The EU’s Deputy Brexit Negotiator, Sabine Weyand, has said that the UK can have “status quo transition without institutional representation” until the end of 2020. It would essentially delay all effects of Brexit. Open borders, EU law, payments to Brussels and an inability to enact global trade deals would all apply to the UK going into the 2020s. Brexiteers will be appalled at the prospect of the “status quo” continuing for years to come. The British people voted for independence – and now they are being told to wait 5+ years. Completely unacceptable.
MICHEL Barnier infuriated Brexit-supporters by insisting Britain must obey all EU rules for nearly two more years after leaving the bloc. Setting out the EU’s demands for the proposed transition period after the official departure date in March 2019, the chief Brussels negotiator warned that the UK will have to accept any new regulations introduced by the European Commission while being banned from signing any new trade deals with other countries. The veteran diplomat said: “The UK must acknowledge and accept these rules of the game from the outset.” EU citizens could still be free to come to Britain until the end of 2020 under the blueprint. Downing Street officials claimed there was still some “distance” between the two sides over the details of the immediate post-Brexit period with more negotiations to come. But senior Tory MP Sir William Cash, a leading Euro-sceptic at Westminster and chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, urged the Government to reject the Brussels “ultimatum”.
European Union government ministers on Monday warned Britain that it cannot expect to have a say in EU decision-making once it leaves, including during a transition period from next year meant to help smooth the U.K.’s departure. The warning came as European affairs ministers met to endorse a new set of orders for their Brexit negotiator focused on that transition, which would run from the end of March 2019 until Dec. 31, 2020, when the bloc’s current long-term budget ends. “When you have left the European Union you have left, and this is just a transition to a new arrangement,” Swedish EU Affairs and Trade Minister Ann Linde told reporters in Brussels. In a draft of the orders, seen by The Associated Press, the EU insists that its departing member should also continue to abide by all the bloc’s rules, including any new ones that are introduced.
Britain was on a collision course with the EU today after Brussels laid down strict rules for how the UK should act during the Brexit “transition”. Cabinet minister David Davis said “arguments” with the EU are coming about the UK’s ability to negotiate free trade deals and reject new EU law during the two-year period after 2019. It came after Brussels published plans that gave no ground on either issue and instead insisted the UK follow EU regulation until at least 2021 and potentially even longer. In moves set to particularly outrage some Tory backbenchers, Brussels appeared to even reopen parts of the withdrawal deal many MPs believed settled last year and signalled that trade talks are likely to continue well after Brexit. Conservatives demanded Theresa May take a tougher line and sought solid assurances in the Commons that Britain will not adhere to European rules and regulations for longer than two years after withdrawal.
JACOB Rees–Mogg has accused Eurocrat Michel Barnier of “bullying” after he demanded the UK obey by EU laws without being able to vote on them during the transition period, during a BBC Newsnight interview. European ministers agreed to Mrs May’s proposal for a transition period during which the UK will continue to have access to the single market. However, they insisted that the UK continue to abide by EU law during this period, including all new laws brought in without the UK having a vote on them. Mr Rees–Mogg said: “The terms laid down today in the transition deal are very bullying from the European Union, they are very harsh terms. “They would require us to continue to allow freedom of movement of people even though we’ve have left. EU negotiator Mr Barnier said: “The single market cannot be a la carte.” The proposal would mean the UK is subject to EU law for 20 months after the proposed Brexit date of March 29, 2019.
Theresa May is headed for a clash with Brussels after EU leaders said the UK would have to obey its rules in full during the transition period – but cannot have any say on making new regulations. Members of the bloc signed off a series of tight restrictions it plans to impose during Brexit at a meeting lasting just a couple of minutes this morning. They said that the UK must obey all EU rules – including the free movement of people – until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, but will not have any say in the bloc’s decision-making bodies. Leaders in Brussels are also insisting that Britain cannot sign any new trade deals until 2021 under trade rules. peaking in Brussels, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier insisted the UK could not pick and choose the rules it will follow. He said: “During transition the UK will continue to take part in the single market, to take part in the customs union. It will continue to have all the economic benefits, therefore it must also apply all the EU rules. The single market cannot be a la carte.”
Theresa May faces a row over how the Brexit transition period will work after the EU said the UK would have to abide by all existing and new laws for a period of almost two years after leaving. Downing Street said there was “some distance” between what the UK and EU believe is acceptable for the transition period and signalled it would fight against having to submit to new laws. However, the prime minister may have little choice but to accept the bulk of the proposals despite considerable anger among hardline Brexit supporters on the Tory backbenches. The 27 other EU member states took only two minutes to agree a negotiating position on Monday that proposes a “status quo” transitional period from 30 March 2019 and until 31 December 2020. During this time the UK would have to accept the rules of the single market, customs union, free movement and decisions of the European court of justice, including new EU laws that come into force. Britain would no longer have ministers, diplomats or MEPs at the table when EU laws are agreed, or a commissioner involved in drafting them. It could be invited to attend some meetings without voting rights – but only at the EU’s discretion.
Britain’s Brexit transition period in which it continues to follow all EU rules with no say in shaping them could be extended past the start of 2021, the European Council has said for the first time. The European Union today confirmed that it wants the transition period – during which the UK will have to continue following EU law – to end on 31 December 2020. During that one year and nine month period, the EU and the UK will negotiate a trade agreement about the UK’s future relationship with the bloc, with Britain going its own way at the end of the period. But Ekaterina Zakharieva, the deputy prime minister of Bulgaria, which is currently chairing the European Council, said at a press conference in Brussels that there was “flexibility” in the length of the period. Speaking alongside European Commission chief negotiator Michel Barnier the minister said if no trade agreement was agreed during the time, the period could be longer.
Theresa May will reject the EU’s proposed deal on the Brexit transition period and go into battle next week over freedom of movement and so-called “rule taking”. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said Britain must accept “all decisions” of the European Union during transition if it wanted a deal, but would have no say over any new laws that are brought in. Brussels’ official negotiating stance, published on Monday, also states that freedom of movement must continue until the end of the transition period, which the EU wants to end on December 31, 2020. Eurosceptics insist that would turn Britain into a “vassal state” of the EU during transition, and the Government’s negotiators will be told to reject both ideas when they begin talks on Feb 5.
The word in Whitehall this morning is that the leaked document forecasting doom-laden outcomes in every Brexit scenario was put together by civil servants from the Treasury and the Cabinet Office Brexit unit. Fingers are being pointed at the Brexit team based in the Cabinet Office, run by the Remainer Olly Robbins, with suggestions work was led by Treasury mandarins. Buzzfeed reported that the document was prepared by officials across Whitehall for DexEU, though Guido is led to believe David Davis thinks the forecasts are rubbish, as he has repeatedly said of the Treasury’s economic predictions before. Remainers had been hyping up these assessments, trying to get pro-Remain journalists to warn of a coming bombshell, so it would make sense for someone to flush the document out online. In any case, Guido wonders who is going to take it seriously. The civil service’s negative post-Brexit worst case scenario is that GDP will be 8% lower in 15 years – roughly 0.5% a year worse. These people were some 3% out with their predictions last year. If they can’t predict one year ahead, do they really have any idea about 15 years’ time?
The chief minister of Gibraltar has said he is ready to veto parts of the Brexit deal agreed by Theresa May if it does not work in the territory’s favour. Speaking exclusively to The Independent, Fabian Picardo said he would not accept anything in the deal that was detrimental to Gibraltar’s business or social care systems. While the chief minister said he hoped a good deal would be done with the EU, his intervention points to a nervousness in different parts of the UK over whether Ms May’s deal can deliver the economic benefits currently enjoyed by Britain’s membership of the bloc. Mr Picardo, who presides over a region that delivered the highest Remain vote – 96 per cent – of anywhere in the EU referendum, also called for a second vote on the final terms of any Brexit agreement. In his interview, he set out how he would be prepared to invoke the territory’s constitution to veto conditions of any future agreement if they negatively impact Gibraltar.
The prime minister is facing a donors’ revolt and growing pressure to leave Downing Street as soon as the outline of a trade deal is negotiated with the European Union this autumn. Discontent with Theresa May among the Conservatives’ financial backers boiled over at a fundraising event last Thursday, according to a donor. An account of the event — where about a quarter of the 50 donors present were said to have demanded her resignation — has been circulating among Brexit-supporting Tory MPs. Mrs May’s grip on No 10 has weakened markedly in recent days as the Leave and Remain wings of her party raise the stakes before the start of talks on Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
TOP TORIES yesterday put Theresa May on notice that she faces the sack if she threatens to “sell out” by backsliding on Brexit. They urged the Prime Minister to stick to the hardline principles she set out a year ago in a major speech for a clear break from Brussels. Battle lines were drawn amid speculation that unhappy Tory MPs are poised to trigger a leadership election by tabling formal no-confidence protests in Mrs May. Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, who is effectively the PM’s deputy urged colleagues to unite behind her. He also sought to reassure anxious Brexiteers that the UK will be able to “diverge” from EU laws in future, while Brexit Minister Lord Callanan insisted: “We’re not going soft”. Brexit campaigners Theresa Villiers, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is seen as a potential future leader, both pleaded with Mrs May to stick to the ideas she set out a year ago.
More Conservatives have expressed doubts about Theresa May’s leadership, with one MP warning that the “window is closing” on her tenure and two former cabinet ministers suggesting she could be replaced when a Brexit deal is done. About a dozen Tories have now been critical about the direction of May’s domestic agenda, casting further doubts on the stability of the prime minister’s position at a time when she is also struggling with rows about Brexit policy. John Whittingdale, the former culture secretary, said it would not be an appropriate time to have a leadership election but suggested one could take place after March next year. “Give her the opportunity to negotiate the best [Brexit] deal we have. Let’s see what comes out of that. We can then address issues of leadership after that,” he told LBC. On the same programme, Nicky Morgan, the former education secretary, said it was not the right time for a contest but added: “We might revert to it in some months or years’ time, about who is going to lead the Conservative party.”
A TORY MP tipped to be leader one day has warned Theresa May the “window is closing” to save her Premiership. Ex-Army officer-turned politician Johnny Mercer also warned Britain was increasingly “in danger of Jeremy Corbyn taking No10”. His broadside came as rebel MPs claimed they are just four letters away from mounting a formal challenge on the PM. An informal tally by angry Tories found 44 letters have now been submitted to 1922 Committee boss Sir Graham Brady for a no confidence vote in her, The Sun has learned. A total of 48 are needed to call the likely fatal vote on Mrs May’s leadership, but only Sir Graham knows the true number. While Mr Mercer blasted Mrs May’s lack of “vision”, the outspoken backbencher stopped short of calling for her to quit at a Resolution Foundation event.
Britain’s armed forces are up to £4 billion worse off because of a 200-year property deal that is set to cost the taxpayer even more in the future, the government’s spending watchdog will say today. The National Audit Office (NAO) says that the Ministry of Defence’s decision more than 20 years ago to sell 55,000 military houses to a property company and lease them back had ensured “a great deal for the landlord”. It accuses the MoD of being overcautious in its assumption in 1996 that house prices would rise at 1 per cent a year when in fact it was 3.9 per cent.
The Ministry of Defence’s privatisation of tens of thousands of military families’ homes has cost the taxpayer billions of pounds, according to the government spending watchdog. The National Audit Office said the policy of selling off more than 55,000 military homes to a private company and then leasing them back had cost up to £4.2bn, because the properties are now worth significantly more than when they were sold. The decision to sell the homes was made by John Major’s government in 1996. The private company, Annington Property Limited, paid £1.66bn for the properties, which are spread across 770 sites. The MoD continues to rent back most of the homes and is paying £178m a year to do so, according to the NAO. The watchdog said MoD assumptions in 1996 about the future value of the properties were “over-cautious”, although it accepted that the significant house price rise in recent years could not have been foreseen.
The Ministry of Defence has lost up to £4.2bn through a decision to sell off military housing in 1996, according to a report by the National Audit Office. The MoD decided to sell more than 55,000 service family homes to Annington Property Limited more than two decades ago in return for £1.66bn in cash upfront. But an NAO report published on Tuesday found that increases in housing prices over the time since the deal was struck mean the government is between £2.2bn and £4.2bn worse off than it would have been if it had kept them. And the report says the government now faces a battle to avoid paying billions of pounds to Annington’s private equity fund, managed by the offshore tycoon Guy Hands, in a new negotiation over renting back the estate to accommodate servicemen and women.
The taxpayer has lost out on as much as £4bn and been left paying rent on thousands of empty homes after a Ministry of Defence property deal, the Government’s spending watchdog has said. A deal to sell and then rent back housing for soldiers, sailors and airmen failed to predict the house price boom, but allowed a private firm to make an average of more than 13 per cent a year profit for two decades. The National Audit Office (NAO) said the agreement signed under John Major’s government had cost the public sector “a great deal”, but had proved highly profitable for the private landlord. The report also suggests the deal risks getting worse for the public purse because the MoD is not ready for an upcoming reassessment after 25 years of discounted rents.