Rudd: We’re at a turning point. We’re the answer. Don’t be distracted by a cough

“The day of the Prime Minister’s speech turned out to be something none of us, in politics, among the pundits, simply no one, could have predicted. It’s probably one of the easiest days sketch writers have ever had. They only really had to put pen to paper and repeat the facts. … It is people’s lives. It’s what we can deliver for you, the country. It’s how the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, and all of us, will continue making our economy stronger, building on taking the lowest paid out of income tax, on having more people in work than ever before and on establishing a new National Minimum Wage.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Rudd tells May to stay – Daily Express
  • Others urge Prime Minister to reshuffle and sack Johnson – Daily Telegraph
  • Cabinet sources say she doesn’t have the “authority to change the cabinet” – The Times 
  • Donors call for her to “stand down” – Guardian
  • Leaked letters show Morgan accused her of discrimination against immigrant children – Independent

More comment:

  • Rudd’s calm assurance surely makes her a contender – Jane Merrick, The Times
  • Will May rise to the challenge like Brown? – Dan Corry, Daily Telegraph
  • Are her rivals ruthless enough? – Martin Kettle, Guardian
  • The party is decaying. The cabinet are terrified of May resigning – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • She’s mortally wounded – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Might she walk? – John Rentoul, Independent
  • Giving in to panic would make the country pay the price – Stephen Pollard, Daily Express
  • She’s just a scapegoat – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Don’t underestimate the extent of her problem – Mark Steel, Independent
  • The question is not “who” but “how” – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: One more squeak out of Johnson will be proof that he isn’t fit to lead the Conservatives

Shapps admits helping to lead rebels against May…

“A former Conservative Party chairman has admitted to helping lead dozens of rebel MPs in a plot to oust the prime minister. Grant Shapps was identified by Theresa May loyalists before a febrile weekend in which MPs will be canvassed by the mutinous group and by government whips over whether Mrs May should remain in post. The unrest comes after the prime minister’s disastrous party conference speech, which was intended to reinstate the authority she lost at the election in June. Mr Shapps told The Times last night: “I think having lost an election the party must look for a new leader to take us forward.”” – The Times

  • He “emerges as ringleader” – FT
  • And says “the writing is on the wall” – Daily Mail

…They’re searching for support to use “small window of opportunity”

“Tory rebels have said that there is a “50/50” chance they will confront Theresa May in the next three days and demand that she steps down before the end of the year. Ed Vaizey, a former minister, today became the first Tory MP to break ranks and said that “quite a few people are firmly of the view that she should resign” after her disastrous conference speech. The Telegraph understands that the rebels, who have the support of around 30 Tory MPs, believe there is a “small window of opportunity” to force the Prime Minister out. They say that if they can attract sufficient support they will confront the Prime Minister directly and tell her to go.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tory MPs phoning each other to plot old-fashioned rebellion – Daily Telegraph
  • They’re in a “Mexican stand-off” – Independent
  • They’re “being advised” by plotters who brought down IDS – Guardian
  • Vaizey first to speak of colleagues’ desire to oust her – Daily Telegraph
  • He says she should hold leadership election – Guardian
  • The party’s “descent into civil war” – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: And now for 15 items of good news

Pierce: It’s “astonishing how little endeavour” went into May speech preparation

As Theresa May strode into the conference hall with husband Philip on Wednesday, she was wearing black court shoes. Ever fashion-conscious, she had carefully planned to change into another pair with eye-catching green jewels 30 minutes later – in time for her speech. If only her aides had invested as much time and effort on the preparations for the speech itself, it might not have turned out so disastrously. … Indeed, considering that Wednesday’s speech had been billed as the most important of her political life – vital if she wanted to resurrect her struggling premiership – it is astonishing how little endeavour seems to have gone into its preparation. – Daily Mail

Brexit 1) Why did Tory MEPs vote “against UK”?

“South West MEP Julie Girling and South East MEP Richard Ashworth backed a motion in the European Parliament to block Brexit talks moving on to trade in an attempt to harm Britain. The vote had been called by the EU parliament’s self appointed chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt to try to persuade the European Commission to delay trade talks. The motion was backed by Labour, Lib Dem and SNP MEPs, who all support Remain and have sided with Brussels against their own country. But Ashworth, a former Conservative group leader, and Girling, a former chief chief whip, also broke ranks to vote against the national interest and side with Verhofstadt.” – Daily Express


>Yesterday: MPsEtc: What are Conservative MEPs doing voting against trade talks?

Brexit 2) Northern mayors ask Davis for funding

“Britain’s biggest cities are lobbying the government to replace European investment funding after Brexit as they make their voice heard in the exit process. David Davis, the minister in charge of the UK government negotiations, on Thursday met three northern mayors to listen to their concerns. Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram of Liverpool city region and Ben Houchen of Tees Valley pressed for the same amount of cash from a proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund that will replace EU solidarity payments. “We would like to see a 10-year commitment to funding at the current level with more flexibility about how we deploy it,” Mr Burnham said.” – FT

More Brexit

  • Showdown coming as Britain plans not to reveal divorce bill settlement offer – Daily Telegraph
  • Are five cabinet ministers about to quit over negotiations? – Daily Express
  • Trump administration opposes preliminary UK-EU agricultural plan – FT

>Today: Henry Newman in comment: Brexit – and the unresolved Cabinet row that has the power to force resignations

Hammond “expecting to unveil bad news” in budget

“The Chancellor Philip Hammond is expecting to unveil a significantly worse outlook for the public finances in November’s Budget, Treasury sources have indicated. The Treasury’s independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility, will give an early steer on its view of the UK’s productivity growth outlook next Tuesday and officials in the finance ministry are braced for bad news. The UK’s productivity growth outlook has a profound influence on the HM Revenue & Customs tax take, meaning a deterioration there is, automatically, bad news for the public finances.” – Independent

  • Here’s what he should be focusing on – FT

Libyan backlash against Johnson’s “unacceptable” Sirte comments

“Boris Johnson is facing a growing backlash inside Libya to his suggestion that the city of Sirte might become a new Dubai once “the dead bodies” are removed, with the head of the country’s UN-backed government condemning the remarks. Fayez al-Serraj, who has been strongly supported by the British government over the past two years, met the British ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett, to seek an explanation and said some of the foreign secretary’s comments were unacceptable. Millett told Serraj that Johnson was referring to deaths of foreigners belonging to terrorist organisations. Hundreds of Libyans died in the battle to liberate Sirte and are widely regarded as martyrs.” – Guardian

Fears of Navy cuts in defence review

“The Royal Marines may lose their ability to storm beaches from the sea while the Royal Navy could scrap a helicopter fleet under cost-saving proposals. Navy chiefs have put forward two landing assault ships, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, as options to be cut in a mini defence review that is looking at security capabilities but must also shrink a £20 billion-£30 billion hole in the budget over the next decade. The Times understands that another option is to axe 28 Wildcat HMA2 helicopters. This would leave the Fleet Air Arm with just its Merlin helicopters, reducing support costs but, sources said, harming its ability to support the fleet.” – The Times

  • The two amphibious assault ships “could be taken out of service” – Independent

Heath inquiry condemned by his supporters

“Sir Edward Heath would have been questioned under caution over allegations of abuse, including the rape of an 11-year-old boy and indecent assault of a 10-year-old, the inquiry into the late prime minister found. While Wiltshire police dismissed more than 30 claims during its two-year, £1.5 million investigation, detectives concluded that seven allegations, involving alleged child and adult abuse, met the threshold for interview. The announcement was met with condemnation from Heath’s supporters, who said that requirements to interview were so low that it wrongly gave credibility to the inquiry and besmirched the reputation of a man who cannot defend himself.” – The Times


  • We need to find the truth – Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian
  • The money would’ve been better spent on “real threats” to children – Sean O’Neill, The Times 

More Conservatives

  • Tory minister says British families need to face up to responsibilities – Daily Mail

Scotland and Northern Ireland 

  • SDLP criticised for slow comment on PIRA reenactment – Belfast Newsletter
  • Is SNP “weaselling out” of air passenger duty commitment? – Daily Telegraph
  • The SNP should fear Corbyn – Rebecca McQuillan, Herald

Will Trump abandon Iran deal?

“Donald Trump has accused Iran of not living up to the “spirit of the agreement” of its nuclear deal amid reports that he plans to withhold endorsement of the landmark agreement with the international community. At a meeting of military leaders, Trump warned cryptically that those present were witnessing “the calm before the storm”. When asked by reporters what he meant, the president, a former reality TV host, said: “You’ll find out.” Several media outlets on Friday confirmed what has been suspected in Washington and foreign capitals for some time: that Trump will not certify the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran, on the grounds it does not serve US security interests.” – Guardian


  • He can’t be trusted on this stuff – Kim Sengupta, Independent

News in Brief

  • The value of Facebook – Tim Forstall, CapX
  • May was spooked by Brodkin – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Juncker’s turned me on to Brexit – Stanley Johnson, BrexitCentral
  • It’s about more than a cough – George Eaton, New Statesman
  • Why Ishiguro is great – Sameer Rahim, Prospect