May heads to Brussels to try to finalise political declaration

“Theresa May will meet Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday to try to finalise the political declaration covering future UK-European Union relations after attempts by hard Brexiters to remove her ended in humiliation. The prime minister meets the European commission president in the late afternoon in her strongest position since the first part of the Brexit deal was published last week after Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the Tory rebels, conceded that it might take time to call a no-confidence vote. No 10 said it was not prepared to forecast when the final part of the Brexit deal would emerge, although Brussels insiders expect a draft to start circulating on Thursday among a restricted group of officials after the one-on-one meeting.” – Guardian


  • How come France and Spain can renegotiate? – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • History is repeating itself – Ben Wright, The Times


She tells the cabinet that technology could solve the border issue, after listening to Brexiteers

“Theresa May has told the cabinet that the country could still avoid a controversial Irish backstop after Brexit. The prime minister said she was open to exploring a technological solution to the Irish border issue because the wording of the draft deal held open this possibility. A technological plan proposed by Brexiteers would negate the need for a UK-wide customs arrangement, the present backstop proposal for avoiding a hard border. Mrs May promised Leave figures including Iain Duncan Smith and Owen Paterson that she would consider their proposals in a meeting on Monday.” – The Times

  • The idea is back on the table – FT

>Today: David Shiels in Comment: Technological solutions. A greater role for the Assembly. How May could yet win over the DUP.

Rees-Mogg, like Mainwaring, speaks of struggling to corral the Dad’s Army troops

“Jacob Rees-Mogg has likened Tory Brexiteers to ‘Dad’s Army’ over the way they have struggled to submit enough letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister. So far 25 Tory MPs have publicly said they have submitted letters of no confidence in Theresa May – far short of the necessary 48 letters to trigger a vote of no confidence. Asked if there were a “Dad’s Army” feel to all this, Mr Rees-Mogg replied: “I’ve always admired Captain Mainwaring.” Capt Mainwaring is a fictional bank manager and Home Guard platoon commander portrayed by the late Arthur Lowe in the BBC television sitcom Dad’s Army. According to Wikipedia Mainwaring is “a pompous, blustering figure…” – Daily Telegraph

  • He calls on his colleagues to seize their chance to remove May – Guardian
  • They “turn on each other” amidst failure to oust her – The Times
  • They tell her to hold back money – Daily Express 
  • What next for the Brexiteers? – Daily Telegraph
  • Could they sue Brady? – The Sun
  • McVey’s angry messages – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: “…need to be able to count”

Finkelstein: All this letters stuff is so tiresome. The ERG is clueless. And can’t count

“Has there ever been anything more tiresome than all that stuff about the letters? For months they have been saying that almost 48 members of parliament have sent a letter to the chairman of the 1922 committee requesting a vote of confidence in Theresa May. The threshold was about to be reached. One day they would claim to have 44; next weekend they would say the number had risen to, erm, 40. It’s now obvious they have never been anywhere near these figures. We all feel pretty clueless about what will happen with Brexit, but it seems some are more clueless than others.” – The Times

  • They don’t have the 48 – John Crace, Guardian
  • They’re “heroically untrendy” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Raab: We need to stand up to the EU bullies. And show that we can walk away

“Last week, I resigned as Brexit Secretary because I could not in good conscience support the proposed deal between the UK and the EU. There is still time to stand up to the bullying tactics from Brussels. But we must change course, or the flame of optimism and opportunity that sparked Brexit will be snuffed out. When I accepted the post in July, I knew we would need to compromise, as we strived to marry principle with pragmatism. I wanted to help deliver a good deal with our EU partners, while grasping the opportunities of Brexit – to take back control of our money, laws and borders, and champion free trade abroad.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexit has already hit business – Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian
  • The BBC is biased – Peter Lilley, The Sun

>Yesterday: Peter Lilley in Comment: Fears about leaving the Customs Union are a mix of imaginary and exaggerated

DUP continues protest by abstaining on Finance Bill again

“DUP MPs have heaped further pressure on Theresa May by once again refusing to back the government in a series of votes on the Budget. For the second day in a row, the party abstained from voting on amendments to the Finance Bill, in protest at the prime minister’s draft Brexit withdrawal deal. DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the move was intended to spell out to the PM the “consequences of not honouring her promises to Northern Ireland”. The move throws into doubt Mrs May’s ability to maintain her governing majority in parliament.” – Belfast News Letter

  • The party told its MPs to ignore pact with Conservatives – Daily Telegraph
  • And will vote against the deal – FT

Sturgeon shows interest in Boles’ “soft” Brexit

“The SNP should work with Conservative MPs to secure a soft Brexit deal that can get through the Commons, Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday. The Scottish first minister indicated that she was actively interested in a plan being drawn up by Nick Boles, a former Tory minister who has been holding discussions with MPs from all parties. His proposal would keep the UK in the single market and customs union possibly indefinitely if Mrs May’s blueprint fails to win the necessary support in the Commons next month. The plan would retain almost all of Mrs May’s deal but would keep the UK inside existing structures, which Mr Boles hopes would make it easy to negotiate.” – The Times

Will the CJEU say Article 50 can be overturned?

“This is the question the UK Government does not want answered and has been spending vast amounts of public money trying to block. … Next week, despite the best efforts of the government’s top lawyers, their legal challenge will finally reach Europe’s highest court. … The case was raised in Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session, earlier this year and the request to take it to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was initially denied after the government argued it was a “hypothetical” and “academic” question. However, this decision was later overturned by Scotland’s top judges.The Government has since tried to appeal this decision twice, with the most recent application rejected by the UK Supreme Court on Tuesday.” – Herald

Mordaunt to announce new focus on championing women in low-paid jobs

“Middle-class women’s issues such as the gender pay gap and corporate glass ceiling are to be downgraded by the government in favour of championing those in low-paid, low-status roles. Women in poorly paid jobs, with limited qualifications or who care for elderly relatives or disabled children will become the priority in Whitehall in a shift of policy to be announced today. Instead of focusing on professional women returning to work, attention will switch to those who work as carers, cleaners and in customer service roles. Ethnic minority groups such as Bangladeshi women will be targeted because their employment rate is three times lower than that of white women.” – The Times


  • In politics, there’s some way to go on all this – Nicky Morgan, The Times

Burnham says Javid wants Home Counties to take more asylum seekers

“The Home Secretary has paved the way for hundreds more asylum seekers to be housed in the Home Counties, it was claimed yesterday. Sajid Javid’s move comes after councils across the north of England threatened to pull out of the current so-called ‘dispersal programme’. The Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester – Andy Burnham – yesterday revealed that Mr Javid has told him he wants to see more areas which currently take no refugees stepping up to the plate. In a letter, the Home Secretary promised a “reduction in the proportion of dispersal” to authorities who already take large numbers. And he vowed a “commensurate increase” in those who take lower numbers or none at all.” – The Sun

Hunt meets Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s daughter

“Jeremy Hunt has met the four-year-old daughter of jailed British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as he continues his push to free her. The Foreign Secretary spent time with little Gabriella in Tehran during his visit to Iran. He brought the youngster a touching gift from his own daughter – who is also four years old. Nazanin’s family praised Mr Hunt for working to try and secure her release from prison after two and a half years. The minister lobbied Iranian ministers to pardon Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was jailed on spurious charges of spying. The 39-year-old mum, a dual citizen of Iran and the UK, has been separated from Gabriella since she was locked up in April 2016.” – The Sun

More from the Commons

  • Gauke says ex-prisoners could take place of “cheap EU labour” – Daily Mail
  • Cooper and Tugendhat speak out against Russian candidate for Interpol job – Daily Telegraph
  • Rudd gets a response from Alston – Guardian
  • Onasanya blames her brother – The Times 

News in Brief

  • China and trust – Hilton Root, CapX
  • They didn’t jump the queue – Pauline Bock, New Statesman
  • What went wrong with the letters? – Steerpike, Spectator
  • On Pelosi – Amy Davidson Sorkin, New Yorker

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