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Cabinet “tensions” grow over Irish border…

“Theresa May faces a Cabinet showdown with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab after he privately accused Downing Street of undermining his attempts to solve the Irish border problem. Mr Raab’s office was forced to deny rumours that he was considering resigning after he wrote to the Prime Minister urging a change of tack in the Brexit negotiations. Mr Raab is understood to be furious that David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister and Mrs May’s de facto deputy, visited Dublin last week where he rubbished a new proposal that had been put to the Irish by Mr Raab just three days earlier.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Surely it’s crunch time – FT

…as May will face them today in hope of securing their support

“Theresa May is to face her cabinet at a critical point in the Brexit negotiations after the Irish premier told her he could not allow the UK to dictate the terms of any backstop. Amid intense concern over whether it will be possible to agree a deal, the British prime minister will update colleagues after Leo Varadkar rejected the idea that the UK could unilaterally call time on the Irish border backstop, shortly after a morning phone call between the two leaders. May needs to secure the backing of her cabinet on Tuesday over the issue, which No 10 sources indicated was the sole remaining sticking point in Brexit talks that need to be concluded by the end of the month.” – Guardian

Comment:

May’s model’s merit is simply that it’s available – Rafael Behr, Guardian

Editorial:

It’s all about customs union – The Sun

>Today: Audio: The Moggcast. “We should be prepared to leave with No Deal rather than sacrifice Northern Ireland to Dublin and Brussels”

A dozen ministers could take a “defiant stand”, including Raab and Hunt

Senior Cabinet ministers will today tell Theresa May she must “stare down” the EU over the Irish border or see Parliament rip up her Brexit deal. Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will lead as many as 12 Cabinet ministers in the defiant stand at the Cabinet’s weekly meeting in No10. They will call on the PM to insist on a mechanism in the Brexit deal for Britain to stay in control of how long it stays in any backstop customs union to keep the Irish border open. Failing to secure that would see around 40 Tory backbenchers torpedo in the Commons any deal she may sign in Brussels, the top ministers argue. The Sun has also been told that Chief Whip Julian Smith has told No10 they can only rely on around 15 Labour MPs to vote for Mrs May’s softer Brexit deal – far short of the 40 or so that some have claimed. – The Sun

  • But Raab denies he’s close to quitting – The Sun

>Today: MPsEtc: Operation Gobble. May promotes Leavers within the Government…with an eye on a coming Brexit vote.

Is Brussels about to offer her a compromise mechanism?

“Brussels is preparing to back a compromise proposal on Ireland to resolve the last big sticking point in the Brexit negotiations. Senior EU figures have indicated that they are prepared to offer Theresa May an “independent mechanism” by which Britain could end a temporary customs arrangement with the bloc. The move comes before a cabinet meeting today at which Mrs May will attempt to assuage fears among Brexiteers that the so-called Northern Irish backstop will be used to trap Britain into being a “never ending” rule-taker from Brussels. She will, however, also warn that a deal must be sealed by the end of this month if it is to be passed by parliament in time for Brexit day.” – The Times

  • Or is the November summit about to be cancelled? – Daily Express

Comment:

Varadkar “won’t accept” any deal involving unilateral UK power to end backstop

“Irish premier Leo Varadkar has told Theresa May that he will not accept a Brexit deal which gives the UK the unilateral power to halt “backstop” arrangements for the border with Northern Ireland. In a phone conversation with the Taoiseach, Mrs May said that any agreement would have to include a mechanism to bring an end to the backstop – designed to ensure there is no hard border in Ireland if the UK and EU fail to reach a broader trade deal. Mr Varadkar’s spokesman said the Irish premier indicated he was ready to consider proposals for a review mechanism, but only if it was clear that the arrangement cannot be ditched by one side acting alone. The backstop has become the major obstacle to agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, due to take place in March next year.” Belfast News Letter

  • He spoke to May on the phone – Herald

Nokes clarifies that employers won’t need to make extra checks on EU workers in case of no deal

“The immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, has confirmed that employers will not have to make any additional checks on EU nationals to determine whether they have the right to work in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit. She was instructed to appear before MPs after causing confusion over whether businesses would have to establish the eligibility of their EU workers. During a session before the home affairs committee last week, Nokes claimed that they would face “rigorous checks”. Sajid Javid was forced to wade into the row to reassure businesses, which reacted with dismay to the remarks. The home secretary told them that they would not be expected to do “anything different than they do today”.” – Guardian

  • This is taken by some to mean no end to free movement – The Sun
  • Rees-Mogg challenges her during debate – Daily Express

More Brexit

  • Hammond say it’s “not plausible or credible” to pay nothing in case of “no deal” – Daily Telegraph
  • Gove to tell pet owners to check with vets about travel after Brexit day – Daily Telegraph
  • Will UK lorries face a lottery system to enter EU? – FT
  • Here’s some more polling – Daily Mail 

Hammond admits delaying FOBT action over job loss fears

“Philip Hammond has admitted that he bowed to betting industry lobbying over job losses to delay action on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The chancellor acknowledged that he had the option of bringing forward gaming duty changes to April to balance lost revenue from a cut from £100 to £2 in the maximum stake for FOBTs. It was lobbying over claims that 21,000 jobs could be lost as the machines were “eliminated” that led the Treasury to make the change next October, he said, claiming that as a result more redundancies would be voluntary.” – The Times

  • Davies responds to Crouch’s criticisms – Daily Telegraph
  • Meanwhile Hammond speaks of focusing on growth over deficit – FT

>Yesterday: Howard Flight’s column: The best part of a week on, we can see that last week’s Budget was a popular one

McVey: We’re trying really hard to make Universal Credit work

“Universal Credit is the biggest and most fundamental reform to the welfare system since its creation. It is a much needed reform too — from complications to cost, the old system failed claimants and taxpayers alike. Instead of promoting work, it trapped people on benefits through the ‘16-hour rule’, by which people couldn’t work any more hours or they would be penalised – effectively taxed at 90 per cent. This complicated system had a multitude of benefit premiums, paid through 3 different departments. Added to that, the world has changed significantly over the last 20 years. The internet and technology has changed the rules of the game for everyone – how work is done and how staff are recruited – and a modern benefit system needs to reflect that.” – The Times

  • She speaks of “targeted support” – The Sun
  • The government “overhauls its proposals” – Guardian
  • There’s movement on the “clawback” of advances – FT
  • The changes explained – Daily Express

Williamson called to respond to National Audit Office’s claim of black hole in MoD budget

“Gavin Williamson has come under pressure to deal with a potential £14.8bn black hole in the Ministry of Defence’s budget identified in a report by official auditors. The National Audit Office report says the MoD is in “real danger” of wasting taxpayers’ money on equipment over the next 10 years. The findings will raise further questions about the MoD’s financial management after a series of critical reports on the department’s spending plans. Meg Hillier, the chair of the public accounts committee, which scrutinises NAO reports for parliament, said the MoD did not have enough money to buy the equipment it needed and was in danger of wasting money through short-term decision-making.” – Guardian

  • There’s an alleged £15bn shortfall – FT

Harris: If I’m overweight that’s nothing to do with the government

“A few years ago I may have caused some offence during my participation in a BBC Scotland radio discussion programme. It was an “Any Questions” type show, and I was fielding questions from a diverse audience in a drafty church hall on the Ayrshire coastline. Perhaps it was the sudden political freedom I felt, having only recently lost my seat at the general election. “So what if I annoy my audience, so long as I tell the truth?” was my devil-may-care attitude. And so, in answer to a question about the government’s responsibility for what we are all obliged to label the “obesity crisis”, I made the following argument: I am overweight, and the reason I am overweight is nothing to do with the government.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Is Matt Hancock a doctor? – Suzanne Moore, Guardian

>Yesterday: MPsEtc: “We need a radical shift in the NHS, from a hospital service for the ill, to a service to keep us healthy.” – Hancock’s speech, full text

>Today: ToryDiary: Lewes Bonfire. You really want to see the Big Society in action? Then here it is

More Conservatives 

  • Leadsom announces second inquiry into Westminster bullying – The Times
  • Gyimah backs Barber on not propping up failing universities – Daily Telegraph
  • UN criticises May – Daily Mail 
  • Wright has no subscriptions – Guardian
  • Opperman faces questions about women’s pensions – Daily Mail 
  • People see tax as a moral issue – Robert Colvile, The Times

Khan speaks of needing “a generation” to deal with London knife crime

“The knife crime plaguing London will take a generation to address, Sadiq Khan said yesterday after the latest spate of murders. The mayor said that the city was facing a ten-year struggle with the underlying causes of the violence in which two men and two teenage boys have died in the past week. Mr Khan, who has repeatedly called for more central funding to increase police numbers after cutbacks, spoke as a government minister blamed a change in the “nature of crime”. Mr Khan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “To really make significant progress can take up to ten years, a generation.” – The Times

More Labour

  • Osamor reported to Standards Commissioner over son – Daily Telegraph
  • McDonnell says he works well with Corbyn – The Times
  • Their friendship has been “tested” – FT

Trump holds his final rally before midterms

“Donald Trump delivered his closing argument on Monday, embarking on a three-stop tour of the midwest before the most consequential midterm elections in a generation. Continuing an approach established in recent weeks, the president used campaign rallies, his Twitter account and press interviews to warn of an “invasion” by a caravan of migrants approaching the southern border, and of the supposed threat posed by “leftwing mobs”. It was an effort to energize his conservative base in the final days of an election season roiled by fear, division and racial anxiety which reportedly left the House speaker, Paul Ryan, pleading with Trump to focus on the roaring economy instead. According to the website Politico, the president demurred.” – Guardian

Other overseas issues

  • Cross-party agreement over risks of repatriating Venezuelan gold – Daily Telegraph
  • Conservative peer allegedly lobbied for Russian oligarch – The Times

News in Brief

  • The twenty-five-year anniversary of railway privatisation – Ben Ramanauskas, CapX
  • Fines for Banks and Leave.EU could come to £135,000 – Mark Di Stefano, Buzzfeed
  • On finance – Tracy Blackwell, Reaction
  • There’s no sign of agreement on Ireland – Patrick Maguire, New Statesman
  • Rusbridger’s ad hominems – Paul Dacre, Spectator
  • What a shambles! – Mark Wallace, the i

3 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 6th November 2018

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