New Johnson-Gove “alliance” born from bonding over “leadership vacuum”

Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have formed a “political alliance of necessity” to deliver their model of Brexit in a move that has unnerved some fellow Conservatives. Allies of both cabinet ministers say they and their wider circle have bonded in the past few months to counter the leadership vacuum from No 10. Senior ministers have told The Times that Mr Gove is very much in the lead when it comes to the direction on Brexit and is more likely to stand up to figures such as Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd in cabinet.” – The Times

  • The “big beasts” have “buried the hatchet – Daily Mail
  • “Tensions rise” ahead of Brexit bill votes – Guardian
  • Johnson and Gove “accused” of ganging up against Hammond – The Sun
  • Sterling dropped after news broke of “no-confidence letter” – FT
  • Meanwhile photograph shows Johnson with man featuring in allegations of Russian involvement in US election – Guardian
  • And Mercer says May’s Government “smells of decline” – Daily Telegraph



  • Do we want Gove and Johnson in charge? – Matthew Norman, Independent
  • Here’s how they made up – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail 
  • May and her colleagues are “fossilised by loss of authority” – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian
  • She must “renew the drive” to get bill through Commons – Joe Watts, Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: The Conservative MPs most likely next to make the Cabinet are those you may not have heard of

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: If you’re the minister who said this quote, give yourself a slap

Lawson: May is strong — much stronger than her European counterparts

“By contrast, Theresa May’s post-election standing in the polls (and that of her party) has remained unaffected by all the alleged chaos in her Cabinet or in the Brexit negotiations: proof, if it were needed, that the public can tell a real crisis from a phoney one generated by backbenchers angry at lack of promotion or by media sound and fury signifying nothing … Meanwhile, as Paul Goodman, the highly respected editor of the website Conservative Home, pointed out yesterday: ‘Our media is not set up to probe the differences and divisions among our negotiating partners, which are no less real for not being adequately covered.’” – Daily Mail

Gove “broke ranks” by “showing lack of conviction” over why Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in Iran

“A British mother jailed in Iran for spying has denounced Boris Johnson as a “shambles”, even as a second cabinet minister cast doubt on her defence. Michael Gove broke ranks with the government when he appeared to show a lack of conviction in Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s account, saying that he did not know why she had been in the country. “I don’t know. One of the things I want to stress is that there is no reason why Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe should be in prison in Iran, so far as any of us know.”” – The Times

  • Gove criticised for his uncertainty – Daily Telegraph
  • He blamed Tehran – FT
  • Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband says Johnson sacking could cause more “instability” – Daily Mail 
  • Corbyn and Khan call for Johnson sacking – Daily Express


  • Iran is indeed to blame – The Sun

>Yesterday: Videos: WATCH: Gove – Blame Iran, not Johnson

Brexit 1) Downing Street aide “suggests” that EU trade deal “might not be finalised” until after UK leaves

“Downing Street appears ready to concede that trade deal negotiations will not be complete before Brexit, in a move that could affect the longevity of Theresa May’s premiership. One of Mrs May’s closest allies suggested at a private meeting that the future trade deal with the EU might not be finalised before Britain left the EU on March 29, 2019. The senior Downing Street aide said that they expected Britain to be able to strike only the “heads of agreement” of a deal. This would mean that further EU-UK negotiation would be necessary after Brexit. The aide also called the period after 2019 a “transition” period, despite Mrs May using the term “implementation”, which signalled that negotiations would be complete by then.” – The Times

Brexit 2) Starmer says Labour “open” to continued ECJ jurisdiction post-Brexit

“Labour would be willing to sign off on the European Court of Justice (ECJ) keeping at least some of its influence over the UK in the long term post-Brexit, Sir Keir Starmer has said. The shadow Brexit secretary said he was “open” to the court having continued jurisdiction over British matters in the future. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has made ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ in Britain a cornerstone of her Brexit plan. Sir Keir’s comments come one day before Mrs May’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns to the House of Commons with the Government braced for a showdown with Tory rebels.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He “will argue that” May lacks necessary authority to sort transition – FT

More Brexit

  • Economists for Free Trade modelling forecasts Brexit windfalls – Daily Telegraph
  • Dyson calls for Britain to walk away from negotiations without paying – Herald
  • And Barnier says “it’s possible” UK could do that – Daily Express
  • EU warns Britons about post-Brexit pet travel again – Daily Telegraph


  • Britain has lost its way – Jonathan Powell, Guardian
  • Don’t worry. We’re on track to leave – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • The Government needs to go global – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • The EU position on the Irish border is ridiculous – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

>Today: James Cartlidge in comment: We should consider joining EFTA – which would give us the brake on unskilled EU migration that we may need


Budget: Hammond “drawing up plans” for stamp duty cut

“UK chancellor Philip Hammond is drawing up plans to help first-time buyers in his Budget later this month, in an attempt to show the government is getting to grips with the housing crisis. The chancellor is preparing a stamp duty cut for first-time buyers as a signal that the Conservative party understands the widespread resentment felt by those locked out of the housing market because of high prices, according to government aides. But hopes of a revolutionary new housing policy in the Budget — after prime minister Theresa May last month vowed to fix the “broken housing market” — look set to be dashed on November 22.” – FT

  • Meanwhile Labour minister talks of upping council tax – Daily Express


  • We need a lot more houses – Nick Boles, The Sun

More Government

Khan signals likelihood of continued Uber operation in London

“Sadiq Khan welcomed efforts to reach a compromise over Uber in a sign that the taxi-hailing company would continue to operate in London. The mayor of London recognised that Uber had apologised for mistakes and appeared ready to change after Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew its licence, saying that it was not a fit and proper private car hire operator. It cited its approach to reporting criminal offences and carrying out background checks on drivers. The company, which is used by 3.5 million people in the capital, is appealing against TfL’s refusal.” – The Times 

Former Jones SpAd talks of “fear and loathing” in Welsh Labour Government

“A former special adviser to the Welsh first minister, Carwyn Jones, who is facing an independent inquiry over the death of a sacked minister, Carl Sargeant, has claimed that a “toxic” atmosphere of “fear and loathing” existed within the Welsh Labour government. Steve Jones, who was the first minister’s special adviser for five years, said Sargeant, who apparently took his own life following allegations of harassment, was upset by the “mind games” that went on within the government. Steve Jones’s remarks follow allegations by the former Welsh minister Leighton Andrews that Sargeant was undermined from within the Labour government for several years.” – Guardian

More on allegations against politicians

  • Pincher dined with Buckland after allegations were reported to police – The Sun
  • Green “appears to drop claim” denying computer porn – The Times
  • Former aide makes claim about affair with Farage – Daily Telegraph

Northern Ireland

  • Brokenshire and others respond to news of bomb found in Omagh near cenotaph – Belfast News Letter

News in Brief

  • The truth about Henry VIII powers – David Campbell, BrexitCentral
  • The danger of the technology cult – John Gray, New Statesman
  • Some stats that show capitalism beats communism – Backbencher
  • Watch out for Tom Cotton – Jeffrey Tobin, New Yorker
  • The one-day Brexit truce – Samuel Coates, Spectator