May edges victory in crunch customs union vote…

“Theresa May’s government was saved by a handful of Labour Eurosceptics as they joined forces to defeat a vote to keep Britain tied to the EU. Amid dramatic scenes in the Commons, a dozen Tory Remainers defied warnings they would collapse the Government by siding with Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to preserve the customs union with Brussels. The rebellion came despite desperate warnings from Tory chief whip Julian Smith that defeat on the issue would prompt him to call a vote of confidence in Mrs May, followed by a possible general election. Tory insiders said another 10 Eurosceptic MPs would have sent in letters of no confidence in Mrs May if she had lost the vote – potentially pushing the total over the 48 needed to spark a leadership challenge.” – Daily Mail

  • Fury at 12 Tories who promised to back the Prime Minister and broke their word – Daily Mail
  • Business leaders attack ‘surrender to Rees-Mogg’ on VAT – The Guardian
  • Government retreats from bid to send MPs home early – Daily Mail


  • Whips frantically persuaded pro-Brussels Tories to back the Government – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Government scrapes late win in injury time – Patrick Kidd, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The Conservative Brexit choice. Seek to park the UK in the EEA under a new Tory leader. Or press on.


…after she ‘threatened rebels with an early election’…

“Theresa May threatened Conservative rebels with a general election this summer if they defeated her plans on customs afterBrexit. Tory whips issued the warning to Remain-backing MPs, led by the former ministers Stephen Hammond and Nicky Morgan, minutes before a crucial vote last night that would have kept Britain inside a customs union. The prime minister survived the vote by a majority of six, although 12 of her MPs walked through the opposition division lobbies in defiance. One rebel revealed the threats by Chris Pincher, the deputy chief whip. “[Pincher] said they would pull the third reading of the [trade] bill and call a vote of confidence. He said we’d be responsible for a general election and putting Jeremy Corbyn in No 10. It was appalling behaviour. Totally disgraceful.”” – The Times

  • Arm twisting, dirty tricks, and gambles – Daily Telegraph
  • Major warns of early election in the autumn – Daily Mail
  • Former leader blasts ‘fanatics’ as civil war breaks out – The Times
  • Insides claim thousands of Tory Brexiteers have joined UKIP – The Sun

Liberal Democrats:

  • Swinson accuses Tory chairman of cheating by breaking a pairing – Daily Express
  • Cable and Farron ‘enrage Lib Dems’ by missing vote – The Times


  • What it’s like in Downing Street when the Government is close to collapse – Theo Bertram, The Times
  • No, this isn’t as bad as Maastricht – Michael Fabricant, Daily Telegraph
  • Party must heed lessons of the past – Owen Meredith, Times Red Box


  • May has shown surprising resilience – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister sees of ‘treacherous bid’ for customs union – The Sun

>Today: Robert Halfon’s column: A second referendum would be an insult to the people, a stunt worthy of a banana republic


…and Labour Brexiteers who backed the Government are ‘threatened with deselection’

“Labour MPs who helped Theresa May see off a challenge to her Brexit plans last night were threatened with deselection by party supporters. The Prime Minister was saved from a humiliating defeat on the customs union with the votes of four Labour Brexiteers. Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann and Graham Stringer – along with independent Kelvin Hopkins – voted with the Government. Mr Hopkins is currently suspended from the party over harassment claims. The five faced an immediate backlash from Labour supporters amid claims the Government could have been forced to call a general election if it had been defeated.” – Daily Mail

  • Hoey ‘under pressure’ as association calls for whip to be withdrawn – The Guardian
  • Crucial Opposition votes save May’s premiership – Daily Telegraph


  • Uncertain voters give Labour a poll lead – The Times

Clare Foges: May should step aside for a Brexit champion with real vision

“Where Theresa May has failed categorically is on communicating her plans to the British people. The Chequers deal should have been a big moment. She should have been all over the TV stations selling this deal hard. In the past, prime ministers held public broadcasts to explain important matters to the people. Anthony Eden gave one on the Suez crisis, Harold Wilson on the devaluation of the Pound. Ted Heath warned in 1973 that the nation faced “the hardest Christmas that we have known since the war”. These leaders looked the nation in the eye, spoke directly to the British people – and led. Theresa May, on the other hand, seems reluctant to get out and make the case for her own policy. Little wonder that two thirds of the public questioned on the Chequers deal were baffled by it. Confusion reigns. This points to a major problem with May’s premiership. She is hopeless at telling a national story.” – The Sun

  • Only the Norway option can save Brexit, but May must go first – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • Tory turmoil could see far right revival – Francis Elliott, The Times

>Today: Anna Firth in Comment: As a Brexiteer, the Chequers plan is not what I would have written, but it is a compromise I can live with

Mordaunt threatens to cut EU off from British aid cash

Shield“Aid chief Penny Mordaunt last night threatened to stop all British aid money going to EU humanitarian projects in an explosive new row with Brussels. She accused the EU of putting the world’s poorest at risk by blocking millions of pounds going to British aid organisations because of Brexit. Ms Mordaunt let rip at Brussels over revelations the European Commission is discriminating against UK charities and aid organisations by telling them they will be dropped from aid projects if Britain leaves the EU without a deal next year. She told the Commons International Development committee that 20 per cent of all EU aid funding is spent by British NGOs.” – The Sun

  • International Development Secretary lambasts Brussels – Daily Express


  • EU ‘brushes off’ Chequers plan and focuses on the border – The Times
  • Brussels issues ‘no deal’ warning – Daily Telegraph

Gove faces calls to step down over Vote Leave claims

“Michael Gove faced calls to quit the Government today after the Vote Leave campaign he helped lead was referred to police for breaking electoral law. The Environment Secretary was lashed in the Commons for either being oblivious to breaches of election laws or participating in it. Labour MP Chuka Umunna led attacks after securing an emergency debate on the Electoral Commission’s decision to fine Vote Leave £61,000 and refer it to the police. The watchdog condemned the Brexit campaign group for its behaviour during the national vote two years ago – saying there was ‘clear and substantial’ evidence of wrongdoing. Mr Umunna said ‘foul play’ was used in the referendum and said it ‘calls into question’ the result.” – Daily Mail

  • Campaign channelled funds to ‘social media ninjas’ – The Times
  • Labour calls for inquiry into ministers’ actions during referendum – The Guardian
  • Commission accused of having ‘political agenda’ – Daily Telegraph
  • SNP MPs demand referendum rerun – The Scotsman


  • Brexit campaigners must be properly sanctioned – The Times

Carney raises prospect of regulatory divergence from the EU

“The UK must have the freedom to adopt tougher regulation of the financial services industry than the EU after Brexit, the Bank of England governor said on Tuesday. Mark Carney told MPs that Britain frequently had higher standards for the sector than the rest of the EU and, as the BoE must regulate the “most complex financial system in the world”, it needed to retain that power. His comments come after the government last week published a white paper on the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU, including proposals for Britain to have greater flexibility on regulation of the financial services industry, but less market access to the bloc.” – FT

  • Watchdog dismisses idea of ‘Brexit dividend’ – Daily Mail
  • Carney warns that ‘no deal’ would have big consequences – Daily Mail

MPs 1) Johnson ‘broke rules’ with new Telegraph column

“Boris Johnson has broken rules that prevent former cabinet ministers taking up new jobs for three months after leaving office. The former foreign secretary failed to get permission from the government’s appointments watchdog for his role as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Former ministers should apply to the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba) before accepting a new role under the ministerial code. Ministers who have been members of the cabinet should not accept new appointments for three months after leaving office. Johnson returned to his £275,000-a-year Daily Telegraph column on Monday. He gave it up when he was appointed foreign secretary in July 2016.” – The Guardian

MPs 2) Chope ‘tries to block women’s conference’

“The veteran Tory MP who blocked a law criminalising upskirting has struck again – trying to stop a women’s’ conference being held in Parliament… last night he sparked a fresh backlash after he objected to female MPs using Parliament for a conference to mark 100 years since women got the vote. He was met with cries of ‘shame’ and withering looks from his fellow MPs as he shouted ‘object’ to a motion to allow the conference to be thrown at Westminster. Penny Mordaunt, the Women and Equalities Minister, left her seat on the frontbench and went to give the notorious bill blocker a stern talking to after he objected. And in a bizarre climbdown, Sir Christopher this morning has announced he is now backing the conference – meaning it will go ahead.” – Daily Mail

  • Griffiths ‘under investigation for touching’ – The Times
  • May ‘promoted MP amidst active sleaze probe’ – The Sun

Hodge launches furious attack on ‘antisemite’ Corbyn

“Jeremy Corbyn has been called a ‘****ing anti-Semite’ by a veteran Jewish Labour MP following a bitter row over the party’s failure to accept a widespread definition of anti-Semitism. In an extraordinary intervention, former minister Dame Margaret Hodge confronted the Labour leader in the Commons after yesterday’s votes on Brexit. The heated exchange took place behind the Speaker’s chair out of range of the cameras, according to the Huffington Post. ‘You’re a ****ing anti-Semite and a racist,’ Dame Margaret told him. ‘You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party.’ One witness said that Mr Corbyn replied: ‘I’m sorry you feel like that.’ A Labour Party source said: ‘She was aggressive, Jeremy was calm. Other MPs who were there were upset by it.’” – Daily Mail

  • Labour antisemitism code dismissed by chief rabbi – The Times
  • Party faces legal challenge over ‘soft’ new rules – The Sun


  • Corbyn is about to win the battle for Labour’s soul – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


  • Party’s code is feeble and unconscionable – The Times

>Today: Tony Janio in Local Government: The Momentum takeover in Brighton and Hove

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Wallace – “Labour still refuses to properly confront” its antisemitism problem

News in Brief:

  • The Norway option can save Brexit – George Trefgarne, CapX
  • The barriers to a referendum on the final Brexit deal – Kenneth Armstrong, Reaction
  • Proposed UK-EU legal dispute procedure is based on EU deals with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – Martin Howe QC, Brexit Central
  • How May, Macron and Merkel failed to tame Trump – Daniel R DePetris, The Spectator
  • Are the midterms rigged for the Republicans? – Henry Olsen, UnHerd

And finally… Thatcher statue could end up in Grantham

“A statue of Margaret Thatcher that was rejected for Parliament Square could be erected in her home town. Westminster City Council turned down plans for a 10ft bronze earlier this year, claiming the area was already saturated with monuments. And some voiced fears that a statue of the divisive leader could be targeted by hard-Left vandals. But now council officials in Grantham, Lincolnshire, are considering proposals to take the statue, reported to have cost £300,000, of Britain’s first female Prime Minister. The Public Memorials Appeal, a charity which commissions statues of public figures, has offered the statue to Grantham after failing to secure permission for it to be erected in London.” – Daily Mail

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