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Donald Tusk: UK Brexit plans 'pure illusion'

The UK’s approach to the next stage of Brexit negotiations seems to be based on “pure illusion”, Donald Tusk says. The European Council president also told the media in Brussels he rejected any notion of the UK “cherry picking” its future relationship with the EU. Mr Tusk said he could only go on media reports of Brexit talks at the PM’s country retreat Chequers on Thursday. Theresa May is set to deliver a key speech setting out British ambitions on Friday. Mr Tusk, who is due to meet the PM…

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Brexit: Theresa May heads to Chequers for cabinet talks

Theresa May and her senior ministers will try to hammer out a deal over the government’s approach to Brexit when they meet at her country retreat. The Brexit sub-committee gathers at Chequers with the government under pressure to spell out in detail what it wants to secure from Brexit talks. The UK has said it wants a “deep and special” partnership with the EU. But ministers have been at odds over how closely the EU and UK should align after exit day in March 2019. The Brexit sub committee includes…

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MPs send Brexit 'suggestions' to Theresa May

More than 60 Conservative MPs have signed a letter to Theresa May making a series of “suggestions” about the government’s Brexit strategy. The letter from the European Research Group says the UK should be free to negotiate and sign trade deals with other countries as soon as it leaves. The MPs also want “full regulatory autonomy” for the UK after March 2019. The European Research Group is seen as an influential Eurosceptic voice within the Tory party. What is the European Research Group? Post-Brexit UK won’t be like Mad Max,…

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Brexit: David Davis rejects 'Mad Max-style dystopia' claims

Britain will not be “plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction” after it leaves the EU, the Brexit secretary will say in a speech. David Davis will say fears about a “race to the bottom” in workers’ rights and environmental standards are “based on nothing”. He will argue for continued close co-operation between the UK and the EU on regulations and standards. This will help ensure “frictionless” trade, he will say. The Brexit secretary’s address to Austrian business leaders in Vienna is the latest in a series…

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Boris Johnson: Brexit is a reason for hope not fear

Boris Johnson is to attempt to reassure voters who are angry and alienated by Brexit that the UK’s split from the EU is a cause for “hope not fear”. The foreign secretary will use a speech to try to build bridges with those who voted to remain in the EU, saying their belief in European solidarity is based on “noble sentiments”. “It is not good enough to say ‘you lost, get over it’,” he will say. But he will also insist those who want to stop Brexit cannot prevail. In…

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Brexit: Transition period not 'a given', says Barnier

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has warned that a transition period immediately after Brexit in 2019 is “not a given”. He outlined continuing disagreements between the UK and EU over issues like freedom of movement during the period. He also said the UK’s decision to leave the EU single market and customs union meant border checks at the Irish border were “unavoidable”. The transition period is expected to span 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020. Mr Barnier, speaking after a week of technical discussions between civil servants on both…

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Forecasts reveal Brexit impact by region

Every nation and region of the UK would see slower economic growth as a result of Brexit, according to estimates by government officials. The forecasts, seen by MPs, model the 15-year impact of the UK staying in the single market, doing a trade deal with the EU or leaving without a deal. In each scenario, growth would be lower, by 2%, 5% and 8% respectively, compared with current forecasts. The government says it does not cover all outcomes. And one Eurosceptic Tory MP said the figures were “complete nonsense”. Ministers…

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