Brexit 1) May shared “pre-agreed” speech wording with EU before she showed it to Cabinet

“Theresa May “took dictation” from the European Commission when she agreed to pay a Brexit divorce bill in her keynote Florence speech, senior sources in Brussels and EU capitals have claimed. The Telegraph understands that Mrs May included a specific pledge to “honour commitments” made during Britain’s EU membership following high-level consultations in Brussels, Berlin and other major EU capitals. … The pre-agreed wording was shared with EU officials before Mrs May had even showed her Cabinet a draft of the speech the day before she delivered it.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: What is your view of May’s Florence speech on Brexit? Of Johnson’s Telegraph article? Of an implementation period? Our monthly survey is out.

Brexit 2) Tice: To negotiate, we need to be prepared to walk away

“The party of business could reasonably be expected to know how to negotiate, or know which expert friends to bring in to help. Clearly not, based on progress to date on Brexit. The golden rules are simple enough: be truly prepared to walk away without a deal, set a deadline, have a credible plan B, employ good people on your side and don’t concede something without receiving something in return. So far the Government has failed on all these fronts, despite a promising start in January’s Lancaster House speech.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Duncan Smith tells May to “call Brussels’ bluff and threaten to walk out” – Daily Express
  • Tusk says more progress needed before talking trade – Independent
  • But hails May’s “constructive tone” – FT
  • Will Britain pay for soaring Eurocrat pension costs? – The Times

More comment:

  • The EU’s approach to the talks has been totally mistaken – Henry Newman, Daily Telegraph
  • The problems with the transition – David Allen Green, FT


  • It’d be better if May said Britain “could live with no deal” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 3) Johnson, Fox, and Patel to call for Britain to lead free trade

“Boris Johnson last night sent an unequivocal message to pro-Brussels Cabinet ministers that Britain must “break free of the constraints of the EU” and look towards global trade. In a fresh sign of simmering Brexit tensions within the Government, the Foreign Secretary warned colleagues of his refusal to accept continuing ties to the EU after the UK’s departure from the bloc. And in a provocative gesture, Mr Johnson will line up with fellow hard-line Brexiteers Liam Fox and Priti Patel to call for the country to become “the world’s leading proselytiser and agitator for free trade”. His remarks last night were expected to be seen at Westminster as a warning to Chancellor Philip Hammond, who is leading the charge within the Cabinet for keeping long-term ties to Brussels after Brexit.” – Daily Express

  • May “vows to protect” British Bombardier jobs – Daily Mail
  • She’s accused of being “asleep at the wheel” about it – Belfast News Letter

Brexit 4) Khan and other senior Labour figures call for referendum in case of “bad deal”

“Senior Labour figures have urged the party not to rule out a second EU referendum in a case of a bad Brexit deal. Leading the call, Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, said yesterday that he could see circumstances in which Labour would go into the next election pledging to re-run the Brexit vote. He said he would back the plan, warning that he could not see how leaving the EU could make Britain better off. Mr Khan was supported by Kezia Dugdale, the former Scottish Labour leader, while Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities secretary, also refused to rule out a second vote.” – The Times

  • Umunna says they “need to get real” – The Sun


  • The left are confused about Brexit – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

Brexit 5) Macron sets out plans for reformed EU which include Britain

“Britain could return to a multi-speed European Union once it has undergone sweeping reforms, Emmanuel Macron, the French president has suggested. Calling for a more effective, less bureaucratic EU, Mr Macron said: “In a few years, if it so wishes, Britain could regain its place (in the EU).” In an impassioned, hour-and-a-half long speech at Paris’ prestigious Sorbonne university, the 39-year old centrist made a string of proposals to boost cooperation in security and defence, border protection, corporate tax, intelligence sharing, asylum and financial stability.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He thinks he has “stronger hand” than Chirac, Sarkozy, et al – The Times
  • He calls for shared defence budget – Independent
  • And taxes – The Sun


  • Macron needs to “temper his ambitions” – The Times

Number 10 “drawing up emergency plan” in case Johnson tries for power grab

“Downing Street officials are drawing up an emergency plan in case Boris Johnson flounces out of the Cabinet, it emerged today. Number 10 has reportedly been contacting Tory MPs trying to stop them supporting Boris if he launches a leadership power grab. But the Government’s whips have apparently been reassured that the Foreign Secretary does not have enough allies on board to overthrow Theresa May.” – The Sun


  • May needs to be a stronger leader – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail

More Conservatives

  • Duddridge criticised for his lobbying earnings – The Times

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s Column: The Government needs fresh faces – here are seven MPs who should be promoted

Labour Conference 1) Party “struggling to shake off” antisemitism claims

“Jeremy Corbyn will claim today that Labour is ready for government despite a growing row over antisemitism and preparations within the party for a run on the pound should he reach No 10. … His efforts to reassure voters faced a setback, however, after he confirmed that the party had been “war-gaming” scenarios including the prospect of investor panic and a run on sterling after a Labour victory. The party also struggled to shake off antisemitism claims as an equality watchdog warned that it must do more to combat abuse.” – The Times

  • Watson calls for expulsion for alleged antisemites – Daily Telegraph
  • Party votes for disciplinary measures – FT
  • McCluskey, Loach, and Livingstone suggest hate speech complaints represent leadership plotting – Guardian
  • Corbyn didn’t attend pro-Israel reception – The Sun


  • These occurrences are no longer aberrations – Karen Pollock, The Times
  • It’s become entrenched – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • The leaders are thugs – Stephen Pollard, Daily Express

>Today: Rebecca Lowe Coulson’s Column: Sun, sand, sea and socialism – my day at Corbyn’s Brighton conference

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: What they really think about Corbyn 2) Chi Onwurah

Labour conference 2) Corbyn to tell Cabinet to “pull itself together or make way”

“Jeremy Corbyn will use his speech to Labour’s conference in Brighton to urge Theresa May’s cabinet to “pull yourself together or make way” and let his team negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union. Corbyn will close Labour’s annual gathering on Wednesday with an upbeat speech, insisting his party is a government in waiting, and accuse a divided Conservative leadership of putting their selfish interests before those of the country. After cabinet infighting over Brexit burst into the open in the past fortnight, Corbyn will say: “The Tories are more interested in posturing for personal advantage than in getting the best deal for Britain. Never has the national interest been so ill-served on such a vital issue.” – Guardian

  • He will say Labour is “ready for government” – The Sun
  • And set out robot tax plans – Daily Mail
  • And call for “common sense revolution” – Independent
  • Party “plans for capital flight” – FT
  • McDonnell “prepared for run on pound” – Independent


  • This is no longer a fantasy – Iain Macwhirter, Herald
  • The Tories have “no coherent answer” to Corbyn’s economic approach – Graeme Leach, Daily Telegraph
  • It won’t be news if he says he’s not a socialist – Rafael Behr, Guardian
  • Why does McDonnell want to nationalise trains but not buses? – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph 


More Labour

  • Woodcock apologises for Dent Coad’s Prince Harry comments – Daily Telegraph
  • Miliband was great at Momentum – FT
  • The “most committed” MPs get their own version of the Corbyn song – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • What a ranty conference – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Varadkar announces Irish abortion referendum

“Ireland’s prime minister announced a referendum on whether to repeal the country’s ban on abortion in nearly all cases on Tuesday, with the vote due to take place just a few weeks before a visit from the Pope. Leo Varadkar said the controversial referendum, which is likely to divide the largely Catholic country, would be held in May or June of 2018. The following August the pontiff will travel to Dublin to attend the World Meeting of Families , in what will be the first papal visit to the country since 1978.” – Daily Telegraph


“Work begins” on Trump’s wall

“The federal government said Tuesday that contractors began building eight prototypes of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico, hitting a milestone toward a key campaign pledge. Construction in San Diego began three months behind schedule after those who didn’t win contracts protested. The building process will last about 30 days, Customs and Border Protection said. The agency may pick several winners, or none. It said in a news release that the prototypes ‘will inform future design standards which will likely continue to evolve to meet the U.S. Border Patrol’s requirements.’ But the agency is also braced for massive protests and is beginning construction under tight security, the San Deigo Union-Tribune reported.” – Daily Mail

Saudi government to allow women to drive

“Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive, the government announced on Tuesday – ending their reign as the only nation in the world where women were forbidden from getting behind the wheel of a car. The news was announced on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington, highlighting the damage that the policy has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • My thoughts on Macron’s manifesto – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • My thoughts on the German election – Graeme Archer, Unherd
  • Rayner’s sure start – George Eaton, New Statesman
  • McDonnell is brilliant – Robert Colvile, CapX
  • Read about my Institute for Free Trade – Daniel Hannan, BrexitCentral