Drift

The Prime Minister is like a woman on a raft, adrift at sea – as her fellow-passengers watch the good (or bad) ship Chequers gently slipping, with the occasional plop and gurgle, beneath the waves.

Newslinks

May “summoned” to see 1922 Committee on Wednesday, as “numerous” Conservative MPs say she is “on course” for no confidence vote “this week”

“…numerous Tory MPs said May was on course to face a vote of no confidence this week as all wings of the party united against her. An ally of David Davis, the former Brexit secretary who is tipped as an interim leader, said May was entering “the killing zone”. One who hopes to succeed added: “Assassination is in the air.” The prime minister has been summoned to plead for her job before the back-bench 1922 committee on Wednesday — a process dubbed “a show trial” by one Tory. She is now under attack from her MPs on five fronts as it was claimed that: Up to 46 MPs have sent a letter demanding a contest, two short of the number needed; A “handful” of cabinet members would vote against May in a secret ballot” – The Sunday Times

  • She’s in the “killing zone” and has “72 hours to save her job” – Mail on Sunday
  • It’ll be a “show trial” – Sunday Express
  • She will face a “snap leadership coup” if no deal by Christmas – Sun on Sunday
  • Here’s what happened this week. Is she facing her “political funeral”? – The Sunday Times

Editorial:

Davis sets out “what will be seen as his manifesto”

“David Davis today steals a march on Tory leadership rival Boris Johnson by setting out what will be seen as his manifesto for Downing Street – including adopting a much more militant attitude towards Brussels. With both former Cabinet Ministers on high alert this weekend for the sudden triggering of a no-confidence vote in Theresa May, the former Brexit Secretary uses a trenchant article in today’s Mail on Sunday – below – to slam the Prime Minister for proposing to extend the transition period for withdrawing from the EU by a year. Arguing that Mrs May has ‘managed to anger not just Leavers but ardent Remainers as well’, Mr Davis calls for a change in tactics to a more uncompromising approach.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Meanwhile, Johnson says May is planning a “stitch-up” – Sunday Express

>Today: ToryDiary: Davis waves away at the crown

Mercer: I was deliberate in my choice of words. This administration “cannot function”

“I cannot continue to support an administration that cannot function, to the point where it allows cases such as the one affecting Dennis. For Dennis read Windrush, Grenfell and Brexit. When all is said and done, politics is about people, the lives of real people. It is not a stage to prance around on in London, feigning strength and conviction. It is how it actually feels to the British people. It does not feel right, and the country knows it. We are not an extreme country, and Britain is getting restless with a political scene that does not represent our nation.” – The Sunday Times

>Today: Neil Shastri-Hurst in Comment: McCain in America, Mercer here in Britain. It’s time for soldier-statesmen to take the lead

An estimated “700,000” march for a second referendum

“The centre of London ground to a halt as an estimated 700,000 people from all over the UK marched peacefully on parliament to demand a second referendum on Brexit. It was the biggest outpouring of public opposition to government policy since the anti-Iraq war protest in 2003. The number who descended on the capital to call for a “people’s vote” exceeded all expectations of both the organisers and police. Addressing the crowds, which included dozens of MPs from all political parties, the TV personality and food writer Delia Smith said Brexit threatened to cause “unmitigated chaos”. “The only way we can avoid this total madness and win back our future has to be a people’s vote,” she declared to loud cheers.” – Observer

Comment:

  • Remain has the energy – Will Hutton, Observer
  • The marchers are risking democracy – Tim Montgomerie, Mail on Sunday

Editorial:

  • We’ve already had a “people’s vote”. Back in June 2016 – Sun on Sunday

Raab: I remain confident about a good deal. An indefinite customs union is not acceptable

“…I remain confident we can reach a good deal. At the same time, our no deal planning and preparations will continue. We are building on the 106 technical notices we have published explaining how we will avoid, manage or mitigate the short-term risks of a no deal scenario – and make a success of Brexit. It is natural that our EU partners feel as frustrated as we do with this whole process. After all, it was the UK that voted to leave. And yet through their response, Brexit will define the EU at a critical juncture in its history. Seeking to lock the UK into an indefinite customs union is simply unacceptable. Proposals to carve up the economic regime that binds the UK are doubly irresponsible given separatist pressures on the continent – and are hardly a compelling advert for a political club that stands for European unity. History will not look kindly on the EU if it precipitates no deal on these grounds.” – Sunday Telegraph

EU wants to “stop UK becoming low-tax economy” after Brexit

“Michel Barnier and his negotiating team want Britain to be shackled to EU tax policies after Brexit, a leaked document suggests. The EU’s Brexit Task Force met with the European Parliament’s TAX3 secretariat last week to discuss how Britain will align its tax rules with the EU.   Campaign groups fear this proposal will be used to deliberately undermine a post-Brexit economy. The draft documents, written by the TAX3 committee, state: ‘The intention is that they commit to continue to alignment with EU standards, including for their overseas countries and territories’. ‘The mandate for the negotiating team is to define and create a level playing field, taking into consideration four main areas, of which one is taxation’. Campaign group Leave.EU hit out at the proposals, and said: ‘We voted Leave to take back control of our country, but now the corrupt EU wants to control our tax rates after Brexit.” – Mail on Sunday

Hammond “refuses Javid’s demand” for extra funds for police

“Philip Hammond has dismissed calls for more money for the police, leading to warnings in government that the chancellor risks undermining the fight against terrorism. Well-placed sources said a budget showdown last week between Hammond and Sajid Javid, the home secretary, “did not go well”. Javid has demanded several hundred million pounds in three parts: money for general policing, a new pot of cash to fund counter-terrorism and greater leeway for local authorities facing a crime crisis to raise a local tax called the “precept”.” – The Sunday Times

  • Meanwhile, former police chief blames peace process for preventing justice – Belfast News Letter

Comment: 

Will “compulsory purchase” of discounted land be announced in budget?

“Councils would be able to strip landowners of large portions of profits from the sale of their land, under proposals expected to be unveiled in the Budget, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. An official review commissioned by Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, is to endorse controversial calls for the state to “capture” more of the increase in value of sites when they are granted planning permission. … Downing Street and the Treasury are now believed to be locked in discussions over how radical an approach the government could endorse. Sir Oliver’s final report could go as far as recommending the compulsory purchase of land at discounted prices that exclude the “uplift” in value from planning permission.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Councils to use new powers to build more houses – Observer
  • Over 40 MPs call for extra money for UC – Sunday Telegraph
  • Will the NHS’s £20bn be spent on debt? – Observer
  • Publishers want e-book levy scrapped – Sun on Sunday
  • Minford says Canada Brexit would allow Hammond to cut VAT by 4 per cent in 2020 – Sunday Express

Hammond relations with McVey “so bad” he “wants” Truss to replace her

“A bitter row has erupted between Philip Hammond and welfare chief Esther McVey over claims of a £2 billion black hole in the Government’s flagship benefits reform. Relations between the two are said to be so bad that the Chancellor wants Miss McVey sacked and replaced with his deputy, Liz Truss. One Treasury source even took aim at Ms McVey’s immaculate hair, saying: ‘The only thing she knows how to do well is a blow dry.’ But allies of Miss McVey accuse Mr Hammond of lobbying for her removal because she stands up to the Chancellor and gets more cash for her Work and Pensions department.” – Mail on Sunday 

Williamson “backs Trump” on Russian nuclear pact criticism

“Britain stands “absolutely resolute” with the United States, the UK defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said, after Donald Trump’s announcement he would pull out of a decades-old nuclear weapons pact with Russia. Williamson blamed Russia for endangering the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which was agreed by the US and the Soviet Union in 1987, and called on the Kremlin to “get its house in order”. “Our close and long-term ally of course is the United States and we will be absolutely resolute with the United States in hammering home a clear message that Russia needs to respect the treaty obligation that it signed,” he told the Financial Times.” – Observer

  • Meanwhile, May plans “electoral law overhaul” to “block foreign spending” and “stop interference” – Mail on Sunday 

Hinds to ask private schools to share their pools

“A bid to get more school children to take the plunge and learn to swim will be launched today. Education Secretary Damian Hinds will unveil plans to boost youngsters’ swimming skills by getting more private schools to share their facilities with those in the state sector. The move comes amid concerns that although swimming is compulsory in the national curriculum, almost half of primary school pupils are unable to swim the required 25 metres by the age of 11. Mr Hinds acknowledged last night that many private schools already shared their pools, but called for more to follow suit. He said: ‘As a parent, I want my children to enjoy swimming as part of an active lifestyle, and as Education Secretary, I want to make sure our children grow up safe and water-confident.” – Mail on Sunday

More criticisms of Bercow after he “berated stunned aide” at airport

“Commons Speaker John Bercow berated a stunned aide in an airport check-in queue, it was claimed yesterday. Stunned passengers looked on as he flew into a rage at his private secretary over a travel documents mix-up. Officials told of Mr Bercow’s “fiery temper” as he faced calls to step down over the bullying and sex pest row sweeping Westminster. One said: “He has a short fuse. I’ve seen him storming down corridors, slamming doors and swearing. “He can be quite scary when he loses it. He once hit the roof with a private secretary and humiliated her in front of a line of other passengers.” A former Commons clerk who quit over bullying accused Mr Bercow of belittling her because he couldn’t lay his hands on an envelope.” Sun on Sunday

  • Commons staff could strike over “culture” revealed in Cox report – The Sunday Times

Comment:

  • Bercow’s “not fit for public office” – David Leakey, Sun on Sunday

Dwan: It’s easy to feel as if truth is in decline

“Nonetheless, it’s easy to feel worried that truth’s empire is in decline. George Orwell was one of truth’s Cassandras, but he tended to relate the rise of authoritarianism not to a dogmatic objectivity, but to the advance of relativism. Nazis were the worst sinners: “Nazi theory specifically denies that such a thing as ‘the truth’ exists. There is no such thing as ‘science’. There is only ‘German science’, ‘Jewish science’ etc.”  Incoherent as it may be, Orwell worried that relativism was fed by the great “modern disease” of nationalism and the subdivision of the world into discrete and hostile units. “Indifference to objective truth,” he complained, “is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another.” Despite China’s best efforts, this type of isolation is hard to effect in an internet age. Yet as we have seen, the fragmentation of news sources and the rise of social media have produced new forms of collective solipsism in which lies are circulated with alarming speed.” – Observer

  • Gender identity has been pushed “centre stage” – Melanie McDonagh, Mail on Sunday
  • Few people oppose trans equality. That’s not what this is about – Iain Macwhirter, Herald

News in Brief