Brexit

Express
LEAVE campaigners have welcomed Theresa May’s plan to go for the “full works” with a “clean Brexit” to completely free Britain from Brussels rule. The Prime Minister is due to make a keynote speech on Brexit in Lancaster House on Tuesday where she is expected to confirm that Britain will also leave the single market and customs union. The intervention is crucial because it means the Government is committed to Britain being able to make its own trade deals, no longer be subject to the European Court of Justice and end free movement. A source has said that she intends to go for “the full works” with Brexit and ignore pleas from bitter Remoaners, including former Tory minister Anna Soubry, Lib Dem ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and former Labour leader Ed Miliband, to stay in the both the single market and customs union and be bound by Brussels rulings.

Independent
The government is prepared to abandon the single market, customs union and the European Court of Justice in order to achieve a clean break with the EU, Theresa May is expected to say this week. The Prime Minister will also call for “an end to the division” which has maintained a hold over the country since the referendum, in a speech which is expected to give the most detailed insight yet into her approach to the forthcoming talks with Brussels. But the reported announcements – which indicate a hard Brexit – have worried Remain campaigners, who branded it as an “an incredibly reckless move” by the Prime Minister, and one which she did not have a proper mandate for. Ms May is expected to say that the UK will regain full control of its borders, even at the price of single market membership, and leave the customs union in order to pursue international trade deals, the Sunday Telegraph reported. In addition, Ms May is likely to say that the European Court of Justice will no longer bind UK laws, something which the Prime Minster has been in favour of since her Home Office days. 

Times
Ministers are prepared to start a tax and trade war with Europe to ensure Britain’s economic prosperity, the chancellor said yesterday. Philip Hammond said that if the EU cut off the UK’s preferential access to the single market or tried to impose tariffs and trade restrictions, a “wounded” Britain would not lie down and accept the economic damage. The threat raises the prospect that after Brexit the UK would cut corporate tax rates to attract investment from other EU countries while imposing tariffs on European imports. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag Mr Hammond said he was optimistic that a reciprocal deal on market access could be struck. 

Mail
Philip Hammond warned yesterday that the Government will come out fighting with tax cuts if the EU tries to wound Britain by refusing a trade deal. In a tough stance backed by Number 10, the Chancellor said the UK may be forced to change its economic model if it is locked out of the single market post-Brexit. Theresa May will declare tomorrow that she is ready to pull the UK out of the single market, customs union and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in a clean break with Brussels. But, setting out her blueprint for global Britain, the Prime Minister will stress her determination to strike tariff-free trade deals with the EU that replicate the best aspects of our current arrangements – but without the free movement of workers. Yesterday, Mr Hammond was asked by a German newspaper if the UK could become a tax haven by further lowering corporation tax in order to attract businesses if Brussels denies a deal. 

Guardian
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has suggested Britain could transform its economic model into that of a corporate tax haven if the EU fails to provide it with an agreement on market access after Brexit. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Hammond said that if Britain were closed off from European markets after leaving the EU, it would consider abandoning a European-style social model with European-style taxation and regulation systems, and “become something different”. The chancellor made his remarks in response to the suggestion that “the impression on the European continent is that your government sees the future business model of the UK as being the tax haven of Europe”. Hammond responded that “most of us who had voted remain would like the UK to remain a recognisably European-style economy with European-style taxation systems, European-style regulation systems etc.

Independent
Britain is willing to rip up its economic model and become the tax haven of Europe if it is shut out of the EU’s single market, the Chancellor has suggested. In a stark warning to the other 27 EU countries, Philip Hammond said the UK is willing to do “whatever we have to” to bounce back after Brexit. The Chancellor gave a major interview on leaving the EU to the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, just days before Theresa May was due to reveal her Brexit plans in a speech on Tuesday. Mr Hammond admitted that if Britain leaves the EU and loses access to the European market, it could suffer “economic damage”. And he adopted a bullish tone, stating that the UK may have to move away from a European-style system and cut corporation tax in order to “regain competitiveness” on the world stage.

Express
Britain could fight a trade war with the EU if hardliners in Brussels punish the country for leaving, Chancellor Philip Hammond warned yesterday. In a toughening of the UK’s position after weeks of threats from bitter EU leaders, Mr Hammond has said the Government will do “whatever we have to” and ensure Britain is competitive. “The British people are not going to lie down and say, too bad, we’ve been wounded,” he added. “We will change our model, and we will come back, and we will be competitively engaged.” In an interview with a German newspaper, he made it clear that the UK will slash corporation tax among other measures which could see business flee from the failing eurozone. The significant intervention – fully backed last night by Downing Street – carries extra weight because Mr Hammond was previously seen as a Remainer.

BBC News
The UK may be forced to change its “economic model” if it is locked out of the single market after Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said. Mr Hammond said the government would not “lie down” and would “do whatever we have to do” to remain competitive. He had been asked by a German newspaper if the UK could become a “tax haven” by further lowering corporation tax. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn said his comments sounded like “a recipe for some kind of trade war with Europe”. Having so far refused to offer a “running commentary” on her plans, Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to spell out the most detail so far of her Brexit strategy in a speech on Tuesday. Reports have suggested she will signal pulling out of the EU single market and customs union, although Downing Street described this as “speculation”.

By-election

Telegraph
The UK Independence Party is the “main threat” to Labour in the Stoke on Trent Central by-election, a former Tory minister has said. Both Ukip and the Conservatives are preparing for a three way scrap with Labour for the midlands seat which is now vacant after Tristram Hunt quit to run the Victoria and Albert museum in London. The two parties were effectively tied at the last election with Ukip only winning 33 more votes than the Tories. Both need a 8.6 per cent swing to beat Labour. But Esther McVey, who was an Employment minister in the last Government, said Ukip had the best chance of winning the seat – which has been held by Labour for decades. Ms McVey, who was Conservative MP for Wirral West from 2010 to 2015, was asked on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show if the Conservatives should “stand back and let Ukip try and win the seat?” She replied: “In this instance I wouldn’t have the Conservative party in second place, I would have Ukip, who would be the main threat here. Paul Nuttall, the leader, I think it would be a good seat for him to go for.

BBC News
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed two upcoming by-elections as an opportunity to challenge the government. Asked if his Labour leadership was “toast” if the party did not hold on to seats in Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central, he said it was a chance to set out its policies on the NHS and Brexit. He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Labour would “fight very hard” to keep seats. Unite leader Len McCluskey said Mr Corbyn remained “on a learning curve” as leader of the Labour party. Mr Corbyn’s interview followed the resignation this week of Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central Tristram Hunt, who is quitting as an MP to take a job at the Victoria and Albert Museum. A by-election is also due after Jamie Reed left his Copeland seat to take up a position at the Sellafield nuclear power plant. Mr Corbyn, who said media coverage of Labour had not been “very fair”, said the by-elections were “an opportunity to challenge the government on the NHS, on the chaos of Brexit, the housing shortage, on zero hours contracts”.

Northern Ireland

Guardian
The Northern Ireland secretary, James Brokenshire, is expected to face calls to name the date for the second Stormont election in eight months. With Sinn Fein refusing to nominate a deputy first minister to replace Martin McGuinness, a snap election in late February or early March is on the cards – just as the government is preparing to trigger Brexit. McGuinness’s move was precipitated by the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal – a botched eco-scheme set to cost Stormont £490m – but the row has also reignited a range of other disputes dividing the DUP/Sinn Fein-led coalition. The reappointment process is one of a number of elements of the political crisis due to be raised in the assembly chamber on Monday. Emergency proposals aimed at reducing the RHI overspend will be tabled by DUP economy minister Simon Hamilton while Sinn Fein will also table motion of no confidence in DUP Speaker Robin Newton. 

Sky News
Northern Ireland’s devolved government is on the brink of collapse after a split in the power-sharing coalition. Sinn Fein has until 5pm today to nominate someone to succeed Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister. If the party refuses to do so, the Stormont Executive will cease to exist, forcing the British government to call an election. Theresa May’s Northern Ireland Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, told Sky News the Prime Minister was being kept informed. He said: “I will certainly be continuing to keep her updated as matters progress. “Obviously, she is considering these issues very, very closely and very, very carefully. “But ultimately, the issues that we’re dealing with at the moment are the relationships between the parties, how parties work together or don’t work together, as we’re currently experiencing.”

NHS

Independent
Hospitals across the UK are cancelling “urgent” cancer operations as the NHSwinter crisis worsens. Some patients have reportedly been told with just a day’s notice that their surgery has been postponed, with a leading surgeon saying it was “extremely worrying” that hospitals had resorted to the decisions. Cancer operations have previously held a protected status but the demand for beds and lack of social care capacity has encroached on that. Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, told The Observer: “Feedback from our members suggests that since the start of January, a large number of hospitals across the UK are now cancelling cancer surgery. This will be extremely worrying to patients and their families. “It is heartbreaking for a surgeon to have to explain to a patient who has cancer that their operation has had to be cancelled as there are no beds available. It is increasingly clear that no part of the system and no patient is immune from the pressure the NHS is experiencing.”

Trump

Times
Donald Trump will offer Britain a quick and fair trade deal with America within weeks of taking office to help make Brexit a “great thing”. Speaking to The Times in his first UK interview as president-elect, he revealed that he was inviting Theresa May to visit him “right after” he gets into the White House and wants a trade agreement between the two countries secured very quickly. Mr Trump also predicted that other countries would follow Britain’s lead in leaving the European Union, claiming it had been deeply damaged by the migration crisis. “I think it’s very tough,” he said. “People, countries want their own identity and the UK wanted its own identity.”

BBC News
The UK is “doing great” following its vote to leave the EU, US President-elect Donald Trump has said. In his first UK interview – with former Justice Secretary Michael Gove for the Times – Mr Trump said he thought the UK was “so smart in getting out”. Mr Trump promised a quick trade deal between the US and the UK after he takes office on Friday. He also criticised “obsolete” Nato and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policies. Mr Trump spoke to the Times and German newspaper Bild ahead of his inauguration on Friday. Mr Gove – who was a prominent Leave campaigner during last year’s referendum – asked Mr Trump whether the UK was “at the front of the queue” for a trade deal with the US following the Brexit vote. “I think you’re doing great, I think it’s going great,” he replied. The question referred to President Barack Obama’s comments last April that the UK would be “at the back of the queue” if it left the EU. 

Independent
Donald Trump has pledged to move “very quickly” in securing a trade agreement with Britain after Brexit and predicted that leaving the European Union would be a “great thing” for the UK. In an interview published in The Times with Michael Gove, the former Justice Secretary and prominent Leave campaigner, the President-elect suggested the fall in the value of the pound was “great” because “business is unbelievable in a lot of parts in the UK”. I think Brexit is going to be a great thing,” he added. “I thought the UK was so smart in getting out.” His comments came as sterling fell 1.5 per cent against the US dollar, to its lowest levels since October amid speculation Theresa May is preparing to announce she is willing to leave the EU’s tariff-free market in a major speech at Lancaster House on Tuesday. When asked whether he would move quickly on a potential trade deal once Britain has left the EU, Mr Trump, who is set to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on Friday, said: “Absolutley. Very quickly. I’m a big fan of the UK we’re gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides.”

Parliament

Times
The Houses of Parliament might have to close indefinitely if MPs refuse to move out for renovation work, a member of the restoration committee said yesterday. Up to 100 MPs of all parties are backing a campaign to allow them to to sit in the Lords while the work is carried out. Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who sits on the restoration and renewal joint committee, said that the rebellion risked delaying the project, adding to the cost and putting the building at risk. Under the original plan drawn up by MPs, peers and the consultants Deloitte, the whole of parliament would move out in 2023 for five to eight years for work costing £3.5 billion.

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