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Brexit 1) Barnier rewrites negotiating timetable, saying any UK-EU deal would be done “not much later than November”

“Michel Barnier last night officially ripped up the wobbly October deadline for a Brexit deal, admitting nothing will be agreed until November. Tense exit talks in Brussels will now run “continuously” until then to try and get a deal done as negotiations enter “the final phase.” Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab travelled to Brussels for talks yesterday with his EU counterpart and said afterwards: “I’m confident we can reach that agreement in October.” But moments later the EU’s chief negotiator left the Brit stone-faced by saying any deal would be actually be done “not much later than November, certainly”. Both sides widely believed the deadline of an October summit of EU leaders was under threat, but had not said so publicly until last night.” – The Sun 

Brexit 2) UK and EU agree to “continuous” talks for final stage of negotiations

“The UK and the EU have agreed to hold “continuous” Brexit talks after a cool encounter between lead negotiators in Brussels appeared to yield little progress. “The negotiations are now entering the final stage,” said Michel Barnier, the former French minister who is leading the talks for the EU. “We have agreed that the EU and the UK will negotiate continuously from now on.” Dominic Raab, who became Brexit secretary last month after a spate of resignations, said: “We need to step up the intensity of the negotiations as we enter the final phase and we have agreed to meet regularly to resolve those outstanding issues.” With the clock ticking down to an autumn deadline to reach an agreement, Raab said he remained confident of making a deal in October, while his French opposite number said parliamentary timetables meant a deal could be reached “certainly not later than the beginning of November”.” – Guardian

  • This was Raab and Barnier’s third meeting in just over a month – Daily Mail 
  • Barnier speaks of “intensifying” discussion – FT
  • Here’s what he says needs to be sorted – Daily Express
  • Meanwhile, France opposes Brussels’ “no deal” plan for “sea corridor” – The Sun 

Brexit 3) Raab criticises “hair-raising scare stories” during press conference with Barnier

“Dominic Raab lashed out at “hair-raising scare stories” about a no deal Brexit at a press conference with Michel Barnier on Tuesday, as the EU’s chief negotiator warned that Brussels would not accept the blame for failure to strike an agreement. Britain’s new Brexit Secretary and Mr Barnier vowed to “negotiate continuously” to beat the looming deadline for Britain to leave the bloc, rather than rely on the now traditional rounds of negotiation. If the UK and the Brussels cannot finalise a Brexit deal before 29 March 2019, Britain will crash out of the EU without a deal, which Mr Barnier warned would be “the most costly form of Brexit”.  “We don’t want this option,” he added.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He says, on “no deal”, that UK’s “actions speak louder than words” – Daily Express
  • Meanwhile, Hunt, in US, says “no deal” would be “chaotic” for European unity – Daily Express

Comment:

  • The fear of Project Fear is being used to scare people – David Shariatmadari, Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: The arguments for and against Brexit are presented with an insulting show of certainty

Brexit 4) Clark held talks in Dublin to ensure “lights would stay on” in NI, in case of “no deal”

“Greg Clark, the business secretary, has held urgent talks with officials in Dublin on an emergency agreement to keep the lights on in Northern Ireland after a “no-deal” Brexit. Downing Street wants to avoid publishing its plans for a worst-case scenario that include importing thousands of generators north of the border. The electricity industry has operated a single wholesale market across the island of Ireland since 2007 but it is underpinned by European Union law. Without legal certainty Northern Ireland, a net importer, could be left short of supplies in a chaotic Brexit. Draft contingency plans, first reported by The Times, include the mass importation of generators, some placed on barges, to ensure sufficient capacity.” – The Times 

  • The “no deal” papers to be released tomorrow will include one on financial sector – Guardian 

Editorial: 

  • The plans show key Brexit issue is still Northern Ireland – The Times 

Brexit 5) Hoey: We were “exhilarated” when we won. Now we’re “bombarded” with establishment “messages of fear”

“So all the promises made about the result being final and that it would be honoured were made by politicians who never believed that the British public could possibly ignore their dire warnings. In the immediate aftermath of the referendum those, like myself who had campaigned hard to leave, undoubtedly took our eyes off the ball. We were exhilarated, filled with positive feelings about our country’s future outside the EU and so proud of those wonderful men and women across the country who despite the entire establishment urging a Remain vote went out and voted for an independent future for the UK. … Yet two years later that same establishment backed by much of the broadcast media is bombarding us with messages of fear. Every day another “celebrity” pops up to support a “people’s vote” – shorthand for another referendum. Their aim is to demoralise and frighten, hoping that more and more people will just accept a watering down of the 2016 result.” – Daily Express

Brexit 6) Gardiner says second referendum would “undermine democracy”

“A second referendum could trigger riots on the streets of Britain, a leading Labour frontbencher has warned. In a withering slap down Barry Gardiner said Labour colleagues backing a public vote on the final Brexit deal “undermines the whole principle of democracy in this country”.The Shadow International Secretary said a second referendum would be “very, very damaging” and could even trigger “socially disruptive” behaviour across the country. His firm warning came as it emerged a string of Labour frontbenchers have polled voters on whether they support a re-run of the 2016 vote amid growing fears the party could ditch its opposition to a second referendum.” – The Sun

Editorial:

More Brexit 

  • Mundell tells Conservatives to “unite round Chequers” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: George Eustice in Comment: I’m a former UKIP candidate. I backed fundamental renegotiation. But I support the Chequers proposals. Here’s why.

Fox “indicates” that net migration target could be scrapped

“Liam Fox has become the latest senior minister to indicate that the government could drop its target of reducing annual net migration to below 100,000. The international trade secretary was lukewarm about the future of the policy, which he said would be reviewed after Britain had left the European Union. “Naturally, as a member of the cabinet, I support the government’s policy,” he told LBC radio yesterday. “But I think we do need to look in the future at how we match our employment opportunities with our migration policy.”” – The Times

  • But Downing Street says “we remain committed to … tens of thousands” – The Sun
  • Fox also spoke of preference for immigration policy that favours job-offer holders – Guardian

Comment:

July’s public finance figures show “biggest surplus” in 18 years

“Government borrowing is falling so fast that some economists say the chancellor may not need to raise taxes to pay for the £20 billion promised to the NHS. Official public finance figures for July were better than expected, with £2 billion more raised in tax than spent — the biggest surplus for the month in 18 years. Borrowing for April to July, the fiscal year to date, was £12.8 billion, £8.5 billion less than the same period in 2017 and the lowest since 2002. The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, were better than expected and put the Treasury on track for a windfall of about £10 billion this year, economists estimated, giving Philip Hammond more room in the autumn budget when he must find billions for commitments already made and still meet his fiscal rules.” – The Times

  • This will help Hammond with NHS spending challenge – Guardian

Comment: 

  • He “got lucky” – Larry Elliot, Guardian

>Today: Local Government: State land banking: The Mayor of London is sitting on 1,576 acres

Javid apologises to 18 Windrush migrants wrongfully removed or detained

“Sajid Javid has issued a formal apology after it emerged that as many as 164 Windrush migrants were wrongly removed from the UK or detained. The Home Secretary apologised to 18 Windrush migrants who experienced the worst treatment, including 11 who were removed and seven who were detained. They will all be offered the opportunity to return to the UK or be directed to a compensation scheme. The Government is now trying to contact a further 146 migrants who officials believe may have been wrongly removed or detained. In 74 of the cases the migrants have lost their right to stay in the UK indefinitely because they left the UK for two years or more.” – Daily Telegraph

  • They will be given chance to return to UK – FT
  • Number could increase to over 160 – The Times
  • There was a review of 11,800 cases – Guardian

Vaping tax “officially ruled out”

“Treasury ministers officially ruled out targeting vapers with a new tax in coming Budget following a backlash, The Sun can reveal. To the delight of Britain’s 2.9 million E-cig users the Exchequer Secretary Robert Jenrick wrote to industry figures to pledge: “we have no current plans to introduce a new tax on vaping products.” Ministers had studied plans to tax the cigarette replacements to help fund the extra £20 billion pledged to the NHS – prompting campaigners to urge them to think again. And Mr Jenrick went further in a letter to the UK Vaping Industry Association – hinting that vape sticks could be reclassified for a far lower rate of VAT if NHS bosses officially class them as treatment for smokers.” – The Sun

Macwhirter: Farage’s “relevance” is his “pull” on the Tory leadership contest

“Trust Nigel Farage to be first out of the traps for the new political season. He’s going back on the road as chairman of the hard Brexit campaign, Leave Means Leave, dedicated to exposing “Theresa the appeaser” and the elite of “cowardly Remainers” who are doing their best to frustrate the Will of the People by delaying Article 50. I know that I could be accused of helping the Farage cult by writing about him. My excuse is that he has little appeal north of the Border and that his battlebus will almost certainly avoid touring Scotland. So why write about him at all if he is politically irrelevant? Mr Farage is relevant precisely because of the magnetic pull he is likely to exert on the UK Tory leadership, the contest for which effectively begins at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham next month.” – Herald

  • Party members should be trusted to pick leader – Andrea Jenkyns, Daily Telegraph

Corbyn “refuses to endorse” stricter Russia sanctions, calling for “serious dialogue” instead

“Jeremy Corbyn has refused to endorse calls for the UK to follow the United States and impose tougher sanctions on Russia, describing it as a “huge player on the world stage”. Speaking in New Lanark, Scotland, the Labour leader called for “serious dialogue” with Moscow. It came after Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, used his first speech in the US to call for the European Union to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Washington over tougher sanctions on Russia. Mr Corbyn said: “I think what we need is a serious dialogue with Russia, put the megaphones down, pick up the phone and make the arrangements to have serious meetings with Russia.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hunt says Russia needs to know “price for using (nerve agents) will be too high” – Daily Telegraph

More Labour

  • Corbyn to visit refugees evicted by Serco – Guardian

Other parties

And abroad

  • Former Trump aides facing jail – Guardian

Vine: Why should the needs of a transgender schoolchild outweigh the needs of other children attending the same school?

“After I wrote about the madness of gender-neutral toilets in last week’s Mail, I received a truly extraordinary email. It was from a woman whose daughter is around the same age as my own (15/16) and who, like her, attends an all-girls’ school in a busy metropolitan area. The end of the summer term had, she explained, seen the school welcome a new girl who, it quickly transpired, was not only a rather troubled individual with a history of self-harm and drug use, but also biologically male. …  As my reader explained, many of the girls at the school were children of observant Muslim families. How would they square that with the knowledge that their daughters might be getting ready for PE alongside a biological male? As a snapshot of where our PC obsession is leading, this case is quite illustrative. Here is one child — one single child — whose needs have been prioritised over those of an entire school. Under such circumstances, it’s hard not to feel that common sense is losing the fight.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Daniel Hannan’s column: Identity politics. It becomes impossible to avoid giving offence, because the offended keep changing the rules

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Cleverly isn’t chicken

News in Brief

  • Barnier’s here to stay – Katy Balls, Spectator
  • The NHS is not “on the brink of extinction” – John Ashmore, CapX
  • The truth about higher education – Quintin McKellar, Reaction
  • Is Jamie a jerk? Or is this about something else? – Nesrine Malik, New Statesman
  • On Cohen and Guiliani – Andy Borowitz, New Yorker

3 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 22nd August 2018

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