May warned not to revive ‘customs partnership’ plans…

Theresa May is facing an “almighty row” with Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers at Chequers amid accusations that she is pursuing the “softest Brexit possible”. On Tuesday it emerged that the Prime Minister’s new “third way” on customs arrangements will revive key parts of Theresa May’s customs partnership, which Eurosceptics fear will lead to a significant compromise on Brexit. The plans are expected to see Britain enter into a single market on goods with the EU, collect tariffs on the EU’s behalf and potentially open the door for the European Court of Justice to have a role in arbitrating future trade disputes. A Cabinet source told The Telegraph: “This doesn’t work, it is a fiction designed to keep us in the EU and Single Market. It’s just the Customs Partnership dressed up with another name.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister seeking ‘softest possible Brexit’ – Robert Peston, Facebook
  • Premier warned she could be toppled – Daily Express
  • May ‘backed plans for delayed exit’ at summit – Daily Telegraph
  • Warring Cabinet called to Downing Street – Daily Express
  • Government’s fresh bid to take back control of fishing waters – The Sun
  • Khan hits out at ‘hard Brexit zealots’ – FT
  • Sinn Fein says May should be called out on border ‘delaying tactics’ – Belfast Telegraph


  • Rees-Mogg’s Brexit history lesson is bunkum – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • Brexiteers are democrats, not ‘ideologues’ – Owen Paterson, Daily Telegraph
  • Regaining control of our fisheries is an opportunity – Michael Gove, Times Red Box
  • My solution to the customs conundrum – Henry Newman, The Guardian


>Yesterday: Audio: The Moggcast. “If it’s a bad deal, or it doesn’t meet the manifesto commitments, people won’t vote for it”

…as she chooses Hammond to warn of ‘perils of hard Brexit’

“The chancellor and the business secretary are being lined up to warn their colleagues on Friday of the dangers of pushing for a hard Brexit. Philip Hammond and Greg Clark are expected to spell out the possible consequences for tax revenue and business confidence when the cabinet meets at Chequers to try to form a united front. Theresa May is increasingly believed to be preparing to push her colleagues to accept the softest Brexit, keeping existing rules for goods, with some limited curbs to migration and some reduction to EU access for service companies. Cabinet ministers will be joined at the prime minister’s Buckinghamshire retreat by key advisers including Olly Robbins, her chief Europe adviser, but excluding Crawford Falconer, the government’s chief trade negotiator.” – The Times

  • Chancellor outlines risks of Canada-style deal – The Guardian


  • Whitehall prepares for major post-Brexit shake-up – FT
  • Unite open to ‘people’s vote on final deal – The Times
  • UK firms prepare EU bases – FT
  • MEPs refuse to reveal how they spend £3,900 monthly expenses – Daily Mail

Vote Leave:

  • Official campaign broke electoral rules, watchdog will claim – The Guardian
  • Elliott claims Electoral Commission failed to follow due process – BBC

>Today: Nick Boles and Robert Syms in Comment: One of us was a Remainer, the other a Leaver. We join now with other Tory MPs to back Theresa May.

>Yesterday: Henry Newman in Comment: Yes, we have proposed a voluntary managed alignment in goods. But direct ECJ jurisdiction must end.

Chancellor faces backlash over tax rise plans

“Chancellor Philip Hammond faced a backlash from Tory MPs last night over plans to raise fuel and alcohol duties in the Budget to pay for an increase in NHS spending. The Treasury is believed to be considering tax hikes to avoid increasing government borrowing, but irate backbenchers warned that if consumers are hammered they could vote down the Budget. The Chancellor has told departments there is no more money in the pot after the announcement of a £20billion-a-year boost for the NHS to coincide with its 70th anniversary. The pledge was made before ministers had finished working out how to pay for it, and last night backbench Tory MPs described increasing fuel and alcohol duties as ‘absolute madness’.” – Daily Mail

  • Halfon denounces fuel duty rise as ‘absolute madness’ – FT


  • Business rates must be scrapped to save high streets, report claims – Daily Mail
  • Councils urged to slash parking fees to rescue town centres – The Sun


  • A rise in fuel prices will hurt the worse-off – Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian
  • Westminster can’t save the high street – Bill Grimsey, Daily Telegraph


  • Hammond has lost his mind if he hikes fuel duty – The Sun

>Today: Robert Halfon’s column: What Hunt has done for the NHS, Hinds must do for schools. We need textbooks, not tanks.

Mordaunt to press ahead with Gender Recognition Act overhaul

“Penny Mordaunt has vowed to press ahead with plans to make changing gender easier despite a poll suggesting a majority of the public is opposed. The equalities minister said the current process, which requires consent from a doctor, was ‘overly bureaucratic’. Ms Mordaunt insisted she was determined that the state should not ‘add to people’s stress’ when they were already going through a ‘challenging’ process. But a YouGov poll for Pink News found there are considerable doubts among voters over the proposals to overhaul the Gender Recognition Act. Just 18 per cent backed letting transgender people switch legal gender without approval from a specialist doctor.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Video: WATCH: May – We want to see changes of gender demedicalised

Javid looks at easing rules on medical cannabis prescription

“The home secretary, Sajid Javid, is considering whether cannabis could be made easier to prescribe for medical use, Downing Street has said. It comes after a review last month was published in which the chief medical officer of England, Sally Davies, concluded there was evidence of “therapeutic benefit” for some conditions. Javid ordered part one of the review last month after a number of high-profile cases involving children being denied access to cannabis oil to control epileptic seizures… The cases that received the most attention focused on 12-year-old Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, six, who have forms of intractable epilepsy that appear to be eased by the use of cannabis oil. The Home Office has rubber-stamped a special exemption licence meaning Billy can go home with his medicinal cannabis.” – The Guardian

  • Ministers blasted for slow progress on care overhaul – The Sun


  • Ministers should have a businesslike annual appraisal – Ian King, The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey’s final Next Tory Leader run-off. Javid 45 per cent, Gove 43 per cent.

Obama called Johnson a ‘British Trump’

“Barack Obama called Boris Johnson the British version of Donald Trump for referring to his “part-Kenyan ancestry” during the referendum campaign. Mr Johnson suggested that President Obama removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office because of his race. The attack came on the eve of a presidential visit to the UK to bolster the Remain campaign. President Obama was annoyed by the “racially-tinged” remark which echoed attacks made by Republicans in the US, according to Ben Rhodes, who was President Obama’s deputy national security adviser. He told The Times Red Box podcast that the attack was “right at that line” of being racist. Mr Rhodes also described an “awkward” first meeting with Theresa May after she became prime minister, and said that the White House did not believe Jeremy Corbyn would survive as Labour leader.” – The Times

  • President must not meet Farage on UK visit, Downing Street insist – Daily Telegraph
  • Trump warns NATO allies to spend more on defence – The Sun

James Cartlidge: Tackle five-year land supply to help solve the housing crisis

“Later today I will be opening a Westminster Hall debate on an apparently technical part of our planning law, “five-year land supply”. In fact, innocuous as this phrase sounds, whether communities possess a five-year land supply or not is potentially one of the greatest determinants of community content – or otherwise – that you could currently conceive. At present a district must be able to demonstrate at any given time that it has five year’s worth of approved sites available for development. If not, local policies become far less important and the dominant consideration in planning approvals is national policy. To really cut to the chase, this in turn means that developments which would normally not be permitted by the local council have a much better chance of getting through on appeal.” – Times Red Box

>Today: Andrew Potter in Local Government: Attractive new homes can also be energy efficient

Ex-Tory aide hits out at police and CPS for sexual assault prosecution

“A former Tory aide today slammed the police and CPS for pursuing a 15-month prosecution for sexual assault against while ignoring key evidence. Richard Holden, 33, said prosecutors failed to provide offer witnesses who saw him do anything wrong and even seemed confused about what he was accused of doing. And he said the Metropolitan Police failed to interview or take statements from witnesses who denied the alleged assault ever took place. He accused the force of ‘comprehensively’ failing to investigate the case, forcing his defence team to gather basic evidence. Mr Holden, who in 2017 was a special adviser to then defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon, was cleared by a jury in May after just 30 minutes of deliberation.” – Daily Mail

  • VIP accuser ‘Nick’ charged with lying – The Times

>Yesterday: Richard Holden in Comment: The horrifying tale of how I was baselessly charged with sexual assault – and what it says about the police and CPS

Conservatives ruling themselves out of the race against Khan

“Sadiq Khan could cruise to re-election as London Mayor – because no senior Tories want to challenge him, it has emerged. The three main Conservative frontrunners have all ruled themselves out of the race even though the next election is nearly two years away… Plans to take on Mr Khan have been harmed by the withdrawal of a string of high-profile figures. Today James Cleverly, the Tories’ popular vice-chairman, said: “We will have a strong candidate who will beat weak, petulant, and disappointing Sadiq Khan in 2020 but it won’t be me.” Former Education Secretary Justine Greening pulled out of the contest last week, saying she was focussing on boosting social mobility across the UK. And Ed Vaizey, another ex-minister tipped for the role, said he was “never planning” to compete for the Conservative nomination.” – The Sun

Livingstone ally handed Labour anti-racism role…

“A left-wing activist who once defended Ken Livingstone over offensive remarks about a Jewish reporter has been selected to preside over a key Labour disciplinary body. Claudia Webbe, who was an aide to Mr Livingstone when he was mayor of London, was appointed chairwoman of the disputes panel, a subcommittee of the party’s influential national executive committee. The panel is tasked with deciding whether to refer complaints, including allegations of anti-Jewish behaviour, to the committee that has the power to expel members. In 2005 Mr Livingstone was suspended from the party for four weeks after he compared a Jewish journalist to a Nazi guard. Ms Webbe wrote to The Guardian to say that his suspension “smacks in the face of true democracy” and that his “history of work in the antiracist movement is unquestionable”.” – The Times

  • Corbyn brands Labour ‘champion of the working class’ – Daily Express

…as the Party re-admits O’Mara

“Labour have readmitted an MP who made a string of misogynistic and homophobic comments after its disciplinary body decided not to refer him for expulsion. Jared O’Mara, who was suspended from the party last year over a string of abusive comments on social media, was today issued a formal warning by Labour’s national executive committee. The MP for Sheffield Hallam, who replaced Nick Clegg in last year’s general election, had faced an angry backlash after it emerged that he said a well-known musician should be “sodomised with his own piano” and claimed that a winner of the TV show Pop Idol “only won because she was fat”. Lyrics in a song produced by his former band, the ‘Dirty Rotten Troubadours”, also talked about “smashing” a women “in her face”. The song continued: “I wish I were a misogynist, I’d put her in her place”.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Three-year tenancies will be a disaster for the UK rental market – Tim Worstall, CapX
  • Merkel just about survives showdown with her CSU coalition partners – Leopold Traugott, Reaction
  • Revealed: Theresa May’s soft Brexit plan – Robert Peston, The Spectator
  • The threat of post-Brexit border friction is fiction from Big Business – Patrick Minford, Brexit Central
  • Has Germany forgotten the debt it owes Britain? – Allan Mallinson, UnHerd

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