European leaders were divided last night before a critical meeting that will determine the future of Theresa May’s Brexit plans. Some EU countries are pressing for the leaders to engage with British proposals, which they see as a “positive” step towards reaching a deal, [but are] being challenged by the European Commission and the leaders of France and Germany, who are said to be unwilling to make the concessions demanded by the British. - The Times.
Donald Trump has intensified his trade war with China by imposing new import tariffs of $200bn on Chinese goods arriving in the US from next week. The US president announced the tariffs in a statement, saying: “If China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267bn of additional imports. ” - Guardian .
President Trump is expected to announce tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports as early as today in the latest front of America’s assault on global trade. He was reported over the weekend to have instructed his officials to hit about 1,000 Chinese goods with import duties of 10 per cent, from refrigerators to electrical components, circuit boards, furniture and toys, which are likely to drive up prices for US consumers. - The Times.
Michael Gove has tried to persuade Brexiteers to back the Chequers plan by stressing that the deal can be renegotiated once the UK has left the European Union. The Environment Secretary said that whilst Chequers is “the right deal for now”, a future prime minister would have the power to “alter the relationship” and elements of the agreement. - Sunday Telegraph.
The Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive has been accused of withholding information from MPs investigating the bank’s mistreatment of small businesses. In a frosty exchange with Nicky Morgan, the Treasury committee chair, Ross McEwan rejected the suggestion that he had misled MPs at an evidence session into heavily criticised practices at the lender’s Global Restructuring Group. – Guardian.
Theresa May’s Brexit plans have been dealt a blow after the Democratic Unionist Party backed a rival plan drawn up by Tory rebels to allow the UK to leave the EU's single market and customs union without a hard border in Ireland. The European Research Group published a paper calling for equivalence of UK and EU regulations and conformity assessment for all agricultural goods on the island of Ireland. - Telegraph .
Tesco will unveil its new discount chain Jack’s next week as the UK’s biggest supermarket throws down the gauntlet to the German discounters Aldi and Lidl. The first of the stores, named after the Tesco founder, Jack Cohen, will be unveiled by the supermarket’s chief executive, Dave Lewis, in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, on Wednesday. – Guardian.
Downing Street is refusing to consider proposals to have EU officials stationed at British ports serving Ireland, intended as part of a solution to the problem of the Irish border after Brexit. The compromise plan, which is under consideration by Ireland and Brussels, is aimed at “de-dramatising” the Irish border issue, and reflects the fact that many goods enter Northern Ireland via Dublin, and not Belfast or the two other main ports in the region. - Guardian.
European leaders are expected to agree to modify the EU’s formal Brexit negotiating mandate in a move that acknowledges Theresa May’s Chequers compromises. The heads of the 27 member states will discuss updating their guidelines in Salzburg next week in an attempt to provide impetus to the talks. - The Times.
Philip Hammond has warned that the government would have to refocus its priorities if the Brexit negotiations resulted in no deal, as details emerged of a Whitehall contingency plan codenamed Operation Yellowhammer. After Treasury minister John Glen was photographed in Downing Street with a briefing document about planning for no deal, Hammond hinted other areas of public spending would have to take a hit if the UK crashed out next March without an agreement in place.
The British economy is losing almost £900m a year from the rapid rise in personal debt problems, according to a report from the Whitehall spending watchdog. The National Audit Office (NAO) said reduced levels of worker efficiency, people staying away from work and greater chances of people in debt committing crime, meant there was a wider cost of £897m annually to the overall economy. – Guardian.
A radical overhaul of Britain’s economy as far-reaching as Labour’s post-war reforms and the Thatcherite revolution in the 1980s is needed to address the UK’s chronic failure to raise the standard of living of millions of workers since the 2008 financial crash, according to a major report. In a damning verdict on the state of the UK economy, the IPPR commission on economic justice, which includes the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, senior business leaders and economists, found that the UK is being held back by a business culture dominated by decades of short-term profit taking, weak levels of investment and low wages.
Brexit could drive up energy bills, power companies have said, because trade barriers threaten to increase the cost of importing gas and electricity across the Channel. EDF and Engie of France and the UK’s energy industry body urged politicians to avoid imposing tariffs or barriers on energy trading across borders. In a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, and UK prime minister Theresa May, they said imposing costs on the use of interconnectors – electricity and gas cables between the UK and its European neighbours – would hit consumers and set back the battle against global warming.
Boris Johnson has used his first newspaper column of the new parliamentary term to attack Theresa May’s Chequers plan, saying it means the UK enters Brexit negotiations with a “white flag fluttering”. The declaration amounts to a significant escalation of the former foreign secretary’s guerrilla campaign against the prime minister and her Chequers plan a day before the Commons returns and at a time when party disquiet over the direction of the divorce talks is mounting.
WPP will name company insider Mark Read as its new chief executive next week after the world’s largest advertising group decided against an external hire to replace its founder, Sir Martin Sorrell. Read has been running WPP on an interim basis since Sorrell resigned in controversial and acrimonious circumstances in April. Read is a WPP veteran whose time at the group includes 10 years on the board, and had been tipped as the favourite internal candidate for the job.
A dramatic rise in land values pushed Britain’s wealth to a fresh high of more than £10tn last year, highlighting the huge gains made by developers in property hotspots across the UK. From London and the home counties to Cambridge and popular parts of Devon and Cornwall, land values have become the single largest element of wealth, dwarfing household wealth locked up in property and financial savings. Official figures showed that the UK’s net worth rose by £492bn between 2016 and 2017 to £10.
The health secretary’s plan to set aside six weeks’ worth of vital medicines to avoid supply disruptions in the event of a no-deal Brexit could cost up to £2bn, campaign group Best for Britain warns today. Matt Hancock wrote to healthcare providers last week, saying the government would set in motion plans to “ensure the UK has an additional six weeks’ supply of medicines in case imports from the EU through certain routes are affected”. Data collated by thinktank the King’s Fund earlier this year suggested the total drugs bill for the NHS in 2016-17 was £17.
Theresa May claimed that a no-deal Brexit “wouldn’t be the end of the world” as she sought to downplay a controversial warning made by Philip Hammond last week that it would cost £80bn in extra borrowing and inhibit long-term economic growth. The prime minister conceded that crashing out of the European Union without a deal “wouldn’t be a walk in the park” but went on to argue that the UK could make an economic success of the unprecedented situation if it proved impossible to negotiate a satisfactory divorce.
Theresa May is to hold a cabinet crisis summit to prepare for a no-deal Brexit amid fears that a cabinet row between remainers and Brexiteers will stop Britain going it alone, and undermine her negotiating position with Brussels.
Australia will have a new prime minister in Scott Morrison – the socially conservative architect of Australia’s hardline anti-asylum seeker policies – after he mounted a late challenge during a drawn-out struggle for power in the governing Liberal party. On Friday, incumbent Malcolm Turnbull failed in his attempt to stare down a challenge from hard right MP Peter Dutton, with insurgents in his party gathering enough signatures to call for a “spill” of the leadership.