comes after some Tories suggested a temporary “Norway for now” option to soften EU withdrawal. Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has full access to the single market in exchange for making financial contributions and accepting free movement of people. Speaking during a visit to Oslo, Mrs May said following Norway’s example would not bring the outcome people voted for in the EU referendum. She said: “The existing relationship that Norway has with the EU is one that has elements that don’t, wouldn’t, deliver on that vote of the British people.” – Belfast Telegraph

…as the pair agree to secure citizens’ rights post-Brexit

Britain and Norway have agreed that they want to reciprocate the rights of citizens living in each others’ countries after the U.K. has left the European Union. “We are very close to agreeing on an arrangement that mirrors the deal that the EU and the U.K. have on citizen’s rights,” Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg said after meeting Britain’s Theresa May. “But we have also looked at the plan if there’s no deal. We will treat all U.K. citizens living in Norway so that they have the same opportunity they had before.” – Bloomberg

Philip Hammond admits Brexit deal ‘won’t be perfect’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said that while he is “confident” the U.K. will strike a withdrawal agreement with the EU, the negotiations are no longer about “getting this exactly how we want it, exactly perfect. Personally, I think we will agree a deal with the European Union. This is a difficult negotiation, but I think we will agree a deal because it’s very much in the interests of both sides,” Hammond told BBC Radio’s Today Program. He added that for the U.K., the negotiations are now about “looking at the options available to us and deciding which is the best one to go with, which [one] is in the best interests of the country in the future.” – Politico

Theresa May again rules out holding another referendum

Speaking during a summit in the Norwegian capital of Oslo the prime minister once again ruled out changing her mind, stating: “There will be no second referendum on Brexit.” The PM also effectively ruled out any further public input on her negotiations, warning against a general election. “No. We are not preparing for another general election. That would not be in the national interest,” she said. – Independent

George Osborne ‘regrets’ mistakes that led to Brexit vote

Former Chancellor George Osborne has admitted having a series of “regrets” about his time in office – saying government mistakes led to Brexit. He said the Tories had got things wrong on immigration policy which “opened up the door in the referendum”. He told the BBC’s Newsnight that Remain supporters had explained the benefits of EU membership “too late”. – BBC News

EU pledges access to UK clearing houses in no-deal Brexit

Brussels has sought to quell banker jitters over post-Brexit access to London’s capital markets by reassuring European traders they will temporarily be able to use crucial UK derivatives clearing services even if Britain crashes out of the EU without an exit deal. The commitment by Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commission vice-president, follows months of warnings by the European financial sector that EU companies faced a hefty increase in trading costs — or would be unable to hedge their market exposures — without access to City clearing houses. Brussels’ offer shows the rising concern among EU regulators over a no-deal Brexit and its possible disruption to the operation of clearing houses – FT (£)

Police rubbish ‘Remoaner conspiracy’ over referendum probe

Remoaners have been working themselves up into a tizzy over the last few weeks over an Open Democracy report which claimed that the police weren’t investigating the Leave campaigns due to “political sensitivities”. Carole was all over it, David Lammy had a Twitter tantrum while 74 MPs, Peers and MEPs including Vince Cable, Chuka Umunna and Lammy signed Ben Bradshaw and Molly Scott Cato’s angry letter to the Police. The Met Police’s response has left the conspiracy brigade looking incredibly silly. Far from “stalling” the investigation, the police revealed that they had only received over 2,000 documents relating to the case from the Electoral Commission last month and were therefore still assessing the documents. – Guido Fawkes

Jeremy Hunt refuses to apologise for his comparison of the EU to the Soviet Union…

Jeremy Hunt has doubled down on controversial comments likening the European Union to the former Soviet Union. The Foreign Secretary sparked outrage among eastern European politicians while speaking about Brexit at the Conservative Party Conference last month, telling crowds: “What happened to the confidence and ideals of the European dream? “The EU was set up to protect freedom. It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving.” – Huffington Post

…as he insists the Falkland Islands will remain British regardless of whether a Brexit deal is achieved…

Mr Hunt dismissed Argentinian foreign minister Jorge Faurie’s bid to gain control of the area, confirming the Falkland Islands will remain a British overseas territory even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. During Foreign Office questions in the Commons, MP for Torbay Kevin Foster grilled Mr Hunt on the fate of the Falklands Islands, asking whether a no deal Brexit would undermine Britain’s claim to the islands. He said: “Given the extraordinary declaration by the Argentinian foreign minister that Argentina will seek to enhance its claims to the Falklands if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, will (Mr Hunt) confirm, deal or no deal, there will be no question whatsoever of undermining the status of the Falkland Islands as British territory?” – Express

…and announces plan to recruit business leaders to be Ambassadors for post-Brexit Britain

Ambassadorial posts are to be opened up to candidates outside the civil service for the first time, Jeremy Hunt will announce tonight after a report found that a third of ambassadors were not up to the job. Senior diplomats past and present have lamented the Foreign Office’s decline after budget cuts, the spinning off of its duties into new departments of development, trade and national security and its sidelining from the challenge of Brexit. – The Times

New EU migrants not guaranteed right to work post-Brexit

Business groups have reacted with alarm after the minister of state for immigration suggested companies would have to make “adequate vigorous checks” of all EU citizens they employ from April next year if there is a no-deal Brexit. In a statement to the home affairs committee Caroline Nokes said that EU citizens must have paperwork to prove their right to work in the UK, and that those who come to live in the UK after March 29 would face “mandatory” registration after three months. – Telegraph (£)

No-deal Brexit would trigger lengthy UK recession, suggests S&P

Britain’s economy will suffer rising unemployment and falling household incomes that would trigger a recession should Theresa May fail to secure a deal to prevent the UK crashing out of the European Union next year, according to analysis by the global rating agency Standard & Poor’s. – Guardian

Owen Paterson: Clean Brexit would give us billions to spend

Not so much the elephant in the room – more a herd of the thunderous beasts knocking over the coffee tables and smashing the crockery. Amid the general rejoicing over extra money for the NHS and raising income tax thresholds, few have noticed that the most important economic issue facing the country secured just one passing mention in Philip Hammond’s 70-minute Budget statement this week. Yes, I am talking about Brexit. – Owen Paterson MP for the Daily Telegraph

Robert Courts: Enough of ‘project fear’, it’s time to be optimistic about Brexit

Over the next few weeks, we have a historic opportunity to shape the agreement that will govern our future relationship with the EU and our future as a nation. If we choose the right course for the United Kingdom, we will have an opportunity to radically transform our country into a self-governing, free-trading nation and for us to build a stronger and more prosperous future outside the EU. – Robert Courts MP for The Times

Henry Newman: A dozen reasons to unstop the backstop

The announcement that Angela Merkel will relinquish control the Christian Democrats, after nearly two decades, marks the start of her departure from German politics. Although she intends to stay as Chancellor for some time, her position is weakened. Distracted by domestic politics and looking ahead to difficult European elections next year, it seems (even more) unlikely that the Chancellor will seek to over-rule Michel Barnier’s team and force a political agreement on Brexit. Yet a political intervention is just what is needed to unblock the Northern Ireland backstop deadlock. The backstop has become a seemingly impossible issue – described by Donald Tusk as  “Gordian knot”. Here’s a dozen reasons why the current mess needs a fresh look… – Henry Newman for ConservativeHome

James Kirkup: How Cameron’s misreading of Merkel led to Brexit

For Merkel, a pick-and-choose approach to Europe was never an option. Cake was never on her menu, either before or after our referendum. That simple truth has been there in plain sight since Merkel become Chancellor in 2005, yet a great many British politicians and observers have gone to great pains to ignore it. Time after time, they took Merkel’s cautious and sometimes cryptic public persona as a blank canvass on which they could paint their imagined version of European and German politics. And time after time, they were wrong. – James Kirkup for The Spectator

Patrick Minford: We must not be enslaved by the OBR’s anti-Brexit instincts

The story of this strangely positive Budget from our previously gloomy Chancellor, ‘Spreadsheet Phil’, is that of how the Office of Budget Responsibility, the OBR, suddenly doffed its terrifying persona as the Wicked Witch, damning the future as miserable and utterly cursed by Brexit; and became Mr Hammond’s Good Fairy, donating him an improvement in the public Finances of £13 billion a year from the current year 2018-19 to as far as the eye could see, even after Brexit. – Patrick Minford for the Telegraph (£)

Thom Brooks: Our immigration system must be self-funded and sustainable post-Brexit

Borders and immigration were not mentioned once in the Chancellor’s hour long statement. As he launches a full Spending Review in the new year, this presents a critically important opportunity to get Britain’s immigration system into Brexit-ready shape and build public confidence. Whatever else Brexit delivers, it is highly likely to impact profoundly on how the current immigration system works. Change is welcome, but the Home Office needs urgent reforms for the controls we must have post-Brexit. – Thom Brooks for the Telegraph (£)

Asa Bennett: Philip Hammond plans to help Chequers pass by stuffing its critics’ mouths with gold

Philip Hammond was the only cabinet minister brave enough to mention the Government’s Brexit plan by name earlier this month when addressing Tory party conference. “I share the Prime Minister’s determination to get the Chequers Plan agreed,” he declared. The Chancellor tried to help resolve such concerns yesterday by showing in his final pre-Brexit Budget how much he could shake off the magic money tree with a deal in the bag. He gushed about the “double deal dividend” awaiting the United Kingdom, indicating that it would “allow us to provide further funding for the Spending Review”. – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

Liam Halligan: Philip Hammond has let spending rip just as the world teeters on the brink of crisis

The final budget before the UK leaves the European Union was an excellent moment for Philip Hammond to demonstrate to the world, amidst the drumbeat of negativity, that the British economy will thrive outside the EU. Unfortunately, Hammond did neither. The Chancellor talked repeatedly about “fiscal responsibility”, yet this budget amounted to an epic spending giveaway. He claimed repeatedly to be building “a Britain we can be proud of” – but said precisely nothing about the UK taking advantage of new-found freedoms outside the EU. – Liam Halligan for the Telegraph (£)

Sir John Major: The moral case for a second vote has never been more powerful

Our decision to leave the EU is one of the most divisive in British history. Brexit has divided the component parts of the UK, placing England and Wales (as “Leavers”) in opposition to Scotland and Northern Ireland. It has divided our mainstream political parties, business and commerce, communities, friends, families — and generations. In many cases, these scars run deep, and will not be easily healed. – Sir John Major for the Evening Standard

Brexit in Brief

  • Where there’s a will, there can be a way to deliver Brexit deal for the City – Katherine Griffiths for The Times
  • The Brexit consequences of a post-Merkel era – Tony Barber for the FT (£)
  • Move fast and break things: How Brexit is like Silicon Valley – Andrew Walker for Politico
  • Eurozone growth falls to slowest pace in four years as Italy’s economy stalls – City A.M..
  • Loyalists urge Irish government to stop ‘Brit-bashing’ on Brexit – Guardian
  • France is new boss of Europe as ‘strongman’ Macron steps into Merkel’s power-vacuum – Express
  • Irish Embassy reports rush from Brits for Irish passports – The Times (£)