Newslinks for Friday 30th November 2018

Brexit 1) The number of Conservative MPs who have spoken out against the deal “reaches 100” “The number of Tory… Read more »

Brexit 1) The number of Conservative MPs who have spoken out against the deal “reaches 100”

“The number of Tory MPs who have spoken out against Theresa May’s Brexit deal hit 100 as critics said her two-week charm offensive is failing. Matthew Offord, the Tory MP for Hendon, on Thursday became the hundredth MP to say he would vote against the Prime Minister’s deal, warning that it will leave the UK “bound” to the EU and put the Union at risk. It came as Jo Johnson, a former minister who quit in protest at the deal, warned that the Tories will face a landslide defeat at the next election on a scale similar to 1997 if they push ahead with Mrs May’s Brexit deal. The Prime Minister on Thursday flew to the G20 meeting of world leaders in Argentina where she will attempt to convince them that her Brexit deal is good for the world economy.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May rules out a compromise – Financial Times
  • People’s Vote campaign demands a slot in the TV debate – The Guardian
  • Claims that Newsnight hired a vicar to defend the PM’s plan – The Sun
  • Electoral wipeout warning from Greening, Willetts and Jo Johnson – The Guardian
  • Scottish Parliament set to vote against the deal – The Scotsman
  • Bradley faces tough questions visiting an art class in Lisburn – Belfast Telegraph
  • Dispute over slot for TV debate – Daily Telegraph
  • May ‘rejected Irish backstop solution’ to please EU – Daily Express



Brexit 2) May arrives in Argentina for the G20 and rules out a “Plan B”

“Theresa May has put herself on a collision course with senior Cabinet ministers by ruling out a Norway-style Brexit as a “plan B” if she loses the Parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal. The Prime Minister said a Norway-style arrangement, favoured by more than a third of the Cabinet as a fallback option, would not end freedom of movement and therefore would not deliver what people voted for in the EU referendum. She also warned rebel Tory MPs they will tear Britain apart if they vote against her Brexit deal as she insisted she can still win Parliament’s backing. Mrs May said the country would not “prosper” if politicians failed to unite around her deal. Mrs May arrived in Argentina in the early hours of this morning for the G20 summit of world leaders, where she will try to convince them that President Donald Trump was wrong to say earlier this week that her Brexit deal will harm US-UK trade and, by implication, trade with other countries outside the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Why Norway plus is unlikely – Financial Times
  • She tells reporters she still hopes to won the vote – BBC

Brexit 3) Fox declares that “tough choices” must be faced

“Liam Fox will today issue a stinging rebuke to Tories who oppose the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal amid claims that as many as 100 of the party’s MPs could now vote against it. The International Trade Secretary will accuse them of not facing up to the ‘tough choices’ that Theresa May has had to make in the negotiations. And he will warn Conservative MPs that they have an ‘abiding duty’ to act in the best interests of the country. Dr Fox will become the latest Cabinet Brexiteer to come out in support of Mrs May’s agreement ahead of the meaningful vote on December 11. The Mail revealed yesterday that Andrea Leadsom is also backing the deal.” – Daily Mail

Brexit 4) Whips threaten to cancel Christmas, if deal does not go through

“Mutinous Conservative MPs have been warned that Parliament’s Christmas break could be cut short if they defeat Theresa May’s Brexit agreement. Whips and ministers are mounting a desperate attempt to reverse the growing rebellion as the number of MPs who have publicly attacked her deal reached 100.Tensions are rising within Tory ranks over the “meaningful vote” on 11 December on Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint. Whips have abandoned the “bully boy” approach used by previous generations of whips to apply more subtle pressure to MPs threatening to vote against the Prime Minister’s proposals.According to one scenario floated by the whips, defeat for Mrs May on 11 December could leave the country facing an unprecedented constitutional crisis which could not be allowed to drift on into the New Year. “There has been talk of Parliament being recalled before the New Year. The message is vote for the deal or you might not see your families for much of the holidays,” said one MP.” – The i

Brexit 5) Rees-Mogg warns that efforts to frighten people undermine democracy

“There is a crisis of trust in British institutions that has been made worse by Brexit. Although there has probably never been a golden age when a revered establishment was held in high regard both publicly and privately, the current position is worse than normal and continues to deteriorate. The problem is that people are right to be distrustful, for there is an effort both to frighten and to gull them into acquiescing into a non-Brexit Brexit. The Government is primarily to blame. Its Withdrawal Agreement contradicts its previous and clear policies, while its spokesmen insist that the reverse is true.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Bank of England’s reputation has been damaged – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 6) EU “willing to postpone” Article 50 by three months

“European leaders are prepared to offer Britain a three-month extension to Article 50 to prevent parliamentary deadlock triggering a no-deal Brexit. Under plans being discussed in European capitals the EU would agree to extend Britain’s membership until July to allow time for either a second referendum or to agree a Norway-style soft Brexit. However, the EU has made clear that the extension would only be offered after parliament had come to a clear conclusion about the type of future relationship it wants…Speaking to the European parliament yesterday, Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, warned MPs threatening to vote against the withdrawal treaty that the “future of the country is at stake” and that it was the only offer available. “Given the difficult circumstances of this negotiation and given the extreme complexity of all the issues of the British withdrawal, the treaty that is on the table is the only deal possible,” he said. “This is now the moment of ratification.” – The Times

  • We need to put Brexit on hold – until we work out what Britain wants – Lisa Nandy, The Guardian

Brexit 7) We can renegotiate later, claims Truss

“Heaven help any male number-crunchers at the Treasury who question Chief Secretary Liz Truss’s sums. She did double maths A-level and is the first female Conservative to hold the post of Treasury Chief Secretary, which means she’s effectively the Deputy Chancellor….She has nothing but contempt for Boris Johnson’s antics. While Mrs May ‘worked like a Trojan’ to get an EU deal, Classics scholar Johnson merely ‘studied the Trojans’. Truss suggests, surprisingly, that once the UK has left the EU it could ignore parts of the deal it doesn’t like. ‘We can do what we want. Some things are set in treaties but no parliament can bind its successor.’ ‘We can just rip it all up?’ I ask. ‘We can renegotiate,’ she replies. Brussels may have other ideas.” – Interview with Liz Truss, Daily Mail

Brexit 8) Collins: Labour remainers are taking a risk

“There is a lot of talk of Project Fear but none of the participants is at all scared. Perhaps they ought to be because they cannot all be right. If, collectively, they screw their noses at all deals, then Britain will either leave or remain. We cannot do both; they cannot both be right. Somebody is going to get a nasty shock. The Labour Remainers are playing for very high stakes here. If leaving without a deal is as bad as they say it is then it is quite a gamble to discard a compromise for a 50:50 shot at triumph or disaster. Yet, with every Labour move, that is where we are heading.” Philip Collins, The Times

  • Euro-fanatics are stoking the populist fire – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Britain’s overseas influence requires a Brexit rethink – David Miliband, Financial Times
  • Their smirks say everything about Davis and Raab – Oliver Kamm, The Times
  • Labour knows it must now decide Britain’s fate by choosing between May’s deal and no deal – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • The PM is touring the country but won’t give the people a say – Justine Greening, The Times

Police to patrol with guns to tackle knife crime

“Armed officers will patrol on foot in the parts of London worst hit by gang violence under plans for a significant shift in British policing. The Metropolitan Police, the country’s biggest force, wants to send officers armed with guns to deal directly with violent criminals in the areas most affected by gang feuds and knife crime. Officers deployed with visible weapons would mark a change in firearms policy. They have previously been restricted to foot patrols in areas most at risk of terrorist attack, such as the Palace of Westminster. Critics warned last night that armed officers walking around streets and council estates in areas such as Tottenham, in north London, and Newham, in east London, would be “provocative” and risked alienating communities.” – The Times

Overseas Aid spending increases to £14.1 billion

“Data from the Department for International Development showed £14.1billion of UK taxpayers’ cash was handed out to projects in developing countries, compared with £13.4billion in 2016. Pakistan was the largest recipient of UK aid, receiving £402 million during 2017, the figures showed. Other big hand outs last year included £327 million to Nigeria, £326 million to Ethiopia, £314 million to Syria and £282 million to Somalia.Projects in war-torn Yemen received £205 million while a further £227 million went to Afghanistan. The total amount given by the UK each year rises in line with economic growth as the Government is committed to matching a United Nations target of spending 0.7% of national GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on aid each year.” – Daily Express

Immigration from outside the EU increases

“Immigration from outside the EU soared to its highest level since 2004 this year – as Romanians became the second largest foreign nationality living in the UK. The number of Romanians living in the UK jumped by more than a fifth in the year to June – increasing the total number to 433,000. This is up 75,000 on the previous 12 months – the largest increase for any country. The only larger non-British nationality is Poland – with an estimated 985,000 Poles currently in the UK. India was the third highest followed in third place with 374,000 nationals, followed by Ireland with 337,000 and Italy 292,000.” – The Sun

  • Government to relax restrictions on non-EU doctors – The Guardian
  • The PM’s immigration pitch for her Brexit deal is unravelling – Leader, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Columnist Alex Morton: Whether you like her plan or not, the Prime Minister is right to prize reducing immigration over everything else

Northamptonshire Council is “bailed out”

“The government has in effect bailed out Tory-run Northamptonshire county council after giving it unprecedented permission to spend up to £60m of cash received from the sale of its HQ on funding day-to-day services. The highly unusual move – accounting rules normally prevent councils using capital receipts in this way – means the crisis-hit authority is likely to escape falling into insolvency for the third time in less than a year. Ministers gave the go-ahead for the bailout after commissioners sent in to run the council issued a stark warning that without a cash injection, Northamptonshire would be unable to meet its legal duties to run core services such as social care.” – The Guardian

Grayling blames unions for rail fare increase

“Rail passengers face fare rises of more than £200 with train operators set to announce their price increases as Chris Grayling said union greed was to blame for the hikes. It was announced in August that rail fares in much of the UK would increase by as much as 3.2 per cent in January and on Friday train operators will publish the impact on specific services. The fare rises have reignited a war of words between the Government and unions, with the Transport Secretary insistent the only way for fares to be reduced is if rail workers accept lower pay rises.” – Daily Telegraph

Closing Scotland’s tax gap with England “would cost a billion pounds”

“Scotland’s hard-pressed public services would be left facing a £1 billion black hole if finance secretary Derek Mackay emulates the “tax cut” south of the Border set out in the recent UK Budget, new research shows. And there is a warning Scots may be facing further tax hikes anyway if the Scottish Government is to meet ambitious policies to reduce child poverty and improve attainment in schools. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in Scotland has drawn up analysis following Chancellor Philip Hammond’s decision in the Autumn Budget to bring forward plans to raise the threshold at which workers start paying the “higher” 40p rate to salaries of £50,000.” – The Scotsman

Gove pledges genetic food revolution

“Britain will lead an agricultural revolution with the use of gene editing despite concerns about genetically modified food, the environment secretary said. Michael Gove pledged that scientists and farmers would be freed from a European court ruling that had the effect of halting the use of food produced using the technology. Scientists believe that the technique will lead to crops and animals with higher yields, resistance to disease and the ability to cope with the effects of climate change.” – The Times

Labour MP reveals he is HIV positive

“A Labour MP today revealed he is HIV positive in an emotional speech in the Commons – telling how he has been on a decade-long journey from ‘fear to advocacy’. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, 32, told how he decided to speak out and tell his story in a debate to mark World Aids Day because he ‘could not keep quiet anymore’. Mr Russell-Moyle, who is gay, told how it ‘hit him like a wall’ when, as a 22 year-old student, he was told he had the virus while sat in an NHS clinic a decade ago.” – Daily Mail

Trump cancels meeting with Putin

“President Trump abruptly cancelled a meeting with President Putin yesterday, setting the stage for one of the frostiest G20 summits in recent times as world leaders grapple over the crisis in Ukraine, support for Saudi Arabia and the threat of a global trade war. Mr Trump had been reluctant to condemn Russia’s latest aggression in Ukraine, and shortly before heading to Buenos Aires he said he would meet the Russian president. As he set off, however, he apparently changed his mind. Three Ukrainian seamen were wounded on Sunday when Russian warships opened fire on their navy vessels as they attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov, where there are two Ukrainian ports. Russia says the ships illegally entered its territorial waters, a claim that Ukraine denies. Russian border patrol officers detained 24 Ukrainian sailors during the incident.” – The Times

News in brief

  • Are we really in danger of getting ‘designer babies’? – Matt Ridley, CapX
  • Full text: Liz Truss’s Parliamentarian speech – the backstop, Andrew Bridgen and overpaid bureaucrats – The Spectator
  • May faces a big defeat – John Redwood
  • For 100 minutes the prime minister faced questions. She did not answer a single one. – Tom Peck, The Independent
  • How the right’s Brexit dream died – George Eaton, New Statesman

Newslinks for Thursday 29th November 2018

Brexit 1) Wallace warns against security implications of a no-deal Brexit… “Britain will be at greater risk of terror attacks if… Read more »

Brexit 1) Wallace warns against security implications of a no-deal Brexit…

“Britain will be at greater risk of terror attacks if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, the security minister has warned. A new Government paper warns that the UK will lose access to EU databases used to trace terrorists and criminals if no agreement is struck. UK agencies would no longer be plugged in to systems for exchanging a raft of data including criminal records, alerts on wanted suspects, DNA, fingerprints and airline passenger information. Extradition requests would take longer, while cooperation on counter-terrorism, cyber security and illegal migration would be affected. Speaking in central London, Security Minister Ben Wallace will warn that a no-deal Brexit will have a “real impact” on the UK’s ability to co-operate with partners… It came as an assessment by the Department for Exiting the European Union issued a series of stark warnings about the post-Brexit security risk.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Britain will be locked out of Brussels’ crime fighting database – The Times

Brexit 2) …but Leavers Dearlove and Thompson fight back

“Theresa May’s Brexit deal will surrender UK defence forces to EU control, senior intelligence chiefs claim. They say it will also “compromise” vital British intelligence, “threatening Western security”. The damning views are expressed in a letter signed by ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove and Falklands War vet Maj Gen Julian Thompson. Backed by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, they warn: “It puts at risk the fundamental Anglosphere alliances, specifically the vital Five Eyes Alliance and thereby threatens Western security.” The Five Eyes intelligence pact involves the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But the alert comes as the Government’s Security Minister argues a No Deal outcome will make it harder for cops and MI5 to keep the public safe from terror and criminals. Under Mrs May’s deal, officials have agreed to share information including DNA, fingerprints and car registrations to fight crime, terror and cyber security threats.” – The Sun

  • May cancels bid to use NHS to sell deal after row – The Sun

Brexit 3) Carney and Hammond accused of ‘Project Hysteria’ over latest warnings

“Mark Carney has been accused of undermining the Bank of England’s “independence and credibility” after publishing an analysis of the economic impacts of no-deal Brexit so bleak it has been dubbed “project hysteria”. The Governor of the Bank of England claimed that the UK could endure the worst economic shock since the Second World War if it crashes out of the EU without a deal. His “domesday” analysis warned that in such a scenario, the economy will shrink by 8 per cent and be tipped into a recession, property prices will fall by a third, the pound will plummet and interest rates will soar. Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading Eurosceptic MP, said that the Bank of England’s intervention will only serve to entrench opposition to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal ahead of the crunch vote in the Commons… Andrew Sentance, a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, described the analysis as “highly speculative and extreme”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Official forecasts show Britain getting poorer – FT
  • No deal risks ‘worst crash since the 1930s’, Bank warns – The Times
  • Brexiteers savage Carney’s predictions – The Sun
  • UK ‘worse off’ under every sort of Brexit, but is this just more ‘Project Fear’ from the Treasury? – Daily Telegraph
  • Chancellor’s scrapping of PFI casts doubt on construction projects – FT


  • The Treasury demeans itself with this absurd analysis – Andrew Lilico, Daily Telegraph
  • Pessimistic prophecies look like a last role of the dice – Larry Elliott, The Guardian


  • Forecasts have been wrong before, but these are plausible – The Times

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: “It is frankly disgraceful that the Chancellor…has not published the underlying assumptions.” Davis’ speech on forecasting. Full Text.

Brexit 4) Leadsom confirms support for the deal…

“Theresa May’s Brexit plan won crucial support last night from a senior Cabinet Eurosceptic. In a key intervention, Andrea Leadsom said she was backing the withdrawal agreement struck with Brussels because it ‘delivered’ on the referendum result. She warned its defeat on December 11 could put Brexit at risk. Mrs Leadsom, who is Leader of the House of Commons, admitted she had reservations about the agreement, fearing the UK could be ‘trapped’ in the Northern Ireland backstop. But she said it still offered the route to a good future relationship and was the only deal on the table. The comments – her first intervention since the plan was approved by EU leaders on Sunday – were published in a letter to constituents last night… Mrs Leadsom’s intervention is important because she has been seen as one of the most likely to quit the Cabinet over Mrs May’s plans.” – Daily Mail

  • Twelve MPs to watch ahead of the crucial vote – Daily Express
  • May rejects Johnson’s call for Brexiteer to be in the debate – Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn wants head-to-head on Sunday 9th – The Guardian


  • Government claims Northern Ireland has ‘most to gain’ – The Sun
  • Police chief demands extra offices to secure the border – Daily Express
  • Loyalist paramilitaries ‘extremely hostile’ to May’s deal – News Letter

>Today: ToryDiary: “Over 100 Conservative MPs will rebel over May’s deal”. Are we being played?

>Yesterday: Nick Herbert MP in Comment: If Brexiteers vote down this deal, they risk the very outcome they abhor.

Brexit 5) …but front bench discipline frays amidst scramble for ‘Plan B’

“Philip Hammond undermined Theresa May’s Brexit strategy yesterday after admitting that the cabinet would consider “other ideas” if her deal were to be voted down by the Commons. The growing prospect of defeat on December 11 and a determination to avoid Britain’s leaving the European Union on March 29 with no deal is fraying discipline on both front benches as they plot various options for a Plan B. Asked whether the prime minister would have to resign if the vote was lost, the chancellor said that she would “want to sit down with the cabinet and take stock”. He told the BBC: “She would clearly have to recognise what had happened in parliament. We would have to look at what the vote in parliament was, who voted which way, whether other ideas were emerging.” Mrs May’s strategy is to force MPs to choose between her deal, no deal or no Brexit. Mr Hammond’s comments will encourage those such as the Tory former minister Nick Boles who are seeking to rally support for a Norway-style deal as well as supporters of a second referendum.” – The Times

  • Chancellor refuses to rule out ‘Norway Option’ – Daily Mail
  • Emergency no-deal talks likely if MPs vote down deal – The Guardian
  • MPs face 40 hours of debates over days of sittings – Daily Mail
  • Second referendum ‘inevitable’, McDonnell says – Daily Telegraph


  • Brussels buoyed by position of strength in future talks – FT
  • EU vows to ‘bully Britain into submission’ – The Sun
  • May issues fishing warning to Brussels over trade – Daily Telegraph


  • Financial Times offers cautious support… – FT
  • …as the Sun toughens its opposition – The Sun

>Today: Alex Morton’s column: Whether you like her plan or not, the Prime Minister is right to prize reducing immigration over everything else

Brexit 6) Ministers risk being held in contempt, warns Bercow

“Theresa May’s most senior ministers face being found in contempt of parliament for refusing to publish the government’s full legal advice on Brexit. John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, warned yesterday that he would not hesitate to make a decision on contempt if the government tried to stop MPs from seeing the advice produced for the cabinet by Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general. Those calling for publication believe it shows that the UK would lose its sovereign right to withdraw from the Brexit divorce deal in any circumstances without the acceptance of the EU. Mrs May has ruled out publishing the advice despite a unanimous and binding motion by MPs last month that it should be made available. She told Jeremy Corbyn during prime minister’s questions that the full legal advice was “privileged” and therefore would not be released. If Mr Bercow rules that the government is in contempt, ministers are unlikely to be able to resist publishing the full document.” – The Times

  • Labour vows to do all it can to uncover legal advice – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes

Brexit 7) Nick Timothy: May’s tactics have left Leavers leaderless

The Leavers have been defeated by time. In the Nineties, the political mantra was “speed kills”. Rebutting your opponents’ attacks and leaping on their mistakes had to be rapid, or it failed. Recently, the PM’s political tactic has not been “speed kills”, but “time kills”. She has waited and waited before playing her hand. Now she has played it so late, she can claim that her deal is the best possible deal, because there is no time to negotiate anything else… But the PM’s use of time has split the Leavers in two important ways. In the Cabinet, she provoked a divide between pragmatists and purists. Michael Gove chose to stay and fight to keep Brexit real. David Davis, Boris Johnson and, latterly, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey chose to resign on principle. Their resignations have come so late, however, that they have struggled to articulate an alternative, single course of action. To make matters worse for Leavers, Ms McVey’s resignation paved the way for the return of Amber Rudd, who will use her Cabinet position to press for a Norway-style relationship if the Withdrawal Agreement is defeated in Parliament. The “time kills” strategy has also provoked Leavers to split in the Commons, in this case between the regicides and the rebels.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Prime Minister could have won support, but failed to reach out – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Britain needs leadership, and the fooling around must stop – Steve Hilton, The Sun
  • There’s nothing to save this Remainer deal from oblivion – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Why a second referendum is dangerous for our parliamentary democracy – Royston Smith, Times Red Box
  • Johnson is the target of so much bile because he’s enduringly popular – Mark Wallace, The i

>Today: Jonathan Clark in Comment: May’s deal leaves the Conservatives open to a election wipeout

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan in Comment: I want to support May’s plan. But I can’t. It proposes a way of leaving the EU that’s exactly the wrong way round.

Javid defends police for tackling moped muggers

“The Home Secretary sped to the defence of police knocking over moped thugs yesterday – after Labour blasted the tactic. Sajid Javid said the “risk assessed tactical contact” was “exactly what we need” after the explosion in moped muggings. Taking to social media, he said: “Criminals are not above the law.” Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott had condemned the practice – saying knocking people off bikes was “very dangerous” and “shouldn’t be legal for anyone”. She stormed: “Police are not above the law.” The Police Federation blasted Ms Abbotty – saying her comments “were very unhelpful”. And officers from Camden Police – one of the London boroughs with the highest rates of moped-enabled crime – said the tactic was “entirely within our lawful power… and our responsibility”. An estimated 22,000 moped muggings have taken place in the last year. The Met released a string of videos at the weekend showing specially trained drivers ramming thugs off their mopeds at the end of high speed chases – sending them sprawling over car bonnets.” – The Sun

  • Abbott faces furious backlash over police criticism – Daily Mail

James warns that social media risks making people lonely

“Social media networks risk making people lonely by acting as a “substitute” for meeting and speaking to people face to face, a minister will say on Thursday. Margot James, the Digital Minister, will tell social media companies that they need to do more to use technology to help bring people together in the real world. She is due to meet with representatives from Snapchat, Twitter and a series of apps to raise concerns about the wellbeing of their users. She said: “Recent wellbeing measures by online platforms are a major step forward, but we want to see them going further and faster in providing both safety and security for UK citizens… The Government launched a plan in September to tackle loneliness, building on the work done by Jo Cox and carried on in her name by the Jo Cox Commission for Loneliness. As part of that strategy, it pledged to hold a summit with technology giants to determine what more could be done to make people better connected.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Big tech is helping to boost populism – Jamie Bartlett, The Guardian

Business attacks Labour’s plans for executive pay

“Business representatives on Wednesday took aim at proposals being considered by the Labour party that would ban all share options and allow customers of Britain’s biggest 7,000 companies to veto executives’ pay packages. Roger Barker, head of corporate governance at the Institute of Directors, said the proposals represented an “unprecedented and unhealthy” intervention into UK corporate decision-making, which risked turning companies into “battle grounds”. The independent report, published on Tuesday night, proposed that various “stakeholders”, including staff and consumers, should be able to take part in an annual binding vote on executive packages. It also called for a ban on “golden handshakes” and “golden goodbyes” for executives and suggested that heavy fines could be levied on directors of companies that failed to pay the minimum wage… Terry Scuoler, the chairman of the Institute of Export and International Trade who previously ran the EEF, the manufacturers’ association, said the proposals were a “blatant and misguided attack on the UK’s liberal capitalist way of life”.” – FT

  • Fear of Corbyn sees investors withdraw billions – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • No, John McDonnell isn’t changing Labour policy on Brexit – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • The Bank of England’s forecasts aren’t just wrong, but absurd – Andrew Lilico, CapX
  • It’s impossible to take the Treasury’s Brexit impact assessment seriously – Robert Tombs and Graham Gudgin, Brexit Central
  • Money is already draining from Britain but because of Corbyn, not Brexit – Ross Clark, The Spectator
  • The DUP is still the Unionists’ best hope of killing May’s Brexit deal – Owen Polley, Reaction

Newslinks for Wednesday 28th November 2018

Government to publish HMT analysis of Brexit scenarios today… “Theresa May will embark on the next phase of selling her… Read more »

Government to publish HMT analysis of Brexit scenarios today…

“Theresa May will embark on the next phase of selling her Brexit blueprint today as the Treasury releases an analysis of the deal. The document will compare the economic consequences of staying in the EU with other outcomes, including staying in parts of the single market, a Canada-style free-trade agreement and a no-deal scenario. Brexiteers are preparing to challenge figures showing that Britain might be better off with a close relationship. “The reputation of government economics is in the gutter,” a source said. “That must change. It’s time for the chancellor to publish all his assumptions.”” – The Times

  • Forecasts suggest Britain would be £150bn worse of in case of “no deal” – Telegraph

…but not full legal advice on the deal, as was determined by Commons

“Theresa May will defy Parliament by blocking publication of the full legal advice behind her Brexit deal, prompting accusations of a cover-up. Downing Street said a “position statement” will be published on the legality of the deal, rather than the “final and full advice” given to ministers. Brexiteers claimed Mr May was refusing to reveal the advice because it will show that the Cabinet was warned that Mrs May’s deal could leave the UK stuck in a customs union. Number 10 was accused of “ignoring” Parliament  – which voted on the matter two weeks ago.” – Telegraph

  • They’ll publish a position paper instead – Daily Express
  • Labour says this doesn’t comply with terms of vote – Guardian
  • Bone says it sets a “dangerous precedent” – Daily Express

Is May’s deal en route for a “crashing defeat” in the vote?

“… as opponents of her deal scramble to plan for the chaotic aftermath of the meaningful House of Commons vote in less than a fortnight, which she appears likely to lose by a crushing margin. The prime minister will visit a factory near Glasgow and speak to workers and employers about the agreement, telling them: “It is a deal that is good for Scottish employers and which will protect jobs.” Back in Westminster, few MPs believe the controversial package is likely to pass the Commons, despite a charm offensive from Tory whips, who are pressing the argument that none of the alternatives – from a Canada-style trade deal to a second referendum – could command a majority.” – Guardian

  • MPs are considering alternatives – FT
  • Foster says May’s “given up” on getting a good deal – Telegraph
  • May’s allies say alternative could be customs union – Daily Mail 
  • Sturgeon says deal is “unacceptable” and that May is “desperate” – Daily Express
  • Bercow has “prioritised” May’s opponents – The Times
  • Labour MPs say Downing St treated them “like idiots” during WA briefing – Telegraph
  • Johnson joins critics of May’s TV debate plan – The Times
  • Labour pushing for ITV as host – Guardian
  • Latest poll shows public support for deal – Daily Mail


Fallon: This is a bad deal

“We need to take stock now, and consider whether we are acting in the country’s interest. Security co-operation, Gibraltar, fishing rights, the fight against serious crime, the role of the European Court – all these things are important. But in the end, Brexit is a negotiation about trade: how we continue to trade in the European markets and how we reach new free trade agreements with countries across the world. Nobody doubts that the Prime Minister has tried her very best. But neither the Withdrawal Agreement nor the political declaration with which she has returned give us any certainty whatsoever about our future trading relationships.” – Daily Telegraph

Javid implies post-Brexit immigration policy may not be revealed before the vote – and that migration target may be scrapped

“MPs might have to vote on the Brexit deal without knowing details of the future immigration policy, Sajid Javid has said, as he also indicated the planned scheme might abandon the target of keeping net annual migration to the tens of thousands. In a sometimes testy appearance before the home affairs select committee, the home secretary said only that the long-awaited white paper on post-Brexit immigration should arrive before the end of the year. “The government hasn’t set a final publication date for the white paper, but very shortly,” Javid told the cross-party panel when asked when it would arrive. “I’d certainly say in December.”” – Guardian

  • Meanwhile, Home Office to face high court challenge over child citizenship registration fees – Guardian

Hammond and Clark call for softer approach regarding low-skilled EU migrants

“The Cabinet is deeply split over the post Brexit immigration policy as at least three ministers demand Theresa May’s axes a crackdown on low-skilled EU migrants. Chancellor Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Greg Clark are among those who want to soften the policy for fear of damage to the economy. Major industries, particularly agriculture, are dependent on short term, low skilled labour and fear worker shortages when EU free movement ends after Brexit. The Cabinet war has delayed publication of a new policy paper on how the immigration system will work after Brexit. The paper is stuck at No 10 after Home Secretary Sajid Javid proposed pro-business changes to allow workers on temporary visas, the Standard revealed today.” – Daily Mail 

May will speak today of a Brexit that “works for Scotland”

“Theresa May will today promise a Brexit deal that “works for Scotland” and which will “strengthen the Union” as she ventures north of the border to sell her deeply controversial plan for life outside the European Union. The sentiments are in sharp contrast to the SNP Government’s analysis, highlighted in a new report yesterday, that warned how Scots face being more than £1,600 a year worse off outside the EU than inside the EU. Today, the UK Government will publish its own Brexit analysis, covering a “range of different scenarios”. As the Prime Minister prepares to travel this afternoon to a factory near Glasgow to talk to bosses and staff about the merits of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement, Nicola Sturgeon accused her of “governing by threat” and seeking to impose on Scotland an “unacceptable” Brexit deal, which would make the nation £9 billion poorer by 2030.” – Herald

  • She’ll commit to defending fishermen – Telegraph

She insists the backstop is “intended to be temporary”

“The prime minister has insisted that the controversial Irish border backstop is only intended to be temporary — if it comes in at all. Theresa May was speaking in response to a News Letter question about the controversial backstop, which is strongly opposed by the DUP but which has been incorporated in the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. Nigel Dodds told this newspaper after the DUP conference at the weekend that Tory backbench opposition to the backstop was growing, and Arlene Foster told the media yesterday that opposition to that Withdrawal Agreement at Westminster was “coalescing” around the backstop.” – Belfast News Letter

US ambassador Woody Johnson: Britain is the “perfect trading partner” for us

“The United States is ready to get straight to work. A talented group of Americans have been meeting their British counterparts for over a year now to lay the groundwork. The president’s trade representative has already formally notified Congress of our intention to start negotiating. If we seem enthusiastic, it’s because we are. Britain is the perfect trading partner for the United States. We are both countries that are at the top of our game when it comes to business, science and innovation. No other countries come close to winning the number of Nobel Prizes we do. Our universities dominate the world rankings.” – The Times

  • A US deal isn’t so important – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • Trump made it worse for May – Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian

More trade

  • May says it’s going “very well” with the US – FT
  • But that she isn’t “planning” to have talks with Trump at G20 – Daily Mail 
  • Meanwhile, Paterson claims Trump “offered” May an FTA in July – Telegraph
  • WTO gives “provisional support to UK membership” – FT
  • Is there a serious shortage of trade negotiators in the FO…? – Guardian
  • …cuts are proving a problem, there – FT

More Conservatives

  • Gauke pours water on Javid’s knife crime proposals – The Times
  • Hancock is a childish Tigger – John Crace, Guardian
  • Baroness Trumpington’s exciting life – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Hath not a Muslim eyes?

>Yesterday:Video: WATCH: “I certainly didn’t mean that to be on television.” In memory of Baroness Trumpington.

Labour sets out ideas for work policies, including focus on high pay

“Customers of Britain’s 7,000 biggest companies would be given the right to vote on the pay of top executives under plans for a clampdown on boardroom pay being considered by Labour. A report commissioned by Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, calls for an annual binding vote on executive packages to include all stakeholders – including employees and consumers. Other suggestions include scrapping all forms of share options so that executives are paid only in cash, a ban on golden handshakes and punitive fines for directors of companies that persistently fail to pay the minimum wage. The report also proposes that all companies in Britain with more than 250 staff would have to reveal the names of employees paid more than £150,000 a year.” – Guardian


  • Don’t ignore this – Nils Pratley, Guardian

More Labour

News in Brief

  • Don’t forget Russia – Andrew Foxall, CapX
  • The cost of Remain – Matt Kilcoyne, Spectator
  • Our new campaign – Richard Tice, BrexitCentral
  • On environmental short-termism – New Yorker

Newslinks for Tuesday 27th November 2018

Deal or No Deal 1) Number 10 works to woo Labour MPs ‘The PM is ramping up her PR blitz… Read more »

Deal or No Deal 1) Number 10 works to woo Labour MPs

‘The PM is ramping up her PR blitz to win backing for her hugely controversial deal after more than 90 mutinous Tory MPs vowed to vote it down. She is sending in her trusted lieutenants Cabinet minster David Lidington and chief of staff Gavin Barwell to schmooze Labour MPs at a private briefing tonight. But Tory MP and leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, lashed the meeting saying its ‘smacks of desperation’. He has previously warned Mrs May would increase the risk of the Tory Party splitting if she tries to get her deal through Parliament on Labour votes. It comes amid growing signs the Brexit civil war rocking the Tories is sparking bitter in-fighting in Labour as the crunch vote looms in just a fortnight’s time. Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer today suggested Brexit could be delayed as fresh negotiations are held.’ – Daily Mail



Deal or No Deal 2) May wants TV debate with Corbyn to be on 9th December

‘Theresa May today challenges Jeremy Corbyn to a live Brexit TV debate, set for December 9 — the night of the I’m A Celebrity final. The PM uses an interview in The Sun to lay down the gauntlet to the Labour leader….She wants to expose what she insists is the Opposition Leader’s failure to offer any workable alternative to hers for leaving the EU. The primetime TV clash will now be the climax of Mrs May’s titanic two week fight to win MPs’ support to save her controversial divorce deal. She told The Sun last night: “I am going to be going out and round the country. I am going to be talking to people. I am going to be explaining why I think this deal is the right deal for the UK – and yes, I am ready to debate it with Jeremy Corbyn.”‘ – The Sun

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: May’s deal could be saved with prompt improvements – such as a Stormont lock

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May v Stuart. Now that would be a proper Brexit TV debate.

Deal or No Deal 3) Lewer becomes the 27th MP to publicly submit his letter to Brady

‘Andrew Lewer has become the 27th Tory MP to put in a letter to the chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, calling for Theresa May to step down as Prime Minister. The Northampton South MP said yesterday he had decided to submit the letter now that the full scale of the “appalling mismanagement” of the negotiations led by Mrs May had become apparent. The move will fuel fears in Downing Street that more MPs could put in letters in the run-up to the Commons vote on the deal on December 11th after momentum stalled earlier this month. The rebels need to submit 48 letters to Sir Graham Brady, the 1922 chairman, to trigger a vote of no confidence in Mrs May’s leadership.’ – Daily Telegraph


Deal or No Deal 4) Trump says it is ‘a great deal for the EU’ which will stop the UK trading freely with the US

‘Asked for his view of the agreement struck by the EU and Britain, Mr Trump said at the White House: “Sounds like a great deal for the EU. I think we have to take a look at seriously whether or not the UK is allowed to trade because right now if you look at the deal they may not be able to trade with us, and that wouldn’t be a good thing. I don’t think they meant that. I don’t think that the prime minister meant that and hopefully she’ll be able to do something about that. But right now as the deal stands they may not be able to trade with the US and I don’t think they want that at all — that would be a very big negative for the deal.” A Downing Street spokesman said the political declaration agreed with the EU was “clear we will have an independent trade policy”.’ – The Times

  • May’s mistake was thinking Brexit was all about immigration – The Sun Says
  • She has apologised for saying EU nationals ‘jump the queue’ – Daily Mail
  • It’s hard enough for us to understand her surrender, without having to explain it abroad – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • Hollingbery says the UK’s first trade deal will be with Asia-Pacific nations – The Sun
  • Poland backs down in court fight with Brussels – FT
  • Mueller tells US court of Manafort ‘lies and lies’ – The Guardian

Thatcher makes the shortlist for a scientist to feature on the new £50 note

‘Margaret Thatcher has been included on the Bank of England’s list of candidates who might be pictured on the new £50 note, which will celebrate the UK’s contribution to the field of science. In its public search for people to feature on the polymer note, the bank said it had received 174,112 nominations and the the former prime minister was on the list of about 800 eligible names published on Monday. The late Baroness Thatcher spent her early career as a research chemist, including a period working for the food company J Lyons on emulsifiers for ice-creams. A campaign was mounted by the rightwing Guido Fawkes blog to “put Maggie on the new £50” before the Bank said it was looking for someone from the field of science.’ – The Guardian

  • She is up against Hawking, Turing and Franklin – Daily Mail
  • Carney will make the final decision – The Times
  • New bank stress tests to be released – FT

Gauke questions Javid’s planned knife-crime clampdown

‘Plans to tackle knife crime are being blocked amid fears over the cost of jailing offenders. In a bid to tackle a surge in stabbings, Home Secretary Sajid Javid is proposing to use Asbo-style powers against thugs. Breaching these ‘knife crime prevention orders’ would be a criminal offence, potentially punishable by prison. But Mr Javid’s colleague David Gauke, who is responsible for jails, has questioned the plans, saying they could ‘accelerate the criminalisation’ of young people.’ – Daily Mail

  • Don’t lock up children exploited by drug gangs, Zahawi urges – Daily Mail
  • Police bear cost of mental health issues GPs and other agencies cannot manage – The Times
  • Officers stood by as man drowned, after being ordered not to enter water – The Times
  • Call to protect police drivers who knock criminals off mopeds – The Times
  • Council offered jailed rapist a chance to see his victim’s child – The Times

Major drive to recruit volunteers to help in the NHS

‘Millions of patients will be pressed to volunteer in the NHS under plans set out by health chiefs who predict that hospitals will become reliant on unpaid help. All hospitals have been urged to support a campaign encouraging people leaving hospital to give up some time in future to help vulnerable patients, keep them company and assist them with paperwork. As part of a ten-year plan for the future of the health service, NHS England is backing a campaign to be launched by Helpforce, a charity that aims to boost volunteering in hospitals. Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, who runs the charity, is asking all NHS organisations to let him know where they need help in preparation for a big expansion of volunteering next year. A Christmas advertising campaign will highlight NHS volunteers, of which there are about 74,000 at present, to encourage the public to step forward.’ – The Times

  • New help for homeless people to access Universal Credit – The Sun

Women are the big financial winners from going to university – while some men risk earning less than those without a degree

‘Data from tax returns showed that women earned more regardless of what they studied, whereas men who had degrees in the creative arts, English literature or philosophy all earned less by the age of 29 than men who went straight into work. The premium comes at a price, however. The average student graduates with £50,000 of debt in tuition fees and loans. The system is under review and the £9,250 a year tuition fee could be reduced to £6,500. The gender difference is partly explained by the better-paid semi-skilled jobs chosen by men without degrees but with good GCSEs in subjects such as engineering or mechanics. Many women without degrees end up in low-paid jobs in retail or childcare.’ – The Times

  • At some universities, the average graduate ends up earning less – The Sun
  • A third of English male students are left worse off – FT
  • Education won’t work if snowflakes aren’t made to do any – Celia Walden, Daily Telegraph

Ukraine readies itself for a possible further land invasion by Russia

‘Ukraine will be placed under martial law tomorrow after warning that Russia had ‘moved to a new stage of aggression’ and could even be planning an invasion. It followed a dramatic skirmish on Sunday in which Russian warships opened fire on Ukrainian gunboats before special forces seized the vessels and their 24 crew members. President Petro Poroshenko said martial law – the introduction of a military government – would be imposed for 30 days from tomorrow, a move approved by the Kiev parliament last night. He said the escalation was needed to keep his country safe, claiming to have intelligence reports indicating a build-up of troops by Moscow close to the border. Addressing the nation on television yesterday, Mr Poroshenko said: ‘Russia has been waging a hybrid war against our country for five years. But with an attack on Ukrainian military boats it moved to a new stage of aggression. Reconnaissance data suggest an extremely serious threat of a land-based operation against Ukraine.’’ – Daily Mail

Student freed from UAE

‘A British academic pardoned from a life sentence in the United Arab Emirates has thanked his ‘brave and strong’ wife for helping secure his release after he landed back on UK soil this morning. Matthew Hedges thanked everyone involved in ‘securing my release’ this morning as he landed at Heathrow Airport. He was welcomed by his wife, Daniela Tejada, and members of his family. Mr Hedges said both he and his wife are ‘overjoyed and overwhelmed’ as he told her ‘I couldn’t have done it without you’. ‘I don’t know where to begin with thanking people for securing my release. I have not seen or read much of what has been written over the past few days but Dani tells me the support has been incredible. Thank you so much to the British Embassy and the FCO for their efforts in ensuring I arrived safely back home.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Tolkien was racist towards the orcs and should have tried to understand them, grown man says out loud – The Times
  • Baroness Trumpington, codebreaker and Parliamentary institution, dies – Daily Mail

Newslinks for Monday 26th November 2018

Raab: May’s deal means paying a fortune in return for restraints that hobble the opportunities of Brexit ‘The UK government… Read more »

Raab: May’s deal means paying a fortune in return for restraints that hobble the opportunities of Brexit

‘The UK government offered the EU £39 billion. The British people will rightly expect a good return on that money. Yet, when it comes to taking back democratic control over our laws, the final terms are worse than membership of the EU. We would still be bound indefinitely by EU-imposed rules on customs, trade, employment, social policy and tax – with no say over those rules, and no ability to exit the regime. The government rightly resisted pressure to accept Free Movement of people from EU countries, to allow us to regain control over our immigration policy. But, the current deal leaves it open for the EU to refuse a permanent trade deal unless we cave in during the second phase of negotiations, after March. As for the dream of a global Britain trading more energetically from Asia to Latin America, the EU has tied our hands, hobbling those ambitions. This suffocates one of the great opportunities of Brexit – to use free trade to create better paid jobs, and cut prices in the shops to ease the cost of living for working Britons.’ – Dominic Raab, The Sun

>Today: Chloe Westley’s column: If the Conservatives bow to May’s betrayal of the referendum result, they will be cursed for a generation


Barclay: Let’s get on with it

‘I would urge all of my colleagues who are considering opposing this deal to think again. This deal delivers the implementation period which gives businesses the certainty they need to plan ahead. It allows us to negotiate our future relationship with Brussels cordially and professionally. It avoids the disruption and uncertainty that no-deal would bring. It ends free movement once and for all. Instead, we will introduce an immigration system based on skills this country needs – not on the country people come from, but on what they can contribute to the UK. It ends the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK. We will make our own laws in our own Parliaments. It will protect the rights of EU citizens already living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU. It will ensure a fair settlement on our financial obligations – the so-called ‘divorce bill’ – less than half what some expected. And it will meet our commitment to ensure there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and no customs border in the Irish Sea.’ – Stephen Barclay, Daily Mail


The Prime Minister’s ‘desperate’ campaign to win MPs round allegedly involves offering peerages

‘Theresa May today launches a desperate 17 day campaign to save her Brexit deal as her critics claimed the EU have won. The PM sealed a ‘historic’ divorce deal with Europe’s 27 other leaders in Brussels yesterday after 20 painstaking months of talks…The Sun can reveal that the ‘meaningful vote’ to now pass it in the Commons has been fixed by No10 for December 12. A marathon five-day debate for MPs to discuss it is due to start the week before, on Wednesday December 5…Tory whips are reported to have dangled peerages in front of some rebel Tory MPs in a desperate bid to win them round.’ – The Sun

  • That will involve her touring the country – The Times
  • And Project Fear II – FT
  • Three ways May could get it past Parliament – Daily Telegraph
  • Sir John Hayes still won’t vote for the deal – The Times
  • Expect a Christmas crisis – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian
  • Corbyn accepts the Prime Minister’s offer of a debate on her deal – Daily Mail
  • Starmer pushes for an Article 50 extension – The Guardian
  • Gibb and Barwell are going to run a Cabinet training session on ‘selling the deal’ – Daily Mail

Macron says he will force the UK into the backstop unless we surrender on fishing rights

‘French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to force Britain into the Irish border backstop if it does not give up access to UK fishing waters. Mr Macron said maintaining the customs union would be used as ‘leverage’ in the next phase of talks on the final UK-EU trade deal. Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted Britain will leave the customs union, which is essential to striking trade deals, after Brexit. But under the divorce deal agreed in Brussels today this can only happen if there is an alternative for keeping open the Irish border. If France refuses to agree a trade deal because of a dispute over fishing, entering the backstop – which is hated by Brexiteers, Unionists and the DUP – could be inevitable.’ – Daily Mail

  • His threat places Mundell under more pressure – Daily Telegraph
  • The French government is in crisis – The Times
  • Diplomats mock Spain’s claims regarding Gibraltar – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Gibraltar rocked?

Gove and Rudd team up to push for EFTA

‘Amber Rudd and Michael Gove have formed a cross-Brexit alliance to push for membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The move by the Remainer Work and Pensions Secretary and Leave campaign boss Environment Secretary is a last-ditch solution to end an impending national crisis if Parliament fails to agree any Brexit outcome. The wider European arrangement gives members full access to the single market, but freedom from agriculture and fishing rules, as well as the European Court of Justice…Under the idea – dubbed ‘Norway Plus’ – the UK would join EFTA to maintain economic stability for a temporary period of a few years while the Government negotiates a full free trade deal from a stronger position. But the ministers will only publicly propose it as a final fallback when all else fails to be sure of enough Labour support for it. That would mean after the PM loses the meaningful vote next month, and once Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to force a general election and an expected backbench bid for a second referendum also all fails.’ – The Sun

Ministers explore pre-fabricated hospitals and schools

‘Schools, hospitals, prisons and train stations could be constructed quicker and with less waste if they were “prefabbed” in factories before being erected, ministers say today. Setting out £600billion worth on infrastructure spending over the next decade, Treasury minister Robert Jenrick said “new methods of construction” needed to be “embraced”. Officials believe pre-building components in factories before they’re sent to construction sites for assembly will speed up building projects. Government proposals for a “platform approach” could see digitally-designed components used on different types of public buildings. Officials believe the fresh approach could boost productivity and reduce waste by as much as 90 per cent. It could mean a school that typically takes a year to build could be completed in just over four months.’ – The Sun

  • Pharma deal will save the NHS £300 million – Daily Mail
  • Bypassing GPs can mean faster cancer diagnoses – The Times
  • We have made great strides in cancer care but there is more to do – Sir Mike Richards, The Times
  • The government should act to raise survival rates – The Times Leader
  • NHS bodies urged to merge to save money – The Times
  • Medical implants blamed for 1,000 deaths – The Times
  • Manufacture pays out over faulty hips – The Guardian
  • Treat online gambling like tobacco – FT Leader
  • Spaceport plans get bogged down in dispute with crofters – The Times

First Islamic faith school starts a cadet force

‘Improving diversity and inclusivity of the armed forces is a priority for General Sir Nick Carter, who became chief of the defence staff this summer. The army has struggled to recruit from the Muslim community. Now the Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School in Blackburn has been granted approval to start a cadet force for its teenage pupils. The armed forces had established links with the school earlier this year by inviting 50 boys to a cricket match at Lord’s and joining them on a visit to a mosque in Regent’s Park, it is understood. Pupils who enrol as cadets from next September will practise drills, fieldcraft, map reading and experience being on a firing range. As a medical services cadet force there will also be a focus on the operation of field hospitals, casualty treatment and personnel evacuation. Local mosque leaders have given their blessing to the initiative and have approved the cadet force convening on Fridays. It has also been supported by parents and governors.’ – The Times

  • The armed forces have struggled to attract Muslim recruits in recent years – The Times Leader

Bootle: Beware a brewing economic storm emanating from the United States

‘The federal government deficit is worryingly high. It is currently 3.8pc of GDP but it will rise to about 5pc in a few years. (The UK’s deficit should be just over 1pc this year.) Moreover, the ratio of federal debt to GDP looks set to rise relentlessly to almost 100pc within 10 years. But the main focus of concern should be interest rates. Official rates have risen by 2pc and all the signs are that the Federal Reserve will raise them again in December. It may well increase them twice more next year, taking the Fed Funds Rate (roughly the equivalent of our Bank Rate) to a peak of 2.75pc-3pc. It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by the low level of these interest rates, even after the Fed’s anticipated further action. Instead, you should pay attention to the increase in rates. Over the last two years, real (ie inflation-adjusted) two-year Treasury bond yields have increased by 2.5pc. Increases of this magnitude were also experienced in the late Eighties, the late Nineties and the mid-Noughties.’ – Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph

  • Mortgage-salary ratios soar up above the levels seen just before the crash – Daily Mail
  • £1 million boost for coastal communities – The Guardian
  • Liberal centrists need to learn the language of emotion – Paul Mason, The Guardian

Russia fires on, then seizes, Ukrainian naval vessels

‘Russia rammed a Ukrainian tugboat on the Black Sea yesterday, sparking a day of tensions that escalated into violence as years of enmity between the former Soviet states spilled into open hostility. Ukraine said a Russian border-patrol boat had attacked the tug as it and two gunboats attempted to enter the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, which sits between Crimea and the Russian mainland. Footage showed the tug being hit by a larger vessel whose crew were speaking in Russian. That began a stand-off that, hours later, ended with Russia firing on the gunboats, seizing them and the already damaged tug and detaining at least three injured Ukrainian sailors, in the most serious escalation between the countries since the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.’ – The Times

  • Ukrainian president asks parliament to approve 60-day state of war – FT
  • Gordievsky’s account of Foot receiving KGB money – Daily Mail
  • Russia now has more faith healers than doctors – The Times

Charity alleges systematic grooming and abuse of Sikh girls by Pakistani men

‘In many cases, according to the report, the men would groom a girl before passing her round to other members of their family. The girls would be snared by ‘fashionably dressed adult Pakistani men travelling in flamboyant vehicles to predominantly Sikh dominated areas and schools’, it claimed. The report said that while the revelation of grooming gangs targeting white girls in Rochdale shocked the nation in 2012, similar instances had long been taking place under the radar in Britain’s Sikh communities. Sikh community leaders say the problem started in the 1960s. The charity said the report was not a ‘witch-hunt against any individual, community, culture or faith’ – but said nothing would change unless the facts were known.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Judy Terry: To defeat crime, councillors need to listen to youth charities and park friends

News in Brief

  • Chinese scientists claim the first gene-edited babies have been born – Daily Mail
  • How the church lost its flock over Brexit – Unherd
  • UAE pardons British academic jailed as a ‘spy’ – FT
  • People who have a cheeky line aren’t to blame for the drug wars – The Spectator
  • Why the Tories should want a 2019 election – New Statesman

Newslinks for Sunday 25th October 2018

Brexit 1) May writes letter to the public as she prepares to sell her deal “It is a deal for… Read more »

Brexit 1) May writes letter to the public as she prepares to sell her deal

“It is a deal for a brighter future, which enables us to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. Outside the EU, we will be able to sign new trade deals with other countries and open up new markets in the fastest-growing economies around the world. With Brexit settled, we will be able to focus our energies on the many other important issues facing us here at home: keeping our economy strong, and making sure every community shares in prosperity; securing our NHS for the future, giving every child a great start in life, and building the homes that families need; tackling the burning injustices that hold too many people back; and building a country for the future that truly works for everyone. On March 29 next year, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. We will then begin a new chapter in our national life. I want that to be a moment of renewal and reconciliation for our whole country.” – Sunday Times

  • Taking rebels to the abyss could clinch it for May – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • Security and defence threat posed by the deal – Richard Dearlove, FT
  • Brussels is shafting us for this calamitous deal – Daniel Hannan MEP, Sunday Telegraph
  • Giving the UK a way out will save both it and Europe – Tony Blair, Sunday Times


Brexit 2) Claims of whips dangling peerages and honours for votes

“Tory MPs are eagerly sharing anecdotes about approaches to senior back-bench Brexiteers by the Tory whips. In one encounter, a veteran Eurosceptic was told: “We need more people in the House of Lords… I think you’d be a strong voice.” The Brexiteer was one of those members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) counselling his colleagues not to put in a letter demanding a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. Now he had good reason to back May’s Brexit deal as well. Tory MPs say a peerage has also been dangled under the nose of a former cabinet minister who was asked to “consider your future” at a meeting with one of May’s henchmen. Even the optimists, however, do not think patronage and strategic use of the carrot will be enough. “She can’t just offer 90 peerages,” said one Tory. May’s team are still seeking a “sweetener” for constructive rebels such as the former leader Iain Duncan Smith and cabinet Brexiteers such as Andrea Leadsom.” – Sunday Times

  • May copying Blair’s ‘propaganda tricks’ to sell her deal – Sun on Sunday
  • Prime Minister offers 40 reasons to endorse the agreement – Sunday Express


  • Former donor denounces May as ‘incompetent arch-Remainer’ – Sunday Telegraph

Brexit 3) Remainer ministers form new ‘Gang of Five’

“The prime minister is facing a fresh cabinet mutiny after “remain” ministers began secret talks behind her back to force her to adopt a new plan B for Brexit. Senior ministers are also in private discussions with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to draw up an alternative Brexit blueprint in the event that her deal is voted down by parliament… A majority of cabinet ministers believe she will lose the meaningful vote pencilled in for December 12 and are plotting to force her to change tack. Five remainer ministers – Philip Hammond, David Lidington, Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke – have agreed they will try to get May to adopt a softer Brexit if she cannot get her plan through the Commons. They are prepared to threaten a walkout if May contemplates giving way to Brexiteers who want her to pursue a no-deal departure… Hammond hosted a “meeting without pizza” on November 14 at which leading remainers agreed they could not serve in a government that was pursuing no deal. They are also in talks with Brexiteers Michael Gove and Liam Fox and with the DUP in a bid to find a solution.” – Sunday Times


  • If the deal is rejected, what next? – David Smith, Sunday Times
  • What the EU will do when Parliament votes ‘no’ – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph


  • Anti-Brexiteers can do without a leader, but not a plan – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

>Yesterday: Nick Hargrave’s column: If we join the EEA, others might follow – thus creating a Europe-wide, non-federalist alternative to the EU

Brexit 4) Prime Minister ‘caves in to Spain’ over Gibraltar trade

“Theresa May faced claims of capitulation last night as Britain gave way to Spanish demands over Gibraltar to clear the way for her Brexit deal to be approved today. Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, sent a letter clarifying that the Rock would be covered by a future trade deal with the EU only with Madrid’s consent. The statement was arranged after Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, threatened to force the summit’s cancellation and “veto Brexit”. But Sanchez immediately inflamed the situation, claiming the UK would now have to open talks on “joint sovereignty” of Gibraltar. He declared: “Europe and the UK have accepted the demands put forward by Spain.” May responded by saying she would “stand by” the citizens of Gibraltar… Officials said the statement offered a way for Sanchez to save face without changing UK policy. All member states will have a veto over any EU-UK trade agreement.” – Sunday Times

  • May faces new Brexit dilemma after Madrid plays hardball – Sun on Sunday
  • Brexiteers accuse Downing Street of betrayal ‘under cover of darkness’ – The Observer

>Today: ToryDiary: Gibraltar rocked?

Brexit 5) Johnson urges DUP to sink ‘Titantic’ agreement in speech to conference

“Boris Johnson compared Theresa May’s Brexit deal to the Titanic yesterday as he used a platform provided by the Democratic Unionist Party to savage the prime minister’s draft withdrawal agreement. In a blistering attack at the DUP conference in Belfast, he declared: “Now is the time to point out the iceberg ahead.” Watched by Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, the former foreign secretary was given an enthusiastic reception as he said the deal threatened the Union and would leave Northern Ireland “ruled by the EU”. He stopped short of calling for May to be ousted but warned the UK was on the “verge of making a historic mistake”. Johnson called on the government to tear up the Irish “backstop” plan and use technology to avoid a hard border with the Republic. He also suggested creating a secretary of state for “no deal” on World Trade Organisation terms, insisting the UK’s future trade with the EU should be based on a “Canada-plus” model that ensured it could strike deals elsewhere.” – Sunday Times

  • …but to maintain their pact with the Tories – FT
  • Johnson ‘bedazzled’ the Unionists on a cold Belfast night – The Observer
  • Raab says deal can be ‘salvaged’ without backstop – Sunday Telegraph


  • Parliament should put a sunset clause on the Withdrawal Agreement – Thomas Sharpe QC, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: David Scullion and George Jackson in Comment: Voting down the Withdrawal Agreement won’t lead to a Corbyn Government

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: It’s possible to trade across the Northern Irish border without simply swallowing EU regulation whole

Brexit 6) Hayes mocked by Eurosceptics, but insists he won’t vote for the current deal ‘as it stands’

“After picking up a surprise knighthood on Friday, Tory Eurosceptic John Hayes should be celebrating. Instead he’s found himself being mocked by a fellow party Brexiteer who suggested that some colleagues believed he got it from the Prime Minister to persuade him to back her in next month’s crucial EU vote. Sir John was teased by Tory MP Mark Francois who said MPs took his ‘shock’ award as a sign of the Government’s desperation to stave off a defeat. In a sarcasm-laden letter, Mr Francois mocked the ‘staunch Eurosceptic’ MP, saying: ‘Do not be alarmed – your colleagues…know you are made of sterner stuff!’ He heaped ridicule on Sir John, suggesting he could write down his political principles ‘on the back of an old postage stamp’… Sir John hit back by dismissing Mr Francois’s letter as a ‘comic turn’ and insisted his knighthood made no difference to his refusal to vote for the EU withdrawal agreement as it stood. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘As I’ve made very clear before my honour, I cannot support the deal as it now stands.’” – Mail on Sunday

Brexit 7) McDonnell in ‘secret talks with People’s Vote’ campaign

“John McDonnell held secret talks with the People’s Vote campaign last week amid growing signs that Labour might support a second Brexit referendum. The shadow chancellor hosted Tom Baldwin and Alastair Campbell, the former spin doctors to Ed Miliband and Tony Blair respectively who are now campaigning for a new vote, in his Commons office on Thursday. It is understood McDonnell saw polling figures that showed Labour voters overwhelmingly supported a second vote, something that grassroots activists and Labour MPs are pressing the leadership to agree. The Sunday Times has also learnt that Laura Parker, national director of Momentum, the campaign group that acts as a version of the praetorian guard to Jeremy Corbyn, also attended a rally this month in support of a new referendum. A YouGov survey commissioned by the People’s Vote found that by a margin of 53% to 47%, people think there should be another nationwide vote if the Commons rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a crunch vote due next month.” – The Times

  • Re-run possible if deal is thrown out, says Lithuanian prime minister – Sun on Sunday
  • Mandelson bonds with ‘enforcer’ Milne – The Times


  • Shadow Chancellor’s enmity serves the Tories better than friendship – Stephen Bush, Sunday Times
  • Is Labour secretly conspiring to let a Tory Brexit happen? – Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Lucy Woodcock in Comment: By backing a ‘People’s Vote’, May could save the Conservatives

Mordaunt vows to crack down on antisemitic abuse of female MPs

“Penny Mordaunt has vowed to stamp out the “vicious” anti-semitic abuse hurled at her parliamentary colleagues amid fears it could become a barrier to women entering public life. Speaking on the eve of a conference on anti-semitism and misogyny, the women and equalities minister said the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre last month was a warning of what could happen in Britain if the abuse experienced by Jewish MPs such as Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth was tolerated. “All of us have faced misogyny and abuse, and many also have faced danger. But I think the venom that my Jewish female colleagues are having to endure is something else,” she said. The Sara Conference, to be held in London tomorrow, will hear evidence that Jewish women in public life are a magnet for online persecution.” – Sunday Times

Tugendhat joins calls for land purchase reform

Councils should be able to buy up agricultural land at dramatically reduced prices to help solve the housing crisis, a coalition of local authority leaders and MPs have said. More than two dozen council leaders, mayors and MPs urged ministers to radically overhaul reform compulsory purchase laws to “capture” a greater amount of landowners’ profits. The signatories, including nine Conservative council leaders, and Tom Tugendhat, the senior Tory backbencher, want the state to be able to buy up land at its “true market value”, rather than current rates, which generally include a speculative uplift based on planning permission the site could gain for future development. The money saved by local authorities could be to help fund improved landscaping, green spaces, affordable housing and local services, they said in a letter to James Brokenshire, the Housing Secretary. The intervention marks a significant boost for a campaign, led by Onward, a new centre-right think tank, and Shelter, the housing charity, for radical reform of rules governing the purchase of land.” – Sunday Telegraph

Calls to deselect Chope for blocking FGM bill

“He achieved notoriety when he blocked plans to make “upskirting” a crime – now Sir Christopher Chope has provoked fury by objecting to a bill intended to help prevent female genital mutilation (FGM). The Conservative MP for Christchurch in Dorset shouted “object” on Friday afternoon during the second reading of an anti-FGM bill, blocking its progress through the Commons. FGM is the custom of removing all or part of the female external genitalia, including the clitoris. It was made illegal in the UK in 1985 but the crime has never been successfully prosecuted. Chope’s behaviour sparked criticism from across parliament, including calls for the MP to be deselected. The bill, introduced by the crossbench peer Lord Berkeley of Knighton, sought to amend the Children Act 1989 so that courts would be able to use their strongest protective powers to help girls at risk of FGM. The bill had gone through the House of Lords unopposed and had won the support of the government. However, Chope, 71, defended his decision, describing the bill as an act of “virtue signalling”.” – Sunday Times

News in Brief:

  • Johnson’s speech to the Democratic Unionist conference – Guido Fawkes
  • Brexit lessons from the backstop – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • The last thing Britain needs is a wealth tax – Ben Ramanauskas, 1828
  • Why don’t trans activists practise what they preach? – Meghan Murphy, UnHerd
  • The Government has covertly signed us up to the EU’s defence agenda – Steven Edington, Brexit Central

Newslinks for Saturday 24th November 2018

May prepares curbs to migration in bid to sell deal… “Theresa May is preparing to unveil curbs on low-skilled migrants… Read more »

May prepares curbs to migration in bid to sell deal…

Theresa May is preparing to unveil curbs on low-skilled migrants just days before a crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal in a bid to win round Eurosceptic Tory MPs, The Telegraph has learned. Leaked Cabinet papers reveal that the Home Office has drawn up plans to issue low-skilled migrants with 11-month visas “with restricted entitlements and rights” while they are living in the UK. Ministers are also considering alternative plans to allow EU migrants aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for two years, with a strict cap on numbers. The Prime Minister will announce that the Government will abolish the cap on highly skilled workers after Brexit such as doctors and nurses entirely so the UK can attract the “brightest and the best”… The Telegraph understands that the Government is planning to publish the long-awaited migration white paper in the week starting December 3rd, with the Commons vote expected the following week. The Prime Minister will then seek to reframe the Brexit debate around migration by arguing that her deal will fulfil the key referendum pledge of taking back control of borders.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Low-skilled EU immigrants to receive 11-month visas – The Sun
  • Prime Minister repeatedly refuses to rule out resigning – Daily Telegraph
  • May ‘implores’ rebels to back her deal… – Daily Express
  • …and insists it cannot be ‘rewritten’ by MPs – The Scotsman
  • Is the deal already sunk? – Daily Mail


  • Government to ‘enrage Brexiteers’ with new projections – The Times
  • Pro-Brexit adviser admits we’d be better off staying in – The Guardian
  • Spain stands firm on Gibraltar ahead of summit – FT
  • EU to demand fishing access before agreeing trade deal – The Sun
  • Brussels sees its Brexit mission accomplished – FT

>Today: Nick Hargrave’s column: If we join the EEA, others might follow – thus creating a Europe-wide, non-federalist alternative to the EU

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My Brexit poll. It’s good for May…but bad for her deal

…as DUP say its worse than Corbyn taking power

“Theresa May’s Brexit deal is a worse outcome for Britain than a government led by Jeremy Corbyn, Arlene Foster says today. The head of the Democratic Unionist Party warns the prime minister that she cannot count on its ten MPs to save her from a vote of no confidence if the Commons rejects the deal. In an interview with The Times Mrs Foster makes clear that the Tories’ wavering allies will not be bullied into propping up Mrs May by the fear of a Labour election victory. Although the arrival of Mr Corbyn in No 10 is “not a pleasant scenario”, she says a divorce deal that in her view carves Northern Ireland from Britain is worse… She points to Labour MPs whose views on Northern Ireland are opposed to those of Mr Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and says that the DUP would look at the “whole picture” if it were faced with a choice between an early election or accepting a backstop that imposed a different set of regulations on Northern Ireland.” – The Times

  • Hammond announces ‘surprise cash boost’ for Northern Irish schools – The Sun
  • Robinson gives eve-of-conference warning on the Union – News Letter
  • Interview with Foster – The Times
  • Adams free to appeal 1970s convictions – The Guardian


  • Raab says deal is ‘worse’ than staying in the EU – The Sun
  • Stewart says defeat of deal could cause lasting toxicity – Daily Express


  • DUP’s electoral insulation could be a false comfort – Sam McBride, News Letter
  • The party is in as much trouble as May, and will stick with her – Alex Kane, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: It’s possible to trade across the Northern Irish border without simply swallowing EU regulation whole

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Yesterday in the Commons. More opponents than supporters of the Prime Minister’s deal on the Conservative backbenchers.

Knighthood for Hayes derided as ‘desperation’

“Theresa May last night awarded a knighthood to a veteran Eurosceptic MP, prompting accusations she was using the honours system to get her Brexit deal through parliament. John Hayes, a maverick former minister sacked by the prime minister in January, was given the honour in a one-off announcement, rather than as part of a large list as is typical. This deepened suspicion in Westminster that the decision was related to the thorny task facing the prime minister in getting her Brexit deal through the Commons. Sir John, who voted to leave the EU in 2016, has expressed concern about the backstop plan for the Irish border in the government’s Brexit deal, and last night told The Daily Telegraph: “I still need a lot of persuading to vote for this.” Chris Matheson, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, said that it was “a spectacular act of desperation for Theresa May to be giving away knighthoods in a bid to win votes for her botched Brexit deal”.” – The Times

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Arise, Sir John!

Jeremy Hunt: The Commons and the country should rally behind the Prime Minister

“If Parliament were to reject the Declaration and the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, this would open the door for those who wish to derail Brexit and overturn the result of the referendum. Already we hear demands for the British people to be made to rerun the debate and vote again. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour just play politics – standing both for and against a second referendum, saying one thing to Leave voters and quite another to Remainers. As it happens, I voted to stay in the EU, but I respect the outcome and I believe in the democratic imperative of honouring the decision of the British people. Today, the choice is not between this Declaration and a perfect agreement. The real choice is between the terms secured by the Prime Minister in the national interest or the danger of going back to square one and Brexit not happening at all. This would deal a profoundly damaging blow to British democracy. Now that the crucial hour is upon us, the country should get behind her.” – Daily Telegraph

  • How Downing Street is trying to force this deal through – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • Remainers must reject May’s agreement – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • There is still a Norway-style alternative – Camilla Cavendish, FT
  • Will ‘real Brexit’ become the Right’s version of ‘real socialism’? – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • May’s blueprint is not going to pass the Commons – James Forsyth, The Sun
  • How the Prime Minister could survive the next few weeks – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Keep your eyes fixed on the Withdrawal Agreement, which would be backed by law. Not on this Political Declaration. Which wouldn’t.

Ministers 1) Rudd signals more support for single mothers

“Single Mums are set to get more help from Universal Credit, Amber Rudd has said. The new Work and Pensions boss says she would review the five-week wait, payments for housing, and repayment of loans in a sure sign that more changes are on the way. But she said she wanted to focus on the impacts on “particularly single mothers”. In an interview with Sky News she said: “I’m going to specifically look at how Universal Credit impacts women… I’m going to make sure that if we need to make changes to support them then we will.” Research has shown that single mums and women generally are some of the hardest hit by the Universal Credit and welfare system. The flagship policy, which is set to roll six benefits into one, has been beset with issues, but the new DWP boss has vowed to “fix” them. She insisted that the system was a “force for good” but admitted there were “real problems” that needed to be dealt with. Millions more Brits are set to go onto the new system in the coming months, as ministers transfer people from the old to the new system.” – The Sun

Ministers 2) Javid forced to abandon firearms curbs

“The government has abandoned plans to ban military-grade rifles after pressure from Conservative Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Sajid Javid, the home secretary, quietly dropped the proposal yesterday. Police forces had supported the idea of banning the weapons, which were designed by the military, amid fears that they would fall into the hands of terrorists. The National Crime Agency said that the rifles were too powerful to be used for sport and warned that they had the ability to immobilise a medium-sized lorry at a distance of just over a mile. Brexiteer MPs have said that a ban would be disproportionate and risked penalising law-abiding citizens. They said that only a tiny proportion of crimes were committed with legally held firearms. The row is the latest show of strength from Brexiteer Conservative MPs who oppose Theresa May’s proposed EU deal with Brussels. Labour said that the climbdown showed that the government was so weak that it could not pass laws designed to ban powerful rifles.” – The Times

  • Khan spends £1.7 million on water fountains instead of police – Daily Telegraph

Mercer attacks ‘unjust’ investigations into troops

“Military cops are still investigating over 140 alleged war crimes committed in Iraq by British troops – despite claims the probes would end this year. Last February then Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced the hated IHAT probe would close with the total remaining cases set to drop to around 20. And MoD officials bragged service cops would “complete the remaining investigations” as early as the end of this year – 12 months ahead of schedule. But figures released by the MoD yesterday confirmed there are 51 ongoing investigations into 144 allegations of wrongdoing. Of that 27 are full investigations while 24 are lines of enquiry – not full-blown probes. Each investigation can contain multiple allegations. Insiders last night claimed the target of completing all work by the end of this year was an aspiration rather than a promise, but critics were dismayed by the lack of progress. Campaigning MP Johnny Mercer, a former Army officer, called the investigation of troops a “fundamental injustice” – saying action only gets taken when pressure is applied.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • The DUP has clear red lines, but what does the party want from Brexit? – Owen Polley, CapX
  • If May wants to solve the ‘backstop’ crisis, she needs to talk to tech – Andrew Bird, Brexit Central
  • May’s Brexit deal: the legal verdict – Martin Howe QC, The Spectator
  • Silver smoothies, hard nuts, and sensitive youngsters: the Tory Brexit tribes – Mark Fox, Reaction
  • How the Church lost its flock over Brexit – Giles Fraser, UnHerd

Newslinks for Friday 23rd November 2018

May attacked on all sides in the Commons as she defends her deal… “Theresa May warned MPs that the public… Read more »

May attacked on all sides in the Commons as she defends her deal…

“Theresa May warned MPs that the public wanted Brexit “settled” as she faced bitter opposition from her own party to her EU exit deal yesterday. The prime minister presented the draft agreement on a future relationship with Europe to a largely hostile Commons after closing a 17-month negotiation earlier than expected. Claiming that her deal delivered the referendum result while protecting jobs and security, she told opponents that she had the backing of a public weary of division and desperate to return to domestic issues. “The British people want Brexit settled,” she said… However, the scale of her task in forcing the deal through the Commons next month was exposed in a bruising debate of two and a half hours during which she was attacked from all sides. More than half of Tory backbenchers have spoken out against the draft agreement with only a few weeks to go before the crunch decision in parliament. Senior Tory Brexiteers dismissed her commitments yesterday to look again at their proposal for a technological solution to the Irish border, which were contained in a “political declaration” setting out Britain’s future relationship with the EU.” – The Times

  • Half of Tory backbenchers opposed as Prime Minister told to ‘junk’ the backstop – Daily Telegraph
  • Eurosceptics find only strained relations with May – FT
  • Scottish Tory MP says he’ll find it difficult to back the deal – Daily Telegraph
  • Raab and Johnson tear into plan as big beasts wade in – Daily Mail
  • Leavers say proposals amount to ‘total surrender’ to the EU – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister to appeal over the heads of MPs – FT
  • May demands mutinous MPs fall into line – Daily Mail


  • Hancock faces calls to quit over second referendum remarks – Daily Express
  • May vows there will never be another vote whilst she is Prime Minister – Daily Mail



…as Spain fights to re-insert Gibraltar into the Brexit negotiations…

“A senior Spanish diplomat shouted at his German counterpart as tensions over Brexit talks between European Union countries reached snapping point this week. Pablo García-Berdoy, the Spanish permanent representative to the EU, compared British sovereignty over Gibraltar to the Soviet Union’s creation of East Germany, according to diplomatic accounts. Yesterday Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, further entrenched his country’s position when he said that having spoken to Theresa May, he would “veto Brexit” unless there were changes to the deal. “After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away,” he said. “My government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit.” Spanish anger is understood to have erupted during a meeting of EU ambassadors on Tuesday when Mr García-Berdoy raised his voice at Michael Clauss, Germany’s permanent representative to the EU, who had appealed to Spain not to derail the deal over the issue of Gibraltar.” – The Times

  • EU warns of threat to fish and chips if deal isn’t struck over access to waters – Daily Telegraph
  • May denies that fishermen are being ‘sold out’ for a deal – The Scotsman
  • Leaked political declaration fails to offer ‘frictionless trade’ – The Guardian
  • Tensions brew between Member States over Brexit – Daily Express


  • CBI humiliated over leaks showing what it really thinks of the deal – The Sun

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My Brexit poll. It’s good for May… but bad for her deal


…and Hammond prepares to make last-ditch plea to Unionist allies at conference

“Chancellor Philip Hammond will make a last minute desperate plea to the Democratic Union Party to support the Brexit deal as the Prime Minister prepares for this weekend’s crunch EU summit. The Chancellor is expected to speak at the DUP conference in Northern Ireland to try and win over the party who have so far rejected Theresa May’s draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. However the Chancellor’s speech could be overshadowed by an appearance by arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson who will ask DUP MPs to vote down the deal. Mrs May is relying on DUP support to get the draft bill agreed by Parliament when MPs vote next month. Mr Hammond will arrive in Belfast on Friday afternoon before addressing members at the conference in the evening. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will also be in Northern Ireland today as he visits a business on the Irish border. The DUP is opposed to the Prime Minister’s negotiated deal over the backstop agreement.” – Daily Express

  • DUP activists to vent fury over ‘gross betrayal’ at conference – FT
  • May must ditch backstop to win back Northern Irish MPs – News Letter


  • Northern Ireland needs a deal to avoid a hard border – FT

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Hammond and Johnson set to appear at the DUP conference

Iain Martin: Tories are preparing for an emergency Prime Minister

“Tories are turning their attention to what happens if May’s deal is defeated. An emergency prime minister, chosen in a hurry with the leadership election rules tweaked, might be needed within weeks. Who would it be? The clear frontrunners are Sajid Javid, the home secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary. Dominic Raab, the recently-departed Brexit secretary, would run with the backing of Brexiteers. Michael Gove is the champion of those hoping at the last moment to switch to a Norway-style compromise deal. Amber Rudd believes the backing of 30 or so Tory wets would help her influence the outcome. Rudd said this week that no-deal won’t happen because MPs will stop it. But the legislation is hard to change, and without a front bench pledged to halt Brexit, we could end up leaving that way. If the deal fails and the Commons cannot agree on an alternative, it will be the job of an emergency prime minister to say that MPs can vote on as many contested combinations as they like, but look at the calendar. On March 29, Britain leaves the EU. Better get ready.” – The Times

  • Cabinet Brexiteers are gambling on managed no-deal – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • May has a record of winning votes against insurmountable odds – Macer Hall, Daily Express
  • The Prime Minister has only herself to blame for her dire position – Anna Soubry MP, Times Red Box
  • So what’s in the deal May got Brussels to agree? – Ian Drury, Daily Mail
  • EU protests show that this is no British capitulation – Henry Newman, Times Red Box
  • Believe it or not, that was the easy part of the talks – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • We’re heading for a second vote, and maybe a third – Vernon Bogdanor, The Guardian
  • Britain needs an immigration policy fit for Brexit – Madeline Grant, The Times

>Yesterday: Dr Sheila Lawlor in Comment: This deal is a challenge to our historic freedoms

Ministers 1) Williamson announces that offshore patrol vessels are ‘saved’

“A fleet of Royal Navy ships dedicated to protecting British waters has been saved in a post-Brexit boost, it was yesterday announced. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed three offshore patrol vessels will not now get the chop, as they are needed more than ever to secure UK shorelines. Trusty HMS Tyne, HMS Mersey and HMS Severn, which were due to get axed, will now stay on. And the entire Fishery Protection Squadron will be boosted to eight when new patrol vessels enter service over the next two years… The Fishery Protection Squadron – the oldest squadron in the Royal Navy – is tasked with stopping illegal fishing, aiding sailors in distress and combating illegal smuggling of people, drugs and money. They have even shadowed Russian warships sailing in waters off the UK and taken part in counter terror missions. The current fleet was due to be decommissioned and replaced by a new fleet, but thanks to Williamson’s intervention, they will now be kept boosting the entire squadron.” – The Sun

  • Armed Forces need major cash boost to meet Russian and Chinese threats, claims Ellwood – Daily Express

Ministers 2) Hinds to push for primary pupils to get out of the classroom

“Primary school pupils will be taught to dam streams, make mud pies, play conkers, canoe and ride horses to build character rather than spending hours just on homework, under new measures revealed today. Education Secretary Damian Hinds will publish a series of extra-curricular goals for pupils to achieve every year – which could include cooking on campfires, knitting and growing vegetables – in order to toughen them up. He said: “Bluntly, it is about doing stuff that doesn’t involve looking at a screen. It’s about getting out and about.” Mr Hinds said he recognised formal qualifications “are obviously not the only thing. He said it was important to teach children how to “bounce back from the knocks that inevitably come to all of us”… The Education Secretary came across the idea on a visit to St Werburgh’s Primary School in Bristol, where pupils are given a “passport” of enrichment activities. Between arrival in reception and leaving in year six youngsters are given 15 goals to achieve each year.” – The Sun

  • Labour MP accused of sexism for ‘flounce’ jibe at Leadsom – The Times

MPs call for boycott of tech firms which aren’t tough on terror

“Technology groups such as Google and Facebook should be boycotted by advertisers unless they do more to tackle extremism, according to a report by British lawmakers which highlighted missed opportunities by MI5 to stop last year’s terror attacks. In a rare admission to parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), MI5, the domestic security service, said it should have placed one of the attackers – the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi – under closer travel surveillance before he carried out the attack which killed 22 people last May. The failure to monitor Abedi’s movements was one of 12 themes identified by the ISC in its long-awaited report on last year’s attacks which led to the deaths of 36 innocent people – the deadliest year for terrorism in Britain since the 7/7 bombings in 2005… But the ISC reserved some of its strongest criticism for technology groups over their handling of online extremist content and communications, urging the government to lobby marketing executives to pull advertising from the big online platforms unless they did more to remove extremist content online.” – FT

  • Web giants let terrorists plot attacks online – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Why the bankers won’t bail out May’s Brexit deal – Matt Singh, CapX
  • The Withdrawal Agreement’s Northern Ireland Protocol is neither a “backstop” nor temporary – Martin Howe QC, Brexit Central
  • Why I cannot support May’s Brexit deal – Priti Patel MP, 1828
  • Quickest way for Labour to split and destroy the Tories? Vote for May’s Brexit – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • The Brexit political declaration confirms we are heading to a blind Brexit – Ross Clark, The Spectator

Newslinks for Thursday 22nd November 2018

Brexit 1) Merkel to ‘boycott summit’ unless haggling is over “Angela Merkel has threatened to boycott the European Union summit… Read more »

Brexit 1) Merkel to ‘boycott summit’ unless haggling is over

“Angela Merkel has threatened to boycott the European Union summit this weekend in a move that would scupper Theresa May’s plans to conclude a Brexit deal. The German chancellor is refusing to travel to Brussels on Sunday unless all negotiations are concluded in advance. Her demand is aimed at squabbling European governments that want to impose tough new conditions on Britain over fishing rights and “frictionless trade”. She also aims to stop eleventh-hour wrangling by Mrs May. Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish prime minister, threatened last night to derail the summit unless he won concessions on the status of Gibraltar beforehand. An EU source said that the row was looking “intractable”. Mr Sánchez said: “This is an essential point and if this is not resolved then unfortunately Spain will not be able to vote in favour of it.” Any decision to call off the summit would be a disaster for Mrs May. She held talks last night with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator. The prime minister said that she would return for further talks on the eve of the summit.” – The Times

  • May rejects EU’s ultimatum to finalise exit deal today – The Sun
  • Disputes over fishing and Gibraltar threaten to derail process – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister seeks to resolve ‘last blocks’ on deal – FT
  • UK will build own satellite system, defiant Prime Minister tells Brussels – The Times
  • EU hails ‘good progress’ towards finalising treaty – FT
  • Deal ‘hanging by a thread’ – The Sun
  • Sturgeon urged to ‘nail down’ Spain over Scottish EU entry – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: May says Brexit may be “somehow delayed”. How so, if it can’t be without her consent – that’s to say, the Government’s?

Brexit 2) Hunt called May’s Brexit deal a ‘Turkey trap’

“Jeremy Hunt has warned Theresa May that her Brexit deal could put Britain into a “Turkey trap” and will be voted down by Parliament unless it is changed, The Telegraph can disclose. The Foreign Secretary warned the Prime Minister that she risked consigning the nation to a fate similar to Turkey, which has been stuck in negotiations over its status with the EU for 31 years. He is one of six Cabinet ministers who have raised serious concerns about the scale of the Tory rebellion over Brexit, with Mr Hunt suggesting that 66 Tory MPs could vote against it. Also criticising the deal was Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, who said it could leave the UK unable to strike free trade deals after Brexit. The Telegraph can provide a detailed account of last week’s Cabinet meeting, which led to the resignation of two ministers and took Mrs May’s premiership to the brink. The account has been verified by more than a dozen ministers and government sources.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Foreign Secretary warns of 30 years of negotiations – The Sun
  • What each Cabinet minister said at crunch meeting – Daily Telegraph
  • Ministers urge May to demand more concessions – Daily Express


  • Mordaunt sparks fresh fears she could quit Cabinet – The Sun
  • Pro-EU MPs divided over timing of second vote – FT
  • Labour ‘open to compromise’ on May’s deal – The Times

>Today: Dr Sheila Lawlor in Comment: This deal is a challenge to our historic freedoms

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “…need to be able to count”

Brexit 3) Hammond says backstop is bad for the British economy

“Chancellor Philip Hammond has launched an astonishing attack on a key part of the Government’s Brexit deal, describing it as not “a good arrangement” for either the UK’s economy or the union. The usually quiet Mr Hammond made the comments during an appearance on ITV Peston. According to the provisional deal reached with Brussels, if a long-term agreement can’t be reached between the UK and EU during the transition period, currently set at 21 months, the UK will automatically fall into a European customs union. This would make it difficult for Britain to sign comprehensive trade deals with other countries, as well as meaning the UK would still have to abide by a significant proportion of European legislation. Mr Hammond told ITV host Robert Peston: “I’ve been clear from the outset that I do not like the backstop. I don’t think the backstop is a good arrangement for our economy, I don’t think it’s a good arrangement for our union.”” – Daily Express

  • ‘Time running out’ for the backstop, warns HMRC – The Times
  • Transition would need to be extended to get border systems ready – The Sun
  • Irish parliament overwhelmingly backs Brexit deal – Daily Telegraph
  • DUP vow to ‘fight dirty’ to defeat withdrawal agreement – The Sun


Brexit 4) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: We cannot trust events to free us from May’s unacceptable deal

“The larger fact is that the Prime Minister’s agreement is unacceptable on any terms, ever. We go from being legally sovereign as an EU member, entitled to exit unilaterally under Article 50, to non-sovereign status as a legally-captured adjunct to the EU. Brussels has a veto on whether Britain can leave the Irish backstop and therefore whether we can leave the ‘customs territory’.  Level playing field clauses lock the UK into EU law on labour, the environment, taxation, competition, and state aid, with varying levels of ‘dynamic alignment’ on future law. The European Court will have the final say on disputes. Brussels has no motive to release us from this straitjacket unless we accept comparable terms in any trade deal. It submits Britain to a foreign legislative power run by politicians (Merkel, Macron) who state openly that Brexit must be seen to fail. Those who say we can wriggle out of it later by abrogating an international treaty give dangerous counsel. There is no doubt that the EU weaponised the Irish border to shoehorn the UK into the customs territory, but I strongly suspect that the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, and the Prime Minister were complicit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbyn’s Brexit vanishing act won’t work – Jenni Russell, The Times
  • Remainers can’t handle the truth about the EU – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • We overdo our respect for the EU, Britain can flourish outside it – Larry Elliott, The Guardian
  • How dare Spain, of all countries, lecture Britain on democracy – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • The Brexit road to Britain’s national collapse – Philip Stephens, FT

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Ici Londres – Hannan on May’s deal: “If everyone is unhappy, then maybe you’re doing something wrong”

May promises cash injection to cut NHS ‘bed blocking’

“Theresa May has vowed to tackle chronic hospital “bed blocking” by sending in crack 24/7 teams of GPs, nurses and physios into the community and care homes. The PM pledged a £3.5billion ring-fenced cash injection for community care to stop OAPs languishing in hospitals longer than they need to because they can’t get the care they need. She said the bid to cut bed blocking “will mean more people can leave hospital quicker, or avoid being admitted in the first place – which is better for patients and better for the health service.” It’s hoped the radical plan will improve health, cut costs, ease staffing pressures, free up beds and cut waiting times. The plan would see £3.5bn in funding for primary and community care by 2023-24 under the new NHS Long Term plan which will see £20bn invested in the health service. Around a third of people end up staying in hospital longer than they actually need to because they can’t get treatment close to home. And figures show more than a third of hospital admissions from care homes are avoidable.” – The Sun

  • Every death in British hospitals will now be examined, Hancock announces – Daily Mail
  • Winter crisis can be avoided with ambulatory care, say doctors – The Guardian

Ministers 1) Williamson warns soldiers not to expect pay rise despite ‘end of austerity’

“Soldiers should not expect better pay rises despite the Government declaring the “age of austerity” over, the Defence Secretary has said, admitting this is “not ideal”. Doctors and senior civil servants are also not in line for improved pay. Senior ministers have given their pay review recommendations for 2019- 2020, and the Defence, Health and Cabinet secretaries all stress that departments should bear in mind “affordability” when considering giving pay rises. In a letter to the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, said “the Government is seeking to continue the approach adopted in the 2018/19 pay round”. “I recognise that this is not ideal,” Mr Williamson said. “Affordability will remain a major consideration for the Ministry of Defence.” It comes despite Theresa May’s announcement last month that austerity is “over”. The Chancellor then declared the “era of austerity” is at an end in his Budget speech. Mr Williamson is said to have clashed repeatedly with the Treasury over defence funding. In 2018-19 the armed forces received a below-inflation 2 per cent pay rise, along with a 0.9 per cent one-off payment. They had previously been capped at 1 per cent.” – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 2) Rudd hints at changes to Universal Credit

“Amber Rudd has hinted she could rip up Universal Credit’s five week wait for payments as part of plans to try get cash to in-need Brits quicker. When asked about whether she would cut the wait for new claimants, the DWP boss said she was “looking at what we can do to get cash into people’s hands earlier”. It comes after she promised to “fix” problems with the flagship benefits system and accepted there were areas in which it wasn’t working. She told the BBC today that the “biggest problem is getting cash into people’s hands as soon as they need it”. Advance payments are available for Brits who can’t wait five weeks for money, but that has to be paid back immediately out of their first UC sum. Ms Rudd said her department would “make it clear to people they can get that upfront as soon as they apply” and then pay it back over 13 months. On a damning report by a UN representative earlier this week, she promised to look at the concerns with women and single mums in particular. But she blasted the findings as being too “political” and implying the system was there to negatively impact Brits.” – The Sun

  • Tomlinson says families to take in lodgers to beat the benefit cap – The Guardian

Ministers 3) Gove ‘helped to oust’ Natural England chief

“The chairman of the agency that advises the government on the environment has admitted it has lost its independence and suggested its chief executive was ousted by its “political masters”. Andrew Sells, who retires as the chairman of Natural England in the new year, acknowledged that the sudden departure of the chief executive, James Cross, earlier this month was “not ideal”. He suggested that Michael Gove, the environment secretary, had been involved in Mr Cross’s departure after four years as head of the government’s independent adviser. Mr Sells told the Commons’ environment, food and rural affairs committee yesterday: “I am disappointed to see James go at this stage but it would also be fair to say that all parties involved thought it was the right time for him to move on… Natural England has 2,000 staff and is responsible for promoting nature conservation, protecting biodiversity, conserving the landscape and promoting access to the countryside.” – The Times

Ministers 4) Labour welcomes Nokes’ comments on high pay

“A Conservative MP has suggested that no one should be paid more than a million pounds a year. Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister, told MPs: “I don’t think anybody having a salary of that level is appropriate, whatever business they are in”. She was responding to a question about whether it was acceptable for directors of a company that houses asylum seekers to have been paid a total of £1.2 million, with one earning £872,927. Labour, which has argued for maximum pay ratios between executives and staff, said it welcomed her stance. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said: “I will send her a party membership application. It is quite clear she is on the same page as us on this and we welcome her conversion.” A source close to the minister said that she had simply been making the point that it was an incredibly large amount of money. During an appearance in front of the home affairs committee, Stephen Doughty, a Labour MP, asked Ms Nokes about Clearsprings, one of a number of companies that provide accommodation for asylum seekers.” – The Times

  • UK to shift focus to lower-paid to tackle gender inequality – FT

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Mordaunt: Let’s champion “the invisible women who keep…our nation going.” Her women’s suffrage centenary speech: full text

Former ministers urge Government to abandon rise in rail fares

“Theresa May is being urged by three former Tory Ministers to spare millions of struggling Brits by scrapping plans for an “outrageous” New Year rail fare hike. Michael Fallon, Grant Shapps and Tim Loughton said the Government had to bin plans for a 3.2 per cent rise – which will add an average £100 to annual season ticket prices. They want the Government to “freeze” prices for 2019. An increase would follow one of the worst years for passenger disruption since the industry was privatised – with thousands of services cancelled or delayed across the UK. Mr Fallon, the former x-Defence Secretary, said: “An increase would be outrageous. After having their trains cancelled or delayed, the chaos of the timetabling, passengers would rightly see this as a kick in a teeth. “This year of all years the fares should be frozen.” Former Tory chairman Grant Shapps added: “Given this year’s lamentable performance there’s never been a more appropriate time to freeze fares.” Fares are due to rise in January by 3.2 per cent – based on inflation figures in August. At the time Transport Secretary Chris Grayling called on unions to do more to rein in wage hikes for train drivers and guards.” – The Sun

Rees-Mogg disinvited from donor dinner

“Jacob Rees-Mogg’s popularity with the Tory rank and file was, only weeks ago, an important asset for the Conservative Party’s attempts to drum up funds. But his concerted effort to displace Theresa May means that times have changed, at least if the party’s decision to disinvite him from a dinner without telling him is anything to go by. Mr Rees-Mogg was due to address a dinner for the party’s biggest donors next Tuesday. Yesterday guests were told that Mr Rees-Mogg had been replaced. “Unfortunately Jacob Rees-Mogg will no longer be joining the dinner on Tuesday evening,” an email to the guests said. “But the new secretary of state for exiting the EU, the Rt Hon Stephen Barclay MP, will attend in his place.” Perhaps anticipating disappointment, it added: “Please could you let me know as soon as possible if you would still like to attend the dinner.” Mr Rees-Mogg, 49, learnt that he would no longer be attending only after the email was leaked to the Guido Fawkes website. “This is interesting as they have not told me…” he said on Twitter.” – The Times

Davies accuses transgender activists of cultivating an ‘atmosphere of menace’

“Transgender campaigners have helped to create an “atmosphere of menace” which has stifled debate around gender issues, ministers have been warned. David TC Davies, a Conservative MP, used a Westminster Hall debate to tell ministers that people were “deeply concerned” about the Gender Recognition Act. The Government held a consultation on changes to the legislation in the summer which would make it easier for trans people to get “legal recognition”. Ministers will announce the outcome in the spring. Mr Davies said ministers were “proposing fundamental changes that will have a huge impact on people. That is being done without proper consideration and in an atmosphere of menace”. Mr Davies, who has voiced concerns over self-identification in the past, said the changes “would do away with the checks and the balances which are currently made and to allow people to redefine themselves as any gender they wish… Mr Davies said ministers needed to go back and conduct the consultation with “people outside the M25″.” – Daily Telegraph

Blunt joins calls for action against the UAE

“Britain should threaten to withdraw its defence co-operation from the United Arab Emirates to secure the release of the jailed student Matthew Hedges, a senior Tory said yesterday. MPs also said it was “highly ironic” in light of the espionage allegations against Mr Hedges that the crown prince of Abu Dhabi boasts a former MI6 officer among the senior advisers in his court. Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP for Reigate and a former chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, told Theresa May at prime minister’s questions that if Mr Hedges “is not released, I don’t see why we should be committed to their [the UAE’s] defence”. The two nations have a deep defence and security partnership stretching back to 1996… Mr Blunt insisted that the UK had numerous allies in the Gulf with whom it could strengthen its partnership in place of the Emirates.” – The Times

McDonnell says Queen could invite Labour to govern

“Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has claimed the Queen could invite Labour to form a minority government in the UK without the need for an election if chaos over Brexit left the Conservatives unable to govern. Mr McDonnell said a Labour administration might be better able than the Tories to come up with a Brexit plan that could bring all parties together, but he remained evasive on whether the party would hold a second referendum on an exit deal. Speaking to business leaders at a Reuters event on Wednesday, Mr McDonnell acknowledged it was “difficult” to envisage that an early general election would follow if a Brexit deal was rejected by MPs. He said that since Conservative MPs were unlikely to vote for an election they might lose, they would be reluctant to short-circuit the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, which sets down a date for the next election on May 5 2022. “At the moment that’s difficult to see,” he said. Under the act, Labour could only form a minority government if it first managed to defeat Theresa May in a vote of confidence in the House of Commons.” – FT

  • Labour plot to take power without an election – The Sun
  • Shadow Chancellor called ‘presumptuous’ over Downing Street comments – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • May’s legacy: her Brexit deal could crush the Conservatives – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Rudd gave the game away – Robert Peston, Reaction
  • We just need to prepare for life outside the Customs Union – Marcus Fysh MP, Brexit Central
  • The Brexit deal needs to be renegotiated: here’s how – Pieter Cleppe, CapX
  • It’s in everyone’s interests that our forecasts are more accurate – Tom Chivers, UnHerd

Newslinks for Wednesday 21st November 2018

May heads to Brussels to try to finalise political declaration “Theresa May will meet Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday… Read more »

May heads to Brussels to try to finalise political declaration

“Theresa May will meet Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday to try to finalise the political declaration covering future UK-European Union relations after attempts by hard Brexiters to remove her ended in humiliation. The prime minister meets the European commission president in the late afternoon in her strongest position since the first part of the Brexit deal was published last week after Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Tory rebels, conceded that it might take time to call a no-confidence vote. No 10 said it was not prepared to forecast when the final part of the Brexit deal would emerge, although Brussels insiders expect a draft to start circulating on Thursday among a restricted group of officials after the one-on-one meeting.” – Guardian


  • How come France and Spain can renegotiate? – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • History is repeating itself – Ben Wright, The Times


She tells cabinet that technology could solve the border issue after listening to Brexiteers

“Theresa May has told the cabinet that the country could still avoid a controversial Irish backstop after Brexit. The prime minister said she was open to exploring a technological solution to the Irish border issue because the wording of the draft deal held open this possibility. A technological plan proposed by Brexiteers would negate the need for a UK-wide customs arrangement, the present backstop proposal for avoiding a hard border. Mrs May promised Leave figures including Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson that she would consider their proposals in a meeting on Monday.” – The Times

  • The idea is back on the table – FT

>Today: David Shiels in Comment: Technological solutions. A greater role for the Assembly. How May could yet win over the DUP.

Rees-Mogg, like Mainwaring, speaks of struggling to corral the Dad’s Army troops

“Jacob Rees-Mogg has likened Tory Brexiteers to ‘Dad’s Army’ over the way they have struggled to submit enough letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister. So far 25 Tory MPs have publicly said they have submitted letters of no confidence in Theresa May – far short of the necessary 48 letters to trigger a vote of no confidence. Asked if there were a “Dad’s Army” feel to all this, Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “I’ve always admired Captain Mainwaring.” Capt Mainwaring is a fictional bank manager and Home Guard platoon commander portrayed by the late Arthur Lowe in the BBC television sitcom Dad’s Army. According to Wikipedia Mainwaring is “a pompous, blustering figure…” – Daily Telegraph

  • He calls on his colleagues to seize their chance to remove May – Guardian
  • They tell her to hold back money – Daily Express 
  • What next for the Brexiteers? – Daily Telegraph
  • Could they sue Brady? – The Sun
  • They “turn on each other” amidst failure to oust May – The Times
  • McVey’s angry messages – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: “…need to be able to count”

Finkelstein: All this letters stuff is so tiresome. The ERG is clueless. And can’t count

“Has there ever been anything more tiresome than all that stuff about the letters? For months they have been saying that almost 48 members of parliament have sent a letter to the chairman of the 1922 committee requesting a vote of confidence in Theresa May. The threshold was about to be reached. One day they would claim to have 44; next weekend they would say the number had risen to, erm, 40. It’s now obvious they have never been anywhere near these figures. We all feel pretty clueless about what will happen with Brexit, but it seems some are more clueless than others.” – The Times

  • They don’t have the 48 – John Crace, Guardian
  • They’re “heroically untrendy” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Raab: We need to stand up to the EU bullies. And show that we can walk away

“Last week, I resigned as Brexit Secretary because I could not in good conscience support the proposed deal between the UK and the EU. There is still time to stand up to the bullying tactics from Brussels. But we must change course, or the flame of optimism and opportunity that sparked Brexit will be snuffed out. When I accepted the post in July, I knew we would need to compromise, as we strived to marry principle with pragmatism. I wanted to help deliver a good deal with our EU partners, while grasping the opportunities of Brexit – to take back control of our money, laws and borders, and champion free trade abroad.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexit has already hit business – Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian
  • The BBC is biased – Peter Lilley, The Sun

>Yesterday: Peter Lilley in Comment: Fears about leaving the Customs Union are a mix of imaginary and exaggerated

DUP continues protest by abstaining on Finance Bill again

“DUP MPs have heaped further pressure on Theresa May by once again refusing to back the government in a series of votes on the Budget. For the second day in a row, the party abstained from voting on amendments to the Finance Bill, in protest at the prime minister’s draft Brexit withdrawal deal. DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the move was intended to spell out to the PM the “consequences of not honouring her promises to Northern Ireland”. The move throws into doubt Mrs May’s ability to maintain her governing majority in parliament.” – Belfast News Letter

  • The party told its MPs to ignore pact with Conservatives – Daily Telegraph
  • It will vote against the deal – FT

Sturgeon shows interest in Boles’ “soft” Brexit

“The SNP should work with Conservative MPs to secure a soft Brexit deal that can get through the Commons, Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday. The Scottish first minister indicated that she was actively interested in a plan being drawn up by Nick Boles, a former Tory minister who has been holding discussions with MPs from all parties. His proposal would keep the UK in the single market and customs union possibly indefinitely if Mrs May’s blueprint fails to win the necessary support in the Commons next month. The plan would retain almost all of Mrs May’s deal but would keep the UK inside existing structures, which Mr Boles hopes would make it easy to negotiate.” – The Times

Will the CJEU say Article 50 can be overturned?

“This is the question the UK Government does not want answered and has been spending vast amounts of public money trying to block. … Next week, despite the best efforts of the government’s top lawyers, their legal challenge will finally reach Europe’s highest court. … The case was raised in Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session, earlier this year and the request to take it to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was initially denied after the government argued it was a “hypothetical” and “academic” question. However, this decision was later overturned by Scotland’s top judges.The Government has since tried to appeal this decision twice, with the most recent application rejected by the UK Supreme Court on Tuesday.” – Herald

Mordaunt to announce new focus on championing women in low-paid jobs

“Middle-class women’s issues such as the gender pay gap and corporate glass ceiling are to be downgraded by the government in favour of championing those in low-paid, low-status roles. Women in poorly paid jobs, with limited qualifications or who care for elderly relatives or disabled children will become the priority in Whitehall in a shift of policy to be announced today. Instead of focusing on professional women returning to work, attention will switch to those who work as carers, cleaners and in customer service roles. Ethnic minority groups such as Bangladeshi women will be targeted because their employment rate is three times lower than that of white women.” – The Times


  • In politics, there’s some way to go on all this – Nicky Morgan, The Times

Burnham says Javid wants Home Counties to take more asylum seekers

“The Home Secretary has paved the way for hundreds more asylum seekers to be housed in the Home Counties, it was claimed yesterday. Sajid Javid’s move comes after councils across the north of England threatened to pull out of the current so-called ‘dispersal programme’. The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester – Andy Burnham – yesterday revealed that Mr Javid has told him he wants to see more areas which currently take no refugees stepping up to the plate. In a letter, the Home Secretary promised a “reduction in the proportion of dispersal” to authorities who already take large numbers. And he vowed a “commensurate increase” in those who take lower numbers or none at all.” – The Sun

Hunt meets Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter

“Jeremy Hunt has met the four-year-old daughter of jailed British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as he continues his push to free her. The Foreign Secretary spent time with little Gabriella in Tehran during his visit to Iran. He brought the youngster a touching gift from his own daughter – who is also four years old. Nazanin’s family praised Mr Hunt for working to try and secure her release from prison after two and a half years. The minister lobbied Iranian ministers to pardon Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was jailed on spurious charges of spying. The 39-year-old mum, a dual citizen of Iran and the UK, has been separated from Gabriella since she was locked up in April 2016.” – The Sun

More from the Commons

  • Gauke says ex-prisoners could take place of cheap EU labour – Daily Mail
  • Cooper and Tugendhat speak out against Russian candidate for Interpol job – Daily Telegraph
  • Rudd gets a response from Alston – Guardian
  • Onasanya blames her brother – The Times 

News in Brief

  • China and trust – Hilton Root, CapX
  • They didn’t jump the queue – Pauline Bock, New Statesman
  • What went wrong with the letters? – Steerpike, Spectator
  • On Pelosi – Amy Davidson Sorkin, New Yorker