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Liam Fox has been warned that his plan to prevent Brexit causing massive disruption to trade with the EU is probably illegal. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is unlikely to allow Britain to stay partly inside the EU’s customs union, a former UK single market adviser said. Most business leaders are desperate not to leave the union, which allows exporters to sell into the single market without having to fill in forms or go through customs checks. READ MORE Fox: UK ‘must look at all options’ including staying in customs union But, while staying in would cut costs and red tape, it would prevent Britain striking separate trade deals with non-EU countries – a key Brexit demand. At the weekend, Dr Fox, the International Trade Secretary, floated the idea of staying “in part of the customs union, but not in other parts”. He pointed to the example of Turkey, which is inside for the sale of goods, but not for agriculture, services and procurement. But Sir Andrew Cahn, who advised on setting up the single market in the 1980s, said what Dr Fox envisaged would be far more controversial. Britain appeared to want exemptions for the specific economic sectors in which it was strong, such as carmaking, aerospace and financial services. Sir Andrew told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Whether that would be legal under the WTO I doubt. “Even if we got away with it, I don’t think the EU side would be prepared to do it. Why would they allow us to cherry-pick?” The former chief executive of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) said some sort of agreement was vital to prevent a hard landing when Britain leaves the EU, probably in 2019. Pointing out lorries queued for several days at the India-Pakistan border, he said, of border checks: “They can get very extreme. “That wouldn’t happen for us, but waiting for some hours and having voluminous paperwork to fill in is exactly what could happen if you are not in the customs union.” Dr Fox is eyeing up a Turkey-style arrangement because it does not involve accepting free movement of people – Theresa May’s red line for the Brexit negotiations. However, Ankara must accept all trading regulations decided by Brussels, common external tariff rates and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Hinting at a deal on a partial customs union membership on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Dr Fox said: “It is very important that we have continuity in our trade.” The comments suggested a U-turn by the Trade Secretary, who, in July, called for the UK to quit the customs union. READ MORE Scotland threatens to leave UK if forced out of single market UK fishing industry ‘will need European market access after Brexit’ ‘I think I’d better leave now’ May said after EU leaders’ Brexit snub Theresa May rejects EU’s £50bn Brexit ‘divorce payment’ figure A key supporter of a ‘hard Brexit’ – Iain Duncan Smith – has also dismissed the plan as contrary to WTO rules. He said: “You can’t do that. Someone needs to tell them that. You cannot do sectoral arrangements. It is illegal.” Nevertheless, Brexit secretary David Davis has revealed that officials are looking at 57 different sectors, as they weigh up single market or customs union access. Stephen Dorrell, the former Conservative Heath Secretary, condemned the idea, saying: “That’s the road to crony capitalism. It makes ministers victims of special interests. It’s deeply unattractive.”

A grandmother in Berlin has been spray-painting over neo-Naziand racist graffiti with hearts.

Irmela Schramm, aged 70, has been fighting racist messages in her local neighbourhood for the past thirty years describing herself as “Polit-Putze” – a political cleaner.

She told CNN: “I’m really concerned by this hate propaganda. And I want to take a stand.

“Not just hollow words. But to do something.  I could look at that swastika and “Nazi Kiez” graffiti and say ‘oh, that’s awful’ and walk by.

“But no one would dare to do anything. Well, I don’t want to wait for someone else to do something about it.”

She was first inspired to take up her decades-long mission after she saw a flyer supporting Nazi criminal Rudolf Hess in a local bus stop.

When she saw it still there returning from work, she was disgusted, got out her house keys and scratched it off.

Ms Schramm said:”I just scrubbed the hate away until it was all gone It was a fantastic feeling afterwards. This mind pollution was gone!

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“The threshold on the misuse of freedom of speech has deteriorated over the last few years. I think it has now reached rock bottom

“People tell me I am intolerant, that I don’t respect the far-right’s freedom of speech. But I say: Freedom of speech has limits. It ends where hatred and contempt for humanity begins.”


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