Good Thursday morning.
DRIVING THE DAY
DEAL DONE: In the following couple of minutes, Boris Johnson is because of communicate with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (h/t Laura Kuenssberg). After that, he’s anticipated to ship an announcement at Downing Street asserting that the U.Ok. has ultimately struck a free-trade settlement with the European Union after 10 months of painstaking negotiations between London and Brussels. Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost has been up all evening together with his European counterparts conducting line-by-line talks to thrash out the ultimate particulars on the essential fisheries sticking level. Barring any last-minute drama, the prime minister will deal with the nation this morning to announce he has fulfilled his manifesto dedication to “get Brexit done,” and declare he has secured an settlement for the U.Ok.’s future relationship with the EU that can “take back control,” as he promised in the Brexit referendum 4 and a half years in the past.
RELIEF IN DOWNING STREET: No. 10 insiders who spoke to Playbook final evening have been each delighted and relieved on the final result, which brings to an finish weeks of uncertainty amid repeated claims by Johnson and senior ministers that it was “likely” they’d fail to succeed in a cope with Brussels. The PM is anticipated to set out the phrases of the deal imminently, however right here’s what we all know thus far — and the way the federal government will probably promote the settlement to the general public and its personal Tory Brexiteer hardliners.
Zero tariffs, zero quotas: The high line you may count on to listen to from Johnson and his Cabinet right this moment is that they’ve secured unprecedented entry to European markets that can permit the U.Ok. to proceed buying and selling freely with the EU, whereas regaining “control” of cash, legal guidelines, borders and non-EU commerce. A New Year cliff-edge of tariffs on World Trade Organization phrases has been averted at near the final doable second.
No extra ECJ: The authorities will declare to have “taken back control of our laws,” with no position for the European Court of Justice and the U.Ok. not topic to EU legislation.
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Legislative freedom: As phrase first emerged of how a probable deal was shaping up yesterday afternoon, a number of distinguished Tories made the case to Playbook that the settlement Johnson was negotiating was superior to his predecessor Theresa May’s proposed “Chequers” plan, which included a “common rulebook” based mostly on EU laws, dynamic alignment with EU legal guidelines and ECJ oversight. Johnson’s deal will permit for aggressive regulatory divergence, Playbook is instructed.
Fish compromise: The promote will get bumpier for Johnson on fisheries. The Express’ Joe Barnes obtained the inside track on the deal: The EU fishing quota in British waters will probably be lower by 25 % over a five-and-a-half yr transition interval. After that, fishing quotas are beneath British management, with annual negotiations going ahead. From what Playbook can inform thus far, either side compromised right here. The U.Ok. had wished a three-year transition, the EU had wished 10 years, so 5 and a half is nearer to the British place. On the quota, the 25 % lower is a major climbdown from the 80 % the U.Ok. had initially wished, and even the 35 % provide remodeled the weekend.
Punishment clause dead: Crucially for the onerous promote, the U.Ok. seems to have scored a win on how the EU can retaliate if Britain decides to alter its fishing quotas in the longer term. Brussels had wished to impose “cross-retaliation” tariffs throughout the U.Ok. economic system, however Barnes stories: “It appears EU has given way on its ‘punishment clause’ demand that would see Britain slapped with tariffs if EU boats lose access in future.” Playbook additionally hears from a U.Ok. official that “cross-retaliation has been killed.”
LE FOLD: The Mail’s Jason Groves quotes sources saying the one remaining hurdle is a (*10*); But an excitable French official gloated to Reuters that the U.Ok. had made “huge concessions” on fish in the ultimate 48 hours, suggesting Macron goes to attempt to declare a win. We’ll must see the element, however thus far this morning it seems like excellent news for France on the quota, not a lot in it on the transition size, and a win for Britain on cross-retaliation.
HOW THE DEAL WAS DONE: The Sun’s Harry Cole stories the principle breakthrough got here on Tuesday, when Johnson and von der Leyen held 4 telephone calls to debate particulars and numbers on fish. Groves in the Mail says that when the discussions have been drawing to an finish, von der Leyen requested Johnson: “Do we have a deal?” to which the PM replied, “Yes.”
ONE MORE TIME: The European Research Group of Conservative backbenchers will probably be intently wanting on the textual content on each fish and what Johnson has signed as much as in phrases of degree enjoying subject preparations, as Brexit Party chief Nigel Farage inevitably accuses the federal government of promoting out. The ERG says it’s reconvening its “star chamber” of authorized consultants, chaired by Tory grandee Bill Cash, earlier than delivering its verdict. What can be the purpose of the ERG if they will’t discover one thing they don’t like in there? The Mail’s Simon Walters says round 20 ERG MPs led by Mark Francois will vote towards a deal, together with Iain Duncan Smith, Andrew Bridgen and Peter Bone.
HOWEVER: Playbook spoke to/WhatsApped half a dozen ERG MPs final evening, and all however one among them have been effusive with reward for the PM and his negotiating workforce, implying they have been minded to again the deal as long as it didn’t include any particularly nasty surprises. The different ERG MP was extra strongly crucial of the reported settlement on fish. In actuality, how a lot of a problem Johnson faces internally depends upon whether or not any significantly egregious horrors are found in the textual content by eagle-eyed Euroskeptic consultants and tweeters over the following few days.
RESIGNATION WATCH: Some jittery authorities sources advised final evening that not less than two ministers have been on resignation watch over their potential opposition to the deal. Though to be sincere Playbook can be shocked if there was quite a lot of dissent from inside authorities. Cole stories Johnson instructed a Cabinet name final evening that he wanted their assist to “sell the deal,” which he mentioned was designed to let “both the U.K. and the EU retain their sovereignty.”
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN BRUSSELS: EU international locations must again a deal … the European Council will decide on whether or not to impose “provisional application” of any settlement in order to bypass the European Parliament and have it in place by the point the transition ends.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN LONDON: Parliament is more likely to be recalled subsequent week to approve the deal. ITV’s Robert Peston says he expects MPs to be introduced again in for Wednesday December 30, giving them six days to digest its contents. Playbook additionally hears Tuesday the twenty ninth is a chance. We’ll discover out quickly sufficient.
WHAT WILL STARMER DO? “Keir Starmer is preparing to urge his shadow cabinet to back a Brexit trade deal,” the Telegraph’s Harry Yorke stories, with “the Labour leader set to convene an urgent meeting of his frontbench to hammer out a final position on whether to vote for legislation expected to be put to Parliament next week.” That shadow Cabinet assembly is due at 11 a.m., so we’ll get an thought of how massive the Remainer Labour backlash is fairly quickly after that.
FROSTY’S COMING HOME: Government insiders have been filled with adulation for Frost final evening, with one official saying he was “knackered” after months of forwards and backwards to Brussels, however had “played a blinder.” No phrase but on whether or not he’ll be getting that RAF airplane again. Meanwhile, No. 10 Brexit workforce member Hugh Bennett’s different half Lucy Harris revealed all about what it’s like to barter a commerce deal throughout a pandemic: “Tried to put my other half on a diet but I’ve been keeping tally… 1.) Pizza 2.) Fish and Chips 3.) Mince pies and mulled wine 4.) More Pizza. A very merry ‘little’ Christmas indeed!”
NOW PLAYING: Just a few weeks in the past Johnson had a number of the most seasoned Downing Street officers pondering he would go for no deal, as he sang Waltzing Matilda in Downing Street to indicate his enthusiasm for what he referred to as an “Australian-style deal.” Now “Neighbors become good friends” is the tune of the day in No. 1o.
TODAY IN WESTMINSTER
PARLIAMENT: In recess.
SOUTH AFRICA TRAVEL BAN: Passengers touring from South Africa to England from 9 a.m. this morning will probably be denied entry, after authorities scientists and ministers turned more and more alarmed a couple of new pressure of the coronavirus that has emerged in the nation. The journey ban doesn’t embrace British and Irish residents, though they must self-isolate for 10 days. Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday signaled that the South African COVID pressure was considerably extra transmissible even than the newly recognized British pressure. Government sources warned Playbook that the South African pressure had the potential to be the following massive COVID story.
STATS: The newest U.Ok. COVID an infection survey knowledge is out at 9.30 a.m.
SCHOOL DOUBTS: “A decision on how and when pupils will return in the new year is now not due to be made until after Christmas, after a key meeting involving the Department for Education and the prime minister was postponed,” TES stories.
**Jack Blanchard is again with POLITICO’s Westminster Insider podcast. In this new podcast, Blanchard will meet with – and shine a light-weight on – the politicians, consultants and advisers who really drive decision-making in U.Ok. politics and coverage. Listen to the teaser. Sign up for the e-mail alert.**
BEYOND THE M25
SLAP DOWN: The EU’s Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean criticized Emmanuel Macron over this weekend’s freight ban. In an indication that others in Europe felt Macron pushed it too far, Vălean tweeted final evening: “I am pleased that at this moment, we have trucks slowly crossing the channel, and I want to thank U.K. authorities that they started testing the drivers at a capacity of 300 tests per hour.” She continued: “I deplore that France went against our recommendations and brought us back to the situation we were in in March when the supply chains were interrupted.”
SAD CHRISTMAS: Ireland expects lately arrived guests from Britain to have fun Christmas and New Year’s Eve in confinement in their bed room, in keeping with new recommendation.
TOP READ: POLITICO’s Esther King spoke with 4 feminine activists who performed a central position in organizing demonstrations round Europe this yr and requested them to replicate on the expertise. A must-read.
TRUMP JUSTICE LATEST: Latest clemency motion from outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump: He’s pardoned his former marketing campaign chairman Paul Manafort, ex-adviser Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the daddy of his son-in-law Jared. Words fail. POLITICO U.S. has a write-up.
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Andrew Castle (LBC): Andrew Adonis, vice chair of the European Movement and a former transport secretary, and Brexit Party chief Nigel Farage (7.05 a.m.) … Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (7.50 a.m.) … Labour MP Hilary Benn, chair of the Brexit choose committee (8.20 a.m.) … Dr Richard Vautrey, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee England (8.50 a.m.).
Times Radio breakfast present: Richard Tice, chairman of the Brexit Party (7.07 a.m.) … Gavin Barwell, former chief of employees to Theresa May (7.15 a.m. ) … Dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine Alison Pittard (7.35 a.m.) … Hilary Benn, chair of the Brexit choose committee (8.07 a.m.) … Former Lord Chancellor David Gauke (8.35 a.m.) … Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (9.05 a.m.).
TODAY’S FRONT PAGES
(Click on the publication’s title to see its entrance web page.)
Daily Express: The deal is completed!
Daily Mail: Hallelujah! It’s a Merry Brexmas.
Daily Mirror: Deal executed for Xmas.
Financial Times: UK-EU on cusp of historic commerce deal.
POLITICO UK: EU officers put together for Brexit deal as talks head into Thursday.
The Daily Telegraph: Johnson poised to seal Brexit commerce deal.
The Independent: Britain on the verge of commerce cope with EU.
The Sun: The evening earlier than Brexmas.
The Times: Britain and EU on brink of signing Brexit deal.
Westminster climate: Chilly, however some solar. ⛅️ Highs of 5C.
Congrats to: Paul Brand, who after a stellar yr reporting on coronavirus and care houses, has been promoted to U.Ok. editor at ITV News. Here’s his tweet.
Birthdays: Shadow Business Secretary and former Labour chief Ed Miliband … Central Ayrshire MP Philippa Whitford … Former Warrington North MP Helen Jones … BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet … U.Ok. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Nick Archer … Crossbench peer John Taylor … Scottish Tory MSP Dean Lockhart … SpAd to the Scottish First Minister Stewart Maxwell … Vogue Editor Suzy Menkes … and former Brexit Party press supremo, now freelance comms specialist Gawain Towler.
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, reporter Andrew McDonald and producer Ali Walker.
based mostly on website supplies www.politico.eu