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Brexit: May to offer cash in exchange for trade negotiations…

Theresa May will tell Donald Tusk on Friday she is prepared to give ground on the Brexit divorce bill as Brussels demands a written guarantee of more money to unlock trade talks. The European Council President will make it clear to the Prime Minister that Britain must give a “no strings attached” promise of paying substantially more than the current £20 billion on offer. Mrs May, who this week won the backing of senior Cabinet ministers to make an offer that could run to 40 billion euros, has not ruled out giving the EU a written breakdown of what Britain considers its financial obligations to be, but will insist on a written guarantee of trade talks in return. The EU will not expect Mrs May to name a figure at this stage, but wants detail on exactly what Britain is prepared to pay for.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Deal must work for Gibraltar, says Downing Street – The Guardian
  • EU officials scornful over UK’s performance in the negotiations – Daily Telegraph
  • Plan will cost Britain £28 billion after Brexit – Daily Express
  • May to label Russia ‘hostile state’ in speech to unite EU leaders – The Sun

Comment:

  • A bad Brexit will cost Britain dear in lost business – Carolyn Fairbairn, The Times

Editorial:

…as ECJ judge says British politicians may not be good enough to deliver Brexit

“Ministers still do not “grasp” the complexities of leaving the European Union, the British judge on the European Court of Justice has privately warned, questioning the calibre of politicians negotiating Brexit. Ian Forrester, Britain’s representative on the European Court of Justice for the past two years, candidly told Irish diplomats that there were “issues around the quality of politicians in Westminster at present”. He expressed his hopes that it would “gradually dawn on people” what leaving actually entailed and for a “realisation” that it was a “great mistake”. The comments were contained in a confidential Irish government report leaked to RTÉ News. The paper also included withering assessments of British politicians and officials from senior figures from across the European Union.” – The Times

  • Fury as Brussels blocks city of culture bids – Daily Mail
  • Outraged culture expert says move cost British cities thousands – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Britain is nowhere near ready to walk away, but we can avoid doomsday – Ben Kelly, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Leave.EU and Arron Banks – the Brexiteers that the Remain campaign loved

…and Gove wins ‘furious Cabinet tussle’ over post-Brexit divergence from Brussels’ rules

“Leave campaign boss Michael Gove has won Theresa May’s backing in a furious Cabinet tussle over a clean Brexit from all EU rules, friends say. The PM’s top table is bitterly split over how close to stick to regulations issued by Brussels after the UK leaves. EU chiefs say Britain will only get a good trade deal if it agrees to keep standards closely harmonised, from competition rules to food safety. But the Environment Secretary is now confident that he and fellow Brexiteer Boris Johnson have finally won round Mrs May to reject the demand. Instead, the PM is ready to make a stand and tell other EU leaders that Britain will diverge from ‘regulatory harmonisation’, he believes.” – The Sun

  • Here’s how we break the deadlock: get a deal on conformity and get out – Stephen Woolfe, Daily Telegraph
  • As a mutineer, I’m worried about consumers on the high seas after Brexit – Vicky Ford, Times Red Box

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Don’t believe claims of fewer EU nationals and doctors since the Brexit vote

May urged to find £20 billion for defence

“Theresa May was yesterday urged to increase defence spending by £20 billion – or risk seeing Britain booted off the UN Security Council. Furious peers lined up to berate the Government for turning a deaf ear to the needs of the military and risking the UK’s standing with our allies. Labour’s Lord Solely said defence spending should rise from the current 2 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent – taking the budget to £59 billion. He stormed: “We have a defence policy that seeks to be full spectrum but we are not putting up the necessary money to make that credible. We are putting forward a defence posture for the United Kingdom that looks sophisticated but we are not putting in the money to make it credible.”” – The Sun

Ministers 1) Hancock suggests Uber could have broken British law over hack

“Uber could be prosecuted in the UK over a massive hack involving customers’ personal details, a minister has warned. Culture minister Matt Hancock said today there was a ‘high chance’ that the taxi-hailing company had broken British laws over the breach. It emerged yesterday that the beleaguered firm had hushed up a mass data breach that potentially saw British customers’ personal details fall into the hands of cyber criminals. During today’s Commons, shadow culture minister Kevin Brennan asked Mr Hancock: ‘Has Uber broken current UK law in relation to this breach?’ Mr Hancock replied that it was a ‘matter for the courts’, but added: ‘I think there’s a very high chance that it is.'” – Daily Mail

  • Firm ‘failed to give reliable figures for victims – The Times

Comment:

  • Uber must clean up its act – Wes Streeting, Times Red Box
  • Tech-driven firms are why I don’t share the OBR’s productivity gloom – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

Ministers 2) Gove promises crackdown on puppy smuggling

“Michael Gove today hit out at the EU for preventing Britain from cracking down on puppy smuggling and pledged to tighten rules once we quit the bloc. The Environment Secretary pledged to lift animal welfare standards after Britain free itself from the red tape of Brussels. He made the comments after a row saw Tory MPs accused of voting down a law which recognises animal sentience – that creatures can feel things. The Cabinet minister said the public had misunderstood the parliamentary vote but pledged to enshrine animal sentience in British law after the outcry.” – Daily Mail

  • British law will recognise that animals feel pain, minister pledges – The Times
  • Stars spread fake news about MPs’ animal vote – The Sun

Ministers 3) Advent of driverless cars will mean millions need retraining, claims Hammond

“The introduction of driverless vehicles will mean more than a million people who drive for a living will have to be retrained, Philip Hammond has said. The Chancellor said the advent of the new technology will “transform the productivity” of the UK economy, but warned that for some people it could be “very challenging”. It comes after he used yesterday’s budget to reveal electric and driverless will get a £500million boost as he laid out plans for the future of Britain’s roads. As part of the measures, red tape will be slashed to allow tech firms to test driverless vehicles on public roads by 2021.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Norman says Government is considering making cycle helmets compulsory – The Times

More Chancellor:

  • Town halls attack Hammond’s housebuilding plans – FT

Comment:

  • Chancellor shouldn’t try to build Brexit Britain on the cheap – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

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