The Brexit talks are at a delicate stage, with European leaders set to allow Michel Barnier next week to start “ internal preparatory discussions” on Britain’s transition and future trading relationship. These conversations won’t be happening with Britain, but solely between EU officials. Britain would only be brought into the room in December – potentially when “sufficient progress” has been achieved on issues like Ireland, citizens’ rights and the Brexit bill.
Jean-Claude Juncker has sounded off about Britain’s reluctance to pay the bill, saying during a debate at a university in his native Luxembourg that “if you are sitting at a bar and ordering 28 beers and then suddenly some of your colleagues are leaving, it’s ok but they have to pay, they have to pay”. Brexiteers may well respond that they should be excused if they have been paying for several rounds and they decide to leave the pub, rather than join the group in their plans to go to a dodgy federalist nightclub.
The Treasury has been steadfast in face of the EU’s demands to cough up, despite the flak its boss Philip Hammond gets from Brexiteers. The Chancellor has been urged by arch-Leaver Jacob Rees-Mogg to “rise” to the challenge of Brexit. If he fails to do so, Fraser Nelson suggests in today’s paper that Theresa May should find someone else who can. “We hear the most calm and coherent voices coming from outside the Cabinet: Kwasi Kwarteng yesterday joining Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dominic Raab in trying to make sense of the madness,” he writes. “If the Prime Minister can’t, someone else must.”
The Chancellor has since given an interview to Sky News in which he called the EU the ” enemy“. You might assume he was trying to reassure Brexiteers that he knew it wasn’t his job to make Britain accept whatever the EU were proposing, but he has muddied the waters by swiftly apologising for his ” poor choice of words“, writing on Twitter that there are #noenemieshere. By u-turning so soon, Mr Hammond risks leaving no-one happy with his intervention.
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