Brexit 1) Johnson and May clash over the ‘divorce bill’

“Boris Johnson is blocking plans to increase the £20billion divorce offer to the EU. The Foreign Secretary has warned Theresa May that he cannot accept a further ‘unilateral’ increase in the size of the divorce payment without written guarantees from Brussels on a future trade deal. The EU is demanding agreement on a £53billion divorce bill by next Friday as a condition for starting trade negotiations this year. During talks in the Swedish city of Gothenburg today, EU Council president Donald Tusk will warn Mrs May that it is ‘not a given’ that Brussels will give the green light to trade talks next month unless there is ‘progress’ on the divorce bill. Prominent German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel yesterday said the UK would have to agree to ‘unconditional surrender’ to make progress.” – Daily Mail

  • Government prepares to try to cut ‘Brexit bill’ – FT
  • Prime Minister prepares climbdown on Brexit date – The Times
  • EU states take legal advice on extending talks – Daily Telegraph

More Johnson:

  • Treasury and Foreign Office at odds over ‘tank debt’ to Iran – The Times
  • Tehran holding three more Britons in prison – The Sun

Brexit 2) Davis urges the Prime Minister not to pay too quickly

“David Davis, Britain’s Brexit secretary, has warned Theresa May not to promise too much money to Brussels ahead of next month’s crucial European summit, insisting that cash must be held in reserve to help negotiate an ambitious trade deal next year. Mrs May is under pressure from the EU to give “concrete” assurances on what she will pay in a Brexit divorce settlement to move talks on to a second phase, covering a transition and trade deal; Brussels is seeking around €60bn net or €100bn gross. Mrs May is expected to give more details of her thinking ahead of the EU summit on December 14-15, with the implication that Britain would be prepared to increase considerably the €20bn it has already put on the table.” – FT

  • Brexit Secretary urges EU not to put ‘politics above prosperity’ – The Guardian
  • May prepares for ‘showdown talks’ with Varadkar – The Sun


  • Brexit could be just what British trade needs – Ed Conway, The Times
  • Don’t worry, British democracy is working as intended – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • My family were thrown out by the Nazis, I’m no collaborator – Antoinette Sandbach, Times Red Box

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Did the whips leak the rebels’ names to the Telegraph?

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Telegraph’s backfiring attack on “mutineer” MPs points to a strategic problem for Conservatives

Javid blames baby boomers for housing crisis

“Baby boomers living mortgage-free stand accused of ‘not facing up to the reality’ of how the housing crisis affects the young. Sajid Javid, who is in charge of housing policy, attacked the over-60s for resisting changes needed to kick-start house building. The Communities Secretary claimed older people had ‘no understanding’ of the problems and were ‘living in a different world’. But critics said his remarks were ‘patronising’ and ‘divisive’. Speaking in Bristol, the minister piled pressure on Chancellor Philip Hammond to release billions for housing in next week’s Budget. Mr Javid, a frequent critic of so-called Nimbys, said it was time to deliver ‘moral justice’ for the young – and warned older people they would not be permitted to stand in the way of a massive house building drive.” – Daily Mail

  • Ten-year house building high is not enough, says Communities Secretary – The Times
  • Javid lays down a challenge to Hammond – Daily Telegraph
  • Chancellor’s local council fails to build enough homes – FT
  • Hammond urged to invest £7 billion in transport for new towns – The Guardian
  • Chancellor ‘plans to raise income tax’ for 30 million households – Daily Express


  • I’ve told the Chancellor how to massively expand shared ownership – Iain Stewart MP, Times Red Box
  • This is the Tories’ big chance. What them waste it – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • The nation craves old-fashioned common sense – Philip Collins, The Times


>Today: Local Government: Increasing the housing supply is not just about new building


Gove attacks Blair ministers for promoting diesel

“Fresh evidence of how Tony Blair’s Labour government ignored health warnings about diesel vehicles before encouraging millions to buy them has emerged. Confidential records released by the Treasury yesterday confirmed ministers were well aware that diesel vehicles emit more toxic fumes. But they show how officials preparing the 2000 budget argued against higher tax for diesel cars ‘so we are not seen as being overly harsh on diesel users’. The documents were released by the Treasury after a two-year battle with the BBC which lodged a Freedom of Information Act request. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the documents showed Labour pursued ‘the dash for diesel’ despite knowing the dangers, adding it was ‘another example of a Conservative government having to clean up Labour’s mess’.” – Daily Mail

  • Car-maker calls for higher fuel duty to tackle pollution – Daily Mail
  • Tax evasion triples after abolition of paper disk – FT


  • Gove plots to become a great Brexit chancellor – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • The experts would need sacking if Gove entered Number 11 – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

Williamson: New carrier will ‘strike fear’ into Russia and North Korea

“Britain’s biggest and most powerful warship will ‘strike fear into the hearts of our enemies’ Russia and North Korea, the Defence Secretary today said. Gavin Williamson made the declaration after he touched down by helicopter aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, the new 280-metre 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier. The newly-appointed defence chief toured the £3 billion carrier as it completed its latest round latest round of sea trials off the south coast. Mr Williamson used his first official visit aboard a Royal Navy vessel to fire a warning shot to Russia – saying the carrier is the most powerful in the world.” – Daily Mail

  • Finally, we’re standing up to Moscow – Andrew Foxall, Daily Telegraph
  • Britain was built by engineers but we don’t have enough – Chris Grayling, Daily Telegraph

Leadsom criticised over delays introducing ‘new HR body’ for Westminster

“MPs reacted with fury last night after Downing Street said it could take until next year to set up a new independent HR body to help Westminster sex pest victims. Despite TEN MPs now being under investigation, Commons leader Andrea Leadsom revealed the Government would only lay out a timetable by the end of the year. It came as No10 confirmed the inquiries into de facto deputy PM Damian Green and other senior Tories also had “no timeframe”. Last night MPs branded the delay “ridiculous”. Commons leader Andrea Leadsom told MPs proposals for a new system should be published before MPs leave for their Christmas break.” – The Sun

  • Bill for protecting MPs rises from £160,000 to £2.5 million – Daily Mail

Labour would raise taxes to spend billions

“Labour would meet a £17 billion bill for increased spending on public services entirely through tax revenues, John McDonnell has said. The shadow chancellor gave a speech in London laying out spending plans for the NHS, education, social care and local government as he sought to put pressure on Philip Hammond before the budget on Wednesday. “There has to be a genuine and decisive change of course,” he said. He warned that the chancellor’s time in office would end “in a whimper”. “The lesson is that we cannot go on like this,” he said. “Austerity doesn’t just have to end, we have to start seriously investing in our public services and our economy.”” – The Times

  • McDonnell would not put money aside in case of ‘no deal’ – Daily Telegraph

More Labour:

  • MP fights off mugger outside Parliament – The Sun

MPs and peers call for family law reform

“Growing support in parliament for fault to be scrapped from divorce proceedings means that an overhaul of laws is certain to be promoted in a private member’s bill in the new year. Baroness Butler-Sloss, former president of the family division, told The Times that she wanted to “keep this in the public eye” and encourage the government to review legislation “when they have settled Brexit a bit”. A recent report from the Nuffield Foundation by a team of academics led by Liz Trinder had highlighted everything wrong with the current system, Lady Butler-Sloss said.” – The Times

Salmond in ‘fake news’ row over tweets on RT show

“Alex Salmond is embroiled in a “fake news” row over messages attributed to the public that he read out during the first edition of his talk show on a Kremlin-funded TV station. The former First Minister told the audience he had received an “avalanche” of tweets and emails following the disclosure last week that he was hosting the programme on RT, formerly Russia Today, before reading out a selection. However, one was presented as coming from a Twitter account that did not appear to have posted it, while a second allegedly only appeared online several hours after the programme was broadcast. A third message he read out asking when Donald Trump was appearing on the show came from the Twitter account of series director Luisa St John.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Reshuffle of Hammond planned in anticipation of disastrous Budget – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Alex Salmond: a portrait in degradation – John Lloyd, CapX
  • Brexit creates an opportunity for a sustainable housing strategy – Nathan Gill AM MEP, Brexit Central
  • My friend was tortured by Mugable, this is his story – Mark Olden, The Independent
  • Will the Tories really grasp the nettle of two domestic crises? – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator