Brexit negotiations 1) May and Juncker met last night to attempt to break deadlock…

“…The Prime Minister flew out to dinner with Mr Juncker, the President of the European Commission, after a Brexit charm offensive with other EU leaders ahead of a summit on Thursday. On Monday she spoke to  Emmanuel Macron, the French President and Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach. She called Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor at the weekend. In an apparent sign of more cordial relations Mr Juncker gave David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, a “bear hug” after the meeting.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Downing Street says meeting was “in the diary for weeks”. But was it? – Herald
  • She talked to Macron and Varadkar first – FT


  • She had an evening to save the day – Tom Peck, Independent

Brexit negotiations 2) ….But was there a breakthrough?…

“Theresa May won a commitment to ‘accelerate’ Brexit talks at a crucial dinner with top Eurocrats tonight. The Prime Minister has engaged in a high stakes diplomatic push to try and break the deadlock at this week EU’s summit. Mrs May and her Brexit Secretary David Davis dined with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Monday evening. If she had walked away empty handed the dinner would have been seen as another failed gamble by the embattled PM. But a joint statement between Mrs May and Mr Juncker raised hopes of a new breakthrough in the talks.” – Daily Mail

  • Joint statement says meeting was “constructive” – Daily Express


Brexit negotiations 3) … Or a stalemate?…

“Theresa May’s last-ditch attempt to persuade European leaders to open talks on a transition period look doomed to fail as Downing Street appeared to rule out fresh concessions on the UK’s divorce bill and Brussels hardened its approach days away from a crunch summit. Calls to the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, along with a 90-minute dinner in Brussels with the European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and his chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, failed to move the dial in the prime minister’s favour, with senior diplomats insisting the UK had not done enough. A joint statement from Juncker and the prime minister following their dinner gave no indication of any movement in the British government’s favour, but instead included reference to the sequenced approach to the talks insisted upon by Brussels.” – Guardian

  • Juncker had said earlier there would be need for “autopsy” after – Daily Telegraph
  • May said she “wouldn’t give another inch” – The Sun
  • Cummings says she and Davis are “case study of grotesque uselessness” – Independent
  • Meanwhile, France and Germany push for post-Brexit ECJ jurisdiction for EU citizens in Britain – Daily Telegraph


  • It’s all a fantasy – Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian
  • It just can’t be done – Alastair Campbell, Guardian
  • Read about our court case against Davis – Molly Scott Cato, Independent
  • May should listen to Clegg – Andrew Grice, Independent

Brexit negotiations 4) … Money remains the issue

“European leaders are deliberately stalling on a deal that would protect the rights of EU and British citizens after Brexit to wring further financial concessions from Theresa May, government sources claimed last night. Senior figures close to negotiations said that an agreement to safeguard the rights of three million EU citizens living in the UK was “almost done”. In a sign of growing frustration in Whitehall, sources claimed that there was unwillingness on the EU side to finalise the deal. The aim was to maximise pressure on Mrs May over money while not being seen to put the EU’s financial interests over the rights of its citizens, the sources said.” – The Times

  • Merkel tells May no transition talk before financial commitment – FT


  • Don’t pay up before we know what we’ll get – The Sun

Growing cross-bench collaboration calling for final Withdrawal Bill vote 

“Theresa May could face significant defeats over Brexit as Tory rebels agree to coalesce around amendments to give MPs a binding vote on the final deal and to delay Britain’s exit from the EU if a transition period is not agreed. The government is urgently trying to quell a potential rebellion after the scale of cross-bench cooperation over the EU withdrawal bill intensified, with newer MPs called in for meetings with chief whip Gavin Williamson. Those involved said that the government’s decision to delay the next stage of the bill by at least a week had simply provided more time for their operation, with discussions across parties intensifying on Monday.” – Guardian

>Today: Christopher Howarth’s column: The flurry of Withdrawal Bill amendments range from pointless to legally illiterate

“Short-lived” claim that SNP “power grab” accusations were over

“A claim by Theresa May’s deputy that successful Brexit talks on the repatriation of EU powers had ended SNP accusations of a “power grab” by the UK Government has proved short lived. Both sides admitted progress had been made after they agreed a set of principles to underpin the transfer of powers back from Europe. The agreement is the first between Whitehall and the devolved administrations since the UK voted to leave the EU last year. Damian Green, the First Secretary of State, who met the devolved administrations with David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, claimed afterwards that concerns that Westminster was seizing powers that should go straight to Edinburgh were now “behind us”.” – Daily Telegraph

Hammond signals stamp duty cut for first-time buyers…

“A stamp duty cut for first-time buyers could form part of Tory efforts to win young voters back from Labour in next month’s budget, it emerged yesterday. Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has signalled that at the core of next month’s budget will be measures to reduce inter-generational unfairness after an election in which people under 47 were more likely to vote Labour than Tory.” – The Times

…As Lamont warns him against starting “generational tax war”

“Philip Hammond has been warned by a former Tory Chancellor not to start a “generational war in the tax system” by giving tax breaks to young workers paid for by older people. Lord Lamont, who as Norman Lamont ran the Treasury  from 1990 to 1993, said it was wrong to blame elderly people for soaring house prices that stop young people buying new homes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is understood to be examining ways to link tax to age for the first time to promote “intergenerational fairness” in next month’s Budget.” – Daily Telegraph

  • MPs say there’d be a backlash over Hammond’s strategy – Daily Mail
  • And his adviser quits – The Sun
  • Altmann says proposals are “fraught with anger” – Daily Express
  • But Willetts supports them – The Sun
  • Care homes say they won’t be able to pay “dementia tax” extras – Guardian
  • And Field says DWP is “withholding bad news” on Universal Credit – Guardian


  • Hammond’s plans are mad – Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • He should end the benefit freeze – Campbell Robb, The Times 
  • It’d be wrong for May to sack him – Janan Ganesh, FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Is the Government prepared for the political pressures of a rise in interest rates?

Clark: The government is right to tighten rules on inward investment

“The government is to tighten its rules on inward investment into the UK making it harder for foreign buyers of companies that design and manufacture military products and other key technologies. Greg Clark, the business and energy secretary, said while the UK remained a “vociferous advocate” of free trade “it is right that every so often the government reviews its mergers regime to close loopholes where they arise and this is what these proposals do in the area of national security”. Under the proposals, to be put out for consultation later today, the government will be able to intervene in mergers that “raise national security concerns even when they involve smaller businesses”.” – FT

  • New barriers for energy, telecoms, and tech companies – Daily Express


Badenoch: The right has a language problem

“We don’t have a youth problem on the Right. We have a language problem. No one understands what we’re talking about anymore. If you’re 47 or under, you’re more likely to vote Labour than Conservative. I hate to break it to you Telegraph readers, but the generation born in the 70s and 80s are now comfortably middle-aged. We aren’t young anymore. It’s time to stop waiting for us abandon the folly of youth and come to our senses; we’re not going to. It dawned on me recently, when I was preparing a speech making the case for free markets and conservatism to young people, that those of us on the Right don’t even understand each other anymore.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Sam Gyimah in comment: The time to develop a bright vision for post-Brexit social reform is right now

Boundary Commission review suggests Tories “unfairly” treated

“The Conservatives are being denied a House of Commons majority under an “unfair” constituency system, the official review of MPs seats suggests today. Changes proposed by the Boundary Commission to make the current system fairer would give the Tories a small outright majority in the Commons. The review of boundaries, which was proposed under the Coalition but blocked by the Liberal Democrats, would deliver on a Government pledge to cut the number of MPs by 50 to 600.” – Daily Telegraph

  • There would’ve been a majority – Daily Mail
  • Proposals threaten Johnson’s and Davis’s seats – The Times 
  • And Corbyn’s – FT
  • Labour and LibDems say there’s “no parliamentary support” for changes – Guardian

Lords Committee to propose that new peerages should have 15-year limit

“New peerages will have a 15-year time limit under a plan to shrink the House of Lords, The Times has learnt. The Lords has almost 800 members, making it the second largest legislative chamber in the world after the National People’s Congress of China, but pressure has grown on the government to reduce its size. There is no retirement age or limit on how long peers can serve. The Lords committee tasked this year with cutting membership of the house will propose the time limits in its report this month.” – The Times


It’s the “wrong remedy for a real problem” – The Times 

News in Brief

  • How the Bank of England can fix housing – James Sproute, CapX
  • Futurity: the ‘gag without a gag’ – John Gray, New Statesman
  • ‘Jeremy is trying hard’ – Austin Mitchell, BrexitCentral
  • We’ve had enough of HRC – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • But watch out for Pence – Jane Meyer, New Yorker