Great Repeal Bill

The Independent has turned its attention back to what used to be known as the Great Repeal Bill.

The Government’s so-called Great Repeal Bill should in fact be known as the “Great Continuity Bill”, the Brexit Secretary has said.
Speaking during a trip to Washington to address the US Chamber of Commerce, David Davis coined the phrase to reassure representatives of American businesses that they would be able to trade with the UK on the same terms as the EU for now.
“When I return to Britain over the weekend the first thing I do when I get back to Parliament will be taking through a thing we used to call the Great Repeal Bill, which actually is the Great Continuity Bill – it keeps in our law all the standards that are there now,” he said.
The Secretary of State’s comments follow a claim by EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that the UK appears to be experiencing a “nostalgia” for the benefits of the European Union. Mr Barnier, who was standing next to Mr Davis at the time, said the consequences of leaving the EU did not appear to have been considered in “sufficient depth” in the UK.
Mr Davis said the UK’s “overarching aim” in the Brexit talks was to secure a “successful future partnership” with the EU which delivers the “most seamless and frictionless trade in goods and services possible”.

Labour Party

But it seems the Parliamentary opposition is intending to change the Bill, says the Express.

LABOUR has demanded the Government make substantial changes to the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ – allowing the UK to remain in the single market, customs union and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after Brexit, a letter has revealed.
It comes after the party revealed its plot to force Theresa May into delivering a soft-Brexit with its deputy leader Tom Watson suggesting “it might be a permanent outcome of the negotiations”.
Ministers are due to introduce the ‘Great Repeal Bill’ to pull the UK from the EU for its second reading in the House of Commons on Thursday.
But ahead of the reading Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary has reportedly written to David Davis insisting the bill be altered to suit his party’s agenda.
Sir Keir Starmer has urged Mr Davis to amend the bill so that it does not rule out the UK staying in the single market, customs union and ECJ during a transition period, The Times reports.
Labour has also called for Parliament be given the right to replicate new European laws on workers’ rights, the environment and consumer protection that are passed by the EU after Brexit.

The Times also comments on the Bill.

Labour is to launch an all-out assault on the government’s “undemocratic” and “unacceptable” plans to legislate for Brexit, setting the scene for months of parliamentary warfare.
Ministers are due to introduce the so-called Great Repeal Bill for its second reading in the House of Commons on Thursday.
The bill incorporates most existing EU law into domestic legislation while repealing the act that took Britain into the EU in 1973.
But in a sign of the parliamentary battles ahead, Labour has written to David Davis, the Brexit secretary, demanding wholesale changes to the legislation and warning that it fails to guarantee “crucial rights and protections” for citizens.

The Guardian claims the free movement of people could be raised at this month’s conference.

Labour members could force a rethink of party policy on free movement and permanent membership of the single market, with Brexit set to overtake internal reform as the key topic dominating the autumn conference, according to senior sources.
Pro-EU MPs and activists are organising to get new commitments to the single market and the continuation of free movement on the agenda for the conference, which takes place in Brighton from 24-27 September.
Local constituency parties now have a fortnight to submit so-called contemporary resolutions for the party to debate, which must be on recently relevant topics.
The Labour campaign for free movement has organised a draft resolution backing the continuation of free movement, which it is encouraging members to submit to local parties to maximise its chances of debate on the conference floor.

And the Independent claims the party will push for continuation of membership of the single market.

Labour will push for Britain to remain within the single market permanently as it seeks to position itself as the party of soft Brexit, the party’s deputy leader has said.
Tom Watson said continued membership of the trade organisations after withdrawal from the European Union could be a “permanent outcome” of the Brexit negotiations.
His comments reflect a shift in Labour’s Brexit policy following shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer’s announcement that the UK should transitionally remain in the single market and the customs union for up to four years after Britain formally leaves the EU in 2019.
Pressed on whether Labour was the party of a soft Brexit, Mr Watson told BBC Newsnight: “Yes, you have seen Keir Starmer’s statement, we think that being part of the customs union and the single market is important in those transitional times because that is the way you protect jobs and the economy, and it might be a permanent outcome of the negotiations, but we have got to see how those negotiations go.”

The Mirror also reports Watson’s comments.

Britain could stay in the single market permanently after Brexit, Labour’s deputy leader dramatically claimed last night.
Tom Watson said staying in the market “might be a permanent outcome” despite both Theresa May and his boss Jeremy Corbyn saying Britain has to leave it.
In July Mr Corbyn confirmed Britain had to leave the single market in his view because it was “inextricably linked” to EU membership.
But in a big policy shift since then, the party has agreed to stay in both the market and the customs union during a transition period up to four years long after 29 March 2019.
Now influential Mr Watson, who is Labour’s elected deputy leader and Shadow Culture Secretary, has suggested that could end up being permanent.

Customs Union

A pro-EU group has warned that the UK should not leave the customs union, says the Independent.

Leaving the customs union would be “reckless and economically dangerous”, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations has warned.
Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Tory Anna Soubry, who co-chair the newly-formed group, led calls from cross-party MPs for the Government to permanently remain in the customs union.
They said making an “ideological choice” to “wrench” Britain out of the free trade group would “unilaterally surrender the best economic option for our country”.
A report by the group, titled The Case for Continued Customs Union Membership, states that the cost of leaving the customs union would be an estimated £25bn annually.
It adds that only through continued membership of the customs union can frictionless trade between the UK and EU continue.

But the Brexit secretary says there’s no option, says the Times.

Britain is unlikely to secure anything but a hard customs border with the European Union after Brexit, David Davis conceded yesterday.
Two weeks ago ministers announced proposals for an “innovative” and “unprecedented” approach to the UK-EU border that would remove the need for customs checks between Britain and Europe.
The UK said it would offer to collect duties on behalf of the EU for goods entering Britain that were bound for the single market. All goods would then have to be electronically tracked to ensure that the difference between any new UK tariff rates and existing rates in the EU was paid.

EU

On the Continent, the Express reports a former Brussels minister saying the bloc is being biased against the UK.

THE EUROPEAN Union’s position on the single market has been outed as “a contradiction” by a former Brussels minister.
Bruno Maçães, the former Europe Minister of Portugal, pointed out that while Brussels was willing to agree free trade deals with Canada and the US, it has failed to keep the same attitude with the UK.
Instead, Britain has faced a frosty Michel Barnier who has all-out refused to make any similar trade deal with his counterpart David Davis at this stage of exit negotiations.
Mr Maçães suggested the contradiction makes it seems as if there is one rule for Britain after Brexit and another for the rest of the world fuelling specualtion Brussels is determined to punish the UK.
He said: “There’s a contradiction in EU position that UK has not detected or used.
“For years it has stated that advantages of single market can be enjoyed outside – as part of Global Europe.

And the Express claims many on the Continent are worried about us leaving.

TWO-THIRDS of Germans are fearful of the negative effect Brexit will have on the European Union, according to a new poll.
Just 20 per cent of those polled by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for ZDF television can see the potential for long-term benefits in Europe following the UK’s decision to leave.
It also appears Germans do not hold out much hope for Britain’s future either, with 82 per cent believing the impact of Brexit will be negative on the UK, compared with just nine per cent who think the country will benefit in the long run.
The news comes after David Davis and EU negotiator Michel Barnier claimed little progress had been made on major issues in a hostile press conference at the conclusion of the latest round of Brexit talks yesterday.
Speaking in Brussels yesterday, Mr Davis said: “We did not get any decisive progress on any of the principle subjects.”

And it seems that Italy is about to challenge the EU on the single market, says the Express.

ITALY today stunned Brussels by openly challenging its authority on food labelling, in a shock move which could open up deep rifts between competing factions within the EU’s Single Market.
Rome has announced new laws requiring pasta and rice producers to list the country their crops come from – a flagrant breach of European law designed to discourage consumers from preferring local products.
It means that packets of Italy’s most famous foodstuff will now have to say whether or not the wheat used to produce it is homegrown, something likely to enrage farmers in other member states.
EU laws clearly state that producers should avoid “made in” labels, because they encourage consumers to buy local and in doing so undermine the view of the Single Market as an equal trade area.
Italy appears to have foreseen that its move would be legally challenged, and so decided to implement it through the national statute books without informing the EU Commission as is customary.

Northern Ireland

There are still negotiation problems over the Irish border says the Guardian.

The EU believes that there will have to be a “standalone” deal on Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic of Ireland, paving the way for a special status for the province after Brexit.
Senior sources at the European commission said a tailor-made solution that works for Ireland must be found.
When the third round of Brexit talks  ended on Wednesday, officials made it clear that the British proposal for a customs waiver on the border was a non-starter.
It said the plan was predicated on the EU suspending the application of its laws, namely checks on goods from the UK coming into Ireland, which will remain a member state.
Dublin believes the best solution for Northern Ireland is for the UK to remain in the customs union.

Brexit

In the wider Brexit negotiations, the Express says our negotiators are not giving up.

DAVID Davis today vowed to remain a “determined optimist” in the drive for a Brexit deal despite his increasingly bitter wrangle with EU negotiators.
The EU Exit Secretary acknowledged that the talks over Britain’s departure from the bloc were becoming “tense” and will only “get tougher” following an ill-tempered showdown earlier this week.
“There will be many more ripples along the way,” he said
And he joked that he was ready to be a “charming b**tard” to defend British interests in the discussions.
His remarks came soon after his Tory Cabinet colleague warned that Britain will not put up with “blackmail” from EU chiefs demanding a multi-billion “Brexit price”.

But the Mirror reports Davis’ EU counterpart saying his demands are ‘impossible’.

The EU’s Brexit chief has savaged Britain’s “impossible” demands and warned “time is flying” in a nightmare end to four days of talks.
Michel Barnier accused top Tory David Davis of failing to honour his obligations over Britain’s divorce bill as the pair clashed in an ice-cold press conference in Brussels.
Brexit Secretary Mr Davis insisted he was being “pragmatic” and there had been “concrete progress” on several issues in the third round of talks on leaving the EU.
He said: “The UK’s approach is substantially more flexible and pragmatic than the EU. We urge the EU to be more imaginative.” 

The Sun describes the eurocrat words as a ‘rant’.

EURO chief Guy Verhofstadt has launched a furious rant at the UK for demanding “flexibility” from Brussels with Brexit talks in deadlock.
The European Parliament’s lead negotiator claimed the rest of bloc has already bent over backwards to accommodate Britain’s demands.
Mr Verhofstadt, writing in the Telegraph, dismissed comments by David Davis earlier this week when he called for the EU to take a less rigid approach to the discussions.
He said we have already “enjoyed a bespoke form of membership that is unique” before rattling off a list of opt-outs various Government’s had secured over the years.
And Mr Verhofstadt denied the EU had rejected David Cameron’s renegotiation requests before the referendum last year.

The international trade secretary has hit back at Brussels, says the Independent.

Britain must not be “blackmailed” by Brussels into settling the so-called divorce bill before starting trade talks, Liam Fox has said.
The International Trade Secretary issued the warning as negotiations stalled during the latest round of crunch talks in Brussels and expressed frustration at the European Union’s wish to first agree a financial settlement for when the UK leaves the bloc.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier insisted that Britain wants an “impossible” Brexit deal, and that there has been little progress on key issues, despite Brexit Secretary David Davis saying the “high-stress week” of negotiations had delivered “some concrete progress”.
Speaking during a trade trip to Japan, Mr Fox told ITV News: “We can’t be blackmailed into paying a price on the first part.

The Mirror has a similar story.

A top Government Minister has accused Brussels of trying to “blackmail” Britain into coughing up tens of billions of pounds for Brexit .
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox hit out at the EU for refusing to even talk about a future trade deal with the UK before the estimated £80billion divorce bill had been finalised.
He told ITV: “We can’t be blackmailed into paying a price on the first part.
“We think we should begin discussions on the final settlement because that’s good for business, and it’s good for the prosperity both of the British people and of the rest of the people of the European Union.” 

But in a glimmer of hope, it seems there is a possibility of a EU concession, says the Express.

BRUSSELS yesterday left the door open for Britain to remain part of the EU’s police force – just hours after chief negotiator Michel Barnier threatened the UK with being forced to leave.
In an apparent about-turn the EU Commission refused to rule out our ongoing participation in Europol, pointing out that other countries which pay for the privilege still have access to its databases.
Just moments before Mr Barnier had suggested Britain may heave to leave the bloc’s security cooperation due to Brexit, adding that doing so would weaken UK counter-terrorism operations.
UK officials described the Frenchman’s comments as “ill-judged and unhelpful”, although some EU figures have themselves previously reacted angrily to suggestions by Theresa May that intelligence sharing should be used as a bargaining chip in the negotiations.

Child sex

In other news, the Times criticises the Left over the problem of child sex.

The “floppy left” is failing vulnerable children because it will not confront the race factor in sex crimes involving street-grooming, according to a Labour frontbencher sacked for speaking out on the issue.
Sarah Champion attributed her party’s squeamishness to a liberal fear of being falsely branded racist.
The MP for Rotherham was dismissed from the shadow cabinet by Jeremy Corbyn last month after she wrote in an article for The Sun that Britain “has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.
A few days later Mr Corbyn accused the newspaper of inciting Islamophobia and stigmatising “entire communities”. Ms Champion’s departure from the Labour front bench led to claims that the party was stifling free speech.

The Mail quotes the sacked Labour MP.

The Left is turning a blind eye to sex grooming gangs for fear of being branded racist, a sacked Labour MP has said.
Sarah Champion was dismissed from the shadow front bench last month for saying that Britain has a ‘problem’ with British Pakistani men exploiting white girls.
In her first interview since then, the former shadow women and equalities secretary said the ‘floppy left’ was failing vulnerable children with its silence.
In a newspaper piece last month, the MP said: ‘Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.’
She quit her role after the piece caused an outcry among her Labour colleagues.

But it seems there is a website offering child sex, says the Times.

An online listings site that hosts adverts offering trafficked children for sex in the US is running hundreds of explicit postings for sexual services in Britain.
The multimillion-dollar site Backpage.com, which has been investigated by the US Senate for its “knowing facilitation” of child prostitution, operates in the UK yet remains largely unknown.
The company has been linked to the sex trafficking of potentially thousands of children, who are advertised in its “dating” and “escort” sections using coded emojis and phrases.
In the last month alone, dozens of adverts featuring sexually explicit photographs of young-looking girls and boys were posted on Backpage.co.uk, the British site.

Asylum seekers

Breitbart has a story in which it quotes a refugee agency saying the EU should take in MORE migrants.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said there are at least 380,000 people that are seeking refuge in Europe every year, and the European Union should work to take in more migrants.
Currently, the EU is increasing the number of asylum seekers it takes in through legal channels at a rate of 20,000 per year, but the UNHCR said the increase is not enough. The group has called for a double-digit increase in numbers and said the new proposal to accept migrants in Africa could facilitate a growth in numbers, Austrian newspaper 
Kurier reports.
Ruth Schöffl, a spokesman for the UNHCR, said: “We welcome these new ideas as we expect the number of resettlements to increase.” 

Education

The private education sector is looking at its exam structure, says the Telegraph.

Private schools are to overhaul their exams in case they lose ground to state schools in the race for university places.
This summer, students at fee-paying schools were awarded just 7 per cent of grade 9s, the new top mark, which is harder to achieve than an A*.
Most leading private schools are still taking the iGCSE, which uses the old grading system of A*-G.
It has long been favoured because of its similarity in style and rigour to the previous O-level qualifications.
However, the independent sector is now preparing to turn its back on the qualification, which does not offer the same potential to identify the brightest candidates.

The Times also covers the story.

Private schools are ignoring tougher GCSEs, sticking to the tried-and-tested alternative and letting state schools deal with any teething problems.
Almost half of exam entries from private school teenagers this year were for an alternative to the standard exams, the highest proportion on record.
Over the past decade, private schools have increasingly moved away from mainstream GCSEs, complaining that they were too easy and had been discredited by grade inflation in the eyes of universities and employers. Many switched to the IGCSE instead.
It was thought that now GCSEs have been toughened, to wide acclaim, schools would move back. The number of private school entries this year fell by 22,000 to 179,260, however.

Roadworks

It seems there’s a plan afoot to charge utility companies to dig up our roads, says the Telegraph.

The end of ‘phantom’ roadworks could be in sight as ministers consider plans to charge utility companies by the hour for digging up Britain’s roads.
In a bid to cut traffic jams and put an end to frustration over blocked off streets the Government is consulting on plans to hand extra power to councils to charge bigger fees.
Roadworks cost the economy an estimated £4 billion per year because of delayed deliveries or people arriving late for work, studies have shown.
Now Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, believes delays could be halved by encouraging utility firms to avoid digging up busy roads at peak times and to join together when more than one of them needs to carry out work.
Trials have already been carried out in London and Kent which the Department for Transport says has halved congestion caused on roads and streets.

The Times also has the story.

Councils will be able to charge utility companies up to £2,500 an hour to close roads in a move that could end motorists’ frustration at being stuck in traffic jams when no work is going on.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, has indicated that a long-promised lane rental scheme will be approved this year.
Ministers first held consultations on allowing councils to charge utility companies engaged in roadworks six years ago. A promise to fine them for so-called “ghost roadworks” — closures where no work is being carried out — was quietly shelved this year after a lobbying campaign.

As does BBC News.

Councils in England would be allowed to charge utility companies by the hour for roadworks which cause significant disruption, if government proposals are approved.
The plan aims to halve the delays motorists endure due to utility works.
Roadworks cost the economy £4bn a year due to delayed deliveries and people being unable to get to work on time.
The proposals follow successful trials in London and Kent which saw severe congestion fall by more than 50%.
The charges aim to encourage utility companies to avoid busy routes and times, and to work together to avoid repeatedly digging up the same piece of road.
The London trial saw firms co-ordinate their roadworks more than 600 times.
Companies could avoid the charges, also known as lane rental schemes, by carrying out works in the evening or at weekends.

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