Davis: Transition Could Take Years

Speaking on the Today programme, David Davis said he expects a free trade deal with Europe to be agreed in two years though warns the transitional period could take longer. How long?

DD: “At the end of two years we will have our deal. What may take longer is implementation… It won’t be a long time. It’ll be practical.”

JH: “What are we talking? A year? Five years?”

DD: “A year or two. The thing you’ve got to understand is those interim arrangements will be determined by what the final outcome will be. If the final outcome is very like where we are now, they won’t be very long. If they’re very different, they’ll be longer.”

JH: “So it could be five years?”

DD: “I doubt it.

Having lost the battle on the single market, the continuity Remain campaign will switch to trying to delay Brexit. Paul Nuttall said yesterday that the transition must be over by the 2020 election, Michael Gove has said it must take months rather than years, Gisela Stuart and Change Britain have said it must be swift and time limited. Now the phoney war on the single market and customs union is over, this is a key Brexit battleground…

May Speech Pre-Briefed Quotes

Since everyone else has broken the midnight embargo, here are the pre-briefed quotes from Theresa May’s speech. Nothing really new, though we’re finally, slowly, nearly getting there on the single market and customs union.

“A little over six months ago the British people voted for change. They voted to shape a brighter future for our country. They voted to leave the European Union and embrace the world. And they did so with their eyes open: accepting that the road ahead will be uncertain at times, but believing that it leads towards a brighter future for their children – and their grandchildren too.

And it is the job of this Government to deliver it. That means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU. It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.

My answer is clear. I want this United Kingdom to emerge from this period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more outward-looking than ever before. I want us to be a secure, prosperous, tolerant country – a magnet for international talent and a home to the pioneers and innovators who will shape the world ahead.

I want us to be a truly Global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that gets out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike. I want Britain to be what we have the potential and ambition to be: a great, global trading nation that is respected around the world and strong, confident and united at home.

Our vote to leave the European Union was no rejection of the values we share. The decision to leave the EU represents no desire to become more distant to you, our friends and neighbours.  

We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends. We want to buy your goods, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship.

We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, Global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU. Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out. We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave.

The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. My job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do. We have 12 objectives that amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union. And as we negotiate that partnership, we will be driven by some simple principles: we will provide as much certainty and clarity as we can at every stage. And we will take this opportunity to make Britain stronger, to make Britain fairer, and to build a more Global Britain too.”

The death knell for “soft Brexit”…

Gove Sets Standard For May

Theresa May has the chance to squash the specious narrative that she has no Brexit plan with her big speech on Tuesday. In today’s Times Michael Gove sets the standard she must meet to satisfy Leavers: she should say for the first time that Britain will leave the EU “completely“, in a process taking “months not years”, and that this means leaving the single market and customs union. For those paying attention the government’s plan is discernible. Free movement will end, therefore single market membership will end and we will seek a deal on ‘access’. David Davis has outlined different options on leaving the customs union. If no reasonable settlement is forthcoming we walk away. It is simpler and more straightforward than the fashionable confusion/denial of Remain pundits. 

The Gove standard requires the process to take “months not years”. May and Philip Hammond have signalled that there will be some sort of transitional arrangement before we fully leave. May has said: “There will of course be a necessity for adjustment to those new arrangements”. Now, Remainers see this as their golden chance. If the transition takes years, during which Britain remains in the single market, essentially in the EU, perhaps with an ’emergency brake’ on immigration, Remainers can buy time to argue for a second referendum or try to prevent a real Brexit. Gove makes clear Leave MPs will not abide such a delay. Michel Barnier’s timetable requires ratification by March 2019, leaving 14 months before the 2020 election. Leave voters will be unforgiving if we are still in the EU when they go to the polls. The standard is set: May’s Tuesday speech needs to commit to a real Brexit outside the single market and customs union and a process of departure taking months not years…

Tory MP Invites Colleagues to Portrait Unveiling… of Himself

Backbench Tory MP John Howell has been the butt of many a tea room joke this week after inviting colleagues to a party celebrating the unveiling of a portrait… of himself! Howell emailed all MPs to inform them he had “recently had a portrait painted by the wonderful artist Mark Draisey”, and that “I have decided to hold a drinks party in my office” to celebrate its unveiling. To the merriment of the members’ tea room, attached was a photo of the portrait of a cheerful Howell sitting at his piano in a splendid pair of lurid mustard cords. Colleagues have been too polite to say how funny they found John’s invite, well to his face anyway…

Jeremy Hunt Blanks Sky’s Beth Rigby

Corbyn’s clusterf**k of a relaunch grabs the headlines, letting Jeremy Hunt off the hook for this disaster of a doorstep…

Brexit Means Leaving the Single Market

Merkel and the EU have been clear: you cannot be a member of the single market without freedom of movement. Theresa May has been clear: we are taking back control of our borders. Since October the PM’s language has confirmed Britain’s membership of the single market will end. Ministers have even said this on the record. As much as the LibDems today scream about ‘hard Brexit’, this is just Brexit. Theresa May’s evasive non-answers to Sophy Ridge were a largely pointless exercise. She is right that a good trade relationship with the EU and single market membership is not a binary issue, as Guido has shown with the US, China, Japan and South Korea among others. May can clear up the simple point of membership once and for all and put Remainers out of their misery. It’s mad that Westminster is still wasting time wondering if single market membership will continue, that was decided on June 23…

May on Trump’s “Grab Them By the Pussy”

The moment of the first Ridge on Sunday as Sophy reads out Donald Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” quote to Theresa May, who says it was “unacceptable”. Three times…

Brexit Means Bonfire of Costly Farming Regulations

Before Christmas Guido reported that Andrea Leadsom was the first Cabinet minister to produce a departmental plan for Brexit. Today the Environment Secretary reveals what Brexit means for farming: a bonfire of cumbersome regulations that currently cost the industry million of pounds a year. When we leave the EU Andrea’s farming minister George Eustice will end the ‘three crop rule’ regulating how many different crops farms must plant. Defra say this will allow 40,000 farmers to grow the foods people want and add millions to the economy.

Barmy Brussels diktats defining what makes a hedge a hedge or when a puddle becomes a pond will be binned. Paperwork required from flood-hit farmers will be reduced, as will the number of expensive government inspections. Most satisfying of all: farms will no longer have to pay for and display ridiculous 6ft by 4ft propaganda billboards publicising the EU contribution for grants, as they are currently required to do. Millions saved, millions added to the economy, hundreds of thousands of hours saved. As the old joke almost goes, how does the Environment Secretary compare with colleagues on Brexit? She’s outstanding in her field…

Taking Out the Trash Day: Nick and Fi on £140,000 Each

Downing Street has chosen the first day of the Christmas holidays to publish the salaries of government special advisers. Theresa May’s joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy are on £140,000 each. There are now 83 SpAds costing the taxpayer £7.9 million a year…

Tory Battle For Hornchurch and Upminster

Dame Angela Watkinson, the Tory MP in Hornchurch and Upminster, will be 79 in 2020 and is expected to retire after nearly two decades in the Commons. A string of top Tories are already sniffing round the cushy 16,000 majority seat. Hotly tipped is Nick de Bois, the popular former Enfield North MP who lost his seat in 2015. Local Tories have noted that former Cameron adviser Shaun Bailey, now a London Assembly member, has moved to the area and is flaunting his newly-discovered pro-Brexit credentials. Syed Kamall, the Leave-backing Tory MEP leader, has also been turning up to local association meetings. Kamall should be popular, having stood up to intense career-ending pressure from Cameron. Havering has been dubbed “the most Eurosceptic place in Britain” and voted 70% to Leave. It is a very Brexit-y seat for life…

Theresa No May-tes

NiMo Bottles Have I Got News For You

Nicky “I’m going to be a thorn in the side of the Prime Minister” Morgan had the perfect chance to live up to her billing with a scheduled appearance on Have I Got News For You this week. Alas she’s bottled it and pulled out. All mouth and no trousers…

Boris Aide Joins Edelman After Team May Force Him Out

Boris Johnson’s respected former adviser Will Walden has joined lobbying firm Edelman after being forced out of government by Theresa May’s increasingly paranoid aides. Boris wanted Walden, his long-serving, well-liked director of communications, to join him at the Foreign Office. Number 10’s control freakery saw them refuse to sign off on the appointment, so Walden has moved to the private sector to earn a decent salary as Edelman’s MD. A talented public servant lost to the dark side thanks to more silliness from Downing Street…

Top Tory Arrested Over Child Porn Images

A Tory parliamentary candidate and former chairman of LGBTory has been arrested in connection with alleged child pornography offences. Matthew Sephton is a Tory councillor in Manchester who was the party’s candidate in Manchester Central. He is well-known on the Tory party circuit and has met with Theresa May and David Cameron. He’s also a primary school teacher and has been suspended by his school.

The National Crime Agency say in a statement: “National Crime Agency officers have arrested a 41-year-old male in the Altrincham area in relation to child abuse image offences”. A Trafford Council spokesman said: “Trafford Council is aware of the situation but cannot comment further due to an ongoing investigation by the National Crime Agency”. The Tories confirm Sephton has been suspended by the party. He has deleted his Twitter account, LinkedIn and councillor’s Facebook page…

Philip Davies Elected to Women and Equalities Committee

Guido hears Philip Davies, he of the justice gender gap, has been elected unopposed to be a member of the Women and Equalities Committee. Congratulations Philip, well deserved. Ignore the haters…

PM’s Aides Turn Anger on CCHQ

Eagle-eyed tweeters will have noticed that the CCHQ Twitter account has not posted anything for six days. Nothing at all, in fact, since their ill-fated tweets directly targeting Labour MPs who abstained on the Article 50 vote. The attack misfired after it emerged some of the Labour MPs were away on international trips with Tory colleagues who also didn’t vote, a fact Labour took great delight in publicising. Theresa May’s famously relaxed and easy going Downing Street aides are said to have taken particular exception to the line of attack. Or as one Tory insider puts it:

“No. 10 went f*cking apesh*t, like bone throwing mad.”

Nicky Morgan got off lightly…

Brexit Court Case ‘Cannibal’ Once Bit Man in Bloody Brawl

Yesterday’s Sunday Times splashed on news of a fresh Brexit court case seeking to keep Britain in the single market. The claimant trying to frustrate Brexit is Adrian Yalland, an eccentric Tory PR man who once admitted to biting a man in a bloody brawl. Yalland was arrested in 2014 for his involvement in a fracas in which a man suffered a nasty bite wound, pictured above. At the time Yalland told Guido that he only bit the man in self-defence and claimed it was he who was the victim. In the end charges were not pressed. Yalland wants a soft, fleshy Brexit but with this court case has he finally bitten off more than he can chew?

Picture: Fathers4Justice

Blue on Blue: May Attacks Boris For Telling Truth About Saudis

Theresa May’s spokesman has issued a public slap down of Boris Johnson after he was caught on tape by the Guardian criticising Saudi Arabia. It’s a shame that the Guardian and the BBC think calling out a warmongering human rights abusing dictatorship is a “gaffe“. Now Downing Street has shot him down for telling the truth: “Those are the Foreign Secretary’s views. They’re not the government’s views”. Which is about a brutal a dressing down as a Number 10 spokesman can give. As Iain Martin points out, criticising the Saudis for fighting brutal proxy wars should not be remotely controversial. Boris was never likely to go native like Hammond did at the FCO, fair play to him for telling the truth even if Theresa May wants to butter up the world’s wrong uns. The government castigated Corbyn for his Castro guff. Slapping down Boris today is the height of hypocrisy from Number 10…

Happy Birthday Anna Soubry, We Baked You a Brexit Cake

Anna Soubry is 60 today, an age when many of us would be thinking of retiring. And Guido thinks she should really consider it. Anyway, we baked you a Brexit cake. You can have it, and eat it…

Tories Braced for Charges Over South Thanet

With this morning’s maximum fine and referral to police of the LibDems, which follows Labour’s maximum fine for expense irregularities, attention inevitably turns to the Tories’ spending. The focus will be South Thanet where the Tories ran a highly professional “Stop Farage” effort deploying some of their top operatives.[…] Read the rest

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