Brexit 1) Theresa May: I will not be knocked off course from delivering Brexit

“You, the British people voted to leave the European Union and that is what we are going to do. I will not be derailed from my duty to deliver your democratic decision. Amid all the noise this Government is getting on with the job. We are looking ahead with optimism as we secure a smooth and orderly Brexit while taking back control of our borders, money and laws once again. And we are seizing the opportunity to build a Britain fit for the future. Last week marked a watershed as the European Parliament and the European Council agreed we have made sufficient progress to move to the next stage of negotiations.” – Sunday Express

  • Jam tomorrow for Brexiteers as May cooks up her softest Brexit – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • This was the year democracy got shaken up, for better or worse – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Corbyn is about to betray the 48 per cent – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Social media is plunging us into digital mob rule – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph


  • The Tory circular firing squad needs to take aim at Corbyn – Sunday Times

Brexit 2) Johnson lays down markers for transition period

“It is telling that, knowing the game, Johnson decides to play it anyway, putting down a firm marker on why Britain’s “end state” deal with Brussels must allow the UK to diverge from EU laws once we have left, rather than stay in the state of permanent close alignment that Philip Hammond and other remain-supporting ministers would prefer. This is the principal faultline in today’s cabinet. “The prime minister has done a fantastic job moving us forward in the negotiations,” he explains, getting the loyalty bit out of the way. “What we need to do is something new and ambitious, which allows zero tariffs and frictionless trade but still gives us that important freedom to decide our own regulatory framework, our own laws and do things in a distinctive way in the future.”” Interview by Tim Shipman, Sunday Times

  • Foreign Secretary insists deal must not render UK a ‘vassal state’ – Sunday Times
  • Hammond clashes with Brexiteers over transition – Mail on Sunday
  • Brexiteers accuse Chancellor of ‘appeasing’ Brussels – Sun on Sunday
  • Ministers draw up plans for new court to rule on disputes – Sunday Telegraph
  • Brussels warn Johnson and Gove trade deal will fail if they pursue Singapore vision – Mail on Sunday
  • May says she has ‘proved doubters wrong’ with deal – Sunday Telegraph
  • Juncker jokes that he ‘imposed sanctions’ on the Prime Minister – Sunday Express


  • Brexit vote ‘mainly driven by taking back control of law-making’ – Sun on Sunday
  • Davis blew £10,000 on RAF flights – Mail on Sunday
  • Voters name their terms on immigration – Sunday Times
  • Britain set for overtime boom as EU limits scrapped – Sun on Sunday
  • Ireland should consider leaving the EU, former ambassador claims – Sunday Express
  • Remain leads by 10 points in latest poll – Mail on Sunday


  • This is merely lengthening the fuse of the inevitable time bomb – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph


  • May isn’t perfect but she’s the best to lead Brexit – Sun on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Needed early in the New Year. A reshuffle to help Britain better prepare for leaving the EU.

Brexit 3) Gove to receive fishery protection fleet

“He helped lead Britain out of Europe – and now Michael Gove is getting his own navy to keep the Europeans away: a squadron of armed patrol boats to deter foreign trawlers after Brexit. His department is about to get the first of four powerful fishery protection vessels, whose task will be to prevent French, Spanish, Danish and other boats from fishing illegally in UK waters. HMS Forth, which is undergoing sea trials, will have a 30mm gun, machineguns and a helicopter when it enters service next year. Four other ships are being built at a cost of £350m, with one going to the Falklands.” – Sunday Times

  • MPs doubt MoD’s capacity to fulfil spending ambitions – Sunday Times
  • Doubt over savings targets puts equipment at risk – Sunday Telegraph


  • Government criticised for using Argentine name for Falklands on NHS site – Mail on Sunday
  • Defence firms told to hire veterans to secure deals – Sunday Times
  • EU wasted billions on green farming subsidies – Sunday Telegraph
  • Iraq War families told there is no chance of prosecuting Blair – Mail on Sunday

Brexit 4) May condemns threats of violence against MPs

“Theresa May has condemned threats of violence against politicians after a series of incidents in which MPs received death threats and abuse. The Prime Minister said there was ‘no place in our politics’ for intimidation and called for ‘tolerance, decency and respect’ for everyone. Mrs May added: ‘Threats of violence and intimidation are unacceptable.’ Her comments came after Tory Brexit rebels were subjected to vicious abuse, with Anna Soubry revealing she had received messages suggesting she should be ‘hung in public’. Former business minister Ms Soubry told the Guardian her office had received threatening messages as well as posts on social media attacking her.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Left-wing trolls threaten MP’s wife after he heckles Corbyn – Mail on Sunday
  • Prime Minister receives ratings boost – Sun on Sunday


  • Chief Whip accuses Grieve of betraying the Party – Mail on Sunday
  • Call off bullies or face defeat, Tory peers tell the Prime Minister – The Observer
  • Twelve key questions after May takes a hit from Tory rebels – Sunday Times
  • May insists that rebels will not derails Brexit – Sun on Sunday
  • Davis ‘tried to bet £1,000’ on Government winning crunch vote – Mail on Sunday


  • The public are sick and tired of Parliament complicating Brexit – Iain Duncan Smith, Sun on Sunday
  • Insults and death threats symptoms of toxic atmosphere – Ros Altmann and Patience Wheatcroft, The Observer
  • The Prime Minister must condemn the Brexiteer ‘Blue Momentum’ – Anna Soubry, Mail on Sunday
  • Mutineers right to defend their principles, but vote changes nothing – Dia Chakravarty, Sunday Telegraph
  • Emboldened Tory rebels won’t stop now – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

>Today: Stephen Hammond MP in Comment: How to solve the Brexit access-versus-control dilemma

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

Police receive £50 million anti-terrorism boost

“Hard-stretched police forces are to get a £50million increase in funding to help the fight against terrorism. The extra cash will boost intelligence and surveillance capabilities and pay for armed officers to patrol city centres. Home Secretary Amber Rudd secured the rise in next year’s police counter-terror budget to at least £757million after convincing Chancellor Philip Hammond more money is needed to protect the public. Labour claims cuts are putting national security at risk. Since 2015 the Government has increased counter-terror spending by 30 per cent. It includes more armed officers plus an extra £500million for the SAS, MI5 and GCHQ listening centre.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Lidington calls for ban on tiny phones smuggled into prisons – Sun on Sunday


  • We stand with the police – Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond, Sun on Sunday

Johnson may have to veto Bermudan gay marriage ban

“Boris Johnson is under pressure to veto a ban on same-sex marriage on the British overseas territory of Bermuda. In May, the island’s Supreme Court legalised gay marriage despite opposition from conservative groups. Politicians have since reversed that ruling. For the law to take effect, it requires the signature of British Governor John Rankin, which is normally a formality. Before the governor can ‘withhold consent’, however, he must seek approval from the Foreign Secretary. The Mail on Sunday  understands Mr Rankin is taking advice on requesting Mr Johnson’s authorisation to veto the bill.” – Mail on Sunday

Gauke reveals plan to force 18-year-olds to save for retirement

“Current rules for joining a scheme apply only to those between 22 and the state pension age – and those earning above a certain trigger. But the Department For Work and Pensions is recommending the starting age be lowered to 18 – and that workers begin contributing at a much lower income level. DWP Secretary David Gauke claims the Government’s new savings culture will put millions on the path to a more financially secure retirement. He said: “We’re committed to enabling more people to save while they’re working so that they can enjoy greater financial security when they retire.”” – Sun on Sunday

  • Willetts calls for tuition fees to be slashed – Sunday Times


  • Nearly a million young people are about to start saving for retirement –The Observer

Cameron to head up new China-facing trading fund

“David Cameron has accepted his first big job since leaving Downing Street, heading a £750m fund to forge new links between China and its trading partners. Cameron, who helped foster a “golden era” in UK-China trade relations while in office, is expected to work two or three days a month at the fund. It is supported by the British government but will not receive any cash from British taxpayers. The UK-China investment fund will operate on a commercial basis, investing in innovative business ventures in China, Britain and other countries.” – Sunday Times

  • Former Prime Minister given ‘special dispensation’ to broker talks – Sunday Telegraph

Deputy leader of Scottish Labour resigns after harassment allegations

“The Scottish Labour Party deputy leader has resigned after allegations of harassment were made against him. Fife MSP Alex Rowley, who briefly served as interim leader of the party after Kezia Dugdale stepped down, releasing a statement today confirming he does not intend to stay on in the role. He was suspended from the post following allegations that he had sent abusive text messages to a former partner. He rejected the claims and said an investigation panel had discharged the case.” – Mail on Sunday

More Scotland:

  • SNP MP investigated over claims Palestinian activist made anti-Semitic remarks at meeting – Mail on Sunday

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

News in Brief:

  • Remembering Christopher Hitchens – Douglas Murray, The Spectator
  • Understanding the origins of Brexit is vital to making a success of it – Graham Taylor, Brexit Central
  • The public choice economics of Star Wars – Marginal Revolution
  • Why I failed to see the 2017 Corbyn surge – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • Reasons to be cheerful about Brexit, parts 1, 2, and 3 – Iain Martin, Reaction