May visits Merkel today…

May Cabinet‘The prime minister has promised to speak “frankly and openly” to Angela Merkel about Brexit when the two women meet today for the first time. Theresa May is expected to underline that she is in no hurry to trigger the two-year exit talks, despite claims from other EU leaders that invoking Article 50 is a prerequisite for negotiations. She made clear before the meeting with the German chancellor in Berlin that she wanted to discuss some of the key issues immediately. “I do not underestimate the challenge of negotiating our exit from the European Union,” she said. “I firmly believe that being able to talk frankly and openly about the issues we face will be an important part of a successful negotiation.” Mrs Merkel will tell Mrs May that she wants to keep trade and travel links with Britain as close as possible while resisting entering informal talks.’ – The Times (£)

  • The new Prime Minister ‘stamped her authority’ at her first cabinet meeting – Daily Express
  • And announces that she’ll chair three new committees, including Brexit’s – The Guardian


  • She has been practising her ‘resolute leader face’, and ‘goodness, it’s worked’ – Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph
  • We should expect the unexpected with May – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)



…while Boris is pressed by journalists, but makes friends with Kerry…

Boris Johnson 30-06-16‘And this was the thing: Boris brought that old sausage Kerry to life. When Mr Kerry started lolloping through praise for Boris – ‘very smart and capable’ – Boris chipped in a cheery ‘I can live with that! You’d better stop there.’ Laughter. Mr Kerry leaned over to him, gave a joshing dig of the elbow, and drawled: ‘This is called diplomacy, Boris.’ – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

  • Kerry says the US-UK relationship is ‘still special’ – Daily Mail
  • But questioner’s list of gaffes is embarrassing – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)
  • Kerry wants to make deal ‘as fast as possible’ – Daily Express
  • Boris has ‘excellent discussion’ with May about America – The Times


  • ‘Il est formidable’: Boris’s charm is useful, but that’s the just the ‘easy bit’ – Bruno Waterfield, The Times 
  • Boris and Kerry’s awkward meeting – John Crace, The Guardian

…and joins Rudd over migration. They want to avoid a target number. Confusion reigns.

`The cabinet was divided last night over the pledge to bring net migration below 100,000 after Boris Johnson said that it should avoid setting a number because it would “disappoint people again”. The foreign secretary said that Amber Rudd, the home secretary, was right when she declined yesterday to put a figure on the government’s aim of reducing net migration to sustainable levels. Ms Rudd had refused to commit to the previous promise by David Cameron and Theresa May to reduce net migration — the difference between those coming and those leaving the UK for more than year — to less than 100,000 by 2020. The Conservatives made the pledge in 2010 but the latest figure is more than three times that target at 333,000. Last night Downing Street insisted that the prime minister still wanted to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands”. – The Times (£)

  • Row breaks out after new Home Secretary ‘refuses’ to back manifesto pledge – The Sun
  • Lord Faulkes quits government over Truss appointment – Daily Mail
  • Soubry follows Faulkes – The Sun
  • Hammond has ‘no plans to reverse’ Osborne’s approach – Daily Express
  • Truss promises to continue Gove’s prison reforms – The Times (£)


  • Richard Harrington has ‘a mountain to climb’ as new pensions minister – Dan Hyde, Daily Mail



Big Brexit questions remain

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 08.25.14Where will the road to Brexit end? Theresa May, Britain’s new prime minister, travels to Berlin on Wednesday to meet Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, in the first leg of a political journey whose final destination remains uncertain. There are plenty of package solutions, ranging from Norway to Canada and even tiny Albania. The problem is that senior Whitehall and Brussels officials are unconvinced any will work. Brexit is likely to end with a one-of-a-kind result.’ The search has begun for “the British model’ – FT


  • IMF cuts Britain’s forecast – Independent
  • But the downgrade still puts us ahead of Germany and France – The Sun
  • Carswell calls the IMF ‘clowns’ over their ‘climbdown’ – Daily Mail
  • Brexit unit needs 5,000 extra staff at a possible £5bn – The Times (£)


  • High court Brexit challenge to be heard in October – FT
  • Government lawyer claims Brexit won’t happen until 2016 – Independent
  • ’Brexit Justice’ crowdfunding group raises £100,000 – Daily Express

The Union

  • Enda Kenny talks of Irish referendum – Daily Express
  • Martin Schulz ‘confirms’ that Scotland can’t remain in the EU without the UK – Daily Express

New representatives

  • Nick Clegg appointed the Liberal Democrats’ EU spokesman – Independent
  • New ‘progressive’ EU movement backed by Lord Ashdown and celebrities – Guardian


  • German centre-left party attempts to block EU deal with Canada – Daily Express
  • EU tries to beat UK to Asian trade bloc – Daily Express



Smith to face Corbyn in voters’ ballot, as Eagle drops out after MPs’ vote

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 08.26.29Mr Smith, the former shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, emerged as the sole challenger after he and Ms Eagle struck a deal under which the one with the most support among Labour MPs and MEPs would oppose Mr Corbyn, and the other would stand aside. If they had both run, it would have split the anti-Corbyn vote. Mr Smith was nominated by 88 MPs and two MEPs, a total of about 20 more than Ms Eagle, the former shadow Business Secretary.’ – Independent

  • Who is Owen Smith? – The Sun
  • Self-styled ‘radical’ Smith criticised for lobbyist past – The Times
  • Eagle promises to put her ‘energies and enthusiasm’ behind Smith – Daily Mail



  • Eagle was ‘cursed’ by her history – Anne Perkins, Guardian


Trump becomes the GOP’s official presidential nominee

TRUMP Live’When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination on Tuesday night, disco lights shone, the music was “New York, New York” and a big sign shouted: “OVER THE TOP!” Which is exactly what it was. Later, we were addressed by his son – unusually, for the Trumps, an actual conservative – his daughter, family friend Chris Christie and, believe it or not, the head manager of Trump Winery. Is this a convention or an investment opportunity? I cannot tell anymore.’ – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph

  • Trump and the growing backlash against income stagnancy – FT


Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Lord Ashcroft’s Republican Convention Diary. Day One: Trump begins as he means to go on

News in Brief

  • Policeman and two others stabbed in Hyde Park fight – Guardian
  • Germans criticise Merkel’s immigration policy after train attack – Daily Mail
  • ECJ challenges ‘snooper’s charter’ – The Times (£)
  • ‘Healthy patients’ risk being removed from GPs’ lists – Daily Telegraph
  • Wikileaks threatens to release ‘the Erdoğan emails’ – Independent


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