• Government responds to Lords Brexit defeats – Theresa May and cabinet ministers have expressed “strong disappointment” at a string of fresh defeats in the House of Lords over the EU withdrawal bill, accusing unelected peers of trying to block the UK from leaving the EU. The government suffered three more Brexit defeats in the House of Lords overnight, taking the total to nine – the key defeat being an amendment that would allow Parliament to send ministers back to the negotiating table if MPs voted down Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The government is concerned that these amendments will tie Britain’s hands in negotiations with Brussels at discussions during its weekly meeting. (The BBC)
  • Customs union with EU not acceptable – Liam Fox, trade secretary, has insisted Britain cannot stay in a customs union with the EU after Brexit, because that would leave Brussels in charge of UK trade policy and Britain would have to adopt trade deals negotiated by the Commission without any say in the process – a position worse off than what the UK enjoyed before Brexit. Theresa May’s Brexit inner cabinet will discuss tomorrow two alternative customs proposals (“customs partnership” or “maximum facilitation”), and it is likely that the debate will split the 11-member committee. (The Financial Times)
  • Trade deal with the US or EU – Parliament’s International Trade Committee published a report today stating that Britain will face a stark choice when it comes to trade after Brexit: either stay closely aligned with the EU or negotiate a comprehensive agreement with the US. While a free trade agreement with the US could boost Britain’s GDP by 0.35%, the UK would have to diverge significantly from EU rules in order to enter an agreement with the US, as standards in certain areas would be considerably lower. This means Britain would end up with significantly less access to the European single market than it currently has, as Brussels is clear that privileged access must come with complete adherence to the market’s rules and regulations. (Business Insider)