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Brexit 1) The number of Conservative MPs who have spoken out against the deal “reaches 100”

“The number of Tory MPs who have spoken out against Theresa May’s Brexit deal hit 100 as critics said her two-week charm offensive is failing. Matthew Offord, the Tory MP for Hendon, on Thursday became the hundredth MP to say he would vote against the Prime Minister’s deal, warning that it will leave the UK “bound” to the EU and put the Union at risk. It came as Jo Johnson, a former minister who quit in protest at the deal, warned that the Tories will face a landslide defeat at the next election on a scale similar to 1997 if they push ahead with Mrs May’s Brexit deal. The Prime Minister on Thursday flew to the G20 meeting of world leaders in Argentina where she will attempt to convince them that her Brexit deal is good for the world economy.” – Daily Telegraph

  • May rules out a compromise – Financial Times
  • People’s Vote campaign demands a slot in the TV debate – The Guardian
  • Claims that Newsnight hired a vicar to defend the PM’s plan – The Sun
  • Electoral wipeout warning from Greening, Willetts and Jo Johnson – The Guardian
  • Scottish Parliament set to vote against the deal – The Scotsman
  • Bradley faces tough questions visiting an art class in Lisburn – Belfast Telegraph
  • Dispute over slot for TV debate – Daily Telegraph
  • May ‘rejected Irish backstop solution’ to please EU – Daily Express

>Today

>Yesterday:

Brexit 2) May arrives in Argentina for the G20 and rules out a “Plan B”

“Theresa May has put herself on a collision course with senior Cabinet ministers by ruling out a Norway-style Brexit as a “plan B” if she loses the Parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal. The Prime Minister said a Norway-style arrangement, favoured by more than a third of the Cabinet as a fallback option, would not end freedom of movement and therefore would not deliver what people voted for in the EU referendum. She also warned rebel Tory MPs they will tear Britain apart if they vote against her Brexit deal as she insisted she can still win Parliament’s backing. Mrs May said the country would not “prosper” if politicians failed to unite around her deal. Mrs May arrived in Argentina in the early hours of this morning for the G20 summit of world leaders, where she will try to convince them that President Donald Trump was wrong to say earlier this week that her Brexit deal will harm US-UK trade and, by implication, trade with other countries outside the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Why Norway plus is unlikely – Financial Times
  • She tells reporters she still hopes to won the vote – BBC

Brexit 3) Fox declares that “tough choices” must be faced

“Liam Fox will today issue a stinging rebuke to Tories who oppose the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal amid claims that as many as 100 of the party’s MPs could now vote against it. The International Trade Secretary will accuse them of not facing up to the ‘tough choices’ that Theresa May has had to make in the negotiations. And he will warn Conservative MPs that they have an ‘abiding duty’ to act in the best interests of the country. Dr Fox will become the latest Cabinet Brexiteer to come out in support of Mrs May’s agreement ahead of the meaningful vote on December 11. The Mail revealed yesterday that Andrea Leadsom is also backing the deal.” – Daily Mail

Brexit 4) Whips threaten to cancel Christmas, if deal does not go through

“Mutinous Conservative MPs have been warned that Parliament’s Christmas break could be cut short if they defeat Theresa May’s Brexit agreement. Whips and ministers are mounting a desperate attempt to reverse the growing rebellion as the number of MPs who have publicly attacked her deal reached 100.Tensions are rising within Tory ranks over the “meaningful vote” on 11 December on Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint. Whips have abandoned the “bully boy” approach used by previous generations of whips to apply more subtle pressure to MPs threatening to vote against the Prime Minister’s proposals.According to one scenario floated by the whips, defeat for Mrs May on 11 December could leave the country facing an unprecedented constitutional crisis which could not be allowed to drift on into the New Year. “There has been talk of Parliament being recalled before the New Year. The message is vote for the deal or you might not see your families for much of the holidays,” said one MP.” – The i

Brexit 5) Rees-Mogg warns that efforts to frighten people undermine democracy

“There is a crisis of trust in British institutions that has been made worse by Brexit. Although there has probably never been a golden age when a revered establishment was held in high regard both publicly and privately, the current position is worse than normal and continues to deteriorate. The problem is that people are right to be distrustful, for there is an effort both to frighten and to gull them into acquiescing into a non-Brexit Brexit. The Government is primarily to blame. Its Withdrawal Agreement contradicts its previous and clear policies, while its spokesmen insist that the reverse is true.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Bank of England’s reputation has been damaged – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 6) EU “willing to postpone” Article 50 by three months

“European leaders are prepared to offer Britain a three-month extension to Article 50 to prevent parliamentary deadlock triggering a no-deal Brexit. Under plans being discussed in European capitals the EU would agree to extend Britain’s membership until July to allow time for either a second referendum or to agree a Norway-style soft Brexit. However, the EU has made clear that the extension would only be offered after parliament had come to a clear conclusion about the type of future relationship it wants…Speaking to the European parliament yesterday, Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, warned MPs threatening to vote against the withdrawal treaty that the “future of the country is at stake” and that it was the only offer available. “Given the difficult circumstances of this negotiation and given the extreme complexity of all the issues of the British withdrawal, the treaty that is on the table is the only deal possible,” he said. “This is now the moment of ratification.” – The Times

  • We need to put Brexit on hold – until we work out what Britain wants – Lisa Nandy, The Guardian

Brexit 7) We can renegotiate later, claims Truss

“Heaven help any male number-crunchers at the Treasury who question Chief Secretary Liz Truss’s sums. She did double maths A-level and is the first female Conservative to hold the post of Treasury Chief Secretary, which means she’s effectively the Deputy Chancellor….She has nothing but contempt for Boris Johnson’s antics. While Mrs May ‘worked like a Trojan’ to get an EU deal, Classics scholar Johnson merely ‘studied the Trojans’. Truss suggests, surprisingly, that once the UK has left the EU it could ignore parts of the deal it doesn’t like. ‘We can do what we want. Some things are set in treaties but no parliament can bind its successor.’ ‘We can just rip it all up?’ I ask. ‘We can renegotiate,’ she replies. Brussels may have other ideas.” – Interview with Liz Truss, Daily Mail

Brexit 8) Collins: Labour remainers are taking a risk

“There is a lot of talk of Project Fear but none of the participants is at all scared. Perhaps they ought to be because they cannot all be right. If, collectively, they screw their noses at all deals, then Britain will either leave or remain. We cannot do both; they cannot both be right. Somebody is going to get a nasty shock. The Labour Remainers are playing for very high stakes here. If leaving without a deal is as bad as they say it is then it is quite a gamble to discard a compromise for a 50:50 shot at triumph or disaster. Yet, with every Labour move, that is where we are heading.” Philip Collins, The Times

  • Euro-fanatics are stoking the populist fire – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Britain’s overseas influence requires a Brexit rethink – David Miliband, Financial Times
  • Their smirks say everything about Davis and Raab – Oliver Kamm, The Times
  • Labour knows it must now decide Britain’s fate by choosing between May’s deal and no deal – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • The PM is touring the country but won’t give the people a say – Justine Greening, The Times

Police to patrol with guns to tackle knife crime

“Armed officers will patrol on foot in the parts of London worst hit by gang violence under plans for a significant shift in British policing. The Metropolitan Police, the country’s biggest force, wants to send officers armed with guns to deal directly with violent criminals in the areas most affected by gang feuds and knife crime. Officers deployed with visible weapons would mark a change in firearms policy. They have previously been restricted to foot patrols in areas most at risk of terrorist attack, such as the Palace of Westminster. Critics warned last night that armed officers walking around streets and council estates in areas such as Tottenham, in north London, and Newham, in east London, would be “provocative” and risked alienating communities.” – The Times

Overseas Aid spending increases to £14.1 billion

“Data from the Department for International Development showed £14.1billion of UK taxpayers’ cash was handed out to projects in developing countries, compared with £13.4billion in 2016. Pakistan was the largest recipient of UK aid, receiving £402 million during 2017, the figures showed. Other big hand outs last year included £327 million to Nigeria, £326 million to Ethiopia, £314 million to Syria and £282 million to Somalia.Projects in war-torn Yemen received £205 million while a further £227 million went to Afghanistan. The total amount given by the UK each year rises in line with economic growth as the Government is committed to matching a United Nations target of spending 0.7% of national GDP (Gross Domestic Product) on aid each year.” – Daily Express

Immigration from outside the EU increases

“Immigration from outside the EU soared to its highest level since 2004 this year – as Romanians became the second largest foreign nationality living in the UK. The number of Romanians living in the UK jumped by more than a fifth in the year to June – increasing the total number to 433,000. This is up 75,000 on the previous 12 months – the largest increase for any country. The only larger non-British nationality is Poland – with an estimated 985,000 Poles currently in the UK. India was the third highest followed in third place with 374,000 nationals, followed by Ireland with 337,000 and Italy 292,000.” – The Sun

  • Government to relax restrictions on non-EU doctors – The Guardian
  • The PM’s immigration pitch for her Brexit deal is unravelling – Leader, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Columnist Alex Morton: Whether you like her plan or not, the Prime Minister is right to prize reducing immigration over everything else

Northamptonshire Council is “bailed out”

“The government has in effect bailed out Tory-run Northamptonshire county council after giving it unprecedented permission to spend up to £60m of cash received from the sale of its HQ on funding day-to-day services. The highly unusual move – accounting rules normally prevent councils using capital receipts in this way – means the crisis-hit authority is likely to escape falling into insolvency for the third time in less than a year. Ministers gave the go-ahead for the bailout after commissioners sent in to run the council issued a stark warning that without a cash injection, Northamptonshire would be unable to meet its legal duties to run core services such as social care.” – The Guardian

Grayling blames unions for rail fare increase

“Rail passengers face fare rises of more than £200 with train operators set to announce their price increases as Chris Grayling said union greed was to blame for the hikes. It was announced in August that rail fares in much of the UK would increase by as much as 3.2 per cent in January and on Friday train operators will publish the impact on specific services. The fare rises have reignited a war of words between the Government and unions, with the Transport Secretary insistent the only way for fares to be reduced is if rail workers accept lower pay rises.” – Daily Telegraph

Closing Scotland’s tax gap with England “would cost a billion pounds”

“Scotland’s hard-pressed public services would be left facing a £1 billion black hole if finance secretary Derek Mackay emulates the “tax cut” south of the Border set out in the recent UK Budget, new research shows. And there is a warning Scots may be facing further tax hikes anyway if the Scottish Government is to meet ambitious policies to reduce child poverty and improve attainment in schools. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in Scotland has drawn up analysis following Chancellor Philip Hammond’s decision in the Autumn Budget to bring forward plans to raise the threshold at which workers start paying the “higher” 40p rate to salaries of £50,000.” – The Scotsman

Gove pledges genetic food revolution

“Britain will lead an agricultural revolution with the use of gene editing despite concerns about genetically modified food, the environment secretary said. Michael Gove pledged that scientists and farmers would be freed from a European court ruling that had the effect of halting the use of food produced using the technology. Scientists believe that the technique will lead to crops and animals with higher yields, resistance to disease and the ability to cope with the effects of climate change.” – The Times

Labour MP reveals he is HIV positive

“A Labour MP today revealed he is HIV positive in an emotional speech in the Commons – telling how he has been on a decade-long journey from ‘fear to advocacy’. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, 32, told how he decided to speak out and tell his story in a debate to mark World Aids Day because he ‘could not keep quiet anymore’. Mr Russell-Moyle, who is gay, told how it ‘hit him like a wall’ when, as a 22 year-old student, he was told he had the virus while sat in an NHS clinic a decade ago.” – Daily Mail

Trump cancels meeting with Putin

“President Trump abruptly cancelled a meeting with President Putin yesterday, setting the stage for one of the frostiest G20 summits in recent times as world leaders grapple over the crisis in Ukraine, support for Saudi Arabia and the threat of a global trade war. Mr Trump had been reluctant to condemn Russia’s latest aggression in Ukraine, and shortly before heading to Buenos Aires he said he would meet the Russian president. As he set off, however, he apparently changed his mind. Three Ukrainian seamen were wounded on Sunday when Russian warships opened fire on their navy vessels as they attempted to pass through the Kerch Strait to the Sea of Azov, where there are two Ukrainian ports. Russia says the ships illegally entered its territorial waters, a claim that Ukraine denies. Russian border patrol officers detained 24 Ukrainian sailors during the incident.” – The Times

News in brief

  • Are we really in danger of getting ‘designer babies’? – Matt Ridley, CapX
  • Full text: Liz Truss’s Parliamentarian speech – the backstop, Andrew Bridgen and overpaid bureaucrats – The Spectator
  • May faces a big defeat – John Redwood
  • For 100 minutes the prime minister faced questions. She did not answer a single one. – Tom Peck, The Independent
  • How the right’s Brexit dream died – George Eaton, New Statesman

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