Jeremy Corbyn is considering backing remaining in a customs union with the EU that would prevent us from signing comprehensive trade deals with non-EU countries in his big speech coming up on Monday. Some Labour sources say Corbyn will back staying in “the” customs union, though Emily Thornberry has said on LBC tonight that Labour will seek to replicate “a customs union that looks pretty much like the current customs union”. Guido is told that Unite’s influence has been key to the decision-making process – they back staying in the customs union. There is also the possibility that Corbyn could back a referendum on the Brexit deal on Monday. Remainers think that with Corbyn’s support they have the votes to keep the UK in a customs union that essentially prevents us from taking back control of trade. Brexiteers in the government are very concerned about the situation and Number 10 has pushed back votes on the customs union as a result. This is a worrying situation – Tory Remainer rebels are faced with the choice of backing down or siding with Corbyn and potentially bringing down the government…
Every member of Theresa May’s Brexit Cabinet sub-committee has committed to the UK diverging from the EU and taking back control of its laws, research by Change Britain has found. As they meet at Chequers today to discuss the Brexit end state, ministers will doubtless be under pressure from Remainers, Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins to back a convergence plan in which nothing really changes. As these quotes below show, that is simply not compatible with their own stated public positions. There can be no backsliding from this…
‘What we will be able to do is to make our own laws. Parliament will make our laws’ (Sky News, August 2017, link)
‘We will, once again, be in total control of our own laws’ (Karen Bradley’s website, link)
‘One of the freedoms that will come from Brexit will be to enable us to determine our own view of [state aid rules] rather than having to comply with others’ (CityAM, October 2016, link).
‘We start at the same position, but we will manage the divergence… Of course we will diverge, we will do things our own way.’ (Politico, September 2017, link)
‘If you cannot make your own laws, if you cannot control your own borders, you are not an independent, sovereign nation and I want to live in an independent sovereign nation’ (Telegraph, January 2016, link).
‘Outside the EU we take back control of our laws. At the end of the two-year transition period the UK will be able to pass laws that strengthen our economy and enhance our environment, with full freedom to diverge from EU law on the Single Market and Customs Union.’ (Telegraph, December 2017, link).
‘We are going to leave the European Union. To repatriate our laws. To assert the supremacy of our courts.’ (Conservative Party, October 2016, link).
‘Over time we will be able to diverge from the great accumulated conglomerate, to act with regulatory freedom’ (Telegraph, September 2017, link)
‘Of course we will have the power to choose for ourselves whether or not to diverge once we have left the supranational legal structures of the EU.’ (BBC News, January 2018, link)
‘We will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws’ (Amber Rudd’s website, link)
At Cabinet backed ‘Britain to retain the right to diverge from EU rules and regulations to make it easier to strike trade deals with third party countries and free the UK from EU red tape’ (Telegraph, December 2017, link).
Good letter from the ERG Tory MPs reminding Theresa May of her Lancaster House commitment to take back control of laws and trade. Brexit means full regulatory autonomy and the freedom to start talks on trade deals with other countries immediately…
Guy Verhofstadt tells Marr the EU does not want Britain to diverge and makes veiled threats about any attempt to do so. He also says a bespoke “Canada plus plus plus” deal “will not be the outcome of this negotiation”. If Verhofstadt gets his way it’s either a bad deal or no deal…
Guido has long been of the view that Theresa May is committed to delivering Brexit – she has been given that instruction by the British people and she knows if she backslides on her Lancaster House speech her party and the country will not stand for it. Yet over the last few weeks Remainers in the Cabinet, Treasury and civil service have been attempting to bounce the PM into breaking her Brexit promises. Remainers are trying to keep us in a customs union, stopping us from signing comprehensive trade deals, remaining under the jurisdiction of the ECJ in some areas, and aligning with EU laws over which we would have no say. As new research by Change Britain shows this morning, May could not have been clearer that these proposals are totally unacceptable. They have found 50 statements in which May has committed unequivocally to taking back control of laws, money, border and trade. She has pledged to take back control of laws 18 times, said we will decide our own immigration policy 17 times, and said we would have control over trade policy 15 times. May has been clear what government policy is on all of this – officials and ministers should get behind the PM rather than working to undermine the promises she has made to deliver Brexit. See those 50 times May has set out her red lines below…
Boris gives a speech reaching out to Remainers. How do some Remainers respond? With a torrent of personal abuse and conspiracy theories, refusing to engage with anything in the speech having already made up their minds beforehand, and calling him “mendacious” and “evil”, among other pleasantries:
Ludicrous situation at @BorisJohnson speech today when the Foreign Sec called @Channel4News Europe Editor @mattfrei to ask a question only for the @Policy_Exchange to veto in favour of throw away question on giving up cake for lent. Just what are they scared of?
“Brexit need not be nationalist but can be internationalist; not an economic threat but a considerable opportunity; not unBritish but a manifestation of this country’s historic national genius,” says @BorisJohnsonpic.twitter.com/xydWBvFbr4
“Brexit need not be nationalist but can be internationalist, not an economic threat but a considerable opportunity, not un-British but a manifestation of this country’s historic national genius.”
A Cabinet minister actually gives an optimistic vision of the opportunities of Brexit, rather than glumly talking about how to make the best of it. Why hasn’t this been the message from the government over the last 19 months?
AC Grayling, number one on Guido’s list of 10 people who’ve been driven mad by Brexit, reckons the government is deliberately trying to get a navy frigate sunk by China to distract from the latest round of talks. In Remainiac world Theresa May would apparently send sailors to their deaths to push stories about Michel Barnier off the news. Grayling in certifiable Brex-down territory…
The latest number from Guido’s favourite Brexiteer songstress Mandy Boylett, who brought you the unforgettable Brex-pop classics “Britain’s Coming Home” and “Get the Party Started”. Her new release is titled No Divorce Bill. Bit late for that unfortunately but top marks for effort…
A special quintuple whammy of #DespiteBrexit good news to brighten up a chilly Monday. Over the weekend US bank Citigroup announced a massive investment in London, its first since the referendum result. They plan to establish an innovation centre with 60 high quality jobs and room for expansion. James Cowles, the bank’s EMEA CEO, told the FT:
“Regardless of Brexit, the UK remains one of the world’s largest pools of diverse talent when it comes to hiring advanced technologists with a strong business background.”
Meanwhile, Bob Dudley of global energy powerhouse BP says Brexit has “not diminished” Britain’s standing on the world stage and is bullish on trade deals. He told The Times:
“There are a lot of countries around the world that would like trade deals with Britain bilaterally down the road, I hear that a lot. I don’t think British influence is diminished. BP works all over the world and I see the importance of Britain in what we do and how they view BP.”
In manufacturing, British engine makers are experiencing an unprecedented boom and production is at an all-time high. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders:
British engine manufacturing rose 6.9% to all-time high of 2.7 million units in 2017;
Home demand is up 9.7%, while global demand rose to almost 1.5 million units;
UK engine manufacturing is now worth £8.5 billion, supporting 8,000 British jobs. Brexit an engine for British growth…
Remember when Project Fear said Brexit would threaten Britain’s reputation as an outward-looking, welcoming nation? Remainers suggested international visitors to the UK, students, for instance, would be put-off. In fact, a record number of foreign students now want to study at British universities. According to UCAS figures:
International student applications are up 11% to 58,450;
Applications from China rose by 20%;
Applications from India rose by 36%;
Applications from Mexico surged by 52%.
And the value of UK food and drink exports has soared to record levels, up 10% to reach £22 billion in 2017 – more than double what they were worth ten years ago. British food and drink producers now sell to 217 countries. Sales of milk and cream increased by 61%, salmon by 23% and pork by 14%. And, as Liz Truss famously predicted, we’ve sold cheese to the French (£85 million), chocolate to the Belgians (£21 million) and tea to the Chinese (£2 million). Five new pieces of good news, #DespiteBrexit…
Andrea Leadsom’s office tell Guido they have complained to the police about this Brexit death threat she received this morning. Guido also understands four other such letters have been reported to the police today. Six Leave donors received the letters last week. Grim stuff…
UPDATE: Met statement:
“Police are aware of threatening letters sent to four Members of Parliament at the House of Commons. Two of the letters were reported to police on Friday February 9, and two on Monday February 12. The letters are being investigated by officers from the Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team within the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command. There has been no arrest at this stage. Enquiries are ongoing.”
When Zac Goldsmith first drew attention to the coordinated campaign of death threats being sent to Leavers this week, most responded with horror. Not everyone, though. If you look at the replies to the original tweet, hundreds and hundreds of nutty Remain supporters claimed Zac had fabricated the letter himself. Disturbingly, the worst offenders were three prominent journalists. The @hrtbps account, an anonymous lefty columnist with 66,000 followers, wrote a perverse article for the men’s website Joe.co.uk implying Goldsmith was responsible. He was joined by New European writer Mike Hind, who mocked the death threat and claimed there is “no evidence” it wasn’t a set up by Zac. Byline’s Peter Jukes suggested the death threat was “coordinated” by Steve Bannon. This morning Guido revealed that at least six Leave donors have been sent the chilling letters and the police are investigating. Don’t hold your breath for these embarrassed Remain cranks to apologise…
At least six prominent donors to the Leave campaign have received identical death threats in the past week as part of a concerted campaign of intimidation from a group calling itself “The Real 48 Per Cent”, Guido can reveal. The chilling letters, which were typed but sent in handwritten envelopes, told the recipients: “You have stoked the fires of Brexit and led us to this moment. You can no longer be tolerated. We are coming for you. We are going to kill you”. Guido is aware of six Leave donors who have received the same letter. At least three have complained to the police. It is suspected that the sender of the letters identified the donors using this article listing the names of those who gave money to the Leave campaign. It is likely more letters were sent to other donors. The sender identified themselves as an opponent of Brexit, writing: “We were born in Britain. We live in the UK. We are European”. If you are a Leave donor who also received the letter and haven’t spoken to Guido yet, get in touch. The police would also like to hear from you…
Mansplaining Remainer Terry Christian rather embarrassed himself on Question Time last night by continually shouting down, berating and interrupting any panel or audience member who dared to support Brexit. He was upbraided several times by host David Dimbleby for continually butting-in, yelling and attempting to force feed his Remain propaganda to viewers. The pro-EU bully smirked at Tory MP Claire Perry (who, incidentally, was a Remainer): “I’m just helping her.” Probably won’t be getting another invite.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is caught delivering a petition on foreign aid to Number 10 during @faisalislam‘s TV live. During the impromptu interview he denies “measuring up the curtains” and says he hopes Theresa May remains as PM “for a very long time” pic.twitter.com/2zX06twBdD
Jacob Rees-Mogg turns up to Number 10 to deliver a petition on international aid, then gives an impromptu interview to Faisal Islam about why we have to leave the customs union. Not doing himself any harm.
Over in Washington, Twitter’s Nick Pickles has told grandstanding Damian Collins and his Culture, Media and Sport select committee that the company detected just 49 accounts linked to a Russian “troll factory”, which sent out a mere 942 tweets during the EU referendum.[…] Read the rest