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Brexit 1) May will “face down” critics at 1922 Committee

“Theresa May will try to face down her fiercest critics at a meeting in Parliament on Wednesday after a “heated” debate at her weekly Cabinet meeting about Brexit. A senior Tory source said Mrs May was “taking the opportunity to talk to colleagues” at the 1922 Committee meeting after Tuesday’s Cabinet was dominated by no-deal preparations and fears among Eurosceptic ministers that Britain will get tied into the customs union indefinitely. Mrs May was challenged at the meeting by more than half a dozen “impassioned” ministers to set an end-date so Britain does not remain in a customs union indefinitely after a 21-month transition period is over.” – Daily Telegraph

  • It’s not too late to save Brexit, if only the PM would abandon her bunker and start listening, Stewart Jackson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Lee Reynolds on Comment: What the Belfast Agreement does and doesn’t say about the UK-Ireland land border – and much else

Brexit 2) Transition “could last for years”, Cabinet told yesterday…

“Theresa May’s Brexit plan could leave Britain in a “long-running” multi-year transition period despite her promise that it would last only a few months, according to leaked cabinet papers seen by The Times. Cabinet ministers have been warned by officials that there is no guarantee Britain will be able to extricate itself from the transition arrangements in her preferred Brexit option. The leaked documents concede that the plan “could, in theory, lead to a long-running IP (implementation period)”. They make clear that the arrangement could last for many years on a “rolling” basis with an “annual decision point” where any transition extension is reviewed.” – The Times

Brexit 3) …as Lidington and Cox disagree on policy

“Britain could face another Black Wednesday meltdown if Brexit goes wrong, the Cabinet was yesterday warned during “an almighty row”. Theresa May’s top table endured a heated exchange of views during a Brexit discussion yesterday as tensions boiled over.Revelation of the fresh dust up came as the PM prepares to confront all Tory backbenchers in a showdown meeting tonight. Ministers yesterday divided into two camps over how to unlock a deal with Brussels during an update from the PM on last week’s failed EU summit. Pro-EU Cabinet Office minister David Lidington called for more compromises to avoid the sort of economic meltdown that hit the UK when it span out of the ERM in September 1992. The 62 year-old Tory veteran insisted that as the only member of the Cabinet who was an MP them, they “couldn’t have that level of chaos again”.” – The Sun

  • Cox compares Customs Union trap to Dante’s first circle of Hell – Daily Express

Brexit 4) Alternative routes planned to safeguard drug supplies if there is “no deal”

“Ferry and freight firms will be urged to plan alternative routes for drugs and other vital supplies if a no-deal Brexit blocks cross-Channel traffic. The suppliers will be told to use Belgian and Dutch ports if blockages at Calais threaten to delay shipments. The news emerged after a “passionate” cabinet meeting in which ministers were told about contingencies for no deal. Meanwhile, a government watchdog is warning new UK border controls may not be ready in a no-deal situation. Cabinet ministers are receiving weekly updates about preparations for Brexit until the UK leaves the EU next March.” – BBC

  • Charter ships could beat the chaos – The Times
  • “We look toward a new partnership,” says The Queen – Daily Express
  • Fighting crime would be “significantly” harder without a deal claims National Crime Agency chief – Daily Mail
  • Dyson to build electric cars in Singapore – The Times
  • Leaving the EU gives a chance for radical devolution to the regions – The Guardian

>Today: Lee Reynolds on Comment: What the Belfast Agreement does and doesn’t say about the UK-Ireland land border – and much else

Brexit 5) France threatens to block Calais port to the UK – if we refuse to pay £39 billion

“France could wreak massive damage on Britain’s economy by closing down Calais under a no deal Brexit, the Cabinet was warned. If negotiations fail and Theresa May refuses to pay the UK’s £39bn divorce bill, it is feared Paris could immediately retaliate by creating chaos with cross-channel trade.As the nation’s only major roll-on roll-off ferry hub, the Dover-Calais crossing has been identified by DexEU officials as Britain major strategic weak point. France has the power to spark huge delays for UK-bound lorries importing factory parts for ‘just in time’ supply chains such as car factories.” – The Sun

  • Napoleon tribute act Emmanuel Macron threatens a trade war, we call his bluff – Leader, The Sun

Brexit 6) Pierce: “Saboteurs” are in retreat

“During an unusually sheepish performance on Radio 4’s Today programme, Andrew Bridgen, one of Theresa May’s fiercest Tory critics, gave the first clear sign the saboteurs were in retreat. Bridgen, who in July was one of the first Tory MPs to reveal he had sent a letter to the 1922 Committee demanding a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister, repeatedly refused to say she should go. Presenter Nick Robinson brandished yesterday’s Daily Mail front page with the headline about those ‘out to knife Mrs May’ and asked: ‘Are you one of the saboteurs?’The usually forthright Bridgen, who is a regular fixture in radio and television studios, crumpled, saying: ‘Toppling the Prime Minister is not the only solution.’ ” – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Brexiteer MPs no longer have a champion in Fleet Street

Budget 1) £31 billion spending boost would be needed to end austerity

“UK chancellor Philip Hammond will need to boost annual spending by £31bn by 2022-23 if he is to meet the prime minister’s promise of an end to austerity, according to an analysis published by the Resolution Foundation ahead of next week’s Budget. Even if the Office for Budget Responsibility hands the chancellor a record upgrade in its forecasts of government borrowing, meeting this promise will be incompatible with the commitment to continue lowering debt as a proportion of gross domestic product, unless Mr Hammond also raises taxes, the think-tank said.” – Financial Times

  • Luddite levy on online shopping won’t help the high street – City AM
  • New tax would mean lower investment warn tech firms – The Times

>Today: Columnist Robert Halfon: Here’s the Worker’s Budget we need next week

>Yesterday: Andy Street: A message to the Chancellor. Tax Amazon more and small businesses less.

Budget 2) Retailers urge boost to tax-free shopping

“Hundreds of Britain’s leading retailers have written a furious letter to Philip Hammond demanding he delivers on a promise to digitalise tax-free shopping in next week’s Budget. Tourists who come to the UK from outside the EU to shop still have to apply for VAT refunds using paper forms. Most other EU countries allow shoppers to apply for the refunds online. But Britain has yet to implement a digital process five years after first outlining plans to modernise the tax-free shopping system – and has pushed back the delivery date to 2020.” – The Sun

Four ministers back legalising abortion in Northern Ireland

“Four Government ministers have backed a Bill to legalise abortion in a move which risks tensions with DUP MPs who support Theresa May. Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt, Women’s Minister Victoria Atkins and Health Minister Caroline Dinenage voted in favour of the draft legislation. The measure – also supported by education minister Jo Johnson – would decriminalise abortion in the UK, including Northern Ireland.  Terminating a pregnancy in Northern Ireland is currently illegal without an exceptional medical or mental health reason but campaigners claim pressure is growing for the ban to be lifted.” – Daily Telegraph

Call to cease investigation of Northern Ireland veterans

“Theresa May is facing demands from 150 Tory MPs and peers to drop plans to investigate past crimes in Northern Ireland and other military conflicts. In a letter to the PM, they say a new Historical Investigations Unit would put “service and security personnel at an exceptional disadvantage”. And they accuse the government of breaking the Armed Forces Covenant – its manifesto commitment to personnel. The Northern Ireland Office declined a request for comment. Proposals for a Historical Investigations Unit were part of the 2014 Stormont House agreement and designed to deal with killings where there had been no prosecutions.” – BBC

Gove agrees to introduce “Natasha’s law”

“Michael Gove has promised to rush in tough new food labelling rules after meeting the parents of a teenage girl who died from an extreme allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger sandwich. Legislation requiring restaurants and takeaways to provide more detailed information on food products is set to be in place by next summer, the Environment Secretary said. His move has been prompted by the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who collapsed on a flight to Nice in 2016 after eating a baguette containing sesame seeds she bought at Heathrow airport. The 15-year-old, from Fulham in west London, died hours later in hospital despite receiving two EpiPen injections from her father.” – The i

Tory peers challenged over Russian links

“The security minister has turned down a meeting with a Tory peer who has financial links to Moscow amid fears about Russian influence and lobbying in parliament, The Times can reveal. Ben Wallace said in a letter to the Commons foreign affairs committee that he had been contacted by two Conservative peers “requesting government assistance for Russian associates” since he took up his post in 2016. He said he did not take up the offer to meet and discuss sanctions with Lord Barker of Battle. Lord Barker, 52, is chairman of En+, the Russian energy giant majority-owned by the oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Putin. En+ and Mr Deripaska have been subject to sanctions since the Salisbury nerve agent attack in March. A ministerial meeting did go ahead with the Conservative peer Lord Fairfax of Cameron.” – The Times

  • Access to MPs allows for mischief – The Times

New pressure on Bercow to resign

“Troubled John Bercow faced fresh pressure to resign after three members of Government quit his pet project to make Parliament more inclusive – pointing to bullying allegations against him. The walkout out came as both the Tories and Labour backed calls to review historic Westminster abuse claims in a body blow to the embattled Commons Speaker – who denies the suggestions he abused his staff. His office said Tory Parliamentary aide Will Quince, Whip Mims Davies and Minister Anne Milton had resigned from the Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion, which is chaired by Mr Bercow.” – The Sun

  • A conflicted Commission – Chris Cook, BBC

>Today: ToryDiary: Bercow, the anti-Lenthall. “I have neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak, in this place, but as Labour MPs are pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here”

Labour members “punished” for dissenting view in transgender discussion

“Labour supporters have criticised a “sinister” decision to freeze them out of a Facebook group for sharing an article by the former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. Rebecca Lush was among the women who tried to share the article by Trevor Phillips on The Labour Party Forum, an unofficial account with almost 40,000 followers. In the article for The Times, Mr Phillips, a long-time Labour member, urged ministers not to give in to “trans zealots” over proposals to allow people to self-declare their legal gender.” – The Times

>Today: Interview: James Kirkup on trans. And how campaigners have exploited MPs’ fear of being accused of transphobia.

Scottish Government to miss hospital waiting time targets

“NHS patients will have to wait three years before delays to “legally binding” waiting time guarantees are brought to an end, Jeane Freeman has admitted. The health secretary unveiled an £850 million improvement package to tackle waiting times as she told MSPs at Holyrood yesterday: “Some people are waiting too long to receive the care they need.” Of this, £355m is new cash and will be initially focussed on patients whose treatment is urgent and have been waiting the longest. The Scottish Government has come under repeated fire for its failure to meet NHS waiting times standards Ministers introduced the Treatment Time Guarantee, which gave patients a legal right to treatment within 12 weeks for conditions such as knee and eye operations.” – The Scotsman

Markets positive about likely victory of Bolsonaro in Brazil

“Markets have high hopes for the new president. Unlike the PT, which is blamed for destroying the economy under Mr Lula da Silva’s successor, Dilma Rousseff, Mr Bolsonaro is seeking to form an economic team made up of technocrats under his adviser, University of Chicago-trained financier Paulo Guedes. If he can get the reforms right, Brazil could be poised for another virtuous cycle, says UBS economist Tony Volpon. The recession that started in 2014 and wiped more than 7 percentage points off Brazil’s economy ended in 2016, but the rebound since has been modest. The country grew only 1 per cent in 2017 and a survey conducted by the central bank forecasts growth of only 1.3 per cent this year.” – Financial Times

Trump accuses of ‘worst cover-up ever’ after Khashoggi killing

“President Trump last night accused Saudi Arabia of a cover-up over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, piling pressure on its beleaguered leaders. “They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was . . . the worst ever,” Mr Trump told reporters at the White House. “Bad deal, should have never been thought of.” He described the operation as a “total fiasco”. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, announced that the Saudi agents accused of killing the dissident journalist at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2 would be banned from the US.” – The Times

Miller: We need to tackle sexual harassment on public transport

“We would like to see the work done by TfL and the British Transport Police supported across the National Rail Network. The Department for Transport should require train operators to have a robust policy on sexual misconduct – including prevention. It should also issue guidance to local authorities to ensure that bus operators and others do the same. Meanwhile, as well as the fear, inconvenience, and all other depressing consequences of gross behaviour, women are still constantly reminded that they are female in public spaces – taking away their sense of ownership. It’s time to take it back.” – Maria Miller, Daily Telegraph

Parris: Disraeli was just as abusive as our current batch of MPs

“Perspective, for heaven’s sake! This wet-eyed nonsense about the cruelty of MPs’ invective lacks all sense of history. Parliament has always been famous for the ferocity of its members’ language and if this prime minister can’t take it (and she assuredly can) she shouldn’t be in the job. Margaret Thatcher was variously described by fellow MPs as “behaving with all the sensitivity of a sex-starved boa constrictor”, “that f***ing stupid petit-bourgeois woman”, “a cow”, “the great she-elephant”, “Attila the hen” and “the immaculate misconception”. Denis Healey told John Prescott he had “the face of a man who clubs baby seals” and Disraeli said that a foreign traveller apprised of Lord John Russell might understand how the ancient Egyptians worshipped an insect. Asked to distinguish between a misfortune and a calamity, Disraeli said that if Gladstone fell into the Thames, “that would be a misfortune. If anyone pulled him out, that would be a calamity.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

News in brief

  • The real Brexit lesson from Dyson’s decision to build his cars in Singapore – John Ashmore, CapX
  • From Dante’s first circle of hell to Black Wednesday, this week’s Cabinet meeting – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Italy’s budget crisis is a bigger threat to the EU than Brexit – Sean O’Grady, Independent
  • Having the referendum losers dictate the Government’s Brexit policy spells trouble – Patrick O’Flynn MEP, Brexit Central
  • At least four Tory MPs have submitted letters of no confidence in Theresa May since Friday – Alex Wickham, Buzzfeed

6 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 24th October 2018

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