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Brexit 1) May writes letter to the public as she prepares to sell her deal

“It is a deal for a brighter future, which enables us to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. Outside the EU, we will be able to sign new trade deals with other countries and open up new markets in the fastest-growing economies around the world. With Brexit settled, we will be able to focus our energies on the many other important issues facing us here at home: keeping our economy strong, and making sure every community shares in prosperity; securing our NHS for the future, giving every child a great start in life, and building the homes that families need; tackling the burning injustices that hold too many people back; and building a country for the future that truly works for everyone. On March 29 next year, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. We will then begin a new chapter in our national life. I want that to be a moment of renewal and reconciliation for our whole country.” – Sunday Times

  • Taking rebels to the abyss could clinch it for May – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • Security and defence threat posed by the deal – Richard Dearlove, FT
  • Brussels is shafting us for this calamitous deal – Daniel Hannan MEP, Sunday Telegraph
  • Giving the UK a way out will save both it and Europe – Tony Blair, Sunday Times

Editorial:

Brexit 2) Claims of whips dangling peerages and honours for votes

“Tory MPs are eagerly sharing anecdotes about approaches to senior back-bench Brexiteers by the Tory whips. In one encounter, a veteran Eurosceptic was told: “We need more people in the House of Lords… I think you’d be a strong voice.” The Brexiteer was one of those members of the hardline European Research Group (ERG) counselling his colleagues not to put in a letter demanding a vote of no confidence in the prime minister. Now he had good reason to back May’s Brexit deal as well. Tory MPs say a peerage has also been dangled under the nose of a former cabinet minister who was asked to “consider your future” at a meeting with one of May’s henchmen. Even the optimists, however, do not think patronage and strategic use of the carrot will be enough. “She can’t just offer 90 peerages,” said one Tory. May’s team are still seeking a “sweetener” for constructive rebels such as the former leader Iain Duncan Smith and cabinet Brexiteers such as Andrea Leadsom.” – Sunday Times

  • May copying Blair’s ‘propaganda tricks’ to sell her deal – Sun on Sunday
  • Prime Minister offers 40 reasons to endorse the agreement – Sunday Express

More:

  • Former donor denounces May as ‘incompetent arch-Remainer’ – Sunday Telegraph

Brexit 3) Remainer ministers form new ‘Gang of Five’

“The prime minister is facing a fresh cabinet mutiny after “remain” ministers began secret talks behind her back to force her to adopt a new plan B for Brexit. Senior ministers are also in private discussions with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to draw up an alternative Brexit blueprint in the event that her deal is voted down by parliament… A majority of cabinet ministers believe she will lose the meaningful vote pencilled in for December 12 and are plotting to force her to change tack. Five remainer ministers – Philip Hammond, David Lidington, Amber Rudd, Greg Clark and David Gauke – have agreed they will try to get May to adopt a softer Brexit if she cannot get her plan through the Commons. They are prepared to threaten a walkout if May contemplates giving way to Brexiteers who want her to pursue a no-deal departure… Hammond hosted a “meeting without pizza” on November 14 at which leading remainers agreed they could not serve in a government that was pursuing no deal. They are also in talks with Brexiteers Michael Gove and Liam Fox and with the DUP in a bid to find a solution.” – Sunday Times

Analysis:

  • If the deal is rejected, what next? – David Smith, Sunday Times
  • What the EU will do when Parliament votes ‘no’ – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Anti-Brexiteers can do without a leader, but not a plan – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

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

Brexit 4) Prime Minister ‘caves in to Spain’ over Gibraltar trade

“Theresa May faced claims of capitulation last night as Britain gave way to Spanish demands over Gibraltar to clear the way for her Brexit deal to be approved today. Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, sent a letter clarifying that the Rock would be covered by a future trade deal with the EU only with Madrid’s consent. The statement was arranged after Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish prime minister, threatened to force the summit’s cancellation and “veto Brexit”. But Sanchez immediately inflamed the situation, claiming the UK would now have to open talks on “joint sovereignty” of Gibraltar. He declared: “Europe and the UK have accepted the demands put forward by Spain.” May responded by saying she would “stand by” the citizens of Gibraltar… Officials said the statement offered a way for Sanchez to save face without changing UK policy. All member states will have a veto over any EU-UK trade agreement.” – Sunday Times

  • May faces new Brexit dilemma after Madrid plays hardball – Sun on Sunday
  • Brexiteers accuse Downing Street of betrayal ‘under cover of darkness’ – The Observer

>Today: ToryDiary: Gibraltar rocked?

Brexit 5) Johnson urges DUP to sink ‘Titantic’ agreement in speech to conference

“Boris Johnson compared Theresa May’s Brexit deal to the Titanic yesterday as he used a platform provided by the Democratic Unionist Party to savage the prime minister’s draft withdrawal agreement. In a blistering attack at the DUP conference in Belfast, he declared: “Now is the time to point out the iceberg ahead.” Watched by Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, the former foreign secretary was given an enthusiastic reception as he said the deal threatened the Union and would leave Northern Ireland “ruled by the EU”. He stopped short of calling for May to be ousted but warned the UK was on the “verge of making a historic mistake”. Johnson called on the government to tear up the Irish “backstop” plan and use technology to avoid a hard border with the Republic. He also suggested creating a secretary of state for “no deal” on World Trade Organisation terms, insisting the UK’s future trade with the EU should be based on a “Canada-plus” model that ensured it could strike deals elsewhere.” – Sunday Times

  • …but to maintain their pact with the Tories – FT
  • Johnson ‘bedazzled’ the Unionists on a cold Belfast night – The Observer
  • Raab says deal can be ‘salvaged’ without backstop – Sunday Telegraph

Comment:

  • Parliament should put a sunset clause on the Withdrawal Agreement – Thomas Sharpe QC, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: David Scullion and George Jackson in Comment: Voting down the Withdrawal Agreement won’t lead to a Corbyn Government

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

Brexit 6) Hayes mocked by Eurosceptics, but insists he won’t vote for the current deal ‘as it stands’

“After picking up a surprise knighthood on Friday, Tory Eurosceptic John Hayes should be celebrating. Instead he’s found himself being mocked by a fellow party Brexiteer who suggested that some colleagues believed he got it from the Prime Minister to persuade him to back her in next month’s crucial EU vote. Sir John was teased by Tory MP Mark Francois who said MPs took his ‘shock’ award as a sign of the Government’s desperation to stave off a defeat. In a sarcasm-laden letter, Mr Francois mocked the ‘staunch Eurosceptic’ MP, saying: ‘Do not be alarmed – your colleagues…know you are made of sterner stuff!’ He heaped ridicule on Sir John, suggesting he could write down his political principles ‘on the back of an old postage stamp’… Sir John hit back by dismissing Mr Francois’s letter as a ‘comic turn’ and insisted his knighthood made no difference to his refusal to vote for the EU withdrawal agreement as it stood. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘As I’ve made very clear before my honour, I cannot support the deal as it now stands.’” – Mail on Sunday

Brexit 7) McDonnell in ‘secret talks with People’s Vote’ campaign

“John McDonnell held secret talks with the People’s Vote campaign last week amid growing signs that Labour might support a second Brexit referendum. The shadow chancellor hosted Tom Baldwin and Alastair Campbell, the former spin doctors to Ed Miliband and Tony Blair respectively who are now campaigning for a new vote, in his Commons office on Thursday. It is understood McDonnell saw polling figures that showed Labour voters overwhelmingly supported a second vote, something that grassroots activists and Labour MPs are pressing the leadership to agree. The Sunday Times has also learnt that Laura Parker, national director of Momentum, the campaign group that acts as a version of the praetorian guard to Jeremy Corbyn, also attended a rally this month in support of a new referendum. A YouGov survey commissioned by the People’s Vote found that by a margin of 53% to 47%, people think there should be another nationwide vote if the Commons rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a crunch vote due next month.” – The Times

  • Re-run possible if deal is thrown out, says Lithuanian prime minister – Sun on Sunday
  • Mandelson bonds with ‘enforcer’ Milne – The Times

Comment:

  • Shadow Chancellor’s enmity serves the Tories better than friendship – Stephen Bush, Sunday Times
  • Is Labour secretly conspiring to let a Tory Brexit happen? – Sherelle Jacobs, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Lucy Woodcock in Comment: By backing a ‘People’s Vote’, May could save the Conservatives

Mordaunt vows to crack down on antisemitic abuse of female MPs

“Penny Mordaunt has vowed to stamp out the “vicious” anti-semitic abuse hurled at her parliamentary colleagues amid fears it could become a barrier to women entering public life. Speaking on the eve of a conference on anti-semitism and misogyny, the women and equalities minister said the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre last month was a warning of what could happen in Britain if the abuse experienced by Jewish MPs such as Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth was tolerated. “All of us have faced misogyny and abuse, and many also have faced danger. But I think the venom that my Jewish female colleagues are having to endure is something else,” she said. The Sara Conference, to be held in London tomorrow, will hear evidence that Jewish women in public life are a magnet for online persecution.” – Sunday Times

Tugendhat joins calls for land purchase reform

Councils should be able to buy up agricultural land at dramatically reduced prices to help solve the housing crisis, a coalition of local authority leaders and MPs have said. More than two dozen council leaders, mayors and MPs urged ministers to radically overhaul reform compulsory purchase laws to “capture” a greater amount of landowners’ profits. The signatories, including nine Conservative council leaders, and Tom Tugendhat, the senior Tory backbencher, want the state to be able to buy up land at its “true market value”, rather than current rates, which generally include a speculative uplift based on planning permission the site could gain for future development. The money saved by local authorities could be to help fund improved landscaping, green spaces, affordable housing and local services, they said in a letter to James Brokenshire, the Housing Secretary. The intervention marks a significant boost for a campaign, led by Onward, a new centre-right think tank, and Shelter, the housing charity, for radical reform of rules governing the purchase of land.” – Sunday Telegraph

Calls to deselect Chope for blocking FGM bill

“He achieved notoriety when he blocked plans to make “upskirting” a crime – now Sir Christopher Chope has provoked fury by objecting to a bill intended to help prevent female genital mutilation (FGM). The Conservative MP for Christchurch in Dorset shouted “object” on Friday afternoon during the second reading of an anti-FGM bill, blocking its progress through the Commons. FGM is the custom of removing all or part of the female external genitalia, including the clitoris. It was made illegal in the UK in 1985 but the crime has never been successfully prosecuted. Chope’s behaviour sparked criticism from across parliament, including calls for the MP to be deselected. The bill, introduced by the crossbench peer Lord Berkeley of Knighton, sought to amend the Children Act 1989 so that courts would be able to use their strongest protective powers to help girls at risk of FGM. The bill had gone through the House of Lords unopposed and had won the support of the government. However, Chope, 71, defended his decision, describing the bill as an act of “virtue signalling”.” – Sunday Times

News in Brief:

  • Johnson’s speech to the Democratic Unionist conference – Guido Fawkes
  • Brexit lessons from the backstop – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • The last thing Britain needs is a wealth tax – Ben Ramanauskas, 1828
  • Why don’t trans activists practise what they preach? – Meghan Murphy, UnHerd
  • The Government has covertly signed us up to the EU’s defence agenda – Steven Edington, Brexit Central

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