Media Hub

Media Hub

EU migrants to stay on in Britain under ‘no deal’ Brexit, leaked papers reveal

14 hours 57 minutes ago
EU flag
The Government is set to release a series of 'no deal' Brexit papers between now and late September

EU migrants will be given the right to stay on in Britain in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, according to leaked Cabinet papers.

The documents – seen by the Telegraph – set out plans to allow European workers to retain their current status, amid concerns over staffing shortages.

They state that the UK will “take the moral high ground” over the issue and will guarantee EU citizens’ rights regardless of whether Brits living on the continent are granted the equivalent status by the EU. 

The move would see Europeans maintain their current access to NHS services and benefits.

The plans are part of series of ‘no deal’ technical papers, which set out the way forward if no Brexit agreement with Brussels is reached.

Leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg welcomed the guarantees for EU migrants, saying: “I have always thought we should make a unilateral offer in this area. EU migrants came here legally and the UK is not the sort of country that applies retrospective legislation.

“They should have broadly the same rights as British citizens — no better or worse.”

However, former Brexit minister David Jones said: “It’s got to be reciprocal.

“We have a large number of Britons in the EU and their interests have got to be reflected. We have got to look after our own people.”

SECOND EU REF ROW

It comes as pressure builds around the drive for a second Brexit referendum on the final deal, after business tycoon Julian Dunkerton ploughed £1m into the People’s Vote campaign.

Responding to a poll on the issue, Number Ten’s director of communications Robbie Gibb said on Twitter: “1.9 million Leave voters say they would now vote to remain.”

“But 2.4 million Remain voters would now vote to leave. The country hasn’t changed its mind #RoadtoBrexit”.

Hitting back, Tom Baldwin –a senior figure in the People’s Vote campaign, said:

“Better polls tell a different story. But if you’re so sure, give us a people’s vote and let’s test ‘the will of the people’.”

Mr Gibb replied: “As you know, the prospect of a second referendum would damage UK negotiations.”

The Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will travel to Brussels this week to continue negotiations with EU leaders.

Elizabeth.Bates_30914

MPs demand larger expenses budget to ‘deal with Brexit’

15 hours 8 minutes ago
UK and EU flags
MPs have said that the budget increase is needed to tackle the extra workload

MPs have asked for a boost to their staffing budgets in order to deal with Brexit.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) confirmed that MPs had lodged requests asking for their £150,900 per year staffing budgets be increased to help deal with increased workloads resulting from Brexit.

But critics warned that the expenses system remained “open to abuse” with 152 MPs still employing family members as staff, despite a crackdown on the practice last year.

New rules around the employment of family members or “connected parties” stopped short of forcing MPs to sack staff already working for them, meaning that taxpayers continue to shell out around £4m each year for MPs families employed as staff.

Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said that there had to be a “guarantee of what the money is going to”.

“Brexit sounds like a rather convenient argument for increasing funding, Ipsa should be very cautious about raising budgets,” he said.

“It would be quite wrong to automatically agree and increase in the staff budget if there’s a danger that some of it just goes to improve the family income rather than as a service to the public.

“I have always been opposed to MPs being automatically able to employ their spouses. All MPs positions should be subject to open competition.”

Ipsa has yet to decide whether they will agree to the requested increase, saying that it would “take into account any relevant consequences of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union” when making its decision.

A former Conservative minister hit out at the “ridiculous” idea, telling The Telegraph: “We should not be increasing the budgets of MPs because of Brexit - that would be ridiculous.

“At a time when there are plenty of constraints on the public purse, this is just extraordinary. It shows a basic lack of political judgement and how out of touch MPs are with the British public, who just want Brexit done and delivered.”

john.johnston_25922

Ministers set to publish ‘no deal’ Brexit plans

1 day 13 hours ago
Dominic Raab
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will continue Brexit negotiations in Brussels this week

The Government is set to release plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit in a series of technical notices this Thursday.

The papers will offer advice to businesses, public bodies and citizens on how to prepare for the possibility of Britain leaving the bloc next March without an agreement.

The Government is expected to publish around 70 technical notices between now and late September.

Dominic Raab said the advice would "mitigate the risks and make sure the UK is ready to make a success of Brexit".

The Brexit Secretary - who will continue negotiations in Brussels this week – added that the papers would "clearly set out the steps that people, businesses and public services need to take in the unlikely event that we don't reach an agreement".  

Downing Street said the advice was "sensible, proportionate, and part of a common sense approach to ensure stability, whatever the outcome of talks".

The move comes after Jeremy Hunt warned that the UK would regret crashing out of the EU without a deal “for generations”.

Speaking during a tour of the continent, the Foreign Secretary said a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a "huge geo-strategic mistake".

Meanwhile, an Opinium poll for the Observer has found that 40% of people now believe the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal – up from 31% last month.

Only 22% think Britain will eventually secure an agreement, while 16% believe Britain will not leave the EU in March.

Elizabeth.Bates_30914

Fashion tycoon ploughs £1m into People’s Vote campaign

1 day 14 hours ago
flag
The People's Vote campaign aims to secure a second EU referendum

The campaign for a second Brexit referendum has been given a £1m boost by the fashion tycoon who co-founded the Superdry clothing company.

Multi-millionaire Julian Dunkerton has ploughed cash into the cross-party campaign group The People’s Vote, which aims to secure a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

The business mogul said he said he had made the donation as he saw a  “genuine chance to turn this around”.

He also credited the EU with Superdry’s success, telling the Observer: “If Brexit had happened 20 years earlier, Superdry would never have become the global success that it did.

“We would have struggled to cope with negotiating customs and tariffs. Perhaps even more importantly, Europe was our staging post because inside the single market we had no fear of opening a store in France, Germany, Belgium or anywhere else.”

He added: “I’m putting some of my money behind the People’s Vote campaign because we have a genuine chance to turn this around.

“I’ve got a good instinct for when a mood is going to change and we’re in one of those moments now.

“It’s becoming clear there is no vision for Brexit and the politicians have made a mess of it. Increasingly, the public knows that Brexit is going to be a disaster.

“Maybe they just need to be given that little bit of hope that comes when they see how opinion is moving.”

The cash will be spent on a swathe of new polling on the issue, which the campaign hopes will boost support for a second vote.

The most recent survey suggests that 45% of the public would back another referendum, with 34% opposed.

Meanwhile, an Opinium poll for the Observer has found that 40% of people now believe the UK will crash out of the EU without a deal – up from 31% last month.

Elizabeth.Bates_30914

Nigel Farage heading 'back on the road' in fresh Brexit campaign

2 days 13 hours ago
Nigel Farage heralds this as his 'return' to British politics

Nigel Farage has vowed to once again return to British politics to fight Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit deal.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the ex-Ukip leader said he would take part in battle bus tour by campaign group Leave Means Leave, co-founded by multi-millionaire Richard Tice.

Mr Farage, who still works as an MEP as well a regular political commentator, heralded this as his "return" to British politics in order to take on the Brexit blueprint agreed by Theresa May's Cabinet at a Chequers summit.

He wrote: "Theresa the Appeaser has produced a set of ideas that are nothing more than a cowardly sell-out.”

The ex-UKIP chief, who has run for MP unsuccessfully seven times, wrote: "It is now beyond doubt that the political class in Westminster and many of their media allies do not accept the EU referendum result.

"It is equally clear to me that, unless challenged, these anti-democrats will succeed in frustrating the result. Well, I've had enough of their lies, deceit and treachery.

"The time has come to teach them a lesson - one that they will never forget."

The campaign, which seeks to unify the Eurosceptic voices pushing for Brexit defines ‘Leave’ as: "leaving the single market and customs union, controlling our own borders, not being rules by the European Court of Justice and no more contributions to the EU budget".

But James McGrory, of the anti-Brexit People’s Vote campaign group, said: "Nigel Farage has had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra, just without the success.

"If he was serious about making a return to frontline politics, he would stand to be an MP.

"I can only hope that Nigel Farage sticks to the promise he made live on TV to have a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal."

Matt Foster

Britain would regret no deal Brexit 'for generations', Jeremy Hunt warns

3 days 14 hours ago
Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is currently on a Brexit tour across Europe

Britain would regret crashing out of the European Union without a deal “for generations”, Jeremy Hunt has said.  

The Foreign Secretary was speaking during a visit to the Netherlands, where he hinted that the UK could make concessions in order to reach agreement with the bloc and avoid a "messy" divorce.

Mr Hunt told ITV News that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a "huge geo-strategic mistake", but also insisted that whatever the outcome of talks Britain would still "find a way to prosper and thrive". 

He said: “In terms of everything else that happens on the world stage and it would be a mistake that we would regret for generations if we were to have a messy ugly divorce and that’s what we all want to avoid."

Asked if the UK would be prepared to compromise its negotiating stance by retaining European environmental and social legislation, Mr Hunt replied: "We totally understand the need to have a level playing field in any free trade agreement

"I think we have to see what their proposal was, some of those things can have an impact on the level playing field some won't.”

‘BARMY’ BREXIT

Mr Hunt’s intervention has already sparked a backlash, however, with Tory MP and Brexiteer Conor Burns branding the apparent drive to reach a Brexit deal at all costs "barmy".

He said: "The thing that we want to avoid for 'generations to come' is being locked into a permanent orbit around the EU where we end up with a deal but don't have a seat around the table.

"Many of us still believe what we have been defending for the last two years, which is the Prime Minister's line that no deal is better than a bad deal. It's nothing to be afraid of.

"They seem to be prepared to sell the reservation in the long-term to avoid disruption in the short term. It's barmy."

The warning from the Foreign Secretary came as his Cabinet colleague Greg Clark told European ministers that a ‘no deal’ scenario would inflict economic damage on families right across Europe.   

Speaking after a series of meetings with his European counterparts, the Business Secretary said: "My discussions across Europe have demonstrated how clearly it is in everyone’s interest that an agreement is reached quickly and ‘no deal’ is avoided.

"The commission has a responsibility to all the people of Europe to respond positively and constructively.

"If not, the impact on our continent’s businesses, economies and millions of families across the UK and EU will be significant and lasting."

 

Elizabeth.Bates_30914

Club chairs warn Brexit could be 'hugely damaging' to football in England

4 days 8 hours ago
Stoke
Stoke chair Peter Coates teamed up with Burnley boss Mike Garlick

Top football club chairmen have warned that Brexit could be “hugely damaging” to the beautiful game in England.

Burnley boss Mike Garlick said the fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote was "making it harder for clubs to sign players".

And Stoke chair Peter Coates raised concerns that freedom of movement restrictions once the UK quits the bloc could hit the Championship.

But Sports Minister Tracey Crouch insisted the Government was "determined to ensure that our sport sector continues to flourish".

Voters in Burnley and Stoke voted for Brexit by huge margins - 67% and 69% respectively.

However, Mr Garlick said: "The destructive Brexit path being pursued by the Government threatens to have a hugely damaging effect on clubs across the country.

"It threatens to make the widening inequality gap in our top division even worse.

"The hit to the value of the pound against the euro, largely caused by Brexit uncertainty, is already making it harder for clubs to sign players.”

And Mr Coates said: "The negative consequences are plain for all to see.”

He argued: "Depending on the Brexit deal, the Premier League, one of our country's success stories, could be damaged by freedom-of-movement restrictions.

“This could also affect the Championship.”

Lib Dem Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake said: "The Premier League, and sport across the UK, has flourished in recent years. However, all that could come to an end with the economic calamity that is Brexit.

"I am glad that leaders from high profile clubs have spoken out against a policy that could badly damage the beautiful game."

He added: "Brexit will relegate football across the UK. I hope fans will join the Liberal Democrats in backing a final say on the deal, which will deliver an opportunity to Exit from Brexit."

But in a letter released this week, Ms Crouch insisted the Government "absolutely recognises the value of sport to the UK" and was "determined to ensure that our sport sector continues to flourish".

emilio.casalicchio

Tory minister dumps second Brexit referendum survey after anger

4 days 14 hours ago
Alistair Burt
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt

A Conservative minister has removed a survey from his website asking constituents if they want a second Brexit referendum after outrage from colleagues.

Alistair Burt asked locals in North East Bedfordshire if they wanted a “further vote” on the issue and set out a range of options they could choose from - including a straight rerun or a vote on the final deal.

But the Foreign Office minister took the survey down yesterday and insisted it had “completed its task”, after he was accused by a fellow Tory MP of being an “arch-Europhile”.

Theresa May has repeatedly insisted a second referendum of any kind is not Government policy and will not happen under her watch.

In a statement on his website, Mr Burt said he had “made it clear to constituents who have written to me that I do not favour a second referendum”.

He added: “However, my constituents are entitled to their opinions and I’m entitled to ask what they are, through a simple survey with a variety of options.

“That’s all I have sought to do, and the survey has been out for some time with no adverse comment.”

He went on: “However having been out for several weeks now, the survey has completed its task and been a useful source of information for me. It has now concluded.”

Pro-Brexit Tory MP Andrew Bridgen had said: "Alistair Burt is an arch-Europhile. I hope this is not an indication of the way Government policy is heading.”

Another senior Tory had told the Express: "This is a complete breach of government policy. Alistair Burt needs to be reminded of his responsibilities under the principle of government collective responsibility.

"If he wants to keep his job, he should remove this survey immediately."

emilio.casalicchio

Record drop in EU citizens working in Britain, official figures reveal

6 days 11 hours ago
Restaurant
The drop coincided with a rise in the number of job vacancies

The number of EU citizens working in the UK faced a record nosedive in the year to June, official figures have revealed.

Some 2.28 million EU nationals were working in the country between April and June 2018 - 86,000 fewer than in the same period the year before, the Office for National Statistics said.

The fall reflects an increase in the number of EU nationals leaving the UK since the Brexit vote in June 2016.

Campaigners warned of a "Brexodus" and said the "alarming" fall could be just "the start".

The drop coincided with a rise in the number of job vacancies to its highest figure on record at 829,000 - some 51,000 more than for a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed people fell by 124,000 compared with the year before and by 65,000 compared with the previous three months to hit 1.36 million - a record low.

And earnings were up by just 0.1% once when inflation was taken into account, and 0.4% when bonuses were excluded.

Matt Hughes, the deputy head of labour market at the ONS, said: “The number of people in work has continued to edge ahead, though the employment rate was unchanged on the quarter.”

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said: "This alarming fall in EU nationals working in the UK may only be the start."

“This Brexodus will worsen the country’s skills deficit and hit businesses hard, as the record number of vacant jobs illustrates.

"From agriculture and hospitality to construction and the tech sector, our economy relies on the vital contributions of EU nationals."

Eloise Todd, CEO of pro-EU group Best for Britain, said: "These figures show that Brexodus continues as people pack their bags and leave the UK. This should worry everyone

"These EU nationals nurse our sick, care for our grandparents and help make Britain a more productive and prosperous country, but the government is pulling up the drawbridge as thousands of EU citizens worry about their future."

emilio.casalicchio

Public backing for second Brexit vote climbs - poll

6 days 13 hours ago
European Union flag outside Parliament, Brexit
PA

Support for a second referendum on Britain's exit from the European Union has climbed in the past month, according to a new poll.

A fresh study for the Independent by pollster BMG found 48% of the public would now back a vote on any deal struck between the UK and the EU - up from 44% just four weeks ago.

Fewer than a quarter (24%) of the 1,500 people surveyed were opposed to second vote, down three points over the same period.

Sixteen percent said they did not have strong feelings either way, while 11% said they did not know.

The poll will also make grim reading for Theresa May, with 49% saying the Prime Minister should be replaced if she cannot strike a Brexit deal her Cabinet can rally behind, up from 46% last month.

Meanwhile, 52% of people believed a fresh election should be called if Mrs May is ousted as Tory leader, up a percentage point on last month's figures.

The poll meanwhile found that just 14% of people would support Mrs May's controversial Chequers plan in a second vote, while more than a quarter (27%) said the UK should quit the bloc without a deal.

Of those surveyed, 43% said they would support the UK staying inside the EU.

The poll comes amid reports that Tory Eurosceptics are preparing to ambush the Prime Minister with a rival 'Clean Brexit' plan on the eve of Conservative party conference.

The alternative policy paper, spearheaded by top Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, will seek to win the backing of up to 80 Tory MPs in a bid to force Mrs May to change course.

Matt Foster

Jacob Rees-Mogg 'to ambush Theresa May' with rival Chequers plan

6 days 14 hours ago
JacobReesMogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg is said to be spearheading the alternative Brexit vision

Tory eurosceptics are set to unveil a hard Brexit rival to Theresa May's controversial Chequers plan just days before the Conservative party conference, it has emerged.

The Prime Minister's Brexit proposals - designed to minimise trade disruption and avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland - sparked fury from Brexiteers, who believe they will leave the UK too closely bound to the European Union.

The Sun reports that top Conservative Eurosceptics, led by European Research Group chair Jacob Rees-Mogg, are now preparing to present their own "Clean Brexit" plan on the eve of the party's big gathering in September.

A source told the paper: "This is about delivering the clean Brexit that people voted for. No concessions."

The Times meanwhile reports that the policy paper - which will aim to win the backing of up to 80 Conservative MPs - will strike a hardline stance with the EU.

The proposal in its current form would see Britain agree to a Canada-style free trade agreement with the bloc if Brussels drops its demands on the Irish border.

A source told the Times: "We have made it very clear that we do not accept the Chequers proposals, but there is an acknowledgement that we need to make the case for an alternative.

"The tricky bit is coming to a common position that everyone can sign up to, but I’m confident that we should be able to achieve that."

According to the paper, the rival plan will also talk up the benefits of leaving the European Union without a deal if the EU refuses to give ground - a move that would see the UK trade on World Trade Organisation terms.

Under its deal with the EU, Canada has near tariff-free trade in goods, but still faces some regulatory barriers to trade and more limited access for services than it would as part of the European single market.

However, Canada is free to strike its own trade deals with the rest of the world and does not have to contribute financially to the bloc - two areas where the Brexiteers believe Mrs May's plan falls short.

The reports follow a claim in the Telegraph yesterday that moderate Tory MPs are set to form their own parliamentary group to fight against the hard-Brexit team.

Matt Foster

Trade experts question Theresa May's post-Brexit customs plan

1 week ago
Theresa May
Theresa May has been trying to sell her Chequers plan to the country

The post-Brexit customs plan drawn up by Theresa May has been called into question by trade experts.

Alan Winters, an economics professor and director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex said the Chequers deal proposed by the Prime Minister was “fanciful”.

Meanwhile, businesses said they were struggling to recruit staff as fewer EU citizens have been making their way to the UK since the vote for Brexit.

Tariffs on goods entering the UK on their way to the continent would be paid for on arrival in Britain, under the strategy laid out by Mrs May.

The Government has argued it will be able to know the final destination of 96% of all goods entering the country - meaning tariffs may have to be rejigged on just the remaining 4%.  

But Mr Winters said the analysis had taken into account all UK goods trade rather than just imports - the only sector which will have to pay entry tariffs.

In his own analysis, for the Times, he said when exports are stripped out the percentage of goods which could need tariffs rejigged at a later date would be four times as large.

He said: “The whole thing when you analyse it is pretty fanciful."

Meanwhile, business leaders told the paper it was a “fantasy” to suggest importers would be able to prove the final destination of every finished product arriving in the UK.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory chair of the pro-Brexit European Research Agency group of MPs, said the goods percentages were a “classic politicians’ statistical trick”.

But a Government spokesperson insisted only a “small proportion of overall trade” would be affected.

'SUPPLY SHOCK'

Elsewhere, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development warned of a “supply shock” to UK firms struggling to find staff in the wake of the Brexit vote.

A survey of 2,000 employers found the number of applicants per vacancy had fallen since last summer across all skilled jobs levels, with firms being forced to hike wages as a result.

Migration from the EU has fallen to its lowest level since 2013, according to official figures.

Gerwyn Davies of CIPD said: “The most recent official data shows that there has been a significant slowdown in the number of EU nationals coming to work in the UK over the past year.

“This is feeding into increasing recruitment and retention challenges, particularly for employers in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles and which are particularly vulnerable to the prospect of future changes to immigration policy for EU migrants.”

But a government spokesman said: “EU citizens make a huge contribution to our economy and we have been clear from the beginning of this process that we want these citizens and their families in the UK to be able to stay.

“After we leave the EU, the UK will continue to be the open country it has always been. We will have in place an immigration system that delivers control over who comes to the UK, but that welcomes the brightest and best who want to work hard and contribute.”

emilio.casalicchio

More than 100 Westminster constituencies switch Brexit allegiance from Leave to Remain - study

1 week 1 day ago
European Union flag outside Parliament, Brexit
One of those thought to have switched is the Uxbridge seat held by Boris Johnson

More than 100 Westminster constituencies that voted for Brexit have switched support to Remain, according to a shock new analysis.

A study of two YouGov polls of more than 15,000 people - seen by the Observer - showed most seats in Britain now contain a majority of voters who want to stay in the EU.

The findings could shift the Brexit battleground in parliament among MPs whose constituencies voted to Leave in the 2016 referendum but are now thought to back Remain.

According to the research by a consumer analytics company called Focaldata, the shift has taken place predominantly among Labour voters who backed Brexit.

Of the 632 seats in England, Scotland and Wales that were examined, 112 had switched from Leave to Remain, with 341 now backing EU membership compared with 229 backing Brexit.

One of those thought to have switched is the Uxbridge seat held by Boris Johnson - a key figure in the official Vote Leave campaign.

Seats held by pro-Brexit Tory Michael Gove, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Leave-backing Labour MPs Frank Field, Graham Stringer and Kelvin Hopkins also showed big swings to Remain, the study found.

The research was commissioned by pro-EU group Best for Britain and anti-racism group Hope Not Hate.

Best for Britain boss Eloise Todd told the Observer: “This groundbreaking research shows that Brexit is still not inevitable.

“People across the UK have witnessed the last two years of uncertainty with dismay and are thinking differently – 112 constituencies have switched to majorities that back staying in our current bespoke deal with the EU.

“The sands of public opinion are shifting and politicians risk falling behind. Our research shows that the deal must be put to the people.

“Westminster should legislate for a people’s vote on the Brexit terms, giving the public the option to stay and build our future on our current deal with the EU.”

emilio.casalicchio

Half of Brits want a second Brexit referendum if no deal agreed - poll

1 week 3 days ago
EU and UK flags
A major poll found opinion shifting in favour of a vote on the final Brexit deal

Exactly half of the British public would want a second referendum on Brexit if talks with the EU break down, a major new poll has found. 

A YouGov study of 10,000 people found 50% of Brits would want a so-called 'People's Vote' in the case of a no-deal scenario, while just 25% said MPs should have the final say. Another 25% did not know. 

The Government has ramped up preparations for a no-deal Brexit in recent weeks, and has promised MPs a say on what happens if talks break down.

As negotiations stand at the moment, some 45% of Brits believe there should be a second referendum, while just 34% do not.

The poll, conducted for pro-EU campaigners, also found that when excluding don’t knows, voters would back remaining in the bloc by 53% to 47% if a referendum were held now.

Peter Kellner, a leading pollster and former president of YouGov, said the findings were "politically significant".

He said: “There is clearly the potential for a broadly-based campaign this autumn for a Peoples Vote, should the Brussels talks go badly. Support for a new referendum would go well beyond the ranks of those who want to stop Brexit.

“Across the spectrum, the message from voters in this survey is clear: if the Government and Parliament can’t sort out Brexit, the people should."

Elsewhere, the poll found 68% of people agreed with the statement that the country “will get a bad deal from Brexit talks”, compared to just 13% who disagree – while 64% would lay the blame for a breakdown at Number 10. 

And almost three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed expected the promises made by the pro-Brexit campaigns to be broken.

Meanwhile, 50% to 29% said trading with the continent is more important than controlling immigration.

'COMPROMISE'

The poll comes just weeks ahead of crunch talks between Theresa May and the EU, as leaders prepare to strike a final agreement on Britain's future relationship with the bloc.

Reports today suggest Brussels is ready to compromise by allowing Britain access to the single market for goods while ending freedom of movement for people.

The Telegraph reports that leaders of the EU27 are prepared to concede ground on the issue – which was recognised as a major factor behind the UK’s vote to leave.

However the move would reportedly need to be matched by a trade-off that would see Britain accept all future EU environmental and social protections, in what would likely provoke outrage among hard Brexit supporters.

A senior Whitehall source told the paper: “The noises coming out of Brussels this week suggest some positive engagement with the Brexit White Paper.

“That needs to translate into positive discussions in the negotiating room.”

The European Commission declined to comment on the proposal, but did not deny that member states “may be discussing it”.

LABOUR SUPPORT

The poll comes as Labour prepares for a major showdown with its own members over whether it should back a second referendum on Brexit - which is currently against party policy.

A massive 63% of Labour voters were found to have backed a second referendum on Brexit, with just 8% opposed - while support for Remain over Leave stood at three to one. 

About 130 constituency Labour parties are said to be backing a motion for debate at the upcoming party conference in favour of a second vote.

The move piles pressure on Jeremy Corbyn, as the motion has been penned by a campaign group which supports him: Labour for People’s Vote.

According to the Guardian, the party has been mulling moves to neuter the showdown. One option could be to offer a policy statement backing a second vote in exceptional circumstances.

Labour MP and supporter of a People’s Vote, Chuka Umunna, said of the YouGov study: "This poll shows that Labour voters overwhelmingly support a People’s Vote, putting them at odds with the Party’s official pro-Brexit position.

“The Labour party must now do what its members and supporters and voters are crying out for: put clear red water between the Opposition and the Government, and provide leadership to the country by backing the People’s Vote campaign."

Nicholas Mairs

Business leaders want net migration target scrapped after Brexit

1 week 3 days ago
Border Force
The CBI said: "The stakes are high."

Business leaders have urged the government to scrap its plan to cut net migration to below 100,000 after Brexit.

The Confederation of British Industry said EU migrants were “profoundly important” to the British economy and “will be needed in the future”.

It said schools and hospitals should see funding boosts in areas where immigration has led to increased demand.

Concerns about unfettered immigration from the EU is widely assumed to have been a key factor in the vote to leave the bloc in 2016.

Ministers have long promised to cut net immigration numbers to the tens of thousands - but the CBI said the Government should scrap targets and develop a system which would benefit the economy.

“The stakes are high. Get it wrong, and the UK risks having too few people to run the health service, pick food crops or deliver products to stores around the country,” it argued.

“We also risk harming our future as a global innovation hub, rooted in our longstanding ability to attract talented people the world over.”

The CBI added that it would be “entirely unworkable” to simply include EU nationals in the “highly complex” migration system for the rest of the world after Brexit.

It said EU citizens should instead be registered on arrival and have their visits restricted to three months, "unless they can prove that they are working, studying or are self-sufficient".

But the Home Office said: “After we leave the EU we will end free movement and put in place a system which works in the best interests of the whole of the UK.

“We are considering a range of options that will ensure that we are in control of our borders and managing migration, while continuing to attract and retain people who come here to work and bring significant benefits.”

emilio.casalicchio

EXCL Dominic Raab's new aide called for continued freedom of movement after Brexit

1 week 6 days ago
Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab himself said immigration had pushed up housing prices

Dominic Raab's new aide said freedom of movement should continue after Brexit and blasted her new boss's claim that immigration pushes up house prices, PoliticsHome can reveal.

Stephanie Lis, who has been appointed Mr Raab's special adviser, made her comments in a 2016 video for the Institute of Economic Affairs, where she was director of communications before landing her new job.

She said concerns about immigration which had led to the vote for Brexit were “understandable” because “politicians have done an astonishingly poor job of making the case for free movement”.

“As a result, migrants have found themselves blamed for all sorts of problems - from rocketing house prices to unemployment,” she said.

“But many of these criticisms are based on exaggerations or are just fundamentally wrong.”

Ms Lis added: “Our new report out today calls on the Government to scrap the arbitrary migration target and maintain free movement with the EEA bloc whatever our future relationship with the EU may be.”

And she called on ministers to establish two-way free movement deals with other countries after Brexit, including the US, Australia and Canada.

Just this year Mr Raab said house prices had gone up by 20% over the past quarter of a century due to immigration. The then-housing minster was forced to publish official figures backing up his claims.

Ms Lis told PoliticsHome: “The video was made in a different capacity to my new role, but there are a variety of lines of thought on the issue which all contribute to a healthy discourse.”

But Francis Grove-White, deputy director of the pro-EU group Open Britain, said: "It’s no wonder the Brexit Secretary has appointed a special adviser who disagrees with him.

“It continues a theme of the Government wasting time negotiating with itself over Brexit, rather than with the EU."

He added: “With the Government and Parliament paralysed by indecision, we need a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.”

Mr Raab was appointed Brexit Secretary after his predecessor David Davis quit in protest at Theresa May's strategy for quitting the EU..

The minister and the Conservative party have been approached for comment.

emilio.casalicchio

Police warn 'no deal' Brexit could leave British public at risk

1 week 6 days ago
Police
Police warned over 32 EU crime-fighting mechanisms

Crashing out of the EU without a Brexit deal could put the public at risk, police have warned.

Local force bosses said the loss of access to EU-wide security powers and databases would be a blow for crime-fighting and they called on the Home Office to confirm contingency plans.

The Government has ramped up its planning for a no-deal Brexit and the EU has warned Britain it may not retain access to key mechanisms without a future arrangement.

The Police and Crime Commissioners sounded the alarm over 32 measures currently in place - including the European Arrest Warrant, criminal record sharing and suspect tracking systems.

In a letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, which was leaked to the Guardian, they said law enforcement agencies face “a significant loss of operational capacity” if Britain is booted out of the networks.

“The UK and EU share a common and ever evolving threat picture,” the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners' cross-party Brexit Working Group said in the letter.

“We believe that a comprehensive partnership in all areas of policing and security co-operation is of mutual benefit to all.”

The group argued "considerable additional resource would be required for policing to operate using non-EU tools and that such tools would be sub-optimal - potentially putting operational efficiency and public safety at risk".

And they added: "We are therefore concerned that a 'no deal' scenario could cause delays and challenges for UK policing and justice agencies."

A Home Office spokesman told the paper: "There is widespread recognition that the UK and EU can most effectively combat security threats when we work together.

"It is important we maintain operational capabilities after Brexit, and we will continue to make this case to the European Commission."

FOOD SHORTAGES

Meanwhile, farmers have warned the UK Could run out of food in a year if it fails to plan for extra food security in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

National Farmers Union president Minette Batters said agriculture “has the potential to be one of the most impacted sectors from a bad Brexit”.

Her warning comes after Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said ministers were planning to ensure an “adequate” food supply in the event of a no-deal departure from the bloc.

emilio.casalicchio

Nicola Sturgeon demands Brexit ‘Plan B’ ahead of talks with Theresa May

1 week 6 days ago
Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon outside Bute House in 2016.

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded that Theresa May set out her Brexit ‘plan B’, as the pair prepare to meet for talks in Edinburgh.

Scotland's First Minister called on Mrs May to lay out an alternative to the Government’s current offering to Brussels in case EU chiefs reject the plan and the UK is forced to crash out of the bloc without a deal.

She said: "With the Chequers proposals falling flat, even if a withdrawal agreement can be secured, there is a very real risk that we end up with a blind Brexit - which will see the UK step off the cliff edge next March without knowing what landing place will be.

"That would do as much harm to jobs, investment and the economy as a no deal Brexit and would leave the country directionless through the transition period.

"Given this lack of clarity and real concerns of no agreement, it is time the prime minister told us what her Plan B is. We cannot have no deal and we cannot have a blind Brexit. "

The two leaders will meet in Edinburgh today, where the Prime Minister will mark the signing of a "city deal" investment package for the south east of Scotland.

She is also announcing £13 million for investment in six science centres in the UK, including Dundee and Glasgow.

Mrs May said: "As we leave the EU, the UK government is working in partnership with business, academia and the devolved administrations to create more good jobs and spread economic prosperity across the country.

"By making the most of our country’s assets and the talents of all of our people, we can build a brighter future for the whole UK."

Elizabeth.Bates_30914

Ed Miliband's former spokesman becomes chief spin doctor for EU referendum campaign

2 weeks ago
Tom Baldwin
Tom Baldwin worked for Ed Miliband until the 2015 election.

A former spokesman for Ed Miliband has been appointed chief spin doctor for the campaign for another EU referendum.

Tom Baldwin became director of communications for People's Vote three years after standing down as one of the former Labour leader's key advisers in the wake of the 2015 election.

The former journalist, who recently published a book, 'Ctrl Alt Delete - How politics and the media crashed democracy', is now in charge of communications for the nine pro-EU groups working out of Millbank Tower in Westminster.

He said: "I had not intended to come back into politics but Brexit is the single biggest issue in politics bar none and currently threatens to cloud the future of our economic prosperity, our vital public services and young people for a generation.

"A few months’ ago, few would have given the People’s Vote campaign much chance but I’ve joined at a time when we’re gathering momentum and becoming the fastest-growing movement in Britain. That’s not just because of the efforts of everyone here at Millbank Tower and the 130 grassroots campaigns across the country but also because politicians in Westminster have made such a catastrophic mess of Brexit.

"This is not about re-fighting the last referendum, it is about delivering a verdict on the broken promises, the £50 billion divorce bill and the self-serving antics of political leaders who appear unable to stand up for the national interest. Across the UK, citizens from all walks of life and every corner of the country are concluding the only way to sort this mess out is to seize back control of Brexit with a People’s Vote."

An opinion poll last month showed that support for a referendum on the final Brexit deal has taken the lead for the first time.

A spokesman for Theresa May today re-iterated the Prime Minister's firm opposition to another referendum.

Jeremy Corbyn has also said that he does not back another poll, but Labour has so far stopped short of completely ruling it out.

kevin.schofield

Brussels would be breaking its own rules by forcing ‘no deal’ Brexit outcome, officials say

2 weeks ago
Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier was criticised yesterday by Liam Fox

The European Union risks going against the principles of its own rule book by refusing to reach a compromise with Britain on its exit terms, Government officials have reportedly said.

Senior Whitehall sources told the Daily Telegraph the continued stalling by the bloc heightened the chances of a "no deal" result and would potentially breach the Lisbon Treaty.

They point to Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states that the EU must "develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation”.

One source told the paper the British side was prepared to “make it clear whose fault it was”, while former Brexit Secretary David Davis warned Brussels risked making a “massive miscalculation” that could lead to an accidental no deal outcome.

The senior Whitehall source said: “We have made an offer that some people think is on the generous side and the EU has to know we are not kidding.

“If they don’t like our offer they need to come back and say what the alternative is, but they can’t just keep stalling.

“They also need to accept that we’ve done nothing wrong. We left under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, which says they have obligations to help us.

“The way they are behaving is making things difficult and if we end up with no deal we will make it clear whose fault it was.”

Meanwhile Mr Davis said: “It’s certainly not the intention of the EU to have a no deal Brexit but they are misjudging us at the moment. The UK Parliament does not want no deal but it’s certainly not going to be pushed around by the European Parliament…

“This is a negotiation and it will go to the edge, but we must not panic about this. They have got lots to lose too, and specific countries and specific sectors have got large amounts to lose. As we get closer to the brink there will be internal pressure within the EU.”

It comes just a day after Liam Fox warned that a “no deal” outcome was now odds-on to happen as a result of EU “intransigence”.

He rounded on the “theological obsession” of EU top brass with rules rather than “economic wellbeing” as he called on the EU to bring forward its own proposals after rejecting Theresa May’s.

The International Trade Secretary accused Brussels’ chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, of ­dismissing UK plans “because we have never done it before” and argued that “makes the chance of no deal greater”.

A Downing Street spokesperson later insisted the Prime Minister remained “confident of getting a good deal”.

They said: “We are urging Brussels and the nations of the EU27 engage with the Brexit white paper and make sure we avoid a no deal Brexit.

“The fact is that we are ramping up our no deal preparations, as was planned, because there was always a possibility of no deal.”

Nicholas Mairs
Submitted by itops on Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:47