Number 10 “capitulates” on ERG amendments, saying they are “consistent” with May’s Chequers agreement

“Theresa May’s compromise deal on Brexit was on the brink of collapse last night after she capitulated to concessions designed by Leave-voting Conservatives to kill off the plan. The prime minister bowed to pressure from Brexiteers and accepted four amendments to a key piece of legislation, including one intended to scupper her proposal for a customs deal. No 10 disputed claims that the new amendment killed her plan, known as the facilitated customs agreement, and insisted that Mrs May was happy to make the change. The concession enraged Remain-supporting MPs and raised fears in Westminster and Brussels that Mrs May could no longer get her preferred plan though the Commons because she is vulnerable to any further challenges from Jacob Rees-Mogg’s pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG).” – The Times

  • It was a “surprise climb down” – Daily Express
  • May says the amendments “do not change” the plan – Daily Telegraph
  • She’s accused of “caving in to rebel Brexiteers’ demands”… – Herald
  • …who think the plan is now “dead on arrival” – Daily Telegraph 
  • Soubry says “Rees-Mogg is in control” – Daily Express

Government-backed amendments all approved, including tariff collection rejection by only three votes, as Remainers begin to rebel

“Theresa May’s compromise Brexit plan has been labelled “dead on arrival” after the Prime Minister was accused of caving in to rebel Brexiteers’ demands to stave off a humiliating Commons defeat. Last night, the Eurosceptic Conservative MPs’ new clause 36, to prevent the UK collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU unless it agreed to collect them for the UK, which the Government decided to back, much to the annoyance of Remainer Tories, was approved by the skin of it teeth: 305 votes to 302, a majority three.” Herald

  • Here’s what happened – Guardian
  • 14 Tories rebelled over tariffs, including Bebb who resigned so he could – Daily Telegraph
  • 3 Labour MPs and Hopkins voted with government – Guardian
  • Association leaders “summoned to Downing Street” – The Times
  • Davis says Britain risking “giving up a real future” – Daily Telegraph


  • Parliament is “headed for deadlock” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times 
  • Thoughts on how the EU might respond – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph 
  • WTO is “no deal” – Roger Bootle, The Sun 

>Today: Audio: The Moggcast. Could the Tories now split? “I think this is up to the Prime Minister.”


Hague: The practical problems of a second referendum – and its grave risk to democracy

“… The voters would be given a new choice between three options of accepting whatever deal is negotiated by Theresa May, leaving with no deal, or staying in the EU after all. It is a beguiling argument, and it should concentrate the minds of all Tory MPs – partly because it can easily win more supporters and particularly because a second referendum is a completely disastrous scenario. Since the campaign for it will gain further ground if current Conservative divisions continue, it is worth thinking through what exactly it would involve. … Then there is the immense problem of what the result would really mean. … That, however, isn’t the worst of it. More worrying still is the damage it could inflict on democracy in the United Kingdom. This would be Parliament saying that even though the country reached a verdict after a long campaign, with a record turnout and a decisive margin, it is not capable of delivering it; that the state cannot honour the wishes of its citizens. Faith in our democratic processes would be correspondingly and severely affected.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Why people are calling for this – FT
  • May “rules out” second referendum as Grieve reveals he’s “open to the idea” – The Times
  • DUP’s Wilson suggests Greening “should join” LibDems – Belfast News Letter

More comment:

  • A new vote is needed – Zoe Williams, Guardian
  • No, it would be absurd – Simon Jenkins, Guardian
  • The public just want Brexit to happen – Austin Mitchell – Daily Mail


Fox announces chance for public involvement in trade deal decisions

“The public will be given the the chance to block controversial parts of future trade deals, Liam Fox has announced. The Trade Secretary told MPs every single potential new alliance will be subject to a separate “listening exercise” in a bid to buy consent from business chiefs, unions and voters. He said: “For the first time in over 40 years the UK will have the chance to decide who we trade with and on what terms. “Those decisions must work of the whole of the UK, and that is why we are making this unprecedented commitment to transparency and inclusiveness.” He added: “The more input we get on these, the better they will be.” There have been fears that food standards will be on the negotiating table with Britain keen to sign swift deals with other countries.” – The Sun

Government “will try” to start summer recess early to “avoid no confidence vote”

“The sense of chaos surrounding the Prime Minister increased on Monday night when it emerged that the Government will try to bring Parliament’s summer recess forward to Thursday, five days earlier than scheduled. Whitehall sources insisted the idea was simply to avoid MPs having to return for a single day next week, but it would also mean Mrs May’s critics in her own party would not have enough time to force a confidence vote in her before September. Labour, as well as several Tory MPs, signalled that they will oppose the plan, condemning Mrs May to almost another week of turmoil. It came as Mrs May prepared to address grassroots members in a conference call on Wednesday in a direct appeal to them to back her deal, after Conservative Central HQ emailed constituency chairmen pleading with them to publicly support the proposal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May hopes to “curb civil war” in party – FT


  • It’s a good idea for May – Dan Sabbagh, Guardian
  • The summer holidays would only be “temporary relief of tension” – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: This is no time for MPs to vote themselves an early holiday

Robbins “raids” DExEU of “its 50 best negotiating staff”

“Theresa May’s top EU advisor has stripped the Brexit Ministry of its 50 best negotiating staff in a new Whitehall power grab. Downing Street mandarin Olly Robbins mounted the raid after David Davis resigned as the DexEU boss last week. … The move – revealed by The Sun today – severely reduces new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s ability to set a course for the deliberations with Brussels. It has also deepened Leavers’ fears of an ongoing civil service coup after Mr Davis lost a power struggle with Mr Robbins for the PM’s ear on Brexit and was cut out of Brexit decision making. In a quid pro quo deal with Mr Raab to soften the blow, No10 has agreed to keep him fully consulted on negotiation decision making.” – The Sun 

More Brexit

  • Electoral Commission fines Vote Leave and reports it to police – Daily Mail
  • Migration to UK from EU drops – FT
  • Gove says Leave shouldn’t have “stoked up fears” about Turkey – The Sun
  • Now’s the time for English devolution – Gisela Stuart, The Times

McVey “wants to scrap” online pensions dashboard

“An online dashboard that would help millions of people keep track of their pensions could be scrapped by the welfare secretary. The government promised to create the service more than two years ago to assist workers planning for retirement and to protect them from fraudsters. It was proposed by George Osborne but has the backing of Philip Hammond, his successor in the Treasury, and Theresa May. … Sources say that Esther McVey, who was appointed in January, has moved to kill off the project. She is said to believe that the service should not be provided by the state and that it would be a distraction from efforts to roll out universal credit.” – The Times

Williamson announces new British “drone” stealth plane

“The Defence Secretary unveiled a £2billion plan for a British-made stealth plane today. Gavin Williamson said the ‘Tempest’ concept aircraft was designed to be able either with a pilot or as a drone. The vision for the state of the art jet comes after Britain was excluded from a French-German project for a new fighter plane. Any new aircraft is unlikely to fly before 2035, even if it gets off the drawing board at all. … Speaking today at the Farnborough International Airshow, Mr Williamson said: ‘Tempest is going to be a future jet fighter that will take the RAF to an ever greater height.’ Asked if the UK can afford the jets, Mr Williamson replied: ‘If the RAF is to have the capability to keep Britain safe and make sure we can defeat our adversaries at home and abroad, we need to be making this investment in a fighter jet.’” – Daily Mail 

Maltby and Etemadzadeh: Our thoughts on Leadsom’s harassment proposals

“… We both felt let down by our parties. But we also felt let down by their opponents. Etemadzadeh’s case should be an embarrassment to the Labour party – but no Tory has ever pointed this out on the parliamentary benches. For nine weeks Green sat by May’s side as serious allegations about his conduct emerged – and the Labour leader never raised a question at PMQs. The truth is that neither Conservative nor Labour could have kept a straight face while accusing the other of covering up allegations of sexual harassment and bullying. So for months, everybody has tried not to mention it. Leadsom’s proposals, due to be voted on this week, go a long way to addressing the problem. Neither of us share her politics, but we have been impressed by her personal commitment as leader of the Commons to professionalising the parliamentary workplace. Most of her proposals, vetted by experts, are not about sexual harassment at all but about applying basic workplace standards to a building that has long considered itself above the rules.” – Guardian

Labour MPs oppose Corbyn in calling for party’s acceptance of international definition of antisemitism

“Furious Labour MPs last night officially demanded the party accept the international definition of anti-Semitism in a stunning rebuke to Jeremy Corbyn. At a parliamentary meeting, backbenchers overwhelmingly called on the party’s ruling NEC committee to drop its own controversial definition that it wants to rubber stamp today. It came as 68 rabbis condemned Labour in an unprecedented open letter. Ahead of the emotionally charged meeting, Chuka Umunna warned that the party’s treatment of the Jewish community could be viewed as “institutionally racist”. Wes Streeting MP said he was already meeting Jewish schoolchildren who told him they believed Labour was anti-Semitic. And he urged the NEC to “pull this absolute mess off the table”.” – The Sun

Trump faces criticism for “very, very, good” meeting with Putin

“President Trump said that America’s relationship with Russia had changed after a “deeply productive dialogue” at his first formal summit with President Putin in Helsinki yesterday. The two leaders pledged to work together to help to resolve the Syrian civil war, in which they have backed opposing sides, and Mr Putin told Mr Trump that Russia was ready to extend the START nuclear treaty beyond 2021. The talks included a face-to-face meeting lasting more than two hours. When asked how it had gone, Mr Trump said: “I think it’s a good start. Very, very good start for everybody.” Mr Putin described the meeting as “candid and useful”. Mr Trump faced criticism after he refused to condemn alleged Russian meddling in the US elections. Contradicting his own intelligence agencies, he said that he saw no reason why the Kremlin would have interfered.” – The Times

News in Brief

  • This is not unity – Katy Balls, Spectator
  • EEA is “no deal” – Rupert Darwall, Reaction
  • Is the Donald the new Oscar? – Dominic Green, CapX
  • Putin won – Joshua Yaffa, New Yorker 
  • Musk is a narcissist – Sarah Manavis, New Statesman
  • Will 2018 be the new weather benchmark? – Thomas Webb, Reaction

3 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 17th July 2018

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.