Brexit 1) May ‘trims manifesto commitments’ to prepare for no-deal Brexit…

“Theresa May is to start culling Tory manifesto commitments after her cabinet decided yesterday to accelerate planning for a no-deal Brexit. David Lidington, who is in effect the prime minister’s deputy, will start in “short order” to identify policies to be shelved to free resources for the no-deal, a senior figure said. Reforms to social care have been identified by one minister as a likely casualty of yesterday’s decision, which escalated preparations across Whitehall. A Department of Health aide confirmed that some staff had already been diverted from social care to prepare. With 100 days to go until Brexit day on March 29, businesses were told to start their own contingency plans. Households will be given further instructions on issues such as travel, medicines and banking in the coming weeks. HM Revenue & Customs will email 80,000 businesses this week to explain the impact and provide 100 pages of updated advice online on possible changes at borders. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, announced an extra £2 billion for no-deal planning, with the Home Office, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and HMRC receiving the lion’s share of the cash.” – The Times

  • Tensions break out in ‘marathon’ Cabinet – The Times
  • How ministers clashed over ‘unicorns’ and more – Daily Telegraph


  • Raab demands £39 billion is spent on business tax cuts – The Sun
  • Williamson puts troops on standby – Daily Telegraph
  • Hammond accused of ‘hoarding’ no-deal cash… – The Sun
  • …and of ‘sabotaging’ efforts to prepare – Daily Express


  • Calls to cut taxes on banks amidst Brexit uncertainty – FT
  • Britain could take part in Euro elections if exit postponed – The Times
  • Immigration enforcement staff could be redeployed to borders – The Sun
  • Business watches political infighting ‘in horror’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Nick de Bois in Comment: What my government experience taught me about No Deal – and why planning must be stepped up

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: No deal planning. Hancock goes early, orders it – and sets an example.

…as MPs claim they’ll resign the whip to resist ‘crashing out’…

“Tory Remainer MPs Anna Soubry and Nick Boles today vowed to quit their party and try to topple Theresa May’s government if she presses ahead with a no deal Brexit. The two former ministers threatened to push the nuclear button and back Labour in a no confidence vote if this was the only way to stop the UK crashing out. Their threat comes as the Cabinet ramped up no deal planning amid mounting fears that political deadlock in Parliament could send the UK hurtling towards a no deal. Ministers have put thousands of troops on standby and reserved ferry space for emergency supplies as they pumped £2billion extra into no deal preparations. But as the flood of doomsday warnings emerged out of the Number Ten meeting, Mr Boles and Ms Soubry said they would do whatever it takes to stop a no deal… In bruising exchanges, the PM is said to have joined forces with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Commons leader Andrea Leadsom to ‘squash’ calls from Ms Rudd for MPs to vote on a range of Brexit options. And Brexiteer ministers including Mrs Leadsom urged a ‘managed’ no-deal if Mrs May’s package cannot be pushed through Parliament.” – Daily Mail

  • Remainers’ warning delights Brexiteers… – Daily Express
  • …who cut short rebellion in belief that UK is heading for ‘clean Brexit’ – The Sun


  • Prime Minister urged to cut short Christmas break to debate options – Daily Telegraph
  • Ministers get ‘secret legal advice’ on keeping Britain in the EU – The Sun

>Yesterday: NIck Boles MP in Comment: Demolishing five myths about Norway Plus

….and winning over the Democratic Unionists is widely seen as the key to passing the Agreement

“Theresa May will be within 20 votes of winning a parliamentary majority for her Brexit deal if she can gain assurances from the EU that will persuade the Democratic Unionist party to back her deal, senior ministers and Tory MPs believe. One cabinet minister said they believed the success of the prime minister’s deal hinged entirely on a last bid to win round the DUP. Another MP said they saw the Northern Irish party as the “British standard” who would give them the reassurance they needed to fall in behind. “You unlock huge numbers of Tory MPs if you can get something the DUP can accept,” the cabinet minister said. “There’s no point at all in holding a vote until you win back the DUP. That is the absolute priority.” Several cabinet sources played down the prospect of any efforts to try to form a coalition of support with Labour MPs and said all efforts were focused on regaining the DUP’s support. “You cannot get this deal through only on the back of Labour votes because it would split the Tory party,” one official said. “That means one thing – bringing the DUP back on board.” Sources said they had also been encouraged in recent days by the more conciliatory noises being made by Eurosceptic Tories after Labour attempted to hold a no-confidence vote in the prime minister.” – The Guardian

  • Small fine for pro-Brexit group over DUP donation – News Letter


  • Sturgeon makes second referendum her top priority – Daily Telegraph
  • Nationalists claim ‘ship has sailed’ on soft Brexit compromise – The Scotsman

>Today: ToryDiary: Brexit, the backstop, Anglo-Irish relations – and learning from Burke

Dominic Raab: How the Government should best prepare for ‘no deal’

“The Government should now focus on three top priorities. First, managing the risk that EU border checks add costs to UK businesses. The UK will adopt a ‘continuity’ approach, recognising EU regulatory standards on day 1 of Brexit, and taking an intelligence-led approach to enforcement rather than checking every truck from Europe. Likewise, on exit, UK goods will comply with EU standards. Xavier Bertrand, President of the northern region of France, has said that the Calais authorities would facilitate the flow of lorries arriving from the UK. French officials say checks would take 2 minutes per lorry, not 10 minutes as Whitehall planners (inexplicably) assume… Second, we need interim tariff liberalisation to protect UK consumers, if the EU applies tariffs on UK exports, and take immediate advantage of the opportunity to reduce the price of goods from the rest of the world… Third, the Treasury must prepare a Brexit budget to identify businesses – including ‘just in time’ manufacturers – most at risk from a departure on WTO terms. We should cut business taxes to boost them as they transition, and offset the cost from the £39 billion the UK would have paid the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Is it really possible to extend Article 50? – Matt Bevington, Times Red Box
  • What happens under ‘managed no deal’? – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • Plans to soften cliff-edge, but not by much – Alex Barker, FT
  • Back-up plans for no-deal departure – Oliver Wright and Henry Zeffman, The Times

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