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The EU collapses Chequers

“A visibly furious Theresa May rounded on EU leaders for hanging her our to dry yesterday as she battled to keep her Chequers Brexit plan alive in the face of fierce Tory criticism. At an extraordinary press conference in Salzburg, Mrs May said she still believed a deal was possible, and offered a fresh concession on Northern Ireland – but acknowledged there was ‘a lot of hard work to be done’. It came after Brussels issued a calculated snub to her Chequers plan, saying it was a non-starter. EU chief Donald Tusk said the other 27 leaders ‘all agreed’ that the complex plans at the heart of the Chequers deal ‘will not work’. It forced Mrs May to declare she was closer than ever to walking away without a deal and her close ally Chris Grayling said last night that she would unless Euroocrats soften their position on the Irish border. The Prime Minister acknowledged she had had a ‘frank’ meeting with Mr Tusk shortly before she faced the press – diplomatic code for a blazing row.” – Daily Mail

  • Humiliation for the Prime Minister as Member States reject plan – The Times
  • Government seeks to staunch fallout from summit – FT
  • Brexiteers and Remainers declare Chequers ‘dead’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Around the black cloud of Salzburg one can glimpse a silver lining

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “Like a round-table of Bond villains.” To staccato drum beats, May arrives with other leaders at the EU summit dinner.

“May miscalculated”

“For the first time since she became prime minister, Theresa May arrived at a European Union meeting with high hopes and the wind in her sails. She badly needed good news; to be able to go to her party conference in nine days’ time buoyed with success and the acceptance by the EU of her controversial Chequers proposals as the basis of a final Brexit deal. Instead, she returns humiliated after a series of mistakes, with Eurosceptic Tory MPs and a jubilant French president alike crowing at her discomfort… The French president could not help but rejoice at her humiliation as an abject lesson of Brexit; one he sees as necessary to convince voters of the punishing price of populism. “Brexit shows that it is not easy to leave the EU. It is not without costs. It is not without consequences,” he said.” – The Times

  • Merkel reveals that single market concerns underly EU reluctance – Daily Express
  • Davidson tells the Prime Minister’s critics to ‘shut up’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon calls for talks extension if no deal is reached – The Sun

More:

  • Backlash as Brussels chiefs say Brits should vote again – Daily Mail
  • Ministers leave businesses unprepared with ‘waffle’ papers – The Sun
  • Trade body says manufacturers are unprepared for no deal – FT
  • UK to bring forward new Irish Border proposals – News Letter
  • Macron tears into Brexiteers… – Daily Express
  • …and they hit back at the President – The Guardian
  • Leading Labour politician advising ‘People’s Vote’ campaign – The Sun

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: May talks tough, but climbs down. Chequers was a compromise. Now get ready for more.

Fraser Nelson: Britain should now prepare for ‘blind Brexit’

This is what’s being called a “blind Brexit”, an inconclusive deal where MPs agree on certain huge aspects of Brexit – the money given to Brussels, for example – but they would not be told very much about what they’d get in return. There would be a vague statement for MPs to endorse. We’d enter a “transition” period with no clear idea what we were transitioning to – the option once derided by George Bridges, a former Brexit minister, as the “gangplank into thin air.” And the Tories would walk down that gangplank because the alternative – jumping into the water of “no deal” – is one that, by now, terrifies even them. It’s true that a good many Tories talk about being prepared to walk away, even now. But I’ve been struck by how many of those so confident in public now admit in private that it’s too late.,, The other risk is that, if no-deal does end in chaos, it would forever associate Brexit with disaster in the public mind – and create support for rejoining the EU. Perhaps this is what has emboldened Tusk: the belief that the EU will now win any game of chicken. And that he can humiliate Mrs May without her being deposed.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hardliners move fast to exploit May’s weakness – Oliver Wright, The Times
  • The EU killed Chequers and twisted the knife on May – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • Absurd show illustrates that we’re right to leave – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Don’t buy the hype, it’s an Irish Sea border or a Customs Union – Jonathan Lis, The Guardian

Editorial:

  • Difficulties don’t mean a deal is impossible – The Times
  • Brussels can’t stop Brexit with insults – Daily Telegraph
  • We can’t wait to be free of these mobsters – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: May stonewalls as she’s asked: “How can you now cling on to Chequers?”

Two-thirds of voters would accept the Prime Minister’s NHS tax rise

“Most voters back Theresa May’s plan to raise taxes to spend more on the NHS, an influential research group claims. Six out of ten think the Government should tax and spend more, including more than half of all Tories, it said. The findings from the respected British Social Attitudes survey are likely to reinforce Downing Street confidence that the electorate will support higher taxation if the money goes to improve the NHS. But voters are only prepared to back increased taxation if the money is spent on areas from which they will personally benefit. The survey, which is carried out annually with funding from Whitehall, found that those aged between 18 and 34 were more than twice as likely to favour extra spending on education than the over-55s.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour’s spending plans ‘backed by majority’ – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Most Tory voters now oppose austerity, but won’t be marching with Corbyn – Roger Harding, Times Red Box

Ministers 1) Grayling accused of ‘shirking responsibility’ for rail failures

“Chris Grayling was last night fighting to save his political career after being accused of shirking responsibility for the rail timetable chaos. The Transport Secretary faced a growing backlash and calls for him to quit after an official report yesterday exposed the extent of the failings behind the fiasco during an overhaul earlier this year. A new timetable affecting almost half of train services was introduced on May 20, which was meant to add services and make the network more reliable. But the result of ‘systemic’ failings throughout the industry saw hundreds of services cancelled every day as passengers endured months of disruption and delays. Mr Grayling has previously told MPs he was not to blame for the chaos as he is ‘not a specialist in rail matters’ and does ‘not run the railways’.” – Daily Mail

  • Transport Secretary must shoulder the blame, MPs insist – The Times
  • Fare increases and timetable chaos are driving people off public transport – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Fragmented railways will never work, public or private – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • A new, independent organisation should run the railways – Christian Wolmar, The Sun
  • Westminster’s answer to Mister Bean – Ian Birrell, The Guardian

Editorial:

  • Britain’s stumbling rail system needs a rethink – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Another review won’t spare ministers the need to grasp the nettle of railway reform

Ministers 2) Javid pledges a ‘fightback’ against gangs which use children

“Sajid Javid has pledged a ‘fightback’ against ‘evil’ drugs gangs enslaving tens of thousands of vulnerable children. In a hard-hitting message, the Home Secretary announced he is taking action against the ‘cowardly’ criminals who ‘ruin lives and damage society’. He said it was ‘chilling’ that children as young as 12 were being lured into becoming drug mules – and unwittingly ensnared in a web of brutality and intimidation. His crackdown focuses on the ‘county lines’ networks, where gangs based in Britain’s big cities use boys and girls as ‘couriers’ to flood small market towns and seaside resorts with heroin and crack cocaine. Mr Javid launched the drive after the Mail ‘brought into sharp focus’ the terrifying scale of the problem blighting the country. In one county, Norfolk, 126 children were arrested as part of a major crackdown.” – Daily Mail

  • Head of prison service sacked over growing concern at jail violence – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 3) Hunt insists that Burmese generals must face justice

“The Burmese generals responsible for atrocities against Rohingya Muslims must be punished for their crimes, Jeremy Hunt has said after a meeting with Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The United Nations should look at all options, including a referral to the international criminal court, the British foreign secretary added. Hunt was speaking after travelling to Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were driven in clearance operations. The 700,000-plus refugees forced to flee to camps on the Bangladesh border will not return to the former homes “unless they have the comfort there is a proper judicial process, accountability and justice for the perpetrators of any atrocities”, Hunt said. It is likely that the UK will push for a separate, independent UN mechanism to continue to gather information about crimes over the next few years. A similar body was set up to look into war crimes in Syria.” – The Guardian

Ministers 4) Williamson planning new ‘cyber-force’

“An offensive cyber-force to combat hostile states, terrorist groups and domestic gangs will be set up by the Ministry of Defence and GCHQ, The Times understands. The £250 million unit will comprise about 2,000 digital warriors, with experts recruited from the military, security services and industry. It will quadruple the number of personnel in offensive cyber-roles and marks a step change in the nation’s ability to disrupt and destroy computer networks and internet-connected devices. The creation of the force comes as the threat from Russia is escalating and follows successful UK cyber-attacks against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Recruits will also target criminal gangs, including people-traffickers and paedophile rings. The force is expected to be announced soon and follows a review ordered by Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary.” – The Times

  • Ministers also considering ‘Ofcom for the web’ – The Sun

Editorial:

  • This has the potential to transform British national security – The Times

Ministers 5) Hinds urges overhaul of attitudes to technical education

“Attitudes towards technical and vocational training are outdated in the UK, the education secretary said, adding that university is not for every child. Damian Hinds urged all schools, including grammars and selective independent schools, to make sure pupils were aware that apprenticeships and other forms of technical education were a good alternative to university. He was speaking to The Times during a trip to the Netherlands to see how it structures technical education. Technical training, or further education, in the UK has been the poor relation to a degree but in other parts of Europe it is on a par if not more highly regarded. “It’s great that more kids are able to go to university. I think it’s great in particular that in families where no previous generation has gone to university and in communities where there aren’t many people going on to higher education that more and more people are having that chance,” he said.” – The Times

Davidson denies contradiction in ambition to be First Minister

“Ruth Davidson has insisted there is no “contradiction whatsoever” between her desire to be First Minister of Scotland and her ruling out ever becoming Prime Minister because of the impact it would have on her mental health. The Scottish Conservative leader said she felt a “compulsion” to open up about her struggles with mental illness, having revealed recently she had self-harmed while at university… She spoke about her mental health problems at an event in Edinburgh. It came just days after she ruled out ever standing to be Prime Minister, telling The Sunday Times: “I value my relationship and my mental health too much for it. I will not be a candidate.” The event also coincided with the launch of Ms Davidson’s first book Yes She Can, for which the former journalist interviewed a number of inspirational women… She now turns to “structure, exercise, forward momentum” when feeling anxious as she made clear her mental health problems do not prevent her from wanting Nicola Sturgeon’s job.” – The Scotsman

Corbyn’s ‘peace minister’ calls for Trident to be scrapped…

“Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘peace minister’ has been accused of flouting Labour policy by publicly demanding Trident be scrapped. Fabian Hamilton sparked a fresh bout of infighting after MailOnline uncovered footage of him openly condemning the nuclear deterrent. The Leeds MP is also due to give a talk at party conference on ‘how to protect workers in the event of scrapping Trident’. Critics said the leadership was using ‘devious’ tactics to try and reopen the issue, after Mr Corbyn failed to impose his own views. Labour has been wracked by divisions over the nuclear deterrent since Mr Corbyn became leader three years ago.  The veteran left-winger is a life-long supporter of unilateral disarmament, and is still vice president of CND. But despite Mr Corbyn vowing that he would never use Trident as PM, Labour’s official policy is to support renewal of the weapons system.” – Daily Mail

  • McDonnell considers breaking up Big Four accounting firms – FT
  • Activist who called for racially separated schools to speak at Momentum event – The Sun
  • Labour leader demanded Arsenal boycott – Daily Mail

…as his allies plot to sideline Watson with ‘female deputy’

“Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are backing a move to elect a second deputy Labour leader in a move that could undermine Tom Watson. Allies of the party leader are supporting a motion at next week’s annual conference to create the new post for a woman. The proposed rule change, submitted by the solidly Corbyn-backing Wirral West constituency, is expected to be put to a vote of delegates on Tuesday. An election campaign for a woman deputy leader would inevitably pitch some of the leading contenders against one another and would also bring into sharp relief the differences within the party over Brexit, spending priorities and attitudes to foreign policy issues, including Israel. However, Mr Corbyn was warned that the move could backfire. Asked about it yesterday Mr Watson said he would welcome a co-deputy and that the change would allow the party “a decent policy debate about where we go in the future”.” – The Times

  • Deputy causes rift by mocking aide’s ‘deep state’ fears – The Sun

Comment:

  • All that Labour wants to talk about is itself – Philip Collins, The Times

Corbyn says Labour might grant SNP another referendum

“Jeremy Corbyn last night opened the door to a second Scottish independence referendum if Labour win power. Speaking on the eve of Labour party conference he said he is “not ruling out” granting a second vote if he becomes PM. He said he would “decide at the time” what to do if Nicola Sturgeon asked for his consent. But he insisted that another vote on independence is not a good idea. Mr Corbyn made the comments in an interview with BBC Scotland ahead of his party’s conference, which gets under way in Liverpool this weekend. Scottish Conservatives have described the remarks as a “gaffe”, while the Liberal Democrats branded Mr Corbyn’s stance “extraordinary”. The SNP said it would be a “democratic outrage” for any prime minister to block giving Scots a choice over their future.” – The Sun

Scottish Government will fight Salmond in court

“The SNP government has vowed to “vigorously” fight Alex Salmond over its handling of sexual misconduct complaints against him as it formally responded to his court action. Scottish Government lawyers notified the Court of Session in Edinburgh of their intention to contest Mr Salmond’s application for judifical review of a new complaints procedure. In a statement, the Nationalist administration said the process was “legally sound” and highlighted a “number of inaccuracies” in the former First Minister’s statements. Two women have alleged he sexually harrassed them in late 2013, when he was First Minister. He strongly denies the claims. The complaints about Mr Salmond were made in January, only weeks after Nicola Sturgeon approved the new procedures for dealing with harassment complaints. He was notified in March but has complained that he was not allowed “to see and therefore properly challenge the case against me.”” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Salmond faces mounting pressure over allegations

MPs accused of not passing on pay rises

“MPs’ staff are calling for an overhaul of the way they are paid after the UK’s parliamentary expenses watchdog admitted that MPs might not be passing on money allocated to them for their employees’ wages. Since 2010, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has increased MPs’ staffing budgets annually and, in addition, allowed for a staff salary boost that is in line with average increases for public sector workers. This increased at the start of the current financial year in April by 1.8 per cent.  But it is at the discretion of the MP to award this pay rise. Unions said discrepancies in the treatment of staff have been allowed to go unchallenged for years because MPs are entitled to run their office as if they were self-employed.  Staff said they felt there was no internal way of communicating concern over pay because they work directly for the MP or their offices, rather than for parliament, and so there is no independent avenue for complaints.” – FT

News in Brief:

  • Cleverly: the Tories are to blame for Corbyn – James Forsyth and Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • Voters are crying out for a more local politics – Matt Singh, CapX
  • Now Chequers is dead, we may be facing Johnson the Inevitable – Gerald Warner, Reaction
  • Chequers is devoid of democracy – we should seek a true free trade partnership – David Davis, Brexit Central
  • Italian democracy is under siege – Paola Diana, Comment Central

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