Davis indicates that ministers are preparing for Lords Brexit bill rewrites…

DAVIS hand October 2016‘Ministers are preparing for the Article 50 legislation to be rewritten by the House of Lords, David Davis has indicated. The Brexit Secretary said he expected some parliamentary “ping pong”, with the Bill being sent back and forth between the Commons and the Lords, suggesting he expected peers to defeat the Government and make changes to the tightly-worded legislation. But he insisted the legislation would clear in time for Theresa May to meet her deadline of triggering Article 50 and beginning the formal Brexit process by the end of March, saying he expected the starting gun to be fired at some point that month.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • He’s expecting ‘parliamentary ping-pong’ – Guardian

..and suggests end of March date for Article 50

‘David Davis today signalled the Prime Minister will leave it right up until the end of her March 31 deadline for triggering Brexit in the expectation of House of Lords meddling. On a trip to Sweden, the Brexit Secretary dismissed suggestions Theresa May could invoke Article 50 notification of the UK’s exit from the EU ahead of a two-day European Council summit beginning on March 9. The Government’s proposed Article 50 Bill, which would hand the Prime Minister the power to begin divorce talks, is set to be debated by the House of Lords next week… Asked whether Britain’s Article 50 notification would come before the start of the EU summit, the Cabinet minister replied: “The 9th or 10th is not a date I recognise in terms of our timetable. What we have said is by the end of March, sometime during March.’ – Daily Express

  • He says it’ll be within deadline – The Sun
  • But is ‘unlikely’ to happen at summit on 9th or 10th – Independent

Will first post-Brexit trade deal be with Canada?

EU Exit brexit‘Canada will be propelled into pole position for striking the first post-Brexit trade deal with Britain today when MEPs vote through a long-awaited agreement with the EU as expected. The European parliament will vote on the Canadian pact on the eve of an address to MEPs by Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister. The deal, which was seven years in the making, was nearly killed off last year when it was blocked by the Belgian region of Wallonia until it secured concessions. The deal, Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta), is among the most ambitious and far-reaching between big economies but has been criticised by left-wing politicians and activists.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Vicky Ford in Comment: The Canada deal is not the model Brexit negotiations should follow

More Brexit


  • It was appalling that Welby linked Brexit with fascism – Christopher Hart, Daily Mail
  • Greece continues to suffer from unhappy times in the Eurozone – Tony Barber, FT
  • Don’t write leavers off as stupid or racist – Abi Wilkinson, Guardian

May ‘looking forward’ to Trump state visit

‘Theresa May yesterday told Donald Trump that she “looks forward” to his state visit later this year as she formally rejected a petition signed by nearly 2 million people calling for it to be abandoned. The Prime Minister discussed a “range of issues” during a phone call with Mr President Trump including security and the prospect of a post-Brexit trade deal. It came as ministers formally rejected a petition demanding that the state visit should be cancelled because it would “embarrass” the Queen. The Government’s response recognised the “strong views” of those who supported the petition but said that President Trump should be extended the “full courtesy of a State visit”.’ – Daily Telegraph

More Trump

  • Security advisor Flynn resigns – Daily Telegraph 
  • Trump knew Flynn had been misleading officials about Russia – Guardian
  • ‘Pressure builds’ over Trump’s Russian links – FT
  • Ivy leagues challenge Muslim entry ban – Independent


  • How Flynn became America’s ‘angriest general’ – Tom Leonard, Daily Mail
  • The Flynn case is a portent for Trump’s presidency – Matthew Norman, Independent
  • Trump’s presidency will be ‘like no other’. His team is clear on foreign policy – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • But what will he do about Iran? – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)
  • It’s time for the right to be accused of loving Putin – Owen Jones, Guardian

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: It’s not a ‘smear’ to say chunks of the 20th Century Left were Soviet useful idiots – or worse

Johnson visits Africa. He avoids commenting on colonialism

Boris Johnson 30-01-17‘Boris Johnson has refused to answer questions about his views on colonialism on his first trip to Africa as British foreign secretary. After meeting the new president of the Gambia, which saw its first democratic transfer of power last month, Johnson joked about the autocrat who spent 22 years in power, Yahya Jammeh – calling him “Jammeh dodger”. However, he would not address the shock felt by many Africans upon reading the British minister’s articles about their continent, written when he visited Uganda in 2002. Johnson’s appointment as foreign secretary raised eyebrows across the African continent, which he referred to last year as “that country”.’ – Guardian

MoD refutes think-tank claim of British Nato underpayment

‘The Ministry of Defence has rejected a claim that it missed the minimum military spending target for Nato members by £380m last year. The International Institute for Strategic Studies concluded that Britain had spent 1.98 per cent of GDP on defence last year, against the 2 per cent level agreed by Nato members. The UK government made its financial commitment to Nato a key part of its alliance with US President Donald Trump. At a meeting of Nato members on Wednesday, James Mattis, the new US defence secretary, is expected to press EU countries to meet their obligations. Michael Fallon, the UKs defence secretary, told MPs last month that Britain ‘comfortably’ exceeded the Nato baseline, which he said was a ’minimum’, not a target.’ – FT

  • Consternation also arrises over proposals to prevent soldiers suing for negligence – Independent


More Conservatives


Corbyn has no plans to visit Copeland

Jeremy Corbyn (Tory Poster)‘Jeremy Corbyn has given up the fight to win Copeland, it has been claimed, as it emerged he has no plans to visit the constituency before voting day later this month. Aides confirmed yesterday that the Labour leader will not visit the key seat again, amid reports that the Conservatives may triumph in the area for the first time since 1924. Theresa May will reportedly visit Copeland later today and Ukip is gaining ground in Stoke, the second by-election Labour is trying to win after two of the party’s MPs resigned.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • But McDonnell and Abbott are to tour marginals – Independent
  • Labour polls in ‘distant’ third place for Scottish local elections – Daily Mail


  • Again, Labour needs to recognise Blair appeal – John Rentoul, Independent
  • Copeland and the Venn diagram of Twitter offence – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Andrew Boff in Comment: The Cost of Khan – Despite the Mayor’s claims, you can’t live in a percentage

Diane Abbott: The daily abuse and threats I still face having overcome the odds to become an MP 

‘But suppose that someone had told me back then that 30 years on I would be receiving stuff like this: “Pathetic useless fat black piece of shit Abbott. Just a piece of pig shit pond slime who should be fucking hung (if they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight”). I think that even the young, fearless Diane Abbott might have paused for thought. And this is not an isolated example. I receive racist and sexist abuse online on a daily basis. I have had rape threats, death threats, and am referred to routinely as a bitch and/or nigger, and am sent horrible images on Twitter. The death threats include an EDL-affiliated account with the tag “burn Diane Abbott”.’ – Guardian

Nuttall admits his website’s claim about losing friend in Hillsborough disaster is untrue

paul-nuttall‘The leader of Ukip has admitted that assertions he made about having lost close friends in the Hillsborough disaster were not true. In an interview on Liverpool’s Radio City News yesterday, the presenter raised claims that Paul Nuttall had lost a close friend in the tragedy. Mr Nuttall denied that was the case, saying instead that he had “lost someone who I know”. Presented with evidence from his website, the Ukip leader said: “I haven’t lost anyone who was a close personal friend. There were people who I knew, through football and things like that.”’ – The Times (£)

  • He says resultant criticism is ‘cruel and nasty’ – The Sun 
  • Press officer takes blame – Daily Mail

North Korean leader’s half-brother murdered

‘Female spies are suspected of assassinating the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-un by spraying poison in his face at one of Asia’s busiest airports. Kim Jong-nam, 45, an outspoken critic of the North Korean regime and its supreme leader, died on the way to hospital after the attack at Kuala Lumpur international airport, Malaysia, on Monday morning. He claimed to airport staff that his assailants were two women. They are suspected to have been armed with a nerve agent and working for the North Korean government. US sources said a fountain pen may have been used to spray the poison. Kim Jong-nam was the older half-brother of Kim Jong-un, 33, who became the leader of the dictatorship after the death in 2011 of their father, North Korea’s “Dear Leader”, Kim Jong-il.’ – The Times (£)


  • Don’t let this distract you from the nuclear issue – John Hemmings, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • ‘Imminent terror attack’ foiled in France – The Sun
  • Spanish court refuses Catalonia referendum – Daily Express
  • Explosions destroy Oxford flats – Guardian 
  • Anti-Blair legal campaigners fear Brexit ruling repercussions – Independent
  • Donations for young siblings whose ill parents died within days – The Times (£)
  • Comedian tricks Downing Street over Trump Valentine flowers – Daily Telegraph
  • Transparency data shows McDonnell forgot to pay for drinks – Daily Mail