Brexit 1) Wallace warns against security implications of a no-deal Brexit…

“Britain will be at greater risk of terror attacks if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, the security minister has warned. A new Government paper warns that the UK will lose access to EU databases used to trace terrorists and criminals if no agreement is struck. UK agencies would no longer be plugged in to systems for exchanging a raft of data including criminal records, alerts on wanted suspects, DNA, fingerprints and airline passenger information. Extradition requests would take longer, while cooperation on counter-terrorism, cyber security and illegal migration would be affected. Speaking in central London, Security Minister Ben Wallace will warn that a no-deal Brexit will have a “real impact” on the UK’s ability to co-operate with partners… It came as an assessment by the Department for Exiting the European Union issued a series of stark warnings about the post-Brexit security risk.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Britain will be locked out of Brussels’ crime fighting database – The Times

Brexit 2) …but Leavers Dearlove and Thompson fight back

“Theresa May’s Brexit deal will surrender UK defence forces to EU control, senior intelligence chiefs claim. They say it will also “compromise” vital British intelligence, “threatening Western security”. The damning views are expressed in a letter signed by ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove and Falklands War vet Maj Gen Julian Thompson. Backed by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, they warn: “It puts at risk the fundamental Anglosphere alliances, specifically the vital Five Eyes Alliance and thereby threatens Western security.” The Five Eyes intelligence pact involves the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But the alert comes as the Government’s Security Minister argues a No Deal outcome will make it harder for cops and MI5 to keep the public safe from terror and criminals. Under Mrs May’s deal, officials have agreed to share information including DNA, fingerprints and car registrations to fight crime, terror and cyber security threats.” – The Sun

  • May cancels bid to use NHS to sell deal after row – The Sun

Brexit 3) Carney and Hammond accused of ‘Project Hysteria’ over latest warnings

“Mark Carney has been accused of undermining the Bank of England’s “independence and credibility” after publishing an analysis of the economic impacts of no-deal Brexit so bleak it has been dubbed “project hysteria”. The Governor of the Bank of England claimed that the UK could endure the worst economic shock since the Second World War if it crashes out of the EU without a deal. His “domesday” analysis warned that in such a scenario, the economy will shrink by 8 per cent and be tipped into a recession, property prices will fall by a third, the pound will plummet and interest rates will soar. Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leading Eurosceptic MP, said that the Bank of England’s intervention will only serve to entrench opposition to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal ahead of the crunch vote in the Commons… Andrew Sentance, a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, described the analysis as “highly speculative and extreme”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Official forecasts show Britain getting poorer – FT
  • No deal risks ‘worst crash since the 1930s’, Bank warns – The Times
  • Brexiteers savage Carney’s predictions – The Sun
  • UK ‘worse off’ under every sort of Brexit, but is this just more ‘Project Fear’ from the Treasury? – Daily Telegraph
  • Chancellor’s scrapping of PFI casts doubt on construction projects – FT


  • The Treasury demeans itself with this absurd analysis – Andrew Lilico, Daily Telegraph
  • Pessimistic prophecies look like a last role of the dice – Larry Elliott, The Guardian


  • Forecasts have been wrong before, but these are plausible – The Times

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: “It is frankly disgraceful that the Chancellor…has not published the underlying assumptions.” Davis’ speech on forecasting. Full Text.

Brexit 4) Leadsom confirms support for the deal…

“Theresa May’s Brexit plan won crucial support last night from a senior Cabinet Eurosceptic. In a key intervention, Andrea Leadsom said she was backing the withdrawal agreement struck with Brussels because it ‘delivered’ on the referendum result. She warned its defeat on December 11 could put Brexit at risk. Mrs Leadsom, who is Leader of the House of Commons, admitted she had reservations about the agreement, fearing the UK could be ‘trapped’ in the Northern Ireland backstop. But she said it still offered the route to a good future relationship and was the only deal on the table. The comments – her first intervention since the plan was approved by EU leaders on Sunday – were published in a letter to constituents last night… Mrs Leadsom’s intervention is important because she has been seen as one of the most likely to quit the Cabinet over Mrs May’s plans.” – Daily Mail

  • Twelve MPs to watch ahead of the crucial vote – Daily Express
  • May rejects Johnson’s call for Brexiteer to be in the debate – Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn wants head-to-head on Sunday 9th – The Guardian


  • Government claims Northern Ireland has ‘most to gain’ – The Sun
  • Police chief demands extra offices to secure the border – Daily Express
  • Loyalist paramilitaries ‘extremely hostile’ to May’s deal – News Letter

>Today: ToryDiary: “Over 100 Conservative MPs will rebel over May’s deal”. Are we being played?

>Yesterday: Nick Herbert MP in Comment: If Brexiteers vote down this deal, they risk the very outcome they abhor.

Brexit 5) …but front bench discipline frays amidst scramble for ‘Plan B’

“Philip Hammond undermined Theresa May’s Brexit strategy yesterday after admitting that the cabinet would consider “other ideas” if her deal were to be voted down by the Commons. The growing prospect of defeat on December 11 and a determination to avoid Britain’s leaving the European Union on March 29 with no deal is fraying discipline on both front benches as they plot various options for a Plan B. Asked whether the prime minister would have to resign if the vote was lost, the chancellor said that she would “want to sit down with the cabinet and take stock”. He told the BBC: “She would clearly have to recognise what had happened in parliament. We would have to look at what the vote in parliament was, who voted which way, whether other ideas were emerging.” Mrs May’s strategy is to force MPs to choose between her deal, no deal or no Brexit. Mr Hammond’s comments will encourage those such as the Tory former minister Nick Boles who are seeking to rally support for a Norway-style deal as well as supporters of a second referendum.” – The Times

  • Chancellor refuses to rule out ‘Norway Option’ – Daily Mail
  • Emergency no-deal talks likely if MPs vote down deal – The Guardian
  • MPs face 40 hours of debates over days of sittings – Daily Mail


  • Brussels buoyed by position of strength in future talks – FT
  • EU vows to ‘bully Britain into submission’ – The Sun
  • May issues fishing warning to Brussels over trade – Daily Telegraph


  • Financial Times offers cautious support… – FT
  • …as the Sun toughens its opposition – The Sun

>Today: Alex Morton’s column: Whether you like her plan or not, the Prime Minister is right to prize reducing immigration over everything else

Brexit 6) Ministers risk being held in contempt, warns Bercow

“Theresa May’s most senior ministers face being found in contempt of parliament for refusing to publish the government’s full legal advice on Brexit. John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, warned yesterday that he would not hesitate to make a decision on contempt if the government tried to stop MPs from seeing the advice produced for the cabinet by Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general. Those calling for publication believe it shows that the UK would lose its sovereign right to withdraw from the Brexit divorce deal in any circumstances without the acceptance of the EU. Mrs May has ruled out publishing the advice despite a unanimous and binding motion by MPs last month that it should be made available. She told Jeremy Corbyn during prime minister’s questions that the full legal advice was “privileged” and therefore would not be released. If Mr Bercow rules that the government is in contempt, ministers are unlikely to be able to resist publishing the full document.” – The Times

  • Labour vows to do all it can to uncover legal advice – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes

Brexit 7) McDonnell suggests another referendum is ‘inevitable’

Labour’s stance on a second referendum appeared in disarray last night after John McDonnell said the party would support a “people’s vote” – only for Labour sources to say the Shadow Chancellor’s words “did not represent what he or the Labour party thinks”. In an apparent break with his party’s official position, Jeremy Corbyn’s right-hand man said it was “inevitable” that Labour would support a second referendum if it could not bring about a general election – putting him at odds with the Labour leader. The Labour policy, agreed at the party’s annual conference in September, is that it backs “all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote” if the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal falls in the House of Commons and a general election does not follow. Asked again whether he believed a second vote was “inevitable” if no election could be secured, he told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg: “That’s right. So we’ve said our policy is if we can’t get a general election, well then the other option which we’ve kept on the table is the people’s vote, a public vote.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Why a second vote is dangerous for our parliamentary democracy – Royston Smith, Times Red Box

Brexit 8) Nick Timothy: May’s tactics have left Leavers leaderless

The Leavers have been defeated by time. In the Nineties, the political mantra was “speed kills”. Rebutting your opponents’ attacks and leaping on their mistakes had to be rapid, or it failed. Recently, the PM’s political tactic has not been “speed kills”, but “time kills”. She has waited and waited before playing her hand. Now she has played it so late, she can claim that her deal is the best possible deal, because there is no time to negotiate anything else… But the PM’s use of time has split the Leavers in two important ways. In the Cabinet, she provoked a divide between pragmatists and purists. Michael Gove chose to stay and fight to keep Brexit real. David Davis, Boris Johnson and, latterly, Dominic Raab and Esther McVey chose to resign on principle. Their resignations have come so late, however, that they have struggled to articulate an alternative, single course of action. To make matters worse for Leavers, Ms McVey’s resignation paved the way for the return of Amber Rudd, who will use her Cabinet position to press for a Norway-style relationship if the Withdrawal Agreement is defeated in Parliament. The “time kills” strategy has also provoked Leavers to split in the Commons, in this case between the regicides and the rebels.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Prime Minister could have won support, but failed to reach out – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Britain needs leadership, and the fooling around must stop – Steve Hilton, The Sun
  • There’s nothing to save this Remainer deal from oblivion – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson is the target of so much bile because he’s enduringly popular – Mark Wallace, The i

>Today: Jonathan Clark in Comment: May’s deal leaves the Conservatives open to a election wipeout

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan in Comment: I want to support May’s plan. But I can’t. It proposes a way of leaving the EU that’s exactly the wrong way round.

Javid defends police for tackling moped muggers

“The Home Secretary sped to the defence of police knocking over moped thugs yesterday – after Labour blasted the tactic. Sajid Javid said the “risk assessed tactical contact” was “exactly what we need” after the explosion in moped muggings. Taking to social media, he said: “Criminals are not above the law.” Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott had condemned the practice – saying knocking people off bikes was “very dangerous” and “shouldn’t be legal for anyone”. She stormed: “Police are not above the law.” The Police Federation blasted Ms Abbotty – saying her comments “were very unhelpful”. And officers from Camden Police – one of the London boroughs with the highest rates of moped-enabled crime – said the tactic was “entirely within our lawful power… and our responsibility”. An estimated 22,000 moped muggings have taken place in the last year. The Met released a string of videos at the weekend showing specially trained drivers ramming thugs off their mopeds at the end of high speed chases – sending them sprawling over car bonnets.” – The Sun

  • Abbott faces furious backlash over police criticism – Daily Mail

James warns that social media risks making people lonely

“Social media networks risk making people lonely by acting as a “substitute” for meeting and speaking to people face to face, a minister will say on Thursday. Margot James, the Digital Minister, will tell social media companies that they need to do more to use technology to help bring people together in the real world. She is due to meet with representatives from Snapchat, Twitter and a series of apps to raise concerns about the wellbeing of their users. She said: “Recent wellbeing measures by online platforms are a major step forward, but we want to see them going further and faster in providing both safety and security for UK citizens… The Government launched a plan in September to tackle loneliness, building on the work done by Jo Cox and carried on in her name by the Jo Cox Commission for Loneliness. As part of that strategy, it pledged to hold a summit with technology giants to determine what more could be done to make people better connected.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Big tech is helping to boost populism – Jamie Bartlett, The Guardian

Business attacks Labour’s plans for executive pay

“Business representatives on Wednesday took aim at proposals being considered by the Labour party that would ban all share options and allow customers of Britain’s biggest 7,000 companies to veto executives’ pay packages. Roger Barker, head of corporate governance at the Institute of Directors, said the proposals represented an “unprecedented and unhealthy” intervention into UK corporate decision-making, which risked turning companies into “battle grounds”. The independent report, published on Tuesday night, proposed that various “stakeholders”, including staff and consumers, should be able to take part in an annual binding vote on executive packages. It also called for a ban on “golden handshakes” and “golden goodbyes” for executives and suggested that heavy fines could be levied on directors of companies that failed to pay the minimum wage… Terry Scuoler, the chairman of the Institute of Export and International Trade who previously ran the EEF, the manufacturers’ association, said the proposals were a “blatant and misguided attack on the UK’s liberal capitalist way of life”.” – FT

  • Fear of Corbyn sees investors withdraw billions – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • No, John McDonnell isn’t changing Labour policy on Brexit – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • The Bank of England’s forecasts aren’t just wrong, but absurd – Andrew Lilico, CapX
  • It’s impossible to take the Treasury’s Brexit impact assessment seriously – Robert Tombs and Graham Gudgin, Brexit Central
  • Money is already draining from Britain but because of Corbyn, not Brexit – Ross Clark, The Spectator
  • The DUP is still the Unionists’ best hope of killing May’s Brexit deal – Owen Polley, Reaction

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