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Brexit 1) Eurosceptics cheered by Steve Baker’s appointment to DExEu…

“Eurosceptic Conservative MP Steve Baker has been named as a minister at the Department for Exiting the European Union. The Wycombe MP becomes the latest appointment as Theresa May continues to reshuffle her top team following her failure to secure a parliamentary majority at the general election. The choice of Mr Baker, one of the most vocal Eurosceptic Tory MPs, to an important role in the Brexit department is likely to anger Remain supporters who had hoped the election result would force Ms May to adopt a more conciliatory tone on Brexit and drop threats to leave the EU without a trade deal.” – Independent

  • Is this proof May’s committed to hard Brexit? – Daily Express
  • She signals she’s still determined to threaten EU with “no deal” stance – Daily Telegraph
  • Davis “didn’t know” David Jones would be sacked – Daily Telegraph
  • The Secretary has lost half his team – The Times (£)
  • “Shake up” leads to tension – FT

Comment:

  • We should appreciate that May doesn’t want hard Brexit – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

Other appointments news

>Yesterday: 

Brexit 2) …but Hammond is “preparing” to push for softening

“Philip Hammond is preparing to lead a battle within the government to soften Brexit by keeping Britain inside the EU customs union, The Times has learnt. The chancellor believes that ministers must rethink their decision to pursue an entirely independent trade policy, according to several sources. One said that the Treasury was in “street-fighting mode” and another predicted that Mr Hammond would win support for his position from Damian Green, the prime minister’s newly appointed deputy.”” – The Times (£)

  • He “hints at change in approach” – Daily Mail
  • “Powerful figures” call for softer Brexit – FT

Editorial:

  • A softer Brexit would be a betrayal – The Sun

Brexit 3) Talks “can start on 19 June” as planned

“Brexit talks can now start on Monday after Britain bowed to EU pressure for a formal opening to their long-awaited negotiations rather than first holding “technical discussions” between officials. After a day in which the UK government battled to restore confidence in its crisis-hit Department for Exiting the European Union (DexEU), Theresa May confirmed her team was ready to start next week despite uncertainty over the timing of the Queen’s speech. Whitehall sources said they expect this to mean talks will begin as originally hoped on Monday.” – Guardian

Brexit 4) May and Macron discuss EU

“Emmanuel Macron today said the ‘door remains open’ for Britain to change its mind over Brexit as EU officials gloated over the election turmoil. The French President said he ‘respected the sovereign decision’ of the British people to quit, but said everything was reversible. His comments come hours after German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble made the same offer. It suggests European politicians are hoping to seize upon Britain’s political upheaval to urge the UK reverse last year’s historic referendum and thwart Brexit.” – Daily Mail

  • He says door to EU is “still open” for Britain – Daily Telegraph
  • But that start of talks will make that approach “harder” – The Times (£)
  • He claims time is of the essence – Guardian

Comment:

  • Macron will offer May “no mercy” – Gideon Rachman, FT

Brexit 5) May focuses on “national unity” in first Commons address

“Theresa May has marked her return to parliament with a notably more conciliatory approach, telling the new contingent of MPs that parliament should “come together in a spirit of national unity” to tackle issues such as terrorism and Brexit. In a brief address to the Commons following the re-election of John Bercow as Speaker – formal parliamentary business does not resume until next week – May employed some self-mockery over the surprise election result. She began by congratulating Bercow for his unanimous re-election, adding to laughter: “At least somebody got a landslide.”” – Guardian

Comment:

  • The Government and country are in such a mess. And Brexit is a “potential disaster” – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: May – “At least someone got a landslide”

Brexit 6) Duncan Smith: We already talk with other parties. It’s good. But not if it harms negotiating

“Now, I am all for talking to members of other parties, which in fact goes on all the time. Whips talk to whips, backbench members do as well, and the Prime Minister often consults the Leader of the Opposition on matters of national importance. But I do not believe that a Government engaged in Brexit talks can possibly seek approval from such a group during those negotiations, for that would make it impossible to achieve clarity. Labour has also made it clear that it does not want to engage in such a formal way, for that would mean that its traditional ability to critique the Government’s final agreement would be lost. Anyway, the Government has already said that it will report back regularly. In that way it can inform but not get bogged down by negotiating in public, by “committee”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour “won’t collaborate” until May drops “no deal rhetoric” – Independent
  • Cameron says May “should listen to other parties” – FT
  • As do other senior Tories – The Sun
  • Gove calls for “maximum consensus” – The Sun
  • Farron “begs for seat at table” – Daily Express
  • Sturgeon calls for collaboration change – FT

More comment:

  • The Brexit team should be “reassembled” to make for a “grand coalition” – Thom Brookes, The Times (£)
  • Cross-party consensus is not the right approach – James Moore, Independent

Editorial:

  • May must open a conversation with the other parties on this – The Times (£)
  • Cameron’s calls risk “Tory civil war” – Daily Mail

Brexit 7) Davidson draws red line over fishing rights

“Ruth Davidson has told Theresa May that the government must not trade away any fishing rights in the Brexit negotiations. The Scottish Conservative leader made the protection of fishing one of her red-line issues as far as Brexit is concerned. She has insisted that the UK leave the common fisheries policy completely, that Britain have a rigorously enforced 200-mile fishing limit and that no fishing rights be traded away for concessions elsewhere.” – The Times (£)

First new cabinet meeting brings “completely changed attitude” from May

“Senior ministers have insisted on the right to see Theresa May face-to-face as they flex their muscles after her humiliation in the election. Those attending the first meeting of the new cabinet on Monday reported a completely changed dynamic in which ministers were emboldened to speak their mind on policy, presentation and the shortcomings of No 10. Mrs May was challenged over how Downing Street had operated in the nine months since she took over from David Cameron to her ill-starred decision to seek a personal mandate, according to one account.” – The Times (£)

  • Senior Tories warn against austerity reversal – Daily Telegraph
  • May “apologises” to her colleagues in closed-door meeting – FT

Comment:

  • Where are her friends? – Raphael Behr, Guardian
  • May is doing right thing by staying. We should respect that – Graham Brady, Daily Telegraph
  • She’s put the party on “death row” – Robert Halfon, The Sun
  • Her vanity led to loss of good MPs – Ann Widdecombe, Daily Express

>Today: Alex Morton’s Column: May must not turn into Major

>Yesterday:

DUP talks 1) Foster: A “successful conclusion” is in sight

“Theresa May’s talks to prop up her Government with Northern Ireland unionists are set for a “successful conclusion soon”, according to the DUP leader. It comes after the Prime Minister met with the DUP chief Arlene Foster in Downing Street to discuss a “supply and confidence” arrangement between the two parties following the general election last week. Ms Foster said on Twitter: “Discussions are going well with the government and we hope soon to be able to bring this work to a successful conclusion.” Downing Street sources also told The Independent that talks were “ongoing”.” – Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Dancing with the DUP. Mind where you tread.

DUP talks 2) Major warns against “undermining” peace process

Sir John Major has warned a Conservative deal with the DUP could undermine the “fragile” Northern Ireland peace process. The former prime minister said he was “wary” and “dubious” about a potential deal between Theresa May and Arlene Foster. He said there was a danger the Government will not look “impartial” if it is “locked into a parliamentary deal” with the Northern Irish party. Speaking to the BBC’s World at One, he said: “I am concerned about the deal, I am wary about it, I am dubious about it, both for peace process reasons, and for other reasons as well.” Sir John warned that the re-introduction of a hard border in Northern Ireland would damage the peace process.

  • He “outlined his objections” – The Times (£)
  • And talked of “fragile peace” – Guardian
  • Trimble criticises “scaremongering” over deal – FT

Editorial:

Comment:

  • The DUP deal “makes no sense” – Martin Kettle, Guardian
  • Who are the DUP? I’ll tell you – Sophie Whiting, The Times (£)

Labour MPs cheer Corbyn’s return to Commons

“Jeremy Corbyn received a rapturous applause from Labour MPs at the party’s first Westminster meeting since the general election as he told them: “We are now a government in waiting.” Speaking at the weekly Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting, Mr Corbyn, who received a 45-second ovation for the party’s performance in last week’s election, told his colleagues that 35,000 people have joined Labour since Friday.” – Independent

  • He says Labour is a “government in waiting” – Daily Mail

Sketch:

Comment:

  • This is the end of New Labour – Owen Jones, Guardian
  • Progressive voters should’ve banded together – Clive Lewis and Caroline Lucas, Guardian
  • Nobody could’ve done better for Labour – Ashley Cowburn, Independent

>Today: Edward Frith in Comment: Corbyn promised us the moon. May pretended we weren’t there. No wonder young people backed Labour.

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Corbyn – “The Labour Party is ready to offer strong and stable leadership in the national interest”

More Labour

Sturgeon ignores second referendum issue in first cabinet meeting after election

“The First Minister said she would “reflect” on demands for a second referendum in the light of losing 21 MPs in the general election amid mounting pressure to ditch the drive. But at her first Cabinet meeting since Thursday’s snap poll, the subject was not even discussed with aides refusing to be drawn on when Ms Sturgeon will address the issue. However her spokesman insisted she had a “triple lock” mandate for another referendum after winning more MPs than any other party north of the Border.” – Daily Express

  • She’s accused of “being in denial” – Daily Telegraph
  • And of “ignoring” election impact – Herald

News in Brief

24 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 14th June 2017

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