Raab promises that Brexit divorce bill will be “formally conditional” on EU “fulfilling its side of bargain”

“Britain will refuse to pay its £39 billion divorce bill to Brussels if the European Union fails to agree a trade deal, the new Brexit Secretary pledges today. Dominic Raab told The Sunday Telegraph that he would make the vast payment formally conditional on the EU “fulfilling its side of the bargain”. The promise will be welcomed by leading Brexiteers after the Government said in May that there were no plans for a legally enforceable link between the bill and a future trading relationship. … In his first newspaper interview since his appointment, Mr Raab said that Article 50, the exit mechanism triggered by the UK, called for a trade deal as well as the withdrawal agreement, which includes the £39 billion divorce bill.” – Sunday Telegraph

May to send cabinet ministers to European capitals over summer to try to “sell” Chequers plan…

“An embattled Theresa May has ordered senior cabinet ministers to go on mini European tours during parliament’s summer break to promote her controversial Chequers agreement on Brexit, as opposition to the deal appears to be hardening in EU capitals and among grassroots Tory party members at home. … A detailed timetable of summer visits by cabinet members to European capitals has been drawn up by No 10 in the knowledge that only about four weeks of full negotiating time will be left to reach a Brexit agreement once the political holiday season ends. With many MPs resigned to the prospect of a “no deal” outcome, May will take the lead with a whistle-stop tour this week during which she will meet the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, and the Estonian prime minister, Juri Ratas. Later in July the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, David Lidington, will visit Paris, and the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will travel to Germany. The home secretary, Sajid Javid, will go to Spain, and the business secretary, Greg Clark, to Italy. These visits will be complemented by a raft of other ministerial activity across the EU, and by visits from European ministers to London during what promises to be a summer of unrelenting Brexit activity.” – Observer

  • She’ll start off the tour this week – The Sun on Sunday
  • Raab “indicates” he’s “still trying to persuade” cabinet members about the plan – Observer
  • Varadkar says “people need to get on with it” – Sunday Express

… as polling shows that voters are “implacably opposed” to the plan and think Johnson could do better Brexit job than May

“Theresa May is facing an unprecedented political crisis, according to a new poll that reveals voters are implacably opposed to her Brexit plan and are prepared to turn to Ukip or parties of the far right. In a survey that will spark unease in Downing Street, the YouGov poll found that the public believes Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, is better placed to negotiate with Brussels and lead the Conservatives into the next election. The poll will prompt Tory MPs to demand changes to May’s Brexit proposal thrashed out at Chequers earlier this month. Just one in nine voters (11%) would support her plan in a new referendum and only 12% think it would be good for Britain, while 43% disagree. May’s position will be further eroded by public support for Johnson, who resigned to oppose the Chequers deal, which would lead to the UK permanently accepting EU rules on the sale of goods. Just 16% of voters think the prime minister is handling Brexit well; more than twice as many (34%) think Johnson would do a better job.” – The Sunday Times 



>Today: ToryDiary: Our snap survey. Tory member support for May’s Brexit plan falls. Two in three are now opposed to it

Is Grayling “about to resign”? And what about Mordaunt and McVey?

“The Transport Secretary, who orchestrated the Prime Minister’s leadership campaign, is understood to have told friends he will not tolerate any more “softening” of Brexit. His fellow Cabinet Brexiteers Penny Mordaunt and Esther McVey are also on “resignation watch” having expressed their dissatisfaction with the Government’s proposals, set out in its controversial White Paper. Its contents prompted Brexit secretary David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson to resign after it was presented during a Cabinet away day at Chequers. In an interview with the Sunday Express, Mr Davis said Ms Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary, and Work and Pensions Secretary Ms McVey were the next most vehemently opposed to the plans.” – Sunday Express

  • Clarke accused of being “double agent” against Eurosceptics – Mail on Sunday


Davidson: It’s time to get behind May

“Theresa May’s Chequers plan for Brexit, it is fair to say, has come in for some flak over the past fortnight since it was published. … We have a duty to serve the public in the national interest, to deliver the Brexit referendum result in a way that mitigates risks and maximises opportunities, and keeps the fabric of our own United Kingdom together. That means compromise, whichever side of the debate we were on two years ago. And, for all the siren voices, in those two years no one has brought forward a serious, detailed alternative plan. The Prime Minister has one on the table. Yes, it requires compromise, but it is now crunch point. We are sending our Prime Minister to negotiate on the nation’s behalf against the massed ranks of 27 other countries and the entire apparatus of the EU. It is time to get behind her.” – Mail on Sunday

  • I wanted her to go, but “now isn’t the time” – Grant Shapps, The Sun on Sunday
  • It “seems unlikely” the 48 letters will come in the last two days – Adam Boulton, The Sunday Times
  • The year “ends with a whimper of relief” – Andrew Rawnsley, Observer
  • May needs to “understand the sense of betrayal that is felt” – Andrea Jenkyns, Mail on Sunday

Davis: “I wouldn’t expect the government to be particularly welcoming of Canada plus, plus, plus” today, but we’ll be “in a different position” after the summer

… “Vowing to “fight very hard from the outside” for the Brexit 17.4 million people wanted, the former SAS-trained soldier believes the UK would vote 60-40 to leave if there was a second referendum tomorrow. He also boasts that Dominic Raab, his successor at the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu), is in constant contact, describing him as “my boy”. In this political interview of the year, he reveals in his own words the inside story of Brexit and what really happened at that dramatic Chequers meeting. … “Because this is a thousand moving parts, it is impossible to tell you the individual way through, there will be half a dozen possibilities. People’s minds change in accordance with the pressure that’s put on them and the more high pressure the negotiation is, the more they’ll look around for other options. Today, I wouldn’t expect the Government to be particularly welcoming of Canada plus, plus, plus – but I think, come the autumn, we’ll be in a different position.”” – Sunday Express 


Rees-Mogg says “I think we are heading to WTO and I think WTO is nothing to be frightened of”

“Hardline Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Britain is heading for a no deal exit from the EU. The prominent Tory MP insisted that leaving on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms was now likely. Presenting a phone-in on LBC, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I think we are heading to WTO and I think WTO is nothing to be frightened of.” But he said talks should continue with Brussels, stating: “I think we should carry on negotiating until the end. “I don’t think we necessarily need the theatrics of walking away, but the truth is that WTO is likely to be all that they will offer us.” The comments came as Theresa May was digging in on her Brexit deal offer to Brussels after the EU publicly doubted the controversial proposals were workable.” – Herald

  • Was Fox “almost blocked” from talking trade with US because of Juncker timing clash? – Sunday Express


  • Maybe Rees-Mogg is portending the apocalypse.. – Kevin McKenna, Observer

Hammond talks of “upsides and downsides” to recent resignations

“Britain’s hopes of a Brexit deal may have been boosted by the Cabinet exit of ‘Brussels bogeyman’ Boris Johnson, according to Philip Hammond. The Chancellor claims that the resignations of Brexiteer Ministers Mr Johnson and David Davis could ease negotiations because of the EU’s hostility to both men. But while it could make talks easier, the revolt by Mr Johnson and Mr Davis had raised fears that Mrs May could find it impossible to win Conservative backing for any EU agreement, the Chancellor fears. Mr Hammond told friends the resignation of the two men in protest at what they saw as Mrs May’s soft Brexit had ‘upsides and downsides.’ The ‘upside’ was that ‘the two main (EU) bogeymen have been taken off the board,’ he said, comparing the Cabinet to company directors. The ‘downside’ was ‘there are now serious questions we can deliver on a deal.’” – Mail on Sunday

Lowry: I quickly concluded there was no way Northern Ireland could have “the best of both worlds, EU and UK”

“Even I, who lives in Northern Ireland, briefly wondered if there was a way in which the Province could have the best of both worlds, EU and UK, post Brexit in the form of some special status, before quickly concluding we couldn’t. Regulatory or customs divergence from Great Britain would be too great a breach and it would be irreversible. It would be the effective end of NI in the UK if, at a future date, Britain and the EU diverged more sharply (such as if Brexit began to be a success and the UK decided it could afford an even more independent relationship). So it was in this relatively recent tradition of establishment unionism that Theresa May yesterday tried to assuage unionist anxieties, and did so in Northern Ireland.” – Belfast News Letter

More Brexit

  • Morgan admits there wasn’t “contingency planning” for if Leave won – Sunday Express
  • Cable missed key vote to do centrist party planning – The Sunday Times
  • MPs call for Cummings again – Observer
  • Government to “table motion on proxy voting” after criticisms of whip – The Sunday Times 
  • MPs say Brexit is chance to ban sales of fur – Sunday Telegraph

More Conservatives

  • Leadsom reveals online abuse she suffered – Mail on Sunday 
  • May asked whether she knew about bullying allegations against Griffiths – Observer
  • Williamson speaks of “poor historic deals” as it’s revealed that RAF planes are being used as passenger jets – Mail on Sunday
  • Davies interviewed by police about forgery allegations – Mail on Sunday 
  • Why don’t people recognise the evils of communism? – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: Michael Tomlinson in Comment: I voted Leave. But as MPs leave Westminster this summer, we must look wider than the EU debate – and deliver social justice for Britain

Labour MPs and peers “planning extraordinary act of defiance” over antisemitism definition

“Labour MPs and peers are planning an extraordinary joint act of defiance against Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) that would see them incorporate the full internationally accepted definition of antisemitism into their own official rulebooks, putting them directly at odds with the party leadership. The moves by Labour members of both Houses of Parliament look set to fuel an already explosive row that erupted last week, after the NEC refused to ditch a controversial new code of conduct on antisemitism that many MPs and peers say does not go far enough. In the hope of forcing the NEC and party leadership into a U-turn, Labour MPs will on Monday push an emergency motion at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party that would, if passed, amend its rulebook to include an obligation on members “to accept and abide by the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism, including all of its accompanying examples”.” – Observer

  • Javid “backtracks” on tweet after Corbyn threatens libel – Mail on Sunday


News in Brief

  • May has survived for now… – John Rentoul, Independent
  • …but she needs to watch out for September – James Forsyth, Spectator
  • On Sarkar – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • The pressure on Cohen – John Cassidy, New Yorker
  • Trump and Trollope – Rohan Maitzen, TLS

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