Brexit 1) The Daily Mail goes for Grieve…

“Tory rebel Dominic Grieve was accused of ‘supping with the devil’ last night after he held secret talks with avowed enemies of Brexit. He was spotted slipping into the European Commission’s Smith Square HQ in London yesterday for a private meeting of campaigners set on reversing the result of the referendum. Attendees included Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell and Tory and Lib Dem peers who have rebelled over Brexit. Also present were leaders of People’s Vote, which campaigns for a second referendum, Open Britain, the successor organisation to the official Remain campaign, and Best for Britain, the anti-Brexit group backed by financier George Soros… An agenda for the ‘Where Next for Brexit?’ meeting was marked ‘in confidence’ but seen by the Mail. It says: ‘This informal forum connects the main operational UK pro-EU organisations and individuals and meets under the Chatham House Rule.’” – Daily Mail

  • Rebels warn May she must honour her promise of a ‘real vote’ on the deal – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister insists MPs will not get power to veto Brexit – The Sun
  • May in fresh stand-off with rebellious MPs – The Guardian
  • Concessions make ‘no deal’ more likely, warns Rees-Mogg – Daily Express
  • Remainers taunt Brexiteers over keeping freedom of movement – Daily Mail


  • Why Grieve’s push for a vote really would mean stopping Brexit – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • May is forcing Brexiteers to choose between capitulation and chaos – Rafael Behr, The Guardian


  • Tory Remainers are defying Britain’s democratic vote – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Good Grieve


Brexit 2) …as Dacre insists his successor must stick with Brexit

“Receive many lovely letters from public figures, of which the warmest are from Gordon Brown and David Blunkett. David Davis complains that I have stolen the thunder from his threatened resignation. A top historian wails that my move is the equivalent of the ravens leaving the Tower. All tosh,  of course, but what moves me most are the countless messages from readers worried about whether the Mail will continue its support for EU withdrawal. My answer to them — and others — is unequivocal. Support for Brexit is in the DNA of both the Daily Mail and, more pertinently, its readers. Any move to reverse this would be editorial and commercial suicide.” – The Spectator

  • We cannot let the Remainers thward our departure – Jacob Rees-Mogg, The Times
  • Without a deal at the summit, May should walk away – Iain Duncan Smith, The Sun
  • If Brexit means Remain, I wish I’d never voted for it – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Lords must not tie our hands by tabling more amendments – Owen Paterson MP, Daily Express

Brexit 3) Ministers say EU is treating Britain as a ‘hostile state’

“Ministers accused Brussels last night of treating Britain like a “hostile state” after commission officials moved to freeze British companies out of more than £350 million of contracts for the Galileo satellite system. The officials stepped in to prevent the government vetoing the latest round of contracts at a European Space Agency meeting. It also emerged that the commission had again ruled out British demands for unrestricted access to the satellite navigation system on security grounds at a meeting of EU ambassadors. “This is straight from the Trump playbook,” said a government source. “They are using bogus security concerns to justify protectionist measures.” The source added: “It implies they wish to treat us as a hostile state.”” – The Times

  • UK threatens to withdraw completely from Galileo – Daily Telegraph
  • CBI chief warns car manufacturing faces ‘extinction’ outside the customs union – Daily Mail
  • Brexit warning from firm founded by Rees-Mogg – The Guardian
  • DUP reject call for Ulster to receive two new Irish MEP seats – Belfast Telegraph

>Yesterday: Alex Morton’s column: The EU negotiation. First, let’s use the velvet glove. But if that doesn’t work, the iron fist.

Brexit 4) Times follows ConservativeHome in questioning May’s leadeship

“Mrs May is entitled to feel exasperation towards Brussels as well as her own fractious party, but ultimately she has herself to blame. She has been stubborn in clinging to power since last year’s disastrous snap election, and remorseless in her preference for prevarication over tough decisions. Yet the defining feature of her tenure so far in No 10 as it relates to Brexit, which it does all day, every day, is one of weakness. This is forged in London and now broadcast to the world. It is a weakness that makes the exasperation mutual. The government is riven over the semantics of amendments to cover hypothetical outcomes of negotiations that should be proceeding at speed but are now stalled. The Conservatives and the country need leadership on the central question of the day. They are offered only clichés and can-kicking. It will not do.” – The Times

  • It’s time for the Prime Minister to make tough choices – Sebastian Payne, FT

Brexit 5) Labour rocked by rebellions in key votes

“Six senior Labour front-benchers resigned tonight as Jeremy Corbyn was rocked by the biggest Brexit rebellion to hit his party. The Labour leader had demanded his MPs abstain on a vote about whether Britain should seek to join the European Economic Area after leaving the EU. However 89 Labour members refused to follow the orders – with 15 backing the government, who easily won the vote rejecting the idea. More than 70 Labour MPs voted ‘yes’. Joining the EEA after Brexit would leave Britain inside the single market – defying the referendum, according to Brexiteers, as it would mean accepting free movement and not making trade deals. The Labour disarray left Corbyn’s team unable to capitalise on Brexit chaos inside the Government after Theresa May narrowly avoided defeat on Brexit earlier in the week.” – Daily Mail

  • Opposition split three ways on crucial bill – The Guardian
  • How MPs voted on Brexit deal amendments – The Times
  • How May claimed her majorities on the Lords amendments – Daily Telegraph
  • Unionists back the Government – Belfast Telegraph
  • Brexit gives Lib Dems ’cause for hope’ in Lewisham – FT


  • Hoey’s quirks are no longer funny – she should resign – Zoe Williams, The Guardian

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Labour splits three ways over the EEA – including 15 MPs voting with the Government

Brexit 6) Bercow preparing to stay on to ‘ensure MPs get vote on deal’

“John Bercow is preparing to defy his critics and stay on as Speaker for another year to ensure that MPs get the chance to vote on changing the course of Brexit. The Commons Speaker, who previously vowed to step down this summer, has told friends the government could take advantage of a new and inexperienced Speaker to force a Brexit deal through the Commons. The move will infuriate Brexiteers who have already questioned Mr Bercow’s impartiality after a “Bollocks to Brexit” bumper sticker was spotted on his car and he told students he had voted Remain in the referendum. Instead friends of Mr Bercow said he would retire in the summer of 2019, adding he had already made arrangements for where he would live when he moved out of the Speaker’s residence.” – The Times

  • Perry attacks Bercow over sexism – Daily Mail
  • Serjeant at Arms who defended Speaker is probed over verbal abuse claims – Daily Telegraph

Javid preparing immigration boost for the NHS

“Sajid Javid is planning a major relaxation of immigration laws before Brexit and will ease a cap on foreign medics working in the UK to allow the NHS to recruit more staff. The new Home Secretary will remove non-EU doctors and nurses from the annual 20,700 ‘tier 2’ visa limit on non-EU workers. Other employers will be able to recruit an extra 8,000 skilled migrants a year, including IT experts, engineers and teachers, effectively raising the cap by 40 per cent. The Home Secretary is expected to announce tomorrow that doctors and nurses from outside the EU will be exempt from the ‘tier 2’ visa cap to help the NHS fill staff shortages… he move marks Mr Javid’s first major intervention on migration policy and a significant softening of the Government’s position on non-EU migration since Theresa May became Home Secretary in 2010.” – Daily Mail

  • Fears for Brexit border security as Home Office working at ‘full stretch’ – The Sun
  • MPs condemn deportation threats over taxes – The Guardian

More health:

  • Web giants ‘fuel mental health crisis’, warns health chief – The Times

George Freeman: We need an inter-generational ‘New Deal’

There are huge structural issues we need to face: the national debt, the stubborn structural deficit, the funding of our Armed Forces, the provision of modern health and social care and others. But now is the moment to recognise that the intergenerational asset gap is the major domestic policy challenge of our time. Bigger than Brexit and with consequences that could be even more profound. Unaddressed, we risk an entire generation under forty rejecting not just Conservatism, but capitalism too. That’s why I believe we need to think seriously, and fast, about a New Deal for a New Generation… That’s why I and a team of non-party entrepreneurs launched the first Big Tent Ideas Festival and the new Capital Ideas Foundation last year to energise the intellectual and cultural fightback for a “Beyond Brexit” policy reform programme.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Does anybody know what the Conservative Party is for? – Bill Jamieson, The Scotsman


Trump ‘pressuring Britain’ to pay more towards NATO…

“The Trump administration is urging Britain to contribute more towards Nato even though it already meets the alliance’s defence spending target. The American president appears keen for his closest ally to increase expenditure above 2 per cent of GDP as part of a wider effort to make Europe contribute more towards the alliance, according to a senior source. The White House push is being used in Whitehall to put pressure on Philip Hammond to increase defence spending. The chancellor is set for a showdown with Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, next week over how to fund a blueprint for the military, two sources said. It is understood that Mr Williamson needs Mr Hammond, a former defence secretary, to commit to a significant increase in defence expenditure to underpin the findings of the modernising defence programme.” – The Times

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: How Trump came to deal with Kim Jong Un – the inside story

…as Corbyn refuses to rule out Russia rejoining the G7

“Jeremy Corbyn does not rule out letting Russia back into the G7 after Donald Trump made his explosive call for them to be allowed back in. Theresa May has blasted calls for Vladimir Putin to be let back into the club of world leaders – warning he must fundamentally overhaul his regime. She warned of the ‘malign activity’ coming from Moscow – which is believed to be behind the Salisbury spy poisoning. But today the Labour leader’s spokesman refused to rule out letting Mr Putin back into the club, which Russia was kicked out of in 2014 after invading Crimea. His spokesman said that the biggest threat to the G7 does not come from Russia but from Donald Trump and his steel tariffs.” – Daily Mail

Woodcock calls for returning jihadis to do community service

“All ex-Jihadis returning from Syria and Iraq should be forced to do community service as a minimum offence, a senior MP has said. Just 40 out of 400 Brits who have travelled abroad to fight for terror groups such as ISIS have been prosecuted since returning – leaving hundreds of extremists free to roam the streets. The alarming figures sparked Labour MP John Woodcock to write to Security Minister Ben Wallace calling for a new minimum offence to be imposed on all non-violent returnees. He has proposed that anyone who visited ISIS-controlled territory without a “verifiable reason” to be handed a custodial sentence. But Mr Woodcock acknowledged that such a move could be too vulnerable to legal challenges – so suggests that a minimum punishment of community service instead.” – The Sun

SNP’s walkout ‘dismissed as a stunt’

“The SNP’s Westminster leader was accused of orchestrating a stunt after he was expelled from the Commons during prime minister’s questions yesterday. The party’s other MPs followed Ian Blackford in a mass walkout over claims that the Brexit bill was being driven through the UK parliament without Holyrood’s consent. Although the protest succeeded in drawing attention to the SNP’s grievance, it drew cross-party scorn at Westminster and mockery at the claim that it had not been planned. The first mass walkout since Sir Nick Clegg ordered Liberal Democrat MPs out more than a decade ago began after the party’s Westminster leader told Theresa May that she had slighted Holyrood in railroading through fundamental changes to its powers after just 20 minutes during last night’s debate on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.” – The Times

  • But the move apparently attracts hundreds of new members – Daily Express
  • Nationalists prepare for ‘guerrilla war’ over powers – The Scotsman


  • SNP accused of operating ‘secret FOI regime’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Scottish Government accused of attempt to ‘bury bad news’ – FT


  • Why I led the SNP out of the Commons – Ian Blackford MP, Times Red Box
  • Ludicrous move was all about independence – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • The right Tory candidate can beat Khan – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • Why the SNP is revolting – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Lessons from history on the Irish border – Gary Cahalane, Brexit Central
  • Trump’s trade war is becoming a security crisis – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator