Brexit 1) Downing Street calls for “intensification of negotiations” to sort divorce bill “deadlock”

“Britain wants to hold non-stop negotiations with the European Union to try and break the deadlock over the Brexit divorce bill. Downing Street said on Monday that the Government is “ready to intensify negotiations” with Brussels and rip up the existing timetable which sees talks taking place one week in every four. It comes amid concerns that negotiations have effectively reached an impasse, with the EU adamant that the UK must commit to paying a divorce settlement while Britain questions the legal basis of the proposed bill.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Continuous talks” are proposed – Daily Express
  • But the request is “ridiculed in Brussels” – The Times
  • “Even” Clegg joins ranks of critics of EU negotiators – The Sun


  • Davis is right to push for intensification – Daily Express
  • Both sides need more urgency – The Sun


  • UK government is to blame for time pressure – David Allen Green, FT

Brexit 2) Verhofstadt claims May will make talk-delaying “intervention” on 21 September

“Brexit talks could be delayed due to an “important intervention” from Theresa May, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator has said. Guy Verhofstadt said that the next round of crunch talks with Brussels could be pushed back to the final week of September to accommodate an intervention from the Prime Minister on 21 September. It comes as the Government indicated it was ready to “intensify” negotiations as talks appeared to have stalled after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier accused the UK of pursuing an “impossible deal”.” –  Independent

  • Number 10 won’t rule out idea of her making a speech on that day – Daily Express

Brexit 3) Conservative whips in “secret talks” with Labour counterparts over withdrawal bill vote…

“The Conservatives are holding secret talks with Labour in a bid to avoid defeat in a critical vote on Brexit laws next week, The Telegraph can disclose. Tory whips are understood to have been in discussions with their Labour counterparts about the timetable for debating the EU withdrawal bill – also known as the Great Repeal Bill – next month. Pro-European Tory MPs have warned that they are preparing to rebel over the timetable for debating legislation, known as the programme motion, in a vote on Monday.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 4) …As May heads for “showdown” with pro-EU Tories over its contents

“Theresa May is heading for a showdown with pro-Europe members of her party over claims she wants to give ministers powers to rewrite laws without consulting parliament to drive Brexit through on her terms. The opposition Labour party believes it can recruit a number of disaffected Conservatives to its side to inflict defeats on the government this autumn, especially over these so-called Henry VIII powers. Dominic Grieve, the Conservative former attorney-general, warned the prime minister on Monday: “The electorate did not vote to ‘Take back control’ to see our domestic constitution dismantled.” – FT


  • The bill is a “power grab” – Guardian
  • It “risks” Brexit – FT


  • May needs to “fight the bullies” on this – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • The bill is a “constitutional minefield” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times
  • It is a sign of how disastrous everything is – Polly Toynbee, Guardian

>Today: Christopher Howarth’s column: The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is necessary – and ultimately uncontroversial

Brexit 5) Stanley: I can’t believe anyone still wants to stay in the EU

“Far from having lost confidence in Brexit, I can’t believe anyone still wants to stay in the EU. And yet, even after the summer we’ve had, the hardcore Remainers won’t give in. On Thursday the Commons meets to debate the Withdrawal Bill and some MPs will seek to amend and undermine it. Are they blind? Are they deaf? Did they sleep through the Euro horror movie of the past few weeks? Well, here’s a refresher for them. I call it: I Know What EU Did Last Summer. Remain made three big claims in the referendum. First, that the EU is value for money. Second, that the EU hardly affects our lives. Third, that the EU is an alliance of equals.” – Daily Telegraph

  • We’re not hearing enough about Brexit opportunities – John Mills, Daily Telegraph
  • I was wrong when I thought the country would unite behind the referendum result – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • We have the chance to cut tariffs to help developing nations – Sam Bowman, The Times

Brexit 6) Latest policy paper will propose Britain’s continued contribution to EU science programmes

“Britain wants to contribute to the EU’s science programmes after Brexit, a government paper will say on Wednesday, including Horizon 2020, the EU’s €74bn flagship research fund. The policy paper is the latest in a series of documents that have been produced since July to set out the UK’s position on Brexit. The science paper will state that Britain wants to remain part of key research schemes — especially Horizon 2020 programme and its successor, due to start in 2021 and provisionally called Framework Nine — as well as research linked to Euratom, trhe European nuclear agency, and Galileo and Copernicus, the EU space programmes.” – FT

More Brexit

  • Eurosceptics make renewed case for no deal – FT
  • Senior government figures say UK can’t renegotiate existing trade deals between EU and third parties – Guardian
  • Selmayr criticised for “pig-headed” comments – Daily Telegraph
  • He said Brexit voters were “stupid” – Daily Express
  • Meanwhile, Barnier backtracks over his controversial comments – Daily Express
  • Conservative MEP says he’s “ashamed to be British” – The Sun

May 1) Fleet Street picks up ConHome survey on her future

“A majority of Conservative activists do not want Theresa May to remain as leader to the next general election, a survey by an influential Tory website revealed today. Some 51 per cent say she should step down during this parliament, while nine per cent said she should quit immediately, the monthly survey of members by ConservativeHome found. The findings come after Mrs May astonished Westminster last week by declaring her wish to fight the next election as leader. Senior MPs poured cold water on the idea and now grass roots activists have done the same. ConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman, a former MP, said the regular survey suggested that a slight recovery in Mrs May’s position earlier in the summer “has stalled”.” – Evening Standard

  • Hands questions her plan to lead party into next election – Herald

May 2) She “plans to return to” social reform agenda…

“Theresa May has told aides that she intends to return to the agenda of social reforms set out when she became prime minister, as a survey suggests that most Conservative Party members want her to quit before the election. During a start-of-term briefing given by the prime minister, Gavin Barwell, her chief of staff, and Robbie Gibb, the director of communications, Mrs May told advisers that she did not want to be defined by Brexit. During her first speech in power, Mrs May promised to fight “burning injustices” such as the fact that those born poor died on average nine years younger than others, that black suspects suffered worse treatment in the criminal justice system and that white, working-class boys were less likely than any other group to go to university.” – The Times

May 3) …And may lift public-sector pay cap

“Public sector pay may rise above inflation for the first time in eight years, Downing Street signalled yesterday after declaring that Theresa May “recognises the sacrifice” of workers. Ministers could gradually increase pay over a number of years, however, to avoid an immediate rise that could cost up to £4 billion a year. No 10 did not deny reports that the prime minister and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, were preparing to end a 1 per cent cap on pay rises in the public sector.” – The Times

  • She’s “drawing up plans” with Hammond – FT
  • In recognition of “worker sacrifice” – Daily Express
  • There have been “hints” that the cap will be lifted for nurses, teachers, and other workers – Independent
  • But sources says Cabinet Office and Treasury are “at odds over plans” – Guardian
  • Caulfield calls for scrapping of cap – The Sun
  • Former Army chief calls for soldiers’ pay rise – Daily Telegraph

Jo Johnson to announce this week that universities should link pay with performance

“Jo Johnson, the universities minister, will this week announce plans to stop the “upwards-ratcheting” of salaries by linking pay to performance… The Universities minister will on Thursday call for an end to the “upwards-ratcheting” and warn that while ministers are not in the business of capping pay, changes must be made to avoid accusations that salaries are funded by loans. He will say that the Office for Students, a new body which will oversee public funding for universities, will require universities to justify “exceptional pay with exceptional performance.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Meanwhile, Home Office allows student to stay in UK and go to Oxford – Daily Telegraph
  • And new rules would require charities to list pay in salary bands – The Times

>Yesterday: Anthony Seldon in comment: It’s high time universities put their students first

Hammond hints at more money for Northern Powerhouse

“Philip Hammond on Monday hinted that the Northern Powerhouse project could receive fresh money in his next Budget, as part of the government’s efforts to boost UK productivity. On a visit to Manchester, the chancellor was anxious to quell rising political anger in the north of England after rail improvements were scrapped or downgraded by the government in July. Asked about money for improved transport links, Mr Hammond said: “I’m not going to give you . . . the details of what’s going to be in the autumn budget that isn’t even yet written.” – FT

Tory “infighting deepens” as leaked memo shows Crosby’s “responsibility” for election campaign

“Bitter Tory infighting over its General Election disaster has deepened after senior figures claimed a secret memo from Sir Lynton Crosby to Theresa May proves he is to blame for it. A bombshell internal memo from the Australian Svengali to the PM is published in full by The Sun today. Penned in April just before Mrs May called the snap election, it reveals the party’s polls guru drew up the entire campaign strategy that backfired so badly. Sir Lynton and his firm CTF were the authors of the plan to paint the Tories as the party of “continuity and stability”, when voters ended up wanting change.” – The Sun

>Today: Majority: Our CCHQ election audit: the rusty machine, part one. Why the operation that succeeded in 2015 failed in 2017.

Discussion grows over whether Rees-Mogg will be offered and take a ministerial position

“Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP, has hinted that he could turn down a ministerial job because taking it would stop him publicly criticising the government. Theresa May is planning to offer the prominent backbencher a government role after a surprise rise in popularity led to him being tipped for the party leadership, The Times revealed yesterday. One source said that Mr Rees-Mogg, 48, needed to “do a bit of grind” in ministerial office and learn to toe the party line. However, the MP for North East Somerset said that the need to curb his articulate outbursts on a range of subjects was precisely why he might reject a call to serve on the front bench.” – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Jacob Rees-Mogg tops our Next Tory Leader survey of Party members

Hague: We must look at things from Kim Jong-un’s point of view

“If we were playing chess against Kim Jong-un, we would take great trouble to look at the board from his point of view. Now that we are reluctantly playing the game of nuclear proliferation or annihilation with him, we have to do the same. This is repugnant, of course. This is a man who has had a string of family members murdered, including his half-brother, his powerful uncle, and all close relatives of that uncle. He lives in luxury, with a taste for Johnnie Walker whisky and Mercedes cars, not to mention a private island described by his American friend, Dennis Rodman, as “like Hawaii or Ibiza, but he’s the only one that lives there”. Yet the vast majority of his fellow 25 million North Koreans live in poverty.” – Daily Telegraph

  • US ambassador to UN says Kim is “begging for war” – Independent
  • South Korea doesn’t rule out hosting US weapons – Guardian


More comment:

  • Don’t worry, this isn’t as terrifying as the 80s – Hugo Rifkind, The Times
  • And don’t forget last month’s good news – Jonathan Steele, Guardian
  • Trump is the unpredictable one. Not Kim – Andrew Buncombe, Independent
  • History teaches us to watch out for miscalculations – Gideon Rachman, FT
  • We should blame the governments that signed the NPT but didn’t keep to it – Simon Tisdall, Guardian
  • China can save the day – Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • So why doesn’t it? – Piers Morgan, Daily Mail
  • Here’s my solution – Mark Almond, The Sun

News in Brief

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child – Daily Mail
  • As French court rules today on Duchess photos case – Daily Telegraph
  • Azerbaijani data leak poses questions about UK involvement in corruption – Guardian
  • Brokenshire urges DUP and SF to enter talks – Belfast News Letter
  • Child-shaped bollards provide controversial speeding solution – Guardian
  • Will Corbyn become a vegan? – The Sun