Brexiteers attack EU demands that Britain effectively stay in for two more years…

“Brexiteers today warned Brussels demands for a transition deal would leave Britain ‘de facto in the EU’ as Theresa May hailed agreement on her divorce deal. All 27 remaining EU leaders signed off on Britain having made ‘sufficient progress’ on how to leave the bloc today in a major milestone on the road to Brexit. The decision means the release of new negotiating guidelines that finally unlock talks on trade between the UK and EU after Brexit. But the European demands controversially insist Britain must match all EU rules for the duration of a transition deal – meaning continued free movement, no signing of trade deals with other countries and keeping European court rulings.” – Daily Mail

  • UK must accept ECJ rulings until 2021, Brussels insists – Daily Telegraph
  • Trade talks to start in weeks – The Times
  • EU leaders unite to ‘destroy’ May – Daily Express
  • Unions suggest devolving immigration – The Scotsman
  • City lobby debated drowning out pro-Brexit views – FT
  • SDLP leader attacks letter to Irish leader – News Letter


  • Europe cheers May in the hope that she carries on conceding – Oliver Wright, The Times
  • The inside story of how Britain’s Brexit team secured the deal – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • What the guidelines said, and what they mean – Bruno Waterfield, The Times
  • Splits emerge between EU27 on Phase 2 – Tom Newton-Dunn, The Sun
  • A balancing act which will define regulatory alignment – Allie Renison, Daily Telegraph


…as the Government compromises with Europhile rebels to avoid second defeat

“Theresa May last night looked set to avoid a second Brexit defeat after a compromise with rebels. Several Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against plans to put the Brexit date and time – 11pm on March 29, 2019 – into law. But last night backbenchers tabled an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will allow ministers to delay the date if needed. Downing Street is considering the amendment, and sources told the BBC it was highly likely to be accepted. Possible rebels including Dominic Grieve, who led this week’s revolt, indicated they would accept the changes.” – Daily Mail

  • Morgan taken to task for ‘humiliating’ May – Daily Mail
  • Grieve ‘shunned’ by fellow MPs – The Sun


  • I’m proud to be a Brexit ‘traitor’, we had to take back control – Stephen Hammond MP, The Guardian

Simon Jenkins: May has won over EU leaders, now for soft-Brexit rebels

“So far, good news. But now, and before any substantive talks on future trade, a UK/EU transition deal must be negotiated, and fast. It must cover commercial relations with the EU for a period after 2019, pending talks on a permanent deal, and that cannot legally be reached before then. Here is the rub. Such a transition deal can only be asymmetrical: Britain must continue to obey EU trade regulations, treaties and jurisdictions without any role in their adjustment. Unless the UK is to fall off the proverbial cliff in 2019, it means de facto customs union for the duration. At this point, a steam train hurtles round the bend, heading straight for a divided parliamentary Conservative party.” – The Guardian

  • EU leaders hold May close in hope that she won’t walk away – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn can’t have it both ways on the EU forever – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Business is the key to success in the Brexit talks – Stephen Phipson, Daily Telegraph


  • May has secured a minor triumph but can’t afford more missteps – Daily Telegraph
  • We should negotiate a free trade deal in return for our ‘divorce’ settlement – The Sun
  • As Brexit looms, Scotland’s low GDP growth is worrying – The Scotsman

>Today: Book Reviews: Shipman reports the full horror of May’s Downing Street

Ministers 1) Chancellor clashes with pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers

“Philip Hammond branded Michael Gove a liar during a stormy No10 Brexit row, stunned colleagues claim. The Chancellor used a Cabinet sub-committee to accuse the Vote Leave boss of “misleading voters” over claims the money the UK sends to Brussels could be spent on the NHS, insiders claim. The winning Brexit team said if the UK quit the EU the government could spend £350 million a week on healthcare. But the figure was hotly disputed as it did not factor in money the UK got back from EU membership. During discussions about drumming up post-Brexit trade last week, Mr Gove allegedly said the referendum proved government-led campaigns were not successful.” – The Sun

  • Chancellor says Brexiteers misled Leave voters – Daily Express
  • Hammond furious at Davis’s ‘bonkers’ Brexit plan – The Times


  • Cabinet must come together now and find the sweet spot on trade – James Forsyth, The Sun

Ministers 2) Hammond leads charge to win more Chinese trade

“Philip Hammond has landed in Beijing where he is hoping to secure £1 billion of new trade as British businesses swoop to cash in on new rules allowing full foreign ownership of Chinese firms. The Chancellor today hailed the ‘many opportunities’ to boost ties between the two two countries as he landed for a trade mission. He travelled to the country with Bank of England governor Mark Carney and business leaders to drum up extra trade for the UK. British officials hailed the ‘golden era’ of blossoming relations between the two countries as the delegation landed to hold the high-level talks.” – Daily Mail

  • Chancellor opens London Forex markets to Chinese banks – FT

Ministers 3) Foreign Secretary warns that North Korea could soon be able to attack Britain

“Boris Johnson has warned Tory MPs that North Korea could hit London with a missile in as little as six months. And the Foreign Secretary told a private Westminster meeting on Wednesday that the United States could pull all of their military prescencee out of South Korea in a bid to convince China to step in a topple crazed communist Kim Jong-un. Mr Johnson’s dire warning – revealed today by Sun columnist James Forsyth – echoes similar doomsday predictions from military top brass. Sir Richard Barrons, the ex-commander of Joint Forces Command, said in November that the rogue state could develop nuclear weapons capable of striking the UK within a year and half.” – The Sun

  • Johnson drinks Fukushima peach juice to prove site is safe – Daily Telegraph


  • Japan and the Royal Navy may hold the answer to ‘Global Britain’ – John Hemmings, Daily Telegraph

Ministers 4) Hunt raises his profile and defends the Tory health record on Twitter

“Since the unexpected success of Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign, senior Conservatives have become increasingly worried about the left’s dominance of social media. The Tory record on the NHS is particularly vulnerable, as anger about “cuts and privatisation” consistently go viral. Mr Hunt has taken it upon himself to fight back. If it leads to talk about his chances of higher office, that probably does not hurt either. He denies he is promoting his profile for a shot at the leadership. He is understood to be close to Mrs May and there is speculation he could be promoted in a reshuffle early next year.” – The Times

Ministers 5) Hancock tells the SNP to ‘get real’ over poor broadband performance

The SNP must “get real” about the slow rollout of superfast broadband in Scotland, the Digital Minister has said after the industry regulator confirmed it was lagging behind England and Wales. Matt Hancock described the Nationalists’ performance as “lamentable” after Ofcom’s new Connected Nations report found 87 per cent of all premises in Scotland could access superfast broadband in May and June this year. This compared with 92 per cent coverage in England, which also had faster average download speeds, and 89 per cent in Wales. Only Northern Ireland, with 85 per cent, had less coverage. It said six per cent of Scottish premises could even not get “decent” broadband access – double the proportion in England (three per cent) and more than Wales (five per cent).” – Daily Telegraph

  • SNP-Green Budget deal could cost higher-rate taxpayers an extra £250 – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon criticises ‘enraged’ Tories over tax rises – The Scotsman
  • Tax change tests strength of left-wing politics – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Holyrood’s tax powers should be a boon to Labour and the Tories

Ministers 6) Amber Rudd: We cannot allow safe spaces for terrorists

“Banning National Action was the start. Since then I have also made sure this group cannot dodge the law by using different names. This is why Scottish Dawn and NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action) were included in the ban too. But we all have a responsibility to make sure there are no safe spaces for terrorists and it is unacceptable that Scottish Dawn’s website is still available to be viewed online. The host of the Scottish Dawn website, WordPress, has failed to act on multiple police requests to take the site down. We are clear that they need to stop the abuse of their platform by neo-nazis, and any terrorist groups seeking to radicalise and incite.” – The Sun

  • Home Secretary attacks US tech firms for not blocking websites of outlawed group – The Sun

Ministers 7) May did not call in ethics watchdog over Green

“The government’s ethics watchdog is not formally involved in the investigation into Damian Green’s conduct. Sir Alex Allan, the independent adviser on ministers’ interests, is responsible for investigating alleged breaches of the ministerial code. His position was designed as an independent check on ministers’ behaviour, but he can only investigate cases when specifically requested to do so by the prime minister. Theresa May has made no such requests of Sir Alex this year, his annual report showed. “There have been no occasions in the past year where the prime minister has referred an issue to me for investigation,” he wrote.” – The Times

  • Deputy Prime Minister under ‘enormous strain’ over inquiry – Daily Telegraph

Fears grow as Momentum’s takeover of Labour continues

“This controversial organisation boasts 30,000-odd members, who style themselves as a sort of neo-Marxist ‘praetorian guard’ of Labour activists. Having played a huge role in helping Labour’s recent general election campaign – so huge that the Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into (vigorously disputed) suggestions it broke finance rules – Momentum is now mounting a nationwide campaign to replace the party’s moderate election candidates with fervent Corbynistas. It has emerged – in a symbolic development – that even Tony Blair’s old parliamentary seat in County Durham has fallen. The Mail has learned that 11 of the 12 long-serving members of Sedgefield’s Constituency Labour Party were recently ousted and replaced with far-Left activists.” – Daily Mail

  • Hard left take control of Labour in Blair’s old seat – The Sun
  • Corbyn wins peace prize named after IRA terrorist – Daily Mail


  • City fears ‘Trojan Horse’ if Labour wins power – Ed Conway, The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Sending up the Left is not enough. But it’s certainly a start – and Tom Harwood is doing it effectively

News in Brief:

  • Here’s why Britain and Malaysia must work towards a post-Brexit trade deal – Mah Siew Keong, Reaction
  • The trouble with culture wars – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • Now the phony war is over, the EU has to negotiate – Fawzi Ibrahim, Brexit Central
  • The age of volatility – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Mohammed bin Salman’s ventures have weakened Saudi Arabia – Patrick Cockburn, The Independent