Brexit Crisis 1) Gove leads “gang of five” seeking changes to the deal, as price for staying in the Cabinet

“Michael Gove and four other Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers will try to force Theresa May into a last-minute change to the Brexit deal as the price for withdrawing their threats to resign. The “gang of five” believes it is not too late for Mrs May to go back to Brussels and demand a unilateral exit mechanism from the so-called “backstop” arrangement over Northern Ireland. The Environment Secretary, who stepped back from the brink of resignation on Friday, will meet Andrea Leadsom, Chris Grayling, Penny Mordaunt and Liam Fox over the next two days to agree the terms of their ultimatum.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Gove staying is a lifeline for the PM – Daily Mail
  • Not quitting will help Gove repair his reputation – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • Withdrawal Agreement must be rewritten – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Juncker leaves press-conference half-way through after “falling ill” – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Seven out of ten Party member respondents oppose the draft Brexit deal.


Brexit Crisis 2) Still not the 48 letters required, but will the target be reached on Monday?

“Mrs May was under growing pressure last night after 23 of her MPs, including the former cabinet ministers John Whittingdale and David Jones, said that they had submitted letters of no confidence in her leadership. Fourteen of the letters were said to have been submitted in the previous 48 hours.In a sign of the seriousness of the threat of a no-confidence vote, government whips were summoned from their constituencies for a meeting in Westminster yesterday. The number of letters appeared last night to have fallen short of the required 48, although the European Research Group of Brexiteers said that more than that number of MPs were planning to submit letters to Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, and that a challenge would come next week. However, the group had previously suggested that it might be sooner.” – The Times

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Rolling list of MPs who have submitted letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister

Brexit Crisis 3) May uses LBC phone-in to state her case – but faces hostile callers

“Prime Minister Theresa May was compared to a Nazi appeaser as she was savaged by callers over her Brexit deal on a radio phone-in today. Appearing on LBC’s Nick Ferrari Show, Mrs May was told to quit and make way for Jacob Rees-Mogg. Caller John, from Gillingham, labelled Mrs May a ‘modern-day Chamberlain’, the prime minister who famously claimed to have secured ‘peace for our time’ in negotiations with Hitler, only for the Second World War to break out the following year….Conservative-supporting councillor Dan Turner, from Louth, called on Mrs May to stand down, saying he ‘commended’ the PM for trying to strike a Brexit deal with the EU, but ‘sadly that has not worked’.” – Daily Mail

Brexit Crisis 4) Rudd returns to the Cabinet as Work and Pensions Secretary

“Amber Rudd has returned to the cabinet as work and pensions secretary. Ms Rudd, who replaces Esther McVey following her Brexit resignation, quit herself as home secretary in April amid controversy over her handling of the Windrush controversy. She admitted having “inadvertently misled” MPs over immigration targets but a subsequent probe found she had been let down by officials. But her appointment was met with outrage from Labour…Ms Rudd said she had seen universal credit “transform lives” in her Hastings and Rye constituency but she “recognised there had been some issues with it”. She said she would make it her role to to “iron out those difficulties and make it a force wholly for good”.” – BBC

  • Does she still have her eye on Number 10? – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Rudd returns to help sell May’s deal

Brexit Crisis 5) Barclay succeeds Raab at DEXEU

“At the start of this year Steve Barclay was the fourth most senior minister in the Treasury, a popular figure among his generation of Tory MPs but anonymous beyond. Now, as Brexit secretary, he is the sixth most senior minister in the government. There is no pretence that the main reason for his rapid elevation is anything other than that he voted to leave the EU in 2016. But Mr Barclay, 46, was already on a political fast track. The son of a trade union official father and a civil servant administrator mother, he was brought up in Lytham, Lancashire.” – The Times

  • He won’t take part in EU talks – The Sun


Brexit Crisis 6) EU would agree “side deals” in the event of “no deal”

“For now, the European Union is adamant that there is no such thing as a “managed” ‘no deal’ –  fearful that making a ‘no deal’ look too comfortable risks turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy….But behind the scenes, member states are already questioning whether such a hardline approach is really viable. Experts believe that, if the UK plays its cards right politically, a managed ‘no deal’ could yet emerge. EU officials have speculated about an extension of Article 50 for a few months, to create a “parachute” to put temporary measures in place….So for all the catastrophist predictions, the reality of a ‘no deal’ is likely to be disruptive, but not world-ending. Or in the earthy phrasing of a senior diplomat from an EU trading power: “’no deal’ won’t be an explosion, it will be a wet fart.” Unofficially, both EU and UK sources are clear that any discussion of a managed ‘no deal’ starts with money.” – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

  • Britain’s manufacturers draw up contingency plans for “hard” Brexit – Financial Times
  • Businesses told to prepare for “No Deal” – The Times

Brexit Crisis 7) Int the new May-friendly Daily Mail, the Prime Minister thanks her husband Philip for helping her to cope

“Theresa May today pays tribute to her ‘rock’ Philip for supporting her through a tumultuous week of resignations, plotting and vicious personal attacks. In a moving tribute to her loyal husband, she said he felt the pain of the personal abuse she has received from MPs more deeply than she does. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail conducted in her Downing Street study, the Prime Minister revealed Philip poured her a large whisky when she finally finished a five-hour Cabinet meeting that sparked a revolt against her Brexit plans. He was so enraged by wall-to-wall coverage of rebels laying into her that he had to turn off the televisions at work.” – Daily Mail

  • As a typical only child, Theresa May is unclubbable and gauche but also has the strength not to give a damn – Janice Turner, The Times
  • This is not a game – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

>Today: Book Reviews: May is miscast as Prime Minister because she takes far too little trouble to find the right words

Brexit Crisis 8) Downing Street makes plea to Association chairmen

“Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs have accused Theresa May of going over their heads to stave off the attempt to oust her through a vote of confidence. A row erupted after Brexiteer MPs found that Mrs May had a conference call with local Conservative Party chairmen and women. MPs said that the prime minister should talk to her parliamentarians, not local associations, if she wanted them to back her Brexit plan. “It is just the wrong way to be going about it,” one said. “We are not delegates, we are representatives.” Some Tory MPs have suggested that they will consult local parties this weekend before deciding whether to join efforts to unseat the prime minister.” – The Times

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Polite discomfort (or “a load of arse-kissing”) on the Prime Minister’s conference call with senior Tory activists

Brexit Crisis 9) We could just break the Treaty claims Lidington

“Theresa May’s de facto deputy David Lidington has told Cabinet the Government could escape the controversial backstop by simply breaking the treaty and walking away. The senior minister stunned Mrs May and other top table colleagues by proposing the dramatic course of action if the EU try to hold Britain in it for too long. In James Forsyth’s column, he reveals that Mr Lidington informed ministers that before Britain joined the Lisbon Treaty in 2007, there was no technical route out of the EU. It means the UK “get out” to the backstop would be to walk away and dare the EU to sue Britain themselves. In his intervention, the once Remain-backing cabinet minister argued colleagues should not become too “hung up” on how the UK can escape from new arrangements with the EU.” – The Sun

Brexit Crisis 11) Over 200 business leaders call on MPs to vote down “worst of all worlds”

“More than 200 chief executives and entrepreneurs have called on Conservative MPs to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, describing it as “the worst of all worlds”. In a letter, seen by the Telegraph, business leaders who run medium sized companies say Mrs May’s deal represents “the greatest act of national humiliation in this proud nation’s recent history”. The letter, organised by John Longworth, the former director general of the British Chamber of Commerce, is signed by members of the Alliance of British Entrepreneurs including Tim Martin, the boss of pub giant Wetherspoon and veteran venture capitalist John Moulton and will be delivered to all Tory MPs next week.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cling to your corrupt, tatty comfort blanket, Remainers – us Brexiteers feel truly alive – Julie Burchill, Daily Telegraph

Brexit Crisis 10) Forsyth: If the PM agreed to stand down, it would be easier to get the deal voted through

“She should say that as soon as the withdrawal legislation is through the Commons, she will stand down as Prime Minister.  This would enable MPs to vote for the deal without that being an endorsement of her handling of Brexit or an invitation for her to negotiate the next stage of Brexit, the UK/EU trade deal. One Cabinet minister tells me the PM is now an impediment to this deal passing. Her announcing her departure would make it easier for MPs to vote for the deal.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

Brexit Crisis 12) Moore: The establishment want us to panic over a “No Deal”

“Even now, the establishment orthodoxy may well come out on top. Conservative MPs, fearing complete collapse and the loss of their seats, may panic and vote for anything. The latest attempt by Downing Street defenders of the deal to destroy Leave morale is to threaten a second vote if the first one rejects the deal. They say MPs will be so frightened by potential market turmoil that they will succumb. Thus our Government has a vested interest in financial panic. And thus, by further delay, we make everything worse still. So there are many good reasons to be gloomy. But one of the things to be said for parliamentary democracy is that it has a way of stumbling on the right answer when it has toyed with every possible wrong one. The right answer is not this deal, and the right leader is not the one who blindly clings to it and nothing else.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

UK’s welfare system is cruel and discriminatory claims UN official

“Britain’s welfare system is so sexist it may as well have been compiled by “a group of misogynists in a room,” a UN expert has claimed. Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, warned that poverty in the UK is a “political choice” and that compassion and concern had been “outsourced” in favour of tax cuts for the rich. In a damning 24-page report he brands levels of child poverty “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster” and said that limiting benefit payments to two children was as “forced and physical” as China’s one-child policy. Critics of the UN’s involvement in UK politics suggested that the organisation should spend its time and money studying poverty in third world countries rather than the world’s fifth largest economy.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Anti-austerity rant of UN envoy who compares ‘mean’ Britain to communist China – Leo McKinstry, Daily Mail

Labour MP accused of lying over speeding offence

“A Labour MP who claims an ‘untraceable’ Russian man sped in her Nissan Micra had driven alone to a house on the street where the car was caught doing 41mph in a 30mph zone, a court heard today. Dr Christian DeFeo, who wrote press releases for Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya, said he felt ‘compelled’ to appear at the Old Bailey at the 11th hour after reading a court report online this week. Miss Onasanya is accused of orchestrating the plot in an attempt to evade prosecution just weeks after being elected. She allegedly conspired with her brother Festus to offload the blame when her Nissan Micra was caught speeding in July last year and the siblings told police that a Russian man named Aleks Antipow was behind the wheel.” – Daily Mail

Councils have spent £100 million on legal fees battling parents of Special Needs children

“Councils have spent about £100 million fighting parents seeking support for their disabled children at tribunals, yet the authorities lost nine in ten appeals. The amount covers four years in which local authorities tried to reject appeals brought by families unhappy at the lack of help they were getting for children with special needs. Families have remortgaged their houses and run up tens of thousands of pounds in debt to secure educational support for their children. Some local authorities have used a controversial law firm to fight their case and others have allegedly lied to parents about their entitlement.” – The Times

Peers challenged over refusal to punish Lester

“Two female peers have condemned fellow Lords members for “misogynistic, victim-blaming” attitudes after they cast doubt on the claims of a woman found to have been sexually harassed by a Lib Dem peer, because she was friendly to him on later occasions. Jenny Jones, of the Greens, said she was so shocked at the attitudes in Thursday’s debate that she walked out of the chamber. At the end, the Lords voted to block the punishment imposed on Anthony Lester following a year-long series of inquiries. Meral Hussein-Ece, a Lib Dem peer, said she became “more and more incredulous and angry” as she listened to the debate, which she said appeared to be a concerted effort by Lester’s friends in the Lords to stop a suspension imposed by the privileges and conduct committee.” – The Guardian

Cameron to “reveal all” in TV series

“He already has a luxury shed and a lucrative book deal. Soon he’ll be the subject of his own television series, too. David Cameron is co-operating with Denys Blakeway, one of Britain’s leading political film-makers, on a multi-part BBC documentary about his time as prime minister. Blakeway was once dubbed the “TV confessor of choice” for Britain’s political leaders, with Baroness Thatcher, Sir John Major and Tony Blair all having opened up to him for documentaries that came to define their time in — or rise to — power.” – The Times

News in brief

  • Stopping Brexit means stopping democracy – Brendan O’Neill, The Spectator
  • A way out of this Brexit mess – George Freeman, Capx
  • Tory MPs are getting sick of May fast – Andrew Grice, Independent
  • May warns Conservative Party chairmen that her deal can’t be renegotiated – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • The economic benefits of leaving with no Withdrawal Agreement – John Redwood