Brexit Speech 1) May tells the EU to “face the hard facts” and “get on with it”

“Theresa May said the time to face the “hard facts” of Brexit has come as she told Leavers, Remainers and the EU they must all be prepared to compromise. In her most pragmatic Brexit speech to date, the Prime Minister said she would give ground to achieve a deal, but only if Brussels accepted that in the coming negotiations “neither of us can have exactly what we want”. Mrs May set out fresh details of how Britain’s “fair and open” future trading relationship with the EU will work, including on the crucial question of how to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Business reaction to the speech – BBC
  • EU sniffs at “cakeism” – The Times
  • Betrayal of his heartland: Corbyn’s U-turn on the EU has made the alienated Labour voters in the North who swung it for Brexit even angrier than before – Robert Hardman, Daily Mail
  • Cameron defends calling the referendum – Daily Express
  • Enjoy the weekend Mrs May, as the EU is coming for you on Monday – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Brexit. Compare and contrast. On divergence, real Cabinet debate. On immigration, a stance quietly shelved.


Brexit Speech 2) Foster welcomes pledges to protect Northern Ireland

“DUP leader Arlene Foster has said the Prime Minister’s keynote address on future relations with the EU is a basis for progression and achieving a “sustainable future”. Mrs May, speaking on Friday, told EU leaders she would not “allow anything that would damage the integrity of our precious union”…Foster said the speech “set forward the basis upon which it would be possible to move forward”. She said: “The issues facing both the United Kingdom and the European Union are of fundamental importance and it is vital that we achieve outcomes that are sustainable for the future. I welcome the Prime Minister’s clear commitment that she will not countenance any new border being created in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland goods must have unfettered access to trade into Great Britain and the same must apply to Great Britain goods entering Northern Ireland.” – Belfast Telegraph

  • Speech fails to provide border solutions, says Varadkar – The Guardian

Brexit Speech 3) Forsyth: The right to break away from EU rules in the future is key

“Mrs May is trying to preserve the UK’s right to break from EU rules in future without having to ask permission. It might make economic sense to stay close to EU regulations in certain sectors now, but that won’t always be the case. As Mrs May acknowledged, if Parliament chose to diverge from these rules in future it may well have an impact on the UK’s access to the EU’s internal market. But the crucial point is that it would be for our Parliament to decide whether this was worth it.” – The Sun

Brexit Speech 4) Oborne: She succeeded by outfoxing her critics

“Treacherously, Tory Remainers such as Anna Soubry, Kenneth Clarke and Michael Heseltine were giving Corbyn succour in his blatant bid to try to topple the Government when MPs have to vote on the European Withdrawal Bill later this year. This duplicity and division were the setting for Mrs May to deliver what I believe was her best speech since becoming PM 18 months ago. It wasn’t brilliant. There were few flourishes. Crucially, though, Mrs May did what was needed. She achieved this not through easy flattery, false optimism or hollow promises. Nor by using bombast and threats. No, true to her character, Mrs May’s speech was very British in its pragmatism, as she, with considerable deftness, succeeded by outfoxing her critics.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Other comment

  • If there is no Brexit deal, it will be the EU’s fault, not Britain’s – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • May bows to inevitable hard choices – Leader, Financial Times
  • Passage to Brexit – Leader, The Times
  • The ball is now in the EU’s court – The Sun Says
  • I hope the EU responds warmly – John Redwood, The Guardian
  • Don’t assume Brexit attitudes will die out – Emma Duncan, The Times
  • The speech unspun – Philip Collins, The Times

Brexit Speech 5) Rees-Mogg: Leavers must back the PM – now is not the time to nitpick

“This was a good speech by the Prime Minister. She was forthright that she is delivering on the promises of the previous speeches and the manifesto commitments: this Government will take Britain out of the customs union, the single market and the European Court of Justice. Mrs May is taking a sensible, pragmatic and generous approach; offering something to the EU whilst also being extremely clear on Northern Ireland, so I am content. There are inevitably a few small points that will concern Leave campaigners but we must all recognise that everyone will have to give up something to get a deal, so now is not the time to nitpick.” – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:ToryDiary: No change in our Next Tory Leader survey result. Rees-Mogg is top – then Gove, then Johnson.

Brexit Speech 6) Moore: The tone should have been tougher

“There are two things wrong with her approach. The first is that she perpetuates her earlier indecisions. The reason M Barnier can attempt his offensive land grab of Northern Ireland is because, back in December, Mrs May promised simultaneously to remove the United Kingdom from the European Internal Market and customs union and yet to preserve them in part of it – Northern Ireland – thus producing a document which this column described at the time as “unstable”. The second is that she and her colleagues are not sniffing the political wind. There is something disappointing about the trouble-making of Sir John Major, distasteful about the arrogance of M Barnier, and – to use his own word – “sickening” about the attempt by Mr Blair to get back in the game by running down Britain abroad. Mrs May could make much more of this.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Osborne and Cameron welcome deficit reduction target being reached

“David Cameron and George Osborne have hailed their austerity plan after the former chancellor’s deficit reduction target was finally met. The day-to-day deficit has been eliminated two years later than Mr Osborne wanted when he set it in 2010. Mr Osborne tweeted: “We got there in the end – a remarkable national effort.” Mr Cameron replied: “It was the right thing to do.” Labour accused them of “egotistical boasting” while families suffered.” – BBC

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Tax reform offers the Government a rare opportunity to make real policy changes

Grayling welcomes Siemens investment

“Siemens signalled its commitment to Britain yesterday as it revealed plans to build a train factory in East Yorkshire. The German engineering giant is proposing to build a £200 million plant in Goole to manufacture and commission trains, generating 700 skilled jobs….Yesterday’s announcement was described by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling as a ‘sign of confidence in the United Kingdom’.  He added: ‘You don’t invest money in Britain if you don’t see the potential in Britain, and Siemens already has a strong track record in this country. They are already an important part of our technology and engineering sectors.’ “- Daily Mail

Halfon warns of extremism in unregistered schools

“Religious extremists are exploiting lax home education laws to expose children to hate-filled material at scores of unregistered “schools” and secret teaching groups. Extremist texts seized from illegal schools allege that homosexuality is an “abomination”, that sodomy is punishable by death and that a wife cannot “refuse sexual intercourse without sound reason”…“I have huge concerns about unregistered schools and the lack of regulation and inspection,” Robert Halfon, head of the Commons education committee, told The Times. “Any school of any kind shouldn’t be unregistered. There shouldn’t be room for grey areas. Even if they have less than five pupils and are open less than 18 hours they should be inspected and registered.” Mr Halfon, a former education minister, said he was supportive of parents who choose to teach their children outside school but his remarks will inflame thousands of responsible home educators who fiercely guard their independence.” – The Times

  • Textbook cases – Leader, The Times

>Today: Alistair Thompson on Comment: Stick to the day job, Ofsted – and drop this power grab. You don’t need it to stop Islamist extremists.

Planning rules to be eased to allow more storeys to be added to buildings

“Strict regulations will be relaxed allowing more storeys to be added to buildings to ease Britain’s housing crisis, The Sun can reveal. It is part of an attempt by Theresa May to kick-start a pledge to build a million houses by 2020. In a major speech on Monday the PM will take aim at property developers accusing them of hitting social mobility in Britain, according to Sun political columnist James Forsyth. Mrs May will slam housebuilders who keep prices high by drip-feeding new properties on to the market and who sit on expensive plots to increase their value. But she will disappoint those who wish to see laws protecting the green belt relaxed to ease pressure on inner cities and towns.” – The Sun

  • Loophole lets developers halve number of affordable homes – The Times

Corbyn embroiled in split on the hard left

“Jeremy Corbyn personally stepped in to try to stop the radical boss of the grassroots group Momentum running the Labour party – in the first sign of a rift emerging on the hard-left of the party. The Labour leader feared Jon Lansman – founder of Momentum – would split the left of the party if he took the vacant General Secretary job, which is effectively the chief executive of the party. Mr Corbyn instead wants to see Jennie Formby, a close ally of Unite boss Len McCluskey – take the role.” – The Sun

Labour LGBT+ adviser wanted to ‘gay bash’ star

“A Labour Party adviser on LGBT+ issues faces calls to resign after branding a Twitter follower a “hairy barren lesbian” and saying she wants to “gay bash” a TV star. The transgender model Munroe Bergdorf, 29, was appointed on Monday as an LGBT+ adviser to Dawn Butler, the shadow equalities secretary. Ms Bergdorf announced her role by posting a photograph of herself at parliament with Jeremy Corbyn and writing that she would “help form and push through fairer and more effective policy change”. But The Times discovered a tweet where she made fun of a friend, saying: “How’s your barren womb? We all know your little secret . . . hairy lesbian!”…The DJ from London wrote that a character on the American TV show Glee was so “annoying” that “even I’d like to gay bash him!”- The Times

Only one conviction for double voting

“Hundreds of complaints about alleged double voting in the 2017 UK general election resulted in only one conviction, according to police data. Claims made on social media that people had voted twice prompted more than 1,000 emails to the Electoral Commission and 60 letters from 47 MPs. But only one person was convicted after pleading guilty to multiple voting. He was fined. Two cases resulted in no further action and one was deemed not in the public interest to prosecute.” – BBC

UKIP loses its only council

“UKIP has lost control of its only local authority after Thanet District Council voted for a new Conservative leader. Last week Chris Wells resigned as council leader when 12 of UKIP’s 25 councillors set up an independent group in a row over the Manston Airport site. A meeting was held on Thursday for all councillors to elect a new leader. The UKIP and Thanet Independent groups did not nominate anyone to stand for leader, so the vote was between the Conservatives and Labour. Bob Bayford (Con) ran against Karen Constantine (Lab), and won by 23 votes to six.” – BBC

Starkey declares that free speech in universities is under attack

“The rise of no-platforming at universities has put Britain back in the Middle Ages, according to the historian David Starkey The TV presenter and author argues there has been a “revolution by stealth” which is stifling debate, created a “quasi-religious fervour” for Jeremy Corbyn, and suggested Britain could become a “military dictatorship” as a result. He suggested that no-platforming guest speakers at academic institutions – which prevents them from appearing – is a “heresy trial without a stake”. It has been used by student unions across the country to ban people with specific views from speaking to students or engaging in debate.” – The Sun

IMF warns Trump against trade tariffs

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has joined criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminium. The body warned that such a move would hurt the US as well as other countries. It said others could follow the US president’s precedent by claiming tough trade restrictions were needed to defend national security. Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the US, said tariffs would cause disruption on both sides of the border. It is one of several countries that have said they will consider retaliatory steps if the president presses ahead with his plan next week.” – BBC

Macron to face “Thatcher moment”

“No French president has taken on the country’s powerful railway unions since Jacques Chirac was forced by strikes in 1995 to abandon the attempt. Despite an 11 per cent slide in his approval ratings, President Macron has judged the time ripe for a battle that could make or break his presidency. Until now, rail and other public sector workers have been able to count on reflexive public support for acquis sociaux — hard won workers’ rights. But in a showdown seen as Mr Macron’s “Thatcher moment”, he announced an end to privileges enjoyed for more than 80 years by the 260,000 workers of SNCF railways.” – The Times

Italians prepare to vote

“Italy’s main political parties have wrapped up campaigning ahead of Sunday’s general election – each declaring that they expect to win. Final rallies were held by the ruling Democratic Party, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigration Northern League. Polls suggest ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right alliance will emerge the largest bloc in a hung parliament. He cannot hold public office until next year due to a tax fraud conviction.” – BBC

News in brief

  • Labour’s Brexit betrayal is no surprise, Corbyn’s hunger for power knows no bounds – Mark Isherwood, Brexit Central
  • May tries to strike an optimistic tone on what Brexit can do for Britain – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • PM’s unrealistic speech showed she really is cherry-picking now – Andrew Lilico, Cap X 
  • Scathing response to the speech from Verhofstadt – Independent
  • Terrific but overdue speech by Theresa May puts the rigid EU on the spot – Iain Martin, Reaction