3 June 2019

Conservative leadership contenders set out Brexit plans

In an article for The Daily Mail on Saturday, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid ruled out the possibility of a second referendum, general election or revocation of Article 50 in his bid for the Conservative Party leadership. He proposed an emergency budget for a No Deal Brexit, and for the UK to cover the costs of any technological arrangements for the Irish border.

This comes as The Telegraph reports that Environment Secretary Michael Gove would be prepared to delay Brexit until 2020, telling colleagues that a No Deal Brexit in October would risk a general election that would make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.

Elsewhere, the Former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom pledged to deliver a “managed No Deal Brexit” if she were to become the next Prime Minister, adding, “the Withdrawal Agreement is dead…and the UK parliament won’t vote for it”. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that No Deal is better than no Brexit, whilst Health Secretary Matt Hancock proposed an “Irish Border Council” as part of his Brexit plan. Hancock said it would aim to find a way to maintain a soft border and allow the UK to have an independent trade policy.

Separately, the International Development Secretary, Rory Stewart, met business representatives in Northern Ireland on Sunday and commented, “we must – for the sake of Northern Ireland – avoid a No Deal Brexit and instead get a good positive trading relationship with Europe in place.”

This comes as Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss has backed Boris Johnson for the Conservative leadership, while Chair of the Treasury Select Committee Nicky Morgan endorsed Michael Gove.

Meanwhile, former universities minister Sam Gyimah became the thirteenth Conservative MP to enter the Conservative leadership race, calling for a “final say on the Brexit deal”. Gyimah, the first contender to back a second referendum, told Sky News yesterday morning that his proposed referendum would have two stages – a Leave versus Remain question, and, if Leave wins, a Deal versus No Deal question.

Source: The Guardian The Daily Mail The Sun The Telegraph The Telegraph II Brexit Central BBC News The Guardian III The Telegraph III

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US Ambassador to the UK: NHS and agriculture “on the table” for post-Brexit US-UK trade deal

The US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson appeared on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK. He said that that all areas of the economy, including the NHS and agriculture, would be “on the table” in any future US-UK trade negotiations after Brexit. Health Secretary Matt Hancock responded, “the NHS will not be on the table in any future talks.”

Elsewhere, in an interview with The Sunday Times, Trump said the next Prime Minister should refuse to pay the £39bn Brexit divorce bill and pursue a No Deal Brexit if the EU refuses to offer Britain what it asks for.

Source: BBC News The Times I The Times II

New Westminster election poll puts Brexit Party in the lead

A new survey of Westminster voting intention by Opinium puts the Brexit Party in first place, with 26% of the vote. The poll, conducted for the Observer, puts Labour second on 22%, the Conservatives third on 17%, the Liberal Democrats fourth on 16%, and the Greens fifth on 11%. Opinium surveyed 2,005 people between 28 and 30 May.

Meanwhile, a Deltapoll survey of voting intention for the Mail on Sunday puts Labour in the lead on 26%, ahead of the Brexit Party (24%), the Conservatives (20%), and the Liberal Democrats (16%). The poll, which surveyed 2,449 people online between 29 and 30 May, also suggests that 39% of Conservative voters and 32% of all voters consider Boris Johnson to be the best potential Conservative leader.

Separately, Security Minister Ben Wallace said yesterday that he did not think public safety would be “significantly affected” by a No Deal Brexit.

Source: The Guardian

Andrea Nahles to resign from German Social Democratic Party (SPD) leadership

The leader of the centre-left German Social Democratic Party (SPD), Andrea Nahles, announced yesterday that she will quit as party leader today and as head of its parliamentary group tomorrow. This comes after the SPD came third in the European Parliament elections in Germany. In response to Nahles’ resignation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that coalition between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the SPD would continue.

Meanwhile, a German opinion poll showed the Green Party topping the polls with 27%, and the CDU coming second with 26%. The SPD were third at 12%, and the Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) fourth with 11%. The nationwide poll was conducted from May 27-31 by Forsa on behalf of German broadcasters RTL and NTV.

Separately, a survey conducted for Austria’s Krone Newspaper shows Sebastian Kurz’s centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) polling at 38%. The Social Democrats follow with 21%.

Elsewhere, European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said yesterday that the EU Commission will make proposals this week to resolve its dispute with Italy over its budget deficit.

Source: BBC News Reuters I Politico Reuters II

Laurent Wauquiez resigns as leader of France's centre-right Republicans

The leader of the French centre-right Republican party, Laurent Wauquiez, resigned yesterday evening. This follows the French European election results, where they ended in fourth place with 8.5%.

Separately, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire will today propose an overhaul of EU antitrust rules in a conference in Paris.

Source: Politico Bloomberg Brussels briefing

Zoe Alipranti: The selection of top EU jobs explained

In a new blog, Open Europe’s Zoe Alipranti explains the process ahead for the selection of top EU jobs.

In another new blog, Open Europe’s Dominic Walsh has produced a series of maps and charts illustrating the results of the recent European Parliament elections.