BREXIT LIVE: ‘HOLD YOUR NERVE!’ May talks tough as Verhofstadt arrives for EU SHOWDOWN

Posted on Sep 26 2018 - 7:11pm by admin

The Prime Minister met ministers at Downing Street this afternoon as she fights to keep them on board with her Chequers plans after European Union leaders publicly rejected the proposals at a summit in Salzburg last week.

Theresa May’s office said in a statement she told them her proposal was the only one viable on the negotiating table and she remained confident of securing a deal with Brussels.

The statement quoted her as saying: “At the same time, the Government continue to sensibly plan for a no deal.”

The Prime Minister’s latest act of defiance came as the European Parliament’s self-appointed Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt met her at Downing Street to continue negotiations.

EU nationals will be able to go to and from the country freely until September 2021

Sajid Javid

The former Belgian Prime Minister has insisted “time is running out to conclude a withdrawal treaty that protects the rights of EU and UK citizens affected by Brexit”.

A Downing Street spokesperson said Mrs May provided him with an “update on negotiations, and on the commitment she gave on Friday to guarantee the rights of the three million EU citizens in the UK in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal”.

They discussed the future economic partnership and the Northern Ireland backstop.

The spokesperson added: The Prime Minister underlined the need to ensure frictionless trade between the EU and the UK as part of the future relationship in order to find a solution to the Northern Ireland border and maintain the constitutional integrity of the UK.

Brexit Theresa May Guy Verhofstadt

Theresa May told her cabinet to ‘hold your nerve’ in Brexit talks prior to meeting Guy Verhofstadt (Image: GETTY)

“They both agreed that the best solution to the Northern Ireland border would be found through the future relationship.”

This comes after Tony Blair demanded a second Brexit vote so the country does not “betray” the UK’s future, claiming “the Chequers proposal will not end anything”.

The former Labour Party Prime Minister claimed if the UK loses access to the single market, the country “will pay a heavy price”.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Mr Blair said: “The dilemma — “what’s the price vs what’s the point” — is the reason for the breakdown in the negotiations and the absence of consensus in the country.”

He said that following two years of futile Brexit negotiations, the case for the People’s Vote is “overwhelming”.

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david davis and rees-mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis launch the IEA’s report on Brexit (Image: PA)

10.50pm update: Labour ready to vote against any Brexit deal May strikes with EU

Labour is preparing to vote against any deal Theresa May agrees with Brussels as it is unlikely to meet the tests it has set out, its Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer will say on Tuesday. 

According to Reuters, the opposition party has listed six tests it would apply to any Brexit deal, such as whether it ensured a strong future relationship with the EU and delivered the same benefits Britain has as a current member of the single market and customs union. 

Mr Starmer will say in a speech at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool, according to advance extracts: “If Theresa May brings back a deal that fails our tests – and that looks increasingly likely – Labour will vote against it. No ‘ifs’, no ‘buts’.

“And if the prime minister thinks we’ll wave through a vague deal asking us to jump blindfolded into the unknown she can think again. We will vote down a blind Brexit.”

Mr Starmer will say the Conservative government does not have a credible Brexit plan and there is no majority in Parliament for the Prime Minister’s Chequers proposals.

10.40pm update: Theresa May to discuss Brexit and bilateral trade deal with Donald Trump

Theresa May will meet Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday to discuss Brexit and a bilateral trade deal. 

A senior UK official told Reuters: “She will be discussing a post-Brexit trade deal amongst a range of subjects also including chemical weapons and foreign affairs.

“When they meet they often discuss Brexit negotiations and they both have a strong commitment to securing a strong UK-US free trade agreement once we’ve left the European Union.”

During her two-day trip to New York, Mrs May will hold bilateral meetings with other world leaders, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. 

9.35pm update: Labour blasts latest no-deal preparation notices 

Labour has hit out at the latest round of no-deal preparation notices from the Government, claiming they “underline why no-deal is simply not an option”. 

The party’s Brexit spokeswoman Jenny Chapman accused the Conservative Government of being “too divided to succeed in the negotiations”. 

She said: “The British people will be very alarmed to find out that UK and EU licensed airlines would need to seek new permissions to be able to operate in the event of no-deal,” said Ms Chapman.

“British exporters, consumers and tourists cannot have their lives and businesses thrown into chaos because this Tory Government are too divided to succeed in the negotiations.”

8.25pm update: Ministers agree post-Brexit migration plan – report

Theresa May’s cabinet have agreed on a plan to focus Britain’s post-Brexit migration system on high-skilled migrant workers but which would enable companies to employ low-skilled foriegn workers, according to the Financial Times. 

Official experts had recommended prioritising high-skilled migrant workers when Britain exits the EU and there should be no preferential treatments for workers from the bloc. 

The Financial Times said while ministers backed those proposals at a Downing Street meeting on Monday, giving no preferential treatment to EU workers could change if Brtian agrees a trade deal with the EU. 

Citing a source, the report said: “That would mean a better deal on migration, but the same offer would be available if we struck trade deals with other countries around the world.” 

7.40pm update: Theresa May meets Guy Verhofstadt at Downing Street

Theresa May has met the European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt at Downing Street as she looks to ramp up support for her Chequers plan. 

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister gave an update on the negotiations, and on the commitment she gave on Friday to guarantee the rights of the three million EU citizens in the UK in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

“She thanked Guy Verhofstadt for his efforts to engage Member States on the rights of British nationals living in the EU.

They discussed the two key outstanding issues in the negotiations: the future economic partnership and the Northern Ireland backstop.

“The Prime Minister underlined the need to ensure frictionless trade between the EU and the UK as part of the future relationship in order to find a solution to the Northern Ireland border and maintain the constitutional integrity of the UK.

“They both agreed that the best solution to the Northern Ireland border would be found through the future relationship.

“The Prime Minister confirmed that the government would also bring forward further proposals on the Northern Ireland backstop.

“They agreed on the need to resolve these ongoing issues in a timely fashion so that the agreements could be discussed and ratified by UK and European Parliaments.

Brexit Theresa May Tony Blair

Tony Blair wants a second Brexit vote, claiming Theresa May’s Chequers plan ‘will not end anything’ (Image: GETTY)

6.30pm update: ‘Time to hold nerve’ over Brexit deal, says May 

Theresa May told ministers at a cabinet meeting this afternoon that they must hold their nerve in an impasse with the EU over Brexit. 

The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement she told them her proposal was the only one viable on the negotiating table and she remained confident of securing a deal with the EU. 

The statement quoted her as saying: “At the same time, the government will continue to sensibly plan for no deal.”

6.10pm update: Merkel wants British and EU relationship ‘to be as friendly and as close as possible’ 

Angela Merkel has thrown her weight behind a Brexit deal to keep Britain as close to the EU as possible. 

Speaking to students in Hanover, the German Chancellor said there is scope for Britain to pay to continue to participate in individual EU programmes, such as the Erasmus student exchange scheme. 

But she conceded issues that are holding up Brexit talks, such as the Northern Ireland border, remain complicated. 

Ms Merkel said: We want as few disadvantages from Brexit as possible.

“We would be happy, and it would be possible, if Britain said it wanted to pay into Erasmus, and also we want ways of making goods transport as uncomplicated as possible.

“It is very important that we do this Brexit in friendship.

“We want the relationship to be as friendly and as close as possible, and as close as the British want it to be.”

6pm update: Green Card-free circulation area would stop for motorists under no-deal 

Motorists have been told access to the Green Card-free circulation area would stop in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

It would mean UK drivers would need to carry a Green Card as proof of third party motor insurance cover when driving in the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland. 

Currently, systematic checks of Green Cards as proof of third party motor insurance have been abolished at the border of EEA members states and the three countries listed above. 

The card is an international certificate of insurance issued by providers in the UK, guaranteeing motorists the correct third party motor insurance cover for travel in the country being travelled to. 

Thney are guaranteed through agreements between the countries that issue them.

Brexit Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel wants Britain to stay as close as possible to the EU (Image: GETTY)

5.50pm update: Bus and coach services to EU under threat under no-deal

Bus and coach services to the EU could be suspended if Britain fails to agree a Brexit deal with Brussels. 

The Government has warned in its latest set of technical notices that UK coach operators might have to consider sub-contracting “all or part of the coach travel” to EU-based operators as a no-deal Brexit would mean they could no longer rely on automativ recognition by the EU of UK-issued community licences. 

The notice says ministers want to continue membership of the Interbus agreement that enables some services for the likes of holiday operators, but warned this “cannot be guaranteed”. 

It says: “The Government considers the likelihood of failing to achieve UK membership of Interbus by 29 March 2019, or very soon thereafter, to be low. But if this occurs for any reason, it would be likely that no UK operators would be able to take coach services into the EU at least in the short term.

“UK operators who are taking travel bookings which involve coach travel in Europe after 29 March 2019 may wish to consider contractual terms with their customers that allow them to subcontract all or part of the coach travel to EU-based operators if necessary.”

The notice adds the UK will allow EU buses and coaches to continue brigning passengers into and out of the UK to minimise any disruption to them.

Operators have also been warned there could be new requirements at borders with the EU, as well as impacts for coaches using EU ports. 

The notice says: “In the event of delays, caused by increased checks at EU ports, the UK Government would implement contingency arrangements to manage the flow of traffic.”

5.35pm update: Pet owners could face months of preparation for travel under no-deal

Pet owners wanting to travel with their pets around Europe could face months of preparation before their trip. 

If the UK did become a “listed” third country, there would be little change in pet travel arrangements but if it becomes an “unlisted” country, there could be a four month wait to secure a health certificate to prove pets are vaccinated for rabies. 

Pets that have a blood titre test, which showas they have enough of the rabies antibody, as well as those with the latest vaccinations would not have to have another test beforew traveling. 

But those without this would need to be vaccinated and then wait 30 days before having the blood test, with a further three-month wait before they can travel to the EU. 

Pet owners would then have to get a health certificate issued by their vet for every trip to the EU, within 10 days before travel.  

Brexit Theresa May

Theresa May insists she has “put forward a credible proposal” to exit the EU (Image: GETTY)

5.25pm update: Business leaders reiterate damage no-deal Brexit would have

Business leaders have again outlined the potential damages Britain leaving the EU without a Brexit deal could have on several industry sectors. 

Food and Drink Federeation chief executive Ian Wright claimed his industry would be hit by “ever more” administrative burdens. 

He said: “Our politicians act as if they have six more months to conclude a withdrawal agreement.

“In fact, today’s official confirmation of just how bad this scenario would be is bound to encourage businesses and shoppers to consider – now – stockpiling, buying ahead, hedging currency risk, procuring additional warehousing, relocating production to the EU, and other practical measures to secure supply.

“These actions in turn will increase prices and begin to distort markets immediately.

“The consequences of a no-deal Brexit for UK food and drink are starting to be felt already. The impacts will snowball as we get closer to March 2019.

“Instead of lecturing the EU, the Government must secure a withdrawal agreement imminently or begin the arrangements to extend the Article 50 deadline so that they can do so in an orderly fashion.”

Mike Spicer of the British Chambers of Commerce said: “While some businesses will be reassured by some of the details in these notices, such as around IP protection and geographical indications, the admission that loss of market access is a possibility for others will be deeply unsettling to those affected.

“There will be major concerns in industries like aviation and road haulage, that operate routinely across borders at European scale, that their markets will be fragmented by new licensing or regulatory frameworks.”

Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry said: “Last week’s summit in Salzburg laid bare the volatility of the current Brexit negotiations and has heightened concerns among our small businesses whose confidence has already dipped into negative territory.

“These worries would have only intensified after studying the latest Government no-deal technical notes. So far, the Government has released three tranches of information that have really made clear that a chaotic no-deal Brexit will be damaging and dangerous for our small firms.

“Many smaller firms rely on hauliers for delivering goods across the EU and for bringing goods in. A no-deal Brexit could pose a real threat to these businesses as EU community licences issued by the UK might not be automatically recognised by the EU.”

5.15pm update: Britain won’t flinch in impasse with EU, warns Raab 

Dominic Raab warned the EU that Britain will not flinch in an impasse with it over a Brexit deal. 

Speaking to the BBC after a Cabinet meeting, he said: “We had a good healthy discussion.

“The Prime Minister made clear we’re going to keep our calm, hold our nerve and press the EU on some of the criticisms that they’ve made, but also to be clear that there are no credible alternatives that the EU has come up with.”

5pm update: Pound bounces back following Raab’s Brexit deal comments

The pound has staged a recovery after huge falls last week, rising 0.7 percent to reach $ 1.3167 and 0.3 percent against the euro to 89.37 pence. 

On Friday, the British currency tumbled two cents against the US dollar – its biggest daily drop this year – after Theresa May said Brexit talks had reached an impasse. 

Earlier today, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said he was still confident Britain can still react a deal with the EU. 

But analysts warned those comments were unlikely to support the currency for long, with the Prime Minister’s leadership under increasing pressure ahead of the Conservative Party Conference this week.

Deutsche Bank currency strategist George Saravelos wrote in a note to clients: “An aggressive stance from the EU and the subsequent backlash from Theresa May increases the probability that a confrontation builds through the conference.”

4.50pm update: Government stands firm on Common Travel Area (CTA)

One of the Government’s technical no-deal notices has outlined that British and Irish citizens will be able to continue traveling freely within the CTA without seeking immigration permission. 

It says: “The CTA holds special importance to people in their daily lives, it goes to the heart of the relationship between these islands.

“The UK Government is firmly committed to maintaining the CTA arrangements after the UK leaves the EU, an objective shared by the Crown Dependencies.

“The Irish Government has been clear also in its commitment to the continuation of the CTA. The CTA has proven to be resilient over the years and would continue to endure if there is no deal.”

4.30pm update: Latest Government papers expose ‘how disastrous a no-deal Brexit could be”  

The latest technical papers “expose more starkly than anything we have yet seen just how diastrous a no-deal Brexit could be”, the Scottish Government’s Constitutional Relations Secretary has warned. 

Mike Russell also challenged Theresa May to end the “Brexit brickmanship” and instead commit to keeping the UK in the European single market and customs union. 

He said: “The UK Government’s own guidance could not be clearer about the economic harm and chaos which could ensue – including grounded flights, border post delays and food supply disruption.

“The Prime Minister must put an end to Brexit brinkmanship and commit to the only feasible option which – short of continued EU membership – is staying in the European single market and customs union which is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone and which is so essential for our economy, our society and the people of Scotland.”

Brexit Dominic Raab

Dominic Raab is still confident of a Brexit deal despite pressure from the “stubborn” EU (Image: GETTY)

4:20pm update: Hauliers could be heavily hit by no-deal Brexit 

British hauliers are at risk of no longer being able to rely on automatic recognition by the EU of UK-issued community licences and might no longer be able to access EU markets. 

The warning was made in the Government’s latest tranche of technical notices on how to prepare for impacts from a no-deal Brexit. 

It has not been made clear when any bilateral agreements might come into force, but there would likely be new requirements at EU borders. 

4:05pm update: Britain will stick to EU rules in aviation safety 

Britain will stick to EU technical rules and standards in aviation safety if the country tumbles out of the bloc without a deal.

The Government said in a paper within the latest set of technical notices that functions cuyrrently performed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) would instead by performed by the Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) – Britain’s aviation regulator. 

It added that any safety certificates issued by EASA which benefited UK entities would be valid for two years from when Britain leaves the EU, and would need to be replaced by CAA versions before the end of that period. 

4pm update: Government warns flights could be grounded in no-deal scenario

The Government has warned that British and EU airlines will automatically lose the right to fly to each othger’s territories if a deal can’t be agreed with Brussels, meaning flights could be potentially grounded. 

Flying rights to and from and within the EU, as well as netween Britain and the US, are covered by ‘Open Skies’ agreements, but this could be at risk in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

The Government said: “If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement in place, UK and EU licensed airlines would lose the automatic right to operate air services between the UK and the EU without seeking advance permission,”

3:50pm update: Raab still ‘confident’ of Brexit deal as he blasts ‘stubborn’ EU

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is still “confident” Britain will strike a deal with Brussels, insisting the Government will stick to Theresa May’s Chequers proposals despite pressure from the “stubborn” EU.

He told TalkRadio: “I always look at what people say because I want to make sure we are openminded in these negotiations.

“But people have got to come up with credible alternatives, whether it is on this or, indeed, on the EU’s side. We are confident we will make progress in the negotiations.

“There are always bumps along the road but we have got a plan, which can deliver on the referendum and can deliver on the things Britain needs and I think we should stick to it rather than flit around just because we are under a bit of pressure because the EU are being stubborn.”

Brexit Tony Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has called for a second Brexit vote (Image: GETTY)

3:40pm update: Third set of no-deal guidance documents from Government released 

The third tranche of technical notices providing guidance on the impact of a no-deal Brexit have been released by the Government. 

Twenty-four documents have been released on the gov.uk website, following two previous releases. 

Among the topics covered in the latest round are vehicle insurance, flights to and from the UK and taking pets abroad.

3:25pm update: McDonnell doubts May will bring deal back that Parliament will pass

John McDonnell has said he can not see Theresa May returning from Brussels with a Brexit deal that Parliament could pass. 

Speaking at Labour conference in Liverpool, the Shadow Chancellor added a Labour government would change the atmosphere of Brexit negotiations, after EU leaders rejected her plans at a summit in Salzburg last Thursday. 

Paul Withers taking over live reporting from Laura Mowat.

2:55pm update: There must be ‘sufficient progress’ in talks to have an extra November summit on Brexit

The EU has said that there must be “sufficient progress” in Brexit talks by the EU’s summit on October 18th as a condition for having an extra summit in November.

Chairwoman of the constitutional affairs committee at the European Parliament, Danuta Hubner, said: “The next four weeks will be fundamental for the whole process”.

2:18pm update: Theresa May has been urged to grasp ‘SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS’ Canada style deal with EU

Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg made the call at the launch event for the Brexit blueprint by the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “So much of what hear about these negotiations has been about managing decline, has been about how you have the least bad Brexit, this is about how you can have a fantastic Brexit that sets us up for the next generation and ensures our prosperity.

“This has been offered to us by the Commission, they have offered us the best trade deal they have ever done with any country ever in the world, so if you want to call it Canada plus, or super Canada or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Canada, that is what is being aimed and its being offered.”

Mr Rees-Mogg also said that the Remainers who want a second referendum “should grow up”. 

2:10pm update: Labour will vote against any deal Theresa May brings back on Brexit unless it passes tests

Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer has said that the Labour Party will vote against any deal Theresa May brings back on Brexit that does not meet the Labour Party’s tests.

2pm update: Mrs May says she has “put forward a credible proposal” to exit the European Union

In an interview with CBS news, Mrs May said: “There’s a plan on the table from us if they have issues with it, let’s hear what those issue are”. 

She also said in the interview that Brexit negotiations are expected to become tougher as talks conclude.

1:55pm update: Trade Union Boss warns of dangers of no-deal Brexit

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke warned of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit to the car industry.

Speaking at the Liverpool Party Conference, Mr Burke said Jaguar Land Rover was not “making it up” by warning a hard Brexit would wipe out its profits.

Mr Burke said: “Tell that to 1,000 lorry drivers who bring components to and from the UK and the EU each day.

“Tell that to 10,000 track workers in Jaguar Land Rover working in production and design that the crisis is being made up.

“And tell that to thousands of workers in the supply chain, including our steel workers, who rely on these contracts.

“What on earth does Bernard Jenkin know about building cars? Bernard Matthews probably knew more.

“Jacob Rees-Mogg, David Davis, Boris Johnson – their experience of manufacturing probably only extends to watching the nanny assemble an Ikea flat pack.”

Pro-EU campaigners

Pro-EU fans campaign in Liverpool at the Labour Party Conference (Image: REUTERS )

1:40pm update: Tony Blair warns Brexit will cause the UK’s future wealth to decline

In his article in the Evening Standard, Tony Blair said the currency falling 10-15 percent is a sign of the decline in our future wealth.

He said: “Investment confidence in the UK is negative, the motor industry alone is down by 40 per cent.

“Prices are up. The financial sector is moving jobs.

“And, no, we will not be seeing a £350 million weekly boost to the NHS.

“Instead, we are spending billions preparing for Brexit plus paying a £40 billion bill to Europe.”

Mr Blair said Brexit is surrounded by myth and the UK already controls its own laws.

He said: “We have created the NHS and could abolish it. Have tuition fees or scrap them.

“Put taxes up or down. Spend more or spend less.

“Shut down all immigration from outside Europe or not. Declare war or make peace.

“Be tough on crime or be softer.”

1:37pm update: Tony Blair calls for a second Brexit vote so the Government ‘does not betray UK’s future’

Writing in the Evening Standard, Tony Blair said the “case for the People’s Vote is now overwhelming. The real betrayal of the country would be refusing it”.

The former Prime Minister claimed the Chequers proposal will not end anything.

He said: “The Brexiteers have made it clear that they will carry on the fight after March 2019 to secure a harder Brexit. My side will use the halfway house of Chequers as a stepping stone back into Europe.”

Mr Blair added the country will pay a heavy price if the UK loses access to the single market and agrees to a Canada-style free trade agreement.

He said: “On the other hand, if we don’t pull out of the single market, we will remain bound by its rules, the rationale for Brexit disappears.”

12:53pm update: McDonnell has called for a fresh general election if Theresa May cannot strike a workable Brexit deal

Concluding his speech at the conference hall, he said: “The Tories’ failures over Brexit are in plain sight.

“They’re more interested in fighting each other than fighting for this country.

“I’ll say this to the Tories – get out of the way and let us get on with securing a way forward on Brexit.

“Whenever the general election is, we’re ready for victory. We’re ready for the future, and we’ll be proud to call that future ‘socialism’.”

12:39am update: “Brexit was an anti-establishment vote” says McDonnell  

In his speech at the party conference, Mr John McDonnell said: “It’s no wonder that so many people voted for Brexit – it was an anti-establishment vote. It’s time to give people back control over their lives.”

He also said: “People in our country are desperate for hope, crying out for an alternative to austerity and anxious about a Tory no-deal Brexit.”

John McDonnell

John McDonell has said that a new referendum should not include a remain option (Image: EPA )

12:25pm update: Theresa May agrees with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on the unsuitability of a Canada-style trade agreement

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “He set out, essentially, a need to understand what’s on offer from the EU, which is a free trade agreement which would only apply to Great Britain, not to Northern Ireland.

“That would involve Northern Ireland being carved off from the rest of the United Kingdom.

“In relation to ‘Canada plus’, no EU third country free trade agreement has ever led to a reduction in barriers to the extent that no hard border is needed, and there is no global precedent for an infrastructure-free border without substantial regulatory and customs alignment.”

12:08pm update: Theresa May will hold talks with Brexit co-ordinator for the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt

The Prime Minister will meet with the EU heavyweight later today.

Mrs May’s spokesman said: “It’s obviously an opportunity for the PM to talk about the commitment which we gave on Friday to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK in the event of ‘no deal’.

“This is something that we are looking at the EU member states to reciprocate on behalf of British nationals living in the EU.”

11:36am update: Jacob Rees-Mogg calls IEA’s plan “deliverable”

Speaking at the launch of the Institute of Economic Affairs’ plan for Brexit, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Britain must keep Brexit prize in mind because so much of negotiations to date have been about managing decline.”

He said that the Canada deal drawn up by the IEA is deliverable after “EU snubbed UK we are left with either this or no deal”.

He said: “The EU has comprehensively snubbed the UK.

“This is the most exciting contribution to the debate we have had in many months.” 

11:33am update:  ‘We must use time better, the EU has used time against us’ The Institute of Economic Affairs launches its plan for Brexit

Mr Shanker Singham, speaking at the launch of an alternative Brexit plan in Westminster, said that the Government’s White Paper will “absolutely preclude” a free trade agreement with the US.

He said that the UK had allowed itself to become “trapped on the EU’s terrain” in negotiations and told the audience that the Government must now “put FTA text on the table”.

He said: “We must use time better, the EU has used time against us. We must use time as our friend by accelerating our actions.”

Shanker Singham

Shanker Singham launched the IEA’s report at Westminster (Image: SKYNEWS )

The director said: “If we continue on the present course, Brexit will be a damage limitation process.”

He urged for the Government to have a free trading future with the UK and rest of world.

“We must make time our friend by accelerating our negotiations and action steps where we are in control of them.

“Both as a hedge for EU reluctance to move but also as an intrinsic good in itself.

“The goodwill of other countries towards us comes not from some altruistic view towards the British but because they see a global ally in the steps to improve the global trading and regulatory system.

“But if the UK is merely a mini version of the EU on the global stage, we will simply become irrelevant to them and we will end up with a bad deal from the EU.”

He warned that if the negotiations continues as they have been Brexit will weaken the UK and be largely unnoticed by the rest of the world.

He said: “However if the UK were to adopt a bolder and more ambitious approach, one that sees us as a major player in global trade, one that takes our departure seriously then we can look forward to a brighter, more prosperous free trading future for both the UK and the wider world. I hope this plan helps us along that path.”

11am update: Labour MP call it “farcical” for his party to offer a referendum between “no deal or a bad deal”

Labour MP David Lammy said the possible second referendum “absolutely must include the right to remain in the EU”.

10:51am update: Think Tank director urges Government to embrace ‘Brexit Prize’

Shanker Singham, director of the IEA’s international trade and competition unit and co-author of the report, which has been unveiled today offering an alternative Brexit plan, made the comments.

Mr Singham said: “Brexit has been too narrowly thought of as the role of the UK in the EU, whereas the reality is Brexit is a major global event.

“A G7 country is embracing independent trade and regulatory policy for the first time in 40 years – an unprecedented situation. This is where the Brexit prize lies.

“Moving forward on the unilateral, bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral pillars at the same time will maximise the UK’s gains, and also maximise it chances of a good agreement with the EU.

“We have looked at Brexit in the wrong way, and in so doing we have hampered our ability to get a good deal with the EU. We must execute an independent trade and regulatory policy in order to capture gains from this process, and also to ensure that we have a better framework for negotiations with the EU.

“This plan offers a comprehensive approach which shouldn’t be considered a ‘Plan B’, but rather a ‘Plan A+’ for Brexit.”

Theresa May

Theresa May faces more calls from her cabinet to change her Brexit proposal (Image: PA )

10:14am update: Any new Brexit referendum should not include the option of remaining in the EU says McDonnell

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who is a key ally of the Labour leader, has said that any referendum should be on whether to accept a Brexit deal rather than try to reverse the 2016 EU referendum outcome.

The shadow chancellor told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We argued for Remain in the past but we lost that vote so we have to respect that.

“All the polling that we have seen is that the country is still pretty split down the middle.

“My big worry is that if we go for a referendum which is seen as just a simple re-run we could divide the country again, we could get almost the same result or if it’s slightly different that people demand another referendum.”

9:45am Theresa May to meet senior ministers as she tries to save her Chequers plan

Mrs May is due to chair a meeting of the Cabinet in Downing Street amid intense pressure to change her proposal.

It is likely that the government ministers will question Mrs May about what went wrong at the Salzburg Summit last week and why EU heads said it would not work.

Boris Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegrah: “If we go with the Chequers approach, the public will spot it.

“They will see that the UK has become a vassal state, that we have not taken back control, but lost control.

“They will take their revenge at the polls,” he wrote.

“I am afraid that Chequers = surrender; Chequers = a sense of betrayal; Chequers = the return of Ukip; Chequers = Corbyn.”

John McDonnell

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell (Image: GETTY)

9.36am update: Alternative Brexit plan calls for new immigration policy

The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Brexit plan says a new immigration plan is needed to replace free movement of workers.

Instead the UK should have an “efficient and balanced framework” for the movement of workers from the EU and the rest of the world which “recognises the economic and social benefits and costs of immigration”.

9.30am update: IEA’s alternative Brexit plan addresses Northern Ireland border issue

In order to ensure there is no return of a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic, the report calls for “cooperation mechanisms” to enable trade “formalities” between the two jurisdictions to be completed away from the border.

The details of how their proposal would work are unclear.

Northern Ireland is the sticking point in negotiations. The European Union wants Northern Ireland to remain under the same rules as the Republic of Ireland, which the UK says is unworkable as it would put a border in the Irish Sea.

Theresa May’s proposals would see the UK sign a treaty to guarantee harmonisation with EU rules.

The UK would collect tariffs on behalf of the EU for goods coming in to the UK but destined for the EU.

Corbyn and tom watson

The Labour Party Conference is being held in Liverpool this week (Image: GETTY)

9.15am update: Alternative Brexit plan orders UK to start negotiating trade deals with the US

The Institute of Economic Affairs urges ministers to break the deadlock in negotiations with Brussels by seeking a “basic” free trade agreement for goods.

At the same time, it says the Government should open simultaneous discussions on securing new long-term free trade deals with countries such as the United States, China and India.

The full plan will be launched later today with former Brexit Secretary David Davis, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group speaking.

9am update: Alternative Brexit plan has been released – what does it say?

The free market think tank Institute of Economic Affairs believes that the UK will not be able to reap the full awards of leaving the EU unless it abandons Theresa May’s Chequers plan.

The report, which has been backed by prominent Tory Brexiteers, advises ministers to break the deadlock in negotiations with Brussels by seeking a “basic” free trade agreement for goods.

The report said: “The UK running its own economy will not render a deal with the EU impossible.

“It will bring back real growth, let the UK do other trade deals, and create leverage to get positive results from EU negotiations.

“Political, trade, and regulatory independence is therefore not just an ideological position, but what makes the gains possible.

9am update: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell says he was likely to vote against any Brexit secured by Theresa May

Mr McDonnell told LBC: “On the deal that is likely to come out of Brussels under Theresa May at the moment, I can’t see what she has proposed so far would protect jobs and the economy and I would vote against it and I’ll vote against it in Parliament as well.

“But we’ll see what she comes back with. Things might change, I can’t see it though at the moment.

“It doesn’t look good in terms of the proposals that she put forward, I just don’t think they are workable.”

Mr McDonell has suggested that the second referendum that the Labour Party want would not include an option to remain in the EU.

Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond has different views to Theresa May on the rights of EU citizens after Brexit (Image: REUTERS )

8:30am update: The majority of the Cabinet supports a Canada-style trade deal with the EU after Theresa May’s Chequers plan was rejected by EU state heads

Government ministers are expected to tell Mrs May that a free trade agreement is the only form of Brexit deal that could have a majority in Parliament.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has also indicated the UK could do away with the Chequers proposals and instead pursue a Canada-style free trade deal with the EU.

One Cabinet source told the Telegraph: “In a nutshell, we now face a choice between a Norway-type deal and a Canada-type deal.

“More than half the Cabinet now support the idea of a Canada-style option, while there are maybe half a dozen who favour Norway.”

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