Johnson ‘rallies Brexiteer ministers’ ahead of crunch Cabinet summit

“Boris Johnson assembled six Eurosceptic ministers for a private meeting tonight ahead of Theresa May’s crunch summit at Chequers tomorrow, it has emerged. The Foreign Secretary gathered colleagues including David Davis and Michael Gove to the Foreign Office after livid Brexiteers claimed the PM’s ‘third way’ plan would make it impossible to do a trade deal with the U.S. Pro-Brexit ministers Liam Fox, Esther McVey, Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom were also at the private meeting tonight. The ministers were ‘drawing up plans’ to ‘eviscerate’ Mrs May’s proposals, the Daily Telegraph reported. The PM was struggling to keep her Cabinet united after a briefing paper was circulated suggesting the UK would align fully with EU standards – effectively ruling out a broad transatlantic trade agreement.” – Daily Mail

  • Rebels face down May over trade deal – The Times
  • Davis holds ‘secret strategy talks’ – Daily Express
  • Prime Ministers seeking to force through a ‘soft Brexit’ strategy – FT
  • Brexiteers horrified as May reveals her hand – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory heavyweights urge Number 10 to listen to business – FT
  • May woos Merkel to save her plan from rejection – The Sun


  • What you need to know about the facilitated customs arrangement – The Times
  • May’s struggle to protect EU trade post-Brexit – FT
  • Why the plan is driving Brexiteers incandescent – Daily Telegraph


  • Kurz wants talks extended if no Irish solution found – Daily Telegraph
  • Merkel rival backs the Prime Minister on Brexit – The Times
  • Jaguar Land Rover could ‘shut down UK plants’ – Daily Telegraph



Fraser Nelson: May is daring Brexiteers to defy her, and is confident she’ll win

Until now, Mrs May has been conciliatory. But she is braced for resignations and, I understand, she has even taken soundings from a party grandee about how she might survive a leadership challenge. How big a majority, she asked, does a Prime Minister need to win a confidence vote? By one solitary vote, came the reply. It doesn’t matter if even a third of the party want you gone: if you have just over half of MPs, you can stay. She said that she fully agreed… The ministers who have been called in for talks with the Prime Minister recently say that she looks happier, more relaxed and more confident than for some time. It is her critics who are looking a bit lost and uncoordinated, which is why it feels that there will be no better day for a final push on Brexit. Then see who dares to push back.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexiteers should offer a plan or shut up – Philip Collins, The Times
  • These proposals amount to a phantom Brexit – Gisela Stuart, Daily Telegraph
  • What would Churchill have done about Brexit? – Andrew Adonis, Times Red Box
  • May might save herself but destroy her party – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph
  • Ministers should heed JLR’s warning – Nils Pratley, The Guardian


  • A compromise must be reached before the Prime Minister destroys the Tories – The Sun

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: May, the Eric Dier of Downing Street, steps up to take that fifth penalty

>Yesterday: Rob Wilson in Comment: One way to bring together Remainers and Leavers – negotiate a mechanism to rejoin the EU if Brexit goes badly

Javid accuses Russia of using Britain as ‘dumping ground for poison’

“Sajid Javid hinted at more sanctions against Russia today as he confirmed two innocent Britons have fallen victim to Novichok. The Home Secretary said the ‘strong working assumption was that Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley had encountered the nerve agent at a location that had not previously been decontaminated. Condemning Vladimir Putin’s ‘reckless and callous’ actions, Mr Javid said it was unacceptable that citizens were ‘deliberate or accidental targets’ because the UK was being treated as a ‘dumping ground’ for toxins. He said the investigation into the poisoning was continuing and the government would be ‘consulting with our international partners’ about any response to the situation.” – Daily Mail

  • Home Secretary ‘challenges Russia to tell the truth’ – The Times

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Javid overtakes Gove to top our Cabinet league table

Williamson ‘secretly backs amnesty for IRA killers’

“Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has secretly backed amnesty for IRA killers as the price for ending the witch-hunt of British troops serving in Northern Ireland during The Troubles. He wants Theresa May to give UK troops who served in Northern Ireland a pardon to stop hounding them. But he wrote ‘so be it’ if IRA terrorists were included, in a shocking letter to the Prime Minister seen by The Sun. Mr Williamson wrote to Theresa May: ‘If that means a wider amnesty, so be it.’ ‘Veterans need the protection of a statute of limitations for Troubles-related offences. ‘In the public mind, the Good Friday Agreement, ‘On the Run’ letters and the apparent disproportionate focus of the investigation on security forces amount to a de facto terrorists’ amnesty.'” – Daily Mail

Hammond criticised for refusal to reform business rates

“Phillip Hammond was accused of betraying struggling high street retailers yesterday after he refused to launch an urgent overhaul of business rates. The Chancellor insisted there will be no imminent change despite warnings the tax is killing off firms. In a letter to MPs, he said he would not examine the issue until he has considered reforming other corporate taxes. Around 50,000 retail jobs have already been lost since the start of the year, and about 61,000 stores have shut in the past five years. The Chancellor’s stance was described by former Wickes and Iceland boss Bill Grimsey – the author of a report on saving town centres – as ‘divorced from reality’.” – Daily Mail

  • Treasury rejects retail’s call for rates reform – FT
  • What the Chancellor’s constituents think of how he treats small businesses – Daily Mail

McVey ‘refuses to widen apology’ over Universal Credit claims

“Esther McVey has refused to apologise for misleading MPs about the progress of welfare reforms after being dragged before parliament to hear further demands that she should step down from her cabinet post. The work and pensions secretary was asked on Thursday to answer an urgent question about claims she had wilfully misled parliament on three key points in a highly critical National Audit Office report to make it look as if the programme was doing well. But after hearing claims that she had been “dissembling” and calls for her resignation, McVey declined to go further than apologise for claiming that the independent auditor wished to speed up the process.” – The Guardian

Hunt praises NHS on 70th anniversary

“Jeremy Hunt insisted the NHS was still the country’s most popular institution “despite all its challenges” as the health service celebrated its 70th birthday yesterday. The Health Secretary said it “has come to symbolise one of the greatest advances of humanity: no matter who you are, rich or poor, young or old, in a civilised country you’ll always be able to access good healthcare”. NHS England boss Simon Stevens also heaped praise on the “extraordinary” staff of the NHS, many of whom have shown “bravery at times of exceptional challenge”. They both attended at a special service at Westminster Abbey attended by 2,200 health leaders and NHS staff from past and present.” – The Sun

  • Health Service was not ‘Thatcher’s ideal’, claims Fowler – Daily Express


  • People must be allowed to make bad food choices – Naomi Firsht, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Jeremy Hunt in Comment: On its 70th anniversary, we must not let the left claim the NHS

Crouch calls for Government policies to be vetted for loneliness impact

“All new Government policies should be assessed to see if they will make people more lonely, a newly appointed minister said today. Tracey Crouch insisted loneliness was a silent curse on the nation and ministers should avoid wherever possible making it worse. She has been made the world’s first Loneliness Minister tasked with helping people who live in isolation in Britain and improving their access to services and their community. The position was created by the Government as part of the memorials to murdered MP Jo Cox, who campaigned on loneliness. The minister, who has been inundated with queries from countries around the world about her unprecedented role, said she wanted private firms to look at their own policies to see how they could help with their employees.” – Daily Mail

Davies attacks Khan for Trump protest

“The Mayor of London has been blasted for allowing a giant inflatable “Trump baby” to be flown during the President’s visit. Sadiq Khan has approved a request to float the 20ft-high blimp 98ft above Parliament Square Gardens on July 13. It will coincide with a mass protest against Donald Trump, who is making his first visit to Britain since entering the White House. Demonstrators claim the “mutant clone” of the President will show that “fascists are not welcome in the UK”. A spokesman for the Mayor said he supported the “right to peaceful protest”. But Tory MPs yesterday branded Mr Khan “childish”. Philip Davies said: “He seems to be more interested in sidling up to Labour groups like Momentum than delivering on the best for the British economy.”” – The Sun

  • Carney upbeat about economy but warns about Trump – Daily Mail
  • Business chiefs invited to dine with the President – FT


  • Smug demonstration spits in the face of the national interest – Freddy Gray, The Sun


  • US protectionist policies put growth at risk – The Times

>Yesterday: Garvan Walshe’s column: Next week’s NATO summit will be a crucial test of the Trump Doctrine: pay up, or you’re on your own.

Jewish leaders attack Labour’s new antisemitism code

“Labour’s new code of conduct is too weak on antisemitism, campaigners have said. The code was drawn up after protests by Jewish groups outside parliament in March and says that “antisemitism is racism” and unacceptable in the party and wider society. It endorses the working definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), but has been criticised for failing to include all the examples of abusive behaviour that the alliance sets out. It says that criticism of the state of Israel and its policies should not automatically be regarded as antisemitic, and makes clear that even “contentious” comments on the issue “will not be treated as antisemitism unless accompanied by specific antisemitic content . . . or by other evidence of antisemitic intent”.” – The Times

MPs criticise delay in debate on proxy voting

“An MP waved a scan of his unborn child as he called for the introduction of proxy voting in the Commons. David Linden, SNP MP for Glasgow East, was angered by the government’s decision to drop a debate on the issue that campaigners had pressed for as part of a broader parental leave scheme. The debate was scrapped after the government made two short-notice ministerial statements and Esther McVey, work and pensions secretary, had to respond to an urgent question. Nevertheless several MPs used points of order or questions about parliamentary procedure to discuss the issue. Holding the scan, Mr Linden said: “This is my daughter to be born in the autumn, so I’m particularly keen to see this be put in place as soon as possible.” At present MPs must be in the Commons’ division lobbies to cast votes.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • May’s big Chequers pitch – a Least Bad Brexit that pleases no one – Alex Massie, CapX
  • Birthday celebrations for the NHS are undeserved – Ben Kelly, Reaction
  • Can Brexiteers stomach May’s Brexit blueprint? – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • How to avoid a hard Irish border (and remain outside the Customs Union and Single Market) – Simon Clarke MP, Brexit Central
  • Why Adam Smith would approve of Boris – Tim Montgomerie, UnHerd

And finally… Earl of Devon wins peers’ poll

“An old Etonian aristocrat has won a lifetime seat in the House of Lords in a hereditary peer byelection with just seven votes.  Charles Peregrine Courtenay, the Earl of Devon, was among 19 aristocrats who stood for an election decided by 31hereditary crossbench peers. A practising barrister, Courtenay defeated his rivals, Lord Aldington and Lord Ravensdale, in the runoff. Courtenay, the 19th earl of Devon, owns the 12th-century ancestral home of Powderham Castle. In his candidate’s statement he referred to the property as his “800-year-old family SME, incorporating heritage tourism, sustainable land management, and community wellbeing”.
He added: “I am 42, an able advocate and determinedly independent. I would be honoured to champion Devon in this House. I am London-based weekly.”” – The Guardian

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