THERESA May is to propose an immediate break from the EU after the transition period in a long-awaited plan to be revealed to Cabinet today, (Thursday). The plans, to be discussed at a Cabinet meeting this afternoon (Thursday), suggest Britain will diverge from a series of key EU rules and regulations but keep the power to go back in at a later stage, according to senior British officials. Three areas where the Government wants to diverge after Brexit to be agricultural subsidies, financial services regulation and trade policy, an official told Politico. Another official added free movement and recouping EU money for public services were also at the top of the agenda. While the proposal reportedly has support within the Cabinet it is likely to spark concerns within the Tory ‘soft Brexit’ camp that it could lead to a hard Brexit, and potentially be damaging to the economy.
The founder of a Remain-supporting campaign group that is seeking to overturn Brexit has accused the organisation of being “undemocratic” and said it must disclose its financial backers. Gina Miller, who founded Best for Britain, said the public has a “right to know” who is backing the organisation as she criticised its tactics. Her intervention comes after The Telegraph disclosed that George Soros, the billionaire known as the man who “broke the Bank of England”, is backing the campaign. The group is trying to recruit major donors in an attempt to undermine Theresa May. It also plans to target MPs and convince them to vote against the final Brexit deal in a bid to trigger a second referendum or another election.
BRITAIN could be made to adopt “Berlin time” after Brexit under plans hatched by euro MPs. The EU Parliament today voted to examine whether Daylight Saving Time (DST) should be scrapped in the future. But, in a cause championed by Brits, the chamber rejected a motion explicitly calling for the 100-year tradition to be culled. Instead, MEPs called on eurocrats to examine the pros and cons of putting the clocks forward in Spring every year. They have previously commissioned research which claims the move has no tangible positive effects. But scientists have linked the change to health problems including an increase in heart attacks and strokes. Under EU law all member states must adopt the same rules on DST to avoid a patchwork of time zones that would cause chaos for businesses. Whilst Britain will be free from EU law after a transition period there would be huge pressure from industry for us to mirror any change.
David Davis attacked Brussels last night, accusing Brexit negotiators of bad faith in making “discourteous” threats to punish Britain. The Brexit secretary hit out at new demands that Britain follow all EU rules during the transition period or face arbitrary retaliation. He was responding to a five-page European Commission legal text that would give Brussels powers to stop flights, suspend market access and impose tariffs in the event of a dispute with the UK. His intervention is a sign of government concern that European leaders are dragging their feet on agreeing a transition deal by March. In an interview, Mr Davis said the paper had not been published in good faith and was unacceptable.
David Davis has accused the European Union of acting in bad faith and using “discourteous language” in publishing plans that would enable the bloc to sanction the UK during a transition period. Lashing out the European Commission, the Brexit Secretary said he regarded the legal document from Brussels – published this week – as “unwise” and a “political document”. The draft text from Brussels said that EU leaders had requested a mechanism to “suspend certain benefits” including “participation in the single market” if the UK breaches the bloc’s laws and regulations during the two-year transition period. Brexiteers were outraged by the leak of the document, fearing that Britain will become a “vassal state” after formally leaving the EU in March 2019.
David Davis has described a leaked EU paper suggesting it could cut UK access to the single market if there was a post-Brexit row as “discourteous”. A draft document leaked on Wednesday suggested any dispute could mean UK benefits being suspended in the “transition period” after Brexit. The UK Brexit secretary said it had not been “in good faith” to publish it. He also said every economic forecast about Brexit had been “proven wrong so far”. Official forecasts out earlier suggested it would mean a slowdown in growth across the UK. Mr Davis was speaking after the prime minister chaired meetings of the Brexit cabinet committee, aimed at sketching out what the UK wanted its future relationship with the EU to look like. He said the atmosphere had been “very constructive” and there had been “lots of things resolved” but admitted there was “still progress to be made”.
David Davis has accused the European commission of acting in “bad faith”, just as Brussels rejected claims that its officials had hampered progress in negotiations by cancelling a series of meetings. Government sources said several meetings had been abruptly called off at short notice by Brussels, despite the urgency of agreeing a transition deal. EU27 officials hit back, denying that any meetings in the formally published calendar for negotiations had been cancelled. They suggested the UK had sought to “raise extra issues suddenly” – a request that was denied because the commission believed it would breach transparency rules. The spat over cancelled meetings formed the backdrop for Davis’s strongly worded statement after Thursday’s meeting of the Brexit “war cabinet”. He described the language used in a commission document on the transition period, published this week, as “discourteous”.
David Davis says the EU was “unwise” to publish a paper containing proposals to sanction Britain during any Brexit transition period. In the first major bust-up regarding the next stage of negotiations, the Brexit Secretary complained the proposals were “not in good faith”. He said the talks were meant to be about “building a bridge” but that instead Brussels had come up with a “political document” that “is not the aim of this exercise”. Mr Davis was responding to a draft EU paper that suggested suspending Britain’s access to the single market in the event of a dispute between the two sides during the transition.
Sky News has published selected, leaked figures from one part of a UK government analysis into post-Brexit trade, in another attempt to scare Britons away from leaving the European Union. The leaks comes as the government analysis is distributed to Members of Parliament on the Exiting the EU Subcommittee, which hosts a number of pro-Remain MPs. The Murdoch-owned news network — out of favour with its parent company — reported Wednesday evening: “Britain’s retail sector could be hit by a 20% rise in costs after Brexit”. But a government spokesman pushed back on the claim, highlighting how Sky’s reporting was only part of the analysis the British government has undertaken, and does not reflect the UK’s negotiating position with Brussels.
THE Treasury’s secret Brexit analysis shows UK fishermen will be better off under every Brexit scenario – proving another Remain campaign pledge wrong. During the referendum David Cameron told British fishermen they were “better off from within” the Common Fisheries Policy, which limits the amount of fish they can catch in UK waters. But the sensitive Treasury document that forecasted the economic effect of three Brexit models – leaked to Buzzfeed last month – said Britain’s fishing industry will be better off under every possibility. Crashing out of the EU without a deal would leave Britain trading with Brussels on World Trade Organisation terms – freeing UK fishermen from restrictive EU fishing quotas. Under a Free Trade Agreement with the EU the Treasury also reckons fishermen would be better off. And even if the Government opts for the closest partnership and stays in the European Economic Area with Brussels fishermen would be better off because fishing isn’t included in the single market.
Germany is the biggest breaker of European Union (EU) rules, it has been revealed, as the bloc threatens sanctions against Britain after Brexit and on Hungary for refusing forced migrant quotas. Angela Merkel’s government is currently facing 74 infringement proceedings for failing to promptly and adequately implement EU rules in German law, new figures from Germany’s Economics Ministry reveal. “We’re no longer the model pupil – we’re bottom of the class,” Green Party politician Markus Tressel told Handelsblatt after his party requested the data from the ministry. “The government performs badly in converting EU directives into national law, especially in the areas of traffic and environment,” Mr. Tressel added.
The European Union believes Britain will not be ready to make a full break from the bloc by the end of 2020 as Brexit transition plans foresee and several senior EU figures said they are bracing for a much longer goodbye. The British government may be thinking on similar lines. Several diplomats and Brussels officials familiar with the discussions said a host of unresolved issues, including the Irish border, and British in-fighting over what kind of future trade relationship to ask for left many convinced the transition will end up being longer. Two senior EU officials said British negotiators appeared to be sounding out other governments’ attitudes to an extension to the 21-month transition currently on offer, although others said they believed British Prime Minister Theresa May still aims to have a free trade deal negotiated to start in January 2021.
THE shadow business secretary has confessed Labour’s Brexit plan could stop the UK from striking global free trade deals. Rebecca Long-Bailey told MPs there was a “possibility” remaining in the EU customs union would make it more tricky for the Government to reach future agreements with nations outside the bloc. Mrs Long-Bailey added Labour “wouldn’t rule anything out at all” in terms of the UK’s future trading relationship with the bloc. Brexiteers regard the potential to sign trade deals with the rest of the world as one of the main benefits of leaving the EU. The shadow business secretary’s remarks could cause anxiety among “Hard Brexiteers” who want to to see the UK leave the single market and customs union. Anti-EU MPs are said to be fearing “Brino”, which refers to “Brexit in name only”.
Jeremy Corbyn told Michel Barnier that he was open to keeping Britain in the customs union after Brexit, a memo circulated to European nations suggests. The Labour leader met Mr Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, in London on Monday, where Mr Corbyn promised to run the Brexit negotiations “very differently” if he came to power – and dangled a raft of possible concessions to the EU. According to a memo of the meeting, drawn up after a debrief between Mr Barnier and ambassadors from the other 27 EU nations, Mr Corbyn said that he was willing to allow the UK to submit to the rulings of the European Court of Justice should he become prime minister. The document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, also states that Mr Corbyn said he could offer a “unilateral guarantee” on the rights of EU citizens during transition.
Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to put clear “red” water between himself and Theresa May in the Brexit negotiations points to the central dilemma facing Europe. EU diplomats are adamant that they have no wish to meddle in the internal affairs of the UK, but they are equally clear that Mrs May’s apparent paralysis in the face of internal party divisions is making the negotiation impossible. While Mr Corbyn’s overtures were noted by Mr Barnier, it is difficult to find too many decision-makers in Brussels who think that either a lurch to the left, or indeed to the right, will solve the problem. The collapse of a May government, a bloody Tory party leadership contest and, very possibly, another General Election, would only further postpone a process which Europe now wishes to get on with, to clear space for addressing their own deficiencies.
Guido hears Tory MPs and members are grumbling about proposed changes to the Conservative Party constitution which they fear will lead to further centralised control. Later this year the National Convention is meeting to discuss a series of draft changes, including deleting entirely the section of the constitution which spells out the way candidates are selected. Instead selections could be determined by the Committee on Candidates, which could also decide the procedures for selecting candidates. This has sparked grassroots fears that they will have even less influence on selections, and that the power to determine who can be a Tory MP will be concentrated among a small group of centrally appointed officials. Separately, Guido understands the Tories have been holding Party Assessment Boards in the last couple of weeks to approve new wannabe MPs to the candidates list. Early prep for 2022… The second change causing concern is the proposed abolition of Constituency Associations.
YOUNG motorists in Britain could be banned from driving at night under shock government proposals. A “Graduated Driving Licence” has been proposed to force 17 to 24-year-olds off the roads at night. Young drivers would be hit with restrictions for a two-year period while the new driver gets more experience. The move, for drivers after they pass their test, is aimed at slashing the number of youngsters killed on the roads. As well as the night-time driving ban, a restriction would also be slapped on the engine size allowed for new drivers to stop “boy racers”. The drink-drive limit could also be reduced for newly passed drivers, who would also face a second test and a probationary period. The scheme mirrors those in Australia, New Zealand and the US where newly-qualified drivers cannot drive after daylight or carry passengers under 25 unless supervised.
In a fantastic breakthrough, the government has said that it wants to hear what you think about the sale of puppies by pet shops, online dealers and other third party sellers. Our Lucy’s Law campaign is calling for these sales to be banned because they rely on animals supplied by puppy farms. In announcing the public consultation yesterday, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “We need to do everything we can to make sure the nation’s much loved pets get the right start in life. “From banning the sale of underage puppies to tackling the breeding of dogs with severe genetic disorders, we are cracking down on sellers who have a total disregard for their dogs’ welfare. “This is a further step to raise the bar on animal welfare standards.” The “call for evidence” has been launched on the website of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and you can respond to it here.
The Government is looking to ban puppy sales by pet shops and third party dealers, Michael Gove has said. The environment secretary said on Wednesday a ban is being explored as part of a package to drive up welfare standards that includes improved licensing for breeders due to come into force later this year. A ban would mean anyone buying or adopting a dog would have to deal directly with the breeder or an animal rehousing centre. However, a study for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) concluded last year that a ban on third party sales would likely lead to an illegal market for puppies. Paula Boyden, veterinary director for Dogs Trust, welcomed Gove’s announcement, saying: “We are delighted that the Government is exploring a ban on third party puppy sales and implore them to fast track crucial steps before a ban is implemented. “If a ban was introduced now, puppy farmers could exploit loopholes such as setting themselves up as unregulated re-homing centres or sanctuaries. Licensing and inspection of dog breeders and sellers must also be stronger to ensure that everyone involved in the trade is on the radar of local authorities.