Brexit 1) May planning “successor” to Lancaster House and Florence speeches for the new year

“…It came amid reports that the Prime Minister is planning a third major Brexit speech in which she will set out her post-Brexit vision for the UK. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, recently said the UK could seek a “Canada Plus Plus Plus” deal with the aim of combining the trade elements of the deal done between Brussels and Ottawa with extra provisions to include arrangements for financial services….Mrs May is likely to use a major speech in the new year to set out what the UK’s post-Brexit “end state” will be, according to reports. A source close to the Prime Minister confirmed to Politico that such a speech is being planned and that it will effectively be the successor to her Lancaster House and Florence addresses. In terms of timing, the source said they were “not sure if it will be in January, but that’s how it will happen”.” Daily Telegraph

  • She’s been discussing the “end-state” with her colleagues – Independent
  • The full cabinet held its “first discussion on UK/EU partnership” – FT
  • She told them “divergence from Brussels rules” was a red line – Daily Mail

Brexit 2) Today she “will water down” plan to enshrine Brexit day details in bill

“Theresa May will water down her plan to enshrine the time and date of “Brexit day” in UK law on Wednesday, in a retreat intended to complete MPs’ scrutiny of the EU withdrawal bill. The prime minister will bow to pressure from Conservative rebels by accepting an amendment to the legislation that would allow ministers to delay Brexit — which is meant to take place at 11pm on March 29 2019 — with the EU’s consent. Pro-European Tory MPs had threatened to defeat Mrs May on the issue following their success last week in forcing the government to grant parliament “a meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal.” – FT

  • 40 Tory MPs now support Lewin’s compromise amendment – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 3) Meanwhile, Barnier says it’s Canada-style agreement for the UK or “no deal”

“Michel Barnier has told EU leaders in Brussels that Britain’s only alternative to a ‘no deal’ Brexit was a Canada-style trading arrangement, using a diagram to prove his point that the UK’s red lines made any other outcome impossible. The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator has repeatedly insisted that Britain cannot have a bespoke deal and that the future relationship must be based on a pre-existing arrangement between the bloc and a non-EU country. In the first full Cabinet discussion of the “end state” of Britain’s relationship with the EU, Theresa May said a Canada-style deal was not enough.” – Daily Telegraph

  • His adviser warns against giving Britain “too good” a deal – Daily Express
  • Barnier “rules out” special deal for City – Daily Telegraph
  • May responds by saying government “confident” of good financial services deal – Independent
  • And tells cabinet meeting that the deal should be “bespoke” and “significantly more ambitious” than Canada’s – Daily Mail 
  • Juncker is angry at Barnier about his “rants” – The Sun


  • It’s not in the EU’s “interests” to cut off access to the City, but it will “set tough conditions” nonetheless – FT
  • Barnier exemplifies what’s bad about the EU – Daily Express


  • How might leaving really affect the City? – Sean O’Grady, Independent
  • Remember, surely Brexit is unique – Julian Jessop, Daily Telegraph

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

Brexit 4) EU negotiators are “preparing to compromise” on fishing quotas

“Britain will not have to sign up to EU-imposed fishing quotas as part of its transition deal with the bloc after a climbdown by Brussels. Despite publicly insisting that the UK would have to adopt the “complete architecture” of the EU during any implementation period, in private the bloc’s negotiators are preparing to compromise. The change comes after pressure from British negotiators who argued that it was not tenable for Brussels to impose the EU-wide fishing quotas because Britain no longer had a say on those quotas.” – The Times

Brexit 5) Verhofstadt says May’s visit to Warsaw tomorrow will show where UK’s loyalties lie

“Theresa May is facing calls from the European Parliament’s Brexit chief to condemn Poland’s autocratic government as a “test” of the UK’s commitment to the EU’s liberal, democratic values and the future relationship with Europe. The demand came as the European Commission meets on Wednesday to discuss whether to launch unprecedented “Article 7” legal proceedings against Poland’s hardline conservative government for violating the EU’s commitment to democracy and human rights… Guy Verhofstadt, the head of the European Parliament’s Brexit working group, told The Telegraph that Mrs May’s visit to Warsaw would provide a clear “test” of where the UK’s true loyalties now lie.” – Daily Telegraph

More Brexit

  • Lib Dems fined for Brexit spending… – The Times
  • …As they call again for another referendum – Guardian
  • But DUP won’t have to identify big donor – Independent
  • Former MI6 head says Brexit has “diminished British influence” – The Times


  • May will never be friends with Putin, but he’d have chosen Brexit for her – Rafael Behr, Guardian
  • Locking up EU migrants is an “attack on civil liberties” – David Jones, Guardian
  • The EU should be watching out for “Habsburg reform” – Tibor Fischer, Daily Telegraph
  • Don’t say Brexit is boring – Eleanor Margolis, Independent

>Today: Rebecca Lowe Coulson’s column: Why it’s right for Britain to lose its marbles over Brexit

May planning nationwide tour with informal Q&As

“Theresa May is planning a nationwide tour to meet hundreds of voters in a sign of her restored confidence. They will have the chance to grill her on any topic in a revival of the informal question-and-answer sessions beloved of her predecessor David Cameron. Similar to those ‘Cameron Direct’ roadshows, the Prime Minister will hold sessions with people in town halls and workplaces across the country. During the general election campaign, Tory strategists were accused of not allowing Mrs May to spend enough time meeting voters.” – Daily Mail

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

Javid announces that councils will be able to “raise bills by up to 6 per cent”

“The Conservatives have bowed to pressure over austerity and broken a cap on council tax rises in a move that will see household bills rise by up to £200. Sajid Javid, the Local Government Secretary, on Tuesday announced that councils will be able to raise bills by up to 6 per cent to help ease pressure on local authority budgets, the biggest hike for 15 years. Police forces will also be allowed to charge an extra £12 per household to help tackle the pressure on forces caused by investigations into modern slavery, domestic abuse and child abuse.” – Daily Telegraph

  • They won’t have to hold local referendums, unless they want to raise level by more – FT
  • May has “bowed to calls to relieve pressure on services” – The Times
  • Police forces will get more funding from council tax – Independent
  • Families’ costs could rise by £100 per year – Guardian

New government fund to protect village post offices as Clark says network “most stable in decades”

“The future of rural Post Offices will be safeguarded with a £160 million Government fund to protect village branches from closure, ministers will announce on Wednesday. Another £210m will be spent modernising the 11,600 branches across the country over the next three years, as Business Secretary Greg Clark claims the network is “at its most stable in decades”. The Post Office will also announce that it has moved into profit for the first time in 16 years, making a £13 million profit in the last financial year. It means Post Offices will be less reliant on Government subsidies to stay open, which currently run at £250m per year.” – Daily Telegraph

Rudd “to publish draft legislation” on ensuring social media companies help with terrorism policing

“Amber Rudd has defied social media giants to unveil a new law that will force them to hand over suspected terrorists’ encrypted messages. New orders – dubbed Technical Capability Notices – give MI5 and police the power to insist services like WhatsApp and Facebook remove electronic protections from communications so they are readable… But the Home Secretary pressed on to publish draft legislation to carry out the move in Parliament on Monday night. Debates will be held in the Commons and Lords early in the new year, after which the powers will becomes law.” – The Sun


More government

  • Public Accounts Committee to accuse government of “failing to show urgency” over homelessness – The Times
  • MoD testing finds aircraft carrier leaks – FT
  • Gove wants to “standardise” recycling bin collections – Daily Express

Kidd: Lords debate whether their “daycare centre” needs “pruning and lopping”

“Down at the red end of parliament, turkeys were voting for Christmas. Or at least gobbling about it. It is rare that the House of Lords sits before lunch on a Tuesday but they had to begin early to fit in the 96 peers who wished to speak on a matter of the utmost importance: themselves. Specifically, they were discussing how many of them should continue to enjoy what a Lib Dem peer this year described as “the best daycare centre for the elderly in London” and whether a bit of pruning and lopping might be in order. Lord Burns had led an inquiry that recommended cutting the number of peers from 830 to 600, using a “two out, one in” system, and introducing a 15-year term limit.” – The Times

  • 96 peers wanted to argue over whether there were too many peers… – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

May speaks to Trump about trade and Jerusalem – but not the anti-Muslim videos

“Theresa May and Donald Trump have spoken for the first time since he shared inflammatory anti-Muslim videos from a far-right British group, but did not mention the dispute. Their conversation yesterday was instead dominated by the leaders’ “different positions” on the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the possibility of a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and US.” – The Times

  • She talked of need for a “swift” bilateral deal – Independent
  • Corbyn says she “failed in her responsibility” by not discussing videos – Guardian

More America

  • Senate passes US tax code changes – Daily Mail
  • If we don’t up our military capability, we risk the special relationship – Mike Graydon, The Times

News in Brief

  • We need to talk about transition – Michael Burrage, BrexitCentral
  • And the constitution – Owen Polley, Reaction
  • Macron, six months on – Diego Zuluaga, CapX
  • The day I almost met my father – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • On Matt Damon – Brendan O’Neill, Spectator