A vote of confidence in May’s leadership will take place this evening. Brady confirms the ballot as Downing Street seeks to bounce Conservative MPs. Cabinet Ministers take to Twitter in “shock and awe” offensive.

“Theresa May is facing a dramatic vote of confidence in her leadership on Wednesday evening, after Eurosceptic MPs launched a coup against the prime minister to try to seize control of the final stages of Brexit. Tory rebels have secured the 48 names needed to trigger a confidence vote and Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 committee, has announced it will take place between 6pm-10pm on Wednesday. Mrs May is expected to fight for her job, but support has been draining away from the prime minister since Monday when she abandoned a planned vote in the House of Commons on her Brexit plan. If Mrs May fails to secure 158 votes – a majority of Tory MPs – she will be forced to stand down and a full Tory leadership contest would take place. Ministers loyal to the prime minister were dismayed at the prospect of a leadership challenged on Tuesday night. “If this happened it would be an act of irresponsibility, foolishness and national vandalism,” said one minister. Another minister said: “I’m certain she would fight.”” – FT

  • Prime Minister ignored plan for ‘put up or shut up’ vote to silence her critics – The Times
  • Daily Mail’s about-turn on Brexit offers May a glimmer of hope – FT
  • Will the Prime Minister be ousted today? Latest odds – Daily Express



Paterson becomes first ‘big beast’ to write to Brady demanding a contest

Owen Paterson’s letter of no confidence could prove to be the tip of the iceberg for previously loyal Brexiteers who are feeling increasingly betrayed by Theresa May. Until now, the more experienced “big beasts” in the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG) of Tory MPs had resisted sending letters to Sir Graham Brady, arguing that the Prime Minister still held the key to unlocking Brexit. But with a growing awareness that no deal might be the best deal on offer to leavers seeking a clean break from the EU – Mrs May’s last ditch renegotiation is no longer being seen as the solution to Brexit but its biggest obstacle. As one well-placed insider told the Telegraph: “The hardcore leavers just want to leave without a deal. They don’t want a bad deal with a diluted backstop. The real danger now is that she comes back from Brussels with some tweak that might get it over the line. The withdrawal agreement has become a threat that must be destroyed.” Combine this with the trust lost by the Prime Minister for delaying Tuesday’s meaningful vote and it appears a perfect storm is brewing on the Tory backbenches.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Democracy depends on the Government commanding the confidence of the Commons – Sir Bernard Jenkin, The Times
  • May must end this Carry On farce and go – Jacob Rees-Mogg, The Sun
  • I know how painful rebellion can be, but we need a leader with vision – Crispin Blunt, Daily Telegraph

>Today: MPs Etc.: Rolling list of MPs who have submitted letters of no confidence in the Prime Minister

EU leaders snub May as last-ditch EU tour hits the buffers

European Union leaders have insisted there will be no renegotiation of the Irish border backstop, snubbing Theresa May as she embarked on her whistlestop tour of EU capitals in a bid to seek fresh Brexit concessions. Angela Merkel told the Prime Minister at their Berlin meeting there was “no way” the Withdrawal Agreement would be reopened. Rubbing salt in the wounds, the German Chancellor told Mrs May that any Brexit negotiations had to be handled through the European Commission and not through bilateral talks with national governments. The snub came as the European Commission, France and other EU nations prepared to step up their no-deal Brexit emergency planning to heap yet more pressure on MPs in Westminster to accept the hated agreement. After Mrs May pulled today’s ‘meaningful vote’ in the Commons, the race is now on to secure concessions from Europe that might convince opponents of the deal to change their minds, particularly on the question of the Irish backstop. It has emerged that Mrs May, who was briefly locked in her car as she met Mrs Merkel, had warned EU leaders she was thinking of cancelling the vote on Sunday, before telling her Cabinet on Monday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Queue to tell the Prime Minister the deal is not open to discussion – The Times
  • ‘Window dressing’ offer rejected by Downing Street – The Sun
  • May eyes Dutch-Danish solution to Brexit conundrum – FT
  • EU pressures Prime Minister to adopt softer Brexit in exchange for assurances – The Sun
  • Hague warns that Brussels sees second referendum as more likely than no deal – Daily Express


  • Cabinet to push for more no-deal preparations – The Times
  • Whitehall steps up hiring for a disorderly exit – FT
  • Major tells May to revoke Article 50 or face chaos – The Times
  • Study finds ‘significant decrease’ in diehard Leavers – The Guardian
  • Morgan’s committee blasts ‘optimistic’ Brexit predictions – The Times


  • The EU will not risk its own integrity to save May’s deal – Clement Leroy, The Times
  • Polls show attitudes hardening against compromise – Lord Ashcroft, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Charlie Elphicke in Comment: The Cabinet must decide today to trigger no deal preparations in full


Johnson and Javid ‘set out leadership stalls’

“Sajid Javid has touted his commitment to social mobility and Boris Johnson has compared his weight loss to the Brexit preparations as contenders to succeed Theresa May prepare their pitches for the top job. The home secretary and the former foreign secretary have used The Spectator to set out their views on Brexit and their party’s future, a decision which will doubtless be interpreted as preparation for a leadership contest. Mr Javid, seen in Westminster as the favourite among ministers to succeed Mrs May, told the magazine that the Conservative Party stood, in a word, for opportunity. He said: “The much bigger picture is social mobility. That’s what I want the party to be seen as: promoting how politicians – or the right politicians – can make a real difference to you as an individual in your life… He said that in his previous role as communities secretary, he had planned to build more houses but was vetoed by Downing Street. “I think that is still an area where we can be much more radical and open up more opportunities,” he said.” – The Times

Leadsom accuses the Speaker of bias

“Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom accused Commons Speaker John Bercow of Brexit bias yesterday. Plunging relations between the Speaker and the Government sunk to a new low as she said his overtly pro-Remain views were “a challenge” for Parliament’s efforts to pass Brexit laws. Downing Street backed up her extraordinary attack on Mr Bercow. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Speaker must remain impartial at all times, it’s for the House to determine these matters.” The clash came after Mr Bercow branded Theresa May “deeply discourteous” for delaying the crunch vote on her Brexit deal despite the Commons already having debated it for three days. The Speaker said it was “deeply regrettable”. Mr Bercow has revealed he voted Remain in the 2016 referendum and his car – shared with wife Sally – boasts a “B*****ks to Brexit” sticker on its bumper. This is despite the Speaker’s role supposed to be impartial. Mrs Leadsom, who has clashed regularly with Mr Bercow over the last year, told the BBC yesterday: “He’s made his views on Brexit on the record, and the problem with that of course is that the chair’s impartiality is absolutely essential.”” – The Sun

  • Bercow has brought shame on the Speaker’s chair – Iain Martin, The Times
  • He’s neglecting his duty of impartiality, but do ministers care? – Katy Balls, Daily Telegraph

Opposition ‘crumbles’ as Labour and the SNP fail to align

“Anger flared yesterday as the opposition parties tried to bump Jeremy Corbyn into tabling a no-confidence motion in the prime minister. Attempts to build a united front against Theresa May crumbled after Labour rejected the idea, saying that it would only move when it was sure it could bring down the government. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, accused the Scottish National Party of pushing for a premature vote that they knew would be lost in order to keep Mrs May in power, prolonging instability and boosting support for Scottish independence. “Their tactic is obvious,” he said. “To press for a vote of no confidence that we would potentially lose and destabilise the country to get a referendum in Scotland. That’s what it is all about.” Mr McDonnell suggested Labour would not table a no-confidence motion that it thought it would lose. “We’ll put one down when we can win it.” Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, hit back saying that Labour risked a Brexit disaster by “faffing around”. Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP at Westminster, threatened to table a no-confidence motion himself if Labour did not.” – The Times

  • Labour keeps open the possibility of a December no-confidence vote – The Guardian
  • Sturgeon ‘pushing for second referendum to get independence re-run’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Remainers launch bid to force second vote by ‘twisting Corbyn’s arm’ – The Sun


  • Nationalist MP mocked for bizarre video of herself ‘shaking with rage’ – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “Yesterday, the Prime Minister demeaned her office”, says Corbyn

Daniel Finkelstein: Not even passing the meaningful vote is enough to save the deal

“If Mrs May’s deal passed the first stage of the meaningful vote, parliament would then have to consider a bill with dozens of amendments. To ratify the withdrawal agreement, Labour rebels would therefore have to defy three-line whips over and over again, while constantly under pressure from their national and local party. The same considerations that led Houghton to resume voting against the Conservative government in 1971 would apply to Labour rebels now. It is hard to see them reaching a different conclusion… There is a widespread view that the chance of having no deal is pretty low because such an outcome would be calamitous and, anyway, there is no majority for it. It’s surely too stupid a thing to allow actually to happen? That view is wrong. It is incredibly complacent. Mrs May has returned with the only deal we are going to be offered and parliament won’t pass it. This by itself means that the chances of no deal are very high indeed.” – The Times

  • Nobody makes a positive case for the EU because British voters still don’t like it – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph


Javid ‘humiliated’ by Home Office u-turn on ‘golden visas’

“Sajid Javid was left humiliated today after the Home Office went back on a decision to suspend UK visas for the super-rich after just five days. Sources told The Sun that the Home Secretary had been ordered into a u-turn by the Cabinet – who only found out about the shock move when it was announced last Thursday. At the time, Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes announced that the ‘Golden Visa’ or ‘Tier 1’ route into Britain for tycoons hoping to live and invest in the UK was being frozen amid concerns about organised crime and money laundering. She said: “I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system.” But yesterday, in a brief statement, the Home Office said: “The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended.” A senior source told The Sun: “They forgot to do a write-around to the rest of the Cabinet as they thought they had clearance for this. When they did the write-around it got blocked.”” – The Sun

TfL deficit heaps pressure on Khan over fare freeze

“The mayor of London was under mounting pressure last night after it emerged that the capital’s transport system could suffer a £2.7 billion shortfall because of declining passenger numbers and a delay to Crossrail. Sadiq Khan faced calls to scrap his freeze on Tube fares amid concerns that the policy, made in his election manifesto in 2016, was placing a huge strain on the capital’s finances. A five-year business plan published by Transport for London (TfL) yesterday said that signalling upgrades for the Underground and improvements to busy stations would be postponed because of the shortfall. This was on top of a 30 per cent cut in back-office costs. The document called for a fare rise of 1 per cent above the retail prices index (RPI) from January 2021 to inject cash into London’s transport system. It will put Mr Khan under pressure to sanction the increase or risk further cuts to the network. The mayor pledged to freeze Tube fares until 2020, the end of his term of office. Any rise above inflation from 2021 is likely to be higher than increases elsewhere on the rail network, where fares have been held in line with RPI for four years. City Hall said that the fares policy for 2020 onwards would be given in the mayor’s next election manifesto.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Meet Brexit plan B – the big, bold move that could end the impasse – George Bridges, Reaction
  • We must intensify plans for trading on WTO terms – Owen Paterson MP, Brexit Central
  • No deal need not be a disaster – Alexander Downer, The Spectator
  • Jones’s legacy: Inertia, buck-passing and failing services – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • The Psychoactive Substances Act has failed – Matt Gillow, 1828