Brexit 1) May starts nationwide tour to mark final countdown

“…Mrs May will claim that the country “leads the world in international development action” today as she embarks on a UK-wide tour to mark the start of a year-long countdown to Brexit. Stressing the UK’s record on aid and its championing of “liberal and democratic values” underpins a renewed attempt to reassure Remain voters. The prime minister will start the tour in Ayrshire before travelling to Belfast and Barry, finishing in London. Aides said she then intended to take a short walking holiday in Wales. It was after a similar break last year that Mrs May made the decision to call a snap election. Her failure to secure an enhanced mandate has threatened both her premiership and Brexit itself over the past year, but Mrs May has defied critics by surviving and starting to close in on a final deal…” – The Times 

  • She will “promise to keep country strong and united” – Daily Express
  • And will end tour with holiday in Wales… – The Times 
  • We’re at the halfway point – Daily Telegraph
  • Here’s what’s ahead of us – FT
  • And some unanswered questions – The Sun

Brexit 2) Morgan: I’ve a feeling last year was “no rollercoaster” in comparison to the coming one

“Twelve months on from the triggering of Article 50 and a few new words and phrases have entered our everyday vocabulary, some with new meanings – transition, regulatory alignment, managed divergence, physical infrastructure, Henry VIII powers, meaningful vote and mutineer. A few more have popped up more often in my Twitter timeline and inbox than before 2016 – traitor, remoaner and treason to name a few. Who knew that MPs doing their job of scrutinising the government and pointing out that control should be returned to our sovereign Parliament would arouse such strength of feeling. But, in spite of all the shouting, Brexit still means Brexit and we are now around 365 days from the UK becoming a non-member of the European Union.” – Daily Telegraph

  • People want me to get on with the task – Theresa May, Daily Mail 
  • This is the moment – Boris Johnson, Daily Express 
  • We’re a year from “national liberation” – Nigel Farage, Daily Telegraph
  • Some of us are still having to fight a referendum battle – Matthew Elliott, The Times


  • With unity, anything is possible – The Times
  • It’s time for a change of approach – Guardian

>Today: Andrea Leadsom: It’s a year today until Brexit. Let’s continue to proclaim that it will be good for Britain.

Brexit 3) Thornberry says Labour will “probably” vote for final deal

“Labour will “probably” vote in favour of the final Brexit deal, a senior shadow cabinet minister has disclosed, giving Theresa May a boost as she embarks on a whistle-stop tour of the UK exactly one year before its withdrawal from the EU. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, said she expected the “divorce deal”, which the Government hopes to agree with Brussels by October, to pass Labour’s threshold for an acceptable arrangement. The Prime Minister had expected a major battle to get the deal through Parliament after MPs secured the right to have a “meaningful vote” on the agreement. But Ms Thornberry told an event at Chatham House in London that Labour had six tests which any deal must pass, and that October’s deal would “probably pass it” because it was unlikely to contain “difficult decisions”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • McDonnell says she was being sarcastic… – Daily Telegraph
  • And Starmer also casts doubt on her comments – Guardian

Brexit 4) Davis says we want a trade deal that’s “bigger” than any standard other

“The Chief Brexit negotiator David Davis said the UK’s position on financial services’ access to the EU was “we want as much as we get”. The comments come only days after it was reported by Retail Economics and law firm Squire Patton Boggs that the UK retail industry could be hit with £7.8billion in extra tariffs. Mr Davis said: “What we want is going to be bigger than any other standard trade deal. “Bear in mind that Canada is the most advanced trade deal ever done to date, so it’s a pretty good starting point. “There are all sorts of pluses such as the security, foreign policy ad defence arrangement.” – Daily Express

More Brexit

  • SNP says May “blocking” deal with Sturgeon – Herald
  • BoE and FCA issue “reassuring” statements on transition – Daily Telegraph
  • Downer surprised by debate over customs union – The Times

Gauke under scrutiny after ruling finds failings in MoJ handling of Worboys parole process

“The justice secretary has been forced to defend his decision not to launch a legal challenge against the release of John Worboys after two of the serial rapist’s victims won their own court victory. David Gauke was forced to justify his actions after a ruling found failings in the way the Ministry of Justice handled the parole process leading to the decision to release Worboys. Three high court judges in London said that the board must make a “fresh determination” in the case of the 60-year-old sex attacker. Mr Gauke considered going to judicial review to contest the board’s decision but on legal advice decided not to.” – The Times

  • There are “calls for him to quit” – The Sun


  • Lawyer MPs “gave him an easy ride” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail 
  • He has difficult questions to answer – Sonia Sodha, Guardian
  • This case “shows why the criminal justice system needs to change” – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph 


  • Gauke has been “worse than useless” – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Grand Old Duke of Gauke should have stuck with his instincts on the Worboys case

More Conservatives


Johnson says countries that sided with Britain against Russia “face the risk of retaliation”

“Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, has predicted Russia will retaliate against countries that have acted in solidarity with the UK over the poisoning of Russian spy Sergei Skripal, suggesting Moscow may interfere with energy supplies, or disrupt the lives of their Moscow-based diplomats and their families. Hailing the courage of the 27 countries that had backed Britain by taking action against Russia, he said their show of solidarity had crystallised a collective feeling across three continents that patience with Russia’s malign behaviour had come to an end. Speaking to the Lord Mayor’s banquet at the Mansion House in London, Johnson pitched the dispute as a wider battle against Russian disruption, claiming “this week was the moment when the world decided to say enough to the wearying barrage of Russian lies, the torrent of obfuscation and intercontinental ballistic whoppers”.” – Guardian

  • And that British light sabres are better than Russian novichok – Daily Mail
  • May to consider preventing City helping Russia sell its debt – Guardian
  • Fox and Whittingdale’s alleged financial links to “former Soviet states” – Guardian
  • Meanwhile, Forces to get more money – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Should new NHS spending be funded by a tax increase? Is Russia a threat to our security? The transition deal – good or bad?

More Westminster

  • Home Office exit check failures catalogued – The Times
  • Committee suggests security deposits cap for renters – Daily Telegraph

And elsewhere in the UK

Labour head of discipline quits after supporting “apparent Holocaust denier”

“Labour’s head of discipline quit last night after it emerged she had opposed the suspension of an apparent Holocaust denier, it has emerged. Christine Shawcroft stood down after it was revealed she emailed colleagues to demand an activist, Alan Bull, be allowed back into the party after he posted an offensive link. Mr Bull had been suspended after he posted a link to a Facebook article titled “international Red Cross report confirms the holocaust of six million Jews is a hoax”. But in an email sent on Sunday Ms Shawcroft, who was only appointed in January, claimed the post had been “taken out of context”, according to the Daily Mail.” – Daily Telegraph

  • A leaked email showed her stance – Guardian
  • Here’s what happened – FT
  • Will MPs who demonstrated be deselected? – The Times
  • They’ve received “sickening abuse” – The Sun
  • Meanwhile, Jarvis faces calls to stand down – Guardian


  • We were wrong to think conspiracism dead – David Aaronovitch, The Times

>Yesterday: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: Corbyn evades Worboys and Brexit as well as anti-semitism

News in Brief

  • My post-Brexit governance plan – Nigel Hall, Reaction
  • The problem with sanctions – Nina Sanandaji, CapX
  • Public opinion is a guarantor of the referendum result – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • Why it’s about more than financial services – David Dingle, BrexitCentral
  • Thoughts on Gauke – Katy Balls, Spectator