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Slowly, cautiously and late, the Government’s Brexit policy process grinds back into gear. Series of Ministerial speeches planned. Hammond excluded. Chequers summit next week.

“The Prime Minister, along with David Davis, Boris Johnson, and Liam Fox – all hard-Brexit Cabinet Ministers – will use the set-piece occasions to outline what No 10 is billing as ‘Britain’s road map to Brexit’, ahead of next month’s crunch negotiations with the EU. But Mrs May risks a fresh rift with Chancellor Philip Hammond by freezing him out of the three-week process…The only Remain backer giving a speech will be Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington. Mrs May will then set out her goals in a speech billed within Whitehall as the successor to her Lancaster House address last year, when she first declared that she wanted the UK to leave the single market and customs union.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Cabinet Chequers Brexit away day confirmed – Sunday Express
  • Johnson, Gove, Fox rejected Robbins plan in Cabinet committee – Mail on Sunday
  • Prime Minister irritated with Treasury, Hammond/Davis pact has broken down – Sunday Times
  • May plus for Brexiteers: she will pull the plug on payments to the EU if Britain is hit with new directives during transition – Sun on Sunday
  • May minus for Brexiteers: she “will use a speech in Munich on Saturday to announce that Britain will remain part of the European arrest warrant and Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency” – Sunday Times
  • Nordic and eastern European revolt at Barnier tactics claim – Sunday Telegraph

George Soros: Why I’m funding Best for Britain

“Brexit is a lose-lose proposition both for Britain and for Europe. Politically, Europe without Britain will be weakened in its ability to defend and promote democratic values. Europe will suffer from the absence of British pressure for the necessary institutional reforms. Economically, Europe will lose its third-largest economy and its strongest advocate of liberal economic policies. Britain, outside Europe, will lose much of its global influence. Economically, Britain will suffer because 45 years of successful integration with Europe will go into reverse. Divorce is a very destructive process; there is no such thing as a friendly divorce.” – Mail on Sunday

> Today: Mark Burrows on Comment – Why the solution to our Brexit impasse is to join EFTA – and thereby rejoin the EEA

Gove v Williamson over palm oil defence imports

“Environment Secretary Michael Gove supports the ban on palm oil – the worst driver of deforestation which causes climate change – while Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has vowed to put jobs first. British firms who could be hit by an EU-Malaysia trade war include BAE, which makes the Typhoon and its weapons and has sales of £4 billion at stake. Also in the firing line is Leonardo, which operates out of eight centres and wants to sell its AW150 helicopters to Malaysia ina £300 million deal. Airbus UK is also bidding for a communication satellite deal worth up to £700 million.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Government vows to keep passports for pets scheme – Mail on Sunday
  • Gove “Phoenix” WhatsApp group leadership campaign preparation claim – Mail on Sunday
  • Cameron “revels in Whack-a-Gove computer game” – Sun on Sunday

Johnson visits Myanmar

“Mr Johnson made the intervention as he visited a refugee camp at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, ahead of talks with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday. The Foreign Secretary said: ‘I have seen for my own eyes the horrendous living conditions the Rohingya people are having to endure and it has only further strengthened my commitment to working with international partners to improve the lives of these people in 2018. I pay tribute to the hospitality and compassion shown by the government of Bangladesh, who are facing an enormous challenge in providing humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community.” – Mail on Sunday

Clark plan to cut energy bills

“Under the law change, public authorities and energy suppliers would be able to share information under strictly controlled conditions to identify customers who need protection. This would make it quicker and easier for struggling households to take advantage of the safeguard cap. Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “The effects of energy price rises are often felt most by those on the lowest incomes, as they are usually on the highest standard variable tariffs. “These people are at risk of being plunged further into fuel poverty if they are left at the mercy of a broken energy market.” – Sun on Sunday

Perry and Harrington v Tory backbenchers over onshore wind

“But the dormant row over onshore wind farms threatens to reignite after energy ministers Claire Perry and Richard Harrington alarmed their backbench colleagues by revealing that they are working on ways to support future projects.  Ms Perry raised eyebrows late last year after saying that onshore wind “is absolutely part of the future” and that she is working on ways “to see how we might bring forward onshore wind, particularly for areas of the UK that want to deploy it.”  Richard Harrington, the junior energy minister, has also said publicly that he sees “no reason” why onshore wind farms should not compete on a level playing field against other energy options vying for financial support.” – Sunday Telegraph

Adam Boulton: The Mick Davis target as the moneymen take over CCHQ. Raise £27 million a year – as much as the party’s total income in 2016

“The party’s new chief executive, Sir Mick Davis, and his fellow donors have informed their political counterparts in the Conservative leadership that they would be “not viable” in the commercial world but that now is not a good time to sack them. Instead they have set the politicians a strict performance test: raise £27m a year — equivalent to the party’s total income in 2016, the last year for which accounts are available — or they will be out…The money men seized control in their place, as symbolised in David Cameron’s time by the unhappy transition through the joint chairmanship of Grant Shapps and Andrew Feldman, to Feldman’s supremacy. Ministers may bridle but Davis has made it clear that he calls the shots, right down to when and where ministers give their speeches.” – Sunday Times

> Today: ToryDiary –The stubborn resilience of the Conservatives in the opinion polls

Widdecombe on Celebrity Big Brother: Je ne regrette rien

“After Rachel Johnson and John Barnes were axed and Wayne Sleep had left, the woman once dubbed “Doris Karloff” and derided as being somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan stayed – and was eventually crowned runner-up. “It was a triumph of free speech,” she says. “I’m not sure the viewers necessarily agreed with my opinions, but they felt I was entitled to air them, which is hugely reassuring in these day of snowflakeism when everyone’s tripping over themselves to take offence.” – Sunday Telegraph

Corbyn: nationalise the energy grid

“In his most pro-green speech to date, the Labour leader said his government would sweep away the “centralised system” of energy delivery by private firms in favour of “new sources of energy large and small”. Speaking yesterday at a conference in London on alternative models of ownership, Corbyn said: “The greenest energy is usually the most local but people have been queuing up to connect renewable energy to the national grid. “With the national grid in public hands we can put tackling climate change at the heart of our energy system, committing to renewable generation from tidal to onshore wind.” – Sunday Times

  • McDonnell says that private water payments are “a scandal” – Observer
  • Truss, Double scrag Shadow Chancellor over rail nationalisation plan – Mail on Sunday
  • Dan Jarvis interview – Observer
  • Brendan Cox denies sex assault claim – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour’s new nationalisations are as bad as the old lot – Sunday Times Editorial

Independence referendum card played in SNP deputy leadership election

“Speaking to Scotland on Sunday, the Glasgow Cathcart MSP said a Yes vote in indyref2 could be achieved as soon as 2019 or 2020. “Circumstances are changing almost every day. It has to be at a time from the SNP viewpoint when it is of maximum benefit for us and when that will be will be close to the [Scottish] election time, maybe 2019/2020 would be my guess. Politics have never been more volatile than they have over the last few years.” Dornan said driving the party towards achieving independence would be “crucial” to his campaign to replace Angus Robertson as the SNP’s deputy leader. “ – Scotland on Sunday

Meanwhile in Germany, it’s Carry On Coalition

“Britain’s political class has been pushed into second place by Germany’s on the European scale of ridicule as the ruling parties in Berlin tear themselves apart over the spoils of power. Angela Merkel, the caretaker chancellor, extended her political life by giving away the store to the Social Democrats last week but, instead of celebrating, the top Social Democrats promptly went for each other’s throats. Merkel herself did not come out of it well. After 12 years in power, she is facing open calls to quit from top figures in her Christian Democrat Union (CDU) after capitulating to the demands of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for powerful ministerial posts in the agreement to form a new coalition government.” – Sunday Times

  • Germany’s grand coalition is built on sand – Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Poland’s Jews fear for future under new Holocaust law – Observer

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