Towards the post-Brexit relationship

The aftermath of the referendum continues... [Shutterstock]

Article 50 has still not been triggered by the UK government, so EU-exit negotiations have still not begun. The UK is already trying to plan for life after the EU by courting possible trade deals with its G20 partners, which other EU members have frowned upon.

Theresa May replaced David Cameron as UK Prime Minister in July and then set up a new government department, to take responsibility for Brexit, to be headed by veteran Conservative MP and Leave campaigner David Davis. Former Secretary of Defence Liam Fox has been given the job of international trade minister and Boris Johnson is foreign secretary.

EURACTIV’s live coverage of the new UK government beginning to deal with the country’s exit from the EU unfolded like this…

  • 23 June UK votes to leave the European Union;
  • 24 June David Cameron announces intention to resign;
  • 13 July Theresa May officially takes over at Number 10.
Samuel Morgan 14/07/201610:44

This is by no means the start of EURACTIV’s coverage, check out what happened over the last two weeks by reading through our previous live feed.

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Michael Gove, whose leadership tilt stalled right when it mattered, has been sacked by Theresa May, leaving the Justice Minister post wide open. His leadership-backer, Nicky Morgan, has also been fired as Education Secretary. John Whittingdale has also been removed from his position as Culture Secretary.

Samuel Morgan 14/07/201612:25

Britain’s new Chancellor Philip Hammond today (14 July) ruled out an emergency budget in response to economic turbulence triggered by the referendum result, refuting what his predecessor, George Osborne suggested might happen.

Hammond told media that a budget would not be submitted before the Autumn, adding that London’s key financial sector must retain access to the EU Single Market following Brexit.

Samuel Morgan 14/07/201612:26

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Samuel Morgan 14/07/201614:22

@JamesCrisp6 and @MattTempest report on Theresa May’s new inner circle.

Samuel Morgan 14/07/201614:25

Contrary to reports, one of the Conserative’s most divisive figures, Jeremy Hunt, has been spared the axe.

Samuel Morgan 14/07/201616:01

Yesterday, the European Commission was asked to comment on a Facebook post penned by its First Vice-President Frans Timmermans in which he accused some people of “borderline racism”, widely interpreted to be a jibe at Boris Johnson. As it was a “personal post” by the Dutchman, journalists were told to address Timmermans directly on that medium. So one of ours did…

Alexander Winterstein, the Commission’s deputy-chief spokesperson, said, “I did not read the Facebook post, which as you have said yourself is the first vice-president’s post on which I cannot helpfully comment.

Bruno Waterfield, journalist, asked who he should address a question to if it was posted by Timmermans “the man” rather than his official post.

“It’s a Facebook post. Maybe you want to post a proposal to the Facebook page.”

Samuel Morgan 14/07/201616:16

A round-up of the cabinet positions we know so far and how they campaigned in the referendum:

– Chancellor of the Exchequer – Philip Hammond (Remain);

– Foreign Secretary – Boris Johnson (Leave);

– Home Secretary – Amber Rudd (Remain);

– Defence Secretary – Michael Fallon (Remain);

– Health Secretary – Jeremy Hunt (Remain);

– Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – David Davis (Leave);

– Justice Secretary – Liz Truss (Remain);

– Education Secretary – Justine Greening (Remain);

– Secretary of State for International Trade – Liam Fox (Leave);

– Environment Secretary – Andrea Leadsom (Leave);

– Transport Secretary – Chris Grayling (Leave);

– Work and Pensions Secretary – Damian Green (Remain);

– Chief Whip – Gavin Williamson (Remain);

– Party chairman and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Patrick McLoughlin (Remain).

Samuel Morgan 14/07/201616:33

A round-up of the cabinet positions we know so far and how they campaigned in the referendum:

– Chancellor of the Exchequer – Philip Hammond (Remain);

– Foreign Secretary – Boris Johnson (Leave);

– Home Secretary – Amber Rudd (Remain);

– Defence Secretary – Michael Fallon (Remain);

– Health Secretary – Jeremy Hunt (Remain);

– Secretary of State for Exiting the EU – David Davis (Leave);

– Justice Secretary – Liz Truss (Remain);

– Education Secretary – Justine Greening (Remain);

– Secretary of State for International Trade – Liam Fox (Leave);

– Environment Secretary – Andrea Leadsom (Leave);

– Transport Secretary – Chris Grayling (Leave);

– Work and Pensions Secretary – Damian Green (Remain);

– Chief Whip – Gavin Williamson (Remain);

– Party chairman and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – Patrick McLoughlin (Remain);

– Northern Ireland Secretary – James Brokenshire (Remain).

Samuel Morgan 14/07/201617:04

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James Crisp 14/07/201617:24

James Crisp 14/07/201617:40

Some reaction from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) to the appointment of Greg Clark as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the abolition of the department for Energy and Climate Change.

Richard Black, director of ECIU, said, “Greg Clark is an excellent appointment. He understands climate change, and has written influential papers on the benefits of Britain developing a low-carbon economy.

“Importantly, he sees that economic growth and tackling climate change are bedfellows not opponents – and he now has the opportunity to align British industry, energy and climate policy in a way that’s never been done before.”

“The disappearance of DECC as a stand-alone government department will of course raise concerns that the UK is going to ‘go soft’ on climate change.

“However, Theresa May has assured Conservative MPs that her government will continue to be an international leader on climate change, and it would be odd not to continue with that when all the most important new trading partners in our post-Brexit world, such as China, India and the United States, are themselves making massive investments in a clean energy transformation.

“The most pressing questions are domestic: what will the government do to restore the shot confidence of energy investors? They’re demanding consistency, transparency and long-term planning – and over the last year, they haven’t had it. And how can the economic advantages of a clean energy transformation such as jobs and export potential best be realised?

“Creating this new department opens up the exciting option of an innovation and industry strategy that enables companies in the clean energy supply chain, including steel, to expand and thrive together. But they’ll need a strong British market.

“Within the last few months, the National Infrastructure Commission and energy industry big cheeses, through Energy UK, have said that the UK should continue building a smart, flexible low-carbon grid – so there’s a clear pathway laid out for ministers, and the rationale for following it hasn’t changed a bit.”

Samuel Morgan 15/07/201610:55

James Crisp 15/07/201612:46

Brexiteers in Brussels

New UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson will meet Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, for a “getting to know you” session, ahead of Monday’s meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels.

Andrea Leadsom, the new agriculture and environment minister, will also be in Brussels for a meeting of ministers on Monday (18 July).

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Samuel Morgan 18/07/201612:11

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James Crisp 18/07/201618:35

Boris has left the building. This is what he said on the way out.

A long productive day. Obviously I was making the crucial point from the UK’s perspective, which is we must give effect to the will of the people and Brexit means Brexit but that in no sense means the end of Britain’s commitment, participation in Europe and our support for all sorts of European ventures, particularly on the foreign policy field. We talked a lot about Nice and what we can do to help the French, back them in some of their counter-terrorism operations around the world.

We talked about Turkey, trying to strike a balance there between disapproval there of some of the things that have happening under the Erdoğan administration but also reflecting the obvious truth that there has been a violent and a bloody coup.

We talked about the European global strategy that High Representative Federica Mogherini is pushing forward now. The point I was making there is we are very keen to seen the EU develop and go forward. All we would say is that we need to make sure there are kind of docking stations and doorways open for further UK involvement down the track.

How was your reception?

Very good.

James Crisp 18/07/201618:37

Samuel Morgan 19/07/201610:18

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Samuel Morgan 19/07/201616:15

Britain will not begin its formal divorce from the European Union by invoking Article 50 this year, a government lawyer told the UK’s High Court today.

Lawyer Jason Coppell said: “The current position is that notification will not occur before the end of 2016.” However, Coppell also added that the government’s position could change.

New Prime Minister Theresa May has already said it should not be triggered this year.

Coppell was speaking at the start of the first of a series of lawsuits brought by individuals to demand that Westminster win legislative approval from parliament before triggering Article 50.

Reuters reports.

James Crisp 19/07/201620:05

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Angela Merkel will welcome Theresa May at the German Chancellery later today, with a joint press conference scheduled for 6:15. Merkel, who has been in office for 11 years, and May, who has been in the job for a week, will sit down to dinner, where the two leaders are not expected to exchange anything more than pleasantries and the lightest of discussion topics. The chancellor has already indicated that she is willing to be patient with the UK as it debates when to trigger Article 50 and May has said that it is unlikely to be invoked in 2016.

James Crisp 20/07/201613:03

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Samuel Morgan 20/07/201617:21

Now updated with recent developments:

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Samuel Morgan 25/07/201610:44

The UK’s new prime minister travels to Northern Ireland today to make assurances that Brexit will not lead to the reintroduction of a “hard border” with the Republic of Ireland. Theresa May will also argue that the UK’s decision to the leave the EU will not harm the Peace Process. Like Scotland, Northern Ireland overall voted to remain the EU. May will meet with the First Minister, Arlene Foster, and her deputy, Martin McGuinness.

Samuel Morgan 25/07/201612:14

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Daniela Vincenti 26/07/201607:16

Daniela Vincenti 26/07/201607:34

BBC reports: Ryanair is cutting the capacity and frequency of flights to and from Stansted Airport in Essex following the Brexit referendum result.

But the firm said that no routes would be closed. The airline said it would “pivot” growth away from UK airports and instead focus on European Union (EU) airports. Ryanair said the decision by Britain to quit the European Union was “a surprise and a disappointment”. The low-cost airline said there could be further implications of the vote to leave the EU if the UK is unable to negotiate access to the single market and the open skies regulatory framework currently in place across the EU.

Daniela Vincenti 27/07/201606:52

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, has said he expects the issue of Britain’s relations with the EU to be resolved by 2020, the date of the next election, the Guardian reported.

He suggested the UK would not trigger Article 50, which starts the clock on the UK’s negotiations to withdraw from the EU, until early in the new year, and said he did not expect the UK to join a customs union with the EU.

Daniela Vincenti 27/07/201606:55

Britain faces a post-referendum surge in migration as EU nationals enter the country before tighter immigration rules are imposed, a Commons committee will warned on Tuesday (26 July). The Home Affairs Committee urged the government to state an “effective cut-off date” for when EU citizens in the UK would be granted the right to stay. It added there could be fresh delays and backlogs in the immigration system if more people tried to enter the UK. Ministers said it would be “wrong” to set out details before exit talks.

The government has confirmed it will seek curbs on free movement rules that currently give EU nationals the right to live and work in other member states.

Samuel White 27/07/201608:05

Samuel Morgan 27/07/201612:16

Reporting by @JamesCrisp6

Also available in German and Spanish.

Samuel Morgan 27/07/201613:56

Daniela Vincenti 28/07/201606:48

Daniela Vincenti 28/07/201606:54

Irish exporters see Brexit hurting sector -survey

Nine out of 10 Irish exporters see Britain’s vote to leave the European Union hurting businesses with more than half of those firms planning to diversify into different markets as a result, a survey showed on Thursday.

Ireland’s fast growing economy is considered more vulnerable than any other in the EU to Brexit with its exporters first to suffer after a significant weakening of the pound against the euro made their euro-priced goods more expensive.

In a survey conducted in the two weeks following the June 23 vote, the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) said 92 percent of members felt the decision by its neighbour and major trade partner to quit the EU would have a harmful effect on the sector.

Daniela Vincenti 28/07/201607:31

Mr Johnson goes to Paris British foreign minister Boris Johnson will meet his French counterpart in Paris on Thursday two weeks after Jean-Marc Ayrault called him a liar over his role in Britain’s vote last month to leave the European Union.

“This first trip to France by the British foreign secretary will offer an opportunity to discuss the most important international issues of the day on which we work closely with the United Kingdom, as well as our bilateral relationship, particularly in the areas of defence, counter-terrorism and border control,” a French foreign ministry statement said.

Daniela Vincenti 28/07/201607:46

Samuel Morgan 28/07/201610:29

Samuel Morgan 28/07/201615:22

Boris Johnson and Jean-Marc Ayrault’s much-anticipated meeting will not be followed by a question and answer session. At his last high profile press conference, with US Secretary of State John Kerry, the new British foreign minister was grilled by American journalists about comments Johnson had made in the past about Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Instead, the two ministers will issue a joint statement.

James Crisp 28/07/201616:40

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Daniela Vincenti 29/07/201606:58

Daniela Vincenti 29/07/201607:25

The huge Irish diaspora in the UK means Ireland is the biggest focus of these efforts: anyone with a grandparent born in Ireland is entitled to claim Irish citizenship, and the numbers entitled to that status in Britain may exceed the entire population of Ireland, the Irish Times reports.

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The UK government’s surprise decision to reconsider the Hinkley Point nuclear plant expansion, could send a worrying signal about the country’s attitude to inward investment, some observers have said. Such messages could prove problematic with many companies hanging fire on investment after the Brexit vote, until the future becomes more certain.

Daniela Vincenti 01/08/201606:55

UK business morale plunged after EU vote – survey

British business confidence plunged in the immediate aftermath of the June 23 vote to leave the European Union, regained a little ground later, but was still down sharply compared with last quarter, an industry body said on Monday.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said its business confidence index fell to -27.7 for the period June 24 to July 20, compared with -0.7 from April 27 through to the June 23 referendum.

The survey of 1,000 chartered accountants showed that the construction, property and transport sectors suffered the sharpest declines in confidence.

Daniela Vincenti 02/08/201607:29

James Crisp 02/08/201610:44

James Crisp 03/08/201616:48

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Catherine Stupp 03/08/201617:36

Daniela Vincenti 04/08/201606:42

Cash handouts are best way to boost growth, say economists Direct cash handouts to households would be a better way of boosting Britain’s flagging economy than the interest-rate cuts expected from the Bank of England onThursday, according to a group of progressive economists sent to the Guardian. In a letter to the chancellor, 35 economists have urged Philip Hammond to ditch the approach that has been followed by the government since the recession of 2008-09 and give the Bank the right to try more radical options. The letter, printed in Thursday’s Guardian, suggests that the Bank should be allowed to create money to fund key infrastructure projects. Alternatively, the group says the Bank could pay for tax cuts or direct payments to households.

The letter states: “A fiscal stimulus financed by central bank money creation could be used to fund essential investment in infrastructure projects – boosting the incomes of businesses and households, and increasing the public sector’s productive assets in the process. Alternatively, the money could be used to fund either a tax cut or direct cash transfers to households, resulting in an immediate increase of household disposable incomes.”

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Daniela Vincenti 08/08/201620:04

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Daniela Vincenti 09/08/201607:27

Daniela Vincenti 09/08/201615:20

Roderick Abbott, a former EU ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, told the Guardian that the UK might conclude a trade deal with Brussels in 24 months – a faster timetable than estimated by some European leaders, who have warned of talks stretching on for five years or more.

The UK could strike a trade deal with the EU within two years but will struggle to win concessions on free movement of labour, according to one of Britain’s most experienced trade negotiators.

“The EU is in my judgment not going to yield on the free movement of people, which matters very much to some of the newer member states.”

Daniela Vincenti 10/08/201607:09

Norway may block UK return to European Free Trade Association Norway could block any UK attempt to rejoin the European Free Trade Association, the small club of nations that has access to the European single market without being part of the EU. Senior Norwegian government members are to hold talks with David Davis, the Brexit minister, in the next few weeks.

Norway’s European affairs minister, Elisabeth Vik Aspaker, reflecting a growing debate in the country following the Brexit vote in the UK, told the Aftenposten newspaper: “It’s not certain that it would be a good idea to let a big country into this organisation. It would shift the balance, which is not necessarily in Norway’s interests.”

She also confirmed that the UK could only join if there were unanimous agreement, thereby providing Norway with a veto. Aspaker said she did not know the UK’s plans.

Daniela Vincenti 10/08/201607:11

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Daniela Vincenti 15/08/201604:26

UK vows to match EU funds, farm subsidies after Brexit

The British government pledged Saturday to match European Union funding for farmers, universities and infrastructure projects following Brexit, as it sought to allay fears over key sectors.

The commitment, intended to address uncertainty arising from the June 23 vote to quit the bloc, could cost £4.5 billion (5.2 billion euros) a year, finance minister Philip Hammond said.

The vow applies to agricultural funds until 2020, structural and investment projects signed before the government’s budget update this autumn, and university bids won under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Daniela Vincenti 15/08/201604:26

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Daniela Vincenti 22/08/201607:33

London mayor slams Corbyn

Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan delivered a blow on Sunday (20 August) by declaring his support for MP Owen Smith to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Britain’s Labour party.

“Jeremy’s personal ratings are the worst of any opposition leader on record and the Labour party is suffering badly as a result,” Khan wrote in the Observer, the Sunday version of the centre-left Guardian newspaper.

“Jeremy has already proved that he is unable to organise an effective team and has failed to win the trust and respect of the British people,” he added.

Smith appears to be targeting pacifist Corbyn’s grassroots base, causing controversy by calling for the British government to “get round the table” with the Islamic State group.

Daniela Vincenti 22/08/201607:34

Voting begins in bitter Labour leader contest in UK

Voting will begin Monday (22 August) to decide if veteran leftist Jeremy Corbyn will remain leader of Britain’s Labour party, with an ill-tempered campaign deepening divisions that threaten the party’s future.

Ballots and online voting forms were due to be sent to party members, who will have until September 21 to decide whether to replace Corbyn with MP Owen Smith, previously little know outside Westminster.

The 46-year-old triggered the election by declaring his candidacy last month, warning that Corbyn’s leadership was making the possibility of a split in the party “dangerously real”.

Smith, a former member of Corbyn’s top team, is also targeting voters to the left of the party, promising a “socialist revolution”.

“Not some misty-eyed, romantic notion of a revolution where we are going to overthrow capitalism and return to a socialist nirvana… but a cold-eyed, practical socialist revolution where we build a better Britain,” he said last month.

Corbyn, 67, is favourite to stay as leader, retaining the support of most trade unions and many who signed up last year to propel him to a shock win in the leadership election called following the party’s thrashing in the general election.

But he has failed to win over many of the party’s MPs, 80 percent of whom backed a recent vote of no-confidence in their leader.

Matthew Tempest 25/08/201612:16

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Samuel Morgan 29/08/201616:11

Our partner Wirtschaftswoche reports on Japanese fears about the EU’s planned FTA in the wake of Brexit.

Matthew Tempest 30/08/201607:50

Samuel Morgan 30/08/201617:10

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Samuel Morgan 31/08/201609:52

Daniela Vincenti 31/08/201610:59

Divisions emerge as Whitehall draws up Brexit scenarios

The Guardian reports: Civil servants have been asked to assess the impact of a wide range of Brexit scenarios, from full membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) to a system under which some Europeans would need visas just to holiday in Britain. Theresa May gathers her cabinet at Chequers on Wednesday with Brexit at the top of the agenda, and the scenarios exercise has already started to expose potential divisions in government.

Samuel Morgan 31/08/201617:27

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Samuel Morgan 01/09/201612:43

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Samuel Morgan 01/09/201613:48

Samuel Morgan 01/09/201613:54

Snappily named Exiting the EU Department launches its equally catchy twitter handle, @DExEUgov

Samuel Morgan 02/09/201609:28

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Samuel White 02/09/201616:10

Reuters reports

At a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Bratislava on Friday (2 September), UK Minister of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson said, “The British government, under Theresa May, is absolutely committed to participation in European foreign policy cooperation and European defence and security co-operation.”

EU’s foreign ministers are discussing the bloc’s strained ties with Turkey, and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, where the so-called Minsk peace accord for the east of the country has stalled.

“The events in Ukraine are still very worrying, and it’s important I think that we continue to keep pressure up on Russia and we see progress based on the Minsk Agreement,” Johnson said.

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Samuel Morgan 08/09/201611:06

MEPs to grill new UK Commissioner late into the night

Sir Julian King, most likely the UK’s last European Commissioner, will be questioned by MEPs in Strasbourg next Monday (12 September). The meeting starts at 7pm and three hours has been allotted for it in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties’ draft agenda.

King, replacing Jonathan Hill, has been provisionally given the security portfolio by Jean-Claude Juncker, but the European Parliament has to first approve his appointment.

Samuel Morgan 08/09/201611:37

Commission Vice-President says Brexit will hit City hard

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said in a newspaper interview published today that if the UK decided to leave the European internal market, it would hit the City of London hard.

“If (the British government) decides to leave the European internal market as well as the European Union, it would have serious effects for the City of London,” he told German newspaper Handelsblatt.

“At the moment, British banks only need a licence for one EU state to be able to be active in all member countries. The banks would lose this EU passport if Britain no longer wants to completely respect the rights and duties of the European internal market after it has left the EU,” Lithuania’s Commissioner said.

Samuel Morgan 08/09/201611:38

Barnier is back…

Samuel Morgan 08/09/201614:52

More on that news that Tusk wants May to hurry up with activating Article 50, by @MattTempest

Samuel Morgan 08/09/201616:40

Verhofstadt enters the fray

The Brexit negotiations just got a little bit more interesting with the European Parliament’s announcement it will be dispatching Guy Verhofstadt as its lead Brexit man.

Samuel Morgan 08/09/201616:41

Samuel Morgan 08/09/201617:01

More on the Verhofstadt story, by @JamesCrisp6

Samuel Morgan 09/09/201614:55

Of course, whether the UK will be in the EU to miss the 2020 targets is still a question on the tip of everyone’s tongue…

Samuel Morgan 12/09/201609:21

Samuel Morgan 12/09/201611:06

Post-Brexit attacks

UK Prime Minister Theresa May rang her Polish counterpart, Beata Szydło, Friday afternoon (9 September) in order to express her regret at the spate of attacks carried out against Polish nationals recently. May assured Szydło that hate crime has no place in British society.

Samuel Morgan 12/09/201611:44

Westminster urged to speed up decision-making

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has today urged the UK government to act quicker on big infrastructure projects in order to help the country’s economy ride out the slowdown caused by its decision to the leave the EU.

Acting BCC director Adam Marshall said that Westminster needs to finally make firm decisions on a new airport runway, new nuclear investment, and road and rail schemes.

However, Chancellor Philip Hammond said last week that big infrastructure projects would take too long to have an economic impact and, as such, would not feature in budget plans to be announced in November.

The chances of a Brexit-instigated recession have fallen in the past month, after economic data for August showed that consumer confidence had recovered slightly.

The BCC has estimated that business investment will fall by 2.2% this year and a further 3.4% in 2017. This contrasts heavily with its pre-Brexit forecasts of 4.5% and 7.4%, respectively.

Reporting by Reuters

Samuel Morgan 12/09/201615:55

Samuel Morgan 12/09/201616:10

Irish PM tells Westminster no cherry-picking

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has warned the UK government that it will not have access to the single market without allowing free movement of people.

Speaking to Irish radio, Kenny said that it “is an issue that will not be given in on” by the European Council and that it had been “very directly addressed” in talks with London.

Westminster’s Brexit chief, David Davis, has indicated that he wants a “unique” deal with the EU, which would reduce immigration while at the same time boosting trade.

Kenny said that the UK did not appear to have a clear position on what kind of split the country is actually trying to achieve.

Reporting by Reuters.

Samuel Morgan 12/09/201616:19

Cameron RESIGNS (again)

The UK’s former prime minister, David Cameron, has resigned as an MP.

Cameron, who resigned as prime minister following his failure to secure a remain vote in the country’s referendum on EU membership, will be stepping down as member of parliament for Witney with immediate effect.

He said that he did not want to be a “distraction or diversion” and that serving as a back bench MP would “not be possible” if Theresa May is to “do what is needed for our country”.

Cameron thanked his constituency in West Oxfordshire and said that he would now “start to build a life outside of Westminster”.

Samuel Morgan 12/09/201617:31

Samuel Morgan 13/09/201609:14

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Samuel Morgan 13/09/201609:15

The UK’s Commissioner-in-waiting, Sir Julian King, faced MEP questioning last night. Here are the main points from the Strasbourg meeting, by @JamesCrisp6

Samuel Morgan 13/09/201613:15

Verhofstadt wants UK gone by 2019

Guy Verhofstadt, the recently announced chief Brexit negotiator for the European Parliament, has indicated that the UK should have formally left the EU by 2019 and that the country should formally start divorce proceedings as soon as possible.

He echoed Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s view that the UK will only retain access to the single market if it accepts the “inseparable” principle of freedom of movement.

At a presser in Strasbourg ahead of the State of the Union address, the former prime minister of Belgium said “I cannot imagine that we start the next legislative cycle without agreement and that we enter a new cycle without agreement.”

The three main European institutions have now all unveiled their representatives to take part in the Brexit negotiators: the Parliament’s Verhofstadt will sit alongside the Commission’s Michel Barnier and the European Council’s Didier Seeuws across the table from the UK’s David Davis.

Reporting by AFP.

Samuel Morgan 13/09/201613:21

King endorsed by Parliament committee

A European Parliament committee endorsed Julian King on Tuesday as Britain’s new member of the European Commission with responsibility for security, the committee chairman said.

King’s confirmation in office would now go to party leaders and be put to a parliamentary vote on Thursday (15 September), Claude Moraes, chair of the civil liberties committee told reporters. Lawmakers expect him to be accepted by a clear majority.

King, a diplomat and former Commission staffer, had impressed the committee with his grasp on the security portfolio, Moraes said.

Samuel Morgan 13/09/201614:13

UK parliament must approve Article 50 decision

The House of Lords’ Select Committee on the Constitution has published its report on the invoking of Article 50, part of the EU treaty on formally leaving the bloc.

The report found that the parliament must assent and give approval to the decision to invoke Article 50.

The committee’s report also concluded that the UK parliament now has the responsibility of ensuring the government moves forward in negotiating the country’s withdrawal.

You can read the full report here.

Samuel Morgan 14/09/201609:04

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will deliver his State of the Union speech today in Strasbourg, where the issue of Brexit may or may not feature. Things are about to get underway, so be sure to check out our live coverage.

Samuel Morgan 14/09/201609:15

Jean-Claude Juncker has said in Strasbourg that the EU “respects, but regrets Brexit” and that “the EU is not at risk”. He also called on the UK to start the withdrawal process as soon as possible. He reiterated what he and other EU leaders have said over the past few months that there can be no à la carte access to the single market.

Samuel Morgan 14/09/201609:24

The Commission president has just made mention of Polish workers being “beaten up or even murdered in the streets of Essex”.

Samuel Morgan 14/09/201610:31

Speaking at the SOTEU, Guy Verhofstadt turns to Brexit. “Brexit is not a liability, it is an opportunity. Fair enough that UK government wants to make it a success. We have a responsibility to make it a success for Europe, the citizens of Europe. Brexit is not a matter of punishment or revenge. It is in my opinion, a question of the sound relationship between the UK and Europe. On both sides of the channel, let’s put an end to our collective depression.”

Samuel Morgan 14/09/201611:43

Richard Corbett, speaking at the tail-end of the meeting in Strasbourg, criticises the UK government for not thinking Brexit through.

Samuel Morgan 14/09/201611:48

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Samuel Morgan 15/09/201609:17

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Samuel Morgan 15/09/201609:19

Significant news that the Commission has brought in another negotiator to join the already-announced Michel Barnier.

Samuel Morgan 15/09/201611:22

Samuel Morgan 15/09/201612:16

The UK’s new and probably last Commissioner, Julian King, has been endorsed by the European Parliament… Just about

Samuel Morgan 15/09/201613:56

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