MPs prepare for battle over May’s bid to ‘rig the Commons’…

“Theresa May will be helped by the Democratic Unionist Party to win a Commons vote next week that would allow her to steamroller the opposition by “packing” key committees. Sick MPs will be brought out of hospital and operations cancelled for a parliamentary fight over whether the government should have a majority on crucial legislative committees that drive the Commons agenda – despite being a minority government. If MPs back the government rule change in the vote on Tuesday, public bill committees that scrutinise legislation line by line would no longer mirror the make-up of the Commons but would instead have an inbuilt Conservative majority.” – The Times

  • Downing Street defends Tory bid for committee majorities – FT
  • Prime Minister says the Government has the votes for the EU bill – The Sun



  • Remainers betray their cause by crying wolf over ‘power grab’ – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • Downing Street’s Trappist vow fuels opposition claims – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph


  • The Prime Minister is a caretaker adrift – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The battle of the bill committees is not an attack on the constitution

…as she “grants reprieve to ERG leaders on the payroll vote”

“Theresa May has refused to sack one of her ministers and a Treasury aide over allegations that they promoted an email designed to tie the government’s hands on Brexit. Suella Fernandes, head of the European Research Group (ERG) and a ministerial aide in the Treasury, and Steve Baker, a minister in the Brexit department, were accused of pushing an unhelpful Brexit letter that set red lines on trade deals that officials think may be undeliverable. Jacob Rees-Mogg is being quietly promoted as a possible alternative head of the ERG after the group was left embarrassed by the leaked email, obtained by The Times.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister to lay out Brexit transition plan in speech – FT


  • May is ‘hopeless and weak’, says major Tory donor – The Times
  • Farage predicts May’s premiership will be over by Christmas – Daily Mail
  • Rees-Mogg stands firm by his beliefs – Daily Mail


  • Why are 40 hardline MPs setting the tone of the Brexit debate? – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • May’s language on Brexit is deeply uninspiring, is she even trying to sell it? – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • ‘The Mogg’ digs the uncool Tories a deeper political grave – Katie Perrior, Times Red Box
  • Big business brought Brexit on itself by over-using cheap labour – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Conservative revolts on Europe are coming now not from Leavers – but from former Remainers

Ministers 1) Johnson hits back at Brussels over Davis comments

“The war of words between Brussels and the British Government intensified last night as Boris Johnson hit back at criticism of Brexit Secretary David Davis. EU officials were accused of treating the UK ‘with contempt’ on Thursday after it emerged that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker had suggested Mr Davis was lazy and unstable. But yesterday, on a visit to Estonia, Mr Johnson called for EU leaders to ‘work together’ with the UK. Asked if he was confident that Mr Davis would get a deal with the EU, the Foreign Secretary said: ‘Absolutely, with rock solid confidence.’” – Daily Mail

  • Foreign Secretary says EU has legal duty to discuss future trade relations – The Guardian
  • Varoufakis tells May to ‘get out now’ as EU won’t be fair – The Sun



  • Britons may be open to paying something for Brexit, but won’t sign a blank cheque – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Triumphant Brussels likens Brexit to the Third Reich – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Ashley Fox MEP’s column: The UK’s negotiators have the freedom to innovate and compromise, but Barnier’s hands are tied

Ministers 2) Fallon criticises Russia for provocative military exercises

“UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has hit out at the Kremlin – and accused Vladimir Putin’s military of trying to provoke Britain. His searing comments are in response to tens of thousands of Russian troops who will amass on NATO borders as part a major military exercise next week. The military exercise has been dubbed “Zapad 2017” – which means “West” in Russian… The senior Conservative cabinet member also accused the Kremlin of prolonging the Syrian civil war – and of using social media, fake news and disinformation to undermine democracies. However, he also called for Britain to “understand Russia better and vice versa”.” – Daily Express

  • Moscow will be judged on its actions, not words – Michael Fallon, Daily Telegraph

Government defends ‘pathetic’ response to hurricane devastation in British territories

“A huge British military presence is rushing to the aid of citizens stranded following the devastation of Hurricane Irma after the Government was slammed for its ‘pathetic’ response. RFA Mounts Bay has docked in Anguilla loaded with supplies for residents on the British Overseas Territory, many of whom are now homeless after the Caribbean island was battered by 175mph winds… Downing Street has defended its response Irma after criticism it did not do enough to prepare for the disaster. The move comes as Prime Minister Theresa May was holding another meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee on Friday to co-ordinate relief efforts for victims of the hurricane.” – Daily Mail

  • May sparks backlash with storm joke – The Sun


>Today: Donal Blaney in Comment: A hurricane brings hell to a British corner of paradise. Here’s what you can do to help.

MPs 1) Hope for small firms as Morgan attacks ‘staircase tax’

“Thousands of small firms were given hope over the hated ‘Staircase Tax’ as a powerful Commons Committee launched an investigation. Nicky Morgan, head of the Treasury Select Committee, demanded answers from HMRC chiefs – claiming the new business rate charge appeared “unfair”. She added it seemed “particularly harsh” for any rates increase triggered by the levy to be backdated to 2015. The Sun last month revealed that firms will be hit with separate rate bills for each floor they have in a mixed-use office – if the space between them is communal.” – The Sun

  • Dorries and Bridgen demand review into allocation of charity funds between England and Scotland – Daily Mail
  • Tory MPs tell Whitehall to boost gardening – Daily Telegraph

MPs 2) Harper tipped as successor to May

“Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper has been tipped as a “dark horse” leadership contender amid further fevered speculation over who will pick up the reins from Theresa May when she steps down. Sources claimed last night support is growing for the ex minister who is popular among both Brexit and Remain wings of the party. It follows a recent “Moggmentum” surge for leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg who came top of a Conservative poll this week ahead of Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Other popular names in the frame include Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Justice Minister Dominic Raab.” – The Sun

  • Tory members are overwhelmingly old and male, YouGov study reveals – The Independent

>Yesterday: Terry Barnes in International: British conservatives should watch the New Zealand election campaign closely

Lammy calls for modern slavery laws to target gang leaders

“Modern slavery laws should be used against gang leaders using young people to move guns and push drugs on the streets, the author of a report on race and the criminal justice said today. David Lammy said many parents felt helpless about their children being drawn into crime under duress and that there should be greater focus on the adults exploiting them. His report on the treatment of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people by the justice system said laws against slavery had a greater social stigma than other offences.” – The Times

  • Report also says criminals should be allowed to rate their judges – Daily Telegraph

More Labour:

  • Corbyn angers Catholics by taking communion at a Catholic funeral – The Sun


  • Today’s Labour would never let facts trump anti-McDonald’s snobbery – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn being propelled to power would be the greatest political con of modern times – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • US evacuates 5.6 million people ahead of Hurricane Irma – Daily Mail
  • Half of Britons expect young to be worse off than parents – The Times
  • Details of 44 million Britons may have been stolen in data breach – Daily Telegraph
  • Strained relations behind Bell Pottinger’s spectacular implosion – FT
  • NATO chief warns that world is at its ‘most dangerous point’ – The Sun