Brexit 1) Merkel and Tusk snub the idea of a swift reciprocal deal on expat rights

MERKEL Angela Blue‘Theresa May’s hopes of quickly settling one of Brexit’s most emotive issues appeared doomed last night after she was rebuffed by Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk. Mrs May is offering an early deal guaranteeing reciprocal residency rights for British expats in Europe and EU citizens living in the UK to ensure that the main Brexit talks start in an atmosphere of goodwill. That aspiration appears increasingly unlikely, however, after her offer was publicly rejected by the German chancellor and while Brussels chiefs and Tory MPs accused one another of using people as “bargaining chips”.’ – The Times (£)

  • Johnson angers colleagues by proposing illegal immigrant amnesty – The Sun
  • MigrationWatch proposes five year benefits ban – Daily Mail
  • Khan wants a ‘London visa’ – FT
  • Migrants must learn English – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail
  • Blunder prevents return of Polish prisoners – The Times (£)
  • Are our migration statistics up to the job? – FT


>Today: Alex Morton’s column: Effective government comes first, delivering Brexit second – not the other way round. Here’s proof of why.

>Yesterday: Christopher Howarth’s Guide to Brexit: Do we really need a transitional agreement?

Brexit 2) Hannan: We can all have our cake and eat it

‘Having our cake and eating it — being part of a common market, not a common government — is a perfectly achievable goal. The EU should also have its cake and eat it. It should preserve free trade with the UK — which after Brexit will be its biggest export market — while being able to rely on British support as it pursues its goal of political union. There is no shortage of cake. It’s not as though any gain by one side must be a loss for the other. Each side should want the other to succeed. Prosperous neighbours make good customers.’ – Daniel Hannan, The Sun

Brexit 3) UKIP calls for the Government to bypass Article 50 entirely

paul-nuttall‘Ukip’s new-look leadership is demanding Theresa May takes Britain out of the EU immediately and rejects the Article 50 process entirely. The party claims the Prime Minister’s current strategy is ‘to delay and delay the whole process in order to fudge it,’ warning Britain will ‘continue to pay money to the EU, obey a large percentage of its laws and have open borders’…Instead of triggering Article 50 – the two year formal mechanism for leaving the EU – Ukip is calling for Parliament to repeal the European Communities Act immediately in order to restore the law-making supremacy of the UK Parliament.’ – Daily Mail

  • Secret recordings suggest Labour still hopes to block Article 50 – Daily Mail
  • The ECJ has supreme authority over Brexit, says British ECJ judge – Daily Mail
  • Nuttall gives Farage’s foe Suzanne Evans a top job – The Times (£)
  • He said Merkel ‘cynically abused’ the Holocaust to open Germany’s borders to migrants – The Sun
  • The Sun spent £96,000 on Leave posters… – The Guardian
  • …which is less than the SNP spent on the entire referendum campaign – Daily Telegraph
  • If Scotland blocks Brexit it will do lasting harm to our Union – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Tory poll lead approaches record level

‘Theresa May is on the brink of securing a record polling lead after Labour fell behind the Conservatives across almost every social class and every age group. The most recent poll found that support for the Conservatives rose to 44 per cent, the highest level recorded by the party since it was in opposition, while Labour remained on 28 per cent. The Tory poll lead is just one point off the highest it has ever been in a Guardian/ICM poll going back to 1992, showing the full extent of Labour’s collapse. The director of ICM Martin Boon, said the figures were particularly worrying for Jeremy Corbyn’s party because the Conservatives were ahead in almost every social grade, including the DEs.’ – Daily Telegraph

May’s second call with Trump focuses on NATO and security (not you-know-who)

Nigel Farage‘Theresa May sought to build bridges with Donald Trump over Nato yesterday as hopes of a pre-Christmas visit to the US appeared to be receding. Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader recommended by Mr Trump last week as British ambassador to Washington, was not mentioned in the conversation with the prime minister. In their second conversation since the presidential election, Mrs May and Mr Trump agreed to “stay in close touch and to meet at the earliest possible opportunity”. A spokesman for No 10 said they had agreed only that “their teams should continue to build close relationships through this period, including with a meeting of their National Security Advisers in the United States before Christmas”.’ – The Times (£)

  • The President-elect wants to jail people who burn the American flag – Daily Mail
  • Romney dines with Trump – The Guardian
  • Italians could inflict their own popular revolt on the political elite this weekend – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)
  • Grillo’s Five Star Movement is hit by allegations of electoral fraud – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Is President Trump a good or bad thing? Take our monthly survey here.

>Yesterday: Luke Brady on Comment: Trump. Brexit. We don’t want to win like this.

Downing Street is accused of watering down its corporate governance reforms

‘Theresa May was criticised yesterday for backtracking on her promise to put workers on company boards after a government consultation paper suggested that employees could be represented by “advisory panels” instead. A green paper on corporate governance reform published by Greg Clark, the business secretary, also reduced the prime minister’s promise to make shareholder votes on executive pay binding, suggesting that it might only apply to companies where shareholders had previously opposed executives’ remuneration deals. During the leadership campaign this summer Theresa May mooted a more wide-ranging overhaul, promising changes that would mean “not just consumers represented on company boards, but employees as well”, an idea she aired again at the party conference.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: A modern industrial strategy needs a specialised education system

RBS, Barclays and Standard Chartered fail latest Bank of England stress tests

RBS logo‘Royal Bank of Scotland has emerged as the biggest failure in the UK’s annual stress tests, forcing the state-controlled lender to present regulators with a new plan to bolster its capital position by at least £2bn. Barclays and Standard Chartered also failed to meet some of their minimum hurdles in the toughest stress scenario ever modelled by the Bank of England, but they were judged to have sufficient capital-raising plans already in place. The outright failure of RBS — partly caused by heavy litigation costs still hanging over the bank — underlines how it is still struggling to regain a stable footing eight years after being bailed out by the taxpayer in the financial crisis.’ – FT

  • Private debt jumps 11 per cent – Daily Mail
  • Transport costs are up on a year ago – Daily Mail

Hunt demands tech companies block teens from sexting

‘Social media giants should block children from sharing explicit images to help to curb Britain’s “sexting” crisis, the health secretary has said. Jeremy Hunt also heaped pressure on tech and mobile phone companies to tackle sexting among under-18s. Technology existed to allow social media platforms to block explicit images from young users automatically, following a request from their parents, he said. It is the latest demand from a senior government figure for social media companies to take a greater role in confronting issues such as online porn, cyberbullying and extremism. Giving evidence to the Commons health committee yesterday, Mr Hunt said the companies needed to show that they were willing to help to improve mental health among teenagers.’ – The Times (£)

Field: Labour has no idea how to defeat the UKIP threat

LABOUR dead rose‘Ukip’s former Tory voters were essentially birds of passage. As I expected, many of them returned to the fold once Theresa May began to echo their concerns, especially on immigration. The movement of Labour voters is much more serious. It is not a protest vote in the way that the first wave of Ukip voters were. It is the outward sign of disillusionment with a party that fails to understand how vulnerable its supporters now feel. Despite Ukip’s farcical leadership contests, it finds itself on the right page of history at the right time. With the exception of the shadow business secretary Clive Lewis, there is no sign that Labour’s front bench understands how footloose Labour voters have become.’ – Frank Field, The Times (£)

  • The Left struggles to handle the news that Kate Bush supports May’.’ – Daily Mail
  • Teenage Trots are the only supporters Labour has left – The Sun Says
  • Corbyn is giving his MPs signed apples for Christmas – The Times (£)

Berners-Lee attacks Investigatory Powers Bill

‘Wide-ranging surveillance powers that became law yesterday have no place in modern democracy and will ride roughshod over privacy, according to the inventor of the world wide web. Sir Tim Berners-Lee described elements of the new legislation as “disproportionate” and said that the strengthening of snooping powers for police and security services undermined people’s fundamental rights. The Investigatory Powers Bill received royal assent despite a protest petition of more than 100,000 signatures. It sets out each surveillance power used by the police and security services, with extended powers in some cases.’ – The Times (£)

  • Merkel warns that Russian hackers continually attack Western institutions – The Times (£)

Lib Dems hope to turn clock back to the ’90s with big effort in Richmond

Libdem bird vs TORY‘The ballot is the first chance for voters in a pro-EU constituency to punish a prominent Brexit supporter. It has inspired an almost unprecedented mobilisation of Lib Dem campaigners, with about 200 volunteering in the constituency on Tuesday alone. Activists say they have knocked on almost every door in the constituency four times, delivered more than 20 leaflets to some homes, and put up more than 600 placards in gardens. “I’ve never seen a positive feeling like this,” said Simon Drage, a party official. In terms of placards, Sarah Olney, the Lib Dem candidate, would probably even beat several chains of estate agents.’ – FT

Investigation finds human error led the RAF to bomb Assad’s troops

‘Russian officials were forced to wait for 27 minutes on a ‘de-confliction hotline’ before they could warn the RAF they were bombing Syrian regime forces and not Islamic State. An investigation into airstrikes which killed at least 62 regime soldiers in Deir el-Zor, eastern Syria, found there was a ‘critical delay’ as Moscow tried to stop the attack. President Assad’s troops ‘looked and acted’ like the barbaric militants and were not wearing recognisable military uniforms, it was said. The probe concluded coalition forces, including US jets and a British drone, acted under a ‘good faith belief’ that the strikes were targeting jihadists, as it blamed ‘human error’ for the deaths.’ – Daily Mail

  • The Syrian government takes revenge on civilians fleeing Aleppo – The Times (£)
  • Aleppo’s fall will only make things worse – David Gardner, FT
  • Husband of Kremlin critic is attacked with a needle – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Brazil mourns football team lost in plane crash – Daily Mail
  • Fowl rustlers get away with 1,500 geese – The Times (£)
  • German intelligence officer arrested over suspected ‘Islamist plot’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Man wielding an axe in Hull city centre dies after being shot by police – Daily Mail
  • Vegans are annoyed that the new £5 note contains animal fat – The Times (£)
  • Belgium and the Netherlands agree to swap land to simplify their border – The Guardian
  • MPs are sexually abusing young researchers, Mann warns – The Times (£)
  • More footballers speak out about abuse – The Guardian
  • Chelsea made secret payments to victims – Daily Telegraph