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Wednesday 27 June 2018

The war being waged by business against Brexit has stepped up another notch. Conservative Home yesterday revealed the Treasury and other government advisers have been persuading businesses to go public with their concerns about EU withdrawal.

To quote Boris Johnson: “F*** business”. One would be inclined to say the same of trade unions. The Guardian’s front page splash covers a joining together of British and European unions alongside businesses to call on the government to inject “pace and urgency” into the withdrawal talks. The sentiment is understandable, but their real aim is to provoke more project fear panic.

Westmonster cover a speech by business secretary Greg Clark at a summit hosted by the Times, in which he claims labour “mobility is to services what customs is to goods”, the UK economy is of course dominated by services. In other words, senior figures in this increasingly chaotic government will be pushing hard for open borders.

Manufacturers have caught wind of the government’s preferred plan for goods only membership of the Single Market and are going for the jugular. Such a deal would bring to an abrupt halt the global Britain dream. Worse still, we would be powerless to defend ourselves in the trade war with the US Brussels is dragging us into. The Single Market without services is still the Single Market, such is the marginal importance of services to the EU’s gigantic regulatory ‘acquis’.

A tiny spec of optimism to be salvaged from a compromise heavily in the EU’s favour – Europe makes the goods, we buy them – is that, according to the Times, it is causing division between the EU27 and the almighty European Commission.

“The view in the Commission is that if they push the government hard, the UK will end up in an EEA,” says a major business figure who has been involved in Brexit discussions with Brussels.

“The Commission and Selmayr [its maniacal director general] are obsessed with purity,” he added. “The EU is not pure. It is always about trade-offs. The final Brexit deal will be bespoke.”

Bespoke, but only up to a point. A “high level of regulatory alignment on goods” is needed, said a senior Brexiteer. It is important to ensure coherence and to not upset the balance.

If that’s what members of our own side are saying, one can only imagine what the Remainers are pushing for.

Politico report Theresa May will be pitching the goods only idea to European leaders at the fringes of the EU summit, which starts tomorrow and in bilateral meetings with EU capitals over the next ten days. The Sun however, insists the chequers showdown late next week supersedes everything. No overtures will be made to Brussels and the EU27 until the prime minister finalises her plan, which lies at the mercy of her Remain dominated Cabinet – ten Brexiteers against fifteen Remainers.

The patriots in the Cabinet are pushing hard for Max-Fac, the goods only deal looks the more likely option however.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Yesterday saw the EU Withdrawal Bill finally given Royal Assent. Result!