May could face resignations without a ‘Plan B’

Theresa May is heading for a showdown with her Cabinet next week when ministers will call for a “Plan B” alternative to her Chequers Brexit deal. The Cabinet meeting on Monday, which was due to discuss migration policy, will now be dominated by Mrs May’s Salzburg humiliation. The Prime Minister will be urged to offer an alternative to the proposal, agreed at her country residence in July, to keep the UK tied to the EU after Brexit – or face resignations. One source said: “Monday is the crunch point. That’s when every Cabinet minister will have to look again and reassess like Boris [Johnson] and David Davis did.” There was speculation in Westminster that Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, might walk out of the meeting if no alternative to Chequers was presented.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Defiant Prime Minister raises stakes with no-deal threat – The Times
  • May to end pro-EU migrant policy at crunch Cabinet – The Sun
  • Sturgeon attacks ‘dreadful’ statement – The Scotsman


  • Mordaunt breaks ranks over ‘no deal’ – The Guardian
  • Conservative MPs hit back at Macron – Daily Mail
  • Tough speech draws sting out of Brexiteer revolt – The Times


  • No Deal can’t be the Government’s only contingency plan – The Times
  • It’s time May looked for a Plan B – Daily Telegraph
  • Stunning speech hit back at EU bullies – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Our special survey. Only one in ten party members says that May should stick with Chequers.

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

Quis separabit? May insists she won’t let Britain and Ulster be divided…

“Theresa May went to war with the EU yesterday for “making a mockery” of the UK during Brexit negotiations after Brussels bosses rejected her Chequers plan and refused to budge on their demands for the Irish border. The Prime Minister said there had been some progress but warned there are two major issues – the Irish border and the integrity of the EU’s single market – on which “we remain a long way apart”. In a furious speech just weeks before the deadline for a possible agreement, Mrs May told her EU counterparts they are making a “fundamental mistake” if they believe she will let the UK be broken up over the Northern Ireland border issue. She said she was committed to attempting to secure a withdrawal agreement but hit out at Brussels for its refusal to compromise.” – Daily Express

  • Democratic Unionist leader heaps praise on Prime Minister’s tough Brexit stance – The Sun
  • May defiant as she ‘reassures unionists’ – News Letter
  • Weakened premier fights for Chequers option – FT

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: The Prime Minister hits the ball back into the EU’s court

…but “she is pressing the DUP to approve concessions on regulatory checks”

“A bitter row with the DUP left Theresa May unable to deliver any progress to EU leaders on Brexit talks – prompting them to reject her Chequers plan. Ministers are in secret negotiations with the Ulster unionist party over a new bid by the PM to break the negotiations deadlock, The Sun has learned. Mrs May wants to establish a different system of rules for goods in Northern Ireland than Great Britain as the missing part of a backstop plan to ensure the Irish border remains open. But DUP leaders are refusing to agree the move, which they argue would split up the United Kingdom. And any extra regulatory barriers without the Northern Irish people’s express consent would be a serious breach of the Good Friday peace agreement, they insist. A senior DUP source told The Sun: “We have told Theresa that we will never allow her to divide up the UK’s single market, and we will never budge on that”.” – The Sun

  • Irish Government presses May for fresh proposals – The Guardian

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

She miscalculated? The EU overreacted? How and why May was ambushed in Salzburg

“It was less than 20 minutes before facing the cameras in Salzburg that Theresa May discovered the scale of the EU ambush about to befall her. Huddled in front of an aide’s iPad propped up on a table in the British delegation room, she watched as Donald Tusk read from a prepared script pronouncing the death of her Chequers blueprint in nine words. “The suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work,” he said bluntly. No one in the room had any inkling it was coming, certainly not the prime minister who had talked with Mr Tusk 30 minutes before. Not Oliver Robbins, her chief Brexit negotiator, who was sitting next to her and who had had responsibility for masterminding the summit strategy. Nor Sir Tim Barrow, her EU ambassador, whose job it was to be her eyes and ears on the ground. As soon as the words were out of Mr Tusk’s mouth, no one was in any doubt what needed to happen.” – The Times

  • EU tries to stake sting out of Salzburg fallout – The Times
  • May’s tactics left EU leaders ‘shocked’ and unconvinced – Daily Telegraph
  • Tusk faces backlash over cake joke – The Times
  • Pound plunges as spectre of crashing out looms – Daily Mail


  • The problem isn’t the EU or Brexit, it’s May’s terrible leadership – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph
  • Downing St is playing a dangerous game, burning the Brexit boats – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Will May get a better deal? Cameron couldn’t – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • The five options open to May after Salzburg – Oliver Wright, The Times
  • Speaking as a Remainer, Brussels’ conduct has been outrageous – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Andrew Murrison MP in Comment: After Salzburg, the EU needs a reality check on its security plans. Urgently.

Legal fight over Article 50 goes to Europe

Europe’s highest court is to rule whether MPs can unilaterally cancel Brexit after a group of Remain-supporting politicians won a “bombshell” legal battle. The Court of Session in Edinburgh announced it would refer to the European Court of Justice the question of whether UK can revoke its decision to trigger the Article 50 withdrawal process without the permission of the other 27 EU members. The panel of appeal judges said the “urgency of the issue”, with the UK due to leave the EU on March 29 next year, meant its request was being done under expedited procedure. If successful, the case would theoretically allow MPs to cancel Brexit and stay in the EU if there is no deal reached or they are dissatisfied with the terms. Parliament could vote to withdraw the triggering of Article 50 even if the Government wants to press ahead. The UK Government said it was “disappointed” by the decision and was giving it “careful consideration”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Boulton tears into Starmer over the Opposition’s Brexit position – Daily Express
  • Umunna thinks Labour will commit to a second referendum… – Interview, The Times
  • …but McDonnell insists they will ‘push ahead’ with Brexit – The Guardian


  • Shift towards Europe by Labour voters puts pressure on Corbyn – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • We need a new referendum, but don’t assume Remain would win – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • Labour can’t risk a second vote if May rallies the country against Brussels – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Labour’s reaction to Salzburg: full statement

Ministers 1) Atkins accuses companies of not doing enough to support women

Companies are “not supporting” women when they want to return to work after having children or caring after relatives, the Government has said. Victoria Atkins, the minister for women, said taking time out of work “cuts short” careers and stops them from re-entering the workplaces. Her comments came as the Government announced £500,000 in grants to five organisations which have pledged to support parents and carers returning to work. Ms Atkins said: “For too long, taking time out of work to care for others has cut short careers and brilliant, talented women are unable to re-enter industries which will not support them to return. This is a huge loss not only to those individuals, but to our economy and businesses all over the country. We are investing in returners to work – giving them the opportunity to refresh and grow their skills and encouraging employers to change their outdated recruitment processes.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK to help mothers rejoin the workforce to tackle the pay gap – FT

Ministers 2) Javid confirms that Windrush taskforce will issue first citizenship rejections

“A specialist taskforce set up to help people who believe they are victims of the Windrush scandal is to start the process of refusing cases deemed to be ineligible for documentation or citizenship. The Windrush taskforce was created after it emerged that long-term residents of Britain had been wrongly targeted by Theresa May’s hostile environment policy to tackle illegal immigration and were being told to prove their right to be in the country or leave. People were invited to contact the taskforce for support in obtaining documentation and citizenship. The home secretary, Sajid Javid, confirmed late on Friday that the first refusals would be issued to people in the UK who, though they have the right to remain in the country, have been found not to qualify for citizenship because serious criminality has meant they failed to meet the necessary good character requirement.” – The Guardian

Ministers 3) Grayling ‘mocked by spin doctors’

“Chris Grayling has been brutally mocked by Tory spin doctors – who have branded his media coverage “raily bad” in a withering briefing circulated to the Cabinet. The under-fire Transport Secretary has presided over months of franchising scandals, timetabling chaos, and delays to projects like Crossrail – earning him the nickname “Failing Grayling”. Ministers and MPs receive daily email memos from Tory HQ setting out “government wins” and “government losses” in the newspapers and on the airwaves. They are usually written in boring Whitehall jargon, like “neutral coverage”, “balanced” or “negative”. But Mr Grayling’s headlines have been so dire that one briefing seen by The Sun described it “raily bad” in a mocking slapdown. After a report about delays to Crossrail last month, the sassy memo read “Verdict: Raily bad.”” – The Sun

  • He truly is the kiss of death to any departmental brief – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

Experts claim Hammond won’t need new taxes to boost the NHS

“Philip Hammond doesn’t need to introduce any NEW taxes this year to pay for the NHS bonanza – City experts declared. In a huge boost for hard-up Brits, figures showed borrowing between April and August was £17.8billion – £8billion lower than a year ago. And analysts said borrowing was on course to fall to as low as £28billion for 2018-2019 – almost £10billion below forecasts earlier this Spring. It came despite a rise in borrowing for August – as corporation tax receipts at the Treasury plunged by almost 6 per cent. Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon said even in the “worse case” borrowing will be £5billion better than expected for the year. He said: “At the very least the Chancellor won’t need to announce offsetting tax rises to fund the extra money that has been earmarked for the NHS.”” – The Sun

The new kinder, gentler, Daily Mail puffs Rudd’s Tory leadership credentials

“She was humiliated when her claim that there were no Home Office targets for deporting illegal immigrants proved untrue. Since her resignation, she has kept a low profile. But now, refreshed after the summer break, the former pupil of the blue-stocking private school Cheltenham Ladies’ College is keen to re-enter the political fray. And she warns she has not given up hope of being Tory leader. Her admission comes in the week a secret memo that discussed potential Downing Street successors to Mrs May in the event of her being forced to leave office was circulated among Tory MPs. Amber Rudd is mentioned in the memo as a ‘credible’ contender ‘notwithstanding Windrush’. In response, she remarks: ‘I’ll settle for that.’ The memo adds the caveat: ‘But she is a Remainer.’ It is a big ‘but’ with Britain’s departure from the EU just six months away. Though, as we shall see, it is not a problem that deters her.” – Daily Mail

Lord Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott: Cuts have put the British military on the brink

“Earlier this year, Theresa May ordered airstrikes on Syria to punish the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons. Reports quickly emerged that British submarines loaded with cruise missiles had been dispatched and were on their way to the Mediterranean. Cue images of sleek, silent vessels powering their way underwater at top speed, the Royal Navy responding with vigour as it has done since the days of Nelson and beyond. The reality, though, was – sadly and disturbingly – very different. Not one submarine was sent, partly because Downing Street dithered but mainly because none was available. ‘We had no assets on location,’ a confidential source in the Ministry of Defence admitted to us. Bluntly, at a time of international crisis, when the prime minister wanted to take a stand against the illegal use of chemical weapons, our Armed Forces did not have what was needed for a full-throttle response.” – Daily Mail

Extra security required for pro-Israel group at Labour conference

“A pro-Israel group has been forced to take on extra security at this year’s Labour conference amid the party’s anti-Semitism crisis. The conference, which starts tomorrow, will host an academic who has claimed Zionists stopped Jews escaping the Holocaust. Professor Jonathan Rosenhead – who also suggested Israel could be orchestrating anti-Semitic posts left online by Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters – will speak at a fringe event. Extra bodyguards will protect attendees at the Labour Friends of Israel’s annual reception, and the group has scrapped its usual stand in the conference exhibition due to fears of disruption… Mr Corbyn will tonight address hundreds of his supporters as moderates in the party fear Momentum’s ‘mandatory reselection’ proposals will lead to purges. Other delegates are hoping to bounce Mr Corbyn into supporting a second Brexit referendum.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbynistas and Trump fanatics swallow the lie of the ‘deep state’ – David Aaronovitch, The Times
  • The Cold War may be over, but Russia still has ‘useful idiots’ – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Polls reveal Corbyn’s support is ‘fading away’…

“Jeremy Corbyn’s support among people who voted Labour in the 2017 general election has shrunk markedly, fuelling fears that “peak Corbyn” has passed, a YouGov poll for The Times reveals. About 63 per cent of Labour voters in the 2017 general election now view Mr Corbyn as favourable, down from 86 per cent in June last year, while 26 per cent view him as unfavourable, up from 9 per cent at election time. This suggests that Mr Corbyn’s handling of Europe, Russia and antisemitism has eaten into the support he put together during the election campaign. The poll comes as research suggests that Labour’s new members are older than many presumed. Data from Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, shows the average age of those who joined the Labour Party after 2015 to be 54, and the most common age of this cohort to be 66. A survey in 2017 of all members showed the average age to be 57 and the most common age to be 70.” – The Times

  • Leader’s journey from outsider to idol threatens to run out of momentum – Daily Telegraph
  • Three-quarters of Brits think Corbyn is a poor leader – The Sun

…as his allies draw up contingency plans over suspension fears

“Allies of Jeremy Corbyn have drawn up “emergency leadership plans” amid fears that the Labour leader could be suspended over a series of alleged undeclared trips he took overseas, The Telegraph understands. Senior party sources have claimed that the proposals have been devised in the event that Mr Corbyn is found to have breached Parliamentary rules following an investigation by the standards watchdog. The plans, which are due to be put before the party’s governing body on Saturday, include a clause that would hand Labour’s national executive committee unprecedented powers to constrain the authority of Tom Watson, who would automatically become “caretaker” leader in Mr Corbyn’s absence. It follows reports that Mr Corbyn is being investigated by Parliament’s Commissioner for Standards over a series of nine undeclared trips he made as a backbench MP, including his now notorious visit to Tunisia in October 2014.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Party would reverse Cameron’s ban on on-shore wind turbines – FT
  • SNP are no allies against austerity, Labour to warn – The Scotsman

SNP accused of pulling ‘veil of secrecy’ over Salmond claims

Nicola Sturgeon’s government has been accused of “pulling a veil of secrecy” over the Alex Salmond sexual misconduct allegations after rejecting a litany of requests for even the most basic information. The Scottish Government has rejected nearly all of the 21 Freedom of Information (FoI) requests that were tabled regarding Mr Salmond’s conduct and Ms Sturgeon’s dealings with her predecessor. Although Mr Salmond has publicly stated he held three meetings “in person” with his former deputy to discuss the two complaints, her government refused to disclose even their dates and locations. Neither would the SNP administration say whether Leslie Evans, Ms Sturgeon’s most senior mandarin, was aware of the talks. The Scottish Government also refused to confirm how many times Mr Salmond contacted Ms Sturgeon regarding the civil service investigation into the claims or whether a record was kept of their conversations.” – Daily Telegraph

Farage warns that UKIP faces marginalisation

“Nigel Farage last night warned that Ukip faces ‘total and utter marginalisation’ if it lurches to the far-right and lets Tommy Robinson join. The Brexiteer says he is ‘really upset’ over the propsects of the beleaguered party that he once led. His stark warning comes as Ukip party members are set to debate letting Robinson – a former BNP member and founder of the far-right EDL group – into their party at their conference in Birmingham. Ukip leader Gerard Batten has said he backs moves to let Robinson in – effectively overturning the party’s ban on far-right activists and fundamentally repivoting the party… Mr Batten revealed to MailOnline that he is backing a hugely controversial motion to let Robinson, 35, into the party. He said the activist could help the party broaden its appeal – particularly to voters in the north. The two men are both vocal critics of Islam, which Robinson has dubbed ‘bigoted’ and Mr Batten has described as a ‘death cult’.” – Daily Mail

  • Party ‘hardens stance on Muslims’ but ‘steps back from alt-right’ – FT
  • People’s Army faces ‘civil war’ – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • With Brexit on the horizon, it’s time to refocus on domestic reform – Callum Price, CapX
  • EU leaders’ intransigence is a gift to Theresa May – Mark Fox, Reaction
  • Welcome to the hard centre – and the future of British politics – Paul Collier, The Spectator
  • Leave Means Leave’s ‘Save Brexit’ tour begins today – John Longworth, Brexit Central
  • How the powerful are perverting the truth – Graeme Archer, UnHerd