Posts Tagged ‘UK’

‘No Deal’ With EU No Disaster for Post-Brexit U.K., Says Report

August 18, 2017

Bloomberg

By Charlotte Ryan

August 17, 2017, 7:01 PM EDT
  • Britain should pursue trade regardless of EU ‘threats’: IEA
  • EU’s other 27 members make up U.K.’s biggest trade partner
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May

 Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

A U.K. trade deal with the European Union after Brexit is desirable but not essential, the Institute of Economic Affairs said, in support of Prime Minister Theresa May’s repeated assertion that no deal is better than a bad deal.

Britain should walk away from talks on a post-Brexit trade deal if the EU offers bad terms that lead to a protectionist and costly agreement, the IEA, a free-market think tank, said in a report on Friday. Instead, it said the country should trade with the EU under World Trade Organization rules, seeking a policy of zero tariffs while brokering free-trade agreements with major trading partners including the U.S.

“Many people believe that disaster will befall us if we do not forge a deal with the EU,” said Jamie Whyte, research director at the IEA. “In fact, we could unilaterally eliminate all import tariffs, which would give us most of the benefits of trade, and export to the EU under the umbrella of the WTO rules.”

Looming trade discussions are shaping up to be one of the trickiest tasks on the agenda of Brexit negotiators. Britain and its business lobby groups are seeking as “frictionless” as possible commerce with the EU post-Brexit, while EU politicians signal that Britain won’t be able to benefit from the same access once it’s no longer a member.

‘Fantasy’ Plans

For now, the talks are in abeyance, with the EU saying it will not discuss a future deal until the issues of citizens’ rights and Britain’s exit bill are resolved. The slow pace of talks so far has stoked fears Britain will leave the EU before trade talks conclude.

The IEA paper comes days after the U.K. released a document on customs which Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s point person on Brexit, derided as a “fantasy.” In a tacit acknowledgment that time is ticking down, Britain is seeking a transition period between Brexit day in March 2019 and the day when new trade arrangements can set in. During that period, the U.K. would leave the EU’s customs Union, allowing it to broker new trade deals with third countries, but customs arrangements with the bloc would be largely unchanged.

Trade will not stop after Brexit even if the two sides fail to agree to a deal, the IEA said. Instead, the exchange of goods would continue under WTO rules, which would prevent the EU from charging punitive taxes on goods, while tariffs would hurt EU consumers, according to the policy analyst. It recommended that Britain unilaterally get rid of such duties with trade partners including Europe, while encouraging them to do the same.

Bargaining Chip

“Compared to an outcome in which the U.K. and the EU traded under WTO terms, there would be benefits for the U.K. to unilaterally liberalizing as it would reduce the cost of imports,” said Thomas Sampson, an economist at the London School of Economics, who hadn’t seen the IEA report. “The cost is you’re giving away the bargaining chip that you would normally use to get concessions out of the EU.”

The U.K. should pursue its own trade policy regardless of “threats” from the EU, the IEA said. The country could seek free-trade agreements with countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand and use a tariff-free approach to become a “super-Singapore or super-Dubai.”

However, Sampson cautioned against dismissing the importance of the EU when negotiating future deals. The bloc is the U.K.’s largest trading partner accounting for almost half of all imports and exports in 2016.

“The U.K.’s priority should be to do everything it can to secure an agreement with the EU,” he said. “The potential gains from securing an ambitious new agreement with the EU are much larger than those of negotiating with the U.S. or any other country.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-17/-no-deal-with-eu-no-disaster-for-post-brexit-u-k-says-report

Britain Confident of Making Progress in Brexit Talks by October

August 17, 2017

By REUTERS

AUG. 17, 2017, 4:15 A.M. E.D.T.

LONDON — Britain is confident it will make “sufficient progress” in negotiations with the European Union by October to move on to the next phase of the talks and discuss future ties with the bloc, the government said on Thursday.

After a slow start to negotiations to unravel more than 40 years of union, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is keen for the discussion to move beyond the EU’s focus on a divorce settlement to consider how a new relationship could work.

But the bloc has repeated that before there is “sufficient progress” in the first stage of talks on the rights of expatriates, Britain’s border with EU member Ireland and a financial settlement, officials cannot consider future ties.

Last month, the EU’s top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told ambassadors from the 27 countries that will remain in the bloc that talks on future ties were less likely to start in October.

“Government officials are working at pace and we are confident we will have made sufficient progress by October to advance the talks to the next phase,” a spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said in a statement.

“As the Secretary of State (Brexit minister David Davis) has said, it is important that both sides demonstrate a dynamic and flexible approach to each round of the negotiations.”

The British side is understood to believe that progress has been made during four days of talks, despite bleating from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (pictured right with David Davis in Brussels today) about a lack of 'clarity' on the UK's position

On Wednesday, unidentified sources were quoted by Britain’s Sky News as saying the two sides might have to delay talks on their post-Brexit relationship until December because they would not make the progress required by the EU.

Britain published proposals for the border between Ireland and the province of Northern Ireland on Wednesday, saying there should be no border posts or immigration checks to avoid a return to a ‘hard border’.

It was aimed at tackling one of the most difficult aspects of the talks and was welcomed by the Irish government.

But perhaps a more tricky part of the talks is how much Britain should pay the EU when it leaves in March 2019. While saying it will meet its responsibilities on the so-called Brexit bill, Britain has also questioned some suggestions from the EU that it must pay around 60 billion euros.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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UK to seek Irish border waivers on customs and food safety after Brexit

Britain reveals plan to ask for exemptions for all small traders and farmers as it pursues goal of avoiding EU border posts

Traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal.
 Traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in Bridgend, Co Donegal. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Britain will seek a series of waivers for goods and people crossing the Northern Ireland border under new plans that risk creating a “back door” with the European Union after Brexit.

The government aims to avoid the need for border posts with Ireland when the UK leaves the EU, an ambitious goal seen as essential to preserving the Good Friday peace agreement.

“The UK and Ireland have been clear all along that we need to prioritise protecting the Belfast agreement in these negotiations, and ensure the land border is as seamless as possible for people and businesses,” said David Davis, the UK’s Brexit secretary.

Details of the plan unveiled by Whitehall officials have, however, sparked a series of difficult questions about what the knock-on impact of having no border may be for wider EU-UK relation

 

The issue of the Irish border is a priority for the next round of Brexit talks, due to resume in two weeks. However, some senior government figures now concede privately that the talks may not move on to the substantive issue of Britain’s future relationship with the European Union until December, cutting the time left for complex discussions before the two-year article 50 deadline.

One cabinet minister with knowledge of the negotiations told the Guardian on Wednesday it is “impossible to know” whether they will succeed in tying up initial questions, including the withdrawal bill, by October, as they had previously hoped.

When the talks do resume, Britain will ask for an exemption for all small traders and farmers from a host of customs, agricultural and food safety checks. In return, it aims to seek “regulatory equivalence” with the EU to try to avoid the need for inspections of live animals and billions of pounds worth of goods.

Officials refuse to speculate what consequences this may have for limiting the scope of trade agreements with non-compliant countries such as the US. Without matching regulations, the EU could block imports, fearing that the open border was a back door into its consumer market.

Similar fears of a back door in the labour market were put to officials when they revealed there would be nothing to stop EU economic migrants travelling through the Republic of Ireland and into the UK under a continuation of the common travel area scheme. The government believes it can limit the impact of any such undocumented immigration through tighter checks on UK work permits.

Read the rest:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/aug/16/uk-to-seek-irish-border-waivers-on-customs-and-food-safety-after-brexit

 

Fears for 600 still missing in Sierra Leone floods — 3,000 people left homeless

August 16, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Saidu Bah | The government of Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world, has promised relief to more than 3,000 people left homeless

FREETOWN (AFP) – Concern shifted Wednesday to the estimated 600 people still missing and thousands made homeless in Sierra Leone by deadly floods in the capital, as aid groups scrambled to coordinate a response.The United Nations said Tuesday it was evaluating humanitarian needs in Sierra Leone, while the first Israeli aid packages were sent and Britain pledged its support.

With morgues overwhelmed with bodies, burials began on Tuesday for some of the bodies too mutilated to identify.

President Ernest Bai Koroma fought back tears on Tuesday as he visited the devastated hilltop community of Regent, saying the scale of the challenge ahead was “overwhelming us”.

“Entire communities have been wiped out,” Koroma said. “We need urgent support now.”

The government of Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world, has promised relief to more than 3,000 people left homeless, opening an emergency response centre in Regent and registration centres to count those left on the streets.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York the UN country team was “supporting national authorities in rescue operations, helping evacuate residents, providing medical assistance to the injured, registering survivors, and providing food rations, water and dignity kits to those affected.”

The Red Cross says 600 people are still missing, while more than 300 are already confirmed dead.

– From shock to anger –

Adele Fox, national health coordinator for Sierra Leone for the charity Concern Worldwide, told AFP that the search for bodies continued but the survivors were facing difficult conditions.

“There is basic need for food, water, sanitation equipment and medical assistance. Since it is still rainy season, further flooding is also a possibility,” she warned.

The sentiment among those in the disaster areas had shifted from shock and grief to anger at what is an annual problem in Freetown, though never before on this scale.

“There is some frustration over the regularity of flooding and destruction during the rainy season and its effects,” she said.

– ‘Wake-up call’ –

Society 4 Climate Change Communication (S4CCC), a local environment group, has called the tragedy a “wake-up call”.

Deforestation, a lack of urban planning and vulnerability to climate change had all played a part, it said.

The UN said contingency plans were being put into place in case of any potential outbreak of waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea, as dirty water stagnates.

Sulaiman Zaino Parker, an official with Freetown’s city council, said 150 burials took place on Tuesday evening and that many would be laid to rest in graves alongside victims of the country’s last humanitarian disaster, the Ebola crisis, in nearby Waterloo.

“We have started burying some of the mutilated and decomposed bodies. All the corpses will be given a dignified burial with Muslim and Christian prayers,” Parker said.

The graves would be specially marked for future identification, he added.

Three days of torrential rain culminated on Monday in the Regent mudslide and massive flooding elsewhere in the city, one of the world’s wettest urban areas.

Freetown is hit each year by flooding during several months of rain, and in 2015 bad weather killed 10 people and left thousands homeless.

Sierra Leone ranked 179th out of 188 countries on the UN Development Programme’s 2016 Human Development Index, a basket of data combining life expectancy, education and income and other factors.

by Saidu Bah

UK unemployment rate hits lowest level since 1975

August 16, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Britain’s unemployment rate has struck a new 44-year low
LONDON (AFP) – Britain’s unemployment rate has struck a new 44-year low, official data showed Wednesday, as the uncertainty of Brexit boosts temporary hirings.The rate dipped to 4.4 percent in the three months to June to record the lowest level since 1975, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. It had stood at 4.5 percent in the quarter to May.

A total of 1.48 million people were recorded as unemployed at the end of June, down 157,000 compared with a year earlier, although with wages growth struggling to keep pace with UK inflation.

“The headline figures shout growth and stability — and yet there’s a huge amount of uncertainty on the ground, particularly due to Brexit,” said David Morel, head of employment firm Tiger Recruitment.

“Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, people are choosing to stay put rather than speculatively look for other jobs.”

But he noted that “Brexit-related and broader economic uncertainty” was supporting the temporary jobs market as employers “have put their permanent hiring on hold”.

New threat to Britain’s railways as al-Qaeda tells supporters to derail train carriages

August 16, 2017

The Telegraph

Members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria CREDIT: REUTERS

Al-qaeda is urging its supporters in Britain to derail a train, causing massive loss of life and “instil fear” among travellers and commuters.

Securing thousands of miles of track in the UK was “practically impossible” and attacks would cause “great damage and destruction”, the terrorist group said in an article in the group’s magazine Inspire.

The terrorist group offered to show how to make a “derail tool” and said any attacks would force Governments to impose the airport-style security measures on rail travellers.

The threat is understood to being taken seriously by British and American intelligence agencies who are said to be “working closely” to combat it.

Al Qaeda

Whitehall sources said they are increasingly concerned that travelling by rail was “one area of public transport which is worryingly yet to be exploited”.

One source said the Armed Forces were prepared to support police and ambulance…

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/15/new-threat-britains-railways-al-qaeda-tells-supporters-derail/

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Britain threatens to impose VAT and customs duties on EU imports if there is no Brexit deal

August 15, 2017

The Telegraph

By 

Britain is threatening to introduce new laws to impose VAT and customs duties on all goods from the European Union if no Brexit deal can be agreed, the Government said today.

 Time to talk trade: British negotiators say the current structure of the Brexit talks is not working CREDIT: AP

MPs and peers will legislate to impose new custom duties and VAT tariffs on trade with the EU in case no deal can be agreed by March 2019.

A detailed 14 page blueprint entitled Future Customs Arrangements for the UK also disclosed that Whitehall officials are in a race against time to get up to date customs computer ready for Brexit.

Ministers will publish a Customs Bill and Trade Bill to bring in UK law EU trading rules.

The document made clear that without any deal “the UK would treat trade with the EU as it currently treats trade with non-EU countries.

The British side is understood to believe that progress has been made during four days of talks, despite bleating from EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (pictured right with David Davis in Brussels today) about a lack of 'clarity' on the UK's position

“Customs duty and import VAT would be due on EU imports. Traders would need to be registered.

“Traders exporting to the EU would have to submit an exploration declaration,…

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/15/britain-threatens-impose-vat-customs-duties-eu-imports-no-brexit/

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EU Again Scolding UK: Once the UK has become a third country, terms of the relationship can be discussed

August 15, 2017

AFP

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© AFP | Britain’s Brexit minister wants talks on a transitional period after Britain quits the EU to ease the shock of the change
BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union repeated Tuesday it would not address the issue of Britain’s future partnership with the bloc post-Brexit until progress had first been made on the terms of withdrawal.Responding to a new British position paper released Tuesday, a European Commission spokesman noted Britain’s proposal for a temporary customs union after leaving the EU.

But, he added: “We will only address them once we have made sufficient progress on the terms of the orderly withdrawal.”

Britain’s membership of the EU customs union, which currently allows for the tariff-free movement of goods, will end along with its membership of the single market when it leaves the bloc in March 2019.

It wants to negotiate transitional arrangements to soften the effect of Brexit.

One option its Department for Exiting the EU suggested in a statement Tuesday is “a temporary customs union between the UK and the EU.” It will publish a full paper on that proposal later Tuesday.

The Brexit ministry said Britain wanted to be able to sign free trade agreements with third countries during the transition period, although these would only be implemented at the end of it.

– A transitional period –

Brexit minister David Davis told BBC radio on Tuesday that the transition period could last “something like two years” and would have to be over by the time of the next general election, which is set for 2022.

But a Commission spokesman insisted Tuesday that “an agreement on a future relationship between the EU and the UK can only be finalised once the UK has become a third country.

“As Michel Barnier has said on several occasions, ‘frictionless trade’ is not possible outside the Single Market and Customs Union,” the EU spokesman said.

Barnier is the chief negotiator for the EU in the Brexit talks.

Experts have warned it will be extremely difficult to negotiate a new EU-UK free trade agreement before Britain leaves the bloc — particularly as Brussels has so far refused even to start trade talks.

The EU says there must first be broad agreement on three key issues: Britain’s financial settlement, expatriate rights, and the status of the border between British-controlled Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Britain will publish its proposals on the Northern Ireland border issue on Wednesday, before the third round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels at the end of the month.

The EU itself is currently working on another series of position papers, “including one on customs issues related to the orderly withdrawal of the UK,” the EU statement said, without indicating when it would be published.

The next round of Brexit negotiations between Britain and the EU is scheduled for the week beginning August 28.

Japanese fungus spreading in UK hospitals

August 15, 2017

BBC News

Disinfecting hands

More than 200 patients in England have been infected or contaminated with a drug-resistant fungus first found in Japan, health officials have confirmed. GETTY IMAGES

Hospitals are on the lookout for further cases and are putting in place measures to help control any further spread of the fungus, Candida auris.

Public Health England says in some cases patients will have no symptoms, but the infection can cause serious bloodstream and wound infections.

So far, no UK patient has died from it.

The first UK case emerged in 2013. Since then, infection rates have been going up – although it remains rare.

Candida auris is proving hard to stop because it has developed some resistance to the drug doctors normally use against it.

As of July, 20 separate NHS trusts and independent hospitals in the UK had detected Candida auris.

More than 35 other hospitals have had patients known to be colonised with Candida auris transferred to them.

Three hospitals have seen large outbreaks that have been difficult to control, despite intensive infection prevention and control measures.

Two of these outbreaks have been declared over, and Public Health England says the third is seeing significantly fewer new cases.

Candida aurisImage copyright SPL

Dr Colin Brown, from Public Health England’s national infection service, said most of the UK cases had been detected by screening, rather than investigations for patients with symptoms. But 27 patients have developed bloodstream infections.

“Our enhanced surveillance of this uncommon fungus shows that in the UK it has mostly been detected in colonised patients, with a quarter being clinical infections.

“The hospitals that have seen the most cases of Candida auris in the UK have not found it to be the cause of death in any patients.”

He said PHE had updated its infection-control guidance for hospitals and nursing homes on managing outbreaks of Candida auris, together with a leaflet for patients who may have the fungal infection.


What is Candida auris?

It belongs to a family of fungi or yeasts that live on the skin and inside the human body.

A more common “cousin” in this family is Candida albicans, which causes the yeast infection thrush.

Candida auris was first identified in 2009 in a patient from Japan.

Hospital outbreaks have since been reported in the United States, India, Pakistan, Venezuela, Columbia, Israel, Oman, South Africa and Spain, as well as the UK.


Is it dangerous?

Some people can carry the infection without having any symptoms or being unwell.

Patients in hospital who catch it may become sick, although infections are still usually minor.

Candida auris can cause more serious bloodstream and wound infections, however.

Nursing staff can take swabs from different parts of a patient’s body to check if Candida auris is present.


How is it spread?

That is still being investigated, but experts think it is spread by contact from person to person, on people’s hands, clothing or on bits of medical equipment.

Contamination is quick – several hospitals have reported it takes as little as four hours from initial exposure.


What stops it?

Spread can be limited by good hygiene – keeping hands clean by frequent hand washing and using alcohol gel.

If a patient in hospital is found to be infected, their visitors may be asked to wear a gown, plastic aprons and gloves.

Antifungal medicines can treat the infection, despite the strain of Candida auris in the UK having some resistance to some of these drugs.

A biosafety Investigation Unit at Porton Down, the government’s military research base, is testing a variety of disinfectants and antiseptics to see if they can kill the infection.

UK hopes not to pay for interim customs deal, David Davis says

August 15, 2017

Reuters

AUGUST 15, 2017 / 2:44 AM

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and suit

Brexit Secretary David Davis. Carl Court – Getty

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain should not have to pay to have a customs union during an interim period after leaving the European Union, Brexit Secretary David Davis said on Tuesday.

Britain has proposed setting up an interim customs agreement with the European Union after Brexit to allow the freest possible trade of goods. Britain has suggested introducing a temporary customs union.

When asked on ITV television if Britain would have to pay to stay in the EU customs union temporarily, Brexit minister Davis said: “No, I don’t think (so). Well what happens in that interim period you have to leave to me to negotiate.”

Asked how the Brexit negotiations were going on a personal level, Davis said: “Er, fine”.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden

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Bloomberg News

Britain Wants an Interim Customs Union With EU to Smooth Brexit Path

August 14, 2017, 4:53 PM EDT August 14, 2017, 5:50 PM EDT
  • Proposal set out as part of series of Brexit position papers
  • Next round of talks scheduled in Brussels starting Aug. 28

Follow @Brexit for all the latest news, and sign up to our daily Brexit Bulletin newsletter.

The U.K. government said it wants to maintain tariff-free, bureaucracy-light trade with the European Union for a period after Brexit and perhaps permanently, a proposal likely to raise eyebrows on the continent but which was cheered by British businesses.

Theresa May

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

Ahead of the publication Tuesday of the first of a series of new papers aimed at fleshing out its ambitions for future relations with the EU, Britain said it will seek to negotiate a “close association” with the bloc’s customs union for an unspecified amount of time after it leaves in March 2019.

Industry lobby groups expressed relief having repeatedly warned against the potential for duties, border controls and regulatory uncertainty on commerce with the U.K.’s biggest market the day after Brexit.

The road map, though, will likely run into opposition from the EU, given the U.K.’s suggestion it be allowed to line up trade accords with other countries during the interim period, something remaining fully inside the customs union would prevent. The EU has repeatedly warned the U.K. against cherry picking the advantages of membership and that it won’t be able to enjoy frictionless trade outside its ranks.

Read more about Britain’s options for a trade deal with the EU

While the bloc’s 27 other governments have said they are open to a post-Brexit implementation phase, they first want to resolve matters such as citizens’ rights and a financial settlement. Divorce talks are set to resume in Brussels on Aug. 28 and the EU’s lead negotiator, Michel Barnier, has complained of a lack of progress in the first two rounds.

The U.K. is showing more of its hand after a summer in which members of Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet forged a consensus around supporting a transitional period after Brexit, although there are differences over how long it should run. Tuesday’s blueprint will be seen as a victory for Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond who has advocated as smooth a departure as possible from the EU.

David Davis

Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Britain’s goal “is to secure as frictionless trade as possible with the EU alongside the ability to forge trade deals around the world, and avoiding a hard border with Ireland,” Brexit Secretary David Davis’s department said in a statement. It also wants to “negotiate bold new trade relationships around the world.”

The Brexit department said the interim period it imagines would enable both sides of the English Channel to establish future customs arrangements to ease border crossings. The U.K.’s public-spending watchdog warned last month of a “horror show” if new systems were not in place by the time of Brexit.

Non-Tariff Barriers

Failure to maintain something akin to the status quo could prove costly for the British. The current arrangement saves U.K. exporters from paying tariffs on goods sold to the EU. Countries outside the region and lacking a free-trade accord with it pay about 10 percent on shipments of cars alone.

Potentially more expensive are non-tariff barriers. Customs checks at a U.K.-EU border such as proving the origin of goods could cost 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) a year and snarl traffic in both directions, according to a July report by Oxera, an economic consultancy.

The customs office calculates that in two years’ time there will be 255 million declarations per year based on current levels of trade with the EU, up from 55 million now. Carmakers worry such bureaucracies would hurt their ability to ship vehicles and source inputs in a timely fashion, while retailers risk watching goods perish at borders.

“Business wants to see as frictionless a customs system as possible,” Confederation of British Industry Deputy Director-General Josh Hardie said in a statement. “All efforts should be made to deliver a single-step transition, so that businesses don’t have to adapt twice.”

TheCityUK, which represents the finance sector, said the government must conduct “urgent” talks to support services, which make up a larger share of the U.K. economy.

Open Britain, a group that lobbies for close ties with the EU, accused May’s government of “having our cake and eating it.”

“It is a fantasy to pretend we can have the freest and most frictionless trade possible with our largest partner when the government remain intent on pulling Britain out of the customs union,” said Chris Leslie, a lawmaker in the opposition Labour Party.

‘Not Possible’

Barnier warned in July that it was “not possible” for Britain to enjoy as easy trade with the EU as it does now, pointing to the need to comply with tax returns and test animal products among other obstacles.

A customs union-like relationship would help clear up the matter of how to police the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said earlier this month that a new customs union should be designed to avoid the need for controls on the 310-mile (500-kilometer) frontier which forms the EU’s only land link with the U.K.

The Irish issue will be detailed more fully by the British on Wednesday when they publish another paper that will express a commitment to keeping a “seamless and frictionless” border on the island.

The U.K. said ultimately it would like to see as few hurdles to commerce as possible between it and the EU. That could mean designing “highly streamlined customs arrangements” or aligning approaches to “negate the need for” any border, it said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-14/u-k-seeks-interim-customs-union-with-eu-to-smooth-brexit-path

Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd are facing deselection threats from a Brexit campaign group

August 14, 2017

Chancellor Philip Hammond

Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd are facing deselection threats from a Brexit campaign group.

Leave.EU said it plans to send letters to every voter who lives in the pair’s constituencies advising how and why they should campaign for their removal.

The group said it will not lead the process but wants to give it the “first shove” in the hope Brexiteers will join the Conservative Party branches in the constituencies of Mr Hammond and Ms Rudd, and ultimately seek to table a no confidence motion.

Leave.EU is targeting the two Cabinet ministers as it believes they have sought to “meddle” in the Brexit process.

Former Ukip donor Arron Banks, in the letter intended for Mr Hammond’s Runnymede and Weybridge constituents, accuses the Chancellor of proposing a “lengthy and unnecessary” transition period of up to three years from March 2019.

The Leave.EU chairman wrote: “This would mean that free movement and financial contributions would continue until at least April 2022.

“He is part of a cabal of Westminster MPs who believe that if they can delay exit, they can overturn the wishes of the 52% who despite threats from the political classes drew upon the courage of their conviction at the ballot box.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd
Amber Rudd campaigned to remain in the EU (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ms Rudd, considered a potential Tory leadership contender in any contest to succeed Theresa May, held her Hastings and Rye seat at this year’s general election with a majority of 346.

http://www.southwalesguardian.co.uk/uk_national_news/15471804.Leave_EU_gives____first_shove____to_Philip_Hammond_and_Amber_Rudd_deselection_threat/