Trade

Is the EU negotiating ‘in good faith’?  The Telegraph reports maybe not.

Boris Johnson has become “privately infuriated” with what he sees as the EU’s attempts to frustrate a comprehensive free trade deal, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
The Prime Minister believes Brussels has unilaterally been “changing the terms” of the deal he agreed last year, when both sides set out to work towards an ambitious and deep trade agreement.
As a result the UK is no longer wedded to a Canada-style agreement, in what would be a major hardening in the Government’s Brexit strategy.
Downing Street negotiators are now willing to pursue a much “looser” trade deal while simultaneously signing agreements with countries that make up 13 per cent of the world’s GDP.
A government source said: “There are only two likely outcomes in negotiation – a free trade deal like Canada or a looser arrangement like Australia – and we are happy to pursue both.”
An Australian-style deal would allow both sides to cherry pick which areas of the economy they can agree on, and leave the rest to World Trade Organisation rules.

But the pro-EU Independent accuses the PM.

Boris Johnson has been accused of pursuing a “scorched earth” approach to trade negotiations with the EU, as he sets out his plans to broker an agreement with the bloc.
In a major speech on Monday – after the UK severed its 47-year membership of the EU – Mr Johnson will outline his ambitions for a future trade relationship with Brussels to businesses and ambassadors from across the globe.
The prime minister is expected to say that “no achievement lies beyond our reach”, in the imminent trade talks, and will insist there will be no alignment with the EU – a move that will create considerable concern among UK firms.

The Guardian says he’s ready to talk.

No sooner had the union jacks been lowered in Brussels and Strasbourg, after 47 years of tortured British membership, than Boris Johnson was preparing to launch the UK into yet another uncompromising battle with the remaining 27 nations of the European Union.
The morning after he had finally achieved his goal of removing the UK from the European club, Downing Street released photographs of the prime minister triumphantly striking a gong on the stroke of 11pm (midnight Brussels time) as this country took its leave. The text from a short speech he made as the clock struck 11 was also released.
“I want you all to remember you were here tonight after 11pm, in Downing Street, when we got Brexit done,” Johnson told a gathering of advisers, civil servants and Brexit supporters inside No 10.
“This is a fantastic moment in the life of our country. There are very few moments that can be called a historic turning point – and this is it. This is not the end, or the beginning of the end; it’s the beginning of the beginning,” he told his cheering guests.

And he’s talking tough, reports the Express.

BORIS JOHNSON will set the tone for an assertive post-Brexit Britain tomorrow by telling the EU there will be no more concessions.
The Prime Minister is to demand that the bloc treats the UK as an equal – and will tell voters that “no achievement lies beyond our reach”. With a take-it-or-leave-it offer, he will say that Brussels has a choice between a tariff-free trade deal similar to the one struck with Canada, or an Australia-type model. In essence, the Australian version would be a continuation of the withdrawal agreement struck last month.

The Sun reports the PM will not be ‘bossed around’ by the EU now.

BORIS Johnson will warn EU chiefs he will not be bossed around as he sets out his stall for a post-Brexit trade deal.
The PM will outline his exciting new vision for global Britain declaring: “No achievement lies beyond our reach.”
But he will make clear he is ready to walk away if they start laying down impossible demands when talks start.

And if it means border checks, it means border checks, reports ITV News.

Boris Johnson will tell the European Union he is prepared to accept border checks in a no-deal like scenario as tensions ratcheted up between the sparring sides.
As the dust settles on Britain’s formal EU withdrawal on Friday, attention has turned to the impending trade talks as the Prime Minister prepares to lay out his post-Brexit vision on Monday in a speech in London.
The Government is understood to be privately infuriated by what it perceives to be attempts by Brussels to change the terms of the deal struck in October as part of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Reports have surfaced in recent days suggesting EU chiefs want the UK to continue to follow Brussels-made rules on standards and state subsidies, while accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over matters relating to any trade deal.

Even Sky News reports Boris’ hard-line attitude.

Boris Johnson will roll out the tough talk as he reveals his demands for a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
The prime minister is expected to say in his first speech since the UK left the bloc that he wants no alignment between the two sides.
That could mean full customs checks on goods crossing the border into Britain after continuity trade rules stop on 31 December 2020.
Despite the commitment, Mr Johnson will pledge that current standards on food hygiene, workers’ rights and environmental protections will not be lowered.
He is expected to declare on Monday that “no achievement lies beyond our reach” and repeat a pledge to simultaneously make progress on trade deals with other countries including the United States, Australia and Japan.
With the EU, he will announce plans to push for a Canada-style agreement that would scrap most tariffs on goods traded between the two countries while maintaining sovereignty.

The Express reports on the prospect of a new agreement with former Commonwealth countries.

CANADA could formally propose a non-political union with Britain, Australia and New Zealand within just two years.
The plan, revealed by potential future Canadian PM Erin O’Toole MP on the weekend that Britain left the EU, would see Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK ease migration, bolster defence sharing and increase trade between the four Commonwealth nations. Together the “natural allies” of 136 million people account for more than £4.3trillion in gross national income and around 10 percent of the world’s wealth. They also share close strategic relationships with the US through the “Five eyes” intelligence community, the American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Armies’ Program and a programme to provide interoperability between navies.

Brexit

The cosy relationship between our diplomats and those from the EU has ended, reports the Times.

British diplomats have been ordered to make an immediate break with their former EU allies — as Boris Johnson prepared to open a new offensive against Brussels.
A leaked document passed to The Sunday Times revealed that Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, has told his officials to “sit separately” from their EU counterparts at international summits.
In a telegram sent to UK overseas missions last week, he told diplomats to ditch any ideas to “seek residual influence” with EU countries and “adopt a stance as a confident independent country” instead.

And the PM’s Brexit supremo was in tears as we left the bloc, reports the Mail.

Brexit supremo Dominic Cummings wept on Friday night as his bitterly fought mission to drag Britain out of the EU was finally realised.
At a Downing Street party to toast in the historic moment, the campaign guru who masterminded the 2016 Leave vote tried to make a victory speech but choked up.
With a lump in his throat, he just about managed to say: ‘Those that know what we went through, know.’
Watching Mr Cummings, who relishes his reputation as a political street-fighter, break down in tears was like ‘the scene at the end of The Terminator 2 when Arnold Schwarzenegger says, “I know now why you cry”,’ an insider told the Sunday Times.

EU

The bloc will now ramp up its claims to keep Gibraltar, reports the Guardian.

The EU will back Spain over its territorial claims to Gibraltar in the next phase of Brexit negotiations by giving Madrid the power to exclude the British overseas territory from any trade deal struck with Brussels.
The Observer has learned that the Spanish government has insisted on reference to the Rock in the EU’s opening negotiating position, which will be published in draft form on Monday.
Boris Johnson will be presented with the choice of reaching agreement with the Spaniards about Gibraltar’s future or exposing its citizens to economic peril by pushing it outside any EU-UK trade deal.
“They have in principle asked that the new relationship not apply to Gibraltar without the explicit consent of Spain, which will only be given if the bilateral talks with Spain and the UK over the rock are resolved,” a senior EU diplomat said.

The Sun also has the Gib story.

THE EU is set to back Spain’s claim to Gibraltar and give Madrid the power to exclude the Rock from a post-Brexit trade deal, it is reported.
Last night Britain officially marked the start of it’s divorce from Brussels, with trade talks soon to follow.
But the bloc is planning to give Spain the power to exclude Gibraltar from any deals made with the EU, it is understood.
Boris Johnson is expected to be given a choice of handing the territory over to Spain or having it excluded from any trade agreement between the UK and EU.

The Mail reports from the papers in the EU.

There have been mixed reactions in Europe’s newspapers to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union last night.
On the stroke of 11pm on Friday, the UK officially divorced from the bloc after three years of bitter political struggle that split families and paralysed Westminster.
The departure was greeted with varying responses by European newspapers, with Germany‘s Die Welt likening Britain’s departure to John Cleese’s famous Ministry of Silly Walks sketch and Italy‘s La Repubblica asking if Brexit signalled a ‘nightmare’.

Could Scotland rejoin the EU?  BBC News reports:

Former European Council president Donald Tusk says Brussels feels “empathy” towards an independent Scotland joining the European Union.
Nicola Sturgeon has said an independent Scotland would seek full EU membership.
When asked if this would be looked upon favourably, Mr Tusk said, “emotionally I have no doubt that everyone will be enthusiastic”.
It came as other European leaders expressed sadness at the UK leaving the EU.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he was  “deeply sad” while the EU’s Guy Verhofstadt pledged to try and “ensure the EU is a project you’ll want to be a part of again”.

And the possibility of other countries leaving is examined in the Express.

ITALIAN MEP Antonio Maria Rinaldi issued a stunning EU Parliament speech in support of Brexit, putting the Brussels bloc on alert as other member states threaten to follow the UK’s lead.
On Friday, January 31 the UK finally severed ties with the European Union putting an end to years of political wrangling over the most important constitutional change to the United Kingdom since the end of the Second World War. The UK’s EU exit throws the future of the trading bloc into question as Eurosceptic factions of its Parliament are buoyed by the move.

The Mail reports that London will be granted a French honour.

France‘s Emmanuel Macron will head to London in June to present the city with his nation’s highest accolade, the Legion d’Honneur, to cement cross-Channel ties even after Britain’s exit from the EU.
‘Dear British friends, you are leaving the European Union but you are not leaving Europe,’ the president wrote in an open letter published Saturday by The Times of London.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s dramatic June 18, 1940, appeal from London, where he had escaped with the remnants of France’s army, for French citizens to resist while awaiting UK and US help in fighting Nazi Germany.
‘The French know what they owe the British, who allowed our Republic to live. I am coming to London in June to award the city the Legion d’Honneur, in tribute to the immense courage of a whole country and people,’ Macron wrote.

Rejoin

Will the UK ever rejoin the EU?  The Times reports the possibility.

The boss of the best-funded pro-EU campaign group has vowed not to “walk off the pitch” as she claimed that the UK could rejoin the bloc within a decade.
However, Naomi Smith, chief executive of Best for Britain, said the organisation would now focus on fighting for close ties between the EU and the UK as talk of rejoining feels “tone deaf”.
“I don’t think history will look kindly on those that walk off the pitch at this stage,” she said.

And the Express claims the bloc was getting ready for our return.

GUY Verhofstadt has aimed a parting shot hours after Brexit became a reality – tweeting that the bloc was already preparing for the UK’s return to the fold.
However, one critic hit back by telling Mr Verhofstadt to “wake up”, insisting: “The UK left for a reason.” Mr Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit representative, also shared a video featuring World War II veterans talking about their concerns about Britain’s departure from the EU.
In a reference to the UK’s star, which has been removed from the EU’s flag, the former Prime Minister of Belgium tweeted: “We will look after your star & work to ensure the EU is a project you’ll want to be a part of again soon!”

A British lord has the same idea, says Breitbart.

The British author of the European Union’s exit clause has predicted no-one country will be “as stupid as us” in voting to leave the bloc, and that in 10 or 20 years the British will crawl back to Brussels with our tail between our legs.
Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, born John Olav Kerr, is a career Diplomatic Service apparatchik who has been elevated to the House of Lords and enjoyed a number of lucrative directorships since his retirement, helped to author Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty — the legal mechanism for exiting the European Union which never expected anyone to use.
The “last great benefit” of Britain’s exit from the EU, he told The Times, is that the “nasty and rebarbative” negotiations which will take place during the 2020 transition period “will ensure that no one will be as stupid as us again”.

Fisheries

The squabble over British fish has already started, reports Reuters.

French fishermen are temporarily banned from entering the waters of Guernsey due to post-Brexit administrative changes that the authorities expect to resolve in the coming days, the French Agriculture Ministry said on Saturday.
The agreement on water access to Guernsey coasts, one of the Channel Islands situated near the French coast of Normandy, was based on a European fisheries treaty that expired automatically on Friday night with Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Britain and the EU now need to negotiate a post-Brexit trade agreement but for now, the relationship is a business-as-usual transition period until the end of this year, meaning that French fishermen would retain access to Guernsey waters.
However the authorities in Guernsey, a British crown dependency, decided to install a new system where boats would need to get individual authorisations to enter the waters 6 to 12 miles off its coasts.

HoL

The PM is getting ready to flood the upper House the new members, reports the Times.

Boris Johnson is preparing to create more than 25 Conservative peers, taking the total membership of the House of Lords to about 835.
Jon Moynihan, the multimillionaire venture capitalist who chaired the Vote Leave finance committee, is understood to be among the new members to be announced this month.
Moynihan, who threw a lavish Brexit bash on Friday night, is expected to appear on the prime minister’s dissolution honours list alongside the former cabinet ministers Sir David Lidington and Sir Patrick McLoughlin.
They will join Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith, who have already been elevated, as part of a bid to bring a better balance to the Lords, which has a bias towards Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Coronavirus

It’s spreading.  The Sun reports from York.

ONE of Britain’s leading universities was last night caught up in the coronavirus crisis after it emerged a UK victim was a student there.
The revelation sparked terror among nearly 22,000 other students and staff at the University of York.
They were worried they could catch the killer coronavirus, despite health officials dismissing the threat of spread of infection as low risk.
Students said they were angry that they had not been told sooner.
Some of them wore surgical-style masks on campus in the hope they would protect them.
The stricken student, and another member of their family, tested positive for the virus — which has killed 259 people in China — on Friday.
They had been taken ill at a hotel in York.

Yahoo News also has the story.

One of the two patients in England who tested positive for coronavirus is a student at the University of York.
The university remains open and is carrying on as usual, Charlie Jeffery, the vice-chancellor said today.
“Public Health England has advised us that the risk of the infection being passed to others on campus is low,” he said at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
“The university is open and will continue to operate normally.”

Housing

More homes need to be built, and the Telegraph has a story about who makes development decisions.

Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, is threatening to strip local councils of planning powers as he ramps up the pressure to meet the 300,000 homes a year target.
Councils have hit out at rising housing targets after South Oxfordshire council was threatened with a Government intervention and other worried local leaders requested an emergency meeting with Mr Jenrick, letters seen by The Telegraph reveal.
Marianne Overton, head of the Independent Group of Councillors, said local authorities were facing a “new pressure” to build since the election after being set “unrealistic” targets by the Government. “The new Government has come in and said 300,000 houses no question,” she said.

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