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May’s “secret plan” is to “keep whole of Britain in a customs union”. There will be an “exit clause”. She’s also “on course to secure a deal on a Future Economic Partnership with the EU”

“Theresa May’s secret plan to secure a Brexit deal and win the backing of parliament can be revealed today. Senior sources say the prime minister has secured private concessions from Brussels that will allow her to keep the whole of Britain in a customs union, avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland. They expect this to placate remainer Tories and win over some Labour MPs. And in a move that will appeal to Eurosceptics, May is also said to be on course to secure a political deal on a “future economic partnership” (FEP) with the European Union that will allow Britain to keep open the prospect of a free trade deal resembling that enjoyed by Canada.” – The Sunday Times

>Today: ToryDiary: May’s Brexit deal. The Cabinet must stand ready to take back control.

May: We will “leave with a good deal”. The Conservatives offer “a country that truly works for everyone”. We are the “party of the NHS”

“… Over the past decade, our focus was on dealing with the aftermath of the financial crisis. Over the next decade, our challenge must be to seize the opportunities of the future and ensure that everyone benefits. Because the Conservatives are not just a party to fix a mess, we are also a party to steer a course to a better future. Leaving the European Union with a good deal, creating new jobs and getting the most out of new technology through our Modern Industrial Strategy, taking a responsible and balanced approach to our economy that keeps our national debt falling, our public services improving, people’s wages rising and their taxes low. That is the brighter future Conservatives offer the British people: a country that truly works for everyone. – Mail on Sunday

  • Labour MPs should vote down deal and let people decide – Tony Blair, Observer
  • We must trade more with the Commonwealth – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Here’s why UK will “prosper” on leaving – Liam Fox, The Sun on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. More than four in ten Conservative members want May to step down immediately.

Brexiters “fear a sellout” now it seems May is “days away” from deal, and will “aim for” vote by end of month

“Brexiteer MPs feared a “sell-out” amid reports that Theresa May is days away from a deal. Ministers believe the PM plans to bounce them into backing a fudged divorce settlement which will keep Britain in the customs union. A source said: “At some stage she is going to have to put a package on the table and say it’s the best she can get. “When that happens, everyone is going to have to decide whether to get behind it or take a walk.” MPs expect Mrs May will have enough details tied down to put to her Cabinet in the next week or two — and she will aim for a Commons vote by the end of the month. Downing Street insisted that no deal has been reached and negotiations with the EU are ongoing.” – The Sun on Sunday

May’s deal could be put to cabinet “as early as Tuesday”, and then an “emergency summit to seal divorce by end of month”

“Theresa May is said to have made a breakthrough on Brexit talks that could see her put forward a deal to her Cabinet as early as Tuesday. The Prime Minister was reported last night to have secured private concessions from Brussels that would keep the whole of the UK in a customs union with the EU. Her plan would avoid the need for a hard Irish during a transition to a final trade deal, the issue which has been the sticking point in negotiations for months. Mrs May also hopes to produce a detailed outline on the final settlement with the EU signalling a Canada-style deal remains a long-term possibility. Downing Street hopes to convince Brussels to convene an emergency summit within days to seal the divorce before the end of the month – and then persuade MPs to back it.” – Mail on Sunday

Lowry: Nothing has persuaded me that London won’t agree that NI “will always be entirely or largely in EU customs space”

“…But nothing I have read has persuaded me that London is other than, at core, prepared to agree that Northern Ireland will always be entirely or largely in the European Union customs and regulatory space. The only remotely good news from a unionist point of view is that the UK is trying insofar as possible to keep Northern Ireland in the same customs arrangement as the rest of the UK. In other words, there will be no tariff barrier between the Province and Great Britain. This shows a level of determination to prevent an internal UK customs border, but there will be a regulatory one.” Belfast News Letter 

  • Varadkar says Brexit has “undermine GFA” – Observer
  • Meanwhile France signs deal to “fast-track” Irish lorries at Calais – Sunday Telegraph

Raab and DExEU “are are telling ministers and MPs” that the “final deal” document will “open door” to Canada-style relationship

“This arrangement will unnerve Brexiteers. But Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, and officials from DExEU — his department — are telling ministers and MPs that the document outlining the final deal will be much more to their taste, that it will open the door to a long-term relationship which more closely resembles that between the EU and countries such as Canada and South Korea with whom the bloc has signed trade deals. “The future partnership will look more like Canada,” said a Tory who has discussed the issue with Raab. “The word is that parts of it could have been written by Jacob Rees-Mogg”, leader of the hardline Brexiteers.” – The Sunday Times

  • There will be a 50-page document, which “could’ve been written by Rees-Mogg” – The Times
  • May will “persuade” MPs to back her plan by telling them they’ll otherwise be “personally responsible” for “no deal” – The Times

Cox joins “war cabinet”

“The Government’s chief legal adviser has been given a permanent seat on Theresa May’s Brexit war cabinet after ministers insisted they would not sign off on a deal without his advice. Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General and a Leave-supporting QC, has been quietly added as a 12th member of the Cabinet sub-committee designed to oversee the UK’s negotiations with Brussels. The move comes as Mrs May is believed to be closing in on a deal with the European Union over an insurance plan, or “backstop”, intended to avoid border infrastructure between Northern Ireland and the Republic.” – Sunday Telegraph 

Heywood “lost his battle with cancer this morning”

“Former Cabinet Secretary  Sir Jeremy Heywood has died from cancer aged 56. Sir Jeremy, Britain’s top’s Civil Servant, had stood down on a temporary basis over the summer after being diagnosed with the illness. Downing Street announced he lost his battle with cancer this morning. More to follow.” – The Sun on Sunday

More Brexit

Could May replace Hammond with Raab?

“…Those who would be in line for the chop include Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling; those tipped for promotion include Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox. Well-placed sources also tip Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to replace Philip Hammond as Chancellor. The plan will be greeted with dismay by the ‘noose and knife’ cabal of Brexiteers, who tried to force a leadership contest last month to avert what they fear will be a ‘sell-out’ on Brexit. Their metaphorical claims that she should ‘bring a noose’ to a meeting and that she would be stabbed by a ‘knife’ led to a backlash – ensuring another stay of execution for Mrs May.” – Mail on Sunday

Grayling admits HS2 “could be dramatically scaled back”

“HS2 could be dramatically scaled back amid public opposition to the scheme, the Transport Secretary has admitted. Chris Grayling said that the second phase of the line, which would connect Birmingham to Leeds, was “not in the bag”. His comments, to rail industry figures, represent a major departure from the Government’s previous insistence that construction of the scheme would proceed as planned despite mounting questions about its costs and value for money. They reflect growing concerns in Whitehall that industry bodies and trade unions that helped make the original case for the project are failing to effectively counter the arguments made by opponents.” – Sunday Telegraph

Leadsom expect to launch new inquiry into Westminster bullying claims

“A fresh probe into Westminster bullying will blow the lid off the secret behaviour of MPs and peers, it was claimed last night. Commons leader Andrea Leadsom is expected launch an inquiry this week into complaints from secretaries, researchers and aides employed directly by politicians. It follows a damning report by former judge Dame Laura Cox which examined 200 allegations of groping, intimidation and harassment by Parliamentary officials. But the new probe will go much further and will examine hundreds of allegations against MPs from past and present staff. A source close to the investigation predicted the revelations would be “bigger and more explosive” than in the Cox report. Dame Laura found an entrenched culture of harassment against apolitical parliamentary staffers.” – The Sun on Sunday 

Why the “tax gap” will give “Tories ammunition to fire at the SNP”

“… At a glance, the argument seems straightforward. Why does SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay not copy the Chancellor and raise the income tax threshold to £50,000? The answer is that doing so is very expensive. According to figures obtained by Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale from the Scottish Parliament, replicating the tax change without indexing other Scottish tax thresholds would cost an estimated £410m. Such a sum is more than three times the value of the Pupil Equity Fund budget, which was introduced to help poorer pupils.” – Herald

Might MPs follow Field and vote down new UC rules?

“The chair of a powerful House of Commons committee urged MPs last night to consider voting down new rules governing how three million benefit claimants will be switched to universal credit – amid fears the regulations will leave people worse off. Frank Field MP, who chairs the all-party work and pensions committee, complained that ministers had refused to show MPs details of the new regulations, which they fear will plunge more claimants into poverty, and leave them struggling to cope under the new system. Field told the Observer he was furious that his committee had not been given the chance by ministers to scrutinise the latest regulations, given the growing public concerns over universal credit and mounting calls for the system to be scrapped.” – Observer

Javid to travel to Silicon Valley and “confront” tech giants

“Sajid Javid is to confront the heads of US web giants over the “refusal” of some firms to take the online abuse of children seriously. The Home Secretary will travel to Silicon Valley this week to demand greater action from internet companies to remove underage pornography and protect young people. His visit will increase pressure on internet firms days after Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, announced a new digital services tax in the budget  that created fury among tech firms and senior US politicians.” – Sunday Telegraph

Clark wants to “name and shame” companies that “flout employment legislation” and penalise those that fail to give holiday pay

“… The proposal is part of a package of measures to overhaul the jobs market, based on the recommendations of last year’s government-commissioned Taylor review into modern employment. Business secretary Greg Clark is understood to be pushing for a “naming and shaming scheme” as a deterrent to companies that may be tempted to flout employment legislation. More than a third of employees who win a payout at a tribunal never receive the cash, according to government research in 2013. Clark also wants to bring in tough financial penalties for companies that fail to give workers holiday pay, and to close a loophole that lets employers pay agency workers less than full-time staff for the same job.” – The Sunday Times

More government

  • Williamson says no more second chances for troops who’ve been caught on drugs – Observer
  • Hancock wants employers to give free fruit – Mail on Sunday
  • Plans for Milton Keynes “major expansion” were “dropped from budget” – Sunday Telegraph
  • Education select committee to address tuition fees and VC pay – The Sunday Times

More Conservatives

  • Couch quit following “private agony” after meeting with mother of teenage gambling addict who killed himself – The Sun on Sunday
  • Griffiths claims “sexting” was response to breakdown – The Sunday Times
  • Hayes is calling for capital punishment – The Sun on Sunday
  • Johnson is writing book about Shakespeare – The Sunday Times

Comment:

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Sir David Cameron-Hume. In time, why not?

News in Brief

  • On capitalism and ethics – Paul Mason, New Statesman
  • The Democrats need to realise what they’re up against – Oliver Wiseman, CapX
  • Watch out for Steyer – Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New Yorker
  • Here’s WhatAapp – Katy Balls, Spectator

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