May says talks are nearing the endgame

“Mrs May said in a speech at the Guildhall in London that EU and UK negotiators were “working extremely hard, through the night” to get a deal, while in Downing Street her officials briefed cabinet ministers on the latest state of talks. Although Mrs May wants to finalise a deal at a special European Council meeting later this month, she said the issues being addressed were “extremely difficult”. Downing Street said there were no plans for discussions on a final text at Tuesday’s cabinet. Mrs May’s Brexit plan has drawn fire from both wings of her Conservative party for being a halfway house to full EU membership, with widespread speculation that she will face a leadership challenge next year.” – FT

  • Just hours are left… – Daily Express
  • Although Number 10 says to take rumours of deal with big “pinch of salt” – Daily Mail 
  • May criticises EU “brinkmanship” – The Times 
  • She says negotiations have been “extremely difficult” – Guardian
  • And that she “won’t compromise” – Daily Express
  • Or sign at “any cost” – Daily Mail 
  • Will EU states give in over fish? – FT
  • Lidington says deal “possible” on Thursday – Daily Telegraph


  • May is yet to convince her colleagues – Guardian

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: A Brexit deal isn’t certain, but it’s within reach – and it could still make it through Parliament

Brexiteering Cabinet members flex their muscles

“Senior Brexiteers including Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, met last night to discuss tactics. Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, were also invited to the meeting organised by Dr Fox in an attempt to ensure that Brexiteers present a united front today in cabinet on the need for the UK to be able to pull out of a customs deal with the EU unilaterally.”- The Times

  • Raab, Leadsom, and Fox expected to speak out in meeting today – Daily Telegraph
  • Mordaunt says she’ll be a “check” on May’s deal approach – The Sun
  • May needs to win them over – FT

ERG may rebel today over Commons vote on legal advice…

“Dozens of Tory MPs will today rebel against Theresa May to force her to publish the full legal advice about any Brexit deal. The hardline Brexiteer European Research Group tabled their own Commons bid late last night to supersede an attempt by Labour to defeat the Government. Jeremy Corbyn’s party earlier pledged to use an ancient Parliamentary procedure, known as a humble address, to exact the promise from the Government. The PM has angered Cabinet ministers by only offering them a summary of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s legal verdict on any final exit deal. MPs from across the political divide have insisted seeing the full document is vital so they know what obligations the UK is really signing up to.” – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Will the ERG vote against the Government today?

…as Labour to try to “force vote today”

“The government may have to publish the legal advice it received on plans to avoid a hard Irish border before MPs are asked to vote on a Brexit deal. Labour will use arcane parliamentary procedure to force a vote today on making the advice public when any deal is put to the Commons. Last night sources said that the government’s allies in the Democratic Unionist Party were strongly considering voting with Labour, along with a handful of pro-Brexit Conservatives, meaning that Theresa May could face a choice between defeat or conceding.” – The Times


  • Labour needs to get its act together – The Times


>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Yes it can. No it can’t. Yes it can. No it can’t. Starmer and Corbyn at war over whether Brexit can be stopped.

Hague: If the EU won’t budge, ministers should prepare for “no deal” rather than resign

“Left to herself, Theresa May would make a good poker player. Her natural style is to keep her intentions mysterious and not to give away her thinking in advance. She has long mastered the art of maintaining the same facial expression whether on the verge of triumph or disaster. Her negotiations with the EU, however, have been like trying to play poker with a crowd around her shouting out loud “You’ve played your strongest card already” or “Oh no, how can you possibly hold out with such a weak hand?”. Combined with the difficulty of playing against a clock running down, this has made things very simple for the other side. They can be bold because they are confident she has to fold in the end.” – Daily Telegraph

More comment:

  • I’m still in favour of another referendum… – Jo Johnson, The Times 
  • And here’s why Scots wanting independence need to support one, too – Neil Mackay, Herald
  • We’ll look back in confusion – Polly Toynbee, Guardian
  • Gordon Brown should crawl back into his crypt – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail 

>Today: Gisela Stuart in Comment: The EU referendum gave the political class a chance to mend its ways. So far, it hasn’t.

Wilson says he’s “baffled” by May’s strategy

“Mrs May is under fire from both wings of the Tory party after the shock resignation from the government of Mr Johnson’s pro-European brother Jo, who also delivered a withering attack on the PM’s stance. Speaking to the News Letter, Mr Wilson said he was “baffled” by the PM’s current strategy and claimed her plan would never secure passage through Parliament. The DUP’s main problem with Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint centres on the possibility that NI could be forced to follow EU single market rules post-Brexit, essentially leading to a regulatory border in the Irish Sea. But Mr Wilson said his party was heartened by the growing swell of opposition to the plan, with many in Mrs May’s own party uneasy at the prospect of the UK staying in a temporary customs arrangement with the EU.” – Belfast News Letter 

FOBT rebellion set to defeat Hammond

“Philip Hammond is facing almost certain defeat over his budget plan to delay a crackdown on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Amendments designed to force ministers to bring forward a cut in the maximum stake from £100 to £2 have been signed by 21 Conservative MPs, including 12 former ministers, and four Democratic Unionist Party MPs. Boris Johnson, David Davis, Priti Patel and Justine Greening all support the cross-party push. Labour also said that it would support both amendments, meaning that without a climbdown the government faces almost certain defeat. The scale of the rebellion emerged just over a week after Tracey Crouch resigned as sports minister in protest at the plan to delay the cut by six months.” – The Times 

  • Rees-Mogg and Johnson joined in – Guardian
  • Is half the Conservative parliamentary party now ready to rebel on this? – The Sun

Hunt meets Salman and asks for assurance that a murder like Khashoggi’s “will not happen again”

“Jeremy Hunt sought assurances from Saudi Arabia’s leaders yesterday that a murder plot of the kind that took the life of Jamal Khashoggi “cannot and will not happen again”. The foreign secretary became the first senior western politician to meet King Salman since the kingdom admitted that it had killed the journalist. Mr Hunt flew to Riyadh yesterday mainly to discuss the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting local Iran-backed rebel forces. He also met Yemeni officials and Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates.” – The Times

  • Hunt speaks of “rapid progress” – Daily Mail

Javid says upping number of officers is key to tackling knife crime

“…Sajid Javid said it was his personal mission to get knife offending under control and urged police to make full use of their powers to stop and search people on the street for weapons. However, ministers have no plans to loosen the restriction on when officers can use the power, as was suggested by one senior police officer. In a clear indication that he believes the number of officers has fallen too far, Mr Javid said increasing police had to be part of the action to reduce knife attacks. Asked about the impact of cuts, under which police funding has fallen by 19 per cent and officer numbers by 20,000 since 2010, Mr Javid said: “I think actually police numbers have to be an important part of the solution. Let’s not pretend that it’s not.” – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Action on knife crime must be swift, firm, and visible – but it must also be effective

More Conservatives

>Today: MPsEtc: Norman replaces Johnson at Transport

Rights campaigner speaks out about Herne harassment accusations

“A leading women’s rights campaigner who was promised a peerage if she had sex with a senior member of the Lords last night urged other parliamentary victims of sexual misconduct to have the confidence to come forward. Jasvinder Sanghera spoke to The Times after Lord Lester of Herne Hill was warned that he faced a record suspension from the House for sexually harassing her more than a decade ago. The bestselling author said that her decision to complain was prompted by a need to establish that “what he did to me wasn’t acceptable and wasn’t honourable”. “There needs to be a system in place that will give other victims the confidence to complain and to feel supported in doing so,” she said.” – The Times

  • The Lib Dem was suspended from the Lords – Guardian

News in Brief

  • Learn from the FOBT rebellion – Patrick Maguire, New Statesman
  • Trump should help Bibi – Ben Sixsmith, Spectator
  • It’s not all Carney’s fault – Andrew Lilico, CapX
  • Watch out for Patrick – Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker

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