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May prepares curbs to migration in bid to sell deal…

Theresa May is preparing to unveil curbs on low-skilled migrants just days before a crunch Commons vote on her Brexit deal in a bid to win round Eurosceptic Tory MPs, The Telegraph has learned. Leaked Cabinet papers reveal that the Home Office has drawn up plans to issue low-skilled migrants with 11-month visas “with restricted entitlements and rights” while they are living in the UK. Ministers are also considering alternative plans to allow EU migrants aged between 18 and 30 to live and work in the UK for two years, with a strict cap on numbers. The Prime Minister will announce that the Government will abolish the cap on highly skilled workers after Brexit such as doctors and nurses entirely so the UK can attract the “brightest and the best”… The Telegraph understands that the Government is planning to publish the long-awaited migration white paper in the week starting December 3rd, with the Commons vote expected the following week. The Prime Minister will then seek to reframe the Brexit debate around migration by arguing that her deal will fulfil the key referendum pledge of taking back control of borders.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Low-skilled EU immigrants to receive 11-month visas – The Sun
  • Prime Minister repeatedly refuses to rule out resigning – Daily Telegraph
  • May ‘implores’ rebels to back her deal… – Daily Express
  • …and insists it cannot be ‘rewritten’ by MPs – The Scotsman
  • Is the deal already sunk? – Daily Mail

More:

  • Government to ‘enrage Brexiteers’ with new projections – The Times
  • Pro-Brexit adviser admits we’d be better off staying in – The Guardian
  • Spain stands firm on Gibraltar ahead of summit – FT
  • EU to demand fishing access before agreeing trade deal – The Sun
  • Brussels sees its Brexit mission accomplished – FT

>Today: Nick Hargrave’s column: If we join the EEA, others might follow – thus creating a Europe-wide, non-federalist alternative to the EU

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My Brexit poll. It’s good for May…but bad for her deal

…as DUP say its worse than Corbyn taking power

“Theresa May’s Brexit deal is a worse outcome for Britain than a government led by Jeremy Corbyn, Arlene Foster says today. The head of the Democratic Unionist Party warns the prime minister that she cannot count on its ten MPs to save her from a vote of no confidence if the Commons rejects the deal. In an interview with The Times Mrs Foster makes clear that the Tories’ wavering allies will not be bullied into propping up Mrs May by the fear of a Labour election victory. Although the arrival of Mr Corbyn in No 10 is “not a pleasant scenario”, she says a divorce deal that in her view carves Northern Ireland from Britain is worse… She points to Labour MPs whose views on Northern Ireland are opposed to those of Mr Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and says that the DUP would look at the “whole picture” if it were faced with a choice between an early election or accepting a backstop that imposed a different set of regulations on Northern Ireland.” – The Times

  • Hammond announces ‘surprise cash boost’ for Northern Irish schools – The Sun
  • Robinson gives eve-of-conference warning on the Union – News Letter
  • Interview with Foster – The Times
  • Adams free to appeal 1970s convictions – The Guardian

More:

  • Raab says deal is ‘worse’ than staying in the EU – The Sun
  • Stewart says defeat of deal could cause lasting toxicity – Daily Express

Comment:

  • DUP’s electoral insulation could be a false comfort – Sam McBride, News Letter
  • The party is in as much trouble as May, and will stick with her – Alex Kane, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: It’s possible to trade across the Northern Irish border without simply swallowing EU regulation whole

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Yesterday in the Commons. More opponents than supporters of the Prime Minister’s deal on the Conservative backbenchers.

Knighthood for Hayes derided as ‘desperation’

“Theresa May last night awarded a knighthood to a veteran Eurosceptic MP, prompting accusations she was using the honours system to get her Brexit deal through parliament. John Hayes, a maverick former minister sacked by the prime minister in January, was given the honour in a one-off announcement, rather than as part of a large list as is typical. This deepened suspicion in Westminster that the decision was related to the thorny task facing the prime minister in getting her Brexit deal through the Commons. Sir John, who voted to leave the EU in 2016, has expressed concern about the backstop plan for the Irish border in the government’s Brexit deal, and last night told The Daily Telegraph: “I still need a lot of persuading to vote for this.” Chris Matheson, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, said that it was “a spectacular act of desperation for Theresa May to be giving away knighthoods in a bid to win votes for her botched Brexit deal”.” – The Times

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Arise, Sir John!

Jeremy Hunt: The Commons and the country should rally behind the Prime Minister

“If Parliament were to reject the Declaration and the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, this would open the door for those who wish to derail Brexit and overturn the result of the referendum. Already we hear demands for the British people to be made to rerun the debate and vote again. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour just play politics – standing both for and against a second referendum, saying one thing to Leave voters and quite another to Remainers. As it happens, I voted to stay in the EU, but I respect the outcome and I believe in the democratic imperative of honouring the decision of the British people. Today, the choice is not between this Declaration and a perfect agreement. The real choice is between the terms secured by the Prime Minister in the national interest or the danger of going back to square one and Brexit not happening at all. This would deal a profoundly damaging blow to British democracy. Now that the crucial hour is upon us, the country should get behind her.” – Daily Telegraph

  • How Downing Street is trying to force this deal through – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • Remainers must reject May’s agreement – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • There is still a Norway-style alternative – Camilla Cavendish, FT
  • Will ‘real Brexit’ become the Right’s version of ‘real socialism’? – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • May’s blueprint is not going to pass the Commons – James Forsyth, The Sun
  • How the Prime Minister could survive the next few weeks – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Keep your eyes fixed on the Withdrawal Agreement, which would be backed by law. Not on this Political Declaration. Which wouldn’t.

Ministers 1) Rudd signals more support for single mothers

“Single Mums are set to get more help from Universal Credit, Amber Rudd has said. The new Work and Pensions boss says she would review the five-week wait, payments for housing, and repayment of loans in a sure sign that more changes are on the way. But she said she wanted to focus on the impacts on “particularly single mothers”. In an interview with Sky News she said: “I’m going to specifically look at how Universal Credit impacts women… I’m going to make sure that if we need to make changes to support them then we will.” Research has shown that single mums and women generally are some of the hardest hit by the Universal Credit and welfare system. The flagship policy, which is set to roll six benefits into one, has been beset with issues, but the new DWP boss has vowed to “fix” them. She insisted that the system was a “force for good” but admitted there were “real problems” that needed to be dealt with. Millions more Brits are set to go onto the new system in the coming months, as ministers transfer people from the old to the new system.” – The Sun

Ministers 2) Javid forced to abandon firearms curbs

“The government has abandoned plans to ban military-grade rifles after pressure from Conservative Brexiteers and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Sajid Javid, the home secretary, quietly dropped the proposal yesterday. Police forces had supported the idea of banning the weapons, which were designed by the military, amid fears that they would fall into the hands of terrorists. The National Crime Agency said that the rifles were too powerful to be used for sport and warned that they had the ability to immobilise a medium-sized lorry at a distance of just over a mile. Brexiteer MPs have said that a ban would be disproportionate and risked penalising law-abiding citizens. They said that only a tiny proportion of crimes were committed with legally held firearms. The row is the latest show of strength from Brexiteer Conservative MPs who oppose Theresa May’s proposed EU deal with Brussels. Labour said that the climbdown showed that the government was so weak that it could not pass laws designed to ban powerful rifles.” – The Times

  • Khan spends £1.7 million on water fountains instead of police – Daily Telegraph

Mercer attacks ‘unjust’ investigations into troops

“Military cops are still investigating over 140 alleged war crimes committed in Iraq by British troops – despite claims the probes would end this year. Last February then Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced the hated IHAT probe would close with the total remaining cases set to drop to around 20. And MoD officials bragged service cops would “complete the remaining investigations” as early as the end of this year – 12 months ahead of schedule. But figures released by the MoD yesterday confirmed there are 51 ongoing investigations into 144 allegations of wrongdoing. Of that 27 are full investigations while 24 are lines of enquiry – not full-blown probes. Each investigation can contain multiple allegations. Insiders last night claimed the target of completing all work by the end of this year was an aspiration rather than a promise, but critics were dismayed by the lack of progress. Campaigning MP Johnny Mercer, a former Army officer, called the investigation of troops a “fundamental injustice” – saying action only gets taken when pressure is applied.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • The DUP has clear red lines, but what does the party want from Brexit? – Owen Polley, CapX
  • If May wants to solve the ‘backstop’ crisis, she needs to talk to tech – Andrew Bird, Brexit Central
  • May’s Brexit deal: the legal verdict – Martin Howe QC, The Spectator
  • Silver smoothies, hard nuts, and sensitive youngsters: the Tory Brexit tribes – Mark Fox, Reaction
  • How the Church lost its flock over Brexit – Giles Fraser, UnHerd

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