May has “nine days to save her plan” as cabinet ministers give her final chance to “sell” Chequers to Brussels

“Theresa May has been given nine days to save her Chequers plan. The Cabinet will give the Prime Minister one last chance to sell her proposals to EU leaders at a summit next week. But ministers have warned they will demand a Plan B if there is a repeat of the humiliating rejection she faced in Salzburg last month. European Union negotiators have been talking up the chances of reaching an agreement at the meeting next Wednesday on issues such as the Irish border. But they are still refusing to accept the proposals set out in Mrs May’s Chequers plan on how a future trade deal would work. The European Commission is expected to offer the UK a ‘supercharged’ free trade deal later this week, but will reject about 60 to 70 per cent of the Prime Minister’s blueprint, including the demand for frictionless trade.” – Daily Mail

Key Brexiters give May “room for manoeuvre” as long as customs arrangement is ended by 2022

“Brexiteers warned Theresa May last night that she could keep Britain within EU customs arrangements only until 2022 as negotiations with the bloc entered a vital week. The prime minister hopes to unlock talks that have become stuck over the so-called Irish backstop with a commitment to keep all of the UK in the European Union’s present customs arrangements after the transition period ends in December 2020. The concession was condemned by Jacob Rees-Mogg as a “serious breach” of Brexit after it was reported by The Times last week. Yesterday, however, leading Conservative Leave figures said that they were prepared to give Mrs May room for manoeuvre. They warned, though, that any extension could run only until the next election in 2022. “After that we can’t know who will be in charge, so we must be fully out by then,” a senior Brexit supporter said.” – The Times

  • Here are the recent positions of various key eurosceptics – Daily Express
  • They claim they’re not “plotting to bring down the government” – The Sun
  • Apparently, whips “threatened Brexiters with election” just before Johnson speech – Daily Express


  • It “seems there’s no imminent threat” to May – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Ambiguity must be king on the border impasse – Raphael Hogarth, The Times

Conservative whips and ministers have been enacting “ingenious plan” to persuade 25 Labour MPs to “vote for Chequers” in December

“Ministers are in talks with as many as 25 Labour MPs to force through Theresa May’s Chequers Brexit deal risking open warfare with the party’s own MPs. The Government’s whips’ office has spent recent months making contact with the MPs as a back-up option for when Theresa May’s Brexit deal is put to a vote in Parliament in early December, The Daily Telegraph has been told. News of the wooing operation has infuriated Eurosceptic Tory MPs who are now threatening to vote against elements of the Budget and other “money bills” to force Mrs May to drop her Chequers plan. Eurosceptic Conservative MPs back a looser Canada-plus free trade deal with the EU over the closer vision agreed by Mrs May’s Cabinet at her Chequers country home in the summer.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May has “drawn up plans for a secret charm offensive” – Guardian

Davis: Chequers is “less popular than the poll tax”. The EU is ready to go for Canada +++

“So Donald Tusk, the wily European Council president, has let it slip. He has tweeted: “From the very beginning, the EU offer has been a Canada+++ deal. Much further reaching on trade, internal security and foreign policy cooperation. This is a true measure of respect. And this offer remains in place.” It was always clear they would use time against us. So we had to have a Canada+++ type deal to put on the table and to get them to explain why they had not offered one to us, as they had to other nations. Regrettably No 10 has played right into their hands, and we have ended up with the Chequers compromise. It fails to take back control of our laws, money, borders and trade as it proposed a common rulebook, a facilitated customs arrangement and de facto subjugation to the European Court of Justice. That’s why Chequers is less popular than the poll tax and now effectively dead. President Tusk’s comments prove that we could easily switch strategies to Canada +++. There is even a version of the plan ready – the excellent Plan A+ published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The EU is saying it is ready to make that deal – although the Irish border is raised as a red herring.” – Daily Express

Brexit is “not on the agenda” for this week’s Cabinet meeting

“Cabinet members are not expecting to discuss Brexit at their scheduled meeting this coming week, despite the looming deadline of the European council meeting next week. Brexit does not feature on copies of the agenda for the meeting on Tuesday, even as British officials rush to finalise the UK’s negotiating position in time for the next summit on 17-18 October. Instead the papers indicate the cabinet discussion will be dominated by a presentation on the budget by the chancellor, Philip Hammond, which is due at the end of the month. Ministers expect to discuss Brexit in a week’s time when some hope that Downing Street will have clarified how the UK proposes to handle cross-border regulatory checks if no progress is made on agreeing a free trade deal with the EU.” – Guardian

Coveny speaks of Irish respect for May

“Simon Coveney has said there is a lot of respect in Ireland for Theresa May “facing down those who don’t prioritise” the border issue in the ongoing Brexit talks. He was speaking as hopes of a breakthrough in the talks between the EU and the UK increased saying the deal was 90% done. He said said no one was out to humiliate anyone. “I’m not sure Theresa May was humiliated in Salzburg,” he told Sky News, “clearly there was political disagreement.” “Theresa May has a lot of respect across the EU and Ireland because she has faced down many people in the British political system who don’t want to prioritise the issue of Ireland and Northern Ireland who want to press ahead with a Brexit that would cause a lot of damage to British/Irish relations. “Theresa May has faced that down and refused to accept that approach.” – Belfast Telegraph


>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Lewis says there “must not be a hard border”

Sturgeon says SNP MPs “would vote” for a second Brexit referendum

“Nicola Sturgeon has said her MPs will vote for a second referendum on Brexit after a new poll showed the vast majority of SNP members want one. The First Minister has previously said she would not “stand in the way” of a so-called People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal Theresa May brings back from Brussels. However on the opening day of the SNP conference in Glasgow, Ms Sturgeon said her 35 MPs would vote in favour of a People’s Vote in the Commons, rather than abstain. A YouGov poll this weekend found 89 per cent of SNP members backed a People’s Vote and 79 per cent said they wanted SNP MPs to support it in the Commons.” – Herald

  • She speaks of risk of “cobbled together deal” – FT
  • Meanwhile, senior SNP MP says IndyRef2 not necessarily needed for Scotland to leave – Daily Telegraph


  • May mustn’t forget about Scotland – Guardian

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Sturgeon claims Scottish independence is inevitable

Abe claims Britain would be welcomed into TPP “with open arms”

“Britain would be welcomed into the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal with “open arms” in a further British Brexit boost, the Japanese PM insisted yesterday. Japan’s premier Shinzo Abe described the UK as a country “equipped with global strength” as Theresa May bids to win over the EU on her Brexit plans. Mr Abe’s comments to the FT will also encourage Brexiteers as the PM has a week’s respite to sell Chequers at a crunch EU summit next week. The Cabinet are unlikely to move against her ahead of the meeting but if it is again rejected by EU leaders she will be forced to come up with a Plan B. The TPP is a wide-ranging trade agreement between 11 Pacific countries, including Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Canada and Mexico. Trade Secretary Liam Fox held talks earlier this year with overseas officials about joining the TPP. Currently around eight per cent of British exports are sent to those countries.” The Sun

Munchau: Ok. No deal is better than a really really bad no deal

“There are good reasons not to wish for a no-deal Brexit. It would disturb manufacturing supply chains on both sides of the English Channel. Brexit could become the symbol of Europe’s new political division. It could drive a wedge between the two European members of the UN Security Council. And it would weaken our ability to fight terrorism. But this series of unpleasant events only pertains to an extreme version of a no-deal Brexit— the no-deal version of the no-deal Brexit. While many Brexit outcomes are possible at this point, I confidently predict that this particularly lethal version will not happen simply because disruption would invariably threaten the Irish border — the main issue preventing an agreement — as well.” – FT

More Brexit

  • Local mayors want control over funding to replace EU money – FT


  • Macron, the wannabe Brexit-fighting Jedi – Henry Newman, The Times
  • The establishment won’t get a kicking from Brexit. The poor will – Clare Foges, The Times


  • Juncker hates the UK press. We hate him too – The Sun

Hammond now expected to cut pension tax relief to fund health service boost

“Pension tax relief will be cut to pay for the NHS, Philip Hammond is expected to announce in the Budget. Last week the Chancellor gave his strongest suggestion to date that he will raise taxes to fund the Government’s £20billion funding boost for the health service. This will include stripping back the benefits from tax-free pension contributions, a senior Treasury source told the Daily Telegraph. The cost of pensions tax relief to the Treasury is £39billion a year, according to the latest official figures. The source said this amount has been considered to high not to be used to fund the NHS pledge.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He’s “considering” Onward’s “good landlord” seller tax break – Guardian


Education select committee to call for improvements to apprenticeship system

“A system similar to that used by universities should be introduced for technical education, further education and apprenticeships to spread course information and make applying easier, say MPs. In a report on apprenticeships the Commons education committee said that not enough young people were getting the high-quality training they needed. The MPs recognised good work being done by many further education colleges and independent training providers, but called for clearer oversight of training and assessment and a tougher approach to poor-quality training. The number of approved providers of apprenticeship training has tripled in recent years, leading to concerns about the quality of what is offer.” – The Times

Johnson: We must focus on girls’ education globally

“So bring on that tide of holy feminist rage and let it wash this horror away. Let the dam burst, and end the injustice to women that I am afraid in some parts of the world is actually growing. Look at the figures for female illiteracy and you see a vast arc of shame – from Africa, to the Middle East and to South Asia. You don’t have the figures? Let me give you a selection, in ascending order of cruelty. In Egypt 33 per cent of the female population cannot read or write; in India it is 35 per cent; Congo 44 per cent; Yemen 45 per cent; Nigeria 50 per cent; Pakistan 58 per cent; Liberia 68 per cent; Burkina Faso 70 per cent; Benin 73 per cent; Central African Republic 75 per cent; Afghanistan 75 per cent. In every one of these countries these illiterate women are prevented from achieving their potential, and in every one it is the male children who get the care, the attention and the investment – with the result that there is a massive gender imbalance.” – Daily Telegraph

More Conservatives

  • Enquiry into Johnson burka comments could be “expanded” – The Times
  • May’s Observer piece is seen as pitch to “wavering Labour supporters”. Blunkett says it’s a “trap” – Guardian
  • Griffiths could be banned for long enough to “trigger a recall petition” – The Sun 
  • Tugendhat says Prince Harry should be ambassador to US – Daily Mail 


  • May’s “swerve” to the centre “tested credibility” – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian
  • It was Blair-like – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail 

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Wright says the “whole world needs to wake up” to digital threats and challenges

>Today: ToryDiary: Good luck, Prime Minister, with your plan to split the Left. Just don’t split the Right as well while you’re at it

McDonnell 1) He calls for an end to “iniquitous” universal credit

“John McDonnell has called for universal credit to be scrapped and accused Theresa May of falsely declaring an end to austerity amid reports that millions of families could lose up £200 a month when the new benefit is rolled out nationally. The shadow chancellor hit back at the prime minister, who had claimed in a newspaper article that “the end is in sight” for the squeeze on public sector spending. McDonnell warned that the benefits system was no longer providing a proper safety net. Hardening the party’s position on the universal credit, McDonnell said in a television interview: “We’ve looked and looked, we can’t see that either government’s or other proposals could reform it. It’s in a shambles, and it’s actually iniquitous as well.”” – Guardian

  • Field says ministers “knew” reforms would “leave poor families worse off” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: McDonnell – Universal Credit “is not a system that can work any more”

McDonnell 2) He says Labour is looking at proposing four-day week

“Labour is considering offering a four day week to voters to win the next general election, John McDonnell has said. The shadow chancellor said Labour will “look at the working week” as part of an examination of working practices ahead of drawing up the party’s manifesto for the 2022 election. The news comes after Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, last month said a four-day week should be “an ambition” for unions. Labour is already said to be looking at how the rise of robots and artificial intelligence can be used to benefit workers rather than just those at the top of companies.” – Daily Telegraph

More Labour

  • McDonnell “hits back” at Dearlove after Corbyn comments – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Dearlove is “worried” by Corbyn’s “past associations”

News in Brief

  • Why May wrote her Observer piece – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • Wright’s own goal – Steerpike, Spectator
  • On Trump and regret – David Runiciman, LRB
  • Kavanaugh’s journey – New Yorker