Corbyn under fire for ‘sexist attack’ on May…

“Jeremy Corbyn’s credibility was on the line last night after the Labour leader was forced to deny that he had called Theresa May a “stupid woman”. The Labour leader was accused of sexism by Conservative MPs after he appeared to make the comment in response to Mrs May, who had compared his attempt to force a confidence vote in her this week to a Christmas pantomime. The footage of his muttered response rapidly went viral. The authority of John Bercow, the Speaker, was called into question when he said that he was unable to act. Tory MPs, united in anger, forced the initially reluctant Speaker to review the footage. Although several experts concluded that the Labour leader had said the words, Mr Bercow ruled that MPs must accept Mr Corbyn’s claim that he had said “stupid people”. Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House, said that voters “would draw their own conclusions” as to the credibility of that claim.” – The Times

  • Labour leader branded a liar over denials – The Sun
  • Lip-readers reveal what he said – Daily Mail
  • May puts spotlight on Corbyn at PMQs – The Guardian


  • Two MPs accuse Bercow of using the same insult on them – Daily Mail
  • When did the Speaker brand Leadsom a ‘stupid woman’? – Daily Express


  • ‘Stupid woman’ symptomatic of sexist attacks on the Prime Minister – Charlotte Henry, Times Red Box
  • The repellent misogyny of the hard left – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail


…as Labour urge disgraced MP to resign

“Fiona Onasanya, the Labour MP for Peterborough, has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice after an Old Bailey retrial. The 35-year old MP, who was only elected last year, was found guilty of lying to police to avoid a speeding charge. The Labour party immediately stripped the party whip from her and urged her to resign. Ms Onasanya is expected to be sentenced in January. If she quits the House of Commons it will prompt a nail-biting by-election in Peterborough, a heavily Brexit-voting constituency. The former solicitor had forced out Stewart Jackson, the incumbent Tory MP, by a majority of just 607 votes in the 2017 general election. Ms Onasanya had denied driving her car when it was caught travelling at 41mph in a 30mph zone in Cambridgeshire in July 2017. She was accused of colluding with her brother Festus to avoid three points on her licence by claiming that a former lodger had been driving. But her brother, a singer, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice in relation to the incident. The Labour party issued an administrative suspension of Ms Onasanya soon afterwards.” – FT

  • Ambitious Corbyn supporter who was picked out in the pub – The Times

Ministers 1) Javid gives low-skilled workers ‘green light’ to fill manual jobs

“Tens of thousand of migrants will still be able to come to Britain to fill low-skilled jobs after Brexit under immigration proposals unveiled yesterday. They will be allowed to travel to Britain to seek work for up to a year in areas such as catering and food processing, regardless of whether they themselves are high or low skilled. The proposals for the temporary work route, which will operate initially until 2025, are part of a government attempt to deal with concerns that Brexit will lead to labour shortages in areas such as horticulture and hospitality. One source said that it was a “safety valve” for sectors of the economy that had come to rely on low-skilled EU labour. Neither the temporary work route nor a revised skilled-worker route will be capped. The route will be open to migrants from specified countries, which are likely to be EU states as well as nations such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Applicants will require a visa and only be allowed stay in the country for a year but do not have to have a job offer.” – The Times

  • UK unveils temporary visa for EU nationals after Brexit – FT
  • Europeans will be allowed to work in Britain for six years after Brexit – The Sun
  • Prime Minister and Home Secretary in open conflict over ‘tens of thousands’ pledge – Daily Telegraph
  • May will be ‘forced to back down’ over £30,000 threshold – The Guardian
  • Sturgeon denounces new policy as ‘act of vandalism’ – The Scotsman


  • Home Secretary shocked that child abuse sites host ads for major brands – The Sun


  • Javid could amend rules to protect refugee children – Tim Loughton and Nicky Morgan, Times Red Box
  • The Government’s grand post-Brexit scheme is likely to see numbers rise – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • I fear we’ve been sold a pig in a poke about immigration – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • How Britain’s new immigration plans add up – Helen Warell, FT

>Today: Interviews: Lord Bird says homelessness is not just for Christmas, and the death penalty might deter knife crime

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: How unusual – Downing Street trying to persuade the Home Office to be tougher on immigration

Ministers 2) Rudd announces change to Universal Credit

“Mums on Universal Credit will be given their benefits directly in a bid to make sure their abusive partners don’t hold it back from them. Amber Rudd said she’ll be bringing forward new proposals to make sure the primary caregiver gets access to benefits cash. In her first grilling in front of MPs today, the new DWP Secretary said she wanted to do more to make sure “women get the benefit of the UC payment”. She said there was more to be done to help women who were in domestic abuse relationships and ensure their children didn’t miss out. “So I’m going to be focused on making sure the main payment is made to the primary carer,” she told MPs. Proposals will be being brought forward soon, Ms Rudd said. MPs have previously warned that the way Universal Credit is only paid to one person means that the system stops victims from escaping abusive relationships.” – The Sun

  • Work and Pensions Secretary warns of further delays to new system – The Guardian

Street urges MPs to back with Withdrawal Agreement…

“West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has warned MPs they must agree a withdrawal deal with the European Union in order to save jobs at Jaguar Land Rover. It follows reports that the carmaker, which employs thousands at plants in Birmingham and Solihull, is planning to cut up to 5,000 jobs. The Tory mayor said support for Theresa May’s proposed Brexit withdrawal agreement, which the Prime Minister is to put to a Commons vote in the week commencing January 14, would “remove some of the clouds that are hanging around JLR at the moment.” Mr Street said he had been in contact with senior Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) managers in recent days, and described the reports as “rumours”. But he said: “It is very concerning. Because they have obviously been the dynamo of the regional economy, and if it were to be true it would be extremely bad news. Even in all of the material that was rumoured, their commitment to further investment in the West Midlands was very clear. The other thing that was really clear is that if we get a firm decision around Brexit, that will remove some of the clouds that are hanging over JLR at the moment.”” – Birmingham Mail

  • McCluskey tells Labour to work with other parties to ‘save Brexit’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Rob Wilson in Comment: It is still possible for May to revive her dead parrot of a deal – but it won’t be easy

…as Rudd says second referendum may be ‘plausible’…

“Amber Rudd, UK work and pensions secretary, has become the first cabinet minister to spell out a path to a second Brexit referendum, saying that another vote could become “plausible” if parliament rejects Theresa May’s deal with the EU in January. Ms Rudd told ITV that she did not want another referendum, “but if parliament absolutely failed to reach a consensus, I can see there would be a plausible argument for it”. She added that she did not believe the public wanted another vote. MPs are due to vote in the week of January 14 on Mrs May’s Brexit deal. The prime minister delayed the vote, admitting that she faced a heavy defeat because of the opposition of many Tory MPs, plus all the other parties. She has so far failed to win significant concessions from the EU on the backstop, the controversial insurance policy designed to avoid a hard Irish border. Ms Rudd said it would be “very difficult to get [the deal] through” the House of Commons. A leading figure in the 2016 Remain campaign, she said in September, when she was not a cabinet minister, that a second referendum would be “absolutely” preferable to a no-deal Brexit.” – FT

  • Gove admits that price of food may rise under no-deal departure – The Sun
  • Ulster civil service to ramp up preparations for Brexit – News Letter
  • Treasury minister tells Chancellor to stop ‘self-fulfilling’ gloom about Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn ally angers MPs by rejecting calls for second referendum – The Sun


  • Don’t fall for Brexiteers’ violent prophecies – David Aaronovitch, The Times

>Today: Justine Greening in Comment: Brexit. We’re going round in circles – and only a second referendum can give a sense of direction


…and Brussels ‘rules out’ managed no-deal

Crashing out of the EU will cause havoc to British flights, road haulage and the City of London, the European Commission warned on Wednesday, as it ruled out a “managed no deal Brexit” and announced emergency plans to protect the bloc from the worst impacts of Britain leaving without an agreement. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said, “The risks of a disorderly exit of Great Britain from the EU are obvious. It will be an absolute catastrophe. Therefore, the Commission is trying to, as well as the member states, are trying to prevent this disorderly exit from the union, but it takes two to tango decently.” Supporters of a “managed no deal Brexit” favour short term disruption, contained by agreements with EU countries, to break free of Brussels over the compromises made by Theresa May in reaching her Brexit deal. But EU officials said that the “bare bones” no deal strategy would not prevent “huge disruption” in the UK and there would be no negotiations or side-deals with the British.” – Daily Telegraph

  • EU planning is ‘unilateral’ to protect only its own interests – The Times
  • Brussels’ minimal safety net – Politico
  • Irish Government publishes ‘sobering’ no-deal planning – The Journal
  • Dutch and Belgian ports insist they can beat queues – The Times
  • Polish Prime Minister warns ‘harsh’ EU attitude could ‘derail Brexit’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: When does an unmanaged No Deal become a managed No Deal?


Mark Wallace: We should take threats of a ‘cliff edge’ with a big pinch of salt

“As Theresa May is finding out, some issues might simply be too difficult or controversial for the UK or the EU to give ground on in the next few weeks. But that should not stop us from ­shaking hands on hundreds of other side deals that both sides could agree quite simply, and which would help both sides to square away. That’s what’s called a “managed no deal” – it might not be either our or their dream outcome but it would make life easier while work continues on overcoming the really difficult sticking points. What’s shocking is the way in which this practical approach has been widely ignored for political reasons. Some of the much-touted “worst-case scenario” forecasts for the supposed cost of Brexit rely on the ridiculous assumption that Brussels and Westminster would do literally nothing to reduce any potential problems from No Deal. We’ve been told repeatedly from some quarters that it is simply impossible for the EU to show any flexibility at all with a non-member, even though it has done so in various cases. At long last, that lie is being exposed. Just as the UK has released its No Deal preparations, the EU is this week ­publishing details of how it would ­handle that situation. And guess what? Brussels wants to strike mutual side deals in which we both agree to respect various aspects of each other’s rights in order to limit ­disruption and costs.” – The Sun

  • Hardline Remainers grow ever-more extreme as time runs out – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit Britain should follow Canada’s lead as a mid-ranking power – Philip Stephens, FT
  • This epic fight in parliament could lead to a new, better democracy – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • The EU’s no-deal preparations make it clear: they want to make Britain suffer – Ross Clark, The Spectator
  • Britain needs to stop fighting yesterday’s immigration battles – Sunder Katwala, CapX
  • Remainers demanding another referendum aren’t interested in legitimacy – Daniel Moylan, Brexit Central
  • How Thatcherism produced Corbynism – John Gray, UnHerd
  • The tyranny of the well-meaning do-gooders – Kurtis Prosser, 1828