Newslinks for Thursday 7th December 2017

Tory rebels demand power to extend EU negotiations…

“Tory rebels will demand next week that parliament be given the power to try to delay Brexit as their price for supporting the Government’s withdrawal bill. Anna Soubry, the former Tory minister, wants MPs to be able to seek an extension to Article 50 negotiations if a satisfactory trade agreement is not reached by March 2019. Her position is understood to be backed by as many as two dozen other pro-EU Conservatives before a vote in the Commons next week. With Labour likely to support the rebels on the “meaningful vote” clause ministers fear the government’s slender majority would be wiped out… She says that MPs should be asked to vote on a future EU trade deal only when that deal is completed.” – The Times

  • Nineteen MPs tell May to stop Brexiteers dictating Brexit – Daily Express
  • EU warns that the UK Government could fall by next week – Daily Telegraph
  • Barnier insists that deal must be struck by Friday – Daily Express
  • Public still set on Brexit despite mounting pessimism – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Put the people back in charge of leaving the EU – Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna, Times Red Box
  • Britain almost has to fight its way out of this colonial ’empire’ – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • Scaremongers need to give it a rest, we’re better off out – The Sun

…as Hammond suggests UK will pay ‘divorce bill’ regardless of trade deal…

“Britain must pay an exit bill of about £40 billion even if it does not get a trade deal with the EU, Philip Hammond said yesterday. The chancellor angered Eurosceptics by telling the Treasury select committee that Britain should honour its obligations regardless of the progress of Brexit negotiations. The payments are likely to be spread over 40 years. He told MPs: “I find it inconceivable that we as a nation would be walking away from an obligation that we recognised as an obligation. That is not a credible scenario. That is not the kind of country we are. Frankly, it would not make us a credible partner for future international agreements.” No 10 responded that “nothing was agreed until everything was agreed” and that negotiations with the EU were taking place “in the context of building a future relationship” with the remaining 27 member states.” – The Times

  • Cabinet tensions exposed as Chancellor says there has been no ‘end state’ discussion – Daily Telegraph
  • Lords slam Prime Minister’s ‘no deal’ bluster – The Sun

More Treasury:

  • Hain urges probe of South African accounts in London – FT
  • Labour wants aid spending increased – Daily Mail

…Mundell signals a Government retreat on Clause 11…

David Mundell has confirmed the UK Government will amend its flagship Brexit Bill after Scottish Conservative MPs expressed concerns it would undermine devolution and the Union. The Scottish Secretary told MPs that clause 11 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill would be amended to reflect the issues raised by his party colleagues. The clause, which cleared another hurdle in a Commons vote this week, establishes that powers repatriated from the European Union are all returned to Westminster in the first instance before some are devolved. Scottish and Welsh ministers have attacked the move as a Westminster “power grab”, arguing that any power that touches on devolved matters such as agriculture and fisheries must be transferred straight to them.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May makes ‘no breakthrough’ after call to Foster – Daily Telegraph
  • Davis spreads ‘Irish problem’ to the rest of Brexit – FT
  • Varadkar wants Brexit talks delayed until the New Year – The Times
  • Deal hopes fading over Irish impasse – FT

Comment:

  • As a Northern Irish leaver I don’t fear ‘special status’, we need it – Sarah Arnold, Daily Telegraph
  • If Ulster can have special status then so can Scotland – Stephen Gethins, Times Red Box
  • ‘Regulatory alignment’ might not be the worst thing in the world – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • The DUP saved the Union, can they save May? – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

…and Davis’ allies are alleged to be plotting a takeover

“David Davis’s allies have launched a fresh bid to make him PM by trying to line up a ‘dream ticket’ with younger Tory rising stars. Supporters of the Brexit Secretary have seized on Theresa May’s latest Brexit woes to start building another plot to oust her. One of the closest – former chief whip Andrew Mitchell – is organising discreet drinks evenings with him and new generation Tory MPs. Three of the newly elected high-flyers invited to one soiree last week were Tom Tugendhat and James Cleverly – both tipped as future party leaders – as well as highly respected rookie Gillian Keegan. Several were told Mr Davis is ready to run as Tory leader alongside them. Under the ‘dream ticket’ plot, Mr Davis would take over as Prime Minister from beleaguered Mrs May, but only for a few years.” – The Sun

  • Chaperones assigned to stop leaks as Brexit Secretary faces row over assessments – The Times

Iain Martin: It is now apparent that May is unsuited to her office and must be replaced

“Has there been a prime minister less well suited than Theresa May to the office since Ted Heath? Even Gordon Brown, who suffered a Wizard of Oz moment when the curtain was drawn back after his first year in office, recovered his authority enough to deal with the financial crisis. Sir John Major served for seven years and had a top-rank team. Watching the ignominious collapse this week of the three-legged farce of May’s attempts to get a Brexit deal with Brussels, Belfast and Dublin, it was more apparent than ever that there is a level of ability — a skill for political management, wise questions, elementary curiosity and statecraft — that she simply does not have. Otherwise Julian Smith, the inexperienced new Tory chief whip, would not have been tasked with squaring the DUP on his own on Sunday. The assurance came back that the DUP was fine with where the talks with the EU were going; by lunchtime on Monday we knew things were not fine at all.” – The Times

  • The Prime Minister can restore trust, but not without hard choices – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • Harsh lessons for the next phase of Brexit – Philip Stephens, FT
  • The biggest Brexit headache for May could be citizenship – Thom Brooks, Times Red Box
  • If Brussels’ price is too high we must be ready to walk – Iain Duncan Smith, Daily Telegraph

Middle East 1) May confronts Trump over Israeli capital

“Theresa May has will challenge Donald Trump over his ‘unhelpful’ decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. She was one of several MPs to tear into Donald Trump for his hugely controversial decision, branding it a threat to peace. Politicians said the move showed the US President has ‘abandoned America’s role as a peace-broke’ and risks ushering in ‘another round of violence’. Mr Trump has sparked worldwide condemnation after he announced this evening that he would recognise the disputed city as Israel’s capital. And he will move America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the historic city – despite warnings this is likely to ignite angry and violent clashes. The Prime Minister today said she will challenge Mr Trump over his decision in showdown call – their first after their diplomatic spat over his retweeting of videos posted by far-right group Britain First.” – Daily Mail

  • American move makes neither political nor diplomatic sense – Stephen Pollard, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • The President has taken a risk in Israel – The Times

Middle East 2) In first-ever interview, Williamson wants ISIS fighters barred from Britain…

“Not a single British citizen who has fought for Islamic State should be allowed back into the UK, the Defence Secretary declared last night. Gavin Williamson signalled he was prepared to hunt down and use air strikes against the remaining 270 UK passport holders who have travelled to Syria and Iraq. In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: ‘Quite simply, my view is a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain.’ He added: ‘I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country. We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.’ His comments are the starkest yet on the issue of whether British jihadists should be allowed to return home to the UK.” – Daily Mail

  • UK nationals fighting for ISIS ‘should be killed’, minister suggests – The Sun
  • MI5 foil Islamist plot to assassinate May – Daily Telegraph

Middle East 3) Johnson suggests the UK must return to the region

“The UK must return to the Middle East to prevent decades of terror attacks and instability, Boris Johnson is to say. In a speech today, the foreign secretary is to stress that ‘British foreign policy is not the problem; it is part of the solution’. He will warn that the country cannot remain paralysed by its experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and also highlight the danger of Western ‘aloofness’ in the world. Mr Johnson is expected to lay out his plan for defeating jihadism both at home and abroad… The foreign secretary will add that blaming Western military intervention for terror only fuels the rise of jihadism, which has the ‘addictive power of crack cocaine’. During the general election campaign this year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn drew links between Britain’s involvement in military interventions overseas and terrorism at home.” – Daily Mail

  • Foreign Secretary accuses Corbyn of ‘fuelling ISIS propaganda’ – The Sun

More:

  • Johnson urges firms to stand up to ‘Stop Funding Hate’ – The Times

Hammond questions Williamson’s grip on the defence job

“Philip Hammond queried Gavin Williamson’s understanding of the military yesterday in a move likely to worsen his relations with the new defence secretary. Downing Street made clear that it wanted to stay out of the feud between the pair as Mr Hammond, the chancellor, claimed there was “no greater champion of defence than me”. Appearing before MPs, Mr Hammond suggested that he would welcome a chance to discuss the defence budget with Mr Williamson, who was promoted from chief whip last month, once he properly understood the figures. “There is no greater champion of defence than me. I was defence secretary for almost three years. I am a huge advocate for our armed forces,” he said.” – The Times

  • Defence Secretary bars Chancellor from RAF flights – Daily Mail

Wollaston ‘upset’ after coffin left outside her constituency office

“A Conservative MP who had a coffin left outside her constituency office has said the stunt was deeply offensive and upsetting. Sarah Wollaston, 55, said the effect of delivering a coffin effigy to a woman MP – evoking the murder of her fellow parliamentarian Jo Cox last year – had escaped some people. Save Our Hospital Services left the coffin outside Dr Wollaston’s office in Totnes, Devon, on Saturday. It was plastered with the message: “Government health and social care spending cuts have been linked to 120,000 unnecessary deaths.” Save Our Hospital Services insisted that the coffin was symbolic of deaths resulting from healthcare cuts and “cannot possibly be intimidatory”.” – The Times

Starmer reignites Labour’s anti-Semitism row

“Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer invited a controversial anti-Israel charity who praised suicide bombers for killing Jewish kids to the House of Commons, The Sun can reveal. The Shadow Brexit Secretary risked reigniting Labour’s antisemitism row by meeting The Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association in Parliament. The group’s website glorified bombers Osama Mohammed Bahar and Nabeel Mohammad Halabiyeh in a since deleted post. The pair died committing a suicide attack on Jerusalem in 2001, in which 11 people were killed – including teenagers – and 155 injured. But CADFA claimed the fanatical killers were “martyrs” and said the charity’s website was “a place to remember them”.” – The Sun

  • Labour Lords’ whip to stand down over expenses – The Sun

Committee delivers fresh blow to SNP’s ‘Named Persons’ policy

“The SNP’s controversial scheme to assign every child a state guardian faces being delayed until 2019 after a Holyrood committee refused to bow to John Swinney’s “confrontational” attempts to force it through and blocked it. In an unprecedented move, a majority of MSPs on the education committee voted not to produce a report on the Named Persons legislation until the Deputy First Minister has produced a new code of conduct for those expected to fill the role. They delivered a damning indictment of his handling of the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) Bill, saying they said they could not proceed because he had failed to provide the “critical guidance”.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Coalition is the Social Democrats’ least bad option – Matthew Stibbe, CapX
  • Regulatory divergence does not require a hard border in Ireland – Michael Burrage, Brexit Central
  • The Brexit deal is mired in dispute and denial – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Why ‘regulatory alignment’ must apply to the whole UK after Brexit – Adam Tomkins MSP, New Statesman
  • Come back, Tony Blair, nothing is forgiven – Walter Ellis, Reaction

And finally… Parliament’s staffers’ bar closed after brawl

“A bar in parliament has been shut after a Commons employee allegedly hit a colleague with a glass in a brawl that spilt into an alleyway. Police were called on Tuesday evening to the Sports and Social, a bar in the bowels of the Palace of Westminster that has played host to several controversial incidents. The bar, whose main clientele are young staff who work for MPs, stayed open for the rest of Tuesday evening as normal. But yesterday two sheets of A4 paper on the door read: “Sports & Social club bar will not be open today.” Next to the door was a sign reading: “No glasses to be removed from the premises please.” The fight will add to the scrutiny of parliament’s drinking culture after allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment in Westminster.” – The Times

  • Commons worker arrested for ‘glassing man in the face’ – Daily Mail

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close