Ministers 1) Patel allies blame Foreign Office for her downfall

“Friends of Priti Patel believe that the Foreign Office was behind leaked details of her ill-fated trip to Israel because it wanted to kill off her attempt to change government policy towards the Jewish state. Whitehall sources said last night that the former international development secretary had deliberately used her holiday to meet Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, and two of his senior ministers to avoid Foreign Office interference… Friends of Ms Patel questioned why, given that the Foreign Office found out about the meetings in Israel at the time, it failed to inform Downing Street. It was only on Friday that Theresa May was first informed that Ms Patel had met Mr Netanyahu.” – The Times

  • Ex-International Development Secretary could do ‘hard damage’ to the Government – Daily Telegraph
  • Who might be the new International Development Secretary? – The Times
  • Scandal turns spotlight on Stuart Polack – FT


  • Lord Polack: the powerful fixer behind Patel’s tour – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Patel: a savvy campaigner who craved the top job – Oliver Wright, The Times


  • She was unfairly sacrificed to buy time for a rudderless Government – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • The biggest winner is the Foreign Secretary – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • Patel succumbed to the siren voices of ego and ambition – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


  • A true asset to Cabinet, but she had to go – The Sun


Ministers 2) Husband of Brit jailed in Iran wants Johnson to take him to visit

“The husband of a jailed British charity worker has begged Boris Johnson to take him to Iran so he can see his family for the first time in 18 months after a gaffe by the Foreign Secretary threatened to double her sentence. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been held in prison on spying charges since April last year, despite insisting her trip was just a holiday. But the Foreign Secretary wrongly said the charity worker was ‘simply teaching people journalism’ during a 2016 trip to Iran in April last year – which is now being used as evidence to lock her up for longer. Mr Johnson has promised to fly out to Iran in a bid to free Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, but her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, is now eager to join him so he can see his wife and three-year-old daughter, Gabriella, who is also stuck in Iran.” – Daily Mail

  • Foreign Secretary is ‘willing to meet’ him – The Guardian

Ministers 3) Met Commissioner will help decide Green’s fate

“The future of Damian Green could be determined by Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, after she promised to co-operate with the inquiry into his conduct. The first secretary of state is under investigation by officials in his own department over claims that he made inappropriate advances to an activist and there was pornography on a computer seized from his office eight years ago. He vigorously contests both charges. The investigation is by Sue Gray, the government’s head of propriety and ethics, and ministers do not know when it will conclude. The Times understands one reason for its delay was that the inquiry is also looking at other departments that Mr Green has worked in.” – The Times

  • Garnier apologises over sex toy furore – The Times


  • Woman who lodged complaint against SNP childcare minister speaks out – Daily Telegraph
  • Prescott’s son suspended over alleged harassment – The Times


  • There is a simpler way to detect the Westminster Weinsteins – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

Ministers 4) Williamson denies urging May to sack Fallon

“New Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday dismissed allegations he told the PM to sack predecessor Sir Michael Fallon. Former chief whip Williamson got a shock promotion after Fallon resigned on November 1 over dodgy past behaviour with women. Some critics claimed the new Defence Secretary had forced the PM’s hand to give him the job, which he denied. Speaking at a major summit of NATO defence ministers at Brussels, he said: “The Prime Minister makes her own decisions on actually who is serving in her Cabinet, and they are only the Prime Minister’s decisions.”” – The Sun

Ministers 5) Gove announces new pesticide ban

“A total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe will be backed by the UK, environment secretary Michael Gove has revealed. The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him… Gove said the evidence of neonicotinoids’ harm to pollinators has grown stronger since 2013, including a landmark field trial published in July that showed neonicotinoids damage bee populations, not just individual insects, and a global analysis of honey revealing worldwide contamination by the insecticides.” – The Guardian

  • The evidence points in one direction – we must ban neonicotinoids – Michael Gove, The Guardian

Ministers 6) Rudd ‘warns of defeat’ over immigration bill

“Theresa May faces a humiliating Commons defeat unless she removes students from the immigration cap, it was claimed today. Sources said Home Secretary Amber Rudd is warning the PM that MPs will block the Government’s upcoming Immigration Bill unless she gives in. Theresa May has been a lone voice in the Cabinet demanding students continue to be counted in the 100,000 a year net migration target. Ms Rudd’s view is thought to be shared by Chancellor Philip Hammond but also Boris Johnson and Business Secretary Greg Clark.” – The Sun

Iain Martin: The time has come for May to promote the young guard

“One legacy of the modernising Cameron years is that Conservative associations – often more practical and interested in the future than they are given credit for – selected for recent elections a formidable range of MPs who now serve. Some are young, though not all. What they have in common, rather than an ideological prayer book, are a modern mindset, curiosity and an aptitude for polite communication in an age when there is already a surfeit of anger and misdirected rage… Usually, the recommendation would be for a spell in opposition and for the writing of boring but important pamphlets, but with the Labour Party in the hands of the far left that is not an option this time. The younger Tories will have to regenerate their party, or try to, from within government, a difficult task at the best of times.” – The Times

  • Brexit has broken British politics – Philip Stephens, FT


  • A shake-up of the Cabinet might lift the air of crisis – Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister has little to lose and much to gain from a reshuffle – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: No, the Government is not on the verge of collapse. Only Tory MPs can currently force its demise. Which they shouldn’t.

Brussels ‘braced for fall of the May Government’

“European Union leaders are preparing for the fall of Theresa May before the new year, it emerged yesterday, as the prime minister lost her second cabinet minister in a week. Fears are growing in Brussels that the instability of Mrs May’s government raises the real prospect of a change of leadership or elections leading to a Labour victory. One European leader told The Times that officials were planning for both scenarios. “There is the great difficulty of the leadership in Great Britain, which is more and more fragile,” the leader said. “Britain is very weak and the weakness of Theresa May makes [Brexit] negotiations very difficult.”” – The Times

  • EU gives Britain three weeks to make a Brexit bill offer – FT
  • Germans call for Brexit to be delayed until 2020 – Daily Mail
  • Brussels stalling talks by ‘pulling a fast one’ on voting rights – The Sun
  • Former commissioner says the EU misjudged British attitudes – Daily Express


  • How do we convince the EU that we’ll walk away from a bad deal? – Jonathan Portes, Times Red Box
  • Brexit and Britain’s fraught democratic experiment – Frederick Studemann, FT
  • Bringing Labour into a grand coalition would give May options – Thom Brooks, Times Red Box

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Coercion may be working in Catalonia, but it won’t work here


Welsh First Minister under pressure to resign after colleague’s apparent suicide

“Carl Sargeant was ‘sentenced to death’, according to a Labour activist, as the party’s Welsh leader is fighting to save his career amid mounting criticism of his handling of sex allegations. Carwyn Jones faced calls to resign for his ‘heartless’ sacking of his Labour colleague, who is thought to have killed himself at his home on Tuesday. Interviewed by the BBC on Monday, Welsh first minister said ‘action is taken’ when ‘we have somebody who is in a position where they could embarrass the party or bring the party into disrepute’. But opponents said the investigation was mishandled, with the married father-of-four unable to defend himself because he had not been given specific details about the allegations.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour bosses were warned about Sargeant’s mental health – Daily Mail


  • This new lynch-mob culture threatens all we hold dear – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

Swinney apologises over handling of controversial ‘named persons’ legislation

“John Swinney has apologised over his handling of revived plans to introduce a named person for every child in Scotland. The named person for every child would usually be health visitors or teachers appointed to look out for the welfare of every child in Scotland. But the proposal has provoked anger among campaign groups who see it as an unecessary state intrusion into family life. The plan was kicked out last year by the UK Supreme Court, which found that information-sharing provisions in the legislation were incompatible with the right to privacy and family life as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).” – The Scotsman

News in Brief:

  • Patel’s indiscretions are far more serious than Johnson’s – Nick Tolhurst, Reaction
  • Only a radical reshuffle can save the Tories now – Peter Bingle, Comment Central
  • Rebalancing the economy would make Britain less dynamic – Diego Zuluaga, CapX
  • Creative thinking can provide solutions to Northern Ireland’s Brexit challenges – James Brokenshire MP, Brexit Central
  • Offshore tax accounts are, on balance, a very good thing – Matthew Lynn, The Spectator