Brexit 1) As court case looms, ‘short as possible’ legislation being drafted to allow triggering of Article 50

EU Exit brexit‘Ministers are considering 16 key words to formally begin Britain’s journey to leaving the European Union as they prepare for defeat in the Supreme Court. They are so determined to start Brexit talks by the end of March even if judges demand they get parliamentary approval that a Bill just a few sentences long is being drafted. A Whitehall source said the key clause will demand MPs “give permission to the British Government to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union”. The draft legislation is being kept as short as possible to stop pro-EU politicians amending it with demands for Theresa May to reveal her Brexit negotiation demands.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbyn says he’ll ‘put forward an amendment’ – Sunday Express
  • May will ‘make war’ with MPs and Lords who ‘attempt to bring bill down’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Scotland’s involvement in Article 50 case could be a ‘silver lining’ – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph


>Today: John Longworth in Comment: Don’t let the Remain wreckers and anti-democrats defy the will of the British people

Brexit 2) Prime Minister’s ‘green light’ for ‘grey Brexit’ plans 

MAY Theresa Women to Win‘Theresa May has given ministers the green light to draw up secret plans for a “grey Brexit” that will steer Britain away from the black-and-white demands of “leave” and “remain” hardliners. Senior Whitehall sources say David Davis, the Brexit secretary, and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, have formed a “small clique” with Downing Street to drive Britain away from a hard exit. Cabinet sources said Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, have been bounced into conceding that Britain could keep paying into the Brussels budget even after Brexit. They accused Davis and May of engineering an “ambush” when Davis told MPs on Thursday that Britain could make financial contributions — and was promptly backed up by Downing Street.’ – The Sunday Times (£)

Brexit 3) Burt, Grieve, Perry, Carmichael, Howlett: May needs softer approach

‘The first rule of any by-election loss by a governing party is “no bloody panic”. No matter where or when, there are usually individual factors that make it credible to resist the very worst of interpretations – which, in Richmond Park’s case, might suggest a Liberal Democrat tide is surging up the Thames. … But the second rule is to look for uncomfortable messages. A good governing party will not believe all of its own briefing but look behind the result. Richmond Park has provided an opportunity for those who must have contributed heavily to the 48% to have a more individual say – and they have taken the chance. It is not a voice that Conservatives should ignore.’ – Observer

  • Group of Tory MPs call on May to be more moderate – Observer

Brexit 4) Arguments over ’smear campaign against Boris to undermine Brexit’

BORIS Change Britain’A furious row has erupted over claims of a “smear campaign” against Boris Johnson designed to undermine preparations for Brexit. Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph that the Foreign Secretary had been left “absolutely furious” after his views on immigration were misrepresented this week. Anonymous EU ambassadors were quoted in various reports saying that Mr Johnson had privately told them he supports free movement of migrants. The claims were publicly denied by Mr Johnson, who insisted he voiced his usual support for immigration while insisting controls were needed after the Brexit vote.’  – Sunday Telegraph

Brexit 5) Prime Minister’s ‘crackdown’ against leaks…is leaked to the Mail 

‘Theresa May has made an extraordinary threat to sack senior Ministers and mandarins caught leaking Cabinet secrets amid growing signs of Brexit panic in Downing Street. The Prime Minister has ordered security chiefs to seize mobile phone and email records of anyone suspected of revealing Government splits or secrets. All ‘culprits’ will be sacked in the Big Brother-style crackdown – even if no threat to national security is involved. The Prime Minister’s draconian action was revealed in a letter from Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood which was, ironically, leaked to The Mail on Sunday.’ – Mail on Sunday

  • Her letter to Heywood was leaked by ‘enraged insiders’ – Mail on Sunday

Brexit 6) Raab: Justice won’t be thought to have been done, if judges seen as biased 

RAAB Dominic headshot‘Beneath the tangled weeds of complex legal arguments, the power of the people is at stake. The High Court upturned a ­division of labour that most ­lawyers and politicians have long taken for granted: Governments negotiate international treaties with other governments. Parliament passes the laws of the land. Beneath the sophisticated ­constitutional arguments on both sides, many view this as a case that should never have made it this far – a raw battle of wills between a government trying to give effect to the will of the people and a judiciary with the reputation for being pro-EU.’ – The Sun on Sunday

More Brexit


  • Davis is best of the three – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • May’s Brexit government represents typical ‘indulged idiots’ – Kevin McKenna, Observer
  • Mandates are strange. But I’m tired of ‘overblown shouting’ – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • We must be told government’s ‘basic plan for Brexit’ – Keir Starmer, Observer

>Today: ToryDiary: Davis the Grey is back as Davis the White – and crucial to the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy

May accused of ‘putting trade before rights’ by talking with Gulf states 

MAY Theresa thoughtful‘The Prime Minister has been criticised for holding talks in the Gulf States, Britain’s third largest export market, due to alleged human rights breaches. She has also faced calls for arms deals with Saudi Arabia and other nations in the region to be banned. But Mrs May said ahead of the trip: “We achieve far more by stepping up, engaging with these countries and working with them to encourage and support their plans for reform… Mrs May will become the first British Prime Minister and first woman to attend the annual meeting of leaders from the Gulf Co-operation Council this week.’ – Sunday Express

Other government

  • Justice focus on removal of foreign offenders – Sunday Express
  • Howlett says grammar school money will increase ‘postcode lottery’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Fallon tells Trump that ‘deterrence’ of Putin is ‘essential’ – Mail on Sunday


>Yesterday: Daniel Downes in Comment: Let schools embrace selection, business partnerships and modern technology

Boris Johnson: What drives our country’s instinctive globalism?

‘It was a chilly morning in Afghanistan last Saturday when I walked among the gravestones and sensed the eerie pathos of the British cemetery in Kabul…This time, they came not for imperial glory but in the hope of improving the lives of the Afghan people and ensuring the safety of our own country. And I asked myself, what manner of people are we – the British – that we keep sending our soldiers thousands of miles from home? What drives our instinctive globalism, the wanderlust of our traders, aid workers, journalists and entrepreneurs – and of the diplomats whom I am now privileged to lead?’ – Sunday Telegraph

This is a critical moment for Italy. And for Europe

trevi-fountain-298411_960_720‘He burst on to Italy’s political scene two years ago promising to reshape his country’s moribund politics, but it was an exhausted, careworn Matteo Renzi who urged Italians to say “yes” to his constitutional reforms when they vote in a referendum on Sunday. “We have 48 decisive hours in which we can change the future of our children,” Mr Renzi told crowds in his hometown Florence, choosing the city’s symbolic Piazza Della Signoria where Savonarola carried out his famous bonfire of the vanities as the venue for his campaign finale.’ – Sunday Telegraph

  • Losing would be end for Renzi – Observer
  • Cameron says a Le Pen win next year would be a ‘body blow for Europe’ – Mail on Sunday



Niall Ferguson: My friend ‘Mad Dog’ is a ‘deep strategic thinker’ 

TRUMP victory speech‘The press takes Trump literally, but not seriously. Voters take him seriously, but not literally.” This, by Salena Zito, was the smartest thing written about the 2016 election and deserves a place in every dictionary of quotations. Now let me give you some advice about General James Mattis, who has been named Donald Trump’s secretary of defence. Take him both literally and seriously… Full disclosure: Jim Mattis and I are both fellows of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. I admire him and consider him a friend. In person he is neither deranged nor canine, but softly spoken and erudite. Mattis is not only a fearsome warrior, he is a deep strategic thinker, a soldier-scholar in the mould of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose Meditations he carried with him in Iraq and Afghanistan.’ – The Sunday Times (£)

More Trump

Nuttall accused of making up PhD. He wants to stand in Leigh 

paul-nuttall‘Ukip’s new leader was at the centre of a ‘fake CV’ row last night over allegations that he falsely claimed to hold a university doctorate. It caused bafflement at the institution, which did not win university status until 2005 and did not have the authority to award PhDs until 2009. The embarrassment comes as this newspaper has learned that Mr Nuttall, who succeeded Nigel Farage last Monday, is hoping to storm the Commons by standing in the Leigh by-election early next year. The contest will be triggered when Labour’s Andy Burnham stands down as he bids to become Mayor of Manchester. It gives Mr Nuttall an early chance to escape from the shadow of Mr Farage, who failed seven times to win a Commons seat.’ – Mail on Sunday

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