THE UK bank accounts of tens of thousands of Brit expats living across Europe are at risk of being closed post-Brexit.
Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among the UK banks giving notice to expats to warn their accounts will be closed at 11pm on December 31
It comes as Theresa May has said that she won't support the Internal Market Bill – and claims the government is acting "recklessly".
In a speech in the House of Commons last night, the former PM warned the Bill could damage the UK's reputation internationally as debate continues in Parliament over the controversial legislation.
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An anti-Brexit demonstrator holds European Union and England flags outside the Houses of Parliament, in central London.
'THE REALITY OF BREXIT'
The Treasury has urged banks to treat expat customers “fairly” and said pulling accounts is a “commercial decision”.
After Britain leaves the EU, under the current legislation it will become illegal for UK banks to provide services to expat customers living in Europe.
And as each of the 27 member states has different rules, without a blanket agreement it makes it very hard for banks to continue to serve customers.
A source told The Sunday Times: “In some cases, continuing to serve customers would be incredibly complex, extremely expensive and very time-consuming, and simply would not make economic sense.
“This is passporting — this is the reality of Brexit.”
NERVOUS TIME FOR EXPATS OVER BANK ACCOUNTS
Tens of thousands of British expats living in Europe risk having their UK bank accounts closed in weeks due to post-Brexit rules.
Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among the UK banks starting to give notice to expats to warn their accounts will be closed at 11pm on December 31.
Stalemate between Britain and Europe in ongoing talks over Brexit has left it a “bureaucratic nightmare” for UK banks to provide services to Brits living abroad, reports The Sunday Times.
So, many banks are deciding to simply pull their services from some EU countries.
BREXIT MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN COVID – REPORT
“Claims that the economic impacts of Covid-19 dwarf those of Brexit is almost certainly correct in the short term,” says a think tank.
But, UK in a Changing Europe group adds: “Not even the most pessimistic scenarios suggest that a no-deal Brexit would lead to a fall in output comparable to that seen in the second quarter of 2020.
“However – assuming a reasonably strong recovery, and that government policies succeed in avoiding persistent mass unemployment – in the long run, Brexit is likely to be more significant.
“Our modelling of the impact of a no-deal Brexit suggests that the total cost to the UK economy over the longer term will be two to three times as large as that implied by the Bank of England's forecast for the impact of Covid-19.”
NO-DEAL BREXIT COULD HIT UK ECONOMY THREE TIMES AS HARD AS CORONAVIRUS
Failure to reach an agreement with the EU in post-Brexit trade talks could hit Britain's economy three times harder in the long term than coronavirus, a think tank has warned.
Queues at the border, shortages of fresh food and medicine as well as more “hassle” travelling to the continent are also possible, according to the UK in a Changing Europe group.
A report by the organisation, based on modelling with the London School of Economics, said the impacts of coronavirus may mitigate or obscure the impact of a no-deal exit.
But it warned that not forming an agreement with Brussels would have a significant impact in the long term.
THERESA MAY'S 'ADMIRABLE STANCE'
Neale Richmond, an Irish lawmaker from the centre-right party Fine Gael, has tweeted about Theresa May’s “admirable stance” over the Internal Market Bill.
But, he added: “I’ve no doubt there’ll still be a sizable majority to pass the bill and undermine clear Brexit responsibilities, leading to breaking international law”.
THE EU has given the green light to allow European banks to trade trillions of pounds through the City of London until 2022.It came after fears of a split with the UK over post-Brexit banking in the event of a no-deal.
EU banks face could be cut off from vital “clearing houses” at the end of 2020 if a Brexit deal is not sealed.
But Brussels has now given European firms an 18-month licence to keep trading through London.
EX-Labour minister Dame Margaret Hodge insists “it is the patriotic duty” of MPs to vote against the government's Bill.
Dame Margaret told the Commons: “Every MP who votes for these clauses tonight will be voting against the rule of law.
“We're being sucked in as accomplices to the Government's reckless bid to undermine the rule of law.”
She claimed that it is “Britain's long-term future which is at stake tonight” and accused the government of “playing roulette with the rule of law.”
THERESA May warned the government she won't support its Brexit Bill in today's crunch vote.
The Internal Market Bill will be voted on in the Commons today.
The former PM told ministers they were “acting recklessly and irresponsibly” and may do “untold damage” to the UK's global reputation.
She said: “I cannot emphasise how concerned I am that a Conservative government is willing to go back on its word, to break an international agreement signed in good faith and to break international law.”
That's all from us this evening.
Here's a quick wrap up of today's key stories.
- Theresa May has said that she won’t support the Internal Market Bill – and claims the government is acting “recklessly”.
- Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith said he will vote for the new legislation “with a clean heart” during the third day of debate in the House of Commons.
- Former Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley has expressed regret at the “hurt” caused when, during her tenure as NI secretary, she said she did not know nationalists in Northern Ireland did not vote for unionist parties before taking office.
- The Liberal Democrats are set to drop the party's commitment to the UK's membership of the European Union, according to The Independent.
STARMER TO STRESS LABOUR IS UNDER 'NEW LEADERSHIP'
Sir Keir Starmer is to stress Labour is “under new leadership” as he pleads with voters who switched allegiances under Jeremy Corbyn to return to the party.
The Labour leader is set to address party members in his first party conference since becoming leader in the wake of its worst defeat in a general election since 1935.
Sir Keir will pitch that by being “a credible opposition” and by “taking the job seriously” he can regain the electorate's trust.
The address is specifically aimed at 'Red Wall' voters – who deserted the party at December's election, The Times reports.
NORTHERN IRELAND MINISTER CONCLUDES DEBATE
Northern Ireland minister Robin Walker, concluding debate on day three of committee, reiterated the House of Commons will be required to approve the use of the powers contained in the Internal Market Bill.
He told the Commons: “We will of course ensure the House has the opportunity to debate matters in full before voting on commencement of these provisions.
“If we reach that point the Government will have to make a persuasive case to this House.”
SAMMY WILSON: 'WE'RE STILL ANGRY'
DUP spokesman Sammy Wilson has said that the party is “still angry” over the Withdrawal Agreement – despite hopes that the Internal Market Bill would assuage the fears of the unionist party.
Mr Wilson told the Express: “We’re even angrier that a lot of the other things which we have pointed out in the deal which are detrimental to Northern Ireland have not yet been dealt with.”
WARNING OVER CHANGES TO BANKING
If you're an expat with a British bank account, here's what you need to know:
- Lloyds Bank confirmed it will pull services from Holland, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal – a move that impacts 13,000 Brits
- Barclays also confirmed bank and credit-card customers living in the EU are being warned their accounts may be closed
- Customers living in Spain, France and Belgium have received notice their Barclaycards will be cancelled on November 16
- Coutts also confirmed it will be no longer serve customers based in the EU, and told Brits they will have to make “alternative arrangements”
- Natwest and Santander have said they currently do not have plans to shut down accounts, but are “considering their options”
EXPATS WARNED OF ACCOUNT CLOSURES
One of the big Brexit stories from the past 24 hours is that tens of thousands of Brit expats living in Europe could have their bank accounts closed in weeks.
Lloyds, Barclays and Coutts are among the UK banks starting to give notice to expats to warn their accounts will be closed at 11pm on December 31.
The lack of a deal means it is now up to banks to decide which countries they want to continue operating in.
Here's everything you need to know.
MAY SAYS INTERNAL MARKET BILL DAMAGES BRITAIN'S REPUTATION
In a speech made to the Commons earlier this evening, former PM Theresa May said that the Internal Market Bill will “weaken the UK in the eyes of the world”.
The MP for Maidenhead continued: “This can only weaken the UK in the eyes of the world.
“One of the great strengths we have as a country is our commitment to the rule of law and this will have been damaged.
“Our reputation as a country that stands by its word will have been tarnished.”
BRADLEY 'REGRETS' NORTHERN IRELAND COMMENTS
Speaking to the Commons, Ms Bradley also expressed regret at the “hurt” caused when, during her tenure as Northern Ireland secretary, she said she did not know nationalists in Northern Ireland did not vote for unionist parties before taking office.
She said: “”I know more than many just how important language is in Northern Ireland.
“I have said things, I've misspoken and I've made throwaway comments and I have regretted them enormously.
“And the reason I regretted them enormously is because they hurt people.”
KAREN BRADLEY 'UNDECIDED' ON INTERNAL MARKET BILL
Conservative former Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley said she is “undecided” about how she will vote on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.
She told MPs: “The Government should not ask MPs to vote for an illegal law as a negotiating tactic.
“This part (five) should be in a separate Bill, if these clauses are needed, and it should be debated separately.”
Ms Bradley added: “So, I say to the minister I'm undecided today as to which way I will vote this evening because I respect the Government has moved and compromised, and I do understand that's a difficult thing for governments to do.
“But I ask the minister to give me clarity – if I walk through the lobbies today, am I breaking the law? If I walk through the lobbies today, will the law be broken as a result of me doing this?”
IAIN DUNCAN SMITH VOTING FOR BILL 'WITH A CLEAN HEART'
Iain Duncan Smith is more enthusiastic about the deal than the preceding speakers – and says he will vote for the new legislation “with a clean heart”.
He said: “Let's not be too pompous about this idea that somehow international law is like some God-given gospel that says, 'absolutely nobody can ever trespass away from this', because many of these things are fudged anyway.”
The Tory MP added: “I am going to vote for this tonight. I vote for it with a clean heart, I vote for it because so much of what we do from state aids through to transfer of goods and agri-products will be affected, labelling, all these areas unnecessarily.”
SNP'S OSWALD LABELS BILL 'VERY DAMAGING'
SNP Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald described the Internal Market Bill as “ill-conceived, confused and very damaging”.
She told the Commons: “This Internal Market Bill is a grubby power grab which we cannot and will not support, and this section as it stands will hang like a badge of dishonour around this Prime Minister's term of office, however long or short that might be.”
Ms Oswald added: “At its heart, this Bill is ill-conceived, confused and very damaging, frightening like the UK Government, and neither of them deserve our support.”
STARMER BRANDED 'CLUELESS' OVER BREXIT PLAN
Sir Keir Starmer was branded “clueless” yesterday after he refused to say what he would do in the crunch Brexit talks.
The Labour boss has slammed Boris Johnson for clashing with Brussels — and brazenly swiped the PM’s mantra calling for No10 to “get Brexit done”.
But he was left tongue-tied when asked if he would stand up to the EU over fishing and state aid — the two obstacles to getting a deal.
And he refused to say if he would choose to delay Brexit rather than leave with no trade deal on New Year’s Eve.Quizzed on the sticking points.
Read our full story on that here.
SIR BOB NEILL SAYS HE COULD WITHDRAW AMENDMENT
Sir Bob Neill, Tory chairman of the Commons Justice Committee, said he would be prepared to withdraw his amendment following a compromise put forward by the Government.
The senior Tory MP has tabled an amendment which calls for MPs to be given a vote on any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.
He told the Commons: “This is not a carte blanche for the Government – and in fairness I don't think ministers have ever taken it as such – and I think they know that it weighs heavily to do such a thing as well.
“That's why if the Government moves amendment 66 tomorrow when we get to that stage, I will be prepared to withdraw my amendment but it is to give the Government the chance to make its case as to why such an exceptional step should be necessary.”
MAY CITES THREE REASONS FOR OPPOSING BILL
Mrs May said there were three reasons why she believed the Government's clauses 41 to 45 “are not necessary” and “have no place in this Bill”.
The first, she said, was that “it's unnecessary”, adding there was an arbitration process available.
She said: “The Government has acknowledged the existence of the arbitration procedure, but it's saying that it would enter into that in parallel with the operation of the elements of this Bill.
“So the message it seems to me is very clear, which is if we don't like what the outcome of the arbitration panel is then we're going to break international law and we won't accept it.”
THERESA MAY SAYS SHE CANNOT SUPPORT INTERNAL MARKET BILL
Theresa May has said she cannot support the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.
The Conservative former prime minister told the Commons: “I consider that by introducing clauses 41 to 45 the Government is acting recklessly and irresponsibly with no thought for the long-term impact on the standing of the United Kingdom in the world.
“This will lead to untold damage to the United Kingdom's reputation, it puts the future of the United Kingdom at risk and, as a result, with regret, I have to tell the minister I cannot support this Bill.”
The FTSE 100plunged by 3.45% this morning over fears the UK could go into a second lockdown.
It's the worst day the London stock market has seen in three months, and is the hardest hit stock market in Europe.
On Friday, it closed at 6007.05 but plummeted to 5796.75 by around 11:15am today.
Today it gained slightly at closing when it hit 5804.29, but it is still far off the peak of last week.
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