Downing Street warns peers not to block Brexit

Lords“Downing Street has warned peers they face a drastic curtailing of their powers if they try to block the triggering of Brexit. Number Ten delivered the ultimatum amid mounting fears inside Government that the Supreme Court will rule that Parliament must have a vote on Article 50. Insiders believe it is now ‘highly unlikely’ that the Government’s appeal will be successful. This will present the unelected House of Lords with an opportunity to block Brexit for up to a year – causing chaos to the Downing Street timetable.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister dumps plan to strip powers from Lords to clear decks for Article 50 battle – Daily Mail
  • Opposition in the upper house remains a big hurdle – FT
  • Europhile peer behind Article 50 sparks fury for calling Britons ‘so bloody stupid’ – Daily Mail

EU Funding:

  • Schäuble sets out tough line on Brexit – FT
  • Poland demands UK keep paying until 2020, Baltic states more conciliatory – Daily Express
  • Britain’s contribution to EU aid budget soars by £200 million in one year – Daily Mail
  • Brussels spends British aid money on luxuries – The Sun
  • Britain may have to fund the EU for a decade after leaving – The Times (£)
  • Remaining in the single market invites an £850 million fine – Daily Express

More Brexit:

  • ‘Metric martyrs’ go extra mile to distance Britain from Brussels – FT
  • UKIP accused of misspending €500,000 of European Parliament expenses on domestic elections – Daily Mail
  • Nurses leaving NHS ‘because of Brexit’ – The Times (£)
  • Norway expert casts doubt on Sturgeon’s single market plan – Daily Telegraph
  • Northern Irish MLA’s failed Brexit challenge referred to the Supreme Court – Belfast Telegraph


  • Call for science to escape Brexit migration rules – FT
  • Deloitte warns it will move business out of Britain if May cracks down on immigration – Daily Telegraph


  • House of Lords reform is essential and should not be abandoned – The Times (£)

O’Donnell criticises Fox’s international trade department

“Gus O’Donnell, the eminent former cabinet secretary who served under three prime ministers, has criticised Theresa May’s decision to set up a separate Department for International Trade after the Brexit vote… On entering Downing Street last July, Mrs May created two new departments to manage Brexit: the Department for Exiting the EU under David Davis and the Department for International Trade under Liam Fox. Lord O’Donnell expressed doubts over this move. “I’m slightly puzzled by the way [the two ministries have] been set up,” he said in an interview with the Politics Home website. “It’s not quite how I would have advised.”” – FT

  • Fox leadership backer gets role overseeing his department – The Times (£)

Michael Gove: Patriotism must no longer be a dirty word

GOVE union flag T-shirt“There is nothing inherently wicked about a belief in and support for nation states. Quite the opposite. Writing about patriotism in his magnificent essay, The Lion and the Unicorn, George Orwell argued that, “as a positive force there is nothing to set beside it”. And he’s still right. The nation state is the best means yet designed of holding political power accountable through democracy, of compelling the rich to help the poor in the name of solidarity and of protecting human rights by instilling respect for institutions, such as the common law, which preserve liberty.” – The Times (£)

  • How may can break free from Brexit muddle – Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • May’s ‘killer queen’ strategy is working brilliantly – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • MPs can see off hard Brexit, the ball is in their court – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Cameron undermined his cause by being too passionately pro-Remain – Philip Webster, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Interview: Tim Shipman on his astonishing account of the battle for Brexit

Former health secretaries, including Clarke and Lansley, attack Government’s mental health record

“Every health secretary from the past 20 years has condemned the “enduring injustice” faced by patients with mental illnesses and accused the government of failing to honour pledges to help them. In an unprecedented intervention, the nine previous holders of the post say they are “alarmed and dismayed” that little has changed since the promise last year that the NHS would treat mental health on a par with physical problems. The last two chief executives of the health service join them in warning that “warm words” were yet to be backed by action to alleviate the suffering of families nationwide.” – The Times (£)

>Today: J Meirion Thomas in Comment: The scandal of how the NHS falls prey to health tourism

Ministers 1) May orders Hammond to find more ways to help ‘just managing’ voters

HAMMOND Philip white background“Downing Street has intervened in recent days to insist that Philip Hammond, the chancellor, do more to help “just managing” voters in next week’s autumn statement. No 10 is understood to have demanded a series of initiatives to help those in work earning £18,000 to £24,000, a group that struggles to make ends meet but does not qualify for much government assistance. The demographic has been identified as key to Theresa May’s premiership, but officials have yet to come up with many concrete proposals.” – The Times (£)

  • MPs tell Hammond to axe ‘hated’ Air Passenger Duty – The Sun
  • Financial regulator says new rules must take Brexit into account – FT
  • Who are the ‘JAMs’? Everything you need to know about politicians’ new word – The Sun


  • A quick splurge won’t solve Britain’s malaise – Ed Conway, The Times (£)
  • Wisdom is knowing you can’t predict the future, just ask the OBR – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Our plan to rebalance the economy for a post-Brexit Britain – Alison McGovern, Times Red Box


  • Britain’s Chancellor and the case for prudence – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Green takes charge of the Government’s plans for Life Chances


Ministers 2) Ministers plan to ‘rip up’ prison rewards restrictions

“Strict rules which stop jail inmates from getting too many perks are being ripped up by ministers because they are ‘too punitive’. The rules govern how many items – such as TVs and stereos – a prisoner can have in their cell. The inmates are supposed to ‘earn’ these privileges, with items then taken away if they misbehave. But incredibly, the Government has quietly drawn up plans to scrap the system – because it is being used to punish inmates, rather than reward them.” – Daily Mail

  • Truss denies being out of her depth during grilling on Sky News – The Sun
  • Former Justice Secretary will rake in £30,000 per speech – The Sun


  • To solve rising violence our prisons need old-fashioned warders with jailcraft – Jeremy Petherick, Daily Telegraph
  • Prisons wouldn’t be in such a state if inmates did a full day’s work on weekdays – Anne Widdecombe, Daily Mail


  • Even softer prisons are not the answer – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Simply throwing money at our broken prison system won’t deliver the required reform

Ministers 3) Brokenshire calls for ‘public phase’ of Ulster legacy process

Northern Ireland“The Secretary of State has said dealing with the legacy of the Troubles would “benefit from a more public phase” as he attempts to move forward on the stalled issue. Writing for the Belfast Telegraph on the first anniversary of the Fresh Start Agreement, James Brokenshire said he remains “determined to make progress on this vital issue”. However, the process on dealing with the past has been bogged down for years.  Proposed mechanisms were outlined in a previous political settlement – the Stormont House Agreement of 2014 – but they have not been established.” – Belfast Telegraph

  • Finding consensus on a way forward for dealing with the past is a key priority – James Brokenshire, Belfast Telegraph

Labour ‘engulfed in ground war’ as unions exploit rulebook to reinfoce rebel MPs

“A ground war has broken out in the Labour party as unions try to shore up support for rebel MPs under attack from Jeremy Corbyn and his allies. Unions such as Usdaw and Community, as well as the Co-operative party, are setting up local branches in the constituencies of MPs who are at risk of deselection by Mr Corbyn. Under an obscure device in Labour’s rule book, a union branch with just one member carries the same weight in a membership ballot for deselection as a party branch with hundreds of members.” – FT

  • Row over McDonnell’s Brexit comments threatens truce – The Guardian
  • Corbyn attacked by MPs for telling them to watch ‘I, Daniel Blake’ to protest welfare cuts – The Sun
  • Shadow Chancellor endorsed armed uprising against police and army – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Local Government: Will Labour apologise for Manchester’s rubbish deal?

MPs 1) Committee urge May to tackle energy giants

money“Energy companies are overcharging their poorest customers by £440 million a year, it has been claimed. New research has found that the poorest families and pensioners who are on benefits are not on the cheapest tariff with their supplier… The influential Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee is now urging the Prime Minister to demand that energy firms move these customers on to their cheapest tariff. Labour MP Frank Field, who chairs the committee, has written to Theresa May asking her to take urgent action to protect what is a particularly vulnerable group.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Rip off’ tariffs exposed as British Gas earns £840 million – The Times (£)

More MPs:

  • Tory MPs call for welfare cuts rethink after pause motion passes – The Guardian

MPs 2) SNP lead the pack on staff bonuses

“MPs lavished more than £116,000 of taxpayers’ cash on staff bonuses last year – with the SNP handing out the biggest slice. At a time when many private sector workers face pay freezes or cuts, 58 MPs shelled out bonuses ranging from £50 to £3,000… Despite accounting for fewer than 10 per cent of MPs, bonuses for SNP staff amounted to nearly half the bonus pool. Of the £116,345 spent on ‘rewards and recognition’ payments, £52,195 went directly to SNP staff. Alex Salmond was the most generous employer, splashing out £10,000. He also had the biggest claims for travel and subsistence, £48,470.66.” – Daily Mail

  • Demand for probe into Nationalist MPs’ expenses – The Scotsman
  • MPs’ security costs have risen fourfold since Cox’s assassination – The Times (£)

More SNP:

  • Sturgeon faces calls to sack her Transport Minister over rail chaos – Daily Telegraph
  • Nationalists mauled on Question Time – Daily Express
  • Scotland could offer free abortions to Northern Irish women – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • ISIS could use women and children returning from Syria for suicide attacks – Daily Mail
  • Ministry of Defence accused of sham contest for armoured vehicles contract – The Times (£)
  • Six million customers’ data at risk after Three Mobile hacked – Daily Telegraph
  • Trump offers national security advisor role to ‘controversial’ retired general – FT
  • President-elect could make Sinn Fein ally counter-terrorism chief – Belfast Telegraph
  • Furious Turkey to send ‘very harsh’ response to Brussels if accession talks frozen – Daily Express
  • Iraqi forces ask for British help to get thermobaric weapons as battle for Mosul continues – The Guardian
  • Lawyer behind ‘witch hunt’ of British troops drops bid for private trial – Daily Mail
  • Public spending in Scotland £1,500 higher than UK average – The Scotsman
  • Welsh Labour stunned by dramatic resignations in heartland – Wales Online