Brexit 1) Jo Johnson resigns over “terrible mistake” of the terms being proposed

“Theresa May’s domestic woes deepened last night after Jo Johnson resigned as a transport minister, declaring her approach to Brexit a failure on a scale not seen since Suez. Mr Johnson, who backed Remain in the 2016 referendum and is the brother of Boris Johnson, stunned colleagues by walking out of government while Mrs May’s plan was still being finalised. In an uncompromising statement he called the proposed withdrawal agreement, which sets out the terms for Britain’s departure from the European Union, a “terrible mistake” that leaves the country in a far worse negotiating position than at present. He vowed never to support it in a Commons vote and called for a second referendum.” – The Times


Brexit 2) DUP would not back PM’s plan

“DUP leader Arlene Foster has said her party will “not be able to support” Theresa May’s latest proposals aimed at resolving the Brexit deadlock. The party accused the PM of breaking promises over plans to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The plans were revealed in a letter from Theresa May to Mrs Foster, leaked to the Times. Downing Street reiterated the PM’s commitment to avoiding a hard border.” – BBC

  • This plan would ‘handcuff’ Britain to EU and leave Brussels holding the keys – Arlene Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • We could not be further from a Brexit deal, so let the Irish border showdown begin – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • I support the backstop – Peter Hain, The Guardian

>Yesterday: MPsETC: “The UK joined as one nation and must leave on that basis.” The DUP’s letter to May – full text

Brexit 3) The deal is not dead yet insists Lidington

“Theresa May’s de facto deputy, David Lidington, has insisted the government remains confident it can get its Brexit deal through parliament, despite the Democratic Unionist party warning it is prepared to vote it down. Speaking in the Isle of Man, where he was attending a meeting of the British-Irish Council, Lidington said he believed a “new dynamic” would emerge once MPs saw the full text of the proposed agreement. He said: “I hope and I believe that we can secure that majority in parliament.”…He said: “The prime minister has always been clear that we won’t accept something that involves carving out Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.” – The Guardian

  • Lack of Northern Ireland representation ‘unfortunate’, says Varadkar after British Irish meeting – Belfast Telegraph
  • Brexit negotiators say draft treaty is close – Financial Times

Brexit 4) Military ties “would stay strong with no deal”

“The head of the UK’s armed forces, General Sir Nick Carter, said the strong military ties between Britain and its closest European allies would endure despite political turmoil unleashed by a no-deal Brexit. Although an agreement between the UK and Brussels could be rubber stamped by Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet as early as next week, obstacles remain which could yet leave Britain facing a cliff edge departure from the EU next March. During the course of Brexit negotiations, Mrs May has repeatedly used Britain’s defence and security capabilities as a bargaining chip with EU leaders, threatening that any failure to secure a new defence treaty could jeopardise Europe’s long-term security.” – Financial Times

Brexit 5) Forsyth: The clock is ticking

“There will be no emergency Cabinet meeting this weekend. Theresa May still doesn’t have a deal to put to her ministers. But with the clock ticking — on Tuesday the Cabinet was meant to decide on whether to book ferry space to bring in essential supplies in the event of no deal – there is an intense scramble on to get a deal. As one government source tells me: “If there’s no November Council, then no deal goes into overdrive.” With Mrs May determined to avoid no deal, there probably will be some kind of agreement shortly. But it will be flawed –– and Mrs May should say so.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

Brexit 6) It can’t be stopped declares Corbyn

“Jeremy Corbyn claimed it was impossible to stop Brexit. In comments that will enrage pro-EU campaigners, the Labour leader added that politicians should instead “recognise the reasons” people voted Out.He told German magazine Der Spiegel: “We can’t stop it. The referendum took place. Article 50 has been triggered. What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted Leave.” The long-time Eurosceptic has always insisted he backed Remain in the 2016 EU Referendum.” – The Sun

Brexit 7) Sturgeon faces backlash over her support for a second referendum

“SNP opposition to Nicola Sturgeon’s support of the People’s Vote has grown with Kenny Gibson becoming the latest Nationalist politician to warn it has implications for Scottish independence. Mr Gibson, the MSP for Cunninghame North, has joined Pete Wishart MP, Angus McNeill MP and the former cabinet secretary Alex Neil MSP in voicing concerns that a second Brexit vote would enable Unionists to argue for another vote on the terms of Scottish independence in the event of a Yes vote. Ms Sturgeon has said the SNP will support a referendum on the terms of the Brexit deal.” – The Scotsman

Brexit 8) Parris: No sane MP can put their name to May’s offer

“Listen to Mrs May’s proposed deal as it unfolds. Listen to the caveats and exclusions and tortuously worded ambiguities. Listen (as Democratic Unionists now can when they read yesterday’s leak to The Times) to the strangled verbal formulations. And keep repeating this single question: “How is this better than just being in the EU on the terms negotiated by Margaret Thatcher and John Major?” Answer comes there none, nor ever will, because there is no answer and the prime minister knows it. She accepted the instruction to get the best deal available. But it isn’t any good. So government whips will have their work cut out.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

  • The young will never forgive my party – Interview with Anna Soubry, The Guardian
  • It’s not extremist to reject the EU – Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express

Brexit 9) Oborne: I still predict that May will survive

“We have now left the long period of political stasis, and instead events will move with bewildering speed. I have advice for those without strong stomachs and nerves of iron: get off the train now…It’s less than eight weeks until Christmas Day, and I’m not going too far to say that the destiny of Britain for the next half-century could be determined amid the carol services and sparkling trees of the festive season. If I was a betting man, I would guess Mrs May will get her way and, for all the travails she has faced in recent months, she will yet lead Britain out of the European Union on March 29.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

UK economy growing at three times the Eurozone

“Britain’s economy grew three times faster than the Eurozone over the summer – despite a worrying slide in business investment. Official figures revealed GDP rose by 0.6 per cent between July and September – powered by higher consumer spending, better than expected exports, fewer car imports, and a rebound in construction. It’s the fastest rate since late 2016 and compares with 0.2 per cent for the Eurozone. France achieved 0.4 per cent.” – The Sun

Hinds calls for a reduction in the number of pupils excluded from school

“Growing numbers of vulnerable children are being expelled, particularly in the year before GCSEs, as schools try to improve their league table rankings. “I do worry about children being excluded and I am concerned that schools may be in some cases encouraging families to take kids off the school roll,” Mr Hinds says. “We need to make sure kids aren’t being excluded unnecessarily and if they are excluded it is the start of something and not the end and there is something positive to go on to.” Only 1 per cent of those in “alternative provision” get five good GCSEs, and some pupil referral units have become recruiting grounds for gangs.” – Interview with Damian Hinds, The Times

Corbyn meets head of MI6

“Jeremy Corbyn has met with the head of MI6 for the first time in anticipation of a snap election triggered by the collapse of the Brexit negotiations, The Telegraph has learnt. The Labour leader recently met with Alex Younger, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, during which the importance of the agency’s work and the severity of the threats facing Britain were made clear to him. A Whitehall official with knowledge of the meeting said: “The feeling was that the time had come for Mr Corbyn to become acquainted with the workings of the intelligence establishment.” – Daily Telegraph

PM visits France to pay tribute to war dead…

“Theresa May has used the words of World One War poets to pay tribute to fallen soldiers in France and Belgium. Visiting the St Symphorien Military Cemetery in Mons with the Belgian prime minister, she laid wreaths at the graves of the first and last UK soldiers killed in the war. Using words from a 1914 poem, she thanked those who died for being “staunch to the end”. Her visit comes ahead of the Armistice Centenary this Sunday. During her trip to France, she and French President Emmanuel Macron paid their respects at the Thiepval Memorial, which commemorates more than 72,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers.” – BBC

…as the name of a former MP killed in the First World War finally added to Parliament’s memorial

“A forgotten hero has finally been remembered on Parliament’s World War One memorial. The marble installation recognises the sacrifice of peers, MPs, MPs’ sons, and senior officers of Parliament, who died in service during the Great War. But 96 years after its completion, a leading historian realised one MP had been left off. Now Lieutenant Gerald Arbuthnot, once the Conservative MP for Burnley, has had his name belatedly added.” – BBC

Moore: Remembrance is about the common soldier – that’s why it matters so much

“Ever since mankind first began to develop an idea of history, people have been tormented by this thought of loss. Even in ancient, hierarchical societies, there was great concern that ordinary human beings were not properly commemorated. Our war memorials are often inscribed with the words, “Their name liveth for evermore”. This is a quotation from the book of Ecclesiasticus, written about 200 years before the birth of Jesus. “Let us now praise famous men and our fathers that begat us”, the passage begins. Such men will be all right, it says, because they were “honoured in their generation” and “have left a name behind them”. But it worries about all those not honoured: “And some there be who have no memorial, who are perished as though they had never been…, but their name liveth for evermore”.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

  • Making sense of the Great War, one hundred years later – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Children’s Commissioner attacks the Government for “benefits cuts”

“Ministers have been warned by the children’s commissioner that they are in danger of seeming to demonise single mothers because benefits cuts have plunged almost half of lone parents into poverty. Anne Longfield said that single parents had been “disproportionately affected” by the introduction of universal credit and wider welfare changes. “There is a great risk here that the government looks like it’s going back to an outdated . . . viewpoint which is demonising both single parents but also families claiming benefit, and working mothers,” she told The Times. Almost half of children in single- parent families now live in poverty, compared with just over one in four of those in couple families.” – The Times

Trump challenges recount process in Florida

“President Donald Trump has lambasted Florida’s election recount process, calling it an attempt by Democrats to win a US Senate seat with fake votes. Mr Trump told reporters “there’s a lot of dishonesty” over contested votes in Broward County. However, there has been no evidence of voter fraud. The gap between the two candidates – Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson – narrowed to 0.2% as of Friday as Broward County votes were counted. Both candidates are suing the state. Mr Scott, who claimed victory on Tuesday, is suing officials over an election recount, while Mr Nelson is suing over uncounted ballots.” – BBC

  • The economic risks of a more aggressive stance after the midterms – Leader, Financial Times
  • Is Trump a symptom or the cause of the US’s bitter political divide? – David Charter, The Times
  • US President’s fury at Macron’s “insult” – Daily Express

Persecution of Christians ignored “as there is no word for it”

“The persecution of Christians is being ignored because there is no definitive word to describe it, an Archbishop has said. Anba Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, argued that because there is no Christian equivalent for words such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia the problem was “not seen as the phenomenon which we know it is”. His comments come after the announcement that the Government is to spend £12 million on a programme to champion freedom of religion around the world.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Where do the midterms leave the Mueller investigation? – Bob Seely, CapX
  • Our future is global and there are huge trade and investment opportunities for British business in Sierra Leone – Steven Wolfe, Brexit Central
  • The ignorant hounding of Roger Scruton – Douglas Murray, The Spectator
  • Be realistic about what our armed forces can do – John Redwood

And finally…Wright uses Lego bricks to relax

“A cabinet minister has spoken about how he likes to unwind by spending time with his “very large” Lego collection. Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright told Talk Radio he found assembling the building bricks “therapeutic”. “I think everybody who does any difficult or stressful job needs a way to switch off,” he said. “We all have different ways, mine is Lego.” The Conservative MP also said claims that he did not read any newspapers were “complete nonsense”. “- BBC

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