Support mounting for ‘EFTA option’ – but not for May

“In the absence of alternatives, some Conservative MPs and activists are turning to the softest of Brexits, ruled out by May’s government early in negotiations, that would mean the U.K. remaining in the EU’s single market by joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) along with Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Two government ministers said the idea is gaining traction among Conservative MPs looking for an escape route from the looming crisis. The influential ConservativeHome website for Tory activists set hares running last week when it floated the controversial soft-Brexit “plan B,” which is notable for not being immediately shot down. Because May has ruled out this option on multiple occasions, it would likely require a new Tory leader to pursue it.” – Politico

  • Prime Minister given ‘last chance’ to persuade EU leaders – The Times
  • May defends stockpiling as ‘sensible’ – The Sun
  • Prime Minister ‘plans to scare us witless’ over no deal – Daily Mail
  • Johnson ‘slams soft Brexit plans’ – The Sun
  • UK ‘poised for world trade’ – Daily Express
  • Coveney dismisses British ‘bravado’ over WTO Brexit – Daily Telegraph


  • It’s sad how Irish politicians try to belittle us — our stance won’t change – The Sun

>Today: Ed Hall in Comment: Yes, a No Deal Armageddon will deliver chaos – to French farmers, German car makers, Italian designers and Spanish property owners


Fox ‘would have quit’ if Chequers had retained customs union

Liam Fox has indicated he would have quit the Government if Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit plan had kept the UK in the customs union. In an interview with The Telegraph, the International Trade Secretary said that assurances Britain would be free to vary tariffs and quotas after Brexit convinced him to stay. He says he did not follow Boris Johnson and David Davis out of the door because he has a duty to prepare the country for life outside of the European Union. But he warned against any further concessions to Brussels, saying that forcing Britain to remain bound by free movement of EU migrants would cross a “red line”. The comments came as Mr Fox was visiting Washington DC for talks with senior US administration officials about the prospect of a UK-US free trade deal after Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • SNP’s Brexit bill faces Supreme Court challenge – The Scotsman


  • Voters ‘wish Cameron had remained Prime Minister’ – The Times
  • Lineker joins second referendum campaign – Daily Mail
  • Wales faces biggest hit from bad Brexit finance deal – FT
  • Brexit activist fights back against ‘Electoral Commission stitch-up’ – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The Canada Plus Plus Plus answer to the Northern Ireland question

>Yesterday: Darren Grimes in Comment: Help me to challenge the Electoral Commission’s ruling

Dominic Raab: Let’s get on with leaving

“Our plan sets out a principled and pragmatic Brexit. One that sees us outside of the political institutions in Brussels that so many of us campaigned to leave. Not only do we have a plan, we are delivering it. In Parliament, above all the din, we are getting the legislation in place to deliver Brexit. The EU (Withdrawal) Act passed last month will mean we take back control over our laws and guarantee a smooth legal transition for businesses and citizens. Last week our Customs Bill, which gives us the power to make trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world, passed the House of Commons. In the negotiations with the EU, 80 per cent of the withdrawal agreement has been agreed. Mr Barnier and I will be discussing how we complete the remaining 20 per cent, including guarantees to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.” – Daily Mail

  • We’re making significant progress – Suella Braverman, Times Red Box
  • Betrayal on Brexit would push voters to the extremes – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

Javid orders investigation into backgrounds of grooming gangs

“The home secretary has ordered research into why men convicted of grooming-gang sex crimes are disproportionately of Pakistani origin. Sajid Javid, whose own family roots are in Pakistan, said that establishing the “particular characteristics” of the perpetrators was “critical to our understanding” of offending in places including Rotherham, Telford and Newcastle. He made the commitment in a letter to Sarah Champion, the Labour MP who was strongly criticised for stating that the country “has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”. The Times revealed yesterday that Ms Champion was receiving increased security detail after her comments led to death threats and alleged moves by hard-left and Muslim opponents to force her from her Rotherham constituency.” – The Times

  • Opposition MP gets increased security after threats – The Guardian


  • Deaths in police custody highest in ten years – Daily Mail
  • Legal aid cuts undermining rule of law, say MPs – FT

>Today: Local Government: CCHQ encourages applicants to be Police and Crime Commissioner candidates

Johnson hits back at critics over jihadis facing death penalty

“Boris Johnson has hit back at criticism for letting two British jihadis face the death penalty in America. He insisted that if the Government had been able to order their deaths with a drone strike in Syria, ‘too damn right we would’. Alexanda Kotey and Shafee Elsheikh are linked to the murder of 27 Western hostages. They are members of the IS terror gang of four men from west London dubbed The Beatles – which included the notorious executioner Jihadi John. Kotey and Elsheikh, who have been stripped of British citizenship, now face extradition from Syria to the US on terrorism charges. Controversy arose earlier this week when a leaked Home Office document revealed that the Government has dropped its usual requirement for assurances they would not be executed if convicted by a US court.” – Daily Mail

  • Cabinet rift over treatment of ISIS ‘beatles’ revealed – Daily Telegraph
  • Drone strikes are ‘retribution for atrocities’, ex-Foreign Secretary suggests – The Times


  • We can’t serve justice to jihadis without tearing up our human rights laws – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph


  • Britain shirks duty in the case of Isis ‘Beatles’ – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Treason trials

Opposition ‘call in lawyers’ to firm up nationalisation plans

“Labour is hiring lawyers to convert its manifesto vows into draft legislation and ensure its plans for nationalisation are legally watertight. The plan to recruit legal professionals was proposed by Jon Trickett, a West Yorkshire MP, and agreed at a shadow cabinet awayday on Monday, according to a party source. It is part of a move to project the party as ready for government amid Tory turmoil over Brexit and to assure voters that Labour’s plan to bring rail, mail and water back into public ownership is legally sound. The party is also considering proposals to devolve more powers to local and regional government. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, is to launch a consultation later this year. Jeremy Corbyn, who launched a “Build it in Britain” campaign this week, sought yesterday to play down suggestions that it echoed Donald Trump’s protectionist policies.” – The Times

  • Labour leader snubs Trump… but meets Qatari monarch – Daily Express

Three Jewish papers unite against Labour antisemitism

“Today, Britain’s three leading Jewish newspapers — Jewish ChronicleJewish News and Jewish Telegraph — take the unprecedented step of speaking as one by publishing the same front page. We do so because of the existential threat to Jewish life in this country that would be posed by a Jeremy Corbyn-led government. We do so because the party that was, until recently, the natural home for our community has seen its values and integrity eroded by Corbynite contempt for Jews and Israel. The stain and shame of antisemitism has coursed through Her Majesty’s Opposition since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015. From Chakrabarti to Livingstone, there have been many alarming lows. Last week’s stubborn refusal to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, provoking Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge to call her leader an antisemite to his face, was the most sinister yet.” – Jewish Chronicle

  • Hodge ‘misinterpreted’ antisemitism code, claims McDonnell – Daily Telegraph
  • Bragg accuses Labour leader of insulting Jewish people – The Times
  • Corbyn branded ‘existential threat’ to Jewish community – Daily Mail
  • Politics ‘fuelling antisemitic incidents’, warns watchdog – The Guardian


  • Momentum ‘turns to US radical for inspiration – The Times


  • Claims of antisemitism face hostility and suspicion – Benedict Cooper, Times Red Box

Labour whip charged with perverting the course of justice

“A Labour rising star is to stand trial with her singer brother for lying about speeding points just a month after she was elected, The Sun can reveal. Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya, 34, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with perverting the course of justice on July 12. Prosecutors say the Jeremy Corbyn ally conspired with her little brother Festus to avoid penalty points in remarkable similarity to the case that ended the career of ex-Lib Dem Cabinet Minister Chris Huhne. The former solicitor is due back in court early next month but had kept news of her arrest and charge secret while serving as a Labour whip. Festus has also been charged for misleading the police as they tried to work out who was driving.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Johnson has been ‘privately talking to Steve Bannon’ – Buzzfeed
  • Corbyn wants Britain to forgo the benefits of trade. Why? – Oliver Kamm, CapX
  • After 15 years, it’s time to say a fond farewell to the Daily Politics – James Cullimore, Reaction
  • Ukip is back thanks to the Chequers backlash – Matthew Goodwin, The Spectator
  • The EU wants to negotiate but the Government has no room for concessions – Iain Duncan Smith, Brexit Central

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