It's your support that makes the difference.
We drive change in Europe.
In an interview with the BBC’s Panorama programme to be aired on Thursday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said the UK has “few of the levers to control what No Deal looks like in [its] hands,” adding, “Many of the levers are held by others – the EU27 or private business. We can seek to persuade them but we can’t control it.” Hammond also said, “We can make sure that goods flow inwards through the port of Dover without any friction but we can’t control the outward flow into the port of Calais. The French can dial that up or dial it down.”
Elsewhere, according to the Sunday Times, senior Treasury officials are expecting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to downgrade the UK’s economic assessment in case Boris Johnson pursues a No Deal scenario if he becomes Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister. A senior Government source is quoted saying, “There could be a potential downgrade to the UK economy. It is likely to be a major intervention. The combination of No Deal, falling foreign direct investment into the UK and falling construction output is hurting.”
Meanwhile, Johnson said over the weekend, “We must be ready for [No Deal] because that is the only way to be convincing to our European friends. If they think we’re going to bottle it again they simply won’t give us the deal we need.” Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, who previously expressed opposition to No Deal, told the BBC yesterday that while she still believes it would be a “bad” outcome, “We now need to allow No Deal to be part of the leverage to make sure that people compromise more,” adding, “I hope that the EU will compromise.”
Open Europe’s Henry Newman told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, “If [Boris Johnson] does not deliver Brexit by the 31 October, he will immediately be considered a failure. That’s the very reason that people are choosing Boris – to get something done that the current Prime Minister Theresa May promised to do, and could not deliver,” adding, “There is a narrow landing path for him, but it’s very difficult.”
BBC News The Sunday Times Sky News Politico Sunday Crunch Henry Newman
The Times reports that if former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson becomes Conservative party leader and Prime Minister, one of his priorities would be to travel to the US within the first two months of his premiership in order to negotiate a post-Brexit free trade agreement. A limited part of the deal focusing on “one area” of goods would reportedly be agreed before the UK leaves the EU on 31 October. An ally of Johnson is quoted as saying, “The key to the whole thing is the US. If we get a trade deal with America we will be very quickly in the market for other deals. It encourages others to realise that we mean business,” adding, “There is no question that the moment we leave on the 31st [of October] we should be in a position to get some kind of arrangement with the US.”
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC this morning that the UK “can’t negotiate anything with the US until after we’ve left the European Union. It would be in breach of European law for us to do that.” He also said it would be difficult to separate areas like food and agriculture in trade talks with the US, adding, “If you go to the US and you say we’re going to take any discussions on agricultural access off the agenda, you’ll find that they close down pretty quickly in terms of the willingness to discuss things.”
Elsewhere, The Times reported over the weekend that Johnson has begun talks with Labour MPs representing Leave constituencies to gain their support for a new Brexit deal that Johnson is planning to renegotiate with the EU. Johnson told The Telegraph, “There are already lots of Labour MPs who are talking to us who are saying they want to help get this over the line,” adding, “They represent seats which are strong Leave seats where their electorates feel very disenchanted with what’s going on in parliament, where — whatever [Shadow Chancellor] John McDonnell and [Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn say — they want to knock this through.”
Separately, the other Conservative party leadership contender, Jeremy Hunt, said he would take over the post of Brexit Secretary if he became Prime Minister and that he would coordinate No Deal Brexit preparations from Downing Street. Hunt said, “As a deal maker I will oversee our negotiations [with the EU] personally. The EU will only know we’re serious if it is the Prime Minister gripping the details and leading the negotiations.”
The two candidates will participate in another debate tonight at 7PM. It will be live-streamed by The Sun.
The Times II
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday that Ireland is considering carrying out checks on animal products arriving from Great Britain at ports on the whole island of Ireland in case of No Deal Brexit. Varadkar said, “The kind of things that we’re looking at and proposing, for example, is that the entire island of Ireland will be treated the same when it comes to agriculture or food and that any SPS [sanitary and phytosanitary] checks would happen at the ports,” adding, “That would mean Britain accepting that Northern Ireland is being treated differently. The other things obviously are checks at business level and random checks and controls, and we’ll have to have a lot more of them anyway because of smuggling.”
Ireland’s EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, also said yesterday that SPS checks at the land border could be avoided even in a No Deal situation if “the necessary protocols” were put in place.
Responding to Varadkar’s suggestion, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Chief Whip, Jeffrey Donaldson, said, “If this is an indication that the Taoiseach is prepared to engage with the UK, then… we will look at whatever proposals he has to put forward. But we are also clear that anything that creates a new border in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and our biggest market in Great Britain will be totally unacceptable.” He added, “We want to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland and are prepared to work with the Irish government to deepen North-South co-operation so that this can be achieved.”
Separately, the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Simon Byrne, warned on Saturday that a No Deal Brexit would have an “absolutely detrimental” impact on the peace process on the island of Ireland. Byrne said the PSNI is “worried that in the short term a hard Brexit will create a vacuum which becomes a rally call and recruiting ground for dissident republicans and clearly any rise in their popularity or their capability would be very serious.” He also said, “If tariffs change and drop, we will see the prospect of animals being culled and people going out of business. That may lead to unrest and we having to protect other agencies as we go to support new arrangements.”
The Observer reports that the anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller and her team of lawyers have written a letter to Boris Johnson saying that they will launch legal action if he becomes Prime Minister and decides to prorogue Parliament to pursue a No Deal Brexit. The letter says, “It would seriously undermine parliamentary sovereignty for you, as Prime Minister, to prorogue Parliament to prevent it from considering whether to legislate to prevent a No Deal Brexit.” Miller told Sky News, “We think that it’s beyond the Prime Minister’s powers because parliamentary sovereignty is actually the jewel in the constitutional crown.”
The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the European Parliament on Friday set out conditions for supporting the nomination of the European Commission candidate, Ursula von der Leyen. The conditions include commitments on sustainable development, reform of asylum policies, gender equality in the Commission, a value-based EU foreign policy and strengthening democracy in the EU. In a letter to von der Leyen, the President of the S&D group, Iratxe Garcia-Perez, said, “We need to see you make concrete commitments on our key demands or we will not be able to back your candidacy… The next European Commission must drive the economic, social, and ecological transformation of Europe, based on sustainable equality and on strong democracy. There is no time to waste and no time left for business-as-usual.”
The vote to approve von der Leyen’s nomination will take place tomorrow.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly told Le Parisien newspaper that France has an ambition to create a “European army,” adding that this would be an “eventually realistic” project and that European states must “build this desire to work and cooperate, and be able to better analyse the common threats that we are facing.” She also said that US President Donald Trump has been “an excellent ambassador for Europe’s defence,” as the “questioning and almost transparent threat” of American engagement to European security have encouraged “Europeans to invest in the favour of their defence, via their national budgets.”
This came as French President Emmanuel Macron said during the celebrations of Bastille Day in Paris yesterday, “Never, since the end of the Second World War, has Europe been so important,” adding, “The construction of a Europe of defence, in connection with the Atlantic Alliance [NATO] … is a priority for France.”