Inner Cabinet “puts pressure” on May to back off over Customs Union

“Theresa May was challenged by at least six cabinet ministers last night who told her to put a time limit on a plan that keeps Britain tied to EU customs rules. The prime minister was warned that the issue could lead to cabinet resignations unless she found a way to ensure that Britain did not sign up indefinitely to the EU’s “backstop”. The confrontation came at a rare Brexit update with certain members of the cabinet. Liam Fox, the trade secretary and usually one of her most loyal supporters, criticised the plan. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, were also among the critics.” – The Times

  • “At least three” are allegedly considering quitting – Daily Telegraph
  • May “tried to persuade” the war cabinet to accept an “indefinite backstop” – Guardian
  • There was no “breakthrough” – The Sun
  • Brussels demands more concessions – Daily Express


>Today: Lee Rotherham in Comment: What’s the point of Brexit if we’re shacked to a customs union?

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Like Mordaunt a few days ago, McVey won’t commit to backing Chequers

Reports of a ministerial “plan to buy off the DUP” over the backstop…

“The Daily Telegraph has also learnt that ministers are discussing a plan to buy off the DUP, which has threatened to withdraw its support for the Government if Mrs May presses ahead with her backstop plan. They are prepared to offer the DUP tens of millions of pounds on top of the £1 billion already agreed as part of the party’s confidence and supply deal with the Conservatives as a sweetener to accept the backstop proposal. But DUP sources made it clear on Thursday that money will not solve the problem and Arlene Foster, the party’s leader, appeared to challenge ministers to resign by saying those who believed in the Union “could not in good conscience” support the deal being proposed.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Apparently, it could run to “tens of millions” – The Sun

…But Foster “steps up warnings” to May, saving DUP can’t accept current proposal “in good conscience”…

The DUP has stepped up warnings to Theresa May not to bow to Brussels over the Northern Ireland border as the Prime Minister briefed senior ministers on the Brexit negotiations. As key Cabinet members met in Downing Street, they were warned by DUP leader Arlene Foster that they could not in “good conscience” accept the proposals currently on the table from the EU. Following the meeting, ahead of next week’s crunch summit in Brussels, the government Chief Whip Julian Smith insisted ministers were fully behind Mrs May’s negotiating strategy. “We are conducting an extremely tough negotiation. “The prime minister is doing an exceptional job and everybody is behind her,” he told reporters. It was reported, however, that a number of ministers, including Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, raised concerns during a meeting lasting around an hour and a half.” – Belfast News Letter

  • DUP talk of election… – FT
  • They “rebel”- Daily Express
  • And “go on strike” for key vote – The Sun


  • Could all this signal the end of the alliance? – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • How far will May go? – Polly Toynbee, Guardian

…And Wilson says a May replacement could “heal the wounds”

“The DUP last night called for a new Tory leader to replace Theresa May and threatened to bring down the Government if she does not abandon her Brexit proposals. It came after four senior ministers confronted the PM over her plans to keep Britain in the customs union indefinitely. The DUP, whose 10 MPs are propping up Mrs May’s Government, fear the PM’s proposals to keep Northern Ireland in the single market while mainland Britain leaves it would split the UK. The party’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said a new Conservative leader could ‘heal the wounds’ between the two parties.” – Daily Mail

Mundell insists NI will have no “special single market” arrangement

Northern Ireland will not have a special single market carve-out in the Brexit deal, David Mundell has insisted, as he signalled any such arrangement would be a resignation matter for him. The Scottish Secretary said how he and Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, were in “very close contact” with Theresa May and No 10 officials because they regarded the Union as a “very fundamental issue to us and we are not prepared to accept an outcome that challenges the integrity of the United Kingdom”. – Herald

  • Meanwhile, Ireland joins francophone nations groups (thanks in part to Wilde and Beckett) – Daily Telegraph

More Brexit

  • Hammond says deal would be bonus for budget – FT
  • Blair weighs in again – Daily Express
  • Will motorway become lorry park? – Guardian
  • Irish dairy company stockpiling cheddar in fear of price hike – Guardian

Duncan Smith, Mercer, and others’ criticisms of universal credit will translate into “crunch vote”

“Theresa May is to face a crunch vote on universal credit next month after Tory MPs revealed their opposition to it. Iain Duncan Smith, Johnny Mercer and Nigel Mills demanded that the Treasury stump up an extra £2 billion, with Mr Mercer saying that he could not support the policy as it is now. Allies of Boris Johnson say that he may weigh in to the debate, while the Brexiteers of the European Research Group said that they may not be able to support the policy. There is a series of votes looming on universal credit legislation needed to help move tax credit claimants on to the new system. The votes are expected next month.” – The Times 

  • McVey and Number 10 “disagree” over whether some people will be “worse off under UC” – Guardian
  • McVey said some would be – FT
  • May “sets up” U-turn – The Sun
  • But says some people will be “better off” after receiving benefits they were unaware of – The Sun
  • Organisations signed DWP “gag clauses”, which “prevent criticism” of McVey over Universal Credit  – The Times
  • Major warns government of political risk of not “rethinking rollout” – Daily Telegraph 
  • Hammond to “give extra money” to help with UC “instead of” expected income tax cut – Daily Telegraph
  • Though Stride implies there could be a tax cut – Daily Express
  • But seemingly not for the self employed… – The Sun
  • Meanwhile, Hammond won’t “shake up pension tax relief” – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Universal Credit where Universal Credit is due

Kirkup: Work and poverty must be addressed much more seriously

“When Sir John Major and Gordon Brown agree on something, it’s worth paying attention. As prime ministers, both had serious flaws. But as retired politicians, they know how to use their status to put neglected issues on the political agenda, as they have over universal credit (UC). Both have this week suggested that the painful implementation of the new benefits system will result in a “poll tax moment”, with people taking to the streets to protest in a show of anger that would sign the death warrant for Theresa May and the Conservatives. The comparison is unconvincing, but only in its detail. The poll tax was a mistake that affected just about everyone; UC’s problems will only be directly experienced by a minority of the electorate.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UC’s failings are inherent in its deceptive simplicity – Philip Collins, The Times
  • On Major’s comments – Steve Bell, Guardian

Javid says relaxation of overseas doctors and nurses numbers is on “temporary basis”

“The government’s decision to allow many more overseas doctors and nurses to work in the NHS was only temporary, Sajid Javid has said, in a move that has prompted concern that tough restrictions on numbers may be reimposed. The home secretary hinted at a possible U-turn on the relaxation of strict limits on medical staff allowed to come to Britain in a letter to the government’s advisers on immigration. Instead they could once again be included in the annual cap on the number of highly skilled migrant workers given work visas. In his letter to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), Javid said his decision to remove doctors and nurses from the cap on tier 2 work visas for non-EU nationals was done on a “temporary basis”, adding that he intended to “keep this change under review”.” – Guardian

Home Office to allow specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis from November

“Almost 80,000 specialist doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products from the start of November after the government outlined how a relaxation of the rules on medical marijuana would work. The Home Office said that GPs would not be able to prescribe the drug but they would be able to refer patients to specialists who could do so without further authority. Cannabis medicines will only be allowed to be administered in certain regulated forms, such as resin, and patients will not be allowed to smoke the raw plant. There are just under 80,000 doctors on the General Medical Council’s specialist register who will be allowed to prescribe the drug. Only those who focus on a single field of medicine, such as neurology or paediatrics, are on the list.” – The Times

  • Javid made written statement – Daily Mail
  • Meanwhile, Home Office agrees to immigrant detention abuse inquiry – Guardian


  • Our detention system is “shaming” – Guardian

Public Health England want pizzas limited to 928 calories…

“Pizzas and pies in restaurants and pubs are set to shrink under new targets to tackle child obesity. Health officials want chefs to limit their pies to 695 calories and have stipulated that pizzas should not contain more than 928 calories — a limit which would be breached by all but four of the classic pizzas on the menu at Pizza Express. This includes the Margherita, which contains 1,051 calories. It is thought that chains will have to reformulate popular recipes or reduce portion sizes to meet the new limits. The guidelines are to be unveiled by Public Health England (PHE) as part of a package of measures to reduce childhood obesity and promote healthy eating. In England a third of pupils leave primary school overweight or obese, with some children consuming 500 more calories a day than they should.” – The Times

  • Meanwhile, independent review tells ministers to up judges’ pay – The Times


  • People must take responsibility for themselves – Ann Widdecombe, Daily Express

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Ashers Bakery. Politicians should do their job rather than force courts to arbitrate on conflicting rights

More Conservatives

  • Griffiths calls for quick resolution to his case – Guardian
  • We won’t give up on modern slavery – Victoria Atkins, The Times
  • Politics shouldn’t just be for the “rich and connected” – Shaun Bailey, Daily Telegraph 




  • Hospitalised children shouldn’t suffer further by missing out on education – Angela Rayner and Jonathan Ashworth, The Times 
  • On Corbyn’s history lesson claims – Tom Utley, Daily Mail 

News in Brief

  • Canada equates to a May replacement – Andrew Gimson, CapX
  • It’s all about UC – Patrick Maguire, New Statesman
  • Watch the DUP – Robert Peston, Spectator
  • The SNP is a “one-trick pony” – Gerald Warner, Reaction
  • Family separation in America – Sarah Stillman, New Yorker