May to Remainers: You can’t block Brexit

SWIVEL-EYED EUROPHILES“Theresa May warned pro-Brussels MPs yesterday they won’t block Brexit – even if they vote down her final deal with the EU. In an uncompromising message to Remainers, the Prime Minister said Britain could instead revert to a system of tariffs based on World Trade Organisation rules. Mrs May said she was confident she could ‘negotiate a good trade deal … because it will be in our interests and the interests of the European Union to do so’. But asked whether there might be an option for MPs to vote to remain in the EU rather than accept a bad deal, the PM’s spokesman later said: ‘We are not going to give them an alternative which would be against the will of the British people.’” – Daily Mail

  • Backbench rebellion averted by agreeing to white paper – The Times (£)
  • Lords to adopt ‘guerilla tactics’ to limit May’s room for manouevre – FT
  • Tomkins demands SNP get ‘on board’ with Brexit – Daily Express
  • Government must hire thousands to prevent ‘customs collapse’ – The Sun
  • Whitehall ‘straining’ under added Brexit workload – FT

More EU:

  • Gibraltar will ‘meet any hardship’ to remain ‘exclusively British’, First Minister says – The Sun
  • SNP MP left red-faced as trade argument destroyed – Daily Express
  • UK and Scottish ministers in EU power grab – The Scotsman
  • Nationalists says UK should revert to EU membership if May gets no deal – The Independent
  • Quick deal is possible, says former EU trade chief – The Times (£)
  • Spain backs early trade talks – FT
  • Member states to fine British drivers under ‘one-way justice’ rules – The Times (£)

Iain Martin: May needs to be more positive about Brexit

“This growth in confidence also means that she is starting to talk more convincingly of the reasons to be cheerful about Brexit. More of this is needed because the temptation – downbeat and very British – is to see Brexit only through the prism of tricky negotiations and harm reduction rather than opportunity. While it would be foolish to be Panglossian about the prospects, Brexit opens up so many golden opportunities for trade, entrepreneurship, projection of power abroad and our cultural heft. It is not a solution to all our problems but the restoration of self-government is a gift we have yet to properly appreciate.” – The Times (£)

  • Why Europe is cruising for a bust-up with Britain – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • Gibraltar must be part of the UK’s Brexit plan – Julie Girling, Times Red Box
  • The Supreme Court ruling won’t help Remainers – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • Labour’s Brexit chaos threatens to tear the party apart – Steve Richards, The Guardian
  • Negotiating Brexit will be a tortuous business – John Kerr, FT
  • Could MPs reverse Article 50? – Geoffrey Robertson, The Guardian



May to Trump: let’s lead the world together

TRUMP inauguration“Britain and the US can once again lead the world together after seizing a historic opportunity to ‘renew’ the special relationship, Theresa May will declare today. On a trip to America, the Prime Minister will say Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have given the two countries a chance to ‘rediscover’ their confidence. Highlighting the achievements of the US and Britain in the past, Mrs May will say rebuilding the special relationship is of huge importance to the entire world in ‘this new age’, adding: ‘We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.’” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister says Brexit and US election have renewed hope – The Times (£)
  • A collision of contrasting world views – The Guardian
  • Leaders will have a message for the EU on trade – FT
  • May urged to confront Trump over waterboarding comments – The Independent


  • Premier and President can make the world safer again – Nile Gardiner, Daily Telegraph
  • Trump’s tantrums risk making a disaster of his presidency – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)
  • The President wants to get things done, not make friends – Rob Crilly, Daily Telegraph
  • A quick deal with the US makes Britain look like easy prey – Oliver Ilott, Times Red Box


  • A chance to strengthen the trans-Atlantic alliance – The Times (£)


Ministers 1) May backs Fallon over Brokenshire on troop investigations

“Theresa May has given ageing Northern Ireland vets fresh hope by revealing plans are being drawn that could end the “witch hunt” against them… As The Sun has also revealed, a bitter Cabinet row has been raging behind the scenes between Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon and Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire over the new investigations. It has emerged that Mrs May has now sided with Sir Michael to try to end what could be years of more probes by enforcing an upper age limit on former troops investigated, a five-year time limit on how long an inquiry can last and a limit on maximum sentences in the event of any guilty verdict.” – The Sun

Ministers 2) Grammars to ask parents for cash if Greening’s funding changes go through

School“Grammar schools are considering asking parents for money because of changes in funding, heads have warned. Families could be asked for £30 to £40 a month, the Grammar School Heads Association says. The proposed national funding formula, championed by Education Secretary Justine Greening, increases money for schools with additional needs. The government has suggested it will lead to increased funding for more than 10,000 schools. But unions warned 98 per cent of schools face a real-terms reduction. The move is set to reduce budgets by £339 per primary pupil and £477 per secondary pupil, on average.” – The Sun

  • UCAS head calls on comprehensives to adopt grammar-school methods – Daily Mail


  • More selection in schools is not only smart, it’s what parents demand – Mary Curnock Cook, Daily Telegraph

Ministers 3) Rudd to push for loopholes in EU surveillance law

“Amber Rudd, the UK’s home secretary, will ask her colleagues across the EU to help her find loopholes in a ruling from the European Court of Justice that declared British surveillance laws to be illegal. Ms Rudd will warn other EU interior ministers at a Justice and Home Affairs meeting on Thursday that a limit on UK policing and intelligence powers could result in more cross-border crime around Europe, particularly terrorism. She will argue that Britain and its EU allies need to form a consensus on what can be done to monitor electronic communications data while remaining within the law.” – FT

Ministers 4) Plan to nationalise Southern Rail considered

On strike“Ministers could take direct control of the strike-hit Southern Rail network in an attempt to counter crippling delays and cancellations. Temporarily re-nationalising the beleaguered franchise is among several options being considered by the Department for Transport, it is understood. Details of the radical plans being drawn up in Whitehall emerged after months of strikes that have hit hundreds of thousands of passengers.” – Daily Mail

  • Ban on dismissing mothers in their first six months back at work proposed – Daily Mail
  • ‘Ridiculous’ prison regulations to be scrapped – The Sun

Ministers 5) Hunt criticised for lack of progress on hospital food

“Jeremy Hunt has been accused of failing to deliver his promised revolution in hospital food after the health secretary’s own department found that many hospitals have still not improved patient catering. A Department of Health study shows that almost half of hospitals in England have failed to implement key improvements almost two and a half years after Hunt’s crackdown. The disclosure led food campaigners to claim that supposedly legally binding duties put on hospitals in 2014 to serve healthier food and check if patients were malnourished had come to nothing.” – The Guardian

Hague introduces Cox report which warns against pacifism

Armed Forces“The rise of unthinking pacifism and kneejerk isolationism in Britain have dangerous consequences for the safety of people around the world, according to a report started by Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered in June 2016. The report, which was finished by Cox’s colleague and fellow MP Alison McGovern and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, makes the case that doing nothing can have a greater cost than intervention. The findings are to be launched by the former prime minister Gordon Brown and former Tory foreign secretary William Hague on Thursday, at an event for the Policy Exchange thinktank in London.” – The Guardian

  • Paper calls for British military leadership – The Scotsman

Concerns over Osborne’s new investment job

“George Osborne was engulfed in a furious row last night over his lucrative new job with one of the world’s biggest investment firms. It emerged that Mr Osborne had met with executives from BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, a total of five times in his final two years as chancellor. His final meeting with the investment management giant came just days before he was sacked by Theresa May in July last year.” – Daily Mail

  • The ex-Chancellor’s snout in the trough – Daily Mail

Corbyn urged to apologise after saying wounded police officer was dead

Jeremy Corbyn“Blundering Jeremy Corbyn mistakenly said a police officer who was shot in Belfast over the weekend had died and paid his condolences to his family.  At Prime Minister’s Questions today he paid tribute to the unnamed police officer – in his 20s – who ‘lost his life over the weekend in Northern Ireland’. But the police officer is still alive and recovering from emergency surgery. He is said to be in a stable condition. The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PSNI) blasted Mr Corbyn for the ‘jaw-dropping gaffe’ and urged him to apologise.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour choose Remainer to fight Stoke by-election – Daily Express
  • Unite leadership challenger disciplined over ‘Blairite’ meetings – FT


  • Dreadful PMQs drubbing highlights the collapse of the Opposition – Ian Birrell, Daily Telegraph


  • The policeman isn’t dead, but I’m not so sure about Labour – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

>Today: MPs Etc.: Trudy Harrison is selected as Conservative candidate for Copeland

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Andrew Gimson’s Commons sketch: May promises a White Paper and Corbyn should run up the white flag

Scotland ‘heading towards snap election’ over budget stalemate

“Scotland is “heading down the path” of a snap election over an increasingly bitter budget impasse after a Holyrood vote stalemate last night. Opposition leaders warned Finance Secretary Derek Mackay that he cannot take the support of smaller parties for granted as he came under growing pressure to back income tax hikes or face a return to the polls. The SNP lost its Holyrood majority in last year’s election meaning that it requires the support – or abstention – of at least one other party to see its spending plans for 2017-18 passed next month.” – The Scotsman

News in Brief:

  • Fillon promises to restore ‘real’ border controls in France – Daily Mail
  • BP says there will be 100m electric cars on the road in two decades – The Times (£)
  • Banks in crisis over free ATMs with half under threat – Daily Telegraph
  • Mexico’s president attacks Trump’s border wall plan – FT
  • Working-class families paid £6,800 a year less than middle-class ones – The Sun
  • Ambulance services ‘understaffed and underfunded’ – The Independent
  • London riot police to get body cameras to reduce complaints – Daily Mail