Ministers warn May against EU ‘colony status’

“At least five cabinet ministers have privately warned Theresa May in the past week not to sign up to a Brexit plan they fear will leave Britain in perpetual “colony” status with the EU. Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Michael Gove and Geoffrey Cox, the new attorney-general, have all told May that she risks making the government collapse if she signs up to a customs union with Brussels unless there is a break clause that allows the UK to leave at a time of its choosing. The ministers fear May is buying time with Brussels, stringing out the negotiations before telling ministers to accept the arrangement or risk the prospect of a damaging no-deal scenario. “Everyone is telling her not to do this. All the key ministers have been to see her to tell her privately that she can’t sign up to it,” a cabinet source said. The delegation of “men in grey suits” – who saw May separately -came as the prime minister faced new demands from Raab, the Brexit secretary, and Chris Grayling, the transport secretary.” – Sunday Times

  • Senior Brexiteers expressing ‘strong interest’ in ‘Plan B’ – Sunday Telegraph
  • Ministers urge Hammond not to spend windfall on EU – Sun on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: ConservativeHome’s latest monthly survey is out. Should the Government extend the transition period?

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Scottish dimension of the Irish backstop cannot be overlooked

McDonnell accused of trying to ‘sabotage’ Brexit

“Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was last night accused of plotting to ‘sabotage’ Brexit by planning to slow down preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU next year. He faced claims from Tory Brexiteers that Labour was seeking to ‘frustrate’ the exit process by delaying vital legislation. There were also claims that, if Jeremy Corbyn came to power in an Election between now and the spring, he would push Brexit day back from March 29, 2019. Labour dismissed the comments as a desperate Conservative ploy to try to distract attention from ‘the mess’ they were making of leaving the EU. The rush to get the UK’s laws ready for when the country is no longer subject to European legislation involves dozens of so-called ‘statutory instruments’ (SIs), not necessarily debated in full in the Commons chamber… He said Labour wanted to get some of them debated ‘on the floor of the House as much as we possibly can so that MPs can take a view, rather than just having them nodded through.'” – Mail on Sunday

  • Is the Shadow Chancellor trying to stall no-deal preparations? – Sunday Telegraph
  • Corbyn urged to back Commons amendment on second vote – The Observer
  • Flint ‘received death threat’ from fellow Remainer for backing May’s deal – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour could back Norway-style arrangement – Sunday Express


  • If we don’t cut talk of nooses and knives from politics, we’ll have bombs too – Damian Green, Mail on Sunday

Allie Renison: Fox’s WTO setback is unfortunate, but not calamitous

“The UK will get its first real taste of this battle as it moves to open the 90-day comment period – the beginning of the negotiating process – for these talks, under article 28 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. This means the negotiations could go right up until the UK’s official Brexit date. But while leaving the EU with the UK’s new schedules “uncertified” – that is, without agreement from all other members – is undesirable, it would not be calamitous… So as negotiations go, the UK’s schedules snafu is probably something of a storm in a teacup. The government’s negotiations to accede in its own right to the global procurement agreement is more pressing, and reported US moves to challenge Britain’s application could prove thorny. But they all pale into significance when set against the scale of Brexit negotiations. If nothing else, British negotiators are getting a crash course in trade talks. The learning curve is steep, but at least we will emerge less naive about the challenge of turning global Britain’s trade policy into a reality.” – The Observer

  • Please don’t keep us in purgatory for six years – John Whittingdale, Mail on Sunday
  • Forget Sir Humphrey, this is the Prime Minister’s Brexit – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • The EU is being slowly destroyed by populism – Matthew Goodwin, Sunday Telegraph

Hammond set to ‘bow to pressure from May’ over spending

“Phillip Hammond will tomorrow bow to pressure from Theresa May to ‘turn on the spending taps’ – by announcing Budget boosts for drivers, the elderly and low-income families trapped by payday loans. After months of tension between Downing Street and the Treasury over the extent to which the Tories should respond to Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, the Chancellor has been forced to abandon his pro-austerity stance. Mr Hammond’s room for manoeuvre has already been restricted by Mrs May’s flagship announcement of a £20 billion-a-year boost for the NHS, which sources say the Chancellor tried in vain to block. He also has to find the money for a boom in council house building and a freeze in fuel duty – announced by Mrs May at the Tory Party conference when she declared the ‘end of austerity’ – and to plug a £2 billion gap in the Government’s jinxed Universal Credit benefits system.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Chancellor to unveil plan to supercharge economy and unite Britain – Sunday Express
  • Hammond splashes out to save his job – Sunday Times
  • Hundreds of millions for superfast broadband – Sunday Telegraph
  • Record £30 billion for Britain’s crumbling roads – Sun on Sunday
  • Senior backbenchers in last ditch plea over Universal Credit – Sunday Telegraph
  • Osborne accused of ‘trapping kids in poverty’ with pay cap – Sun on Sunday


  • Investment to smooth Britain’s journey to a bright post-Brexit future – Philip Hammond, Sun on Sunday
  • The spectres haunting Britain the Chancellor can’t banish – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • Can May show she’s not just all talk on austerity? – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday


  • Brexit beats any other claim on this Budget – Sunday Times
  • Chancellor must share plans to make Britain richer – Sun on Sunday

>Today: Greg Hands in Comment: Aid can have huge benefits. But it must be properly managed – and suspended when necessary.

>Yesterday: Stephen Purvis in Think Tanks: Squeezing investors to fund the NHS would backfire on the Treasury

Hinds ‘backs heads over homework’

“Stars such as Gary Lineker, Kirstie Allsopp and Rob Delaney may complain about it but Damian Hinds, the education secretary, today comes out robustly in defence of schools’ right to set homework for young children and punish those who do not complete it. In an article published on the Sunday Times website, Hinds, who has three young children, says: “When schools do set homework, children need to do it. We trust head teachers to decide their policy on homework and what happens if pupils don’t do it… Homework set at primary school is likely to be of relatively shorter duration. But if a child is asked to do it and they don’t, for that to have no consequence would not be a positive lesson.” Hinds says research by the Education Endowment Foundation shows that homework can improve primary pupils’ educational attainment, although some studies have suggested that homework for young children can have a negative effect.” – Sunday Times

  • Homework teaches a valuable lesson in character – Damian Hinds, Sunday Times
  • My lost-cost private schools could transform Britain – James Tooley, Sunday Telegraph

Williamson orders Army not to re-admit soldiers who fail drug tests…

“Sixty squaddies kicked out of the Army for taking illegal drugs have been let back in, official figures show. The disclosure comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed how drug-taking troops were being allowed to re-enlist, with £10,000 cash incentives to do so. In response, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson ordered chiefs to reject any further applications to re-enlist from ex-soldiers who had failed drugs tests. But Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood last week admitted that since 2015, 60 troops discharged from infantry regiments had rejoined. Some soldiers are frustrated by the soft approach. Comments in a recent survey of Coldstream Guards included: ‘This encourages others to do drugs, knowing they won’t be discharged.’” – Mail on Sunday

  • Armed Forces chiefs take aim against ‘shameful neglect’ of veterans – Sunday Times
  • Scores of soldiers accused of cheating at Sandhurst – Mail on Sunday

…as Cleverly and Ghani back campaign to remember Muslim troops

The majority of Britons are unaware that hundreds of thousands of Muslim soldiers fought alongside the country in the First World War, according to a new campaign backed by a former military chief and the Mayor of London. “Few know” that thousands of Muslim troops fought alongside British troops, helping to make up a force that “looked more like the Britain of 2018 than the rest of the country did at that time”, a cross-party groups states in a letter to The Sunday Telegraph today. The letter, whose signatories include General Lord Richards, the former chief of the defence staff, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and James Cleverly, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, marks the launch of a campaign seeking greater recognition of the “different colours and creeds” of those who made up the armies that fought between 1914 and 1918. As part of the Remember Together campaign, which is also backed by Nusrat Ghani, a government minister, imams will lead remembrance-themed services at mosques around the country.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Our heroes must be shown the same mercy as the IRA – Tony Parsons, Sun on Sunday

Home Office seeks to close loophole in anti-terror laws and prosecute recruiters

“Ministers want to close down a gap in current counter-terror laws for those who travel abroad to countries such as Syria or  Iraq. The terror risks now face being charged with offences if they entice support from home for a banned organisation. The government has moved to ensure that it’s a criminal offence to “express opinions or beliefs” which would lead others to support such groups. Foreign terrorist fighters along with Brits will be covered by proposals to extend the extra-territorial jurisdiction of the UK courts. Home Office Minister Baroness Williams said the move will help “tackle radicalisation” where vulnerable people including children are targeted. She said this will be achieved “by allowing prosecution in a case where someone overseas is, for example, in contact with a person in the UK and is encouraging them to support a particular proscribed organisation”.” – Sun on Sunday

Meet the billionaire backing Johnson’s leadership bid

“Boris Johnson’s bid for Downing Street will be bankrolled by one of the country’s richest hedge fund managers, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Billionaire Crispin Odey has told the former Foreign Secretary that he can count on his financial backing to run for No 10 if Theresa May is toppled over her Brexit policy. ‘I think Boris would be excellent once he became leader,’ Mr Odey told this newspaper. ‘We all know his weaknesses. But his strengths derive from those weaknesses. He makes quick decisions.’ The City titan’s deep pockets will be welcomed by Mr Johnson, who has been overtaken as the leadership favourite by his former Cabinet colleague David Davis. Both men have been jockeying for position since resigning from the Cabinet in July over Theresa May’s Chequers plan, but it is Mr Davis who has been most energetically courting Tory MPs in recent weeks.” – Mail on Sunday

Top US lawyer says Corbyn could face US sanctions over terror support

“America’s best-known lawyer is backing an investigation into whether Jeremy Corbyn should face US sanctions as a supporter of terrorism. Alan Dershowitz said he wanted to see if Corbyn, who has described the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”, could be placed under an embargo by Washington. The initiative was launched by a London-based Jewish former member of the Labour Party, who has commissioned legal advice that there is a case against the Labour leader. It is backed by UK organisations including Jewish Human Rights Watch. The group Lawyers for Israel said it was considering taking part… Any sanctions would make it impossible for Corbyn to travel to America and would ban US citizens and businesses from dealing with him. They could also affect his personal finances, and possibly Labour’s, as UK banks and multinationals refuse to handle his business for fear of US retribution.” – Sunday Times

Northern MPs urge Labour to abandon HS2

“Labour’s leadership is under pressure this weekend to reconsider its support for the £56bn HS2 high-speed rail link, as concern grows among northern MPs that the plan fails to address their areas’ economic needs. Several senior Labour MPs have told the Observer that the huge sum of money earmarked for the project, which will connect London to Leeds and Manchester via Birmingham in the first and second phases, would be better spent on connecting northern cities to one another. They argue that other schemes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail (otherwise knows as HS3 or Crossrail for the North) – a project that would create a high-speed link between Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, York and Hull – would deliver far greater economic benefits and be far cheaper. It would also, as a result, free up funds for Labour to spend on other infrastructure and investment schemes.” – The Observer

News in Brief:

  • If Czechoslovakia could be split up in six months, why should Brexit take six years? – Martin Pánek, Brexit Central
  • How Hammond can tackle the burning injustice of in-work poverty – Campbell Robb, CapX
  • We can solve Britain’s regional imbalance – Dr Paul Goldsmith, Comment Central
  • How do you solve a problem like the Saudis? – Giles Fraser, UnHerd
  • Hain has fundamentally undermined the rule of law – Charles Day, The Spectator