Brexit 1) May offers to extend transition and asks EU to be “creative”

“Theresa May has told EU leaders she is prepared to consider extending the Brexit transition period as she called on them to show “courage” and come up with “creative” ideas to break the current deadlock. At a summit in Brussels the Prime Minister said Britain would be open to the idea of staying tied to the EU beyond the end of December 2020, even though that could mean paying billions more to Brussels. Last week the Telegraph revealed that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, had proposed extending transition by another year, to the end of 2021, to allow more time for a trade deal to be worked out. On Wednesday Mr Barnier said “much more time” was needed to find a solution to the Irish border problem, and extending the transition period could help defuse the row over the current backstop solution.” – Daily Telegraph

  • EU leaders shelve plans for a special summit – Financial Times
  • Proposal to extend the transition period is outrageous – Leader, The Sun
  • Fabricant says the EU is worried even minor concessions could lead to collapse – Daily Express


>Yesterday: WATCH: May says that there has been “very good progress” since the meeting at Salzburg

Brexit 2) Row over what “meaningful vote” means

“Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has riled some MPs after appearing to suggest Parliament might not get a so-called “meaningful vote” on any deal. Some MPs want the right to amend whatever Theresa May eventually comes back with, but Mr Raab hinted it may only be a “take it or leave it” choice. The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg says it’s a “big fat row waiting to happen”. The argument erupted as Theresa May struggled to make progress with the EU in Brussels on Wednesday. The Tory MP who led the calls for a meaningful vote demanded a “very rapid assurance” from the government that the Commons will be able to amend any potential Brexit deal.” – BBC

Brexit 3) France proposes visa scheme for British tourists

“France last night published their doomsday No Deal scenario planning just hours before Theresa May’s arrival at the EU Council – detailing new checks at Calais and a visa scheme for British tourists. The UK has declared it would automatically protect the rights of French people living in the UK and do all it can to ease congestion at Channel ports.But an explosive draft law published in Paris seems designed to cause maximum pain to Brits living in France short of kicking them out. Brits would automatically become third party nationals that bars them from holding jobs reserved for EU citizens and restrict their access to healthcare and welfare.” – The Sun

Brexit 4) Heath: Historians will wonder why the elites feared it so much

“It’s 2050, and those of us old enough to have lived through the farcical Brexit negotiations of 2018-2019 still cringe in embarrassment when recalling that period of national incompetence…But in the end the UK got through it. With the benefit of three decades of hindsight, it turned out that the unpleasant way that we left made little difference to our long-term prosperity. The fraught, traumatic process of going from In to Out proved to be less important, over the long sweep of history, than the fact that we resolved our relationship with Europe once and for all, and the positive psychological shock this created. Today, 32 years on, our GDP per capita is higher than Germany’s, as well as, of course, than that of France; Switzerland and Norway are the only European economies that remain wealthier than us, although the Republic of Catalonia is doing well.” – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 5) Timothy: No deal is better than becoming a vassal state

“Once the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, the EU will shred Chequers faster than a Banksy painting. We will be told we need to sign up to more European laws, accept European Court rulings, adopt lax immigration rules, make annual payments and even, perhaps, remain in the Customs Union after all. This is why the backstop is dangerous. Right now we are being made to choose between the undemocratic partition of our country, or an all-UK backstop. Later, we will be forced to choose between accepting Chequers Minus, or getting stuck with the backstop for good. No deal is better than partition or permanent vassalage. We must resist the backstop and move, quickly, to Canada Plus. Time is short and the window is closing: we have weeks to put things right.” – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 6) Heseltine, Clegg and Blair make joint plea in European newspapers

“The EU should give the UK “space and time” to hold another referendum, a former prime minister and two former deputy prime ministers have said. Writing for newspapers in six EU countries and Switzerland, Tony Blair, Lord Heseltine and Sir Nick Clegg appealed to the bloc’s leaders to “resist vigorously” a “blindfold Brexit” under which the UK leaves without a clear agreement on the future relationship. “Our domestic debate is far from over and, even at this late hour, many of us are continuing to make the case that the British public needs to make the final decision once we are in possession of all the relevant facts,” they wrote.” – The Times

Brexit 7) Johnson, Davis and Rees-Mogg sign letter calling for the PM to back the Canada option

“Theresa May and her Government will not be forgiven by the British people if Brexit is reduced to a “choreographed show of resistance followed by surrender”, Boris Johnson and David Davis have warned. In their first joint intervention since quitting Cabinet, Mr Davis and Mr Johnson have written an open letter to the Prime Minister with three other former Cabinet ministers and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of a 60-strong group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs. They are calling on the Prime Minister to abandon her Chequers plan, which is “less popular with the public than the poll tax”, and instead tell Brussels that she will “reset” negotiations and negotiate a Canada-style free trade deal.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 8) Russell: Politicians need to decode for the public to understand the terms being used

“Thoughtful but bewildered people have been asking confidentially what the difference is between “Canada” and “Norway”, otherwise indistinguishable as beautiful, civilised, underpopulated countries with a lot of snow. What is a “backstop”? A hard border? Why is everyone obsessed with Northern Ireland anyway? Is free trade the same as frictionless trade? Why is Europe so keen to punish us? Why can’t they just be nicer? Why don’t we just leave, and go?….Divining and responding to people’s preferences is a possible way out of the Brexit trap. Britain’s politicians need to start decoding, and fast.” – Jenni Russell, The Times

Brexit 9) Corbyn uses PMQs to highlight business concerns

“Jeremy Corbyn has accused the government of being “too weak and too divided” to properly protect the country during Brexit, as he used prime minister’s questions to lambast Theresa May over the issue before she heads to Brussels for a crunch summit. The Labour leader cited warnings by businesses that a lack of clarity and the risk of border friction could hit investment and jobs, accused May of being obsessed by internal Conservative wrangles and urged her to keep the UK in the customs union.” – The Guardian


Hancock wants a “technological revolution” in the NHS

“Patients should wear “diet tracking apps” to monitor their health after ops, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last night. Launching more details about his hopes for a technological revolution, Mr Hancock said NHS trusts would also be forced to use systems that “talk to each other” to stop patients getting “suboptimal care”. In a document setting out his vision, he said those with long-term conditions should have access to online apps to meet their needs.” – The Sun

Hammond challenge to stop another rise in Business Rates

“Philip Hammond is under growing pressure to use this month’s Budget to help save the High Street as stores prepare for another crippling business rates rise. The total bill for next year’s rates will go up by £728 million at a time when shops are fighting for survival amid an online shopping boom. The 2.4 per cent increase in the £31 billion bill was calculated after the publication yesterday of the inflation figure for September, which is used to determine April’s business rates rise in England.” – Daily Mail

Mackinlay’s 2015 election win “would have been declared void” due to overspending

“A Tory MP’s election to Parliament could have been declared void after he overspent on his campaign to beat Nigel Farage, a court has heard. Craig Mackinlay, 52, along with his election agent Nathan Gray, 29, and party activist Marion Little, 63, are accused of deliberately submitting ‘woefully inaccurate’ expenditure returns….Declared spending on the campaign came in under the strict £52,000 limit set for the Kent constituency, but prosecutors allege up to £66,600 was not declared.” – Daily Mail

Speaker 1) Labour split over Bercow’s future

“Labour is split over the future of John Bercow after Jeremy Corbyn said his MPs should not “confuse” allegations about the Speaker’s role in the Westminster bullying scandal with the party’s Brexit priorities. Mr Bercow is under pressure to step down now after a report from Dame Laura Cox singled out “a shocking culture of fear and deference [that] is driven right from the top of the House of Commons”. Mr Bercow has faced claims – strongly denied – that he bullied two former officials. Separately, it emerged that Valerie Vaz, the shadow cabinet minister leading Labour’s response to Dame Laura’s report, has herself been accused of wrongdoing – but the party is refusing to investigate formally or take action. Ms Vaz, the shadow leader of the House of Commons, is accused by a former member of subjecting them to workplace bullying in 2012. She denies the allegations.” – Daily Telegraph

  • One man’s bully is another man’s tough boss – David Aaronovitch, The Times
  • How can my female Labour colleagues – so keen on women’s rights – still prop up tainted Bercow? – Kate Hoey, Daily Mail
  • The stench of hypocrisy – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Speaker 2)  Wilson: I was a clerk in the Commons – you soon learnt which MPs to avoid

“I was a clerk in the House of Commons for 11 years, one of those impartial, supposedly unflappable bureaucrats who make the House function…Members were prone to tantrums when they felt they were being thwarted, and that could go from a moment’s shouted irritation – I was in my second year before an MP told me to my face to f*** off – to a rather more sinister pulling of rank: one Member, still in the House, was notorious for going over clerks’ heads when he wasn’t getting his own way. I’m sorry to say that things were generally resolved in his favour. Finally, there was undoubtedly physical and sexual bullying and abuse. Young female clerks were regarded as fair game for inappropriate behaviour.” – Eliot Wilson, The Times

Evans-Pritchard: Shale is the green choice

“There is no plausible substitute today for gas in the UK’s energy system. It heats 84pc of homes, and generates half our electricity. If your concern is the planet, the relevant test is whether it is cleaner to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar or the US that must be chilled to minus 160 degrees and transported across the oceans in polluting ships. Clearly it is not. A Government report concluded that UK shale will emit 8pc less carbon than LNG (226 grams per kWh v 246 grams) and fracking has become more efficient since then. Methane release is a hazard but that is also the case with conventional gas fields. It is even worse for oil production…The reason why America’s greenhouse emissions have dropped 13pc since 2005 is precisely because cheap gas has driven coal out of power plants.” – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Ganesh: Obamacare is now popular with Americans

“American conservatism is in awkward, fitful transit from one set of beliefs to another; from Chamber of Commerce orthodoxies to what Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s former aide, calls “economic nationalism”. Even voters who would not use his brute phrase are drawn to the implied openness to state intervention…There is support for a mildly redistributive, risk-pooling state that stops well short of socialism…This is jarring to some conservative ears. It is easier to idealise their compatriots as government-shunning mavericks, chins jutted towards the frontier. But a nation does not have an immutable character. Voters began the decade with as much distaste for Obamacare as Republicans felt. The right ignores the passing of that moment at its own electoral hazard.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

News in brief

  • Divide and rule: how the EU used Ireland to take control of Brexit – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Hammond will struggle to make the numbers add up in his budget – Hamish McRae, Independent
  • Does the patent system need fixing? – Andrew Lilico, CapX
  • It would be a big mistake for May to rely on Labour MPs to push through her Brexit deal – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • May’s “Mufasa”  – how Cox scuppered the PM’s Brexit deal but is also keeping her in Number 10 – Alex Wickham, Buzzfeed