• It’s concerning that Sir Keir Starmer’s comments over the weekend suggest that Labour want the UK to effectively remain a member of the EU’s single market (Telegraph, December 2017, link).
  • The Shadow Brexit Secretary told The Andrew Marr Show that the UK should stay close to Brussels regulations and have full participation in the Single Market. This would be Single Market membership in all but name.
  • The EU-Canada trade deal has removed 99% of tariffs but is not required to follow Brussels laws to the letter. There is no reason why the UK can’t do the same. Indeed, one of the reasons why people voted to leave the EU was to take back control of our own laws.
  • Sir Keir also suggested that Labour would consider paying into the EU budget to maintain access to the Single Market. However, taxpayers would feel aggrieved if they paid over the odds for a deal with the EU given that a number of countries have signed free trade deals with the EU without having to make budget contributions.
  • The shadow Brexit Secretary then said that EU citizens should have ‘easy movement’ into the UK. Whilst we should create an immigration system which welcomes in talent from the EU, it should treat jobseekers equally no matter whether they are from inside or outside the EU.

After progress on withdrawal agreement, MPs shouldn’t try to derail Brexit legislation

  • The Prime Minister will today tell MPs there is a new ‘sense of optimism’ in Brexit talks after progress was made in the negotiations to move them forward to the next phase (BBC, December 2017, link).
  • MPs should recognise the achievements made in the withdrawal agreement last week, and not seek to derail the Brexit legislation going through the House of Commons over the coming weeks.
  • The Repeal Bill is simply about transposing EU law into UK law, and is a vital step in providing legal certainty to businesses and citizens as we leave the EU. MPs should not attempt to disrupt this simply to score political points against the Government.

Good economic news

  • According to research by the job site ‘Indeed’, the UK remains the most popular country to work in among European job seekers who are looking for a job abroad (IB Times, December 2017, link).
  • A report by account group ‘UHY Hacker Young’ reveals that the UK outranked all other major developed economies in terms of the number of businesses established last year.
    218,000 new businesses were started in 2016 - a rise of six per cent - year-on-year, compared with just two percent in France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US (City AM, December 2017, link).
  • BAE Systems have announced a £5bn plan to sell Typhoon jets to Qatar. The deal will see the sale of 24 jets by 2022 and will secure UK jobs at BAE’s manufacturing plant in Lancashire (Guardian, December 2017, link).
  • The number of direct flights from the UK to China is set to rise by 50% following the signing of an open skies agreement between the UK and China (Times, December 2017, link).