U.K. BREXIT SECRETARY Dominic Raab: “The end is now firmly in sight” – BREXIT Deal By 21 November

RAAB BREXITBrexit deal in 21 days: End is in sight says Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab|MACER HALL, EXPRESS|AIWA! NO!|BRITAIN is expected to conclude a Brexit deal with the EU within the next three weeks, Theresa May’s chief negotiator has revealed. In a letter to MPs released last night, Dominic Raab predicted an agreement about the UK’s departure from the European bloc would be finalised before November 21.

Dominic Raab expects a Brexit deal within 21 days (Image: Getty)

“The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them,” the EU Brexit Secretary said.

His optimistic remarks raised hopes that the two sides are close to breaking the deadlock in the stalled Brussels talks. And the value of the pound strengthened after his remarks were reported.

But officials admitted many issues needed to be resolved and insisted ministers wanted to inject urgency into the talks after months of foot dragging by Brussels.

One Whitehall insider said: “There’s plenty of stuff still to do.”

Mr Raab’s indication of a possible date came in an October 24 letter to the Commons Exiting the EU Committee which was released last night. In the letter, Mr Raab said he expected to be in a position to give details about a possible deal by the November date.

“I would be happy to give evidence to the committee when a deal is finalised, and currently expect 21 November to be suitable,” he said.

Downing Street sought to dampen expectations of an imminent deal last night. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We want to get a deal as soon as possible and that is what we are working to complete.”

Mr Raab’s signal came as talks continued yesterday to find a breakthrough in the row over the future of the Northern Ireland border.

Civil servant Oliver Robbins, the Government’s chief EU envoy, was holding discussions with his EU counterpart Sabine Weyand in Brussels. European ambassadors expected to be updated on progress last night.

EU officials were understood to be expecting a decision to be taken within days on whether to hold a special EU summit this month to conclude a draft deal.

A Whitehall source close to Mr Raab said achieving a deal by November 21 was an “ambition” rather than a definite expectation, saying: “There has not been some tectonic shift in the last few days.”

In his letter, Mr Raab struck an optimistic note on the chances for a deal. He wrote: “Despite our differences, we are not far from an agreement on this issue.

“We agree on the principle of a UK-wide customs backstop. An agreement on the details of that backstop should be possible.

“Both sides agree that this backstop cannot provide for a permanent UK/EU relationship and are committed to a future relationship that works for the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland.

“We are open to talking about ways to achieve this and committed to continuing discussions in order to reach an agreement.

The end is now firmly in sight

Dominic Raab, Brexit Secretary

“The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them.

“We now need to acknowledge the progress that has been made and now work rapidly through the remaining issues and come to an agreement that works for both sides.”

In reply to Mr Raab’s letter, Labour MP and Exiting the EU Committee chairman Hilary Benn expressed disappointment at the Brexit Secretary’s failure to follow the pattern of regular appearances established by his predecessor David Davis. He also rejected Mr Raab’s proposal to update the committee by letter until the deal was agreed as “not sufficient or effective”.

He said: “You will know that this is not how committees undertake inquiries and is not conducive to scrutiny.”

With EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier meeting European Parliament officials “almost daily”, the Government was failing to live up to Mr Davis’s promise to match Mr Barnier for openness, Mr Benn said.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said a deal by November 21 was “possible” but required more movement from the UK.

“It is up to the British side in particular to intensify negotiations towards a deal,” he said.

In a series of exchanges with MPs in the Commons yesterday, Theresa May insisted the Government was dedicated to getting “a good deal” for the UK in the Brexit negotiations.

After the rally by the pound last night, Hamish Muress, a currency analyst at financial firm OFX, said: “No Halloween scares today. Instead we finally have a concrete date from Raab regarding a Brexit deal being finalised, and the pound has jumped in response.”

A Department for Exiting the EU spokesman said last night: “There is no set date for the negotiations to conclude.

“The 21st November was the date offered by the chair of the Select Committee for the Secretary of State to give evidence.”

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British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt: Brexit deal by Nov 21 entirely possible

Hunt: Brexit deal by Nov 21 entirely possibleImage result for brexit

|LONDON, Oct 31 (Reuters)|AIWA! NO!| – British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Wednesday it was entirely possible that there could be enough progress in Brexit talks for a deal with the European Union to be agreed by Nov. 21.

Brexit minister Dominic Raab said earlier in a letter to a lawmaker that he expected a deal to be finalised by Nov. 21, but his department said on Wednesday that there was no set date for EU negotiations to end.

“I think it is entirely possible that we could make enough progress by then,” Hunt said in response to a question about Raab’s letter following a speech at Policy Exchange in London, adding that outstanding issues could be resolved.

“I think that although there is a degree of doom and gloom about the Brexit talks at the moment, the fact that we have got to this stage… is broadly encouraging.”

 

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©(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by David Stamp)

‘No-deal’ Brexit would complicate driving, data and roaming, UK says

But if there really is a general realisation among the EU27 that a no-deal Brexit on March 29 is possible – 50/50 or even 60/40 – and that this would be very bad for everyone, then the suddenly-important Salzburg summit next Thursday might yield hope for Theresa May.

© Reuters. Pro-EU demonstrators protest outside parliament in Westminster London
© Reuters. Pro-EU demonstrators protest outside parliament in Westminster Londo
By Andy Bruce and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON (Reuters) – Leaving the European Union without a divorce deal could increase Britons’ mobile phone roaming charges, upset data sharing and force motorists to get an international licence to drive in Europe, the government said on Thursday.

Recent signals from Brussels have buoyed hopes that the United Kingdom and the EU can agree and approve a proper divorce agreement before the UK leaves on March 29, though the sides are still divided on about one fifth of the detail of a deal.

But many business chiefs and investors fear politics could scupper an agreement, thrusting the world’s fifth largest economy into a “no-deal” Brexit that they say would weaken the West, spook financial markets and silt up the arteries of trade.

Britain has stepped up planning for the effects of such a departure and on Thursday published 28 technical notices covering the impact on areas ranging from environmental standards to certification for manufacturers.2018-09-14 (4)

A “no-deal” Brexit, the government cautioned, would make life for UK citizens and businesses more complicated, more expensive and more bureaucratic.

British businesses, for example, would have to rush to ensure they could still receive personal data about European customers, while many manufacturers would need to have their exported products retested by EU safety regulators.

Brexit minister Dominic Raab said a no-deal Brexit was unlikely, but that the United Kingdom would manage the challenges and eventually flourish.

Still, the notices offer a glimpse of just how complicated the government believes the divorce could become after 46 years inside the European club.

The notices, often a few pages per sector, also covered the implications for space programmes, trading in drug precursors and reporting CO2 emissions for new cars.

“YET ANOTHER WAIT”

The British Chambers of Commerce welcomed the notices as providing more clarity but said businesses needed more precision from government in order to plan for a no-deal Brexit.

“Businesses now face the frustration of yet another wait for further answers,” BCC Director General Adam Marshall said.2018-09-14 (3).png

“Many companies tell us they are deeply concerned by the impression that key information they need in order to prepare for change is being held back due to political sensitivities.”

For the public, Thursday’s notices covered more mundane issues; the government said British drivers might need to obtain an international driving permit to drive in the EU.

And it said surcharge-free roaming for mobile users could no longer be guaranteed after a no-deal Brexit, meaning consumers could be hit with higher charges to make calls, send texts and use mobile data when travelling in the European Union.

At a ministerial meeting to discuss the preparations, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned that British house prices would fall by 35 percent over three years in the event of a chaotic no-deal Brexit, The Times newspaper reported.

Carney said he would not be able to cut interest rates in such a scenario whilst finance minister Philip Hammond warned that he would not be able to use tax cuts to boost the economy due to the hit to the public finances, the paper said.

The BOE declined to comment.

Both sides need a broad overall agreement to keep trade flowing between the world’s biggest trading bloc and the United Kingdom, home to one of the world’s top two financial capitals.

A senior EU diplomat told reporters that EU leaders will discuss next week whether to hold a special summit on Brexit in November to give extra time to negotiate the deal with Britain.

He also said, when asked, that the EU was continuing contingency preparations for the event there was no deal.

Raab said the government would pay “substantially” less than the roughly 39-billion pound ($51 billion) Brexit bill if there was no agreement but that getting a deal was “still by far and away the most likely outcome.”2018-09-14 (5).png

But Moody’s Investor Service said the probability of a “no-deal” had risen and such a scenario would damage the economy, especially the automotive, aerospace, airline and chemical sectors.

The other 27 members of the EU combined have about five times the economic might of Britain. They also have a strong incentive to deny the UK a deal so attractive it might encourage others to follow the British example.

DEAL OR NO DEAL?

As May tries to clinch a deal with Brussels, she is facing rebels in her Conservative Party who say they will vote down any deal that fails to deliver a sharp break with the EU.

Raab told BBC radio he did not believe May’s government would lose a vote in parliament on the deal.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said on Monday that a Brexit deal was possible “within six or eight weeks” if negotiators were realistic in their demands.

Last month, the government published 25 technical papers out of a total of more than 80, which detailed how tariffs, financial services, state aid and pharmaceuticals would operate if Britain departs without a divorce deal.

Ever since the shock 2016 Brexit vote, major companies have been planning for Brexit, but chief executives say the scale of disruption from a disorderly Brexit is such that it is hard to prepare for.

Profit at Britain’s biggest department stores group, John Lewis Partnership, was wiped out in the first half as it was forced to match discounting by its struggling rivals on a fiercely competitive high street.

“With the level of uncertainty facing consumers and the economy, in part due to ongoing Brexit negotiations, forecasting is particularly difficult,” John Lewis said.

Brexiteers accept there is likely to be some short-term economic pain but say Britain will thrive in the longer term if cut loose from what they see as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity and excessive debt-funded welfare spending.

Opponents of Brexit fear that leaving the bloc will weaken what remains of Britain’s global influence, further undermine its reputation as a haven for investment and hurt the economy for years to come.

Exchange Rate ($1 = 0.7629 pounds)