Green sacked over ‘misleading statements’

“Theresa May last night sacked her deputy Damian Green after a sleaze inquiry found he had failed to tell the truth about pornography found on his computer. The Cabinet Office investigation said he had issued two ‘inaccurate and misleading’ statements, denying he knew about the discovery made in a botched police raid on his Commons office in 2008. Sir Alex Allen, Theresa May’s adviser on ministerial interests, said the lack of candour amounted to two breaches of the ministerial code. This left the PM with no choice but to ask her friend of 30 years and deputy to resign.” –

  • Deputy Prime Minister’s resignation letter – Daily Mail
  • Harassment claim ‘plausible’ – The Times
  • May’s anger at the detective who leaked his notes – Daily Mail
  • Did the Prime Minister know what was coming? – Daily Mail
  • Maltby’s parents praise her for speaking out – Daily Mail


  • It was the right time for a humane execution – Francis Elliott and Henry Zeffman, The Times
  • Timeline of Green’s fall – Jack Doyle, Daily Mail


  • Loss of a loyal friend is the worst Christmas present – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Now the Prime Minister seems lonelier than ever – Hugh Muir, The Guardian
  • The rise and fall of one of May’s oldest friends – Harry Cole, The Sun
  • ‘Mutineers’ should be given Cabinet seats – Christopher Wilkins, The Times
  • I’m muddled about what to think of May – Sue Perkins, The Guardian


Brexit 1) May denies ‘begging’ Brussels for a transition deal

“Theresa May today angrily denied that the botched election campaign forced her to beg the EU for a Brexit transition deal. A clearly furious Prime Minister repeatedly stared down MPs during bad-tempered clashes at a committee hearing. She had a particularly tense exchange with Yvette Cooper as the pair went toe to toe over Brexit and the Irish border. The Labour MP branded her plans for technological solutions to the issue ‘baffling’ prompting the PM to glower at her over her spectacles and scathingly shake her head. Mrs May also angrily rejected criticism of the way she has been handling negotiations with Brussels.” – Daily Mail

  • New French conservative leader urges EU not to ‘punish’ the UK – Daily Telegraph
  • Barnier insists any transition must be completed by 2020 – Daily Mail
  • May ‘at war’ over plan to end transition months early – The Sun
  • UK must do hundreds of deals, warns EU negotiator – The Times


  • Prime Minister warned not to avoid vote on deal – The Times
  • IMF urges UK to negotiate Brexit transition fast to boost growth… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but warns that spending cuts have gone ‘as far as they can’… – The Times
  • …as Lagarde insists gloomy forecasts have come true – The Sun


  • ‘Singapore in the Atlantic’ is a great model for Brexit – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Dr Lee Rotheram in Comment: Yes, Canada Plus is a real possibility – and the EU’s own history of trade deals proves it

Brexit 2) Prime Minister resists fresh Spanish bid for Gibraltar

“Theresa May yesterday refused a fresh Spanish bid to hold a Brexit transition deal to ransom over Gibraltar. The Madrid government persuaded EU bosses to include a last minute demand in its negotiating position over the two year period about the Rock. Under it, a separate agreement must be struck between the UK and Spain if the territory is to be covered by transition arrangements and not cast out on Brexit day. Madrid wants to use Brexit to force joint sovereignty on the British outpost, as well as make a grab for its airport and lucrative off-shore businesses.” – The Sun

  • Our support for the Rock is solid – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Brexit 3) Visit to Poland risks fresh clash with the EU

The European Commission on Wednesday took the unprecedented step of triggering “Article 7” of the EU treaties against Poland. The draconian step comes as the EU accuses Poland of undermining the democratic values of the European Union through a legislative assault on the judiciary and free media. Poland’s government disputes this. The EU move comes as Theresa May prepares to go to Warsaw on Thursday for a high-profile summit designed to deepen UK-Polish ties after Brexit. Here we look at Article 7, what it means, and why the EU decision to trigger puts Mrs May in a serious diplomatic bind over Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Goldsmith reveals offensive Christmas card from Remainers – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Stephen Booth in Comment: The immigration policy that voters want post-Brexit puts control first – and a reduction very much second

Brexit 4) Gove pledges to maintain subsidies for hill farmers

“Hill farmers fearing financial ruin because of Brexit have been thrown a lifeline after Michael Gove pledged that they would continue to receive subsidies beyond 2022. The environment secretary said he would make special arrangements for sheep farmers in the uplands in his post-Brexit subsidy scheme. Britain’s 20,000 upland sheep farmers are highly dependent on subsidies paid under the European Union’s common agricultural policy (CAP), which accounts for 50-70 per cent of their income. Mr Gove has said he will abolish the CAP system under which 80 per cent of the £3 billion received annually by British farmers is paid per hectare, with the biggest landowners receiving the most money. The government has promised to keep the total amount of subsidy for farmers at the same level until 2022 but has not committed to how much will be available after that.” – The Times

  • Environment Secretary says UK would not compromise with US on food standards – The Guardian
  • CBI chiefs fear exit from quangos – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Gove to the Treasury. Hunt to CCHQ. Johnson to Business. And the first-ever woman Conservative Chief Whip. A reshuffle plan.

Brexit 5) Carney suggests that EU banks will have a deal from London

“European banks will be allowed to operate as normal in the UK after Brexit under plans due to be announced by the Bank of England, according to reports. The BoE’s plans are said to allow European banks to carry on operating without having to convert their branches in the UK into subsidiaries and without having to adhere to additional regulations. The disclosure is likely to spark political controversy as it comes after Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, ruled out a special deal to protect the City of London’s ability to trade on the continent. Meanwhile, Brussels is set to try to impose tough rules on British banks during the Brexit transition period.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Custom deal for the City could exist after all, MPs told – Daily Telegraph


  • Olive branch increases the chance of a deal the City can live with – Nils Pratley, The Guardian

Katie Perrior: Get your loved ones Tory membership for Christmas

“Whether you want a hard, off-the-cliff, two-fingers-up-to-you-all type of Brexit or a risk-averse, let’s-play-it-safe outcome, a surefire way to get what you want is to be involved in picking the next Tory leader in the first place. For that, you need to be a member… Conservative MPs will choose the final two candidates but it’s the party membership that gets to decides the winner. If they are offered a choice between a Brexiteer and a Remainer, it really will be one of the most important decisions they have had to face for generations. I’m not missing out on that for love nor money. A present of a Tory membership is not only the gift that keeps on giving when Christmas is long over, at 25 quid it’s a bloody bargain.” – Times Red Box

May to set up new unit to combat Russian ‘fake news’ attacks…

“Theresa May will today set up a new unit to fight Russia’s fake news attacks on the West. On a visit to Poland, the PM will announce the joint project with Warsaw to detect propaganda and “disinformation” from Moscow. It will be run by the Foreign Office, with the help of eavesdropping spies at GCHQ, with the aim of spotting fake news early and countering it. The public fight back against Vladimir Putin comes as senior MPs on the Intelligence and Security Committee yesterday issued their most serious warning yet about the Kremlin’s activities. Russia’s cyber assault now poses a direct threat to the UK’s economy as well as “individual prosperity and privacy”, the MPs said.” – The Sun

  • Kremlin Twitter trolls target MPs – The Times
  • Labour calls for new laws to tackle propaganda – The Guardian
  • British spymasters say Russia is ‘formidable’ adversary – FT


  • What can the Foreign Secretary offer the Kremlin on his Moscow visit? – James Nixey, Times Red Box

…as she is pressed by Tugendhat on why the Navy can’t put ships to sea

“Theresa May was forced to defend her Global Britain vision after it emerged ALL the Royal Navy’s battleships are unable to leave UK waters. The PM was grilled by MPs on the embarrassing revelation about all 19 of the senior service’s frigates and destroyers. For the first time in decades, the surface fleet are either broken down or under maintenance. And one, HMS St Albans, is on duty protecting home waters. Foreign Affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat told the PM the ships’ state was “a matter of concern” when she appeared in front of the Liaison Committee.” – The Sun

Ministers 1) Javid announces ban on leasehold for new properties

“Developers are to be banned from selling new houses with ‘toxic’ leaseholds attached, Sajid Javid will announce today. In a victory for the Daily Mail, the Communities Secretary said a new law would end what he called a ‘feudal’ practice that exploits buyers. The number of houses sold as leasehold has spiralled in recent years. Builders used the practice to extract more money from buyers desperate to get on the ladder. Leaseholders have a legal right to occupy the property for a set period, typically from 99 to 999 years. But developers retained ownership of the freehold – the land on which the property is built – as an investment.” – Daily Mail

  • No more ground rents for ‘new-build flats’ – The Times


  • Migration ‘made it harder for the young to buy homes’ – Daily Mail

Ministers 2) Gauke urges Tories to fight back against ‘bogus’ social media claims

“A Conservative cabinet minister has said his party must “not desert the battlefield” when it comes to defending policy in areas such as health and welfare, but instead be prepared to embark on Twitter spats with critics. The work and pensions secretary, David Gauke, suggested his decision to use social media to challenge a Labour MP’s claims about universal credit were part of a concerted Tory effort to respond more robustly. He also claimed that “bogus” accusations by Labour and the media had resulted in a spike in the number of claimants turning up to job centres with unfounded anxieties.” – The Guardian

Benyon faces six-month driving ban

“Britain’s ‘wealthiest MP’ has been banned from the road for six months after he was caught texting while driving through north London in his BMW. Tory MP and property developer Richard Benyon, 57, was seen by a police officer in Islington using his phone while sitting in stationary traffic. Magistrates’ heard the MP for Newbury, Berkshire, continued to use the phone after the light turned green and he moved ‘five to seven metres’ forward… Benyon, of Reading, admitted one count of using a handheld mobile phone while driving.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • The downfall of Damian Green – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Deputy’s departure won’t end, or even hurt, the Prime Minister – James Kirkup, The Spectator
  • May is a survivor, and can survive losing Green – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • How damaging would a ‘no deal’ Brexit be? – Professor Meredith Crowley et al, CapX
  • Attempts to explain Brexit as ‘English’ infuriate me to my unionist core – Andrew RT Davies, Brexit Central