May ‘to ‘handbag’ Brussels’ in bid to save deal…

“Theresa May will seek to emulate Margaret Thatcher by travelling to Brussels to demand a better Brexit deal in a last-ditch attempt to save her government from collapse. Ministers and aides have convinced the prime minister that she needs “a handbag moment” with EU bosses if she is to have any chance of persuading her own MPs to support her. They expect May to announce tomorrow that she will launch a final throw of the diplomatic dice with a dash to Brussels, a move that could result in Tuesday’s vote being postponed. Senior ministers bombarded the prime minister with warnings yesterday that she has to look like she is fighting for a deal that Brexiteers can support – or face a catastrophic defeat that could lead to Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister by Christmas. One senior cabinet minister said: “People in No 10 think she needs to have a ‘handbag moment’ where she says: ‘Up with this I will not put.’” But The Sunday Times can reveal that even as she makes a final appeal to the EU, some of her most trusted ministers are already planning for a new referendum.” – Sunday Times

  • Downing Street deny claim that vote will be delayed – Mail on Sunday
  • EU will negotiate if vote is lost, says Prodi – The Observer
  • Rudd says Norway-style option is plausible – FT


  • Watching EU sees four choices for the Prime Minister – Sunday Times
  • Selmayr ‘wants job running UK negotiations’ – Sun on Sunday

…as Rudd warns a second referendum is possible…

“Amber Rudd has become the first Cabinet minister to break ranks with Theresa May as she suggested there could be a second referendum if the Prime Minister’s unpopular Brexit plan is rejected by MPs next week. The work and pensions secretary admitted “anything could happen” if Mrs May’s deal does not survive Tuesday’s Commons vote, including a rerun of the 2016 vote or an eleventh-hour Norway-style arrangement with the EU. Her remarks are in stark contrast to the official line from Downing Street which has insisted there is no plan B for Brexit and the Prime Minister’s deal is the only option on the table. Ms  Rudd, a close ally of Mrs May, told BBC radio: “If Theresa May’s plan doesn’t get through anything could happen: people’s vote, Norway plus, any of these options could come forward.” The Government is widely expected to suffer a crushing defeat over its Brexit plan next week after more than 100 Tory MPs publicly stated they would vote against the deal unless changes are made.” – Sunday Express

  • Remainers gear up for second run with new NHS pledge – The Observer
  • Work and Pensions Secretary hits out at ‘flouncing’ male politicians – Sun on Sunday


  • Do Remainer MPs who say leaving is undemocratic not see the irony? – Dia Chakravarty, Sunday Telegraph
  • Corbyn is inching away from Brexit – Stephen Bush, Sunday Times
  • ‘People’s Vote’ will be a blow to democracy – Tony Parsons, Sun on Sunday
  • Thatcher vs the miners should inspire our no-deal planning – Matthew Elliott, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: Mohammed Amin in Comment: If there is a second referendum, no deal must be kept off the ballot paper

…and May’s ministry is rocked by further resignations

Two members of the Government are resigning and a Cabinet minster is mulling whether to quit over Brexit this weekend as Theresa May’s administration appears to be disintegrating ahead of the most important vote of a generation. Government whips have given Conservative MPs until lunchtime on Sunday to set out how they will vote on Mrs May’s Brexit deal, in a desperate bid to judge the scale of a rebellion that threatens to bring down her government. Writing in The Telegraph, Will Quince MP, a member of the Defence Secretary’s ministerial team, announces he is quitting his government role, saying he wants to “implore the Prime Minister to go back to the European Union and find another way”. A second Parliamentary Private Secretary, who The Telegraph has been asked not to name at this stage, has also told whips that they will quit on Monday, while a number of senior party figures were “wrestling with decisions to resign”. More resignations are possible from the Cabinet, with leading Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt said to be deciding over the next 48 hours whether to back the deal or quit in what one minister described as “the week of unknowns”.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • May urges rebels to back her or risk losing Brexit and Downing Street – Sun on Sunday
  • Fear and loathing swirl in Number 10 as the Prime Minister retreats to her bunker – Sunday Times
  • No hope of success, but the Prime Minister won’t blink – The Observer
  • Abstentions may soften sting of defeat – Sunday Times
  • Ellwood warns that chaos could cost UK leading UN role – Sun on Sunday


  • I am resigning because May’s deal means obeying EU rules for years to come – Will Quince, Sunday Telegraph
  • Clueless Tories are dragging our nation towards the abyss – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

>Today: MPs Etc.: The number of Tory MPs who oppose the deal hits 70. Mitchell and Quince join the revolt.

>Yesterday: Nick Hargrave’s column: The Conservative split is coming. Indeed, it is already here. Unless…

Andrew Rawnsley: The Prime Minister has no choice but to hold the vote

“Some have suggested that the vote be put off to later in the month in the hope that Mrs May might extract some last-gasp concessions at the European council meeting this Thursday. But members of the cabinet worry, with good reason, that this could set her up for more humiliation because European leaders will give her a dusty answer and she will return from Brussels with nothing. There are no good grounds for thinking that a bit more time would give Mr Smith an opportunity to substantially change the parliamentary maths. The usual levers of the government’s enforcers aren’t working in this context. The issue is too momentous; their power is too feeble. You can’t threaten a rebel MP with career-terminating consequences if he or she has already resigned from the government payroll to vote against the prime minister. There are far too many Conservative MPs against the deal and they are far too entrenched in their views for an extra week or so to make a meaningful difference.” – The Observer

  • The Prime Minister’s deal could triumph… if she’s not around – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • Leavers need to ask themselves why Blair is cheering them on – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • MPs know ‘no deal’ is a hoax – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times


  • My reasons for why MPs should support the deal – David Gauke, The Observer
  • Agreement is best to deliver for the people of Britain – Jeremy Hunt, Sun on Sunday
  • Deal avoids the pitfalls of both no deal and no Brexit – Rory Stewart, FT


  • Norway could return us to the golden days of our EU affairs – Nick Boles and Stephen Kinnock, Sunday Times


  • MPs must vote down May’s Brexit plan – Boris Johnson, Sun on Sunday
  • This plan drains the opportunities that Brexit presents – Dominic Raab, Sunday Telegraph
  • The backstop is a betrayal, not a ‘sop’ – Iain Duncan Smith, Sunday Times
  • My dog could have won a better deal – Jeremy Paxman, Mail on Sunday

>Today: Chris Grayling MP in Comment: Here at Transport, we’re getting ready for Brexit – whatever happens. But here’s why I’m backing May’s deal.

Rees-Mogg urges MPs to get behind Johnson/Rudd unity ticket in leadership vote

“Jacob Rees-Mogg today urges fellow Tories to back a ‘unity’ leadership team of Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd if Theresa May is toppled during the crisis over her Brexit deal. The influential hardline Brexiteer uses an article in today’s Mail on Sunday – published below – to signal his backing for pro-Brexit Mr Johnson to team up with Remainer Rudd, who yesterday infuriated No 10 by suggesting that the UK could pursue alternative options including ‘Norway Plus’ should Theresa May’s Brexit plan be rejected by MPs. Mr Rees-Mogg’s plea comes as the main rivals for Mrs May’s crown prepare to launch their leadership bids. The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Home Secretary Sajid Javid was canvassing support among MPs on Friday, asking them directly if they would back him in a tilt at No 10. A source said: ‘Sajid does not think she will have to go next week, but is preparing for the possibility she might be forced to.’ He is understood to have discussed running on a joint ticket with Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, but the pair are at odds on who would take the top job in such a relationship. Meanwhile, former Brexit Secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab are also said to be locked in tense negotiations about who should be the ‘senior man’ if they join forces on one ticket.” – Mail on Sunday

  • How the vote could affect key players – Sunday Times
  • Johnson mounts ‘brazen’ bid for May’s job – Sun on Sunday
  • Mordaunt ‘burnishing leadership credentials’ – Sunday Times
  • None of the candidates have a positive approval rating – Sunday Times


  • Johnson and Rudd could steer us away from the rocks – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mail on Sunday
  • If Tory MPs keep May after this, they will damn themselves – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Why Conservative MPs should prepare to call for a confidence vote in the Prime Minister’s leadership this week

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May should quit if she loses next week – our special survey with The Times

Cox ‘reduced to tears’ by contempt vote

“The Attorney General was reduced to tears by the fight to save Theresa May’s Brexit deal, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. As the Prime Minister suffered her worst week since the humiliation of the 2017 Election, even hardened observers were stunned when Geoffrey Cox welled up on the front bench. The Commons witnessed four days of extraordinary scenes, but none more shocking than the QC’s emotional response to the Government being found in contempt of Parliament for the first time in history. After a torrid battle to halt the release of his legal advice about Mr May’s deal, the Brexiteer was expecting a pasting from devout Leaver Nadine Dorries on Tuesday evening. But when she rose to praise the integrity and honour of the Government’s most senior lawyer, his emotions were clear. ‘Geoffrey was hung out to dry’ says one Tory MP. ‘He was told his candid advice would never see the light of day and the whips said they would win the vote to block it.’ Senior Tories immediately turned their fire on Chief Whip Julian Smith after suffering three defeats in just 63 minutes – a post-war record.” – Mail on Sunday

Hancock to ban fax machines from the NHS

“Fax machines will be banned across the NHS under radical plans to overhaul outdated technology and IT systems, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose. Matt Hancock, the Health secretary, banned hospital trusts from buying fax machines on Friday and ordered them to be phased out completely by April 2020. NHS Trusts will instead be required to invest in new technology to replace any outdated systems, using £200million of Government cash set aside for modernisation earlier this year… The news comes after it emerged that the NHS is the world’s leading buyer of fax machines, with more than 8,000 machines in service across the NHS including 600 in one hospital. Medical leaders blamed this a “stubborn” resistance to new technology, which risked medical records not keeping up with patients, putting people at risk of mistakes in critical situations such as in A&E. There is a risk that they are not a secure way to pass on medical information about patients. Under Mr Hancock’s plans, which were issued as a ministerial edict, NHS organisations will be monitored on a quarterly basis until they declare themselves ‘fax free’.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: Rachel Maclean MP in Think Tanks: We must address the role of life-long learning in the future of work

Katy Balls: Who’d be a young Conservative?

“Currently the Tories have fewer than 10,000 members under the age of 30 out of a total of 124,000. In a sign of just how bad things have become, the party received more money last year from the dead (in bequests and legacies) than from living members. They’re not doing much better with votes. In the 2017 general election, the Tories fell behind Labour in every age group under 40 – of those aged 20 to 24, just over a quarter voted blue. As a political journalist who has spent the bulk of my 20s following the Tories, I’m often asked why a young woman would consider voting for a party that’s seen as so pale, male, middle-aged and stale. At times, it’s been difficult to come up with an answer. Whether the issue is the EU referendum (forced by a Conservative government), student loans (costs of which have tripled under the Tories) or the sight of Theresa May holding hands with Donald Trump,  most of my peers – I’m 29 – would rather walk across broken glass than pay a visit to the party’s conference – yet many regard Jeremy Corbyn speaking at Glastonbury as the height of cool. What drives a 20-something to risk social ostracism in the name of low tax?” – Mail on Sunday

Tories say ‘ULEZ’ could be Khan’s poll tax

“About 1m vehicles will be hit by a new levy to drive in large parts of London that is expected to raise up to six times as much as the congestion charge. The “ultra-low emission zone” (ULEZ) fee of £12.50 a day will be a financial lifeline for Transport for London (TfL), which faces a cash crisis after the mayor, Sadiq Khan, froze fares and the government cut its grant. It will collect between £700m and £1.5bn a year from motorists. The congestion charge raises £230m. “This could be Sadiq’s poll tax,” said Gareth Bacon, leader of the Conservative group on the London assembly. “It has flown under the radar and people do not know what is going to hit them.” Referring to protests against motoring taxes in France, Bacon said the mayor “could have his own gilets jaunes moment once people realise they will be paying up to £4,000 a year more to drive their own cars”.” – Sunday Times

  • Mayor ‘misled financial markets’ over Crossrail delay – Sunday Times

More trains:

  • North ‘betrayed’ over HS2 extension to Liverpool – Sunday Times

McDonnell promises to legalise sympathy strikes

“Labour would abolish Thatcher-era laws preventing workers in the UK from taking industrial action in solidarity with their counterparts in other countries, the shadow chancellor has announced. At an event in Airdrie, John McDonnell pledged that a Labour government would restore trade union rights by repealing legislation that undermines the ability of workers to take “collective action and acts of solidarity”. This would mean “workers can revive the spirit of the Rolls-Royce workers in East Kilbride” who “struck a blow against the brutal Pinochet dictatorship” in Chile in the 1970s, he said. The Hunter Hawker planes used by the Chilean airforce were powered by engines built in South Lanarkshire but workers there refused to repair them. “When we go back into government we will restore trade union rights, and that will enable workers to take similar sympathy action on the basis of supporting fellow workers internationally,” said McDonnell. The action, which was recently commemorated in the film Nae Pasaran!, was a “fantastic example of the operation of trade union rights”, McDonnell said.” – The Observer

Drakeford ‘poised to conquer Wales for Corbyn’

“However bad it is for May this week, the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is unlikely to be an immediate beneficiary. But when Mark Drakeford is confirmed as the new leader in Cardiff, the Corbyn advance guard will have conquered the principality. Three million people, 7,900 square miles and £17bn will be in the hands of a 64-year-old former social policy professor who sees Michael Foot as a political hero and plans to “push the boundaries” of devolution to deliver “21st-century socialism”. He is a kind, thoughtful man who told us he had “no burning ambition to be first minister”. But senior civil servants describe him as “ruthless”, and having paraded his pro-Corbyn credentials, he was happy to see his campaign turbo-charged by Momentum… Drakeford’s manifesto provided a structure for his ideological instincts. He aims to ban smoking in town centres, nationalise buses and end the private finance initiative.” – Sunday Times

Farage setting up new party to defend Brexit

Nigel Farage has said it is his “destiny” to fight for Brexit as he unveils his plans to launch a new political party to fight next year’s European Parliament elections if the Government delays Britain’s exit from the European Union. The former leader of the UK Independence Party told The Sunday Telegraph that he believed he had “not fought my biggest battle yet” and would relish the battle at May’s Euro elections, which he expects to be held if Brexit is delayed. Talks have been going on for a number of months about his new party but have been stepped in the past fortnight as the full detail of Theresa May’s Brexit deal has emerged. Mr Farage, 54, said he had held talks with a number of high profile business people to stand for his new party. Its new name was “to be confirmed”, he said… Mr Farage believes there is a “55 to 45 per cent” chance of the UK participating in the European Parliament elections on May 23. He predicates the Parliamentary deadlock means negotiations will continue and Britain’s expected exit from the EU in March 2019 will be put back by up to two years.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Politics is broken… so here comes Farage – Sunday Times