Brexit LIVE: UK faces EU bill of an extra £15BILLION to extend transition – anger grows

Posted on Oct 18 2018 - 2:44pm by admin

Arriving in Brussels for the second day of an EU summit, the Prime Minister insisted she does not expect any extension to the transition to be needed as she remains confident of finalising a deal on the UK’s trade and security relationship with the European Union by its scheduled end-date of December 2020.

She indicated on Wednesday she was not ruling out the UK remaining in the single market and customs union and subject to EU rules as late as the end of 2021.

This would delay the final departure by almost three years after the official Brexit date of March 29, 2019 and more than five years after the 2016 referendum vote, potentially costing the UK as much as £15 billion in additional contributions to EU budgets.

But Theresa May made clear she would accept an extension only to ensure there was no hard border in Ireland if it proved impossible to implement the future partnership by the end of 2020.

She said: “A further idea that has emerged – and it is an idea at this stage – is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months, and it would only be for a matter of months,” she said.

“But the point is that this is not expected to be used, because we are working to ensure that we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020.

“I’m clear that it is possible to do that and that is what we are working for. In those circumstances, there would be no need for any proposal of this sort and I’m clear that I expect the implementation period to end at the end of December 2020.”

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington denied claims an extension to the Brexit transition period will cost Britain £10bn in payments to the EU in order to remain in the bloc’s single market and customs union for another year. 

He told the BBC: “You are making an assumption about what the insurance policy would include and the insurance policy actually being applied.

Brexit Live Theresa May

Brexit: Theresa May has been dealt another huge blow by EU leaders (Image: GETTY)

“It is precisely one of those things that needs to be teased out and addressed, whether we felt and the EU felt it was the right approach to take.”

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: “Both sides mentioned the idea of an extension of the transition period as one possibility which is on the table and would have to be looked into.”

But the move for an extended transition period is leaving Mrs May facing yet another backlash from furious Brexiteers.

They said the move would add another delay to when the UK could sign new trade deals around the world, and would cost taxpayers billions of pounds in additional contributions to the EU.


Brexit Antonio Tajani

Tajani says the EU wants three-year Brexit transition period (Image: EBS)

11.50am update: EU PLOT? Macron, Merkel and co snapped with 11pm beers in Brussels

EU leaders including Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have been snapped enjoying a late night beer following Wednesday evening’s summit dinner.

The French President and German Chancellor were photographed alongside Belgian Prime Minster Charles Michel and Luxembourg leader Xavier Bettel knocking back a pint or two in the centre of Brussels at around 11pm.

The group looked cosy as they enjoyed their late night beverage among tourists in Grand Place.

The pub stop came just after Brussels bosses enjoyed a dinner, which Prime Minister Theresa May was excluded from, to discuss their next steps in the Brexit process following an EU summit.

11.30am update: ‘Vital’ Britain leaves EU at ‘earliest possible point’ – Gove

Michael Gove has said it is “vital” Britain leaves the EU at the “earliest possible point” after being asked whether an extension to the transition period would be helpful in achieving a thriving food and drinks sector after Brexit. 

The Environment Secretary was responding to a question from the SNP’s Stephen Gethins (North East Fife) during Environment questions in the Commons. 

He said: “The one thing I believe in is that it’s vital that we leave the European Union at the earliest possible point so we can make sure we’re outside the Common Agricultural Policy, outside the Common Fisheries Policy and that we take back control and ensure that Scotland’s food and drink manufacturers, along with food and drink manufacturers across the United Kingdom, enjoy the benefits of being a global Britain.”

11.20am update: Retail sales down as Brexit hits consumer confidence 

Retail sales fell in September as uncertainty around Brexit continued to hit consumer confidence. 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), sales were down 0.8 percent compared with August, mainly due to a fall of 1.5 percent in food stores. 

But sales did hold up in the three months to September, with an increase of 1.2 percent on the previous quarter. 

Sales were up three percent on September 2017 but the figure fell short of economists’ forecasts of a 3.6 percent rise. 

Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “It looks like consumer spending – along with the weather – peaked in early summer and has been declining ever since.

“Where we go from here is highly uncertain. Brexit is hitting consumer confidence hard but on the plus side wage growth has hit a decade high while inflation is falling.

“So consumers look likely to have more spending power – the issue is whether they choose to use it or keep their powder dry until more clarity over Brexit emerges.”

11am update: Tajani may visit Ireland to outline European Parliament’s support

European Paliament President Antonio Tajani may visit Ireland to outline their support in protecting the Irish border 

He met Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this morning, when he confirmed the Parliament’s commitment to the backstop which he described as a “key element”. 

Mr Tajani said: “I may visit Ireland to explain Parliament’s position which is in full support of the Republic of Ireland.”

He also repeated to Mr Varadkar that the border needs to be flexible to protect peace and the Good Friday Agreement. 

10.50am update: Pound recovers following May’s transition period announcement 

The Biritsh Pound has recovered after Theresa May confirmed she was open to discussing an extension of the transition period after Brexit. 

It traded at $ 1.3114 – flat on the day – after earlier dipping to $ 1.3076.

Against the euro, the pound was down marginally by 0.1 percent to 87.77 pence. 

10.40am update: What May told Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that will ENRAGE Britons at home

Theresa May could admit defeat in her bitter Brexit row to secure a ‘time-limited’ Irish backstop and end the impasse in negotiations. understands the Prime Minister acknowledges the European Union’s backstop drafted in the December withdrawal agreement can not feature an end date.

Senior EU officials revealed Mrs May made the admission to Leo Varadkar before briefing the remaining EU leaders on her latest Brexit strategy.

Mr Varadkar insisted a “legally operative backstop” that would come into effect immediately after the transition period must still be included in the withdrawal agreement in order for it to be acceptable to Ireland.

This has remained a Brussels demand as the bloc’s leaders seek assurances Brexit will not create a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Mr Varadkar did, however, move to offer the Prime Minister an opportunity to back the backstop more palatable in Westminster by using creative wording.

“There can’t be a time-limit to it,” said one official. “But we can try to find a wording to show it’ll never be used.”

Brexit May Varadkar

Brexit latest: Theresa May admitted to Leo Varadkar the backstop cannot contain a time limit (Image: PA)

10.20am update: 70 percent chance last-minute Brexit deal can be agreed – credit agency Euler Hermes 

There is around a 70 percent chance of Britain and the EU reaching a Brexit deal at the last minute, credit agency Euler Hermes has claimed. 

Chief Economist Ludovic Subran said: “For companies that would be like a ‘blind date’ because they wouldn’t know what they’ve got coming.

“The details could contain good or bad surprises but for companies it would still be better than an ugly divorce.”

It said if a Brexit deal is reached, the British pound would climb to 1.14 against the euro after dropping to between 1.06 and 1.09 by the end of this year. 

But the credit agency is also predicting a 25 percent chance of Britain quitting the bloc without a deal and warned this would cause big depreciation of the British pound – probably to €0.88 before the end of 2019 – causing exports to drop.

9.50am update: Cabinet Office rejects claims extension will cost Britain more than £10bn

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington has denied claims an extension to the Brexit transition period will cost Britain £10bn in payments to the EU in order to remain in the bloc’s single market and customs union for another year. 

He told the BBC: “You are making an assumption about what the insurance policy would include and the insurance policy actually being applied.

“It is precisely one of those things that needs to be teased out and addressed, whether we felt and the EU felt it was the right approach to take.”

9.30am update: Senior Tories warn May voters will not forgive her for surrender to EU

Voters will not forgive Theresa May if she surrenders to Brussels in Brexit negotiations, Boris Johnson and David Davis have warned. 

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the former Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary claim her plans for a future relationship with the EU are less popular than the poll tax, urging her to “deliver the Brexit which people voted for”. 

It was also signed by Jacob-Rees Mogg, as well as former Cabinet ministers Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson and Priti Patel. 

The letter, published by the Daily Telegraph, states: “We urge you to make clear that you will not bind the UK into the purgatory of perpetual membership of the EU’s customs union, whether by a backstop or any other route.”

“Talk of either a UK or a Northern Irish backstop is inimical to our status as a sovereign nation state. Both are unnecessary: indeed they are a trap being set by the EU which it is vital we do not fall into.”

The group also repeated calls for Mrs May to “reset” the negotiations and tear up her Chequers plan. 

They wrote: “We urge you not to engage in a show of resistance and a choreographed argument followed by surrender and collapse into some version of the backstop and Chequers.

“Instead we urge you to say to the EU at the summit: ‘Let us agree that we need to reset our negotiations. Our objective is a free trade agreement that benefits the UK and EU and millions of our citizens.’

“This would command a majority in Parliament, unlike the unpopular Chequers plan. Let us seize the opportunity and create a better future for the UK.

“We are close to the moment of truth. Brexit offers the prize of a better future, global free trade deals and political independence.

“But if these potential gains are sacrificed because of EU bullying and the Government’s desperation to secure a deal, the British people will not forgive us.”

Brexit Xavier Bettel

Brexit: Bettel warned “on March 29, the game will be over” (Image: AFP/GETTY)

9.20am update: May attacked over transition period extension

Theresa May has been attacked over the possibility of extending the Brexit transition period. 

Conservative MP Anna Soubry, who is backing a second referendum, tweeted: “PM forced to extend transition because Government can’t agree on backstop.

“Remember Government insisted it was an implementation period because we’d have a trade deal to implement? More broken Brexit promises. No surprise calls for People’s Vote grow. March with us on Saturday.”

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: “Extending the transition? More like kicking the can further down the road and delaying, by a bit, driving off the cliff.

“No deal the PM can secure will be as good as staying in the EU.”

9.10am update: Brexit uncertainty hampering British import and export businesses

British trade is being hampered because Brexit is making it difficult for firms to decide whether to import or export, a new survery has revealed. 

A poll by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) of 2,500 firms showed half of businesses have to consider uncertainty over Brexit when deciding whether to trade globally. 

BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said: “Firms have been dealing with uncertainty over the future relationship with the EU since the referendum vote over two years ago.

“However, this survey shows that, as we get closer to the crunch, the lack of precision is starting to have a material impact on their decision-making.

“While business faces uncertain times, our research shows that businesses who do trade internationally are more innovative and dynamic compared to those who just focus their attention on the UK market.

“It is vital that clear progress is made in Brexit negotiations to give firms confidence and empower them to take risks and try to break into new markets, creating the Global Britain this Government so often talks about.”

9am update: Khan warns Government’s ‘appalling incompetence’ increasing risk of no-deal 

Sadiq Khan has launched a scathing attack on Theresa May’s Government, warning their “appalling incompetence and infighting” is increasing the risk of a no-deal Brexit. 

He said: “This summit was supposed to be the final chance to agree a Brexit deal – but due to the appalling incompetence and infighting of Theresa May’s Government there is still a huge risk of no deal at all.

“The options on the table are now limited to Theresa May’s proposed bad deal for Britain or no deal at all – both of which would be disastrous for London’s economy and would limit opportunities for the next generation.”

The London Mayor said he has been trying to arrange a meeting with Dominic Raab but without success, repeating calls for the British peope to have the final say on a Brexit deal. 

He added: “Extremely disappointingly and despite being in the role for three months, he has so far failed to meet me.”

Mr Khan said: “The ongoing chaos, infighting and ineptitude shows exactly why it’s so crucial that the British public get the opportunity to have their say on the final deal – which is what thousands of people will call for this weekend as they march through the streets of London.”

Brexit Boris Johnson David Davis

Brexit: Johnson and Davis are part of a group that has written an open letter to May (Image: GETTY)

8.50am update: ‘On March 29, the game will be over!’, warns Luxembourg PM

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has Europe “will not destroy the single market” as the UK searches for a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations. 

He said: “Of course a deal is better than a no deal, but as i said we don’t have that much time left.

“On March 29, the game will be over. Then there will also be European elections and we have set up rules and a deadline.

“The single market especially is a problem. It could be the UK now wants the advantages of the single market with their own conditions but that’s not possible.

“We can’t destroy the single market for a short period of time or for a longer period. This is the problem.

“We also have other countries who are watching closely as to what we allow the british to do because they will then also reach out.

“It’s not an easy situation but i know very well that may doesn’t have it easy here in Brussels, nor is it any easier for her in London.

“If there is agreement here there is still no guarantee that London will also agree. That doesn’t make it easy.”

8.35am update: France leaves door open for transition period extension

France is willing to support Michel Barnier’s offier of a one-year extension to Britain’s post-Brexit transition period. 

Speaking this morning in Brussels, Theresa May said she was willing to discuss an extension without ever planning to use it. 

France Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Public Senat TV: “It’s for the French president to decide whether an extension is in our interests.

“I believe it is in our interest do everything possible up until the last minute to reach a deal with Britain. Our red line is a deal that would weaken the single market and the EU.”

He added France was making the necessary preparations for a no-deal scenario.

8.20am update: Tajani demands THREE YEARS of Brexit transition and said May is NOT against idea

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani believes Theresa May is not against a three-year Brexit transition period.

“There are three key points. The rights of EU citizens living in the UK, and in Europe, money and the third point is the back stop.

“We need to work on this, we do not have agreement, but I want to be optimistic.

“Without that third point it is impossible for us to vote in favour for the agreement.”

When asked about Mrs May’s stand on a Brexit implementation period extension he said: “Yesterday she spoke on the transition period but not in favour or against.

“The proposal is on the table.”

The European Parliament would support a three-year implementation period, Mr Tajani added.

8am update: May stands firm on transition period

Theresa May has insisted Britain won’t need an extension to the Brexit transition period and can have a future relationship in place with the EU by the end of December 2020.

She told reporters this morning: “We have made good progress on withdrawal agreement and future partnership.

“On the withdrawal agreement there are issues remaining on the backstop.

“The original proposal put forward by the EU was one we could not have accepted in the UK, it would have created a customs border down the Irish sea. Earlier in the year, we put forward a proposal as how to deal with this issue – a further idea has now emerged.

“A further idea at this stage is to extend the implementation period for a matter of months and only for a matter of months but the point is this is not expected to be used – because we are working to ensure we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020.

“I am clear that it is possible to deliver – there will be no need for any proposal of this sort – and the implementation will end by the end of 2020.”

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