Morning briefing: No US deal - Conservative infighting - Hotel California
When Barack Obama said in the referendum that a vote to leave would put us “at the back of the queue” for a US trade deal, Brexiters screamed “Project Fear”. Now the American president they adore is saying the prime minister’s Brexit proposal will probably “kill” a trade deal. Donald Trump added that America would be “dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK”, in an extraordinary interview with the Sun. We wouldn’t even be in the queue, let alone at the back of it.
Trump also did a pretty good job of ripping apart the “special relationship” between America and the UK. He backed Boris Johnson for prime minister, said the prime minister didn’t listen to him when he “told her” how to negotiate with the EU, suggested she had betrayed Brexit and laid into the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, saying he had “done a very bad job on terrorism”. All this while he was visiting the UK at May’s invitation.
The prime minister was always unwise to try to suck up to Trump by offering him a state visit, now downgraded to a working one. Her sycophancy has now turned into a diplomatic disaster that is damaging our national interests. And yet Brexiters such as Nigel Farage are cock-a-hoop about the whole thing. Don’t they understand what it means to be patriotic?
The whole sorry episode also underlines the folly of chasing a fantasist’s vision of a US trade deal while risking every single one of our existing trade deals - not least with our European friends and allies.
Is it really worth burning our bridges with Europe to suck up to a racist, sexist bigot who is undermining Nato and who is far too soft on Russia’s Vladimir Putin? If you think it isn’t, there’s still time to join the protest against Trump at 2pm today in Central London.
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The Conservative Party continues to rip itself apart over May’s Chequers proposal. Yesterday’s White Paper was described by Jacob Rees-Mogg as “yellow… a bad deal for Britain”. Steve Baker, who recently quit the government, offered to sign copies of the “white paper over which I resigned”. Of particular interest is the infighting between Brexiters; the hardliners, and those described as “sycophants and careerists” by MP Laurence Robertson. New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has put himself squarely in the latter camp, telling his fellow Brexiters to stop “carping”.
The hardliners are so furious that The Times reports that they may join forces with Labour to defeat the government’s trade bill next week. It also mentions that one way to avoid defeat would be for the prime minister to deploy her favourite tactic of delaying a vote. What a way to run a country.
Quote of the day
“Last year we lost 14 people in our city. To blame this on migration from Africa, as he does, is I think preposterous”
- Sadiq Khan responds to Donald Trump's interview
This is not a soft Brexit
While hardliners decry May’s proposal as too soft, the City is worried that it will be far too hard. We would leave the single market for services, 80% of our economy. City leaders described the proposal as a “real blow”. Did the people really vote to damage our services industries below the line?
Video of the day
WATCH: No-one's buying May's Brexit deal. We were promised an amazing deal, and she's trying to sell us an old banger. That's why we're demanding a People's Vote on the final deal. Watch and share:
Hotel California beckons
One argument used by hardline Brexiters who are backing Theresa May’s White Paper is that they can always rip up any deal she does post-Brexit. This argument, seemingly supported by Michael Gove, is flawed because it doesn’t take account of the Irish backstop which David Davis said, in his resignation interview with the BBC, will hang like a Sword of Damocles over us. When you take that into account, it seems clear that the prime minister’s proposals would consign us to what Boris Johnson calls “colony” status indefinitely. Hugo Dixon analyses why Davis and Johnson are right and Gove is wrong in this piece for InFacts.
Tweet of the day
More Brexit news…
Trump's Brexit Blast: I told May how to do Brexit but she wrecked it - the US trade deal is off, says Donald Trump (Sun)
Why Theresa May's Brexit White Paper has led to mass rebellion fro furious Eurosceptics (Telegraph)
Top Brexit comment
Today, Friday 13 July
|-||Trump visit continues|
|14:00||Barnier in US talking Brexit|
Tomorrow, Saturday 14 July
|-||Trump visit continues|
|-||Durham Miners Gala|