May accused of ‘betraying the referendum’ and keeping Britain in the EU until 2021…

“Theresa May was today accused of betraying the referendum by effectively keeping us in the EU for another two years – as she made concessions on citizens’ rights, money and law in a bid to kickstart Brexit talks. The Prime Minister used a crucial speech in Florence to declare that Britain will cover the huge hole left in Brussels’ finances for another two years after we formally leave in 2019 – contributing potentially another 20 billion euros. She also said the European court could help enforce the rights of EU nationals – easing back a previous red line – and admitted that bringing in tougher immigration measures would take time, raising the possibility that free movement rules could essentially stay in place for longer. But Mrs May said in return for the ‘generous’ financial offer the UK must have full access to the single market during a two-year ‘transition’ period.” – Daily Mail

  • The Prime Minister agrees a £40 billion bill for Brexit – The Times
  • Brexiteers hit back after ‘worrying’ keynote – The Sun
  • ‘A partial step towards not leaving’, warns Wetherspoons boss – Daily Express
  • Speech tries to adopt Johnson’s positive spirit – Daily Telegraph
  • EU leaders praise ‘constructive spirit’ of Florentine speech… – Daily Mail
  • …but are critical of the lack of detail – The Sun


  • From wintry Lancaster House to the warmth of Florence – FT
  • What May really meant about seven key issues – Daily Mail


  • Short of giving Juncker a peerage, May couldn’t have been more placatory – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Portrait of a bright new dawn fades to shades of grey – Patrick Kidd, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: May in Florence. She confirms that she wants an implementation phase. Having one is unavoidable – but also dangerous.


…and the Treasury is angered by Moody’s downgrade

“A leading rating agency has downgraded Britain’s credit because of Brexit, prompting anger from Theresa May’s government. Moody’s downgraded Britain’s sovereign rating by one notch last night, to AA2, over what it called weakening public finances and rising debt. The decision embarrassed Mrs May hours after her keynote Brexit speech in Florence, although the decision to downgrade was made beforehand. Analysts at Moody’s blamed the “increasingly apparent challenges” since the vote to leave the European Union, and expressed scepticism over the government’s ability to cut costs. The downgrade could lead to the Treasury paying higher charges for borrowing.” – The Times

  • Pound choppy after May sets out vision for Brexit break-up – Daily Telegraph
  • Florence and the machinations are a win for Hammond – The Times

>Yesterday: Charlie Elphicke MP in Comment: How to get Ready on Day One for Brexit – deal or no deal

Suella Fernandes: May laid Britain’s cards on the table, now the EU must do the same

“It is fitting therefore that the Prime Minister chose Florence to set out in more detail how the UK can achieve our progression away from EU membership toward what she described as a new “deep and special partnership” between “a sovereign United Kingdom and a confident European Union, both free to chart their own course.” Fortunately, the work is well underway. We have UK position papers on a full spectrum of subjects. Diplomatically the talks have been incessant. While the public debate is often clouded by positioning and spin, the real talks have made substantial progress. This is no surprise – both sides have an interest in getting it right. The Prime Minister’s speech is not then the start of a negotiating process but a turning point.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Brexit bandwagon has a slow puncture – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • May is clear: the best Brexit deal will be a win-win one – James Cleverly MP, Daily Telegraph
  • A u-turn on Europe is always possible with the Tory temperament – Tim Bale, FT
  • This may keep the Cabinet together but where’s the beef, Theresa? – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Brexiteers can live with a two-year transition but it must be limited – Iain Duncan Smith MP, Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister bought time but must still choose the destination – James Forsyth, The Sun
  • Forty-five minutes of repetitive and platitudinous abstraction – Sam Leith, FT
  • Only in a parallel universe does this spark a new partnership – Marina Hyde, The Guardian
  • Speeches to the faithful can still make or break a leader – Philip Collins, The Times
  • The Prime Minister will have to fight hard to leave in peace – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph


  • The Prime Minister’s Italian overtures deserve a fair hearing – FT
  • A split Cabinet is why May is playing for time – The Times
  • Eurocrats intent on punishing us for Brexit now have no leg to stand on – The Sun
  • May’s small step towards reality – The Guardian

Grayling criticised after fresh blow to northern rail electrification

“The transport secretary has refused to commit to an electric rail line across northern England, insisting that reliable 125mph journeys could be made by trains run partly on diesel. Chris Grayling said that the obsession over “how a train is powered” should end because full electrification was often too expensive, adding that claims of a north-south divide in funding Britain’s railways were a “myth”. The comments follow repeated criticism of Mr Grayling over rail services outside the capital from key figures such as Andy Burnham, the Manchester mayor, who warned that the north relied on “clapped out trains”.” – The Times

MPs 1) Badenoch on being mistaken for a Labour MP

“Word of Tami’s embarrassing faux pas leaked out and inevitably he was ridiculed on Twitter. Most worryingly, he was accused of racism, bigotry and arrogant stereotyping. Kemi herself, though, was not remotely offended by his error. ‘I thought it was funny,’ she says. ‘It might have been a lazy assumption, but it certainly wasn’t racist.’ She says that after unpleasant comments appeared on social media about him, she stuck up for him. Explaining her reaction to the pernicious way such social media storms develop, she says: ‘We’re quick to complain about racism, sexism, homophobia, but it’s not as bad as people make out. If we’re going to be more cohesive, we have to be more relaxed about petty incidents and not find insult where none exists.’” – Daily Mail

MPs 2) Freeman plans more festivals as alternative to conference

“One of Mr Freeman’s targets is the annual party conferences taking place over the next fortnight, which he criticises as “very expensive, very corporate, very exclusive and normally conducted behind high-security fences”… Glastonbury may be rooted in Somerset but Mr Freeman’s big tent will travel. “We want this big tent to go around the country,” he says. “Our idea is that next year we would have two or three regional events like this. Imagine 20 or 30 marquees like this, imagine for example one on housing that is a demonstration of all the new models of housing that are coming – imagine if the very best of innovation was on site… and we, the politicians who get what they are doing, can listen and channel their ideas.”” – The Times

  • Why should only the Tories have their own Glastonbury? – Henry Mance, FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Freeman’s Ideas Festival launches today. Now it’s up and running, where will it go next?

Davidson under pressure to crack down on Tory offenders

“Ruth Davidson was under pressure last night to discipline a Tory councillor who has been struck from the teachers’ register after posting insulting tweets describing Nicola Sturgeon as a “drooling hag”. The Scottish Conservative leader was urged to “get her house in order” after it emerged yesterday that Kathleen Leslie, left, had agreed to be removed from the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s (GTCS) register… Ms Davidson has previously been praised after speaking out against the homophobic abuse she has suffered since becoming Tory leader in Scotland and has warned that growing levels of online hate could put women off a career in politics.” – The Scotsman

Labour 1) Khan’s Uber ban sparks backlash as 400,000 sign petition

“Sadiq Khan was last night hit by a backlash from Uber customers worried about paying higher taxi fares. More than 400,000 signed a petition set up by the cab firm calling on the London Mayor to reverse the decision to ban it from the capital. MPs and social media users branded the move a ‘terrible mistake’ that could hurt consumers. Mr Khan endorsed Transport for London’s decision to end Uber’s licence due to worries about passenger safety. But the Labour politician faced immediate criticism from some – including many younger voters – who argued the taxi hailing app is cheaper and more convenient than getting a black cab.” – Daily Mail

  • Passengers declare black cab boycott – The Times
  • Scottish councils dismiss need for review of Uber operations – The Scotsman
  • App could be barred in 40 towns and cities – The Times
  • Corbyn snaps at reporter over Khan question – Daily Express


  • Threatening to ban Uber is a move worthy of Venezuela – Matt Warman MP, Daily Telegraph
  • London’d Uber decision is unpopular, but right – Toby Moses, The Guardian
  • Banning Uber betrays Labour’s distaste for ordinary people – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


  • Uber has done wonders for passengers – The Times

>Today: Diego Zuluaga in Comment: Khan and TfL’s war on Uber has baleful implications for post-Brexit Britain – not just Londoners

Labour 2) Infighting forces Opposition to shelve election report

“Labour’s internal report on its general election campaign has been shelved after a row over the contents between Jeremy Corbyn’s office and staff in party headquarters, The Times understands. Rivalry between figures in the two camps flared up after the snap election in June. Recriminations have been hurled about pessimistic internal forecasts that Labour was in line to lose seats, which proved to be wide of the mark. Left-wing party figures have complained that the incorrect assumptions, based on data crunched by the party’s HQ, harmed Labour’s effectiveness in the build up to the ballot. They have argued that more accurate intelligence could have helped the party target its campaign better to win more than the 30 extra seats with which it ended up.” – The Times

  • Labour can’t take election win for granted, warns think-tank – The Guardian
  • Big business is ‘cosying up’ to Corbyn – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • May’s sell-out typifies the betrayal of Britain by the political class – Gerald Warner, Reaction
  • Will a Merkel win be good or bad for Brexit? – Brexit Central
  • Can the Tories stave off demographic disaster? – Robert Colville, CapX
  • The Prime Minister makes a fantastic case… for staying in the EU – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • Brexiteers own optimism just as Remainers claim reason – Sarah Sands, The Spectator