Eurosceptics admit challenge to May has stalled

‘Tory Eurosceptics have admitted an attempt to unseat Theresa May has stalled as bitter in-fighting broke out among Brexiteers. Despite confident predictions from Tory rebels that a no confidence vote would be held as soon as Tuesday, the extra letters from Conservative MPs needed to trigger a ballot failed to materialise on Monday. The confidence vote now appears to be on hold until after Parliament votes next month on Mrs May’s Brexit deal, which will itself be seen as a referendum on her leadership. Mrs May also faced down senior Brexiteers Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson in Downing Street hours after the so-called “gang of five” Brexiteer Cabinet ministers – who had threatened to make life difficult for the Prime Minister unless she agreed to renegotiate her deal – disbanded before they had even met.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: The Moggcast. “This isn’t about tactical mistakes – this is about the future of the country.”

>Yesterday: EXCLUSIVE: Recording of the Prime Minister’s conference call promoting her draft Brexit deal to Tory activists

The Government’s majority is at breaking point, as the DUP abstain on key votes

‘Theresa May was abandoned by her Commons partners last night in a move that all but killed off the deal with the Democratic Unionist Party to keep her in power. The Northern Irish party breached the terms of the confidence and supply agreement with the Conservative Party by lining up behind Labour MPs to vote against the Finance Bill. The DUP declined to vote alongside the Conservatives on four parts of the bill, abstaining on three and voting with Labour on a fourth to review the impact of the increases to the personal tax allowance on child poverty.’ – The Times

Wallace: This deal threatens a Narnia outcome – always winter, but never Christmas

‘There are voters out there who respect her seemingly endless tenacity, even if they don’t agree with all her decisions. Within that group, there are some who feel actively protective of her, seeing her as a victim of bullying by her colleagues. A reputation for doggedness or inviting pitying affection are not tags a politician would necessarily choose, but you bank what you can get…May’s advisers believe there is a deep reservoir of quiet support for a deal which will allow everybody to move on and talk about something other than Brexit. They’re right that such an audience exists, but it won’t automatically welcome this deal… If the UK did end up in the backstop, Brexit would not be “done with” at all. We would be permanently engaged in a tug of war with Brussels, with no right just to leave the arrangement if we wanted to do so. The Prime Minister’s deal risks extending, not ending, the current unsatisfying impasse. That grim prospect reminds me of nothing more than Narnia, as Mr Tumnus described it: “It is winter in Narnia, and has been for ever so long…always winter, but never Christmas.”’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

>Today: ToryDiary: May’s Brexit deal helps to show that British politicians are more honourable and efficient than is claimed

Spain instantly reopens the negotiation over Gibraltar

‘Theresa May is facing a fresh threat to her Brexit deal after Spain warned it would reject it unless Madrid were granted a special veto to prevent any future EU trade agreement with Britain that covers Gibraltar. As the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, sought to sell the withdrawal agreement to both its critics in the UK and member states who have expressed concerns, the Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, threw a spanner in the works. Borrell said his government wanted a clear promise that no future trade or security deals would apply to Gibraltar without Spain’s consent. “Negotiations between the UK and the EU do not apply to Gibraltar. Future negotiations on Gibraltar are separate negotiations,” he said. “That is what must be made clear.”‘ – The Guardian

  • France wants changes, too – FT
  • Their unity is crumbling – Daily Telegraph
  • If the EU can renegotiate over Gibraltar, why can’t we renegotiate over the backstop? – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • This is the perfect opportunity to do what May says she cannot and secure our independence – The Sun Says
  • Macron and Merkel are miles apart – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • Romania’s government is threatening the rule of law – FT Leader
  • The EU launches its own spy school – The Sun
  • Williamson attacks their plans for an army – Daily Mail

Lilley: There’s nothing wrong with trading on WTO terms – I helped negotiate them

‘So what is so frightening about a Clean Global Exit i.e. leaving without a free trade deal? It would save us the £39 billion ‘divorce’ bill. The main negative is that our exporters would face EU tariffs. It would be better to continue trading with zero tariffs under a Canada type deal, but that could be easier to negotiate once we leave. However, the Uruguay Round, as well as setting up the WTO, halved tariffs between industrialised countries. So the average tariff British exporters would bear is 4% – small beer beside the 15% boost to their competitiveness from the exchange rate movement since the referendum. There would be winners and losers – a 10% tariff on cars, higher still on food. But applying EU tariffs to our imports from Europe would yield £13 billion. Even if we slash those tariffs, as we should, it would leave enough to compensate the losers.’ – Peter Lilley, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Anthony Browne on Comment: It may take two heaves to achieve a proper Brexit. But accepting the deal – for now – is the best way to get there.

Britain might repay £400 million debt to Iran in return for Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release

‘Jeremy Hunt is pushing to settle a £400 million debt owed to Iran for 40 years in a move that could secure the release of a British charity worker held in the country since 2016. Some diplomats believe that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has British-Iranian citizenship and was jailed in Iran on charges of spying, is highly likely to be released if the money is paid.The foreign secretary is facing a cabinet battle to secure agreement for the move amid fears that it would breach the sanctions regime against Iran and could be seen as payment to secure the release of a hostage. A similar deal was proposed by Mr Hunt’s predecessor Boris Johnson last year but was blocked by Downing Street.’ – The Times

  • Rebels back British plan to end Yemen war – The Times

We will let violent offenders go if the public don’t help us, Police Federation warns

‘Police officers could start letting violent suspects go if they do not get the backing of the public, a federation leader has warned. The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, spoke out after video footage appearing to show two officers locked in a violent struggle as they tried to make an arrest was shared thousands of times on social media. The footage, taken in south London on Saturday, appeared to show a male officer being dragged around in the road as he tries to stop a suspect in a white tracksuit running away.’ – The Guardian

Rudd returns with challenge to UN rapporteur

‘In a sometimes combative appearance at departmental questions, three days after she was appointed in place of Esther McVey, who resigned in protest at Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Rudd condemned the report by Philip Alston, the UN’s rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. At the end of a two-week trip to the UK, Alston said the government had inflicted poverty on people through austerity and called levels of child poverty “not just a disgrace but a social calamity and an economic disaster”…Asked by her Labour shadow counterpart, Margaret Greenwood, about the report’s criticism of the government’s new all-in-one working benefits system, Rudd said: “I have seen the report by the rapporteur, I’ve read it over the weekend, and I must say I was disappointed to say the least by the extraordinary political nature of his language.”‘ – The Guardian

  • She promises to improve Universal Credit – Daily Mail
  • That means the Treasury being asked to stump up more money – The Times

Shadow Education Secretary claims it is “snobbery” for the civil service to prize academic qualifications

‘Labour will scrap formal qualifications like degrees and A-levels for civil service jobs in a bid to cut “snobbery” in Whitehall, the Shadow Education Secretary will say today. Speaking at the Association of Colleges annual conference, Angela Rayner will announce the ditching of academic qualifications for jobs in the civil service if Jeremy Corbyn wins power. Ms Rayner said the party wants to trigger a “deep cultural change” in Government. It would see academic qualifications only being considered where there is a genuine occupational requirement for the role… She will say today: “We will end the snobbery that underpins attitudes towards different types of qualification and end the assumption that academic qualifications should be a basic entry requirement for jobs in Whitehall.”‘ – The Sun

  • Universities are making decisions for bad financial reasons – The Times Leader
  • Peterborough MP’s trial continues – The Sun
  • Corbyn met by silence at CBI conference – Daily Mail
  • Student Union president who threatened to paint over war memorial resigns – Daily Mail

Outsourcing firms agree to draw up ‘living wills’ to protect services in case of collapse

‘Government suppliers including Capita and Serco have agreed to draw up “living wills” to ensure the continued delivery of public services in case of their collapse. The measures are part of a package drawn up by the Cabinet Office aimed at avoiding the kind of disruption to schools, hospitals and government departments faced when Carillion went bust in January. The government was heavily criticised by the National Audit Office and MPs on the public accounts committee over its handling of the Carillon collapse, which cost taxpayers £148m. Capita, Serco and Sopra Steria will complete their contingency plans within weeks and other companies are expected to follow. The move comes amid growing concerns over Interserve, which employs 75,000 worldwide and 25,000 in Britain where it provides a string of services from probation to healthcare in people’s homes.’ – FT

Nannies threaten new sugar tax

‘Officials say the industry could face fresh action if no improvement is seen by next year. Duncan Selbie, chief executive at Public Health England, said: “Customers want faster progress, in particular businesses that have taken little or no action. “We will be publicly reporting on these during 2019.” A Government source said if industry failed to meet the challenge, a tax or shaming of non-compliant firms were options. Critics said targets had failed and shoppers could face “shrink­flation” — where products get smaller, but prices stay the same. Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “In many cases, sugar reduction is not feasible, so the only option is shrinking the product.”’ – The Sun

News in Brief

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