Comments from Gove and Hunt show continued cabinet split over customs plan

“Divisions in the cabinet were exposed again yesterday as Jeremy Hunt told fellow ministers to trust Theresa May’s Brexit plan but Michael Gove said that there were “significant question marks” over her preferred customs model. The prime minister’s Brexit sub- committee, which meets tomorrow, is split over what Britain’s customs arrangements should be after it leaves the customs union in 2021. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, and Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, are among critics of the customs partnership model that Mrs May favours but which Mr Johnson has called “crazy”. They want a scheme called “max-fac”; its opponents, including Philip Hammond, the chancellor, believe it would damage the economy.” – The Times 

  • Gove says May must “crack on with Brexit” – Daily Telegraph
  • And that there are “significant question marks” about customs partnership – Guardian
  • Hunt tells Johnson to “work as a team” – Guardian
  • Both sides criticise May – FT
  • She is “facing a revolt” – Daily Express


Hall: Tory whips are “pessimistic” about Withdrawal Bill majority

“Theresa May faces some serious repair work after a wrecking spree by ermine-clad vandals at Westminster. Brussels backing peers emasculated her Brexit plans almost beyond recognition in a series of 14 House of Lords defeats that came to a climax this week. Now her team are trying to calculate whether the Commons can make good the damage. Tory whips are already pessimistic about the chances of stitching together a majority in the elected chamber to scrap the amendments to the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill. The changes to the legislation are far-reaching: giving Parliament powers to meddle in the negotiations, raising doubts about next year’s departure date and threatening to keep Britain locked in the EU customs union. One Eurosceptic Tory MP told me: “If you wanted to effectively stop Brexit happening you couldn’t come up with a better way of doing it than what these Remainer peers have done.” –  Daily Express

  • Cash suggests Tory “dissidents” could lead to “toppling of May” – Daily Express
  • Miliband says hard Brexiters are holding country to ransom – FT



  • The Brexiters’ position is weakening – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • The trio of disloyal remainers – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Evans says peers should accept the Commons’ decisions on Brexit

May tells Javid to “speed up” post-Brexit immigration plan

“Britain’s much-anticipated post-Brexit immigration policy will be unveiled within weeks after Theresa May ordered new Home Secretary Sajid Javid to speed up the plans. His predecessor Amber Rudd triggered alarm among Brexiteers by repeatedly delayed publication of the new immigration proposals – and officials said they wouldn’t be ready until the autumn. But No10 said the Prime Minister has now intervened to ensure Mr Javid publishes an immigration White Paper before the summer recess in July. One official told Politico that the publication of the plans will be a “massive moment” for Mrs May’s premiership.” – The Sun

  • White paper may now be published before summer recess – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: An open letter to Sajid Javid

More Brexit

  • DUP MP claims Coveney is trying to use border issue to “break up UK” – Belfast Newsletter
  • Le Drian wants June deadline on the issue – Daily Express
  • McLeish says Tories “want to hoard powers in London” – Herald


  • Trade needs to be our highest priority – Andy McDonald, The Times
  • Is the EU now desperate for us to stay? – Martin Townsend, Daily Express 

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Starmer – ‘Nobody credible’ thinks Irish border can be avoided without customs union

>Today: Peter Lilley in Comment: Sovereignty or prosperity? It’s a false choice. They go hand in hand

Williamson to confirm MoD has signed contracts including Agincourt sub

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson is set to give the go-ahead for £2.5bn in spending on the UK’s submarine programme, including its nuclear fleet. The work had already been agreed in principle but Williamson will confirm the Ministry of Defence has signed a £1.6bn contract with BAE Systems to build the seventh and last of the Astute hunter-killer submarines, to be named Agincourt. It is scheduled for handover to the Royal Navy in the mid-2020s. He will also confirm that a further £960m worth of contracts has been signed for the next phase of construction of four Dreadnought submarines to replace the four Vanguard submarines that make up the UK’s nuclear fleet, carrying the Trident weapons system. – Guardian

  • It “finally gets the go-ahead” – FT
  • Meanwhile, MI5 DG to condemn Russia in speech – The Times 
  • And Trump is “trashing US foreign policy” – Michael Burleigh, The Times


  • Unanticipated methods carry the gravest security risk – The Times

Gyimah: We need to focus on “scientific knowledge and technological progress”

In asking anew how Britain will make its way in the world, Brexit has revealed an issue that has been brewing for more than a decade. Prior to the crisis in 2009, the UK’s economic fortunes were buoyed up by financial services and North Sea oil and gas. With the City less profitable today, and North Sea output naturally declining, the search is on for the next wave of world-leading British businesses. Meanwhile, global breakthroughs in scientific knowledge and technological progress are disrupting entire industries at an unprecedented pace. Here, Britain is well-placed to lead. We may often speak of ourselves as a nation of shopkeepers, but we are also a nation of scientists, engineers and innovators. – Daily Telegraph

Brady: We must help small and medium-sized businesses

One of the things I love most about this country is that all across the land, entrepreneurs are coming up with amazing ideas. Some of them are ingenious, some are barmy. Some are hugely practical, some are downright outlandish. Where would we be without the brave men and women who dare to have such dreams? However, as I know only too well, it takes more than just a great idea to make a business successful in the modern world. It takes guts and grit. Plus that other essential ingredient: sheer hard graft. I’ve been travelling the length and breadth of the country meeting the next generation of entrepreneurs for my latest TV series, Give It A Year. It has been more of a pleasure than work because it has reinforced what I have known for years – that when it comes to business, Britain really does have talent. The downside is that I have seen first-hand the struggle so many small and medium businesses are having. Many of them desperately need help. – Daily Express

More Conservatives

  • Rees-Mogg says Lords resurrection of second Leveson would breach convention – Daily Telegraph
  • Bercow “has told friends” he’ll stand down as speaker next year – The Sun
  • Drugs minister Atkins can’t talk about cannabis now because of husband’s business interest – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Morgan says she’s not ‘entirely surprised’ at Johnson keeping his job


May to double brain cancer funding in honour of Jowell

“Theresa May will double the government’s contribution to brain cancer research in tribute to Baroness Jowell whose death from the disease was announced yesterday. The prime minister said that the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Research Mission would put £65 million towards research. An innovative treatment that allows surgeons to use a dye to identify tumours would be introduced across the NHS. The former cabinet minister, who died on Saturday aged 70 after campaigning for brain cancer research and treatment, had called for the “gold-standard” procedure to be used nationwide.” – The Times

  • There’ll be a new £20m fund – Daily Telegraph
  • Cross-party tributes to Jowell, who died on Saturday – Guardian


  • She was the best at reaching out to people from other parties – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

`>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Whittingdale’s tribute to Baroness Jowell

More Labour

  • Corbyn focuses on tax – Daily Express
  • Candidate withdraws from Lewisham East shortlist after comments emerge comparing Israel with Nazis – Daily Telegraph
  • Chakrabarti says Livingstone should be kicked out – The Times 
  • Labour, LibDems, and SNP on Holyrood committee urge Sturgeon to allow prisoners to vote – Guardian
  • David Miliband is back… – Daily Mail

Erdogan in UK for trade discussions ahead of elections

“President Erdogan of Turkey said that the UK was a “valuable and reliable” ally as he arrived in London for one of only two foreign visits during his campaigning for elections next month. He is seeking to hold on to office, which he will resume with greater powers should he win. At home he has muzzled the media and jailed tens of thousands of opponents. Turkey’s human rights record, which has worsened since the failed coup attempt in 2016, has provoked loud criticism from some European countries. Ambitions to join the EU have been all but shelved.” – The Times 

News in Brief

  • Marx in vogue – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Jowell’s Lords speech – New Statesman
  • We need to talk about EU blackmail – Lionel Shriver, Spectator
  • New Deal housing and race – Aeon