Saturday papers – 13 October 2018

Saturday papers – 13 October 2018

Brexit

The transition period could be extended, says the Telegraph.

The Brexit transition period could be extended by another year to help Theresa May find a solution to the Irish border problem, The Telegraph has learnt.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, proposed the move, which would also buy Mrs May more time to strike a trade deal with Brussels.
It would mean Britain remaining tied to the EU until the end of 2021, rather than December 31, 2020, which is the current agreement.
Tory Eurosceptics reacted with fury, saying the move would add up to £17 billion to the Brexit bill.

The whole of the UK could be trapped in the EU indefinitely, reports the Guardian.

Secret plans to allow an extension of the transition period in the Brexit withdrawal agreement could result in the UK living under all EU rules well beyond the 21 months so far negotiated, the Guardian can reveal.
The expected offer of an extension is designed to convince Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist party, that the “backstop” plan to avoid the creation of a hard border on the island of Ireland will never come into force.
A longer transition period would mean the whole of the country would be locked into a prolonged period of what EU diplomats have previously described as a state of “vassalage”.

The Express is a little more upbeat, claiming a deal is in sight.

THERESA May is closing in on a Brexit deal and Brussels has signalled a draft agreement could be agreed by next week – but what would the Prime Minister need to compromise on to get the deal she is pushing for?
EU leaders have struck a far more positive tone in recent days, just three weeks after they flat-out rejected Mrs May’s soft Brexit plans – based on the so-called Chequers agreement – at a summit in Salzburg.

Ireland

All is not well in the province, says Sky News.

Ireland’s deputy prime minister has warned the UK government his country “can’t accept a time limit” on a Brexit backstop agreement aimed at preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Simon Coveney, who is also Ireland’s foreign minister, directly contradicted UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s stance on a key part of the UK’s withdrawal agreement.
As part of a divorce deal, the UK and EU are seeking a fallback agreement to avert a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

But the Times claims the PM is ready to break with the DUP.

Theresa May is contemplating breaking with the Democratic Unionist Party to get her Brexit deal through parliament after relations between the parties worsened.
The prime minister is fighting on multiple fronts amid signs that some of her cabinet could walk ot next week over the backstop, her insurance plan to keep the Northern Irish border open.

The Mail also reports the end of the alliance.

Theresa May could put an end to her alliance with the DUP and press ahead with her Brexit plans despite opposition from the Northern Irish party.
The DUP’s 10 MPs have kept the Conservatives in power since Mrs May lost her Commons majority after her snap election gamble backfired last year.
However the alliance has been strained this week as the DUP has rejected Mrs May’s proposals to keep Northern Ireland in the single market while the rest of Britain leaves, a plan they believe would split the UK. 

Customs union

However, the Mail claims the PM won’t sign a bad deal.

Theresa May today vowed she will never sign up to a Brexit deal that ‘permanently’ traps the UK in the EU customs union.
The PM made the promise as ministers threaten to quit over the latest concessions to Brussels.
Mrs May is under fire from all sides as she races against time to thrash out a divorce deal with the EU that does not tear her government to pieces.

The Express claims Mrs May’s cabinet members are not happy.

THERESA May is facing a backlash over her Brexit plans as Cabinet rebels over her backstop plan which they fear will lock Britain into a customs union with Brussels with no time limit – meaning the UK will NEVER leave.
The plan, which was discussed by Mrs May’s “war cabinet” of senior ministers yesterday, is believed not to include an end date – something which will enrage hardline Brexiteers including Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Sky News reports a comment by the PM’s press people.

Downing Street has sought to play down suggestions Theresa May is prepared to backtrack on her Irish border stance in a bid to agree a Brexit deal.
The future status of the frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic has emerged as a key sticking point in the exit negotiations.
A particular source of contention is what the “backstop” – the fallback option for border arrangements in the event the two sides cannot reach an agreement by the end of the transition period – will look like.

The Sun claims she is ‘defiant’.

DEFIANT Theresa May insisted she will not cave to Brussels plan to “trap” Britain in EU customs rules by the backdoor forever – teeing up a major dust up with leaders next week.
The PM’s stand comes as her pact with her Northern Irish allies hung by a thread after extraordinary revelations DUP chiefs want her gone by Christmas  and deputy leader Nigel Dodds mocked Tory “panic”.
And in fresh headache for Mrs May it was also emerged last night the EU are secretly discussing  extending the Brexit process because of the chaos.

BBC News says ministers are worried about the PM agreeing to further EU demands.

The prime minister would “never agree” to a permanent customs union with the EU, No 10 says, amid concern from ministers about Brexit compromises.
They are thought to fear that Theresa May will agree to such a move, if a trade deal cannot be done in time.
Downing Street insists any post-Brexit customs union would be “time limited”.
EU leaders meet next week for what has been described by European Council president Donald Tusk as a “moment of truth for Brexit negotiations”.

The Independent claims she has already decided to sign the EU’s deal.

Theresa May has abandoned her pledge that a deal to keep the UK in the EU customs territory must be “time-limited”, paving the way for likely cabinet resignations.
The prime minister’s spokeswoman refused – four times – to say the “backstop” agreement, to avoid a hard border in Ireland, would have a strict end date, the assurance she set out four months ago.
Instead, No 10 said only that it must be “temporary”, a much looser word that – pro-Brexit  ministers fear – will leave the UK locked into an effective customs union for many years to come.

Westmonster reports that the Brexit secretary is adamant about the end date for any such deal.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has come out strongly against any EU plan that would keep the UK inside an EU Customs Union for years to come without an end date, as has been rumoured.
In a stance that seems far stronger than what Theresa May herself seems to be contemplating, Raab told ITV News of such a situation: “It would have to finite, it would have to short, and it would have to be I think time-limited in order for it to be supported here.

Order-Order also reports the determination of the Brexit minister.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has given a clear reiteration of his position that any Irish backstop must be  “finite”“short” and “time-limited”. This will be very hard to climb down from…
“What we cannot do is see the United Kingdom locked in via the back door to a customs union arrangement which would leave us in indefinite limbo. That would not be leaving the EU.”
This is being seen as a stronger commitment than Downing Street’s line this morning that the backstop would have to be “temporary” and that “the Prime Minister would never agree to a deal which would trap the UK in a backstop permanently”.

The Guardian claims the customs deal will not be permanent.

Downing Street has insisted the government will not sign up to any deal with the EU that would keep the UK in a customs union indefinitely, as the prime minister tries to assuage concerns in her cabinet.
British negotiators in Brussels are thought to be preparing to sign up to a draft of the backstop for Northern Ireland – aimed at preventing a hard border – that could see the whole of the UK effectively inside the customs union.
The EU27 have long signalled they will not accept any end date for the backstop being inserted into the legally binding text of the withdrawal agreement.

The Independent points out the disagreement between the PM and her Brexit secretary.

Theresa May clashed with her Brexit secretary as a deepening row over the UK remaining tied to EU customs rules permanently threatened to wreck her hopes of a successful deal.
Dominic Raab insisted the planned “backstop” to avoid a hard border in Ireland – the key hurdle to a withdrawal agreement – must be “time-limited” or it would be rejected by parliament.
Just hours earlier, Downing Street refused – four times – to say the backstop would have a strict end date, abandoning an assurance the prime minister set out four months ago.

No deal

Project Fear is highlighted in the Mirror.

It’s a Friday afternoon, it’s unseasonably warm and there’s a Royal Wedding on.
So of course the Tory government has shovelled out 29 drastic warnings about Brexit.
You could be banned from using Netflix and Spotify on holiday, the Eurostar will be under threat, lights could go out in Northern Ireland and race horses will be trapped in Britain if we leave without agreement on 29 March 2019.

EU

German industry is not happy with the way negotiations are going, reports the Mail.

The clock is counting down to next week’s crunch EU summit in Brussels, which, in the view of many, is D-Day for Brexit.
Of course, we are not due to leave the EU until next March, but if we are to avoid a serious crisis of confidence and financial jitters between now and then, industry wants to see the politicians agree some sort of framework deal by the end of the month.
A year and seven months after Mrs May triggered Article 50 and began the EU exit process, we really do find ourselves at a crucial juncture. 

The Sun reports that if we decided to scrap the referendum result and stay in the bloc, it’ll refuse to pay the budget rebate hard won by Margaret Thatcher.

BRUSSELS has threatened it will strip Britain of its £4billion budget rebate if a second referendum overturns the Brexit vote.
Eurocrats said the UK’s discount, which was hard won by Margaret Thatcher then squandered by Tony Blair, will be chopped if we stay in the bloc.
Their verdict, delivered by budget chief Gunther Oettinger yesterday, will deal a hammer blow to  Remainers agitating for a referendum rerun.

Breitbart also has the story.

A senior European Union (EU) Commissioner has said in the “absolutely fabulous” instance Brexit is overturned, the UK can remain in the bloc but without its budget rebate, forcing to pay billions more every year.
Günther Oettinger, the German European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, also claimed a Brexit deal was much closer after reports suggested the UK’s Prime Minister is ready to give the EU massive new concessions.
Speaking from the Commission Friday, he said in the “improbable but pleasant case if the UK were to remain… then the gradual exit from the rebate would still be kept”.

Order-Order says the prospect of the UK staying in the bloc was ‘highly unlikely’.

The EU’s Budget Commissioner has confirmed that Britain would lose its budget rebate in the highly unlikely scenario that the UK stays in the EU. Gunther Oettinger made it clear that the UK would not keep the “mother of all rebates” if it held a second referendum and decided to stay in the EU: “Even if, in the improbable but pleasant case if the UK were to Remain… the gradual exit from the rebate would still be kept. I think that it is something that is no longer appropriate…”

And the Independent says the rebate is not appropriate.

Britain would lose its EU budget rebate were it to decide to cancel Brexit and stay in the bloc, the European Commission’s budget chief has said.
Günther Oettinger told reporters in Brussels that such a rebate was “no longer appropriate” in a family of nations.
He added that the question of a second EU referendum was something that was “solely in the hands of the legitimately democratically elected government” of the UK.

An interesting piece in the Express reports a UKIP MEP saying the UK will rejoin the EU in the future.

THE UK will rejoin the European Union in a matter of years after departing the bloc in Spring 2019 due to Theresa May’s unworkable Chequers proposal and her lukewarm support for Brexit, an MEP has warned.
Brexiteer MEP Tim Aker has claimed Britain’s vote to leave the EU will be reversed in a matter of years as a result of Mrs May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations, creating the prospect of the UK being shackled to the EU once more in the future. 

Fisheries

There will be further problems for fishermen after Brexit, says the Independent.

British fishing boats would have to warn of visits to  European Union (EU) ports and have their catches inspected by officials after a no-deal Brexit, new documents have revealed.
UK-registered vessels will no longer have an automatic right to land fish in any EU port if Britain leaves the without an agreement, the paperwork states.
The details are set out in a raft of guidance published by the government that outlines a no-deal scenario at the end of March when Britain leaves the bloc, covering areas ranging from farming and fishing to exporting horses.

The Express claims there could be further trouble between UK and EU fishermen after Brexit.

CLASHES between British and “militant” French fishermen could flare up again after Brexit, the Government has been warned by industry leaders pressing for a fair deal. In August, rocks and smoke bombs were launched by more than 30 French vessels in a skirmish with a handful of British boats off the coast of Normandy.
The so-called “scallop wars” were over access to stocks in the Baie de Seine grounds.

Budget

Away from the EU, the Times reports on the forthcoming budget.

Philip Hammond is being warned that he does not have support in the Commons for a tax-raising budget in what is a sign of the government’s paralysis over Brexit.
The chancellor made clear yesterday that he wanted to raise taxes in this month’s budget in the face of Tory opposition. He said that tax breaks for pension saving, which benefit millions of middle and high earners, had become “eye-wateringly expensive”.
His comments immediately irritated his colleagues and started a row among MPs and business leaders, prompting some of his allies to concede that bringing the date of the budget forward may have been a mistake.

The Mail claims the chancellor is about to raid pensions.

Phillip Hammond has given his strongest signal yet that he is preparing to raid pension pots to fund extra health spending.
Speaking on a trip to Bali, the Chancellor said that tax breaks given to those saving for retirement had become ‘eye-wateringly expensive’.
The comments fuelled speculation that he is planning yet another attack on pensions as he scrabbles for cash in this month’s Budget.

But the Sun reports the pro-EU chancellor’s claims there will be a Brexit boost.

SEALING a deal with the EU will give Britain a double Brexit boost which could be used to cut taxes and loosen the purse strings, the Chancellor vowed today.
A surprisingly cheery Chancellor said there was a “change of pace” in negotiations in recent weeks, and there could be a double “deal dividend” if Britain reaches an agreement on the bloc in the coming weeks.
Raising hopes that a deal was on the cards soon, the usually gloomy Mr Hammond said that there had been a “really important step change” in talks between the Uk and Brussels.

Universal credit

There’s a revolt against the new benefit, says the Sun.

DOZENS of Tory Eurosceptics have joined calls for the Chancellor to reverse a £2billion cut to Universal Credit, The Sun can reveal.
Arch Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees Mogg are teaming up with Europhile Tory backbenchers like Heidi Allen to demand action to shore up benefits for some of the poorest people in the country.
It came as former Chancellor George Osborne defended his welfare cuts – saying you couldn’t pay for everything through higher taxes.

Fracking

And it seems that the extraction of gas will go ahead, says the Mirror.

Fracking in Lancashire is poised to start tomorrow after a campaigner lost a High Court battle today.
A judge ruled against activists and threw out an injunction that stopped the practice by shale gas giant Cuadrilla.
The court had been due to rule on whether the energy firm should be temporarily blocked from fracking at a new site.

The Sun also reports.

FRACKING is set to start again in Britain today after an environmental campaigner’s bid to block the move failed.
London’s High Court ruled yesterday that energy firm Cuadrilla can drill for shale gas at a site near Blackpool.
Green campaigner Bob Dennett argued that  Lancashire county  council officials  failed to properly assess safety risks for the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well.
Mr Justice Supperstone said there was “no evidence” to support that.

The Morning Star calls it a defeat for environmentalists.

ENERGY FIRM Caudrilla has been given the green light to frack for shale gas for the first time in seven years in a disappointing defeat for environmental campaigners.
Fracking will begin at Caudrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire tomorrow after campaigner Bob Dennett’s legal action to block operations was rejected by the High Court in London.
At a hearing today, Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed the application for an injunction preventing the company from drilling Britain’s first horizontal shale gas well pending his proposed legal challenge.

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