Brexit negotiations

Times
Brussels negotiators want Britain to drop plans to carry out criminal record checks on more than three million EU citizens who can apply to settle here permanently after Brexit. Under British proposals, everyone from an EU country who wanted to stay would be checked to ensure that they did not have a serious criminal past. It is understood that the government is happy for Britons living in Europe to be subjected to the same test. During three days of technical talks on citizens’ rights, however, British sources said it became clear that the EU was unhappy with its proposal. It is demanding that Britain soften its approach and carry out checks only where it had a “reasonable suspicion” of past crimes.

Independent
Brussels is seeking to block the UK Government from carrying out criminal record checks on EU nationals who apply for settled status in Britain post Brexit.  EU negotiators want the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to oversee the implementation of any agreement on citizens’ rights, a move which has received criticism from the UK. Britain’s current proposals would see anyone who has already lived in the UK for five years given a new “settled status”, securing their position in the country.

Times
The EU is demanding that its citizens living in Britain are able to marry non-EU citizens and bring those people to live with them in Britain in perpetuity and without restriction. In contrast Britain believes that they should be treated in the same way as UK citizens — who can only bring family members to the country if they have the income to support them and the person coming in successfully passes a language test. The EU says that its citizens must be able to go to the European Court of Justice to enforce their rights under the agreement. Britain entirely rejects this, saying that UK courts are perfectly capable of enforcing their rights under the agreement.

Guardian
British people living in the European Union  could lose the right to live in another EU member state after Brexit, it emerged at the end of talks in Brussels. British officials raised the issue with their European counterparts during three-and-a-half days of intense technical talks. The EU made clear it would not move without a reciprocal offer for European nationals living in Britain that would allow them to move to another EU country and return to the UK. The discussions underscore the uncertainty facing nearly 5 million people caught on the wrong side of the Brexit divide, although both the UK and the EU have made citizens’ rights a top priority in Brexit negotiations.

Westmonster
Free healthcare for British citizens in EU countries could be scrapped by Brussels after Brexit. European Commission officials reportedly told the Government today that Brits will no longer be included in the European Health Insurance Card scheme after March 2019. Currently, the EHIC sees foreign hospitals treat Brits and then claim costs back from the NHS afterwards – we do the same with EU nationals in the UK. But in what appears to be a wholly spiteful move, this agreement is set to be scrapped. David Davis said the government would carry on paying the £155m-a-year-bill, which makes the EU’s actions look even worse – it’s nothing more than a token two fingers up to Britain. It’s especially bad considering Theresa May has already made a “fair and serious offer” to EU citizens living in Britain, allowing them to apply for settled status. But that was on the condition that British citizens living abroad would maintain their rights. So has the EU just kiboshed its own citizens getting a good deal too? Remainers need to a look at this and realise what we’re going up against here – a spiteful, vengeful dictatorship that’s more concerned with political point scoring than doing what’s right for unwell human beings.

Independent
The second round of the Brexit talks have failed to produce a breakthrough on key disputes with the UK, the EU’s chief negotiator has said. Michel Barnier said the British Government was still failing to provide sufficient “convergence” on either the UK’s exit bill or the future rights of citizens. Mr Barnier said the EU would not give way on its insistence that the rights of citizens should be guaranteed by the European Court of Justice – an apparent red line for the UK. Warning there was a “fundamental divergence”, he told a Brussels press conference: “Citizens must be able to identify the legal certainty that they need for their day-to-day lives.” The talks would not move onto future trade – Britain’s priority – until the UK had provided the “clarification needed” on both citizens and the so-called “divorce bill”, he made clear. Mr Barnier also said the UK must clarify, in the next session, how it intends to maintain the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland after leaving the EU.

Breitbart
Britain and a frustrated European Union hesitantly edged forward during their first full divorce negotiation session this week, though it became clear Thursday that one of the biggest stumbling blocks will be agreeing which court will have the final say in settling legal disputes after Brexit. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, urged Britain to flesh out its positions on a variety of issues that need to be dealt with before discussions on a wide-ranging trade deal to follow the country’s exit from the bloc can begin. He asked for a clear British plan on how much it should pay, the rights of citizens living in each other’s nations and how to keep make sure that the handling of the land border with Ireland doesn’t negatively impact on business and on the Northern Ireland peace process. “This week’s experience has shown, we make better progress when our respective positions are clear,” Barnier said, in a comment that highlighted the bloc’s impatience with the British foot-dragging to start discussions following the June 2016 referendum that backed Brexit.

Trade

Independent
The EU will refuse to sign any trade deal with the UK unless Theresa May guarantees that she will not use Brexit to rip up workers’ rights, its chief negotiator has warned. Brussels has toughened the tests for a deal, as the exit talks broke up in acrimony after four days with no breakthrough on the key disputes of citizens’ rights and the divorce bill. Michel Barnier, the chief negotiator, said Britain must give assurances it will not seek “unfair competition” after Brexit by watering down environmental and social protections. He also laid bare his frustration over the Government’s failure to agree it must meet its financial obligations, warning of an “explosion” across Europe if Britain refuses to pay up. Mr Barnier underlined the urgent need for Britain to change its approach, saying: “If we do not find that trust, and if we cannot find an agreement on settling the accounts, there will be no trust later.”

Westmonster
Britain can become the epicentre of global trade once we leave the EU, according to a delegation of Spanish business leaders. The UK’s existing reputation, its location and the fact the pound is more reputable than the Euro are all reasons why Britain has the potential to become a commercial hub. Gerard Lopez, president of Spanish IT company Plexus, said: “The economy, its geographic location and a currency that is respected could make the UK the hub that has the advantages of a certain independence with all the advantages of being an accepted trade partner to the EU and the US. “There’s a role to be played as a quasi-independent.”

Morning Star
EUROPEAN UNION chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier insisted yesterday that trade deal talks may stall unless Britain is clear about its stance on the bill for leaving the bloc. Speaking at the end of the second week of talks with Britain’s Brexit Secretary David Davis, Mr Barnier demanded clarity on citizens’ rights as well as questions over the border with Ireland. He said there had been some areas of agreement about Britons living on the continent and EU nationals living in Britain. But Brussels’s demand that Britain still be subject to European Court of Justice rulings is a stumbling block since it would leave aspects of migration and economic policy at the discretion of a foreign court. There was also disagreement over “the rights of future family members, or the exports of certain social benefits,” he said, which would require flexibility from both sides.

Independent
Securing a free trade deal with the European Union should be “one of the easiest in human history”, according to Cabinet minister Liam Fox, as he insisted Britain could also “survive” without a deal. The comments from the International Trade Secretary, who will today meet with the director general of the World Trade Organisation, come as Brexit Secretary David Davis returns to Brussels to resume negotiations with his EU counterparts.  But downplaying the importance of securing a free trade deal with the bloc, Mr Fox told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Britain could “survive” if negotiations collapsed and the UK was forced to crash out.  Mr Fox added: “Well we don’t want to have no deal – it’s much better if a deal than no deal. We can of course survive with no deal and we have to go into a negotiation with those on the other side knowing that’s what we think. 

Post-Brexit

Telegraph
Foreign criminals will be allowed to remain in Britain after Brexit, it emerged on Thursday night, as a fresh row broke out over the UK’s right to deport European Union convicts. Brussels is trying to prevent Britain from rooting out and deporting EU citizens with serious criminal convictions by claiming that blanket criminal records checks are unlawful. In a major clash over citizens’ rights, the EU has demanded the Government drops plans to vet all three million European citizens who are expected to apply for the right to remain in Britain after Brexit. It would mean thousands of foreign criminals being allowed to stay in the UK.

Sky News
The UK and Brussels have “fundamental” disagreements over citizens’ rights, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said. Michel Barnier also insisted there must be “clarification” on Britain’s position on a number of issues. It follows the second set of four-day talks with Brexit Secretary David Davis on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Speaking at a joint news conference, Mr Davis said talks had been “robust but constructive”. “Clearly, there’s a lot left to talk about and further work before we can resolve this.” “Ultimately getting to a solution will require flexibility from both sides,” he added.

Mail
The Cabinet has agreed to pursue a ‘soft-landing’ transition from the EU that could see free movement continue in all but name until 2022. A senior government source told the Daily Mail that Remainers had declared victory in their battle for a lengthy transition period, despite fears it will slow the process of taking back control of Britain’s borders. The source claimed leading Brexiteers such as Liam Fox, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have now signed up to the idea of a substantial ‘implementation phase’ after the UK leaves in 2019, in order to give business and government time to adjust to departure from the EU.  In return, Remainers such as Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd have finally accepted the idea that the UK will ultimately leave both the single market and the customs union.

Times
Theresa May is ready to offer EU citizens free movement to Britain for up to two years after Brexit under plans devised by Philip Hammond. The chancellor is understood to believe that he has the support of every cabinet minister for a transitional deal after Britain leaves the European Union in 2019. A new immigration regime would be put in place after the two-year period. Yesterday, however, it emerged that Brussels wanted to restrict the free movement of British citizens. More than a million Britons living on the Continent would have the right to remain in the country where they were living but would lose their automatic right to live or work in another EU state.

Sky News
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has told Sky News that he “doesn’t have a problem” with a Brexit implementation period. Dr Fox, who has previously suggested a transition deal should last months and not years, said an implementation period of “a couple of years” might be “common sense”. This is because, according to Dr Fox, there was now “some uncertainty” as to whether Brexit Secretary David Davis will be able to conclude a trade deal with the EU by March 2019. Speaking to me at the World Trade Organisation headquarters in Geneva, he said: “There’s been a lot of talk as you know about an implementation period in the UK.

Guardian
The British cabinet has accepted that free movement of people for up to four years after Britain leaves the EU will be part of a Brexit transition deal, according to a senior source. As the EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, underlined the need for clarity on the British side at the end of the latest round of exit negotiations, soft Brexiters in the cabinet are now confident they have achieved a consensus about an “off the shelf” transition deal. The claim that a collective view has been reached comes after weeks of a brutal briefing war over competing visions of Brexit since the general election wiped out Theresa May’s majority, culminating in the prime minister’s admonition this week that there is “no such thing as an unsackable minister”, and sowing confusion in Brussels about the reliability of the British negotiating position. But as David Davis  concluded Brexit talks in Brussels on Thursday, the senior cabinet source told the Guardian that the mood has shifted significantly and that ministers now hoped to agree a deal as soon as possible to give certainty to British business.

Immigration

Independent
The Government will not be able to control immigration after Brexit if it does not take steps to tackle the “woefully inadequate” information it currently relies upon, according to a new report from from peers. The Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee said current data does not give an accurate picture on the flow of migrants in and out of the country each year. It warns that immigration policy will be made “in the dark” if it does not instigate fundamental change in the way it produces the numbers. Committee chairman Lord Forsyth of Drumlean said: “The Government must have reliable statistics on migration before it formulates new policy, otherwise it will be making crucial decisions – of vital importance to the country’s businesses – in the dark.

EU

Express
BRITAIN was offered a surprise olive branch over its plan to leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) tonight by the bloc’s openly federalist Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt. In a conciliatory intervention the liberal MEP told peers Brussels was open to an “international agreement” on any Brexit deal which should not be “unilaterally” governed by either side. He said that whilst eurocrats will insist the ECJ “plays a role” in policing the rights of EU citizens after Brexit, they have made no demands over “the extent of it”. Mr Verhofstadt’s remarks on the issue come after his EU Commission counterpart, Michel Barnier, appeared to suggest the Efta court could play a part in breaking the impasse.  The former Belgian prime minister made the comments when providing evidence to the House of Lords’ EU Committee, which grilled him during a session in Brussels last Wednesday.  Transcripts of his evidence, published for the first time today, will provide heart to British negotiators that even the most ardent europhiles are prepared to compromise over the role of the ECJ. 

Times
Britain has accused the European Union of judicial imperialism by demanding that the European Court of Justice enforce the rights of its citizens living in the UK after Brexit. Senior government officials said that it was “unprecedented” for another country or bloc like the EU to demand that its court be allowed to overrule judgments made in Britain. They said that agreeing to the EU’s demand would effectively give EU citizens living in the UK additional rights that British people would not enjoy. However, there was little sign yesterday that the EU was prepared to back down. Michel Barnier, the commission’s chief negotiator, described it as a “fundamental” disagreement.

Sun
EU citizens could get “free movement to Britain for up two years after Brexit” in a new offer from Theresa May under plans drawn up by Philip Hammond. The chancellor is understood to believe every cabinet minister supports his bid for a transitional deal when Britain leaves the European Union in 2019. The Times reports a new immigration regime would be put in place after the two-year period. Brussels now wants to restrict the free movement of British citizens, by allowing more than a million to remain in the European country where they are living but barring them from moving to live or work in another EU state. Since last month’s general election, Hammond has been pushing for a far-reaching deal which would include keeping the EU customs arrangements until a free-trade agreement is secured.

Independent
British people living in the EU face losing their automatic right to move to another member state after Brexit, as the exit talks turn increasingly sour. It emerged that Brussels has threatened to, for example, make it harder for someone currently living in Germany from relocating to France or Italy, once Britain leaves the EU.  The EU said its stance would not change unless Britain agreed to allow its nationals living in Britain to move to another EU country and then return to the UK. Under the Government’s plans, the 3m EU citizens in the UK will be stripped of their right to return if they leave “for more than two years, unless they have strong ties here”. EU officials said they would be pushing to resolve the fresh disagreement when the negotiations resume in August and then September.

Express
EU bosses have provoked outrage by telling Britain that it will have to give their criminals full rights to stay as a price for a deal over citizens rights. With the second round of
Brexit talks concluding in acrimony today, the European Commission has demanded that Britain should not carry out criminal checks on the 3.2 million EU citizens in the UK. The British team was also forced to warn the European Commission that it needs to show British expats “respect” after tabling a worse offer for them than Britain has for EU citizens in the UK. In an insulting move Michel Barnier’s negotiating team have said that the 1.2 million British citizens living in the EU will not be allowed to travel unrestricted between the 27 countries instead their rights would only be protected in the member state they currently live in.

Mirror
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has demanded more detail from Britain on its ‘divorce bill’ after four days of intense talks in Brussels. Michel Barnier also warned of a “fundamental divergence” with Britain on the other key sticking point – the rights of 3.2million EU citizens in the UK. He said Brussels believed citizens’ rights should be backed by the European Court of Justice, an issue that’s a British red line. The comments are a blow to Brexit Secretary David Davis, who returned to Brussels today to round off the monthly talks after spending only a few hours in them on Monday with no notes. Despite admitting there were “many areas of divergence” and “a lot left to talk about”, Mr Davis insisted there was also “a lot to be positive about”.

Sun
MICHEL Barnier has blasted David Davis for a “lack of clarity” on the so-called EU “divorce bill” as four days of Brexit talks break up with little progress. But the UK’s Brexit Secretary struck a more positive tone at today’s Brussels press conference, saying he is “encouraged by progress” on a range of key issues. The pair will now hold the first meeting on ‘UK soil’, over a lunch of Scottish scallops and British lamb to round off this week’s round of gruelling talks. However the mood may be frosty after Mr Barnier took a swipe at the British side – telling reporters there are still “fundamental” disagreements between the two sides. 
The EU’s chief negotiator said there had been some areas of agreement about how Brits living abroad and EU nationals living in the UK should be treated after Brexit. But he said Brussels believed citizens’ rights should be backed by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Express
MICHEL Barnier warned British peers the EU will go into meltdown as the result of an economic “explosion” caused by the UK refusing to pay any Brexit bill, fresh evidence published for the first time today reveals. In comments likely to provide a boost to British officials the bloc’s chief negotiator warned there would be total chaos across the continent with thousands of publicly financed programmes having to be scaled down or scrapped. The Frenchman’s candid remarks came in newly published transcripts of evidence he gave before the House of Lords EU Committee, which grilled him during at a special meeting convened in the Belgian capital last week.  Speaking to peers Mr Barnier admitted for the first time that the EU would be prepared to accept payment of any financial settlement “spread over time” rather than as a massive lump sum, as previously demanded. 

LibDems

Independent
The new Liberal Democrat leader has called on pro-EU Conservative MPs to show courage and fight a hard Brexit, saying: “This process can be stopped.” Sir Vince Cable told 
The Independent he believed many Tories were “holding their fire” and could be persuaded to join a cross-party campaign to force Theresa May to change course. “The question is how many will be sufficiently courageous and forthright to come out,” he said, just moments after being crowned leader. “We will give leadership on this issue. We will reach out to them [MPs], left and right.  “But it’s up to them as to whether they are willing to stand up and fight. If they are willing to, then this process can be stopped and the damage can be massively reduced.” The aim would be to to keep the UK in the EU single market and customs union, as well as preserve collaboration on research with European partners, he said.

Sky News
Sir Vince Cable has offered voters the possibility of an “exit from Brexit” after being confirmed as the new leader of the Liberal Democrats. The former business secretary, 74, succeeds Tim Farron, who stood down in the wake of the General Election because of questions around his faith. The June election saw the Lib Dems increase their tally of MPs by from eight to 12, a modest revival after being almost wiped out in 2015. Sir Vince, who is the party’s oldest ever leader, said the Government’s handling of Brexit was taking the UK towards the “disastrous outcome” of crashing out of the EU. Negotiations were being conducted by a “dysfunctional, disorganised, disunited” Government, whose strategy was devised before the full complexity of Brexit became apparent, he said, and during a time when Theresa May had “serious political authority”, something she has now lost.

Crime

Times
Rising violence has helped to push crime to its highest level in a decade, with almost five million offences in the past year, it was revealed yesterday. Violent crime increased by 18 per cent. Knife crime, gun offences and robbery helped to drive up overall crime by 10 per cent in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics said. The 723 homicides included the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster but even when those cases were excluded the murder rate rose by 9 per cent. It was the largest annual increase in overall police recorded crime in a decade and separate figures showed that officer numbers had fallen to their lowest level for more than 30 years.

Guardian
The latest set of police recorded crime figures published on Thursday showing accelerating double-digit rises across England and Wales spells serious political trouble for Theresa May and her home secretary, Amber Rudd. When it came to crime, May was a lucky home secretary. She was able to confound warnings of “Christmas for Criminals” despite cutting police budgets by 18% and overseeing a 19,000 reduction in police officer numbers because for her five years in charge the crime rate went in one direction only – down. But this latest set of official crime police figures show that this is no longer necessarily true. In the last three years there have been year-on-year rises of 3% in 2015, 8% in 2016 and now 10% in 2017. True, there is a debate about how much of those increases have been driven by changes in police recording practices, rather than actual increases in crime. But the official statisticians are now clear that they, at least in part, are a factor in a number of offences.

BBC Salaries

Mail
At least ten female BBC presenters are considering taking legal action against the Corporation over its gender pay gap. News of the planned lawsuit emerged last night as panicked BBC bosses were desperately scrambling to stop rival broadcasters poaching Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis. On Wednesday the BBC was forced to declare that only a third of its 96 top earners were women – and the top seven were all men. The female presenters, led by Woman’s Hour host Jane Garvey, were left furious by the revelations and have been contacting each other to work out the best way to force the BBC to close the pay gap. Using ‘strength in numbers’, they plan to demand equal wages with men or mount a joint lawsuit against the broadcaster. 

Breitbart
A high proportion of top earners at the BBC have railed against Brexit and controlled migration, voicing broadly left-wing views. With Wednesday’s disclosure of BBC salaries, funded by ordinary Brits forced to pay the TV license fee, many people have a renewed interest in the views promoted by those they sustain. Strikingly, the list of 100 BBC employees contains few right-wingers or prominent supporters of Brexit – Andrew Neil, who edits the pro-Brexit magazine 
The Spectator, being perhaps a lonely exception. Gary LinekerThe former footballer and presenter was the second most highly-paid person at the BBC. In recent months, he has become a well known pro-mass migration activist, accusing people who disagree with him of being racist and bigoted.

Telegraph
At least ten female BBC presenters will consider legal action against the BBC if the corporation does not close the gender pay gap, in a revolt by women who did not appear on the £150,000 list. The women, household names from radio and television, were furious to learn that male colleagues who shared their job descriptions are significantly better paid. Since the list of the BBC’s highest earners was published on Wednesday, female presenters  have been contacting each other to discuss the way forward. The number is expected to grow in the coming days. They will approach management together, using a “strength in numbers” strategy, to demand their earnings are brought in line with those of male counterparts. The BBC will be in breach of employment law if it is found to pay men and women different salaries for “like work”.

Mail
Gary Lineker’s agent has claimed the huge pay gap between men and women is the fault of the agents who represent the female talent. Jon Holmes made the comments today as the BBC faced a backlash over its list of top earners which revealed only a third of its top earners were women and his client earns around £300 per minute. During an interview, he said: ‘I can only speak for sport but it is a gross failure for an agent if their clients are doing the same job (as men) on less money. ‘The broadcaster is to blame too, they should pay them the same money.’ He added: ‘If you go on a negotiating course they will tell you there is no one way to negotiate. I will say it’s better to lay your marker down, and as high as possible. The danger is they can’t afford it and run away.

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