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Monday briefing: ‘Cake and eat it’ Brexit turns stale

Top story: Compromise on trade or eat crumbs

Good morning – it’s Warren Murray here to help you start the week.

Britain cannot “have its cake and eat it” in the Brexit negotiations, according to senior officials who have told the Guardian that a softening of the government’s position on trade now looks inevitable. The message is that whatever Tory ministers are saying, full trade access to the EU is an unattainable goal without conceding over immigration, courts and the “divorce settlement”. Retaining freedom of movement in return for a trade deal remains too politically toxic, but there are growing calls from business and economic experts for Theresa May and her negotiators to accept the idea of a customs union with the EU. The Engineering Employers Federation is warning against “ideologically dismantling the best free trade agreement in the world” as business leaders prepare for a summit with the government’s key Brexit ministers.

There are concerns, meanwhile, that the terms of May’s offer to let EU citizens stay in Britain would lead to a “severe reduction of the current rights” for Britons on the continent if adopted. Campaign groups British in Europe and the3million have called for the government to instead sign up to an offer from Brussels to extend European laws for all EU citizens affected by Brexit – allowing existing EU citizens in the UK, and Britons on the continent, to continue to live, work and move around the bloc for life.

Trump alert – Could Donald Trump be planning to pop into the UK soon? Activists from the Stop Trump coalition are on high alert after Whitehall sources confirmed the US president might drop into his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland between the G20 summit in Hamburg next weekend and Bastille Day celebrations in France on 14 July. If he did come, a meeting of some sort with Theresa May would be protocol. The PM has formally invited the US president to make a full state visit, but the guarantee of huge anti-Trump protests has kept planning on ice.

Male biological clock – A couple’s chances of having a baby decrease with the man’s advancing age as well as the woman’s, according to a study warning men not to leave fatherhood too late. Researchers found that women under 30 with a male partner of 30 to 35 had a 73% chance of a live birth after IVF. But that fell to 46% when the man was aged 40 to 42. Professor Nick Macklon from the University of Southampton, who was not involved in the study, said: “It may help women to encourage their male partners to get a move on. We know from a number of studies that one of the reasons why women are having babies later is because men are sometimes slow to support the idea.”

Rent trap – One in seven private tenants are now paying more than half their income in rent, meaning aspiring first-time homebuyers are unable to save up enough for a deposit, says the Local Government Association. Only 2% of existing home owners spend a similar proportion on their mortgage repayments. Warning of a “rental logjam”, councils are calling for the government to let them fund more affordable homes and social rents. It costs £852 a month on average to rent a home in Britain, although high London rents push that number up.

Avignon mosque shooting – Eight people have been wounded overnight in the French city of Avignon after gunfire erupted outside a mosque. Police said the shooting did not appear to be terror-related, but rather arose from a dispute between young people or gangs. Two gunmen with their faces covered reportedly opened fire as people left the mosque, but worshippers were not the intended target, authorities have said. Four people were wounded outside the mosque, and shrapnel hit a family of four in their home nearby. Two people were taken to hospital.

South China Sea fury – China has condemned a “serious military provocation” after the US navy sailed a destroyer close to the disputed Triton Island in the Paracel Islands archipelago. The USS Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of the island, which is claimed by China as well as Taiwan and Vietnam. The US carries out these “freedom of navigation” exercises to show it does not recognise the Chinese claims. After Trump and Xi’s friendly summit at the Mar-a-Lago resort in April, relations have gotten bumpy again over issues such as freedoms in Hong Kong, US arms sales to Taiwan, and China’s record on human trafficking.

‘Holiday from hell’ protection – People who book flights and hotels separately online to save money are to receive the same protection if those firms go bust as those who buy a package deal from a high-street travel agent. From 2018 the government-backed scheme known as Atol will be extended to cover travellers who book flights, hotels or car hire that are not sold as part of a package holiday. The Association of British Travel Agents says the change makes Atol fit for purpose in an age when more than three-quarters of UK customers book their vacations online.

Lunchtime read: When Donald meets Vladimir

The US president variously claims to have met his Russian counterpart and they “got along great”, or never to have met him at all. This week the world is due to get its first glimpse of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin side by side as the G20 summit takes place in Hamburg, Germany.

Our world affairs editor, Julian Borger, predicts this will be “one of the strangest encounters in modern history”. Putin is widely thought to have engineered the election of Trump, who is reportedly being investigated about it. The Russian president is firmly in power at the Kremlin; in the White House, Trump is perennially under a siege of his own making. Their handshake will be watched closely.


He is aware that his team “poked the bear” in their dramatic win over the All Blacks at the weekend, but British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland says the tourists can now go on and claim victory in the series.

After disputes over luxury camper vans and brickbats over panelling around their warm-up area at time trials, Team Sky are facing accusations over marginal gains from two rival teams at the Tour de France. The flaring of an old hip problem has spread to understandable misgivings about Andy Murray’s chances of successfully defending his Wimbledon title, but before the tennis in SW19 begins today the Scot has said: “You never know”. Another tournament, another German victory: two days after their under-21s won the European Championship, Joachim Löw’s weakened senior side wrapped up the Confederations Cup with triumph in the final over Chile. And after meagre crowds turned out for the UK athletics trials, Sean Ingle asks whether the next wave of British stars can provide the sport the boost it so desperately needs.


China has announced it is opening up its $9tn bond market to overseas investors with the launch today of the “Bond Connect” trading scheme via Hong Kong. Asia-Pacific stocks have been mixed overnight”: the Shanghai Composite fell 0.3%, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.2% while the Hang Seng retreated 0.1% and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was unchanged.

Overnight the pound traded at $1.30 and €1.14.

The papers

A mixed bag where the front pages are concerned this Monday morning. “We don’t live in China”, says the Times, as the counter-terrorism watchdog criticises Theresa May for wanting to fine online companies over extremist material. The Mail splashes with “Reckless car loan salesmen exposed” and says young people – some unemployed – are being offered new top-of-the-range models on 100% finance.

The Mirror leads with “Migrants’ hell on Costa beaches” and tells the story of the crisis of refugees arriving on Spanish shores – 6,000 so far this year.

The Guardian splashes with an exclusive on the government having to abandon its “cake and eat it” Brexit stance. The Sun has an exclusive claiming Iraqis were abused by US troops, then persuaded to pin it on UK troops instead.

The Telegraph leads with “Cabinet split over austerity tax rise” and says Philip Hammond and Michel Gove are at odds over how to pay for increased spending on public services. The Metro hints at the other side to the public services story, saying thousands of nurses are quitting the NHS amid plunging morale and low pay.
The FT says a secret City of London delegation is heading to Brussels this week with a blueprint for a post-Brexit free trade deal for the huge city-based financial service companies.

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