Mordaunt becomes the new International Development Secretary

“A female Brexit supporting minister who serves as a Royal Naval reservist has replaced Priti Patel as International Development Secretary after she resigned from the Cabinet. Penny Mordaunt, who was minister for disabled people, has been appointed by Theresa May as she attempts to retain the balance between Leavers and Remainers in her Cabinet. As only female MP who is a Royal Navy reservist, she was also touted as a possible replacement for Sir Michael Fallon after he resigned as defence secretary last week.“ – Daily Telegraph

  • There’s been a “positive reception” to her appointment – Independent
  • How will she deal with aid spending? – Daily Express
  • Here’s some more information about her – The Sun
  • Patel supporters say Duncan “stoked” Israeli meeting stories – The Times
  • Atkins becomes a minister at Home Office and Newton takes over from Mordaunt at DWP – The Times 


  • Mordaunt got it because she’s a Brexiteer – John Rentoul, Independent
  • But she’s bold, too – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Mordaunt replaces Patel at DFID – as ConHome recommended


May: Do not doubt it – Brexit is happening

“The government has this week published a cross-party backed amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which puts on the face of the Bill the date of our departure from the European Union. Let no-one doubt our determination or question our resolve, Brexit is happening. It will be there in black and white on the front page of this historic piece of legislation: the United Kingdom will be leaving the EU on March 29, 2019 at 11pm GMT.” – Daily Telegraph 

  • Suggestions for leaving date to be put into bill – Daily Express
  • But EU is planning for “fall of May’s government” – The Times 

More comment:

  • May’s not even strong and stable any more – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • She needs to “get a grip” – Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • Greylag geese could do a better job than this government – Rodd Liddle, The Sun
  • Could Gove be the answer? – Rosa Prince, Daily Telegraph
  • Will his neonics ban be unpopular? – Matt Ridley, The Times

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: Voters are losing confidence that a good deal on leaving the EU will be secured for Britain

New Irish border demands “blindsided” British officials in negotiation talks

“British hopes of opening Brexit trade and transition talks this December were thrown into renewed doubt as it emerged that Ireland is making fresh demands over the Northern Ireland border question, the Telegraph can reveal. The toughened Irish stance, reflected in a leaked European Commission document obtained by The Telegraph, blindsided British officials at Brexit negotiations in Brussels on Thursday as Ireland piled on pressure in the talks.“ – Daily Telegraph

  • Ireland wants UK to remain part of customs union – The Times
  • The calls will “infuriate” DUP – FT


  • But we’ll get a deal in December – Charles Grant. Guardian

More Brexit

  • May is “ready to increase divorce bill offer” – FT
  • Brown tells Corbyn to push for second referendum in case of free movement concession – Daily Telegraph 
  • Rees-Mogg criticises European Commission forecast – The Sun
  • Businesses call for quick transition deal – Guardian

Johnson “sidesteps” questions about Zaghari-Ratcliffe

“Boris Johnson has sidestepped questions about the future of jailed British woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after Iranian state TV reported that he had made an “unintended confession” that she was training journalists in the country. The Foreign Secretary is facing calls to step down over his mistaken comments – made to MPs last week – amid fears the Iranian authorities have taken the claims as a justification for her continued imprisonment.” – Independent

  • Growing calls for him to be sacked – Daily Mail
  • Ricketts says “there’s a real problem” – The Sun


  • What will May do about Johnson? – The Times

Budget: Hammond “planning extra money for the NHS”

“Philip Hammond is planning extra money for the NHS in the budget despite signs of Treasury irritation at outspoken appeals from the head of the health service. The chancellor is understood to be considering a cash injection and is also likely to boost pay for frontline workers such as nurses, after unions signalled a willingness for contract reform. Other public services are more likely to miss out, given Mr Hammond’s wish not to increase borrowing.” – The Times

>Today: Ideas for the Budget 5) James Kirkup: Ditch the surplus target. Build new towns. Raise inheritance taxes and boost universal credit.

Bercow says MPs “entitled” to be told details of allegations

“John Bercow has backed demands for MPs to be told details of offences they are accused of as he claimed they were being treated like terrorists. Speaking to students at the Mile End Institute in east London, the Commons Speaker said MPs are “entitled” to be told of the allegations. The principle is analogous to the way we behave in relation to terrorists,” he said. “We have certain standards that we insist in upholding… we believe in fair trial, we believe in innocent until proven guilty, we believe in due process.”” – Daily Telegraph 

  • Elphicke says process is “fundamentally wrong” – The Times 
  • And a “denial of justice” – Daily Mail
  • Sergeant’s familly “suggest” Labour “may have manipulated evidence” – The Times
  • First Minister may face investigation – Guardian
  • Former Commons bar manager claims 30 MPs “pestered her for sex” – The Times


  • The “tenor of the debate” has been “aggressive” – Deborah Orr, Guardian

More Conservatives 

  • Rudd says social media companies should use AI to combat terrorist content – Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron discussed a “UK-China fund” with Chinese vice-premier – The Times

Trump on tour: he “attacks chronic trade abuses”

“Donald Trump launched a blistering attack on “chronic trade abuses” on Friday, warning an audience of world leaders at a summit in Vietnam that he will always “put America first”. The US president also resumed his tough talk on North Korea as he sought to rally Asia-Pacific nations into confronting the “twisted fantasies” of Pyongyang’s young leader Kim Jong-un.“ – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Here’s some good news and bad about Brexit – George Bridges, Reaction
  • Could this be the way to no Brexit? – Helen Lewis, New Statesman
  • Here’s what the government should do – Spectator
  • Race has always been part of socialism – Marian Tupy, CapX
  • If you happen to be in Florence… – Christopher Stace, TLS