May says ‘no compromise on Ulster border’
Despite EU plans to erect a customs border in the Irish Sea, the Prime Minister is to promise at an event in Belfast that she will never "dislocate" Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. Mrs May is to say: “The economic and constitutional dislocation of a formal third country customs border within our own country is something I will never accept and I believe no British prime minister could ever accept". She will go on: "Our job is not to deal with Brexit in theory, but to make a success of it in practice for all of our people." Sinn Féin’s Michelle O'Neill commented however: “Theresa May needs to realise that we will not be collateral damage for her own reckless Tory agenda."
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Work and pensions secretary refuses to give public support to Brexit plan
Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey has refused to give her full public support to the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy. At a think tank event in London, Ms McVey was asked if she had confidence in the Chequers plan, to which she replied: "I will say that I have full confidence in the Prime Minister to deliver the Brexit that Britain voted for." This comes as Ms McVey’s partner, Conservative MP Philip Davies, called Theresa May’s plan for Brexit "unacceptable”. He wrote in a letter: “It is with much sadness that I have to say that I have also lost trust in her to deliver the referendum result too."
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No-deal Brexit warnings every week
The Prime Minister is preparing a series of public warnings on the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, with consumers and firms given detailed advice from the beginning of next week. A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) noted: "The government's priority will be to make sure that the citizens, businesses and organisations who need to understand this information are kept informed and reassured."
Raab pledges to kickstart negotiations
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab held his first talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier yesterday, vowing to bring fresh energy and enthusiasm to discussions. Mr Raab told reporters: "I'm looking forward to, with renewed energy, vigour and vim, looking at the detail of all of this”, insisting that his priority is to secure a "win-win deal" beneficial to both Britain and the remaining EU countries.
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IMF warns on no-deal Brexit
A new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cautions that both the European Union and the UK would suffer economically should a no-deal Brexit take place. The report states that: “The departure of the UK from the EU will represent a loss not only for the UK but also for the EU-27”, continuing: “Higher barriers to trade, capital, and labor mobility will have a negative long-term effect on output and jobs throughout the EU-27.”
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Barnier says Chequers blueprint ‘breaches EU core principles’
EU negotiator Michel Barnier has warned the Prime Minister that her Chequers Brexit blueprint breaches "fundamental" European principles and that further concessions are necessary to reach a deal. Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons, said of further concessions: "The EU has simply not taken us seriously so far in terms of the future agreement… What this deal does is it says to them, 'Right, now we can have a free trading area where there won't be the need for border checks and controls'. The message to the EU has to be, 'This is the final offer'.”
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‘Chief Whip must resign’ - MPs
After it was revealed that he had urged Conservative MPs to avert a damaging Brexit defeat by breaking with "pairing arrangements", Chief Whip Julian Smith is facing growing calls for his resignation. The government, however, has said the Prime Minister retains full confidence in Mr Smith.
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Bonus for Theresa May's Europe adviser
Olly Robbins, the Prime Minister’s Europe adviser, was paid a bonus of up to £20,000 for six months' work in 2017, according to the annual report for the Department for Exiting the EU. This is despite Mr Robbins's unit in the Cabinet Office being blamed by former Brexit minister Steve Baker for developing a second secret White Paper on leaving the bloc.
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Brexit white paper translation mocked
EU officials have greeted a UK government translation of its new Brexit white paper into other languages with derision. It is alleged that the translations spelt the names of countries such as Finland incorrectly, and used seemingly made-up verbs in German.
LEGAL & REGULATORY
Brussels warns of legal action on tax breaks
The European Commission has warned Britain that it will face court action if it does not end a series of illegal tax breaks.
Chequers' customs arrangement to cost £700m a year, HMRC warns
HMRC boss Jon Thompson has told members of the Lords' EU external affairs committee that the facilitated customs arrangement (FCA), which has prompted the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson among others, will cost businesses around £700m each year to run, potentially rising to between £17bn-£20bn in the event of a "no deal" outcome. Thompson also indicated that though the government’s planned duel tariff system could be implemented by 2020, the creation of a repayment mechanism will take longer: “That would be a unique technology project. It’s totally new and does require coders to sit down and work out how it would work,” he added.
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Prepare for hard Brexit, FCA tells banks
Nausicaa Delfas, head of international strategy at the Financial Conduct Authority, has warned Britain's banks and insurers to plan for a "hard" Brexit in case a transition period is not in place next March. Speaking at an event organised by TheCityUK, she said: "Across the FCA, together with colleagues from the Bank of England and the government, we have been working to develop a number of safeguards and contingencies, in the event of a hard Brexit, to ensure that day one works smoothly".
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City of London Corporation says Brexit may drive wedge between domestic and international firms
In a statement to the Court of Common Council, City of London Corporation chair Catherine McGuiness has said that Brexit may cause a split between domestic and international firms in the financial sector. She remarked: "There may also be points at which our fundamental interest, the prosperity and wellbeing of the City of London and all that it contributes to this country, may differ from those of international businesses based here, and we should be alive to that.”
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INFRASTRUCTURE & TRANSPORT
Varadkar’s warning dismissed
Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, has been roundly criticised after appearing to suggest that British aircraft could be banned from flying over Irish airspace should a no-deal Brexit take place. He had commented: “The situation at the moment is that the United Kingdom is part of the single European sky, and if they leave the EU they are not and that does mean that if there was a no deal, hard Brexit next March, the planes would not fly... If they want their planes to fly over our skies, they would need to take that into account.” Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman responded: “UK and Irish operators will fly into Europe and then fly services within and around Europe. This is very important to European travellers and losing these services would be a magnificent example of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.”
UK Treasury to relax border taxes in ‘no-deal’ Brexit
Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, has said the collection of border taxes would be relaxed in the event of a "no deal" Brexit to keep goods flowing.