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Rogers resignation 1) Sir Ivan quits as British ambassador to the EU

EU Exit brexit‘The UK’s ambassador to the EU has resigned unexpectedly just weeks after he was criticised over a leaked memo stating that Brexit could take longer than expected to sign off. Sir Ivan Rogers has quit just months before Theresa May triggers formal Brexit negotiations with the EU in which he would have been expected to play a major role. He was expected to be in post until October 2017 but will instead leave within the coming weeks and a replacement will be announced in due course. A UK Government spokesperson said: “Sir Ivan Rogers has resigned a few months early as UK Permanent Representative to the European Union. “Sir Ivan has taken this decision now to enable a successor to be appointed before the UK invokes Article 50 by the end of March. We are grateful for his work and commitment over the last three years”.’ – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

Rogers resignation 2) The news ‘surprised’ May

‘The departure of one of Britain’s most experienced EU negotiators reflected tensions between Sir Ivan and the prime minister’s team, who believe a favourable trade deal can be hammered out before the end of next year. The move surprised Mrs May, who will set out more details of her Brexit strategy within days. “It would obviously make no sense for my role to change hands later this year,” Sir Ivan says in a diplomatically phrased but occasionally pointed letter to staff, who he says will have to deliver messages that are “disagreeable to those who need to hear them”.’  – FT

Comment:

>Today: Alistair Burt in Comment: The resignation of Rogers is a warning to enthusiasts for Leave – and to us all

Rogers resignation 3) Prime Minister ‘expected to appoint’ a Brexit believer

theresa-may-21-11-16‘Theresa May is expected to appoint an EU ambassador who “believes in Brexit” in the wake of the current Brussels representative’s decision to quit after being cut adrift by Downing Street. Sir Ivan Rogers on Tuesday announced his resignation as Britain’s ambassador in Brussels after it was made clear Mrs May and her senior team had “lost confidence” in him over his “pessimistic” view of Brexit. Government sources made clear that Sir Ivan had “jumped before he was pushed” and that Number 10 believed his negative view of Brexit meant that he could not lead the negotiations after the Prime Minister triggers Article 50.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • The resignation is a ‘veiled attack on Britain’s Brexit negotiations’ – Independent
  • The letter criticises Fox – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Why top civil servants must back Brexit

Rogers resignation 4) Leo McKinstry: This is not a catastrophe. It’s an opportunity

‘All too predictably the resignation of Britain’s ambassador to the European Union, Sir Ivan Rogers, has been treated as a catastrophe by much of the political establishment. According to this mournful narrative, the calibre of our diplomatic team in Brussels has been dramatically reduced, undermining the chances of a strong Brexit deal. “A serious loss of talent and expertise,” said Labour peer Jack McConnell. “Sir Ivan knows his way round Brussels. Without him to guide them, Ministers will flounder badly,” claimed the Labour MEP Paul Brannen. But this outbreak of grief is absurdly misplaced. Sir Ivan’s departure should be a cause for celebration rather than grief.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Some feel blindsided. Some are delighted – FT
  • Sir Ivan’s tantrums were unhelpful – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

Rogers resignation 5) Times editorial: His departure is a blow to the Government

‘When Theresa May visited Brussels as home secretary, she would take the last Eurostar from London on the night before her meetings, arriving after 11pm and heading straight to her hotel. Instead of going to sleep, however, Mrs May would spend the next two hours being briefed by British officials based in Brussels, fuelled by gin and tonics from the bar downstairs …  It is therefore a worrying insight into the style of Mrs May and her Downing Street team that, six months after she entered No 10 and three months before she will trigger Article 50, Sir Ivan has abruptly quit.’ – The Times (£)

More editorial:

  • May ‘will regret his resignation’ – FT
  • This is bad timing – Guardian
  • Sir Ivan’s skills will be missed – Independent
  • We need a positive replacement – Daily Telegraph
  • We need someone who supports Brexit – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • This is unhelpful for May – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian

May stands up for criticised Pakistan aid scheme

Nigel-Evans_2859543b‘Theresa May has defended British aid being distributed in cash handouts in Pakistan after a senior Tory MP said the programme amounted to “exporting the dole”. No 10 said the taxpayer-funded scheme helped Pakistan’s poorest families and was an efficient and effective way to give them support. The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) gives cash amounting to just over £10 a month to some of the poorest families in a country where 60 million people live on less than £1 a day. Theresa May’s spokeswoman said the system was “respected” and that there were “robust” measures in place to guard against corruption and fraud.’ – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • There are some inspiring aid stories. But many projects are flawed – Alice Thomson, The Times (£)
  • Aid budget is ‘chockful’ of waste – Stephen Pollard, Daily Express

Dominic Raab: Section 40 is a real worry

dominic-raab-20-11-16‘Of the two new press regulators, IMPRESS has only around 50 outlets signed up, but is willing to subscribe to the state-backed Press Recognition Panel (PRP). …  On top of all this, the Government is deciding whether to hold Part 2 of the Leveson inquiry, and implement Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. It is difficult to see what purpose, Leveson 2 would serve – given the changes already made, and the lessons learnt from those criminal cases. The real worry is Section 40, which would force every newspaper not signed up to IMPRESS to pay all the costs in any libel case brought against them, even if their journalism is vindicated in court. Such a punitive regime intended for only a few organisations offends the most basic principle of equality before the law.’ – Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • We’re in the hands of a tycoon – The Sun

More MPs

  • Leadsom to announce end of EU billboard bureaucracy – Daily Telegraph
  • Zahawi’s tax haven links – Guardian
  • Corbyn and Thornberry protest train fares – The Sun

 

>Today: Henry Hill’s Column: Sinn Fein won’t rule out Ulster election if First Minister won’t quit

Watson doesn’t offer full support to Corbyn

Tom Watson‘Labour’s deputy leader has admitted that he is not consulted on key strategy decisions by Jeremy Corbyn in remarks which lay bare the strained relationship at the top of the struggling party. Tom Watson said the Labour leader is developing policies without asking for his opinion, despite the fact that he was also elected by party members. He declined to offer Mr Corbyn his full support, telling GQ magazine that he believes the leader will steer the party through the 2020 general election but replying “it doesn’t matter” when asked if this is a good or bad thing.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • He says he doesn’t know who’s on Corbyn’s strategy committee – Daily Express

Shadow minister says no to multi-party tactic

Corbyn‘Labour figures have rejected the idea of joining up with other parties in order to win in the 2020 general election. A report from the Fabian Society today suggested the party could win less than 200 seats in a general election if one was called in the next year, or in 2020. John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister, said the warning was “serious” but the solution was not a coalition. “Quite rightly, the Fabian Society say the roots of Labour’s problems predate Jeremy Corbyn,” he said on Radio 4’s Today programme earlier. “I do not see the answer to Labour’s challenge as being to team up with the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and a rag bag of other parties,” he added.’ – The Sun

Comment:

  • Progressive alliance is one of three solutions for Labour. It’s not the right one – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • It is the right one. Labour must do it for the good of the country – Alastair Carmichael, Daily Telegraph
  • Labour ‘often seems missing from public debate’ – Owen Jones, Guardian

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Who are the 39 Labour MPs whom the Fabians fear could lose their seats?

>Today: Nick de Bois in Comment: Londoners will lose patience with Khan’s cyncism

German plans to centralise security

‘Germany’s interior minister has proposed an overhaul of the country’s security apparatus, centralising more powers in a contentious response to last month’s Berlin terrorist attack. The reforms put forward by Thomas de Maizière would take power from the regions, replacing their domestic intelligence services with a single national agency. Mr de Maizière also wants to reinforce the federal criminal investigation bureau, create “a real federal police service” and give the national government greater authority to remove unsuccessful asylum seekers. The proposal has come under fire from critics who claimed it would undermine a decentralised security structure created in postwar Germany as a response to the Nazi regime.’ – FT

Trump and GOP clash over ethics

TRUMP Donald second presidential debate‘Republicans have dropped controversial plans to scrap an independent ethics office after widespread criticism from the public and and questions from President-elect Donald Trump. On Monday, Republicans in the US House of Representatives voted to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Republican leaders in the House opposed the change. On Tuesday, in the first example of how Republican in the new Congress may clash with the White House, Mr Trump said he did not think the move was a “priority”. Amid the criticism – including a reported barrage of calls from constituents – the Republicans changed course, shortly after the new Congress was sworn in. In a reversal, the House GOP decided on Tuesday to strip the provision from a package of rule changes that lawmakers will vote on later in the day.’ – Independent

More Trump

  • He chooses a protectionist trade representative – FT
  • And gives a White House job to an Apprentice contestant – Independent 
  • Clintons to attend inauguration – Daily Telegraph 
  • The scandals of Obama – Piers Morgan, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s Column: May’s relations with Trump are fraught with risk

News in Brief

  • Sawyers warns of electronic voting risks – The Sun
  • BA to strike next week – Guardian
  • French Socialist frontrunner shifts to left – FT
  • Wife of Turkish massacre gunman arrested – Daily Telegraph 
  • Police shoot drug dealer dead – The Times (£)
  • Britain will be Europe’s most populous country by 2050 – Daily Mail

 

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