The EU doesn’t want to punish Britain over Brexit, Donald Tusk insisted, as “ Brexit in itself is already punitive enough”. British negotiators will be raising a collective eyebrow then given the opening demands from the the European Council president. Parallel talks on exit and future relations “will not happen”, he said, and Britain would be banned from cutting taxes or red tape as part of any trade deal that is agreed.
There is a lot in the EU’s list of demands that will annoy British officials, as Peter Foster writes about five ways it will try to shaft Britain over the process. They have been blindsided, we report, by the extra demand for Spain to get an effective veto over the future of Gibraltar. “One really wonders why the EU has thought it sensible to put in something that’s a bi-lateral issue between Spain and the UK,” one remarked.
In the meantime, Nicola Sturgeon has formally demanded a second vote on Scottish independence from Theresa May. Tom Harris has written his own mischievous version of her letter here. The First Minister may be feeling confident after winning a vote in Holyrood on the right to request a second vote, but she signalled a softening in tone, announcing that she will “ work on the basis of your stated timetable” on Brexit. If that means Scotland will be less of a problem during the Brexit negotiations, Mrs May will be grateful.
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