The Press Room

What are people saying about Brexit? Here we collect news and commentary from the media, both in the UK and further afield.

17 November 2017

Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney, meeting with Boris Johnson in Dublin, has reiterated that “We all want to move on to phase two of the Brexit negotiations but we are not in a place right now that allows us to do that. We also have very serious issues in phase one, particularly around the border and the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process that need more clarity”. Mr Johnson said that questions about the border were “bound up with the questions of the customs union, the single market and Britain’s relationship with those” and that they should thus be discussed in stage two of the negotiations. The two men also disagreed on the length for any post-Brexit transition period, with Mr Coveney saying that “the appropriate timetable is closer to four or five years than it is to two.” (The Irish News) Meanwhile, ahead of an EU meeting in Gothenburg, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar reportedly insisted to Theresa May that there must be a firm commitment on the Irish border from the UK before stage two can begin, telling journalists that “What we want to take off the table before we even talk about trade is any idea that there would be a hard Border, a physical Border or a Border resembling the past.” (RTE, The Irish Times)

David Davis, the UK’s Brexit secretary, has also been abroad, in Berlin, where his message was that the UK is “much closer than Canada, much bigger than Norway,” and should therefore qualify for an unprecedented trade deal covering “goods, agriculture and services, including financial services.” (Politico) He warned that “putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice.” As many of his audience feel the UK is doing just that, it may not be surprising that he was “met with derision and disbelief.” (The Telegraph) This morning he appeared to be blaming France and Germany for the lack of progress in the Brexit talks. (The Guardian)

In (many) other headlines –

Britain prepares case to cut Brexit divorce bill (Financial Times)
By winning every argument, the cost in theory could come down to net €32bn

We’ll Wait for UK’s Brexit Concessions, EU Leaders Tell May (Bloomberg)
European Union leaders say they will wait for Theresa May to deliver further Brexit concessions and guarantees, putting into doubt whether talks will advance to the future trade relationship in December

EU budget wars heat up as Brexit reality starts to hit home (The Telegraph)
Brussels has begun to circulate the first confidential papers on how to plug the gaping hole in EU finances after Brexit, provoking serious alarm in regions and poorer countries across the bloc

Barnier’s Brexit timeline: No transition deal until October 2018 (Politico)
The timetable will alarm businesses who are keen for post-Brexit clarity as soon as possible

Jean-Claude Piris: Britain is deluding itself over single market access (Financial Times)
The best it can hope for is a post-Brexit free-trade deal like Canada’s

May prepares climbdown on Brexit leaving date (The Times)
Theresa May’s pledge to enshrine “Brexit day” in law appeared to be unravelling last night after a minister signalled that it could be ditched in the face of a Conservative revolt

British politics is being profoundly reshaped by populism (The Economist)
Britain ought to have been immune to populism. Instead it is becoming an unlikely victim

Lawyers take on the hacks in Tory Brexit battle (Politico)
‘Many of us have decided we are not going to allow the Conservative Party to be consumed by hard Brexiteers’

Holyrood calls for consent amendment in EU withdrawal bill (The Scotsman)
The EU Withdrawal Bill should be amended so that UK ministers cannot legislate in devolved areas without the consent of the Scottish Government, MSPs have said

Labour would not set aside cash for ‘no deal’ Brexit, says John McDonnell (Independent)
Labour has sought to distance themselves from the Government over Brexit by refusing to set money aside to prepare for leaving the European Union without a deal

The plot to stop Brexit (New Statesman)
How Remainers of all parties are planning to keep the UK in the EU – and why they believe they will win

Goldman Sachs chief calls for second EU referendum (Politics Home)
Lloyd Blankfein has suggested Britain hold another referendum on whether to quit the European Union

Why Brexit Britain needs to upskill its workforce (Financial Times)
‘If the UK wants to avoid economic decline, it will need to train far more of its own’

Business frets over Brexit migration rules as much as trade deal (Financial Times)
CBI says substantial new barriers to free movement likely to damage economy

Dig for victory? (Centre for European Reform)
A UK trade deal with the US will create more problems for British agriculture and food consumers than it would solve

Brexit forces UK tech workers to decide: Should I stay or should I go? (Politico)
How five entrepreneurs have dealt with political disruption

UK Government Toils Away on 313 Separate Brexit Programs (Bloomberg)
Public spending watchdog reports on scale of Brexit work

UK trade options beyond 2019: Government Response published (Commons International Trade Committee)
“On both WTO schedules and grandfathering, the Government tells us only that it has begun discussions. There is no evidence that there are workable plans to deal with the problems and pitfalls to which we drew attention back in March”

Young’s ‘concerned’ about Brexit impact on pub industry (Financial Times)
While recent trading has been “strong”, it is “concerned” about how Brexit talks will impact the pub industry, particularly operators’ ability to attract and retain staff

Huntsman CEO Warns of UK Exit If Brexit Uncertainty Persists (Bloomberg)
“I can do basically the same thing in Louisiana, so why put up with all the mess?”

Fight! It’s the EU agency free-for-all (Politico)
Political prizes trump everything as the vote for the future homes of the European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority approaches

Britain got its way in the EU when it mattered – I know, I was there (The Guardian)
The UK has led Europe in a remarkable way and has rarely failed to gain its major objectives

Even as the Brexit clock ticks, many choices remain open (The Economist)
Both sides in the negotiations have been inflexible. The truth is that plenty of options are still on the table

A bruising Brexit could shipwreck the British economy (Financial Times)
It is absurd to suggest that the UK could withstand the shock of worse market access

16 November 2017

Jam tomorrow? There are fresh concerns about “huge truck backlogs on day one of Brexit”, as Bloomberg puts it. The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has published its report on customs operations, concluding that “a transition period is essential so that businesses can plan for the new border regime, for ports and private sector freight operators to invest in new systems in the UK and Europe, and for public sector organisations including HMRC, Border Force and regulatory bodies to design, invest in and implement new systems. Much more urgency is also required from the Government to prepare for the consequences of a no deal scenario, or a ‘no deal, no transition’ scenario, and the associated costs.” And the government has reportedly been obliged to drop plans for a new lorry park in Kent. (Bloomberg,, BBC)

The ‘mutineers’ row continues, with threatening tweeters being reported to the police, the government apparently distancing itself from the term, the so-called mutineers writing in the Telegraph – the paper responsible for the initial headline – that a statutory Brexit date risks “harming our country’s interests”, and the size of the group reportedly increasing.  (The Guardian, Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Times, Evening Standard)

In other headlines –

Barnier dashes Britain’s trade hopes (Politico)
London’s insistence on leaving single market and customs union makes basic free trade deal the only option, according to EU Brexit negotiator

Merkel ally raises hopes of breakthrough in Brexit talks (Financial Times)
MEP Manfred Weber says after talks with Theresa May that he is ‘more optimistic’

Merkel Wary of Pushing May Too Far in Brexit Talks (Bloomberg)
Chancellery officials in Berlin see a risk that excessive European Union pressure over the Brexit divorce bill could weaken May at home

European Parliament cancels on Theresa May (Politico)
Senior MEPs don’t want to stay in Brussels on a Friday to meet with the British prime minister

Need for Brexit transition seen in UK and Europe – Carney (Reuters)
Carney told ITV that the BoE would “do whatever we can to support the economy during the transition, whatever form of deal is struck, whether there is no deal or a very comprehensive deal.”

Brexit Means No Set Direction for BOE Rate, Broadbent Says (Bloomberg)
The impact of Brexit on the path of UK interest rates is far from certain, and its implications could prompt policy makers to move in either direction

ECB criticises banks’ relocation plans after Brexit (The Guardian)
Central bank warns against setting up ‘empty shell’ operations in euro area without adequate staff

LSE Group lobbies for US support in Brexit clearing battle (Reuters)
The London Stock Exchange Group is lobbying to win American political support in its battle with Europe to preserve London as a global financial centre after Brexit

JPMorgan calls for UK-EU financial services free trade deal post-Brexit (Financial Times)
A bespoke agreement would be better in the long-term than the current EU system of “equivalence”, or trying to enhance that system

Border firms warn of ‘catastrophic’ impact of Brexit (The Irish Times)
Representatives of businesses facing ruin over the UK’s exit from the EU visit Dublin

Rolls Royce warns Brexit will cause supply chain kinks (Reuters)
Rolls-Royce worries border checks after Britain leaves the European Union will disrupt its global supply chain and is looking at measures to offset the rise in national protectionism that it represents

How EU (Withdrawal) Bill could change course of Brexit (Politico)
British MPs could restrict the government’s ability to deliver its Brexit plan

Intelligence watchdog urged to look at Russian influence on Brexit vote (The Guardian)
As evidence mounts about thousands of ‘troll factories’ interfering in UK politics, PM says security committee set to re-form

Ruth Davidson left ‘fuming’ over Theresa May tweet suggesting Scotland is independent (PoliticsHome)
After meeting Nicola Sturgeon, the Prime Minister’s official Twitter posted a message which said the “UK and Scotland must continue to work together”.

German workers are avoiding posts in UK, industry lobby says (Financial Times)
Concern over post-Brexit status makes a move to Britain less attractive for expats

Formula E Will Leave Britain if No Brexit Deal, Says CEO (Reuters)
The London-based Formula E electric car racing series will leave Britain if Brexit goes ahead without a deal on tax and employment

Number of EU workers in UK rises by 112,000 since Brexit vote (The Guardian)
ONS data shows number of Polish nationals has fallen while number of Romanians and Bulgarians has increased

Brexit heartlands want someone else to pay (The Times)
From Grimsby to Cornwall, Leave areas are pleading for special treatment to soften the pain

Hundreds reject tech jobs after Brexit vote (Financial Times)
Start-ups say Britain’s reputation as a centre for innovation is being damaged

How the Netherlands is braced for ‘no deal’ (BBC)
The Netherlands could be one of the hardest-hit EU countries if the UK leaves the bloc without an agreement

Why the whole world feels the ‘Brussels effect’ (Financial Times)
Some international businesses adhere to EU regulation even in their operations outside Europe


15 November 2017

There are increasing suggestions from within the EU27 that Brexit talks will not move to the next stage in December. (Business Insider) According to Bloomberg: “The emerging view from European capitals on Brexit timing suggests companies will have no choice but to activate their contingency plans, making the potential economic hit in the UK a fait accompli whether there’s a deal or not.”

The Times and The Guardian have stories, from different sources, suggesting respectively that “Russian Twitter accounts posted more than 45,000 messages about Brexit in 48 hours during last year’s referendum in an apparently co-ordinated attempt to sow discord” and that “more than 400 fake Twitter accounts believed to be run from St Petersburg published posts about Brexit”.

In other news –

The Brexit mutineers: At least 15 Tory MPs rebel against leave date with threat to join forces with Labour (The Telegraph)
The group, which includes several former ministers, have informed senior party figures that they will join forces with Labour to block new measures that would enshrine the date of Brexit in law

Brexit secretary aims to reassure the City of London (Financial Times)
David Davis promises financial sector almost everything it asked for

Scotland-UK Brexit deal closer after ‘cordial’ talks at No 10 (The Guardian)
Nicola Sturgeon optimistic after meeting Theresa May, but warns there is ‘a long way to go’ – with significant concessions needed to win Holyrood support

Irish PM Says Threat to Veto Brexit Talks a ‘Big Mistake’ (Bloomberg)
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar gave his strongest signal yet that he’s not to prepared to use his veto over Brexit talks in the face of opposition from other European countries

May Brexit offer would hurt, cost EU citizens - EU parliament (Reuters)
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s offer of “settled status” for EU residents is flawed and will leave them with fewer rights after Brexit, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator said on Tuesday

Theresa May to meet MEPs on November 24 (Politico)
British PM to talk Brexit with senior MEPs

Rebel Tories claim they have the votes to defeat Theresa May over Brexit date (Financial Times)
Pro-EU MPs say tying UK in law to 11pm on March 29 2019 is ‘disastrous’ and ‘barmy’

Article 50 does allow Britain to negotiate a transitional period (LSE)
The UK could postpone the beginning of the withdrawal agreement until a later date – perhaps March 2021. This would give the government valuable time to implement Brexit

Honda UK warns MPs of consequences of leaving EU customs union (The Guardian)
Motor industry says threatened new tariffs could add £1,500 to price of an imported car, and make exports more expensive too

Aston Martin warns of car production halts if UK crashes out of EU (Financial Times)
No-deal Brexit would mean less choice and about £1,500 on price, car industry tells MPs

BofA Plans to Move About 200 Trading Staff to Paris, Frankfurt (Bloomberg)
Bank of America Corp will initially move about 200 sales and trading staff to Paris and Frankfurt as part of its Brexit plan

Paris battles to cash in from Brexit (The Guardian)
‘I think we can gain 10,000 jobs’

Cliff edge or bridging a gap? (The UK in a Changing Europe)
The language of Brexit keeps shifting

Bracing for the Brexit Cliff (Bloomberg)
Expect investors’ relaxed assumptions to face a reckoning in 2018

Brexit threatens UK’s reputation for scientific research, watchdog says (The Guardian)
Leadership is ‘sorely lacking’ in key areas such as robotics and climate change, parliament’s spending monitor warns

Brexiters pile pressure on UK chancellor ahead of the Budget (Financial Times)
Hammond’s caution adds to PM tensions as he resists calls for public spending rise

EU citizens who become British can still have non-EU spouses live with them, court rules (The Guardian)
European court says Home Office was wrong to deny permanent residency to Algerian husband of British-Spanish citizen

14 November 2017

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns to the House of Commons today. David Davis has announced that there will be a parliamentary vote on the final Brexit deal. This has been presented as a significant concession, but there is widespread scepticism about the value of what is being described as a ‘take it or leave it’ offer, with press reports that “Tory rebels are furious” and some speculation that the manoeuvre could backfire on the government. (The Telegraph, Prospect) There is an increasing sense, too, that the government’s desire to set a Brexit date in law may be working against it. (ITV News)

The prime minister met a delegation of EU business leaders yesterday. It is reported that they were “extremely concerned” at the lack of Brexit progress, but also that Mrs May believes the EU is ‘keeping her in the dark’ about what is required for progress. (PoliticsHome, The Times)

In other news –

Brexit and the Budget: Hammond pressed to go ‘big and bold’ (Financial Times)
The British government’s fragility, including its Brexit divisions and a slowing economy, is coming into sharp focus as the chancellor’s speech approaches

William Hague: Brussels has run up vast debts on our behalf. If we want Brexit to be a success, we must pay them (The Telegraph)
Nearly every negotiation comes to a crunch moment, following which it is highly likely to end in agreement or alternatively be doomed to failure

UK’s Brexit bill should be ‘at least €60 billion,’ says Tajani (Politico)
‘The problem is not us. The EU speaks with one voice,’ says European Parliament president

Brexit secretary David Davis ‘angry at interference by Michael Gove and Boris Johnson’ (The Times)
The secretary of state for exiting the European Union is understood to be deeply unimpressed by suggestions that cabinet colleagues are holding discussions about “getting on with” Brexit

Brexit Britain is at Europe’s mercy (Financial Times)
The likeliest outcome is that the EU imposes a deal on the UK

SNP threatens indyref2 if Scotland ignored on Brexit (The Scotsman)
The SNP ended a brief pause in Scotland’s constitutional debate last night, pledging to hold a second independence referendum if the UK government pushes ahead with Brexit without consent from Holyrood

‘Catastrophic’ if viable customs system not in place at Brexit (Public Accounts Committee)
Government must do more to work with businesses and ensure contingency option in place well before January 2019

Loss of skilled EU workers threatens to hit growth, says PwC (Financial Times)
Sharp drop in net migration likely to reduce gross domestic product by £22bn in 2030

Mike Bloomberg says London will stay Europe’s financial centre though ‘dumb’ Brexit will cut growth (Reuters)
“London is always going to be the financial centre of Europe for the foreseeable future. It has the things that the finance industry needs,” Bloomberg told BBC radio

Brexit uncertainty: British Academy publishes ‘risk list’ of subjects (British Academy)
The British Academy has called for certainty surrounding the immigration status of EU academics. Some regions of the UK risk losing significant talent, with up to half of some subjects’ staff from the EU

One in five EU doctors make plans to leave NHS because of withdrawal (Independent)
Uncertainty over future immigration rules and the right to remain were top reasons for wanting to leave

Britain backs EU push for military integration after Brexit (The Telegraph)
Foreign ministers from 23 EU nations signed a letter today pledging to jointly develop defence capabilities, invest in joint projects, and boost the operational readiness of their armed forces

Berlin buffs up its appeal as a post-Brexit haven (Financial Times)
A building boom and low prices are luring the super-rich to the German capital

13 November 2017

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, has written an open letter to Theresa May saying “it has become increasingly clear that you alone do not have the authority to deliver a transitional deal with Europe and to take the necessary steps to protect jobs and the economy” but that there is a “sensible majority” in Parliament to secure a two-year transition deal for after Brexit. He urges the government to support Labour amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to achieve this – something which seems unlikely to happen. (Bloomberg, Politico, Financial Times)

Anxieties about the Irish border question are mounting, with the Irish foreign minister telling his party conference that the government remains ‘firm and stubborn’ in its opposition to a hard border, while other reports suggest tensions in the government over whether it should in fact be prepared to compromise on its position – and, if so, how far. (The Guardian, Bloomberg, Financial Times)

In other news –

Johnson and Gove join forces again in push for hard Brexit (The Times)
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have formed a “political alliance of necessity” to deliver their model of Brexit in a move that has unnerved some fellow Conservatives

Boris and Gove's plot to ‘hijack’ Number 10 exposed (The Mail on Sunday)
Menacing secret memo to Theresa May dictating terms for a hard Brexit triggers new Cabinet rift

Michael Gove's plan for a green revolution after Brexit (The Sunday Telegraph)
An independent watchdog to “give the environment a voice” and “hold the powerful to account” will form the cornerstone of a “green Brexit”

Trade deal may not be signed until after Brexit (The Times)
Downing Street appears ready to concede that trade deal negotiations will not be complete before Brexit, in a move that could affect the longevity of Theresa May’s premiership

US banks’ ‘stop gap’ Brexit plans set to retain London jobs (Financial Times)
Citigroup among those looking to ‘branch-back’ by using EU offices

Is Brexit a revolving door? (ITV News)
The fact that we have not yet passed the moment of no return may well explain why our negotiations to leave have been so slow and painful

Labour ‘open’ to European Court of Justice keeping influence over UK in long term post-Brexit (The Telegraph)
Labour would be willing to sign off on the ECJ keeping at least some of its influence over the UK in the long term post-Brexit, Sir Keir Starmer has said

Britain may stay in EU after Brexit hits ‘crisis point’, Gordon Brown says (Independent)
‘By next summer the public will have made up their minds that the four red lines that the Government had actually set in place are not going to be achieved’

Nick Clegg: Beware post-Brexit dreams of Canada (Financial Times)
Adopting the Canadian model would mean erecting new barriers to trade

Brexit MPs warn Theresa May over EU's ‘unacceptable’ divorce bill demand (Independent)
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has given the UK two weeks to spell out how much it will pay for a 'divorce' bill

Theresa May at the abyss with danger ahead and trouble behind (The Sunday Times)
The loss of two ministers, deep splits over Brexit and a make-or-break budget leave the prime minister hanging on for dear life

Deutsche Bank chief questions EU’s clearing quest (Financial Times)
Cryan says he cannot understand why industry has become such a battleground

Brexit Britain is in denial over immigration (Politico)
Debate since Brexit referendum has failed to tackle immigration — the key motivator behind the Leave campaign

Brexit ‘no deal’ means Britons will be barred from taking pets to the continent, Michel Barnier warns (The Telegraph)
Michel Barnier has said that the collapse of trade talks is a “real possibility” and warned it could affect the ability of “dogs and cats to cross the Channel”

Business schools look overseas to hedge against Brexit (Financial Times)
Queen Mary University’s to teach flagship masters degree in Paris as well as London

Here's the first evidence Russia used Twitter to influence Brexit (Wired)
Russia-based Twitter accounts that targeted the US presidential election also used divisive and racist rhetoric in an attempt to disrupt politics in the UK and Europe

Restaurants fear Brexit will turn boom to bust (The Observer)
A quarter of the 3 million people in Britain’s hospitality sector are EU nationals. Many are going, with few arriving to replace them

And lastly a couple of different perspectives on Brexit: ‘Shazia Mirza on comedy in the capital after Brexit’ (Financial Times) and ‘Gruffalo co-creator and fellow illustrators respond to Brexit’ (The Guardian)