Irish PM rules out Ireland having specific negotiation with UK over border – Politics live – The Guardian (blog)

Theresa May’s attempt to persuade President Trump to rethink his plan to trigger a trade war by imposing big tariffs on steel and aluminium imports doesn’t seem to be working. She was scheduled to speak to him yesterday about Syria, but when the call came she also took the chance to raise her concerns about his new tariff proposals. In the read-out released to journalists afterwards, Number 10 said:

The prime minister raised our deep concern at the president’s forthcoming announcement on steel and aluminium tariffs, noting that multilateral action was the only way to resolve the problem of global overcapacity in all parties’ interests.

The statement doesn’t record how Trump responded. But Downing Street read-outs of this kind are famous for their blandness, and if they are using phrases like “deep concern”, then presumably it must have been quite a frosty and awkward exchange.

No 10 may not have commented on the president’s reaction, but the president himself posted a tweet on the subject last night and it makes it clear that he’s not taking much notice of May’s concerns.

Donald J. Trump

We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals. Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

March 5, 2018

That reference to “friends” presumably includes the UK.

The ramifications of this don’t just apply to steel and aluminium. Trump’s response also illustrates the dangers of relying for a post-Brexit economic strategy too much on striking a free trade deal with someone who does not actually believe in free trade.

May will be giving a speech this morning on housing. And then she will be in the Commons this afternoon making a statement on Brexit. At some point she will doubtless be asked about the Trump tweet.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, gives a speech at a safeguarding summit with aid charities.

10am: Theresa May gives a speech on housing. As Anushka Asthana reports, she will hit out at the “perverse incentive” of housing industry bonus structures paying out millions of pounds to chief executives as a result of company profits rather than the number of homes built.

11am: Downing Street lobby briefing.

11am: Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, meets the Sinn Fein leaders Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill in Brussels.

After 3.30pm: May gives a statement to MPs about her Brexit speech.

4.30pm: Philip Hammond, the chancellor, gives evidence to the European scrutiny committee about Brexit.

As usual, I will be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary at lunchtime and another in the afternoon.

You can read all today’s Guardian politics stories here.

Here is the Politico Europe round-up of this morning’s political news from Jack Blanchard. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’ top 10 must reads.

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