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Rebel MPs claim they have 40 letters against the Prime Minister

‘Plotters reveal that 40 Conservative MPs — eight short of the number required to force a leadership challenge — have joined a list of Tory rebels who want her to resign…Downing Street hoped it had killed off any coup last month after it revealed that Grant Shapps, a former Tory chairman, had been the “chief rebel” assembling a list of MPs wanting May to go. Rebel leaders say May has made the situation more dangerous because some MPs were now sending letters directly to Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee. In an article for The Sunday Times, Davis today signals that the government will attempt to face down the rebels who are demanding a series of concessions on the withdrawal bill.’ – Sunday Times

Johnson and Gove accused of ‘dictating’ Brexit to May in leaked note

‘The letter says Mrs May’s ‘sensible pragmatism’ is no excuse for watering down Brexit – and that to ‘counter those who wish to frustrate that end, there are ways of underlining your resolve’. Mr Johnson and Mr Gove do not name Mr Hammond but refer to his comment that Britain had to engage in ‘sincere co-operation’ with the EU, saying such a stance would ‘leave us over a barrel’. The pair also warn Mrs May to rein in Mr Hammond over claims he refuses to spend public money planning for a ‘no deal’ outcome. Clearly, both issues still rankle with Mr Johnson and Mr Gove, who write: ‘We are profoundly worried that in some parts of Government the current preparations are not proceeding with anything like sufficient energy… We all want you to push your agenda forward with confidence and have your Government articulate the following’ – and set out their own Brexit manifesto. The letter ends with a conspiratorial offer by the pair to meet Mrs May to discuss her response ‘as and when you consider wise’.’ – Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: May’s Brexit negotiating position has held up much better than some claim – or you may think

Hammond explores options to liberalise planning in the Budget

‘Developers and home owners would be allowed to extend the height of properties without planning permission, under plans being considered for the budget by the Chancellor. Philip Hammond is weighing up proposals to relax planning laws to enable houses and blocks of flats to be raised to the height of the tallest building or tree in the same area without the cost or delay of seeking council approval. The “build up not out” plan, which is backed by several former ministers, together with David Cameron’s ex policy chief, is being pushed by MPs as a way to help solve the housing crisis without building on greenfield land. It mirrors similar proposals originally made by Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, and George Osborne, Mr Hammond’s predecessor, for homes in London, and offers a solution to an impasse between the Treasury and No 10 over proposals by the Chancellor to relax rules restricting construction on the green belt.’ – Sunday Telegraph

The search is on for a new Conservatism

‘The challenge facing the CPS, and others, is to meet the challenges of the 21st century with the same zealous spirit that Joseph and Thatcher did back then. To show the public that we know how to fix the problems they face. To explain why Conservative solutions can help. To come up with solutions that are as appealing, and encapsulate our principles as perfectly, as the sale of council houses back in the 1980s. That is why we are launching a major project, “New Generation”, to showcase the talent, the energy and the ideas on the centre-Right. Even as the Government is engaged in the monumental, and necessary, task of steering Britain through the Brexit process, these new voices will be coming up with the fresh thinking to move the political agenda forward into the 21st century, rather than backwards to the 1970s. Already, we have been extraordinarily encouraged by the variety of ideas, and the passion with which they are being put forward.’ – Maurice Saatchi and Graham Brady, Sunday Telegraph

Gove: Leaving the EU allows us to put environment protection on a far better footing

‘Animals and plants, habitats and coastlines cannot petition parliament or defend themselves through judicial review. That is why the EU asked the European Commission to play a role as environmental watchdog. It’s been far from perfect. Sometimes the Commission makes decisions which fail to protect the environment or even harm it. But on other occasions the Commission has contributed to helping raise environmental standards. Outside the EU, we have an opportunity to learn from both the Commission’s successes and failures. We can develop new institutions which do a better job and hold us to higher standards. So we will consult on using the new freedoms we have to establish a new, world-leading body to give the environment a voice and hold the powerful to account. It will be independent of government, able to speak its mind freely. And it will be placed on a statutory footing.’ – Michael Gove, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: George Currie on Comment: Air quality is a Conservative issue

Natalie Elphicke: The Conservative Party is subjecting my husband to a secretive and unjust kangaroo court

‘This past week another man, a respected and hardworking assembly member of the Welsh assembly, Carl Sargeant, took his own life after having the whip removed without knowing of what he was accused. By his actions on November 3, the new chief whip showed himself to be a man without any thought as to the welfare and wellbeing of my husband and our children. He put the news cycle and spin before doing the right thing…I find it hard to believe that the Theresa May I know, the Theresa May that my husband and I were proud to campaign for as leader of our party, who has been a guest at my family home, would have taken this action herself…As Conservatives we cannot stand by when injustice is heaped upon injustice. When wrong follows wrong. When one of our own is thrown to the wolves — is hung out to dry in this manner without even being told of what he is accused. It happened to my husband. It happened to Carl Sargeant. It could happen to anyone.’ – Natalie Elphicke, Sunday Times

  • Lives are destroyed to shield the parties’ reputations – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • Carwyn Jones under pressure over handling of Sargeant case – Sunday Times
  • Corbyn’s shiny new policy doesn’t deliver independent justice – Kezia Dugdale, Sunday Times
  • Met chief ‘was told’ about Green controversy, but has ‘misgivings’ over police involvement in campaign against him – Sunday Times
  • Former aide to Farage speaks out about affair – Mail on Sunday

Rifkind attacks May for delaying the reappointment of spy watchdog

‘Theresa May’s five-month delay in signing off on the new membership of the intelligence and security committee (ISC) was attacked as a “disgrace” by a Tory grandee this weekend. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, a former Conservative foreign secretary and chairman of the ISC, said the parliamentary committee’s role of scrutinising spy agencies was imperative in the face of an unprecedented Islamist terrorist threat against the UK. “Part of what the committee does is to investigate things that have happened, to identify whether the intelligence agencies were doing their jobs properly and whether they missed opportunities that might have prevented a terrorist attack,” he said…The replacement of two Labour MPs on the ISC, who quit the committee and retired from parliament before the June election, led to a delay when the party nominated at least one member who was deemed “hard left” and would not pass the security clearance.’ – Sunday Times

The Commons is about to take back control on Universal Credit, argues Frank Field

‘On Thursday, the government’s strategy of ignoring votes posed by the opposition by simply not turning up for them comes to an end. A cross-party group of MPs has tabled a motion demanding action and the debate will be focused on the work and pensions select committee’s first report on universal credit. The single recommendation calls for payments to be made no later than four weeks in the first instance. With opposition MPs turning out, together with rebels on the Tory benches, the government will be heavily defeated. That’s why action is necessary in the budget to cut the six-week wait. The budget statement also needs to commit the government to a process of continuous reform of a benefit that is now a main driver of destitution, creating situations where people have no food, no heating, no light, and risk losing their homes.’ – Frank Field, Sunday Times

  • More than a dozen Tory MPs intend to back this new rebellion – Sunday Telegraph

Blair: Labour should be 20 points ahead in the polls

‘In a dig at party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the ex-PM insisted Labour should be much more popular when the Tories are in such disarray. He said: “This Government is in a greater degree of mess than any I can remember.” He added that even John Major’s Tory Cabinet in the mid-1990s was a “paragon of stability” compared with Theresa May’s team. He praised Mr Corbyn’s “character” in the June General Election, but went on: “And yet we are a couple of points ahead and, I think I’m right that he’s not yet ahead of her as Prime Minister. “So, I pay tribute to all of that, but I still say come on guys — we should be 15, 20 points ahead at this stage.”’ – The Sun on Sunday

Prince Charles will lead today’s Cenotaph ceremony for the first time

‘The nation will pay silent respect to the country’s war dead today in a Remembrance Sunday service led by the Prince of Wales. The Queen has asked Charles to lay her wreath at the Cenotaph, in what is believed to be the first time the monarch has broken with tradition and not performed the symbolic duty when at the Whitehall service. A two-minute silence will take place at 11am and wreaths will be laid at the foot of the Whitehall memorial. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will observe the service from a balcony, while senior members of the royal family and political leaders lay wreaths. The Cenotaph ceremony is a poignant and significant event in the life of the nation which normally involves the Queen leading the country in remembering those who have died in world wars and other conflicts, so Charles’ role in laying the wreath will be a significant moment.’ – Sunday Telegraph

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