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Ministers demand to see legal advice behind May’s Brexit proposals

Theresa May appears to be edging closer to a Brexit deal after she showed Cabinet ministers a draft of a withdrawal agreement she intends to put to Brussels. Mrs May hopes they will rubber-stamp the proposal at a special Cabinet meeting in the next few days, but her plans have been delayed by ministers demanding to see the full legal advice on which it is based. Michael Gove and other ministers have insisted they cannot make an informed decision without seeing the full legal advice drawn up by Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, which underpins the proposal. Ministers were invited to the Cabinet Office on Wednesday to read a copy of the proposed withdrawal agreement, though it does not yet contain final details on how the final deal will avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Mrs May had hoped to hold a Cabinet meeting by the end of this week, but Mr Gove is understood to have told the Prime Minister he will refuse to sign up to her proposed deal if she does not let him see Mr Cox’s advice.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Crunch Cabinet meeting delayed over row – The Guardian
  • Labour ally with rebels in bid to force publication – The Sun
  • DUP demand May publish advice on Irish backstop – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Rees-Mogg brands customs plan ‘betrayal’ – The Sun
  • May calls Merkel for help securing deal by Christmas – Daily Express
  • Prime Minister steps up preparations for a deal… – FT
  • …but is accused of ‘misleading the public’ – The Sun
  • Momentum plotting to force MPs to vote against a deal – Daily Mail
  • Brexiteers fear ‘single market by the back door’ – The Times

Comment:

  • MPs need information for any vote to be meaningful – Jack Simson Caird, Times Red Box
  • What would it take for impartial people to back the deal? – Anand Menon, Daily Telegraph

>Today:

>Yesterday: Graham Gudgin in Comment: Are we inching nearer to an escape from the Northern Ireland backstop?

UK ‘boycotts Brussels aid spending’

“Britain has boycotted an EU aid spending plan vote over Brussels’ Brexit bullying. It accused the European Commission of discriminating against UK based organisations over Brexit, and refused to endorse the billions of pounds of spending. The UK declined to give support for the first time in a vote among the 28 member states on the £25.6billion fund, The Guardian revealed. In a statement it said that it was “still waiting for a response” to concerns over how projects will be funded after we leave. Earlier this year the Commission said they would terminate clauses with aid providers if there were to be a No Deal Brexit. Several British organisations and charities have already been warned that unless they can commit to securing the gaps in funding if we leave unexpectedly with no arrangement, they shouldn’t even apply for funds at all. Ministers said in the statement it was “still waiting for a response to the concerns raised at a political level in August, including via secretary of state for international development’s letter to the commission of 23 August 2018, on the treatment of UK entities in the tendering process of EU programmes”.” – The Sun

  • Raab floats post-Brexit visa scheme for young EU citizens – Daily Telegraph
  • May cancelled national security meetings to focus on Brexit – The Sun
  • Cameron ‘fully supports’ the Prime Minister – Daily Express

Home Nations:

  • Scottish Parliament backs second referendum – Daily Telegraph
  • SNP MSPs split over support for ‘People’s Vote’ – The Scotsman
  • DUP donations given clean bill of legal health – News Letter

>Yesterday:

Javid calls on police to get knife crime under control

“The home secretary has increased pressure on the Metropolitan Police to bring the capital’s knife crime epidemic under control as charities criticised the government’s “painfully slow” response. Sajid Javid interrupted a trip to the US to call Cressida Dick, the Met commissioner, after yet another week of bloodshed that saw five victims, including three teenagers, stabbed to death. Having reassured her that he stands with her, Mr Javid told Ms Dick: “We must step up the police response to get the situation under control.” A 17-year-old boy was in a critical condition after a stabbing in West Hampstead, northwest London, on Tuesday. On Monday a 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Tulse Hill, south London, in front of his mother, the third teenager to be killed in London since Thursday and the 119th person to be murdered in the capital this year… Mr Javid has been in the US on a trip aimed at lobbying social media companies to improve their handling of child sexual abuse and exploitation. He told Ms Dick: “Alongside tough law enforcement we will not let up on our work to prevent young people getting drawn into knife crime in the first place.”” – The Times

  • Harman slammed for blaming violent YouTube videos – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Blame lies with yobs, not the police or ministers – Clare Foges, The Sun
  • Complacent Khan says it could take ten years to fix – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

Ellwood says film portrayals are discouraging firms from hiring ex-servicemen

Films depicting war veterans are putting off companies from hiring former soldiers over fears they are “doolally”, a senior Defence minister minister has said. Tobias Ellwood, a defence minister, said there was an “untrue and unhelpful” belief that those who serve in the armed forces may be “damaged”. Veterans are frequently depicted as being mentally damaged in films like The Deer Hunter, American Sniper and Taxi Driver. Mr Ellwood, who is in charge of veterans’ policy, said a recent study by Lord Ashcroft found that “nine-tenths of the population think that you might be damaged if you serve”… Mr Ellwood continued: “You could have this attitude where an employer who’s not familiar with the Armed Forces, they may say, ‘two people, one has served in the Armed Forces, are they going to go doolally on me?’ We need to kill that attitude because it’s decidedly untrue and unhelpful. We’re doing a lot of work with employers themselves, with businesses and organisations, so they can see the value of that.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Remembrance is an act which brings Britain together – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

Truss vows to block meat tax

“The Treasury slammed the door on a new meat tax demanded by doctors and campaigners. Minister Liz Truss dismissed the plans as “claptrap” and vowed to block the move. Nannying experts have called for a 79 per cent tax on bacon, sausages and ham, but the Tory Cabinet Minister hit out: “Bacon is an important contributor to my wellbeing” warning on Twitter: “hands off.” The tax would see a £2.50 packet of sausages almost double to £4.47, and a £1.50 tin of Spam soar to £2.68. Oxford University said: “our findings make it clear that the consumption of red and processed meat has a cost, not just to people’s health and to the planet, but also to the healthcare systems and the economy.”” – The Sun

May urged to stop ministers gagging charity sector

“The head of a group representing the charity sector has called on Theresa May to stop her ministers using gagging clauses after a Times investigation. Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), wrote to the prime minister asking her to “confirm unambiguously” that charities would not be prevented from criticising the government. He said that the use of anti-publicity clauses by ministers should be reviewed “in the spirit of open government” and indicated that a previous letter he had written on the issue had been ignored for a month by Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary. Forty charities and more than 300 companies have been banned from publicly criticising ministers, their departments or the prime minister, as part of contracts costing the taxpayer £25 billion. In one deal experts hired to test cladding 12 days after the Grenfell Tower fire were barred from criticising Mrs May or doing anything to embarrass her. It can now be revealed that advisers to the inquiry into the disaster were also barred from criticising her.” – The Times

Tugendhat calls for tax breaks for profit sharing under ‘community Conservatism’

The Conservatives need to take inspiration from Greggs to beat Labour at the next election, a rising star Tory MP has said. Tom Tugendhat, tipped as a future leader, hailed the high street bakery for the way its staff were able to share in its profits. Speaking to the Social Market Foundation think tank, he suggested using public money to reward companies who reward their staff “like Greggs”. Mr Tugendhat said: “I like the way it’s run. The employees of that bakery get a share not just in the profit of their own labour but in the output of the firm as a whole. After six months they get profit share and a chance to take part in a share save scheme that allows them to buy in at a discounted rate.” He said tax breaks for profit sharing should be considered by the Government, while commuters could be given a legal say over the running of train services. Outlining a form of “Community Conservatism”, he said the Tories had to have a more robust response to Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to nationalise 10 per cent of British industry.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ministers to crack down on tax avoidance on second homes – FT

Comment:

  • One way to fix the Tories’ youth problem – Justine Greening MP, Times Red Box

Sir Roger Scruton: If only those trying to damn me by my words had actually read them

I have known Orbán since the time when I helped him and his colleagues – all students – to set up alternative educational networks under the communists. It does not follow that I am a supporter of his current policies. I am, astonishing though it may appear, a person of independent views. As for Islamophobia, I deplore the invention of this word, and all that it has meant by way of silencing one side to a much-needed debate. It belongs to the new politics, based in “the art of taking offence”, among people who could not care less whether real offence has been given. To accuse someone of Islamophobia is like accusing the Labour Party of Conservatophobia, while regarding this new crime as a sign of a deranged and malicious state of mind. Those who wish to know my views on Islam might like to read what I write in The West and the Rest on the Muslim way of life… As for the assertion in my lecture in Hungary that Islamic states often fail to be nations, I would say that the facts speak for themselves.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: William Shawcross in Comment: May and Brokenshire must not let Scruton be hounded from his post

Bercow blocks journalists investigating Vaz for ‘bullying’ claims

“Journalists will be prevented from investigating bullying claims against Keith Vaz after the Commons Speaker invoked ancient parliamentary rules. John Bercow declared that the same privilege that allows MPs and peers to speak freely in parliament should apply to documentation relating to official trips abroad made by the Labour MP. The exemption to the freedom of information laws that were used cannot be appealed against because it would require a judge to review the decisions of the Commons Speaker, which are themselves covered by privilege. Mr Vaz, 61, was accused this year of having bullied a clerk who believed that he was not following rules on a trip as chairman of the home affairs select committee. Mr Vaz denied the claims. When the BBC’s Newsnight applied under freedom of information laws for papers relating to Mr Vaz’s trips abroad, Mr Bercow issued his veto. Hannah White, a director at the Institute for Government think tank and a former Commons clerk, said the ruling “illustrates just why staff have no confidence in MPs to sort out bullying”.” – The Times

Iranian Twitter trolls backed Corbyn

“Web trolls working for Iran’s government launched a campaign to get Jeremy Corbyn elected PM, The Sun can reveal. The regime apparently pumped out more than 1,400 messages in support of the hard-left Labour leader. The damning dossier of tweets includes vile claims that the party’s anti-Semitism scandal was made up by Israel to smear Mr Corbyn. The Labour leader repeatedly appeared on Iran’s propaganda “news” channel before he became party boss. Twitter announced last month that it had deleted 800 accounts which were thought to be fronts for the Iranian government. The Sun can now reveal for the first time that those accounts sent 1,446 messages about Mr Corbyn, in an apparent bid to get Labour elected. The messages praised him for his views on Palestine – and sought to play down anti-Semitism in the party.” – The Sun

Trump prepares to run again in 2020

“President Trump immediately set his sights on re-election in 2020 yesterday after claiming to have “defied history” by making gains in US midterm elections even as his party lost control of one chamber of Congress. He asked Mike Pence, the vice-president, to be his running-mate again – and Mr Pence agreed – during a bombastic and at times bad-tempered press conference performance from a president pumped up by several “incredible” Senate victories. Mr Trump then sacked Jeff Sessions, the attorney-general, after months of sniping at him, as he began to reshape his cabinet for the second half of his administration. The president put himself at the heart of Republican successes and blamed half a dozen candidates by name for losing because they “didn’t want the embrace” of his personal support. America was left exhausted and divided by an election campaign marred by mail-bomb attacks, a mass-shooting of Jewish worshippers in Pittsburgh and aggressive partisan rhetoric from the president.” – The Times

  • President pushes out Sessions in mid-terms aftermath – FT
  • France and Britain strengthen links ‘to hedge against Trump’ – The Guardian

Comment:

  • America’s age of extremes is only going to get worse – Gerard Baker, The Times
  • Results offer populist path to 2020 victory for Trump – Rob Crilly, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit must not threaten our crucial alliance – George Robertson and Bernard Cazeneuve, The Guardian

Editorial:

>Yesterday: Ben Roback in International: America’s mid-terms. Not so much a blue wave as a blue ripple.

News in Brief:

  • If Roger Scruton can’t contribute to public life, who can? – Owen Polley, CapX
  • Brexit is served – and neither option is palatable – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • A Democrat majority in the House suits Trump just fine – Gerald Malone, Reaction
  • The Prime Minister must not go for a deal at any cost – Owen Paterson MP, Brexit Central
  • The growing power of the YouTube Right – Gavin Haynes, UnHerd

And finally… Prince of Wales promises not to be ‘meddling king’

The Prince of Wales will today vow publicly that he will not be a “meddling” King, as he outlines for the first time his plans for his future as sovereign. The Prince, who has been heir to the throne since the age of four, will pledge that he will not continue his campaigning role when he becomes King, as he moves to reassure the public he fully understands the limitations he will face. Speaking ahead of his 70th birthday, as part of a documentary giving insight into his future, the Prince will spell out for the first time his firm resolve to follow in the footsteps of his mother the Queen to “operate within the constitutional parameters” of life as monarch. The Prince, who has long faced accusations of “meddling “in public life on issues from architecture to the environment, will say his life’s work as the Prince of Wales is “completely different” to the role he will one day accede to… It is expected to be the final and only word from the Prince himself about his coming reign.” – Daily Telegraph

10 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 11th November 2018

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