Leak reveals 37 EU rules UK could be forced to accept during transition: Brexit News for Tuesday 6 February

Leak reveals 37 EU rules UK could be forced to accept during transition: Brexit News for Tuesday 6 February
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Leaked: The 37 EU rules Britain could be forced to accept during Brexit transition

Britain could be forced to accept nearly 40 EU directives during a two-year transition period after Brexit, according to a leaked Whitehall analysis. The report, obtained by The Telegraph, reveals that a series of controversial EU laws could be imposed amid concerns that Britain is powerless to stop them. One of the most contentious of the 37 directives could require every British household to have four different bins in a bid to hit “unfeasible” new EU recycling targets. Another directive could give Brussels the authority to mount a massive raid on the City of London, while the UK could also be bound by renewable and energy efficiency targets for up to a decade after Brexit. It is likely to trigger a new Cabinet row as eurosceptics including Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, have repeatedly warned that Britain must not accept new EU rules during transition. – Telegraph (£)

EU will erect “unavoidable barriers to trade” if UK leaves the Customs Union, says Michel Barnier…

Britain will face “unavoidable barriers to trade” unless Theresa May backs down and accepts a customs union with Europe, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said today. In uncompromising remarks following talks in Downing Street Michel Barnier deliberately waded into the Tory row over Britain’s future trading relationship with Europe and said that only a customs pact and membership of the single market could allow unrestricted access for British goods. He also reiterated his demand for Mrs May to lay out Britain’s proposals for a future relationship with the EU after Brexit, saying that “the time has come to make a choice”. – The Times (£)

  • Trade barriers ‘unavoidable’ outside customs union, says EU’s Barnier – BBC
  • Three questions facing Britain in Brexit crunch week – Peter Foster for the Telegraph (£)

> WATCH via BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: Michel Barnier says “barriers to trade and goods and services are unavoidable” after meeting David Davis in London

…as Downing Street rejects Treasury proposal to keep UK temporarily in EU Customs Union after Brexit

A Treasury compromise bid to end a raging Cabinet row over an EU free trade deal has been shot down by No10. Under pressure from Brexiteers, Downing Street dismissed the pitch – backed by Philip Hammond – to keep elements of the EU’s Customs Union for a few years after Brexit and its transition period. Under the officials’ plan, Britain would only fully leave the key Brussels institution once new trade deals are signed. That may take many years, leaving the UK suffering a disastrous drop in trade once EU barriers go up in the meantime. A senior Treasury source told The Sun it meant pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Liam Fox would eventually see “their great prize”. The source added: “They just have to be patient for a few more years and then their prize is there for them”. – The Sun

> WATCH via BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: David Scullion says we must be outside failing EU’s Custom Union

> Listen on BrexitCentral’s Youtube Channel: David Scullion on Radio Scotland – If Indyref1 had won we’d be implementing it – so why not Brexit?

> Dr Gerard Lyons on BrexitCentral today: We should relish the opportunities of life outside the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union

Remove ‘hard’ Brexiteers who aren’t even Tories, says Anna Soubry…

A pro-European ex-business minister has called on Theresa May to “get a spine” and remove 35 “hard ideological Brexiteers” from the Tories. Anna Soubry told BBC Newsnight she is willing to leave if the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg take over. The MP, who was in David Cameron’s cabinet between 2015 and 2016, said the PM’s “red lines” to leave the EU single market and customs union are wrong. Former Tory Chancellor Lord Lamont said Ms Soubry was being “quite ridiculous” after she said “My front bench… is in hock to 35 hard ideological Brexiteers who are not Tories,” the Broxtowe MP said.”They are not the Tory party I joined 40 years ago and it is about time Theresa stood up to them and slung ’em out. They have taken down Major, they took down Cameron, two great leaders neither of whom stood up to them.” – BBC

  • After her customs union wobble, Theresa May should not take Brexiteers for granted – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)

…as the Independent stokes speculation about Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ambitions

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has sharply criticised Theresa May and Philip Hammond, stoking speculation he is positioning himself as a leadership contender. Mr Rees Mogg said the Prime Minister does not look like she is having “fun” in Downing Street and attacked her “gloomy” 2017 election campaign. The Brexiteer also indicated Chancellor Mr Hammond should take responsibility for a row over disputed Treasury data that points to the UK being worse off outside the EU regardless of the its future relationship. – Independent

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg says he could not be Prime Minister because he is a ‘family man’ with six children  – Telegraph

EU risks ‘serious’ impact on financial markets without trade deal, watchdog warns

The EU should stop prevaricating and enter talks on a financial services trade agreement with the UK or face “serious” consequences for global markets, the head of Britain’s financial watchdog has warned. Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), told an event in the City on Monday evening he did not buy Brussels’ position that frictionless cross-border trade between banks post-Brexit would be impossible to achieve. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has ruled out special arrangements for financial firms, while specific proposals for mutual recognition drafted by City bosses have also been knocked back by Brussels in recent weeks. – Telegraph (£)

  • Top City watchdog: EU has no excuse for leaving financial services out of a Brexit trade deal – City A.M.
  • Nothing is stopping UK and EU making mutually beneficial banking deal, says UK’s top financial regulator – Independent
  • No-deal Brexit ‘could harm EU the most’ – The Times (£)
  • The City’s strengths will come to the fore after Brexit, in green finance and beyond – Nikhil Rathi for the Telegraph (£)

Ireland border ‘fudge’ threatens to pull apart Brexit talks

Britain and the EU are heading for another big clash over Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit status, as Brussels pushes for greater clarity on a fragile compromise over the Irish border. The EU side is within weeks of publishing a legal text of December’s Brexit divorce agreement that would lay out exactly how Northern Ireland might need to “align” with the union’s single market — a move that would give much greater definition to the ambiguously worded deal. – FT

Gibraltar tells Spain: We won’t be blackmailed on Brexit transition

Gibraltar will not be bullied into accepting joint sovereignty between the U.K. and Spain as a condition for being included in a Brexit transition period, the island territory’s deputy chief minister, Joseph Garcia, said. Spain has sought to reclaim sovereignty over Gibraltar from the U.K. for nearly 300 years, and the EU has effectively given Madrid veto authority over any provisions pertaining to the Rock in a Brexit agreement. – Politico

Nick Clegg lashes out at EU officials for underestimating politics of national pride

Nick Clegg has accused EU officials of fuelling Brexit with their “sneering disregard for the politics of identity and patriotism”. The former Lib Dem leader and arch- Remainer told a think tank in Brussels that contempt for national pride had been a huge blunder. He said: “It was a terrible misreading of what actually makes people tick.” In what appeared to be a stunning U-turn, Clegg said Brussels’ lofty assumption that national pride was a thing of the past has proved to be a “terrible misreading”. Speaking to a packed room of the EU elite in Brussels, the arch-Remainer also accused the architects of the passport-free Schengen zone of “shocking naivety”. – The Sun

  • Arch Remainer Nick Clegg insists MPs must block Brexit – Express

David Green: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s criticism of the Treasury doesn’t go far enough

Treasury civil servants have been getting indignant about the suggestion by Jacob Rees-Mogg that their reports have been biased in favour of EU membership. But are they protesting too much? As it happens we have a recent example of what a genuinely independent study by the Treasury looks like. Between 1999 and 2003, HM Treasury  evaluated the five economic tests set by the government to determine whether or not the UK should join the euro… In 2016, the Treasury took part in the debate about membership of the EU in a very different spirit. Its reports were not open-minded, and showed little sign that any effort had been expended to discover independent expert opinion. – David Green for the Spectator

Henry Newman: The Civil Service is trapped between its own biases and the reluctance of ministers to give a firm lead

According to Tim Shipman’s Fall Out, even the Cabinet Secretary was concerned that Whitehall had become too aligned with Remain. Shipman gives an account of Whitehall’s attempts after the referendum to model the impact of leaving the Single Market and Customs Union – the very models under discussion by Grant. Shipman says that this analysis ‘drew on the work Treasury officials had done for George Osborne during the referendum campaign’ but that ‘Jeremy Heywood ordered a rewrite of key sections for ‘more balance’’. If Heywood felt that a Government document lacked balance, why had he allowed it to be published previously? – Henry Newman for ConservativeHome

William Hague: Brexit doesn’t have to be a life or death struggle, but ministers must have a solid plan and a positive outlook

We have all seen the action movies in which a life or death struggle takes place on top of a moving train, rapidly heading for a tunnel. British politics now unfortunately resembles such a scene: the tussles and arm-wrestling over Brexit intensify even as exit day, March 29 2019, looms into view. And just like in a movie, the train is unlikely to stop, has a fixed destination, and it would be unwise to choose this moment to change the driver. Our exit from the EU will go ahead unless there is overwhelming public demand to prevent it, and the Conservative Party is stuck with an outcome of last year’s election that gives huge power to any small cabal of MPs. They cannot return to the country for another new parliament, and any effort to bring in a new Prime Minister could quite easily derail government, party and Brexit all in one go.- Lord Hague for the Telegraph (£)

Howard Flight: Of course the Withdrawal Bill needs to be scrutinised and amended – but it must ultimately pass

In the Lords we had nearly 200 peers speaking in the Second Reading of the Bill. Many of these used the opportunity to express their views on Brexit and several have called for a further referendum. So be it, although strictly speaking they are out of order in not addressing the issues relating to this legislation. The practical point is that this legislation is needed to give the UK its legal framework post leaving the EU. It is likely to need a lot of amendment and changes which will require ministers to have the power to effect these. Beyond speaking out about the legal issues and principals there is not a huge amount to say about the purpose of the legislation. If we are to meet the timetable for leaving the EU we need to get on with the legislation. – Lord Flight for ConservativeHome

Brexit comment in brief

  • Brexit doesn’t have to be a life or death struggle, but ministers must have a solid plan and a positive outlook – William Hague for the Telegraph (£)
  • Britain must pay the price for living off the fruits of cheap EU workers – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)
  • The costs of belonging to the single market and customs union – John Redwood’s Diary
  • The flux of Brexit can deliver a kick up the backside Adam Marshall for the Telegraph (£)
  • Katy Balls: ‘Divide and rule’ is a dangerous game for a Prime Minister with no majority – Katy Balls for the Spectator
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg is a disgrace for beating up the civil service – Alastair Benn for Reaction
  • Theresa May needs to rely on MPs from other parties in order to survive – Isabel Hardman for The Spectator
  • Half man, half desk – the monsters of the Brexit Game – Nick Booth for ConservativeWoman
  • Ex-top Whitehall mandarin hits out at ‘bullying’ of civil servants – New European