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Brexit 1) Conclusion of May-Davis “compromise talks”: white paper to be finalised at cabinet “peace summit” after EC meeting

“Theresa May will hold a peace summit for her warring cabinet to finalise the Brexit white paper at her country retreat in Chequers – but it will not take place until after the European Council summit in June. Ministers will be summoned to the prime minister’s country retreat “soon” after the EU summit on the last weekend in June. David Davis, who is drafting the document, had initially hoped the white paper on the UK’s post-Brexit future would be published before the European Council summit in a fortnight’s time. May held a long private meeting with David Davis on Thursday as her Brexit secretary looked like he was on the brink of resignation. He is understood to have expressed a litany of frustrations in the meeting, not only over the “backstop” agreement on the Northern Irish border, but also the delay in publishing the white paper.” – Guardian

  • She’s accused of delaying – The Sun
  • Main bills to be sorted by summer – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The Brexit negotiation and the Government’s position. There is a glimmer of light

Brexit 2) Oborne: May is doing well. But she’s being betrayed from all sides

“…Against this tense and tricky background, Mrs May ought to expect the full support of her Cabinet colleagues. But, sadly, this is not the case. Instead, she has been obliged to put up with treachery and betrayal — two strong words, I admit, but I am not exaggerating — at this critical moment in British history. Three ministers — arguably the most important in the Cabinet with respect to Brexit — are most culpable. They are Chancellor Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis. Let me start with Hammond. Most disappointing of all, this one-time Remainer is behaving as though the British people voted in the referendum to stay in the EU. In other words, he’s in denial over Brexit and has failed to give Mrs May the support she deserves.” – Daily Mail

  • The Brexiters are beached – Matthew Parris, The Times 

Brexit 3) Davis, Baker, and Braverman “agreed” to resign together if May didn’t make backstop concessions

“Theresa May’s Government was left teetering on the brink of collapse by a resignation pact between David Davis and his two most senior Brexit ministers, The Daily Telegraph has learnt. The Brexit Secretary had agreed with Steve Baker and Suella Braverman that all three would quit on Thursday if Theresa May did not make concessions over her backstop plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Government sources have described a “tinderbox” atmosphere in which “it felt, for the first time, as if it could all have toppled”. The maelstrom created by Boris Johnson’s leaked comments on Brexit might ultimately have helped the Prime Minister by diverting attention away from one of her most dangerous moments in power.” – The Times

Brexit 4) Meanwhile, Downing Street says May still has “full confidence” in Johnson…

“Theresa May still has full confidence in Boris Johnson after he called on her to show “guts” in the Brexit talks and criticised the Treasury, Downing Street has said. The foreign secretary told a private dinner on Wednesday there was a risk that Brexit “will not be the one we want” and would keep Britain “locked in orbit” around the European Union, according to a recording of the remarks passed to The Times. At the gathering of the Conservative Way Forward, a Thatcherite think tank, Mr Johnson described Philip Hammond’s Treasury as “the heart of Remain” and claimed negotiations were approaching a “moment of truth”.” – The Times

  • She “resists calls” to sack him – Guardian

Brexit 5) …She tells reporters “Boris has strong views on Brexit but so do I”

“Theresa May has issued a strong rebuke to the Foreign Secretary after he claimed concern about the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland was a “folly”.  Speaking in Canada at the G7 summit the Prime Minister warned the border “matters”, as she signaled her refusal to be blown off course by his remarks, telling reporters: “Boris has strong views on Brexit but so do I”.  It came as the Chancellor also distanced himself from Mr Johnson’s comments, which were leaked after a private dinner with Conservatives earlier this week.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hammond speaks of his experience of negotiating with Europeans – The Times 
  • And “hits back” at Johnson – Daily Express
  • Sturgeon says Johnson is “not fit for high office” – Herald
  • Dorries says his comments were right – The Sun

Comment:

  • Boris, translated – Lucy Fisher, The Times
  • Is he a bit “psychopathic”? – Marina Hyde, Guardian
  • He was right about Trumpian tactics – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • No, he wasn’t. Trump is not a master negotiator – Jonathan Freedland, Guardian

Brexit 6) Barnier “heaps scorn on UK vision of backstop clause”

“Michel Barnier pulled no punches in a bruising press conference today where he heaped scorn on the UK’s vision of the Irish backstop clause designed to avoid a hard border.  First, the chief EU negotiator blasted Brexiteer MPs and cabinet ministers for trying to “intimidate” him and attempting to play a “blame game.” Then he turned his cannons on the UK’s new paper addressing customs issues within the backstop clause, which he did not reject outright but suggested fell far short of his expectations. The admonishments did not stop there. Britain’s proposals, he said, were fundamentally flawed as they only addressed customs and not the thornier issue of regulatory alignment. Then came the biggest barb of them all. Any backstop, Mr Barnier warned, could only be applied to Northern Ireland and not to the rest of the UK.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He “rebuffs” the plan – FT
  • And says EU won’t be “intimidated” by “blame game” – The Times
  • He declares “backstop means backstop” – The Sun

Comment:

  • This won’t “end well for UK” or Tories – James Forsyth, The Sun

Brexit 7) Varadkar says “a border poll would be a bad idea”

“The Irish prime minister has said he believes a vote on Irish unity would be “divisive” and a “bad idea”. Leo Varadkar, who is visiting the Orange Order headquaters in Belfast today, also felt that a border poll would not be successful. His comments come the day after former first minister Peter Robinson suggested holding fixed generational polls on Irish unification as a way to stabilise politics in Northern Ireland. The ex-DUP leader said a border poll being carried with a majority of just one vote was a “recipe for chaos”. When asked on BBC’s Good Morning Ulster if he would accept a “simple majority” referendum result on Irish unity, the taoiseach said: “I think a border poll would be a bad idea quite frankly. I think it would be defeated and very divisive.” – Belfast News Letter

  • Poll shows “surge” of support for united Ireland – Daily Express
  • Meanwhile, Sturgeon “couldn’t recall” key growth report figures – The Times

More Brexit

  • Banks and Wigmore refuse to appear in front of DCMS committee – Guardian
  • Soros campaign has “40 MPs” on board – The Sun
  • Sandbach “leaves pensioner in fear” after reporting her to police over Brexit email – Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

>Today: Videos: WATCH: “2018’s greatest piece of TV.” Love Island contestants discuss leaving the EU.

May to call for caution at G7 over “trade war”

“Theresa May will be sandwiched between Donald Trump and his fellow populist leader Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister, today as she makes the case for caution over disruption. The placement at the opening session of the G7 summit is an accident of the alphabet but provides a stark contrast between the defender of the status quo and two men bent on doing the opposite. The prime minister’s main message is an appeal to pull back from an all-out trade war. She will tell Mr Trump that he has one last chance to retreat from an “unavoidable” EU retaliation.” – The Times

  • She “cozies” up to Macron and Trudeau – Daily Mail
  • It’ll all end in “acrimony” – Daily Telegraph
  • Trump calls for Putin to be readmitted to G8 – The Times

Editorial:

  • Trump’s diplomacy is transactional – The Times

Sturgeon wants devolved migration powers

“Nicola Sturgeon will make a plea for vital migration powers to be devolved to Scotland, as her newly elected party deputy, Keith Brown, called on independence supporters to “get ready” for a second referendum. Addressing delegates at the Scottish National party’s summer conference in Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon, Sturgeon will say: “Westminster’s hostile environment to migration is not just a slogan. It is has a real impact on our public services and our economy.” Noting that, since the Brexit vote in June 2016, there has been a significant drop in the number of EU nurses registering in the UK, the SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister will insist: “Scotland is a welcoming country – our prosperity and our public services depend on it. If Westminster cannot, or will not, act in our best interests, it is time that our own parliament was able to do so. It’s time for powers over migration to come to Scotland.”” – Guardian

Khan announces £12.50 daily diesel car charges

“More than 100,000 owners of pre-2016 diesel cars face daily charges of £12.50 in the world’s largest low pollution zone being introduced in London. From 2021 people with diesel cars currently less than three years old will have to pay to drive in an area covering 380 square kilometres, 18 times larger than the existing congestion charging zone. The scheme, announced by Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, is intended to reduce the number of residents living in areas with illegal levels of air pollution by 100,000. The ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) will be introduced in central London on April 8 next year and, on October 25, 2021, will be extended out to the North and South circular roads.” – The Times

May says women “should be able to access safe, legal abortion” but reiterates it’s an issue for “elected politicians in NI”

“Speaking at the G7 summit in Canada, Mrs may said: “I believe that a woman should be able to access safe, legal abortion. Obviously there are a variety of views on this issue, that’s why it is dealt with as a matter of conscience when we have these debates in the Commons. “There was very moving testimony given by MPs across the house the other day that took place on this particular issue. My preferred option is for it to be dealt with by those people who are elected politicians in Northern Ireland. We want to see the devolved Govt and assembly back up and running. We will be working to ensure that is the case.” Stella Creasy, a Labour MP, has led calls for sections of the Offences Against the Person Act – which currently criminalises abortion in Northern Ireland – to be repealed.” – The Times

  • She “backs right to choose” – Guardian
  • And risks “antagonising” DUP – Daily Mail

More May and government

  • She will give police new powers against scooter criminals – The Sun
  • Security minister calls for digital IDs – The Times
  • More criticism for Grayling – The Sun 
  • Minsters want hospitals to come in flat pack – The Times

Jenkin knighted, Laing becomes a dame, and other honours in the Queen’s birthday list

“Awards include: a damehood for actress Emma Thompson, for services to drama; a knighthood for Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, for services to literature; a damehood for Professor Mary Beard, Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge, for services to the study of classical civilisations; a knighthood for historian and broadcaster Professor Simon Schama; a knighthood for former footballer and manager Kenny Dalglish; a CBE for actor Tom Hardy; a CBE for television presenter and author Bamber Gascoigne; a CBE for journalist and Kate Adie; an OBE for boxer Anthony Joshua; an OBE for Winter Olympian gold medalist Lizzie Yarnold. This honours list continues to demonstrate the breadth of service given by people from all backgrounds. In total 1,057 people have received an award.” – Gov.UK

More Conservatives

  • An interview with Wallace – The Times
  • Party leads over Labour in polls by biggest margin since general election – Daily Telegraph
  • Particularly among C2DE voters – The Sun
  • Council’s emails examined by Grenfell inquiry – Guardian

>Yesterday: Tomos Davies in Comment: Reclaiming our reputation as the party of families

>Today: Alex Chalk in Comment: If British values are to be realised, Conservatives must fight for legal aid

Finkelstein: What if RFK hadn’t been assassinated?

“…This event, avoidable at so many points — he might not have gone through the kitchen, the gun could have been taken from Sirhan when he had only wounded Kennedy not killed him — provides an almost perfect test of the great person theory of history. One moment there was Bobby with his and the country’s future ahead of him, the next he and all that he meant was gone, all that possibility ended. If great people make a difference, rather than just the big trends of culture, economics and science, then surely this tragedy will have changed history. So what difference did Sirhan’s act make to the world? To explore that, it’s necessary to consider whether, had he lived, Robert Kennedy, rather than Richard Nixon, would have won the presidency that autumn.” – The Times

News in Brief

  • The latest “exercise in cabinet-management” – Alex Massie, CapX
  • Thoughts on Boris – Reaction
  • Reporting on the Remain campaign – Guido Fawkes
  • Is New Jersey a bellwether? – John Cassidy, New Yorker
  • What should we take from Scottish polling? – Chris Deerin, New Statesman

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