EU is “secretly preparing to accept frictionless Irish border”…

“The European Union is secretly preparing to accept a frictionless Irish border after Brexit in a move that raises the prospect of Theresa May striking a deal by the end of the year. In a concession to British concerns, EU negotiators want to use technological solutions to minimise customs checks between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. Under the EU plan, goods could be tracked using barcodes on shipping containers under “trusted-trader” schemes administered by registered companies. This would remove the need for new border infrastructure.” – The Times

  • Aim would be to use technological solutions to “minimise border checks” – The Sun


  • Barcodes are central to Brexit – The Times
  • The end is in sight here – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Cheqada

…But May is not “convinced” by proposed border “solution”

“The EU is proving unable to convince Theresa May that by using “trusted trader schemes” and technology its proposal to in effect keep Northern Ireland in the customs union and single market will not draw a border in the Irish sea. The Brexit negotiations have reached an impasse over the failure to find an acceptable solution to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU. The solution proposed by Brussels in which Northern Ireland has a different status from the rest of the UK has been rejected by the prime minister as involving the economic and constitutional “dislocation” of the country. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has nevertheless repeatedly insisted that the issue can be “de-dramatised”.” – Guardian

  • She says she’ll be “bloody difficult” in talks this week – Daily Express
  • And that it’s “my deal or no deal” – Daily Mail
  • EU thinks deal is possible. Does May? – FT


  • Risk of Labour government might scare EU into agreement – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Johnson: Chequers is a “constitutional abomination”. We must “challenge the assumptions” around the Irish backstops

“If the Brexit negotiations continue on this path they will end, I am afraid, in a spectacular political car crash. In the ensuing recriminations the road will be cordoned off. The investigative teams will roam around trying to work out how the British civil service – this purring Rolls Royce – could have come such a cropper. What distracted us? What caused us to swerve? How did Britain end up upside down in the ditch with all four wheels spinning lazily in the air? To understand the origin of the disaster, you need to go back a few hundred paces to a fatal patch of oil on the road. It is called the Irish backstop. That was where the skid began. If we are to get out of this mess, and get the great British motor back on track, then we need to understand the Irish backstop, and how it is being used to coerce the UK into becoming a vassal state of Brussels.” – Daily Telegraph

Gove: Chequers is “right”… “for now”

““Theresa May’s Brexit plan is the “right one for now” and could be altered by a future prime minster, Michael Gove has said. The Environment Secretary admitted the Chequers proposals had forced him to compromise on some of his beliefs, but insisted the most important issue now was ensuring Britain leaves the European Union in “good order”. Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint sparked the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, and has infuriated hardline Brexiteers. Asked if the plan would be permanent, Mr Gove told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “Yes, but there’s one critical thing, a future prime minister could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the European Union.” – Belfast Telegraph

  • He said it could be changed by a “future prime minister” – The Times
  • He also “repeatedly refused to condemn” Orban – Guardian
  • Meanwhile, Davis says new plan is needed by Christmas – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Gove – “A future PM could always choose to alter the relationship between Britain and the EU.”

Fox gives support to May and Chequers

“The comments are a major boost to the Prime Minister with continued speculation over a Brexiteer led coup to install Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Dr Fox told Ridge On Sunday on Sky News: “I think the Prime Minister is doing a great job in difficult circumstances domestically because of the lack of a majority in the Commons and in the difficult task of this negotiation with the European Union. “I think that supporting the Prime Minister now is in our national interest. Certainly if she wants to continue on to the next election she will have my support and I think a British Prime Minister that delivers a successful Brexit will have the support of the British public.” Dr Fox also suggested that Brussels has made “reassuring noises” in recent weeks in the Brexit negotiations.” – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Fox says a “no deal” Brexit has become less likely

Brexiteer MPs plan “rival” Birmingham conference featuring speeches by Patel and Paterson

“With anger growing over the controversial Chequers plan which will leave Britain “half in, half out” of the EU, the Bow Group and Bruges Group have organised a conference on 1 and 2 October. In a further blow to the Conservative leadership, the Brexit conference at the Birmingham Midland Institute will hear from leading Tories including former cabinet ministers Priti Patel, John Redwood and Owen Paterson. There will also be speeches by senior Tory MEP and trade expert David Campbell Bannerman and Andrea Jenkyns, the Tory MP who has openly been collecting signatures to hold a vote of confidence in Theresa May’s leadership. Respected pro-Brexit Tory MPs Daniel Kawcynski and Sir Bill Cash will also make speeches and share a platform with former Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe who has been controversially blocked from joining the Conservatives.” – Daily Express

More Brexit

  • Khan calls for second referendum – The Times
  • Labour’s Brexit position is one of “short-term opportunism” – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “To have a second referendum would be to throw this government a lifeline” insists Shadow Minister

May to say in interview broadcast tonight that she’s “begun planning” next year’s post-Brexit Queen’s Speech

“Theresa May is to defy the threat of being ousted straight after Britain leaves the EU in March by planning to relaunch her premiership next summer with domestic reforms. The prime minister has already begun planning next year’s Queen’s Speech, which is due by July, with a focus on what cabinet papers refer to as “life after Brexit”. The move will infuriate Mrs May’s critics, including moderate Conservative MPs who believe that she should be allowed to stay in office until Britain formally leaves the EU but then stand aside. It raises the prospect of her remaining in office until at least summer 2020.” – The Times

  • She will say she gets “irritated” by leadership speculation – Guardian
  • Documentary shows her “shouting out answers” to TV quiz – The Sun

Hardman: The Conservatives must be aware of seeming “in office but not in power”

“How are things? Well, they’re not shit, like you’re suggesting,” said one senior Tory MP this week. Just as I was beginning to wonder if he was rather more optimistic than most of his colleagues, he continued: “No, they’re not shit, as shit is too weak a word. If I needed a word to describe the way things are going, I’d probably go for dysentery. That gets closer.” Not all Tories use such colourful language – indeed, I know one who leaves the Commons smoking room in protest whenever Anna Soubry is present because he feels upset by her fruity turn of phrase – but all pull the same facial expression when you ask how things are.” – Guardian

Praise for Davidson over honesty about mental health

“Ruth Davidson has won praise for speaking out about how preserving her relationships and mental health were the reasons why she has decided to rule out ever taking on the Conservative Party’s top job. The 39-year-old Scottish Tory leader, who is pregnant with her first child, told how she had self-harmed and had suicidal thoughts when she was younger. In extracts from her memoirs, she revealed following the suicide of a boy from her home village when she was 17 she was diagnosed with clinical depression. Ms Davidson said she was “still frightened” of going back to the “psychological place I once inhabited”.” – Herald

Hancock criticised for uncritically endorsing “flawed” new health app

“The health secretary has provoked a row with doctors after calling for the nationwide introduction of a health app despite fears that it fails to spot serious medical problems. Matt Hancock said the app, which is being trialled in London, was “brilliant for so many patients”, adding that he wanted to it to be “available to all, not based on their postcode”. The app, called GP at Hand, uses artificial intelligence to assess symptoms and offers video and telephone consultations with GPs. It is available at present to patients in central London, with more than 30,000 signing up. Doctors have criticised it, however, for allegedly failing to spot the onset of serious problems.” – The Times 

Mordaunt to launch inquiry into “massive increase” in girls being referred for sex transition treatment

“In explosion in the number of children wanting to change sex has prompted an inquiry by ministers. Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities, wants to understand the reasons behind a 4,400 per cent increase in girls being referred for transitioning treatment in the past decade. Officials will look into the role of social media and the teaching of transgender issues in schools as part of their inquiries. There are concerns among some MPs that drug treatment is being offered too readily to children – some of them as young as 10 – without fully understanding what lies behind their desire to change sex.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Chloe Westley in Comment: The pernicious, corrosive poison of gossip in politics – and how it blights women especially

Brokenshire considering making trespassing into a crime to help evict travellers

“Ministers are considering making trespass a criminal offence to stop travellers moving onto private land. James Brokenshire, the Communities secretary, has discussed the matter with his Irish counterpart, as trespass is already a crime in Ireland. He wants to give police more powers to evict trespassers following a series of incidents in which travellers have taken up residence on land and the police have not acted swiftly to remove them. Earlier this year there was outrage when travellers entered and wrecked the Thwaites brewery in Lancashire, and were allowed to drive away by police after causing £100,000-worth of damage.” – Daily Telegraph

More Conservatives


  • I’m visiting Germany to find out how to increase productivity – Damian Hinds, The Times
  • The “lefties have a point” about Universal Credit – Clare Foges, The Times


Other parties

  • McDonnell says he and Corbyn are “as one” – Daily Telegraph
  • Swinson blames her party for being “too nice” – The Times
  • Labour says Sturgeon should apologise for North Sea “snake oil” – Daily Telegraph
  • Momentum claims Labour conference delegates support “mandatory reselection” – Guardian

“Sex attack” accusation threatens Kavanaugh’s supreme court chances

“Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who wrote the letter accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, is going public with her story, saying she thought he might kill her during an alleged drunken high school attack. ‘I thought he might inadvertently kill me,’ said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California, to The Washington Post. ‘He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.’ Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them and sent them tumbling.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Why Davidson is so impressive – Chris Deerin, New Statesman
  • A summary of the Sunday shows – Matthew Taylor, Spectator
  • On Burkina Faso – Nicolas Niarchos, New Yorker 
  • Philippa Foot’s goodness – Nakul Krishna, Aeon