Tusk reveals that Brexit talks may start in January

EU Brexit“Theresa May will start Brexit negotiations with Brussels at the start of next year, EU leaders were told last night. The Prime Minister has informed them it is ‘quite likely’ she will be ready to invoke Article 50 in either January or February. It would pave the way for Britain to have left by 2019. European Council president Donald Tusk revealed the timetable for Brexit at a meeting yesterday in Bratislava of the leaders of the 27 countries that will remain EU members.” – Daily Mail

  • Europe spurns British plea for ‘Brexit guidance’ – FT
  • Fallon vows to block EU army so long as UK is member – The Times (£)
  • Clegg calls for second vote on Brexit – Daily Express
  • Merkel refuses to let EU leaders describe migrant crisis as ‘chaos’ – Daily Mail
  • Migration spat mars leaders’ bid to revive Union – FT
  • Positive impact of Brexit on agri-food industry highlighted – Belfast Telegraph

More May:

  • May delays airports announcement to avoid conference row – The Sun
  • Prime Minister to tighten airport security checks – Daily Express


  • Europe should not depend so on the ‘healing powers’ of Merkel – The Times (£)

Matthew Parris: Making enemies is no way for May to start

“This grammar school business seems very strange to me. Strange not because I think it right or wrong that we add some more selective schools to the state-school mix. I’ve no idea. It might be a brilliant move. But assuming Mrs May wants to pursue it, there’s no need for the big bust-up she seems intent on provoking. Why not start with the thin end of the wedge — and understate? She seems to have gone in with the thick end, though the final proposals will be far less provocative.” – The Times (£)

  • Prime Minister ‘battered’ by Chancellor in bruising Cabinet meeting over industrial policy – James Forsyth, The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Is May trying to engineer an early election?

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Times condemns the Government – but Downing Street might not be that bothered

Ministers 1) Mundell accuses Sturgeon of using ‘alarmist rhetoric’ on Brexit

SNP logo white background“David Mundell will today accuse Nicola Sturgeon of using “increasingly alarmist” rhetoric about Brexit to distract Scots from the fact that it has made independence even riskier. Speaking on the eve of the independence referendum’s second anniversary, the Scottish Secretary will attack the First Minister’s “doom-mongering warnings” as being irresponsible and suggest they are designed to make separation appear the safest option rather than provide a truthful analysis.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scottish Secretary warns that Euro would be price of independent EU membership – The Scotsman
  • Salmond declares that referendum rematch will be held in 2018 – The Times (£)
  • First Minister sets up ‘growth commission’ but is warned that Scotland needs fracking – Daily Telegraph
  • Ineo boss declares that without fracking Scotland will never be independent – The Scotsman
  • Four nations determined to block Scottish accession to the EU – Daily Express

Ministers 2) Johnson wants return of Royal Yacht as ‘floating embassy’

“The Queen’s private yacht could be turned into a ‘floating embassy’ to help increase trade around the world in the wake of Brexit. It is understood Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is considering returning the Royal Yacht Britannia to the waves as a ‘great symbol of global Britain’. The ship, which entered service in 1954 and was decommissioned in 1997, previously hosted trade talks in the early 90s that reportedly brought in billions of pounds to the economy.” – Daily Mail

Khan comments fuel speculation that he will try to oust Met chief

Police shield“Sadiq Khan publicly rebuked the Metropolitan police commissioner three times in one meeting, highlighting tensions between the London mayor and the country’s most senior police officer. Mr Khan’s comments fuelled speculation that he will try to oust Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe before the police chief completes a one-year contract extension, causing a headache for the Home Office.” – The Times (£)

  • What does the Mayor hope to learn from his visit to Chicago? – Daily Mail

More Labour:

  • Cooper calls on May to admit more than 20,000 Syrian refugees – Daily Express

Smith accuses Momentum of using Labour as ‘host body’

“Owen Smith has made an outspoken attack on Momentum, the grassroots movement set up to support Jeremy Corbyn, accusing it of using the party like a “host body” to promote hard-left policies. With just five days to go until voting closes in the hard-fought leadership contest, the challenger compared Momentum, which has been closely involved in Corbyn’s campaign, to Militant, the hard-left group expelled from Labour in the 1980s.” – The Guardian

  • Leader makes ‘conditional peace offer’ t0 MPs – The Guardian
  • Blair refused to expel Corbyn – FT
  • We must recapture the Labour Party or it is finished: interview with Alan Johnson – The Times (£)
  • Corbyn is now leader, he’s not even interested in unifying our Party – Ben Bradshaw, The Guardian

>Yesterday: David Burrowes MP in Comment: A chance for May to show compassion for child refugees

Banks unveils plans for ‘People’s Movement’

Blukip“Ukip’s most high-profile donor unveiled plans to launch a complementary movement to the party. Arron Banks, the multimillionaire insurance tycoon, plans to transform the Leave.EU Brexit campaign he financed before the referendum into a cross-party group with bigger ambitions. Dubbed the People’s Movement by insiders, the group will retain the official name Leave.EU. It is set to pursue a social and political reform agenda as well as keeping up pressure on the government to deliver a “hard” Brexit.” – The Times (£)

  • James calls on the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 ‘now’ – The Times (£)
  • Who is Diane James? – The Sun
  • Hamilton told he won’t be speaking at UKIP conference – Wales Online

Matthew Goodwin: To survive, UKIP must become Labour’s worst nightmare

“it could be argued that Ukip’s greatest potential going forward lies more in Labour than Conservative territory, where the party is already the second party in 44 Labour-held constituencies. Taking advantage of the tangible disillusionment with Jeremy Corbyn and the utter failure of his party to talk about immigration, Englishness and belonging in ways that resonate with blue-collar Britain is an obvious avenue to pursue.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Six things Diane James needs to do to succeed as leader – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • The Kentish bloke who painted Britain purple – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph


  • Farage was a clown… and the most important politician of our age – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Farewell to Farage, the panto hero for old timers – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)
  • James sounded like a company director presenting logistics – John Crace, The Guardian

>Yesterday: UKIPWatch: UKIP conference: Farage is gone (for real, this time). James is the new leader. A purge is on the way.

Lib Dems mull dedicated ‘NHS tax’

Lib Dem Logo“The Liberal Democrats are poised to become the first major political party to back a dedicated new tax to help rescue the NHS from its deep financial problems. The party is about to start examining the wisdom and practicalities of introducing a ringfenced tax which would involve a one pence increase in either income tax or National Insurance. The party has recruited a panel of senior doctors and NHS experts to advise it on how what it calls “a dedicated NHS and care tax” would help ease the health service’s decade-long financial squeeze.” – The Guardian

  • Williams says improving Welsh education is a ‘national mission’ – Wales Online

News in Brief:

  • ‘Navy farce’ as UK’s new £6bn destroyers spend twice as much time in port as at sea – Daily Mail
  • AirBNB’s ‘underhand’ lobbying tactics exposed – The Times (£)
  • ‘Withered’ Armed Forces could not withstand Russian attack, warns former general – Daily Telegraph
  • British hacker loses US extradition appeal – FT
  • UK’s first front-line female soldier is transgender – Daily Express
  • Saracens join free schools revolution – The Sun
  • Adams hints at standing down as Sinn Fein president – Belfast Telegraph