Turning to Ireland, he says the EU and the UK have reached an agreement on the common travel area.
They are looking at north/south cooperation. There is more work to do, he says.
This is necessary to identify solutions.
He says they agreed that the six principles agreed by the EU in September would guide its intentions.
Barnier says the EU and the UK share the same objectives: protecting rights of EU citizens, safeguarding the peace process in Northern Ireland and getting a financial settlement.
The EU wants to achieve these objectives.
So, how far have we got, he asks.
On citizens’ rights, he says there are two common aims: ensuring the withdrawal agreement has direct effect, and ensuring the interpretation of these rights is “consistent” between the EU and the UK.
Both sides are working on this, he says. It would involve the European court of justice.
There are still divisions about family reunification and the export of benefits.
Any EU citizen in the UK should be able to bring his parents to where he is living. And he should be able to return to the EU with his pension, under the same conditions as British citizens living in the EU.
And the UK has told us that it intends to introduce a simplified procedure to allow citizens to enforce their right. The EU will look at this. But it must be simple, he says.
The press conference is now starting.
“Here we are again,” says Michel Barnier.
He switches to French.
He says Theresa May’s speech gave momentum to the process.
This week they have clarified some points, without making great progress.
This is from Sky’s Mark Stone, who is waiting for the Davis/Barnier press conference to start.
Mark Stone (@Stone_SkyNews)
Bitter divisions between Philip Hammond and Tory Brexiteers are down to “temperament”, a Leave- supporting aide to the chancellor has said. As the Press Association reports, Kwasi Kwarteng insisted his boss is “clear-eyed” and has a “very realistic view” of the Brexit negotiations after attacks on Hammond were ramped up when he refused to spend cash preparing for Britain to quit the European Union without a deal. The Tory MP also dismissed claims that the chancellor is at odds with Theresa May after the Prime Minister struck a different tone on Britain’s readiness to walk away from talks with Brussels. The PA story goes on:
Kwarteng, a parliamentary private secretary to Hammond, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He had a very clear statement, he’s got a complete mastery of his brief, he knows the detail inside out, he’s very clear-eyed about the possibilities and also some of, not the dangers, but the challenges we face.
“Now I think what he said was that we would have all necessary funding in the case of no deal and the prime minister herself has said that where money needs to be spent it will be spent.
“So, I don’t see much of a contradiction actually.”
Kwarteng conceded there were “slight differences of opinion” between Remain-supporting Hammond and those who backed Brexit.
“I think the chancellor’s position has always been clear,” he said. “There’s no question that there are slight differences of opinion but what he’s trying to do is get the best deal for Britain.”
Pressed on the criticism discussed among his Leave-supporting friends, Kwarteng said “there are a lot of passions on this”.
Asked if he ever told the chancellor to cheer up, he replied: “A lot of it is an issue of temperament. He is someone who is very clear-eyed, he has a very clear view intellectually of where we are.
“He is not going to exaggerate possibilities or diminish some of the challenges.
“Temperamentally he has got a very realistic view of where we are and he’s got the intellectual honesty to describe what he sees and I think that’s the best we can expect.”
David Davis and Michel Barnier hold press conference
Barnier says “no deal” Brexit would take UK’s relationship with EU back 40 years
The Scottish parliament has published minutes of a meeting its culture, tourism, Europe and external relations committee had with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, on 11 September. Mike Russell, the Scottish government’s Brexit minister, has tweeted the link.
Michael Russell (@Feorlean)
Here’s an extract.
Mr Barnier explained that it was not a typical negotiation as usually a no deal scenario would imply retaining the status quo whereas in this case, a no deal scenario would mean the UK becoming a third country without a deal with the EU. A no deal scenario would have very serious consequences for the UK and the EU, and would mean the relationship between the EU and the UK going back forty years.
- Barnier says “no deal” Brexit would take UK’s relationship with EU back 40 years.
Another leading pro-Brexit Tory, Sir Edward Leigh, seems to be taking a swipe at Philip Hammond this morning. He has just posted this on Twitter.
Sir Edward Leigh MP (@EdwardLeighMP)
We want a good, generous, and mutually beneficial deal. But being prepared for no deal might make getting a good deal more likely.
Commons international trade questions – Summary
Here are the main lines from international trade questions in the Commons.
- Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, has defended Philip Hammond, the chancellor, over claims the Treasury is objecting to spending money preparing for a “no deal” Brexit. Hammond has infuriated Tory Brexiters, and today the Daily Mail has published a blistering editorial saying he should be silenced or sacked. (See 9.51am.) When asked about this, Fox said:
There is no difference between the chancellor and myself. The chancellor says that we need to spend money only as necessary. I think that’s correct. But we also need to be sure that we spend money on all areas where contingency plans are necessary.
Fox also said that his department had a “unique agreement” with the Treasury and that he had been told it would pay for him to increase staffing levels it it needed to because of Brexit.
- Mark Garnier, an international trade minister, has said that Brexit has not harmed investment and that he and other pro-remain supporters were wrong about this before the referendum. He said:
Since the Brexit vote we are seeing a huge number of investment projects coming into the UK that are creating new jobs. Doom-mongers like myself who during the referendum were part of the Project Fear campaign have been proved wrong. I think it is important that we stand up and say so far we have not got this right and that is incredibly good news for both Britain and our individual constituencies.
Garnier did not sound as if he intended his words as a rebuke to Hammond, but they contradict what Hammond told MPs yesterday. Hammond told the Treasury committee:
While the UK’s economy is fundamentally strong and in good shape, we are being affected by uncertainty around the negotiation process that we are engaged in.
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that businesses and consumers are waiting to see what the outcome is, or what the direction of travel is, before firming up investment decisions and consumption decisions.
- A Conservative MP, Philip Hollobone, has implicitly criticised Hammond for being too gloomy about Brexit. In a question to Garnier clearly alluding to the chancellor, he said:
Given that this country voted to leave the European Union, isn’t it the duty of every member of this House to talk up the British economy and the chances of British manufacturing exploiting the new opportunities that will be presented to it around the world.
On Twitter John Redwood, another Tory Brexiter, made a similar point this morning.
John Redwood (@johnredwood)
The Treasury has a dreadful record on Brexit. It backed the losing side & made very wrong forecasts for 2016-17. It still exudes pessimism.
John Redwood (@johnredwood)
The Chancellor must get the Treasury to have more realistic, optimistic forecasts & to find the money for a successful economy post Brexit.
Responding to Hollobone, Garnier said that he was an “unashamed patriot” and that it was “the duty of everybody in this House” to support businesses that export, although he seemed to be talking in general terms, and not with an anti-Hammond twist.
Clearly [Gardiner] doesn’t a) what a process is and b) what a negotiation is. It is quite clear that the very first offer we make is not the final thing that we expect to be accepted because, for example, we have no agreement yet with what will happen with unused quota, or what will happen with AMS [aggregate measurement of support], and these are issues to be dealt with in a negotiation.
Liam Fox Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Peter Bone, a Conservative, asks Liam Fox if he will publish his plans for a “no deal” Brexit before Christmas.
Fox says his department is making plans for this scenario. But the government hopes it will get a deal, he says.
And that’s international trade questions over. I will post a summary soon.
Labour’s Kerry McCarthy was one of the MPs who asked Fox about TRQs. (See 10.01am.) She has posted these about the response she got.
Kerry McCarthy (@KerryMP)
Liam Fox mansplains how Britain & EU have split tariff quotas – yes, I know! – but no answer as how he will get WTO and US to accept.
Kerry McCarthy (@KerryMP)
Neil Parrish also asks about farm quotas, eg NZ lamb. Liam Fox just repeats what we want. No acknowledgement other side might not agree!
Liam Fox says there is no difference between himself and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, on the need to spend money preparing for the possibility of a “no deal” Brexit. He says they both agree that money should only be spent when necessary.
MPs are now asking Liam Fox about the row about the UK/EU plans to carve up the EU’s tariff-rate quotas (TRQs). The US and other countries have objected to the plans. Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, says this contradicts Fox’s claim that these could be divided smoothly.
Fox says Gardiner does not understand how a negotiation works. He implies that the US and other countries are just making an opening bid, and that there will be an agreement in the end.
In the Commons the Conservative Brexiter Philip Hollobone has just asked Mark Garnier, the international trade secretary, if he agrees that it is the duty of all ministers to talk up the economy. Garnier said he agreed.
Hollobone seemed to be aiming his comment at the chancellor, Philip Hammond, who today is the subject of a remarkably critical editorial in the Daily Mail. Under the headline “A treacherous Chancellor and why Mrs May must get a grip”, it calls him “dismal, defeatist [and] relentlessly negative” and says that, if he does not stop talking Britain down, he should be replaced, possibly by Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Ross Kempsell (@rosskempsell)
Daily Mail editorial on Hammond: pic.twitter.com/M3v2VVjJgS
The Daily Mail also calls Hammond a “Jeremiah”. Bloomberg’s Robert Hutton says the Mail might not realise quite what this implies.
Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton)
The really important point about accusing someone of being a “Jeremiah”, as May knows even if the Mail doesn’t: *Jeremiah was RIGHT*. https://t.co/C3RbuwGDKb
Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton)
(Jeremiah foretold the destruction of Jerusalem for turning away from God. The authorities tried to kill him for Talking Idolatry Down.)
In an article for the Times’ Red Box (paywall) Liam Fox has written about the new board of trade he is launching today. He says:
The board will bring together leading figures from business and politics from all four nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will meet four times a year, rotating around the UK to guarantee businesses in every region have the chance to raise the issues that matter most to them.
The board’s members and advisers will have a clear objective. To make sure British companies can seize the opportunities that come with leaving the EU, and have the support they need to boost exports and become successful global companies.
Liam Fox takes international trade questions
Liam Fox, the international trade secretary who is about to take questions in the Commons, was due to appear on the Today programme this morning by cancelled last night citing a diary clash, Nick Robinson told the programme this morning.
That is a shame, because he might have been asked about this FT story (paywall) saying that when he took “27 officials to Washington to open trade talks with the US this year, the team had next to no experience negotiating trade deals”.
Mr Fox’s delegation in July was made up mostly of senior staff from the UK Department for International Trade and the Department for Exiting the EU. The London emissaries included some experienced civil servants, including career diplomats, but only a minority had worked in trade and none had directly carried out trade negotiations.
The UK’s relative lack of experienced negotiators can be explained in part because the European Commission has taken the lead in international trade negotiations since the 1970s. British officials, like their counterparts from other EU member states, have typically sat behind EU negotiators during trade talks …
By contrast, the 77-strong US working group in Washington was made up largely of seasoned negotiators …
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace, said the newly-released documents showed a “staggering” experience gap between the two sides.
“These are some of the most important negotiations Britain has engaged in since the war, but it seems the UK is as prepared as someone turning up for the Wimbledon final wielding a ping-pong bat,” he said.
When Theresa May formed her first cabinet, she appointed “three Brexiteers” to top jobs: Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary; David Davis, the Brexit secretary; and Liam Fox, the international trade secretary. Today, with even the most ardent Brexit advocates finding it hard to argue that the process is going exactly according to plan, we will be hearing in public from all three.
By far the most important intervention will probably come from Davis, who is holding his regular press conference with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, at the end of the latest round of Brexit talks. These press conferences amount a progress stocktake and reports coming out of Brussels suggest that today Davis and Barnier will find it particularly hard finding some positive news to announce. This is from Alex Barker’s report in the Financial Times (paywall), which says the talks are at a standstill.
Expectations were low for the final UK-EU negotiating round before a crucial summit next week, where EU27 leaders are almost certain to declare there has been insufficient progress to move from divorce to trade talks.
Negotiators were still surprised, however, at the lack of movement in any areas this week, most notably on the big outstanding questions over citizen rights. One official directly involved in the process said: “There was nothing, zero, no progress.”
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, takes questions in the Commons. Later he is hosting the government’s first board of trade meeting.
9.30am: NHS England publishes waiting time figures for September
Around 11am: David Davis, the Brexit secretary, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, hold a press conference at the end of the latest round of Brexit talks.
Around lunchtime: Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, visit a hospital in Liverpool. Hunt is also speaking at the Royal College of GP’s annual conference in the city, and will be promoting plans to offer new GPs £20,000 if they go to work in areas having difficulty attracting doctors.
3.45pm: Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, hold a press conference with their Polish counterparts, Witold Waszczykowksi and Antoni Macierewicz, after talks in the Foreign Office.
Today the government is also publishing its draft legislation for an energy price cap. It has already published a statement about its plans here (pdf). Here is the Guardian’s story.
As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary at lunchtime and another in the afternoon.
You can read all today’s Guardian politics stories here.
Here is the Politico Europe round-up of this morning’s political news from Jack Blanchard’s Playbook. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’ top 10 must reads.
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