Softer approach to talks
Davis to offer EU deal on migrant workers
Tory ministers are poised to take a more conciliatory approach as they prepare for talks with EU officials on Britain’s withdrawal from the trading bloc.
Brexit minister, David Davis, will offer to allow the three million European Union citizens living in Britain the same rights that they have now when divorce talks with the EU open next week.
He will be looking for a reciprocal arrangement from the bloc for British citizens living in the 27 other EU states.
It had been the UK’s plan to make this offer only to those EU nationals were living in the country before March 29 this year, when the government triggered the start of the two-year process of leaving the bloc.
But the Financial Times reports that Mr Davis will accept EU demands that the cut-off date should be pushed back to 2019 when Britain leaves.
The newspaper reports that one area of concern for the EU is whether those EU nationals living in Britain would have access to the European Court of Justice, a “red line” for London.
Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to argue for the UK to stay in the European Union’s customs union – a move that would allow tariff-free trade within the bloc but prevents trade deals with outside countries.
He was due to deliver the Mansion House speech tonight to an audience of City financiers giving clues as to any change of stance by the weakened Tory government. However, the dinner was cancelled following the London tower block fire.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney and the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Andrew Parmley, had been due to attend the Bankers and Merchants Dinner.
A Treasury spokesman said Mr Hammond would deliver the speech in the near future.
Theresa May outlined her vision of a hard break with the EU in January, saying she wanted Britain to be able to make its own trade deals while maintaining trade with Europe that was as “frictionless as possible”.
But her failure to win a majority in the General Election has strengthened the hand of soft Brexiteers and Mr Hammond is seen as one of the most pro-EU members in the Cabinet.
One banking source said: “Hammond is a pragmatist, he is business-friendly, and the Treasury have done all the serious work on Brexit.”