May’s Brexit Deal 1) She says that the Cabinet reached a “collective decision” to agree the Draft Withdrawal Deal

“Theresa May confronted her mutinous party with the threat of “no Brexit at all” after she forced her draft deal with the EU through a divided cabinet. Esther McVey, the welfare secretary, was believed to be on the verge of quitting last night after clashes at the end of a marathon five-hour meeting. She was shouted down by the chief whip and cabinet secretary after she demanded a vote by ministers on the deal. Although Ms McVey was one of nine senior ministers to criticise the deal, Mrs May emerged claiming to have secured cabinet backing for a “decisive step” towards finalising Brexit at a special summit on November 25. The prime minister admitted, however, that she faced “difficult days ahead” as Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Brexiteer Tory backbenchers, rejected the draft agreement, saying that it would make Britain “a permanent rule-taker” and warned that it could trigger a vote of no confidence.” – The Times

  • Backstop poses problems for UK and EU – FT
  • Hammond asks businesses to back deal… – The Times
  • …but they demand access to low-skilled migrants – FT
  • May to reveal plan to end free movement before deal is put to MPs – The Sun



  • A deal that pleases nobody was the best she could get – Philip Collins, The Times
  • May has made her move, now MPs must take back control – Martin Kettle, The Guardian



May’s Brexit Deal 2) What happened in Cabinet – McVey ‘shouted down’ as she pushed for vote

“Esther McVey was “shouted down” by the chief whip and rebuked the new cabinet secretary in the closing stages of a tense five-hour meeting at No 10 yesterday, colleagues said. The work and pensions secretary was on “resignation watch” after what one fellow minister described as a “meltdown” at the end of the marathon cabinet session. Ms McVey, one of the most ardent Brexiteers of the cabinet, demanded a vote during the meeting to force each minister to commit definitively one way or another to the draft Brexit deal. Colleagues were unimpressed, with one describing her as “aggressive” and another describing a “massive row” which “got really fruity” with the minister pushing her point more than once. Ms McVey was then shut down by Julian Smith, the chief whip, and Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary. Sir Mark “raised his voice” and “read out the cabinet manual to her” to remind her of the principles of collective cabinet responsibility. It is a moment some Brexiteers are unlikely to forget in a hurry.” – The Times

  • What really happened inside furious Cabinet showdown – The Sun
  • Mundell backs deal as other Scots warn of Union threat – Daily Telegraph



May’s Brexit Deal 3) Vara is first minister to resign – will McVey, Mordaunt, Raab, and perhaps others follow?

“Remainer Shailesh Vara says he has quit as Northern Ireland Minister because he cannot support Theresa May’s Brexit agreement. He said the plans “leave the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation”. His exit could spark a flurry of resignations for Mrs May as she battles for her political life. Mrs May said “difficult days lie ahead” as she announced her Brexit deal had been approved by the Cabinet. One of the chief obstacles could be the House of Commons, where a simple majority of MPs will need to vote for the blueprint for the deal to be given the green light. The magic number is 320, a majority of the 639 voting MPs in the Commons which excludes suspensions, the Speaker, three Deputy Speakers and seven Sinn Fein MPs who abstain from attending the UK Parliament.” – Daily Express

  • Soft ‘Brexsh*t’ deal blasted by all sides – The Sun
  • Tory Remainers ‘getting cold feet’ about rebellion – The Guardian
  • DUP issue warning to May over deal – FT
  • Brexiteers sharpening pens for letters of no confidence – The Times
  • Furious MPs claim deal traps Britain in EU orbit – The Sun


  • Letting the EU fracture the Union is bad for all of us – Emma Little-Pengelly, Daily Telegraph
  • Don’t ask if the deal is good, ask if there’s an alternative – Henry Newman, Times Red Box
  • Rejection of the Barnier plan would hurl Europe into crisis – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Rebecca Ryan in Comment: May’s Deal 2) It endangers Leave. Now the 51 MPs who have pledged to Stand Up for Brexit must keep their promise


May’s Brexit Deal 4) Labour faces ‘moment of truth’

“Labour is facing its “moment of truth” over Brexit and should not pretend it is not as divided as the Tories, backbench MPs have told the party’s leadership. Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, briefed the weekly meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party on Monday and set out the policy hammered out at its annual conference in Liverpool. He reminded MPs and peers that Labour had set six tests for the deal, including that it should provide the “exact same benefits” as staying in the EU’s customs union and single market. In a carefully constructed compromise, Labour says it will vote against any deal that fails the tests and press for a general election. Should it fail to secure one then “all options are on the table”, including support for a second referendum. The fragile truce was starting to fray last night, however, as MPs revealed that they had challenged Mr Starmer and other party leaders to accept that it would be impossible for the party to hold a common position.” – The Times

  • Hard to see how I and other Labour MPs could back this travesty – Kate Hoey, Daily Telegraph
  • Opposition could win power if they back a second referendum – Andrew Adonis, The Times

>Today: Alex Morton’s column: May’s Deal 3) If the Commons rejects it, here are three alternatives

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Corbyn accuses May of failing ‘in her own terms’ on Brexit

May’s Brexit Deal 5) Daniel Hannan’s ConHome piece is re-run in the Sun: A deal so bad that Leavers want to Remain, Remainers to Leave

“Let’s try a little thought experiment. Can you imagine a Brexit outcome so appalling that Leavers would rather stay in than accept it, and Remainers would rather leave cleanly than accept it? It’s quite a challenge, but let’s have a go. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Britain ended up with all the costs and obligations of European Union membership, but with no voice, no vote and no veto. Suppose we had to accept all the EU’s rules – on technical standards, on environmental protection, on labour law – but no longer had any say over what those rules should be. Suppose we had to submit to a trade and tariff regime designed solely to benefit the other 27. I hope both sides could agree that such an outcome would be the worst of all possible worlds. And yet, that is where we appear to have ended up… I have been arguing since polling day for moderation. I was prepared to accept any compromise, including European Free Trade Associationand including Chequers, provided it restored the supremacy of our laws. But the purgatory that now beckons is surely, by any definition, worse than either staying or leaving.” – The Sun

  • May is poisoning the well for our Party – Andrea Jenkyns, Daily Telegraph
  • Voters deserve better than bad solutions to a myth – Maria Caulfield, Times Red Box
  • Britain cannot accept this horrific, humiliating surrender – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Parliament should reject May’s rotten deal – Philip Stephens, FT
  • This is not a compromise but a capitulation – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph


  • Business needs the certainty of a Brexit transition deal – Stephen Martin, FT
  • Time to grow up and accept this is as good as it gets – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


  • Little doubt that this is a bad deal… – The Times
  • …now May must persuade MPs its better than no deal – Daily Telegraph
  • Don’t trick us, Prime Minister – The Sun
  • Brexit illusions shattered by May’s impending deal – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May’s choice today. The possibility of her Government collapsing soon…or the probability of it doing so now

Ellwood calls for ‘duty of care’ toward former soldiers

The First World War centenary should be used as springboard to have a “duty of care” for former soldiers, the veterans minister has said. On Wednesday Tobias Ellwood told veterans: “Your country owes you” and called on businesses, charities and the general public do more to “support and empower” former servicemen and women. It comes as the government has launched the first UK-wide veterans’ strategy to help former soldiers with issues including housing, debt and mental health. Speaking at the Heropreneurs Awards, Mr Ellwood said the strategy “sets out clear goals for the future about the support available to all veterans, how we can better celebrate their achievements and can promote their transferable skills.” He said: “As former members of the finest Armed Forces in the world, our veterans have demonstrated a values skills and commitment and a willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice for others.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Rebecca Lowe’s column: We must not let the state crowd out private virtue

Government ‘humiliated’ by gambling climbdown

“Theresa May has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown over the reform of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the face of a Commons rebellion. A cut in the top bet on the machines from £100 to £2 to combat problem gambling will now come into force in April, six months earlier than planned. More than 20 Tory MPs set out to sabotage Treasury plans to push it back to October. Tracey Crouch resigned as sports minister over the delay, which had been condemned by MPs who believe the cut is vital to protect vulnerable people and families. The change was announced in a written statement to MPs by Jeremy Wright, the culture secretary, yesterday. To afford the move, an increase in remote gaming duty will also be brought forward six months… The change of tack is a particular embarrassment for Philip Hammond, the chancellor.” – The Times

  • What reason did Hammond have for delaying reform? – Nils Pratley, The Guardian
  • I have held the hands of too many addicts – Tracey Crouch MP, Times Red Box

Trump ‘berated’ May after mid-terms

“Theresa May was berated by President Trump over trade and Iran after she tried to congratulate him on the midterm elections, reports in American newspapers suggest. The prime minister telephoned Mr Trump on Friday as he was flying to France on Air Force One for a weekend of Armistice commemorations. She tried to flatter him by praising the Republican Party’s performance in the congressional midterm elections, The Washington Post said. She was met with a bad-tempered eruption. He told her that Britain was not doing enough to combat Iran’s nuclear threat and questioned her over Brexit and the European Union’s trading policies, the newspaper said. The exchange is in keeping with the mood of the president’s visit to France. A remark by President Macron at the ceremony on Sunday, denouncing the growth of nationalism around the world, was taken as a direct jibe and prompted an extraordinary series of tweets yesterday from Mr Trump.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Why I support May’s Brexit deal – Tim Montgomerie, CapX
  • As humiliations go, accepting this Brexit deal would be complete and unendurable – Simon Clarke MP, Brexit Central
  • My Brexit resignation was a revolutionary act – Jo Johnson MP, The Spectator
  • Weyand giving the game away could be fatal for May’s dire deal – Iain Martin, Reaction

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