Brexit 1) Gove and Johnson drop fundamental opposition to increased bill — dependent on good trade deal

“Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have agreed for the first time that Britain should increase its Brexit divorce bill offer above £20 billion if the EU is prepared to make concessions in return. The Cabinet’s most powerful Brexiteers dropped their long-standing opposition to a promise of more money to the EU, paving the way for David Davis to break the deadlock which has so far prevented trade talks from starting. However, they and other ministers made it clear that no specific monetary offer should be made at this stage, with any extra cash to Brussels being dependent on the EU giving Britain a good deal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May “will offer” £40bn to break deadlock – Independent
  • She’s like Santa – The Sun
  • Cabinet prepared to pay more in right circumstances – Guardian
  • It will be “conditional on transition deal and good trade agreement” – FT
  • But watch out for “backlash” and potential “rebellion” – Daily Express


  • The deal is closer than you think – Piet Eeckhout and Oli Patel – Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Brexit. Red lines for EU payments

Brexit 2) Duncan Smith and Rees-Mogg tell May to “sit tight” on offer while Germany faces political difficulty

“Senior Tory Brexiteers demanded last night that Theresa May exploit Angela Merkel’s political weakness and suspend plans to offer billions of pounds more to the European Union. … The German chancellor’s admission yesterday that she might be forced back to the polls had tipped Brexit negotiations into chaos, said Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader and a prominent Brexiteer. He urged Mrs May to “sit tight”. Jacob Rees-Mogg, Tory MP for North East Somerset, said that it would be “foolish” to improve the offer at a time when Mrs Merkel needed to reassure German voters that they would not have to foot the bill if Britain left without an agreement.” – The Times 

  • The latest on the German coalition crisis – Daily Mail


  • Weak European governments are a big risk – Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • The impact of a Merkel departure – Sean O’Grady, Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Merkel is doomed – but will not be replaced soon enough to help Brexit

Brexit 3) McDonnell amongst 18 Labour MPs who voted against customs union amendment

“John McDonnell and fellow Opposition frontbenchers joined with the Government to vote down a Labour backbench Brexit proposal designed to protect the customs union. The Shadow Chancellor was among the 18 Labour MPs, 283 Conservatives, eight DUP and two independents who defeated an amendment pushed by party colleague Ian Murray. It came as MPs considered resolutions linked to the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, which aims to put in law a new post-Brexit customs regime.” – Independent

Brexit 4) Foster issues statement against Brussels and Dublin “blackmail”

“The Democratic Unionist party has launched a scathing attack on Brussels and Dublin politicians accusing them of trying to use Northern Ireland to “blackmail” Brexit negotiators in London. Arlene Foster, the party’s leader, issued a strongly worded statement on Monday night, three days after Ireland’s taoiseach warned that the country would block progress in Brexit talks unless the UK came up with proposals to avoid a hard border with Northern Ireland.” – Guardian

>Today: Graham Gudgin in Comment: Brussels and Dublin should stop playing games with the Irish border issue

More Brexit

  • London EU agencies are moved to Amsterdam and Paris via “lucky dip” – Daily Telegraph
  • Former Brexit minister will tell London conference that May should suspend talks if no progress on trade – Herald
  • Barnier says trade deal is dependent on British regulation – Daily Telegraph 
  • Investigation reopened into Vote Leave’s donations – The Times
  • Davis “demanded” private RAF plane for talks – Independent


  • We must show we’re open for business – Bim Afolami, The Times
  • We need a truce – Janice Turner, The Sun
  • My Barnier translation – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • The civil servants are puzzled – John Crace, Guardian

Budget 1) Whips lead “campaign” to prevent “high-risk plans”

“Tory whips have mounted a covert campaign to stop the Treasury announcing high-risk plans in the budget that could face defeat in parliament. Conservative MPs told The Times that they were urged to put their name to private petitions seeking to relax the planning rules to allow more housebuilding. Lists of names were drawn up to show to the Treasury in an attempt to stop ideas that could result in a rebellion bringing down the budget in the Commons. Philip Hammond faces the most difficult budget of any chancellor in recent decades because of the Tory minority government and lack of economic flexibility.” – The Times

Budget 2) Khan: Hammond must focus on air pollution

“Air pollution is the biggest public health emergency we face, causing 40,000 premature deaths nationwide. London is taking the boldest action of any city in the world but the government is not playing its part. The chancellor should use his budget tomorrow to announce a new Clean Air Act that meets the scale of the challenge; the very least we need to see is a targeted diesel scrappage fund to help people ditch their diesel vehicles.” – The Times

More Budget

  • Hammond to “extend” discounted rail travel to under-30s – Daily Telegraph
  • NHS “will get cash injection” – Guardian
  • No public sector pay increases expected – The Times
  • But student loans data “will be shared” with graduates to prevent overcharging – Independent
  • And there’ll be a “crackdown on bogus self-employed” – FT
  • Meanwhile, May focuses on fair energy deals – The Sun


  • Hammond has to steady the ship – The Times


  • My predictions – Ben Chu, Independent
  • Hammond needs to focus on housing, housing, housing – Sam Bowman, Daily Telegraph
  • There’s nothing he can do to make things better – Polly Toynbee, Guardian
  • He’s pretty much right about no unemployment, though – Daniel Capurro and Patrick Scott, Daily Telegraph
  • He’s got bad luck – Janan Ganesh, FT
  • He needs to copy Singapore – Owen Paterson, Daily Telegraph
  • Whatever he does will count for little against Brexit – Rachel Sylvester, The Times

>Today: Robert Halfon’s column: My budget for the workers

Confusion over Freeman’s planned stepping down from policy board role

“Theresa May’s policy chief has stepped down just days ahead of the Budget as he warned the party does not have a “coherent economic programme”. George Freeman called for Chairman Patrick McLoughlin to be replaced and demanded a major shake up to stop the Tories from becoming known as the party of “nostalgia, hard Brexit, austerity and lazy privilege”. He added that an “ambitious” programme of party reform was needed to reconnect with younger voters in the wake of the Tories’ “ill-conceived” general election campaign. … Writing on the Conservative Home website he added: “Whilst the Prime Minister brilliantly defined her social justice crusade on entering Number Ten, we haven’t yet framed a coherent economic programme to tackle the underlying economic causes of the injustices which so many voted against in the election…” – Daily Telegraph

  • He called for “ambitious” internal reform in ConservativeHome article – The Times 


More Tories

  • DIT ministers “lobbied Brazil on behalf of oil companies” – Independent
  • Callanan apologises for “confusing” comments – Independent

And other parties

  • Dugdale’s partner accuses Labour of bullying – Independent
  • Former SDLP leader says Adams “inverting history” by claiming peace-process credit – Belfast News Letter

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Eight questions for McDonnell

Greenwood is withdrawn from ICJ race, leaving Britain without a representative

“Britain has withdrawn its candidate for a seat on the International Court of Justice amid a row about the UK’s position in the world – leaving Britain without a judge on the court for the first time since 1946. Sir Christopher Greenwood QC had sat on the court for the past nine years, and was hoping to be re-elected. But on Monday, amid continued threats from UN members to block his candidacy, Britain withdrew Sir Christopher from the race. It meant that India’s nominee, Dalveer Bhandari, will take up the seat instead. “The UK has concluded that it is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council,” said Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the UN.” – Daily Telegraph

  • This is its first time without a Briton – Guardian

McMaster called Trump an “idiot” at private dinner

“Donald Trump’s national security adviser reportedly mocked the US president and called him a “kindergartner” during a private dinner. General H.R. McMaster is said to have made the disparaging remarks about his boss during a meeting with Oracle CEO Safra Catz in July. During the meeting General McMaster mocked Mr Trump calling him an “idiot” and a dope, adding he had the intelligence of a “kindergartner”, five sources told BuzzFeed News.”- Daily Telegraph 

More America

More overseas news

News in Brief

  • When did we last see such anti-British sentiment? – Andrew Lilico, CapX
  • Paperchase is just the latest in the identity politics battle – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • What’s the UK’s desired “end state” from trade negotiations? – Hugh Bennett, BrexitCentral
  • Should we care about selfies? – Amelia Tait, New Statesman
  • The Manson legacy – Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker