May: “I am clear about my mission.” I commit to Chequers. And there will be no second referendum

“The coming months will be critical in shaping the future of our country and I am clear about my mission. This government will fulfil the democratic decision of the British people by ensuring that the UK leaves the European Union on 29th March next year – and that as we do so, we build a stronger, more meritocratic Britain that is fit for the future. … At Chequers in July, the government came together around a set of proposals that could break the deadlock on the negotiations and bring a fresh dynamic to the talks. And there are signs over the Summer that this has happened, with real progress in the negotiations. … Neither will I give in to those who want to re-open the whole question with a second referendum. In the Summer of 2016, millions came out to have their say. In many cases for the first time in decades, they trusted that their vote would count; that after years of feeling ignored by politics, their voices would be heard. To ask the question all over again would be a gross betrayal of our democracy – and a betrayal of that trust.” – Sunday Telegraph

More Comment:

  • My poll shows that 93 per cent of leave voters would still vote to leave – John Curtice, Sunday Express
  • Labour needs to “lead calls” for “people’s vote” – David Lammy, Observer


>Today: ToryDiary: ConHome’s monthly survey is out. Almost two months on, what’s your view of the Government’s Chequers plan for Brexit?

Brexiteers’ “alternative plan”, calling for Canada-style deal, to be published just before the party conference

“Ex-Minister and Stand Up For Brexit campaigner Steve Baker has released this video urging Mrs May to ‘chuck Chequers’ as a Canada-style deal and a no-deal blueprint are being stress-tested The alternative plan to the Chequers blueprint is being stress-tested ahead of its unveiling on the eve of conference. Brexit-backing Tory MPs are working on the benefits of a Canada-style deal and a no-deal scenario with a team of policy experts. It is set to be published just ahead of the Tories annual rally taking place in Birmingham later this month. It has been claimed around 100 MPs could back the alternative proposal. It comes as Eurosceptic MPs including former party leader Iain Duncan Smith and Cabinet Minister Priti Patel back the Stand Up For Brexit campaign. Ex-Minister Steve Baker last night said: “The Prime Minister should ‘chuck Chequers’ and stand up for Brexit based on advanced free trade agreement with the EU, an agreement of the kind the EU has offered in principle.”” – The Sun on Sunday 

Boles: Here’s my own plan for a “Better Brexit”. I can’t support Chequers now. We need EEA followed by Canada

“This autumn Britain faces a terrible choice: between the humiliation of a deal dictated by Brussels; and the chaos of crashing out of the EU next March with no deal. But it is not too late to change course. Today I am publishing my plan for a Better Brexit. In July of last year I wrote a column for the ConservativeHome website suggesting that we should decouple from the EU gradually, parking temporarily in EFTA and the EEA before negotiating a long term relationship based on a free trade agreement. In short that we should try to emulate Norway’s relationship with the EU before moving to a position more like Canada’s. At the time, the government was confident that it could do a better deal than that, that it would be able to secure full access to the Single Market and the Customs Union without being a member of the relevant institutions, or signing up to their rules. Now we know better – and the government is poised to sign up to a much worse deal than the one I outlined.”  – The Sunday Telegraph

  • People across the world believe in Britain. We need to be confident here, and “bang the drum for free trade” – Liam Fox, The Sun on Sunday 

Barnier says Britain should change mind in favour of customs union

“Michel Barnier issued a stark warning to the UK government, urging the British negotiators to keep the country’s borders open or put companies at risk of major disruption. The EU’s chief negotiator told London to strike a deal securing continued access to the European Union’s single market or the customs union. If the British government was to opt for a so-called hard Brexit, severing all the current ties with Brussels, companies would face disruption to their supply chains. Mr Barnier told the German Sunday newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper: “Should the British government decide in favour of a customs union with us, which is still possible, things would be much easier.” The Frenchman’s warning comes after the European Union urged its member states to ramp up their preparations for a no-deal Brexit.” – Sunday Express

Crosby is “secretly masterminding” plan to “destroy” Chequers and make Johnson leader

“Theresa May was facing a fresh threat to her leadership last night as senior Tories said the man who ran her election campaign is secretly masterminding a bid to destroy her Brexit plan and install Boris Johnson in Downing Street. Sir Lynton Crosby — the election guru who helped Johnson win two London mayoral elections — has ordered his allies to work with hardline Brexiteers in the Commons to run a nationwide campaign against the prime minister’s Chequers plan. One of Crosby’s senior staff at his firm CTF Partners is in close contact with the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexit hardliners run by Jacob Rees-Mogg and a campaign that is seen as a front for Johnson’s leadership ambitions. MPs plan to publish an alternative to May’s plan before the Tory party conference with the backing of both Johnson and David Davis, who resigned from the cabinet over Chequers.” – The Sunday Times

May has been “plotting survival strategies” including considering potential election in case of Brexit-deal loss

“As metaphors go for what is about to unfold in Westminster, it is hard to top the moment Steve Baker’s parachute failed to open while he was skydiving in Portugal. The former Brexit minister, who resigned in disgust at Theresa May’s Chequers deal, said: “I was in a severe spiral dive, heading through decision height. I could not land it, so I cut away the main and deployed the reserve.” … May’s team have been plotting survival strategies. Her political aides have discussed with civil servants whether to call an election if her Brexit deal is voted down by the Commons. They have also openly suggested that she might have to make a public statement that she plans not to fight the 2022 general election. One proposal, that May should say next month’s Tory conference would be her last as leader, has been rejected on the grounds that it would undermine her negotiating position with Brussels.” – The Sunday Times

  • As recess ends, here’s what’s going on in the parties – Observer


  • What was May thinking when she committed £4bn to Africa? – Nick Ferrari, Sunday Express 

Hinds to announce national “phonics roadshow” to help teachers

“Primary school kids will benefit from a reading and writing “blitz” to drive up standards, we can reveal. A thousand teachers will get help from a team of experts touring the country to boost reading and writing skills.Education Secretary Damian Hinds today reveals a phonics roadshow will tour the country to aid staff. Teachers across 500 schools in England will try and drive pupils up the international literacy league tables. The latest figures show England’s nine and ten-year-old’s are ranked joint eighth out of 50 countries. More than 150,000 pupils aged six are on track to be better readers than in 2012.” – The Sun on Sunday

More government 

More Conservatives

  • Rudd speaks of risks of giving data to companies – Sunday Telegraph
  • Could May “come face to face” with Banks at the party conference? – Black Dog, Mail on Sunday
  • You can’t compare Ukip entryism with Corbyn situation – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: Line Kristensen in Comment: To win next time, the Conservative Party must make recruiting and training activists its priority

>Yesterday: Local Government: Council by-election results since August 9th

Field: A by election is a possibility…

“… I shall remain as active as ever, in putting the interests of Birkenhead and the country first, and on the broader policy issues of poverty, jobs, welfare and pensions where I have long campaigned. A by-election is certainly a possibility, but it must be balanced against the commitment I gave the people of Birkenhead at the last election, always to put the interests of the town and the country above all other priorities. Accompanying that commitment was a series of pledges — including a programme of work to counter destitution and low pay, and get hundreds of new homes built — which I will continue working flat out to deliver. I look forward to a time when I can once again attempt to seek the Labour whip. But, for this to happen, the national party must make two significant changes — I cannot, through continuing to take the whip, lend any legitimacy to the most appalling culture that is now dominating some national and local Labour institutions.” – The Sunday Times


Labour to announce plans to make deselection easier

“Plans to make it easier to remove Labour MPs, fast-track the return of expelled members, and accept supporters of hard-left groups are to be unveiled at the party’s conference, the Observer has learned. In a move that will intensify the latest bout of bitter infighting between supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and his critics, local Labour groups from across the country will attempt to overhaul party rules with measures that would hand more power to the membership. Labour’s leadership is now under pressure to kill off the proposals, which threaten to cause renewed anger among MPs and put them at greater risk of deselection.” – Observer

Labour MPs “planning vote of no confidence” in Corbyn

“The Labour Party is in a fresh crisis after details emerged of a planned coup against Jeremy Corbyn via a vote of no confidence to aid a plot to form a new political party backed by opposition MPs. Moderate MPs are hoping a no-confidence vote will help MPs feel safe in expressing their anger at the party’s leadership. According to the Sunday Times, they hope the vote will give MPs the chance to see they are not alone in their frustrations and will give them the confidence to then quit the party and form a breakaway. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said he is “worried and saddened” at the prospect of a split in Labour. Mr McDonnell told the New Statesman: “Yes, I think there are people who are willing to leave the party. “I think I’m saddened by that. I really am saddened and I’m disappointed.”” – Sunday Express

Sturgeon to announce her legislative programme on Tuesday

“First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will try and regain the political initiative this week when she informs MSPs of her Government’s legislative programme for the upcoming year. Sturgeon, whose Government has been rocked by the sexual harassment allegations made against Alex Salmond, will attempt to get on the front foot by making announcements on the economy, mental health, and social security.” – Sunday Herald

  • Salmond reaches double his crowdfunding target – Observer
  • Meanwhile, politicians pledge to protest during Trump trip to Ireland – Belfast Telegraph


  • Salmond may still have an important role to play – Kevin McKenna, Observer

News in Brief

  • Comment on McCain – New Yorker
  • We must keep FPTP – Henry Hill, 1828
  • McDonnell’s sadness – Patrick Maguire, New Statesman
  • The truth of suffrage – Susan Pedersen, LRB
  • The power of algorithms – Carl Miller, TLS
  • The joy of sleep – Rubin Naiman, Aeon