Barnier ‘rejects May’s customs proposals’

“The European Union will never accept Theresa May’s plan for a bespoke customs deal, Michel Barnier said yesterday as he wrapped up Brexit negotiations before the summer break. The move by the EU’s lead negotiator kills off a key element of the prime minister’s Chequers white paper and had been feared by the British side. His comments, after his second meeting in Brussels with Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, mean that the EU has effectively vetoed proposals for a future “customs arrangement” that would allow Britain to strike free trade deals while keeping “frictionless” trade across the channel and Irish border… While the European Commission has sent a long list of written questions to Oliver Robbins, Mrs May’s lead negotiator, Mr Barnier has spelt out fundamental objections.” – The Times

  • EU negotiator questions UK backstop position – FT
  • Tories divided over ‘no deal’ planning – The Guardian
  • France preparing for ‘brutal divorce’ from the UK – Daily Telegraph
  • Soft Brexit rules out Australia trade deal – The Sun


  • Majority now backs referendum on deal – The Times
  • May heads to Austria for crunch talks – Daily Express
  • Brexiteers urge May to adopt US President’s tough line – The Sun
  • Trump deal a blow to the EU’s credibility – Daily Telegraph
  • Facebook reveals Vote Leave’s ads – The Times


  • May’s status quo Brexit will fail those who backed Leave – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • A humiliating Brexit deal risks a descent into Weimar Britain – Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian
  • The Prime Minister’s Brexit gauntlet – Sam Coates, The Times
  • We are being sold down Brexit river – Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express



Prime Minister appoints ‘business envoy’

“Theresa May has appointed a veteran investment banker as her new “business envoy” in an attempt to bolster her often strained relations with the corporate world. William Vereker, a former executive at UBS, will take up the role from September 3 with a remit to strengthen links with British companies and potential foreign investors into Britain, the Financial Times has learnt. The post has been vacant since the departure in June 2017 of Chris Brannigan, former head of government relations at Number 10. Mr Brannigan, an Iraq war veteran, was one of a number of political staff to quit Downing Street after last summer’s disastrous snap election. Mr Vereker will have his work cut out to soothe a business world where fears are growing about the potential for a hard Brexit should no deal be reached by the end of the year.” – FT

Javid insists medical move is not step towards cannabis legalisation…

“Medicinal cannabis will be available on prescription for the first time in Britain from the autumn in a major shift announced by the Home Secretary today. Sajid Javid said following advice from the chief medical officer, he would reclassify cannabis products used by doctors elsewhere in the world. The dramatic change to policy comes after a scandal over epileptic boy Billy Caldwell being banned from taking cannabis oil prescribed abroad. Billy was given back the medicine after a high profile campaign by his mother forced Mr Javid to grant a 20-day emergency licence for its use. The Home Secretary insisted today’s change was not the first step toward broader legalisation of cannabis.” – Daily Mail

  • More young people using cocaine as price plummets – The Times


  • Prescribing medical cannabis is not a slippery slope – Sajid Javid, Times Red Box


…as legal action delays US cooperation over ISIS fighters

“Sajid Javid has been forced to suspend Britain’s intelligence-sharing with the US over two alleged jihadis after the mother of one of the men began legal action against the Home Office. The Home Secretary agreed to a temporary pause in mutual assistance in the case of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh after he was threatened with an injunction by lawyers acting for Elsheikh’s mother. Mr Javid has been put on notice that Elsheikh’s mother intends to apply for a judicial review of his decision to waive Britain’s usual demand for so-called death penalty assurances. The Telegraph disclosed this week that Mr Javid had agreed to assist the US in its attempts to prosecute the two men, who were allegedly part of the British-born Isil death squad nicknamed the Beatles.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May accused of abandoning international law principle – The Guardian


  • Did the UK government do a dirty deal with Trump over the Isis suspects? – Ben Emmerson, The Guardian

Trevor Phillips: Javid’s assault on liberal guilt puts Labour to shame

“It is precisely because of his background that Javid can make such an assault on political correctness and liberal guilt. Behind the grooming scandal lies an even worse suspicion: that the crimes were committed with the full knowledge of many in the local communities, and that those who should have spoken out stayed silent. Perhaps that explains the vituperation of some prominent Pakistani Muslims, including leading Tories, towards those who refuse to turn a blind eye to the ethnicity of the gangs. The last thing they want is for the community’s dirty washing to be hung out for all to see; and worse, to be called out on their own silent complicity in abuse.” – Daily Telegraph

Gauke ‘rips up’ flagship prison reform

“Justice Secretary David Gauke is ripping up the Government’s flagship prison probation reform – costing taxpayers £170 million. In a humiliation, the Cabinet Minister last night said contracts with 21 private firms supervising 155,000 low-level offenders would end two years early in 2020 because of huge losses and poor service. To ensure the so-called Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) can continue until 2020, the Government is pouring in £170 million to prop up the system. It follows a £342 million ‘bail-out’ last year. A bombshell report claimed releasing prisoners on a Friday was becoming a risk because there was so little support available “at the end of the week”.” – The Sun

  • Prisons in ‘state of emergency’ over rising drug use – Daily Telegraph

Leadsom to lead task force to support young families

“Andrea Leadsom has been confirmed as chairwoman of a new government early years working group just weeks after declaring her support for the Chequers compromise on Brexit. The pro-Leave leader of the Commons will spearhead a cross-Whitehall task force that will focus on improving the support available to families in the period from pregnancy to the age of two. Liz Truss, chief secretary to the treasury, and Justin Tomlinson, Nadhim Zahawi, Jackie Doyle-Price and Rishi Sunak – all junior ministers – will also be members of the group… The timing of the group’s creation is likely to spark speculation about whether Mrs Leadsom was offered the role by No 10 in a bid to bind her to the prime minister’s Brexit plan.” – The Times

McVey urges pupils to take summer jobs

“Teenagers should get summer jobs during the holidays to prepare them for the workplace, the Work and Pensions Secretary has said. Esther McVey said part-time jobs are vital to equip the younger generation with skills that will enable post-Brexit Britain to thrive. The percentage of young people working while studying has more than halved since 1997, falling to 18 per cent from 42 per cent. In a bid to combat this decline, the Government will today launch a drive to get teenagers working in the summer holidays – placing 20,000 posts on its Find a Job website… Miss McVey added that summer and Saturday jobs prepare young people for successful careers in later life, teaching vital ‘soft skills’ such as customer service, problem solving and time management.” – Daily Mail

  • Education is not enough, young people need to work – Esther McVey, Daily Telegraph

>Today: John Bald in Local Government: Schools are still failing to exclude bullies

Minister criticised over claim that Universal Credit could exacerbate domestic violence

“A minister has been criticised for suggesting that changes to universal credit backed by domestic violence charities could put women at increased risk. Universal credit is normally paid to couples. Split payments can be requested by vulnerable claimants but campaigners believe that this should happen automatically. Baroness Buscombe, a minister in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), said in the Lords that the charity Refuge was not convinced that split payments helped. She added: “In fact, they can exacerbate violence if the perpetrator of violence knows that their partner has her own pot of money.” She was apparently referring to concerns raised by Refuge that the process requiring women to ask for their own money can put them at greater risk.” – The Times

Corbyn to deny MPs a voice in Labour’s manifesto…

“Labour MPs will be cut out of the process of drawing up the party’s next election manifesto under plans being considered by Jeremy Corbyn. The party is holding a “democracy review” into the way it operates and allies of the leader hope to push through many of the changes at the party conference in Liverpool in September. The left-wing majority at conference means that many are likely to pass unless the unions intervene. Labour’s parliamentary committee, a group elected from within the parliamentary Labour Party to represent MPs and peers, takes part in the meeting to agree the manifesto. Mr Corbyn chairs it and the manifesto is gone through in detail. All members of the shadow cabinet attend, as does the national executive committee, the parliamentary committee and representatives of the Scottish and Welsh parties.” – The Times

  • Momentum to hold first Scottish training event – The Guardian


  • Corbyn hasn’t come up with one radical idea – Philip Collins, The Times

…as he faces ‘open rebellion’ over antisemitism code

“Jeremy Corbyn is facing an open rebellion from members of his shadow cabinet over his refusal to accept the international definition of anti-Semitism. The Telegraph understands that Tom Watson, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, has warned Mr Corbyn that disciplining Dame Margaret Hodge for calling him anti-Semitic is “counter-productive”. Mr Watson is pushing Mr Corbyn to accept the full definition of anti-Semitism in the party’s code of conduct along with three other members of the shadow cabinet after a furious backlash from Labour MPs. It came after the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Telegraph and Jewish News ran the same leader on their front page for the first time, expressing “communal anger and concern” over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.  All three newspapers used the headline: “United we stand.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Bragg says Jews need to ‘rebuild trust with Labour’ – The Times


  • Labour is not just unpleasant for moderates, but dangerous – Nora Mulready, Times Red Box


  • How dare Billy Bragg tell Jews that they are ‘pouring petrol on the fire’ – The Sun

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Anti-semitism may be widespread, but it must never be allowed to become normal

Cable denies plotting to set up a new party

“Sir Vince Cable has admitted having had conversations with Conservative and Labour MPs as he denied he is preparing to set up a new party. The Liberal Democrat leader told Good Morning Britain on ITV that he was talking to people who were “talking about new structures” but insisted that he was committed to his existing party. Asked if he missed a recent Brexit vote to discuss setting up an alternative party, Sir Vince said: “I’m not setting up an alternative party. But I am talking to people, Conservative and Labour, who are now completely dissatisfied with their own parties… and maybe breaking away. As a party leader it’s something I have to do to have conversations with them.”” – The Times

DUP speaks out after Lidington raises devolved matters at conference

“The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference is not the correct forum to discuss the issue of historic institutional abuse, the DUP has stressed. The body, which met on Wednesday for the first time in 11 years, gives Dublin a consultative role on non-devolved issues affecting Northern Ireland. Ahead of the conference, the DUP told the News Letter it had received assurances from the British government that devolved matters would be off the table. However, in comments after the meeting both the British and Irish governments referred to issues having been discussed which are devolved matters. David Lidington, Theresa May’s de facto deputy who chaired the meeting, said it discussed prisons and the Irish government said it discussed payments to victims of historic institutional abuse (HIA) – two matters which are devolved to Stormont.” – News Letter

  • Empey attacks ‘bogus’ Sinn Fein claims about British-Irish body – News Letter

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: May plays into Varadkar’s hands by getting the Belfast Agreement wrong

MPs call for action over missing Parliamentary art

“MPs voiced bewilderment today after it emerged that more than 220 works of art have gone missing from the Parliamentary collection. A huge haul of paintings, etchings and prints are unaccounted for – with the authorities at the House blaming database errors but admitting they do not know whether they have been stolen. Some of the missing works are thought to be worth thousands of pounds. The issue, revealed after a Freedom of Information request by MailOnline, sparked calls from politicians for action. There are some 9,000 works of art in the Parliamentary collection – which started to be assembled in 1841.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Income inequality didn’t influence Leave voters – James Cullimore, Reaction
  • Trump’s Dungeons and Dragons foreign policy – Grace Buchholz, CapX
  • What the Benalla scandal reveals about Macron’s failing presidency – Gavin Mortimer, The Spectator
  • Why Trump’s impeachment rests on the midterms – Henry Olsen, UnHerd

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