Fox on Customs Union

Liam Fox:

“Remaining in a customs union would only make any sense if we were to give up our global ambitions. Tomorrow’s choices would be limited to today’s status quo.”

Starmer: Labour Wants A Customs Union and Could Join Tory Rebels

Keir Starmer confirms Labour remainers have secured a policy shift to staying in a customs union with the EU. The Labour leadership has been gradually unravelling its previously guarded position on the issue over the past week. Starmer hinted Labour could join Tory rebels and throw its weight behind cross-party amendments, saying:

“We haven’t made a final decision on that but they are so close to our amendments … but whether it’s our amendments or cross-bench amendments.”

All eyes will be on Jeremy Corbyn’s set piece speech on the issue tomorrow to see the detail on how far the Shadow Cabinet remainers have pushed Jezza. Liam Fox warned Tory rebels:

“I hope that they will have an open mind and listen to what the Prime Minister says because I think that what the Prime Minister will set out will deal with a lot of the reservations that they have.”

May has little option but to make this a confidence vote and challenge remain rebels to back her or sack her…

Fox: Corbyn ‘Undermined UK Security’ During Cold War

Liam Fox explains (to ‘Red Andy’, no less) the big picture issue raised by Spygate:

“I think that the Labour left during the Cold War were extremely unhelpful to this country. We believed that we should see off Communism, we believed we should see off tyranny… I certainly think the Labour left were the Soviet Union’s useful idiots during that period…

“Jeremy Corbyn and others were very useful to the Soviet Union during the Cold War because they undermined the arguments of the West… I think in the broadest sense he was undermining the security of our country by siding with the Soviet Union in that argument and I think that was very damaging to the country. Luckily it was our side of the argument not Jeremy Corbyn’s that won the day. I think he certainly undermined the security of the United Kingdom by their one-sided disarmament and their very clear preference for a Soviet style communism during that period – fortunately we beat them then and we have to beat them now.”

Well put…

Tory MPs Kicking Off Over Plot to Keep Us in Customs Union

Last night’s FT scoop that “Theresa May’s Brexit advisers” are “secretly considering” keeping us in a customs union with the EU has got members of the European Research Group of Tory MPs kicking off. The story was sent around senior Brexiters last night, who reacted with considerable concern. Such a deal would obviously prevent us from striking trade deals with non-EU countries, one of the key opportunities of Brexit. It has been clear for some time now that the Treasury is lobbying to keep us in a customs union that prevents the UK’s ability to strike out on its own, as Charles Grant has said. As Liam Fox told Bloomberg overnight: “It is very difficult to see how being in a customs union is compatible with having an independent trade policy, because we would therefore be dependent on what the EU negotiated in terms of its trading policies and we’d be following behind that.” So why is May allowing her aides to “secretly” keep us inside? This is yet another example of Number 10 being bounced towards a softer Brexit. Worryingly May has not exactly killed this story in China, she needs to or Tory MPs will be bashing down her door when she arrives home…

Open Britain Spinning About Trade Deals

Everyone knows Fox cannot sign trade deals until we leave the EU. Do Open Britain think the public are stupid?

Fox: “I’d Take Up Being a Long Distance Swimmer”

Fox: “How Much Does EU Want to Punish Britain?”

Fox: We Won’t Be Blackmailed

Worth reading Pieter Cleppe from Open Europe on why the EU is likely to soften its position and break the deadlock on trade talks and the divorce bill. Davis’ theme yesterday that the UK is being pragmatic and it’s the EU being obstinate is gaining traction…

We’re Gonna Build Some Buses and Mexico Is Gonna Pay

The UK will export 90 iconic red London buses to Mexico as export finance worth £1.7 billion enables buoyant Brexit Britain to break free into global markets. Theresa May will today visit the Alexander Dennis bus factory in Guildford today, just one of 137 firms helped by UK Export Finance (UKEF) since it was put under the control of the Department for International Trade.

90 low-emission buses will reduce congestion and pollution on Mexico City’s Paseo de la Reforma, and will begin transporting passengers from the end of this year. The new Brexit Britain export funding includes;

  • Norton Motorcycle, an iconic British motorcycle brand, selling 1000 bikes a year to Australia, North America, Japan and Europe
  • Design and Projects, a Hampshire-based engineering company, exporting €12 million of rail equipment for a metro line in Bangkok
  • BurntIsland Fabrications Ltd winning a £100 million contract to support an offshore wind farm
  • Distinction winning a $7 million contract to supply the Palm Jumeriah hotel in Dubai with luxury furniture.

Making exports great again…

Hammond and Fox Dash Remain Media’s Wishful Thinking

Back in June, Guido told you a consensus was forming between Hammond, Fox et al on a time-limited 2-3 year transition outside the single market and customs union. As other publications breathlessly reported on Cabinet splits and Brexit coming off the rails, we wrote:

“Everyone in government including Philip Hammond agrees on a destination outside the single market and customs union… Hammond and Leavers now agree on a “softer landing”, so long as the transition is short and time-limited… this seems to Guido a sensible approach for a smooth, real Brexit.”

Yesterday Hammond and Fox dashed the hopes of the less reality-based Remainers, writing a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph confirming what Guido readers already knew:

“We will leave the customs union and be free to negotiate the best trade deals around the world as an independent, open, trading nation. We will leave the single market, because there was a vote for change on June 23rd and that is what we will deliver… We believe a time-limited interim period will be important to further our national interest and give business greater certainty – but it cannot be indefinite; it cannot be a back door to staying in the EU.”

A lot of what is being published by the FT, Guardian and Evening Standard at the moment is wishful thinking, and sometimes just plain wrong. For weeks they reported the government was being torn apart by splits over the transition. Then Osborne’s Standard praised Hammond for securing victory on the transition and said the government had made the “right call”. Today Remainers are moaning Hammond has “caved in”. The reality has been clear for some time for those willing to see it: a time-limited 2-3 year transition outside the single market and customs union. As Guido readers have known for months…

Gove: No to Chlorine Chicken

Michael Gove flatly ruled out chlorinated chicken in Brexit Britain’s supermarkets on the Today programme, hours after Liam Fox insisted there was no health issue with US-style chemically washed poultry. Fox is right that this whole row is confected and that the science doesn’t justify the ruffled feathers. Scaremongering by opportunistic Remainers maybe, but regardless of the facts chlorine chicken is always going to be unpopular, will cut through to the public and not help the PR for Brexit. The story should have been shut down days ago, it is distracting from Labour’s student debt row and what should have been a very good week for the Tories…

Fox: Brexit Transition Should End Before Next Election

Fox: BBC Always Describes Good News as #DespiteBrexit

A lot of Remainers are whingeing about these comments by Liam Fox this morning criticising the BBC. Worth noting that last night’s Newsnight ran a story claiming Brexit isn’t going to happen, which shows how reality-based some elements of the Beeb are. And it is pretty obvious that other pundits would rather Britain fail than Brexit succeed. Fox isn’t wrong…

May Confirms UK Leaving Customs Union By Hiring Top Trade Adviser

Theresa May and Liam Fox have confirmed the UK will leave the customs union by hiring a globally respected Chief Negotiation Adviser. Crawford Falconer is a New Zealander with 25 years of experience at negotiating trade deals. His job will be to “develop and negotiate free trade agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries”. An important moment in the ongoing battle for Brexit: striking trade deals would not be possible if Britain were to remain in the customs union. Sorry Phil, bad news for opportunistic Remainers…

“Theresa May is Theresa May”

Liam Fox on Britain’s History

Liam Fox making friends and trolling lefties:

“The United Kingdom, is one of the few countries in the European Union that does not need to bury its 20th century history in a pan-European project”.

Labour’s Werritty Fishing Trip

Liam Byrne is having some fun via the medium of written questions:

Liam Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many times Mr Adam Werritty has been received on his Department’s premises at his behest since he took office.

Greg Hands: None.

At a cost of £165 to the taxpayer per question, worth a shot?

H/T @estwebber

Spank Mrs Flapjack Today

The Fleet Street Fox – or as we should now call her “Mrs Flapjack” – wrote these words six months ago today in The New European. Liam Fox has bested the Fleet Street Fox. With Johnson, Davis and Fox all still in office unscathed, her invitation is now operative… 

Fox: No Vacancy for Farage

Party before country?

David Davis: EU Citizens Won’t Be Used as Bargaining Chip

David Davis has insisted EU citizens will not be used as a bargaining chip after Liam Fox described their right to remain in the UK as “one of our main cards”. Davis told tonight’s Spectator fringe that he is “100% sure” all EU citizens currently in Britain will be allowed to stay, there will be no deportations, and it will be the first issue dealt with during the negotiation.[…] Read the rest

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