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Brexit in brief: EU turn?

Henry Anderson

We’re now well into the summer parliamentary recess but Brexit continues to provide a steady stream of updates for the ND team. Here’s our summary of the week’s key events:

  • EU-turn if you want to. Several sources have reported the EU is on the brink of shifting its positions on the Irish border, free movement of people and the single market. On the Irish border, it has been suggested the Commission might water down its backstop proposals to dilute the power the ECJ and EU authorities would have over Northern Ireland. Others claimed EU member states – but not the Commission – are considering allowing the UK to remain in the single market for goods only, in exchange for the UK replicating all environmental, social and customs regulations. Michel Barnier, however, has previously rejected goods-only access to the single market.
  • Divided politics. The Prime Minister and the First Minister have very different views of how Brexit is going. Nicola Sturgeon has expressedfundamental concern” with Theresa May’s handling of Brexit and said she would give an update on plans for independence in October. The comments came after the pair met at the signing of the Edinburgh City Region deal. For her part, Theresa May argued it was “incumbent” on all parts of the UK to support the Chequers proposals rather than “sowing the politics of division”.
  • No-fault divorce? Sunday saw International Trade Secretary Liam Fox claim the chance of a no deal now stood at 60-40, a revision of his previous estimate of 50-50. The fault for this happening, he insisted, would lie with the EU Commission’s “theological obsession” with rules and regulations rather than the “economic wellbeing of the people of Europe”. Elsewhere, Theresa May has continued evangelising the virtues of her Chequers deal to the Tory grassroots, writing a three-page letter to all Conservative members. 
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