Theresa May launches excoriating attack on Deloitte — Leaked memo said Theresa May has no Brexit plan — Boris Johnson hints UK will leave customs union

Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain has offered few details about what she favors in the country’s break from the European Union. Credit Toby Melville/Reuters

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  • Leaked memo: Theresa May has no Brexit plan
  • ‘Cabinet splits’ hindering negotiation process, memo says
  • May launches excoriating attack on Deloitte over memo
  • Eurosceptic MPs criticise ‘bogus’ memo to ‘undermine’ Brexit
  • Farage attacks May’s refusal to use him as Trump go-between
  • Labour: We won’t block triggering of Article 50

May attacks leaked Brexit memo

Theresa May has launched an excoriating attack on one of the world’s biggest consultancy firms over a leaked memo,

The November 7 memo suggests Mrs May’s Government has no Brexit plan and a poor understanding of what leaving the European Union means for industry.

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said that the author of the memo is not working for the Government and dismissed the document as “unsolicited”.

She said: “It’s an unsolicited document that has had nothing to do with Government at all. It has not been commissioned by the Government. It hasn’t been distributed widely across Government. It does seem as though this is a firm touting for business aided by the media.

“I struggle to understand how one individual who has never met the Prime Minister or any members of her team can then decide that the timetable is false or different.”

Boris Johnson pictured in London today
Boris Johnson pictured in London today CREDIT: BLOOMBERG

UK likely to leave customs union, warns Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, in an interview with the Czech daily Hospodářské noviny, has indicated that Britain is likely to leave the customs union.

Mr Johnson said: “[There will be a] dynamic trade relationship [between the UK and the EU] and we will take back control of our borders, but we remain an open and welcoming society … We probably will have to come out of the customs union, but that’s a question I am sure will be discussed.”

It is the first time a minister has indicated the UK could leave the customs union, which prevents the country from forming trade deals with other countries because it would have to implement the EU’s common external tariff.

Article 50 legislation drawn up

Legislation to begin the process of leaving the EU has been drawn up by minister, it has been reported.

It is understood the government has prepared a short three line bill to begin the process of leaving the EU  – so Theresa May can meet her March deadline to trigger Article 50.

The BBC reported that sources say they believe the legislation is so tightly drawn it will be difficult for critical MPs to amend.

Ministers have drawn up the legislation in the expectation that they may lose their appeal to the Supreme Court, which would force them to consult parliament.

Farage attacks May’s refusal to use him as a Trump go-between

Nigel Farage has attacked Theresa May’s refusal to use him as a go-between with US President-elect Donald Trump as “nonsense”.

The interim Ukip leader, who was the first British politician to meet the controversial tycoon since his election success, said “petty personal differences” should be set aside.

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage

Number 10 dismissed suggestions that the Ukip leader might become the “third person” in the relationship between Mr Trump and the Prime Minister, insisting that the Government already has “well-established” channels of communication.

Mr Farage, who claimed he had been “bombarded” with calls from businesses seeking his help to strike up a relationship with the Trump administration, said: “If Government policy is to secure a free trade deal with the USA, if I can help in any way make that happen I will do so.

“If they don’t want me, that’s fine.”

3:32pm

Boris Johnson: ‘UK could leave customs union’

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, in an interview with the Czech daily Hospodářské noviny, has indicated that Britain is likely to leave the customs union. In the interview he says:

“[There will be a] dynamic trade relationship [between the UK and the EU] and we will take back control of our borders, but we remain an open and welcoming society … We probably will have to come out of the customs union, but that’s a question I am sure will be discussed.”

It is the first time a minister has indicated the UK could leave the customs union, which prevents the country from forming trade deals with other countries because it would have to implement the EU’s common external tariff.

Mr Johnson also reportedly says it is “bollocks” to claim that freedom of movement is one of the fundamental freedoms of the European Union.

3:19pm

‘Totally united’ on Brexit strategy

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, earlier said the Cabinet was “totally united” on its Brexit strategy. Here, The Telegraph’s cartoonist Christian Adams imagines exactly what they are united on…

Adams cartoon November 16
Adams cartoon November 16

2:16pm

Brexit is ‘huge career opportunity’ for civil servants

Former Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin said civil servants would see Brexit as a “huge career opportunity” but questioned whether more officials were needed.

“My guess is some of the brightest and best civil servants, many of them, who come in with an interest in the most important things this country is doing will see this as a huge career opportunity,” he told the World at One.

The leaked memo we have been talking about today suggested the Government would have to recruit 30,000 new civil servants to deal with the Brexit negotiations.

Sir Oliver Letwin
Sir Oliver Letwin CREDIT: JULIAN SIMMONDS FOR THE TELEGRAPH

2:11pm

‘Not surprising Government has no Brexit plan’

Europhile Tory former Cabinet minister Ken Clarke said “the Government at the moment does not have an agreed strategy” on Brexit.

“That’s not surprising, that’s not a criticism. It wasn’t considered by people on either side of the argument in the run-up to the referendum, nor was it debated in the run-up to the referendum,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.

He said it would take “a good six months to get the right policy which minimises the damage and actually deals with the real world of how we can best manage our future relationships” with the EU and the rest of the world.

Europhile Tory MP Ken Clarke
Europhile Tory MP Ken Clarke CREDIT: PA

2:07pm

‘Leaked memo is right, there is no Brexit plan’

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “Whatever the purpose of this memo, it is absolutely right about two things. First, the Government are in a mess over Brexit and do not have a plan.

“Second, the way Theresa May is handling this process shows that, just like her predecessor, she is putting the interests of her party before those of her country.”

Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary
Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary CREDIT: KEN MCKAY/ITV/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK 

1:49pm

‘Britain could face £52bn Brexit bill’

Brussels may demand up to 40-60 billion euros (£34-52 billion) as an “exit bill” from the UK, to cover unpaid budget commitments, pension liabilities, loan guarantees and spending on UK-based projects.

The Financial Times said the sum – equivalent to around three to five years’ worth of UK contributions to EU budgets – was part of a negotiating position being drawn up by the European Commission ahead of formal talks under Article 50 of the EU treaties, expected to lead to Brexit in 2019.

European Commission chief Michel Barnier
European Commission chief Michel Barnier CREDIT: AFP / JOHN THYSJOHN

Commission chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was reported to be pushing for a draft exit deal by mid-2018 under a narrow “divorce-first” negotiating stance, which would defer detailed talks on future trading relations until after the terms of departure are agreed.

Under this plan, transitional arrangements could be put in place to cover the period of five or more years until a trade deal is sealed, said the FT.

1:19pm

Government’s ‘dereliction of duty’ on Brexit strategy

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, said it is a “dereliction of duty” that the Government has not hired enough Whitehall staff to deal with Brexit just months away from triggering Article 50.

Answering questions after a central London speech, the shadow chancellor said: “If we need the staff we need to employ them, whether it’s 30,000 or below.

“I just find it staggering that we have a Government facing a momentous decision on the implementation of negotiations and they haven’t even staffed up.

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor CREDIT: BLOOMBERG

“It’s just extraordinary, it’s a dereliction of government duty.”

He also criticised ministers for putting their careers ahead of the interests of the country.

“It isn’t just about staffing, the memo is confirming what we knew, which is ministers arguing amongst themselves all the time, no common view of the way forward and no shared vision of the future for our country,” he said.

“It’s just dismal what’s happening at the moment, to actually start putting their individual careers or their individual ideologies before the interests of the country is unacceptable.”

1:14pm

Theresa May launches extraordinary attack on Deloitte for ‘touting for business’ with leaked Brexit memo

Theresa May has launched an excoriating attack on one of the world’s biggest consultancy firms over a leaked memo, accusing it of “touting for business”.

The November 7 memo suggests Mrs May’s Government has no Brexit plan and a poor understanding of what leaving the European Union means for industry.

Theresa May reacts to applause after making her speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet
Theresa May reacts to applause after making her speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet. CREDIT: REUTERS/PETER NICHOLLS

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said that the author of the memo is not working for the Government and dismissed the document as “unsolicited”.

She said: “It’s an unsolicited document that has had nothing to do with Government at all. It was not commissioned by Government. It was produced by an independent foreign external consultancy firm that is not working for Government.

“I struggle to understand why such an unsolicited memo that has no credence can make front page news or indeed the broadcast bulletins in the morning.

“The individual is not working for the Cabinet office on these issues. There was a discrete piece of work done immediately after the referendum.

“It related to the outcome of the referendum, The huge task facing the civil service. This individual has never been in No 10 or engaged with No 10 since the PM took office.

“It has not been commissioned by the Government. It hasn’t been distributed widely across Government. It does seem as though this is a firm touting for business aided by the media.

“I think if you turn to the second page of some newspapers quite far down you might find that (the context of the document), but most people walking past a newsstand this morning might take a different impression.

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say if anyone goes out there and writes a memo about Brexit and hands it to one or a few individuals in Government does that give it credence or authority.

“I struggle to understand how one individual who has never met the Prime Minister or any members of her team can then decide that the timetable is false or different.”

1:09pm

‘Legislation to trigger Article 50 prepared by ministers’

Legislation to begin the process of leaving the EU has been drawn up by minister, it has been reported.

It is understood the government has prepared a short three line bill to begin the process of leaving the EU  – so Theresa May can meet her March deadline to trigger Article 50.

The BBC reported that sources say they believe the legislation is so tightly drawn it will be difficult for critical MPs to amend.

Ministers have drawn up the legislation in the expectation that they may lose their appeal to the Supreme Court, which would force them to consult parliament.

BBC sources say they would plan to introduce the bill in the Commons immediately after the Supreme Court  ruling.

They would hope to push the bill through the Commons in two weeks.

It would then go to the House of Lords where it is understood the government hope peers would back down.

Ministers believe that peers would not dare defy MPs if the Commons had approved the legislation.

1:05pm

No 10: Deloitte ‘touting for business’ with leaked memo

Deloitte was ‘touting for business’ with its leaked memo saying extra 30,000 Brexit civil servants were needed, Theresa May’s spokesman has said.

11:33am

Leaked memo is an ‘utterly bogus’ attempt to ‘undermine’ Brexit, Eurosceptic Tory MPs warn

A leaked memo claiming that the Government needs 30,000 extra civil servants to cope with Brexit was written by consultants who are trying to “undermine” Brexit, Eurosceptic Tory MPs have said.

The memo, which was prepared for the Cabinet Office by Deloitte, claimed that splits within the Cabinet mean the Government may need another six months to decide its priorities.

David Sproul, Deloitte’s UK chief executive, signed a letter calling for Britain to remain in the European Union in the run up to the EU referendum.

John Redwood, a Tory eurosceptic, said: “It’s complete nonsense. You don’t need consultants who are against Brexit and trying to undermine it.

“They are not speaking for the Government and I’m very glad they are not. Brexit can be much quicker, better and cheaper than they think.

Eurosceptic MP John Redwood
Eurosceptic MP John Redwood

“What we do know is that it isn’t the Government’s view of the situation and it isn’t my view of the situation. ”

All we need to negotiate is the future trading arrangements. We need to keep it simple. We don’t need gloom and we certainly don’t need 30,000 more civil servants.”

Steve Baker, a leading eurosceptic Conservative MP, said: “I appreciate there’s considerable detailed work to do but authors of memos like this will get caught out when their absurd claims run into the reality of expert opinion in the real world of trade negotiations.

“This gloomy memo carries all the hallmarks of the campaign we know is in progress to defy the will of the British people.”

Iain Duncan Smith, former Cabinet minister
Iain Duncan Smith, former Cabinet minister CREDIT: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/PA WIRE

Iain Duncan Smith, a former Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “It’s the same people trying every device they can to tell the World’s it’s all miserable and too difficult.

“This non-commissioned report is utterly bogus, gleaned from newspaper cuttings, the Government doesn’t need any more civil servants. What a load of old rubbish.

“I don’t think this was an accident, this was quite deliberate, they were determined to do as much damage as possible.”

Reporting by Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor

11:18am

Law firm’s surprise at ‘no Brexit plan’ memo

Ian Robinson, a partner at the world’s largest immigration law firm, Fragomen LLP, says it is “surprising” that the Government cannot agree a strategy for what Brexit looks like and how it will be achieved.

“The news that Whitehall may be struggling to cope with the scale of work generated by the UK’s intention to quit the EU is of little surprise to those who understand the enormous legal complexities surrounding a ‘Brexit’. What is more surprising, however, is that almost five months have passed since the referendum and there is seemingly still a lack of agreed strategy among cabinet ministers for what a Brexit looks like and how the government will achieve it.

Clearly, businesses will be alarmed by this, and need reassurance that the UK’s companies will be able to access the labour and skills they need. Employers in all sectors are deeply concerned. Whatever our eventual relationship with Europe, we need a fair and transparent immigration system that can be properly controlled while supporting the UK’s skills base.”

11:15am

McDonnell: ‘Government can’t get a grip on Brexit chaos’

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, has delivered a speech this morning ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement from his opposite number, Philip Hammond.

In the speech he mentions Brexit 19 times and says it was thanks to the Bank of England, and not the Government, that the economy was supported after the June 23 referendum.

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor CREDIT: EPA/WILL OLIVER

“The Chancellor was nowhere to be seen, the Prime Minister resigned, and assorted Tory Brexiteers simply walked away from the mess they helped create,” he says.

He says that the Tory government now “struggles to get a grip of the chaos it’s injected into the Brexit process”.

11:01am

LATEST: Leaked memo ‘has no authority’ says Government

A Government spokesman has just issued a new statement on the leaked memo.

“This unsolicited document has nothing to do with the Government at all.  It was produced by an individual from an external accountancy firm.  It has no authority and we don’t recognise any of the claims it makes. We are getting on with the job of delivering Brexit and making a success of it.”

10:59am

Brexit memo ‘aided by senior civil servants’

One of the journalists who has seen the leaked memo is claiming that senior civil servants did aide the production of the document that the government is now disowning. Deborah Haynes, defence editor at The Times, has tweeted this:

Brexit memo was seen and aided by senior civil servants. @Number10gov should stop shooting the messenger and start addressing the challenges

10:41am

Farage: Britain’s ambassador to US should be sacked

Nigel Farage has called for Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s ambassador to the US, to be sacked. He told Sky News:

“I would have thought it’s obvious [that Darroch should be sacked]. He’s part of the old regime. He’s a fanatical Europhile, he’s part of the old regime, his worldview and the worldview of the Trump team are going to be diametrically opposed. I would have thought it would be more sensible to put someone there who is likely to get on with team Trump.”

Asked if he fancied the job himself, he added: “I don’t think I’m the ambassadorial type. Whatever talents or flaws I’ve got, I’m not sure diplomacy is necessarily at the top of my list of skills.”

9:42am

Boris: Cabinet ‘totally united’ on Brexit strategy

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, says Theresa May’s Cabinet are “totally united” on their approach to Brexit.

His comments as he went into 10 Downing Street this morning follows claims in the leaked memo that Cabinet splits are delaying the Government’s ability to agree a negotiating strategy ahead of its goal to begin the Brexit process by April.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary
Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

9:38am

‘Government desperately scrabbling to catch up’

We’ve already heard this morning that a leaked memo for the Cabinet Office says Whitehall is working on more than 500 Brexit-related projects; could need to hire 30,000 extra civil servants; and the Government may need another six months to decide on its priorities.

Pat McFadden
Pat McFadden, Labour MP and leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign

Labour MP Pat McFadden, leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign, said:

“This report shows how totally unprepared the leaders of the Leave campaign were for winning the referendum. They urged the UK to leave without having any real idea of what it would involve.

Now the Government is desperately scrabbling to catch up. There is an urgent need for clarity from government about priorities, without which this will all be much more difficult and costlier.

It is essential that the Government comes forward with a plan that puts our economy first and allows Parliament to have its say.”

9:12am

Farage: ‘Real world’ bemused by May’s refusal to talk to me

Nigel Farage says “anyone in the real world” would be bemused by Theresa May’s refusal to work with him to broker a relationship with Donald Trump.

Speaking about the president-elect, Mr Farage told Sky News: “He is instinctively an anglophile. His mother was from Scotland. We’ve got a fantastic opportunity and we should grab it with both hands.”

Farage: Government should set aside petty differences with mePlay!02:01

8:56am

IMF head: ‘Significant uncertainty’ over UK’s future relationship with EU

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said “significant uncertainty” remains over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.

Christine Lagarde refused to comment directly on whether she believed Brexit would damage the UK economy, as a leaked Cabinet Office memo suggested the Government has no overall plan for quitting the EU.

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF
Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Ms Lagarde told the Press Association: “We’ll see how it goes. Certainly what we have at the moment, still, is significant uncertainty as to what the terms and conditions of the relationship will be between Europe and the United Kingdom.

“We’ve been partners for a long time and I hope it continues.”

8:54am

Farage attacks May’s refusal to use him as go-between with Trump as ‘nonsense’

Nigel Farage has attacked Theresa May’s refusal to use him as a go-between with US President-elect Donald Trump as “nonsense”.

The interim Ukip leader, who was the first British politician to meet the controversial tycoon since his election success, said “petty personal differences” should be set aside.

Number 10 dismissed suggestions that the Ukip leader might become the “third person” in the relationship between Mr Trump and the Prime Minister, insisting that the Government already has “well-established” channels of communication.

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage meet up
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage meet up CREDIT: NIGEL FARAGE 

But Mr Farage told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “Are they suggesting that they sack all civil servants, they sack all ministers and the Prime Minister does everything? It’s nonsense, isn’t it?

“This Government has got a massive job to do with Brexit …. all I have said is ‘I’ve got some connections, I’d like to help’.”

Mr Farage, who claimed he had been “bombarded” with calls from businesses seeking his help to strike up a relationship with the Trump administration, said: “If Government policy is to secure a free trade deal with the USA, if I can help in any way make that happen I will do so.

“If they don’t want me, that’s fine.”

He dismissed reports that Mr Trump’s team would talk to him ahead of the British Government, but added: “Commonsense says that I should be useful some how to this country in getting that relationship with America back to where it should be.

“We’ve had eight years of (Barack) Obama, who didn’t like us. Trump likes this country.”

8:52am

Grayling denies 30,000 extra civil servants needed to deliver Brexit

Chris Grayling said the report was “not something the Government’s commissioned, it is not something we recognise”.

The Transport Secretary denied claims that an extra 30,000 civil servants are needed to take Britain out of the EU.

Mr Grayling, who sits on the Brexit Cabinet committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t know what 30,000 people would do in this process.”

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary
Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary CREDIT: TOM NICHOLSON/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK 

He dismissed suggestions that interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who has close links to Donald Trump, should have a formal role in dealing with the president-elect.

He said: “Nigel Farage played a significant role in the referendum campaign but we have a team of people on the ground in Washington who have been building ties with the Trump transition team for many months.

“We have ministers in the current government who have close ties to senior Republicans, who know people in the Trump transition team. There are normal government to government relations in a period like this and that’s what’s going to happen.”

8:37am

Farron: ‘Theresa May has no Brexit plan’

Commenting on the leaked memo which claims the Government has no plan for Brexit, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This shambles at the heart of government confirms that the only reason Theresa May won’t tell us her Brexit plan is because she doesn’t have one.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader CREDIT: PA

“We urgently need answers to key questions, including whether the Government will seek to keep the UK in the Single Market. It’s time for the Prime Minister to stop being led astray by her warring cabinet.

“Otherwise her Government is heading for the worst possible outcome: a reckless, destructive Brexit that will do untold damage to British jobs and the economy.”

8:33am

Who is the author of the leaked memo?

It is being reported by Joe Murphy, the Political Editor at the Evening Standard, that the leaked memo could have been written by the consultancy firm Deloitte.

The “leaked memo” was written by Deloitte, I am told by a Govt source. It was written “off their own bat”, which is different to BBC report

8:24am

Labour will not block Article 50

Theresa May has received a boost to her plan to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaties to begin the process of leaving the bloc by April.

Labour has pledged not to block or delay it and called for a “more positive” view of Brexit.

In a speech in central London later this morning, shadow chancellor John McDonnell will say: “We must not try to re-fight the referendum or push for a second vote. And if Article 50 needs to be triggered in Parliament, we will not seek to block or delay it.

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor CREDIT: REUTERS/STEFAN WERMUTH

“To do so would put Labour against the majority will of the British people and on the side of certain corporate elites, who have always had the British people at the back of the queue.”

He will say Labour should “embrace the enormous opportunities to reshape our country that Brexit has opened for us”, adding: “In that way we can speak again to those who were left behind and offer a positive, ambitious vision instead of leaving the field open to divisive Trump-style politics.”

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2 Responses to “Theresa May launches excoriating attack on Deloitte — Leaked memo said Theresa May has no Brexit plan — Boris Johnson hints UK will leave customs union”

  1. Theresa May launches excoriating attack on Deloitte — Leaked memo said Theresa May has no Brexit plan — Boris Johnson hints UK will leave customs union — Peace and Freedom | Brittius Says:

    […] via Theresa May launches excoriating attack on Deloitte — Leaked memo said Theresa May has no Brexit p… […]

  2. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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