Boris Johnson: My vision for a better Brexit

Britain should seek the same freedoms and opportunities in its relations with the EU as any other independent and democratic country. That means the right to make our own laws, in the interests of our own economy; the right to control our own trade policy; and the right to represent ourselves again in those international forums where we have increasingly been vacating our place for the EU. There is nothing extreme about such an ambition. It is the international norm. Of course we should not forget the reality that we have been EU members for 45 years, and that we are a spiritually and historically European country. The PM is right to say that Britain’s relationship with the EU does not have to be distant, and that it will be sui generis. But it must be one of legal equals. That is why the heart of the new relationship should not be Chequers, but a free trade agreement at least as deep as the one the EU has recently concluded with Canada.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ex-Foreign Secretary denounces ‘moral and intellectual humiliation’ of Chequers – Daily Mail
  • Prominent Tories rally behind ‘pivotal’ plan… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but DUP allies reject ‘vague’ Canada proposals – Daily Mail
  • Eurocrats vow that a deal will be done – The Sun
  • Police ‘prepared for potential disorder’ sparked by food shortages – The Scotsman


  • Tory unity on Brexit could yet see off Labour – Philip Collins, The Times
  • We need to take back control… from Whitehall – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

>Today: Peter Lilley in Comment: The Prime Minister – a modern-day Queen Canute

>Yesterday: David Shiels in Comment: Brexit, Northern Ireland, and borders. Why the DUP may yet break ranks with May – and force a general election

Conservatives divide on how to win votes and beat Labour…

“Writing for the Conservative Home website, Mr Halfon, the former skills minister, said: “The problem for Conservatives is that the Corbyn description of what is going on resonates with millions of people. Failing railways. Increased homelessness on our streets. Families struggling — despite working every day. Our infrastructure under strain and potholes across our roads. High streets closing as traditional shopping is swooped up by Amazon on the internet. Crime and antisocial behaviour on the rise. They are speaking to the problems faced by many. We too often speak only for the few.” In stark contrast, Mr Gyimah warned that the Tories “can’t out-Corbyn Corbyn, and if we try, we risk offering a pale imitation that leaves people yearning for the real thing.” In an article for The House magazine Mr Gyimah calls for a “true renaissance of the right”.” – The Times

  • Howard says May might be ‘forced out’ by the spring, Letwin prepared to lead grey suit delegation to Downing Street – The Sun
  • Gyimah mounts ‘thinly veiled attack’ on Johnson – Daily Mail
  • Street urges the Government to ‘end austerity’ – The Sun
  • Civil war erupts as MPs turn on May before conference – Daily Express
  • Government ‘tried to hide’ how rarely minister visited the North – The Guardian
  • Jenrick to meet motorists’ groups over fuel levy – The Sun


  • May needs to sack the Chancellor and install a Cabinet of radicals – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • Look beyond May and all things are possible – Iain Martin, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Eight out of ten Party members say that May should go either now or before the next election.

…as Hammond and Hancock clash on immigration

“Philip Hammond was called “a stubby pencilled accountant” in a clash in Cabinet with another senior minister over immigration. The PM’s top table met on Monday to discuss a post-Brexit immigration system. During it, the Chancellor called for flexibility in the new rules being drawn up by the Home Office to allow bosses to fill vacancies with low skilled migrants from abroad. Mr Hammond went on to cite a restaurant in his Surrey constituency that can’t hire enough staff to wait all the tables to back his argument. But he was immediately challenged by new Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is 23 years the Chancellor’s junior. Tory rising star Mr Hancock told the 62 year-old Treasury chief that his restaurant should offer higher wages to entice more Brits to do the job instead.” – The Sun

  • Slick private firms luring staff away from the NHS – Daily Mail
  • MPs attack plans to close A&E overnight – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Jade Smith: The Mighty Redcar – my town, let down by the Labour Party

Jacob Rees-Mogg: It’s time the mighty British state put families first

“The tax and benefits system does not help families. It pushes marriage towards being a luxury for the better-off because single-person benefits are more generous. Indeed, it makes commitment less likely as families that would naturally form do not because of the high cost. Also, it encourages a lack of openness with the Department of Work and Pensions because couples have a strong incentive not to admit that they are co-habiting. In turn, this causes people to drift apart because of their need to maintain a veneer of credibility with the Welfare System. Some may suggest that people are reluctant nowadays to make family commitments because of the potential financial consequences, but in past centuries they have. This is where the Tory Government’s role ought to change from being harmful to the family to being supportive.” – Daily Mail

  • MP to accuse Prime Minister of ‘failing families’ at conference – Daily Mail


  • ‘No-fault divorces undermine marriage – Julia Hartley-Brewer, The Sun

Ministers 1) Williamson to overhaul military pensions

“Gavin Williamson is to fix harsh forces pension rules that stop troops killed from passing on money to their loved ones, The Sun can reveal. It means the wives or husbands of personnel who die in service will automatically get their lump sum, even if someone else had previously been nominated to receive it. And after stepping in to help dying RAF mum Samantha McConnell pass on her cash to her kids, the changes could be unveiled by the Defence Secretary within weeks. The Sun understands that the permanent changes to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2015 are designed to avoid bitter rows over who the money goes to if the deceased has married but not updated their paperwork. A “death in service lump sum” is the entire pension multiplied by four. But at the moment it does not automatically go to spouses if someone else had been previously nominated to receive it before the marriage.” – The Sun

Ministers 2) Hunt blames Putin for Salisbury

“Jeremy Hunt pointed the finger of blame at Vladimir Putin over the Salisbury nerve agent attack today. The Foreign Secretary revealed he had a ‘frank’ meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in New York – diplomatic code for a blazing row. He told Sky News that while Britain had been careful to only assign specific blame where it is proven, Putin had to accept responsibility for the Kremlin’s activity. Britain has identified the two Russian spies to blame for the novichok attack on Sergei Skripal, which left innocent British civilian Dawn Sturgess dead. Theresa May named Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov as the assassins earlier this month – both of which were thought to be aliases. Secret documents and photographs last night unmasked Boshirov as highly-decorated spy Anatoliy Chepiga are ‘pure nonsense’.” – Daily Mail

  • Foreign Secretary warns Brussels not to underestimate the Prime Minister… – The Sun
  • …and warns rebels that she has ‘steel in her heart’ – Daily Express

Ministers 3) Bradley retains the Prime Minister’s confidence

“The Prime Minister has insisted the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley has been “doing an excellent job”. Theresa May said that “what matters is the job that Karen has been doing” following an admission from Mrs Bradley that she had difficulty understanding certain aspects of Northern Ireland. In an interview with The House magazine in Westminster earlier this month, Karen Bradley had said: “I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought, for example, in Northern Ireland – people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice versa. So, the parties fight for election within their own community.”… The comments came as Mrs Bradley gave a keynote speech to the Northern Ireland Bureau in Washington DC, where she stressed the UK government’s “wholehearted belief” in devolution.” – News Letter

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: McCluskey suggests that Unite may support Labour standing in Northern Ireland

Morgan wants limits on pollsters selling their data…

“Pollsters should be banned from flogging “lucrative” data to hedge funds before it’s made public, furious MPs claim. Tory MP Nicky Morgan said damning evidence from the EU Referendum suggested the City’s watchdog should be put in charge of the sector. The former Cabinet Minister – now chair of the Treasury Select Committee – said it appeared hedge funds made a small fortune from being given information by pollsters before exit polls were published on Referendum night. Some gained from a stunning rise in the Pound sparked by inaccurate claims Remain would win. Others benefited from more accurate information that Leave had won – allowing them to ‘short’ the Pound before others. Damian Lyons Lowe – head of Survation – is thought to have sold a private poll predicting Leave to multiple clients… In a letter to the British Polling Council, Nicky Morgan said pollsters shouldn’t be allowed to sell data to any private clients before it’s made public.” – The Sun

  • Renters abandoning Tories, new poll suggests – The Sun

…as she joins delegation of Tory MPs to Ulster

“Three Conservative MPs who back abortion reform in Northern Ireland will be in Belfast today to hear experiences of women impacted by the Province’s restrictive laws. During a day of meetings, Anna Soubry, Huw Merriman and Nicky Morgan will also speak with midwives, doctors, politicians and lawyers challenging the current regime in the courts. The visit comes on the same day that senior figures in Sinn Fein, the SDLP, the Ulster Unionists and the Alliance Party issued a joint statement urging reform. Abortions in Northern Ireland are illegal in all but exceptional medical and mental health circumstances. The government has resisted calls to step in to legislate for reform in the wake of a recent Supreme Court judgment that found the current legal framework incompatible with human rights laws. In June, a majority of Supreme Court judges said the ban on terminations in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality needed “radical reconsideration”.” – News Letter

Corbyn tells Barnier he would tear up May’s departure deal

“Jeremy Corbyn urged Michel Barnier to stop a no deal Brexit in Brussels on Thursday but told the EU’s chief negotiator that Labour would vote down any agreement that did not respect its six tests in Westminster. The threat to bring down the Government and trigger a general election comes just days before the Conservative Party Conference, where Theresa May will face Brexiteers after her hard-won Chequers plan was dismissed by the EU at a disastrous summit in Salzburg. On Wednesday Barry Gardiner, the shadow trade secretary, said that Labour was ready to “bend” its Brexit red lines but Mr Corbyn signalled he would still insist on the six tests being met. After meeting Mr Barnier, Mr Corbyn said: “He was interested to know what our views were and the six tests we have laid down by which will the British government to account.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Talks spark fresh no-deal fears – The Guardian
  • Most UK companies have yet to begin Brexit preparations – FT


  • There’s no point negotiating with the EU – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

Hatton, who helped run Liverpool’s Militant council in the 1980s, rejoins Labour

“Derek Hatton – one of the most well known and divisive figures in Liverpool politics – is back in the Labour Party, almost 33 years after he was expelled. The former deputy leader of Liverpool City Council was kicked out of Labour by then leader Neil Kinnock and the party’s ruling committee for belonging to the left-wing Militant faction. But the ECHO can today exclusively reveal that he has once again been allowed to join Labour as a member and says he is excited to be back. Mr Hatton, now 70, said it was the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn that made him re-apply for membership – but insisted that he has no plans to run for public office. The news will be met with mixed reactions across Liverpool and the country as Mr Hatton’s time as the most influential member of the council in the 1980s was one riddled with controversy.” – Liverpool Echo

  • Official who said Watson had been corrupted by ‘Jewish donors’ is re-admitted too – Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon hints at tourism tax deal to get budget through

Nicola Sturgeon has raised the prospect of allowing councils to charge a tourist tax to get her upcoming Budget passed at Holyrood. The First Minister told MSPs that the levy was not currently Scottish Government policy but “we will continue to consider these matters as approach our Budget this year.” She dropped the hint after being challenged at First Minister’s Questions over support for the scheme from Adam McVey, the SNP leader of Edinburgh City Council. Her intervention came the day after Fiona Hyslop, the Culture Minister, insisted the Scottish Government did not back a tourist tax and had no plans to allow one. But Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, told Ms Sturgeon the tax could generate at least £11 million in the capital after leaked documents showed the council is preparing to make £28 million of cuts.” – Daily Telegraph

  • SNP under fire over £126m of taxpayer cash to prop up private firms – The Scotsman
  • Scottish Government ordered to be more transparent on loans to business – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • How much can government really do to boost social mobility? – Toby Young, CapX
  • The Tories need a moral vision to combat Corbynism – Gavin Rice, Reaction
  • Is now the moment for a new centrist party? – Isabel Hardman, ES Magazine
  • The cuddly new McDonnell is more dangerous than Corbyn – Matthew Parris, The Spectator
  • Can social democracy survive? – Matthew Goodwin, UnHerd