1. Exquisite Tweets from @tomashirstecon, @stephenkb, @pmdfoster, @RaoulRuparel, @MESandbu, @Gilesyb, @DavidHenigUK, @ChrisGiles_, @jdportes

    PreoccupationsCollected by Preoccupations

    Since I'm already hostage to fortune on this, here is the text from my weekly note on where the Brexit talks currently stand (hope it makes sense!)

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

  2. Missing tweet: 1183669654075494400

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  7. It's the Chequers question again, right. There was a reasonable argument over whether to interpret Chequers (as we did at the NS) as important as it represented May going "I choose access" and there's a reasonable argument here over whether Johnson is choosing (1/?)

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    stephenkb

    Stephen Bush

    a border in the Irish Sea. I don't know - there is a split in Downing Street and hard to see who is in the ascendancy at the moment. But I think irrevelant as not sure there is a landing zone for that with this parliament, so essentially agree with note. (2/2)

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    stephenkb

    Stephen Bush

  8. Missing tweet: 1183672507548590080

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  10. Thanks for interrupting your hols for this! & yes, I think we should look at this deal in the round - what is it aiming to achieve and what would the EU accept in order to get this stage off the docket? On 1st, parliament is keen for a deal but not keen on handing ERG the tiller

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

    (think that explains Lab shift -> referendum. They can see that becoming implicated in what comes next is a huge risk if BJ is at the helm)

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

    On what EU will accept, it's complicated but my gut is that Varadkar wants to be seen as having provided the UK with every opportunity to avoid a no deal so there is will there. And EU wants to facilitate if possible - but can't overlook insurance point and operability issues.

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

  11. Missing tweet: 1183678345780662272

  12. Not a hard sense. I find it hard to see how the DUP can sign off a finished deal given pressures to both sides among Unionist voters, and harder still to see how it is a loose enough Labour whip to get enough Labour rebels.

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    stephenkb

    Stephen Bush

  13. I mean, there might be an agreement here! We're much closer than anyone expected, and looks like UK gov is in the mood to compromise. But I guess, all I have at my disposal are the terms sketched out by unofficial briefings so in best-guess territory on probabilities.

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

  14. Yes. I think also that there is an under-appreciated difference between NCP(NI) - the @RaoulRuparel plan loosely - and the @MESandbu plan - which is a much fuller Irish Sea Border “neutralised” by the rebates. U.K. wants former and that’s v hard. Thread later.

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    pmdfoster

    Peter Foster

  15. Yes, and as I think Jonathan pointed out yesterday Martin's plan seems to rely on the idea that EU tariffs will be higher than UK for all goods such that there's no concern of leakage in the other direction. Is that a safe assumption?

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

  16. Yes. I think so. Assumption is that buccaneer Britain gets lower tariffs that NI can take advantage of. Course that also means NI can’t avail itself of EU deals.

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    pmdfoster

    Peter Foster

  17. Would UK government accept not being able to protect domestic industry in this way though? From Minford model, I guess that's not a concern (shifting from non-competitive industry is feature not bug) but the political realities may, err, not be quite so easy to manoeuvre around.

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

  18. Genuine Q: why does any Labour MP hand BJ the mother of all victories? Increases chance of Tory majority, and opens door to very hard “buccaneers’ Brexit” - which is much more about ideology than economics. Pressure on any Lab MP not to vote for that will be huge, surely?

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    pmdfoster

    Peter Foster

  19. Yes, it will. It's why in practice I don't think most of the 19 letter-signing "I want a deal" Labour MPs will vote for a deal.

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    stephenkb

    Stephen Bush

  20. As I understand it (hard on twitter), main difference between @MESandbu & I on this is how we balance risks. I believe his approach would offer more assurance up front for the EU by sticking more closely to NI only backstop text. (1/2)

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    RaoulRuparel

    Raoul Ruparel

    But I tend to think that would lose DUP support so need to look at getting more detail on operation of an NCP style approach in legal text (even if some details left to be fleshed out). In the end this is about triangulating a position where both sides can accept some risk (2/2)

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    RaoulRuparel

    Raoul Ruparel

  21. MESandbu

    Martin Sandbu

  22. Prob is. Do we think EU leaders take huge punt on backing NCP(NI) - ie the Ruparel plan - when it’s not clear how it works. Then they are hostage to fortune/negotiation. Hard to see IMO. Or demand Sandbu - viz NI-only dressed up as NCP/NI? Otherwise risk giving leverage to U.K.

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    pmdfoster

    Peter Foster

  23. To turn either or both proposals into full legal text via fully fleshed out proposals feels highly complex and time consuming - and I say that having spoken to some of the best customs brains I can find. Which makes the road map even more tricky

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    DavidHenigUK

    David Henig

  24. Especially in the knowledge that an extension request is coming. Seems unlikely to me that they'd accept a proposal that relies on success/stability of next stage talks.

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

  25. Missing tweet: 1183695811139395584

  26. If they try to reverse engineer NCP(NI) from NI-only backstop text I worry that they walk right into an insoluble consent problem - along with a backstop to the backstop issue.

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    tomashirstecon

    Tomas Hirst

  27. You may well be right. Both DUP & EU have a journey to make to landing zone in short space of time, less you ask one to move, more you ask of the other. Which is why I said at the outset this is probably too little too late. Should have proposed in Aug & things may be different

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    RaoulRuparel

    Raoul Ruparel

  28. Spot the pattern? U.K. PM makes big, undeliverable promise on taking office. Climbsdown painfully from barricades - to discover the disappointment is a hard sell.

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    pmdfoster

    Peter Foster

  29. Missing tweet: 1183712757729779715

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  31. I wrote in July that whether Hunt or Johnson won the Tory leadership, they were both Theresa May continuity candidates... ft.com/content/f6eb4d…

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    MESandbu

    Martin Sandbu

  32. Well I am going to trump you; I suggested as much to her

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

  33. You (and maybe she) may like this too, then... ft.com/content/9bef29…

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    MESandbu

    Martin Sandbu

  34. Missing tweet: 1183728082869293056

  35. I don't like to reveal - but I was suggesting that her successors would have to follow the pathway she had painstakingly trodden for them, i.e. acknowledging that she had been right.

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    Gilesyb

    Giles Wilkes

  36. but that's not true is it? May rejected an NI-only backstop and negotiated something very different. ATM that's dead, and Johnson is trying to negotiate a new version of the NI backstop. That's not continuity - it's a completely different set of priorities

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    jdportes

    Jonathan Portes

  37. The continuity so far is to be forced to accept a backstop, the choice being only between NI-only or all-UK. I suspect the continuity will continue (in permanent relationship talks, as I don't believe the PD means much at this stage) towards very close alignment in goods.

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    MESandbu

    Martin Sandbu

    MESandbu

    Martin Sandbu

  38. In economic terms, as you know, the difference between an degree of continuity between an all-UK backstop and an NI-only one is 2%.

    On future relationship, you think Johnson will do a U-turn on level playing field provisions?

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    jdportes

    Jonathan Portes

  39. Yes. It's a matter of degree, of course. Commitments for access, so he may go a bit short of where May arrived.

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    MESandbu

    Martin Sandbu