Brexit 1) May faces heavy defeat in the “meaningful vote”

“Theresa May warned Tory rebels last night that they will risk a Jeremy Corbyn government if they vote against her Brexit deal amid fears of the heaviest defeat suffered by a government in modern politics. Downing Street is braced for a no-confidence vote as soon as tomorrow as Mr Corbyn tries to force an election he claims would break the Brexit logjam. The prime minister begged Brexiteer Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party to take a “second look” at her agreement in the light of further European Union assurances over the Irish backstop. However, only half the Conservative parliamentary party turned up to hear her eve-of-vote pitch in which she urged them to unite around two tasks: achieving Brexit and keeping the Labour leader out of Downing Street. The best way to secure those aims, she said, was to vote for her deal.” – The Times

  • Pleading, threats and dire warnings – Daily Telegraph
  • Warm words aren’t enough to appease the DUP – The Times
  • PM claims backstop assurances “have legal force” – Belfast Telegraph
  • Chris Philp claims a “shift” by MPs to back the deal – Daily Express
  • MP Tulip Siddiq delays caesarean to enter lobby in wheelchair – The Times
  • Stride accused of “desperate” picture stunt – Daily Mail
  • Dark mood descends on No 10 – Financial Times
  • It could be the biggest ever Government defeat in the Commons – Daily Telegraph



Brexit 2) Wallace: Broken promises have ended up pleasing neither side

“May’s retreats, first at Chequers and then in the Withdrawal Agreement, were supposed to ‘bring people together’. They have instead emboldened and inspired pro-EU MPs to rebel more. It is fashionable to praise the virtues of compromise and consensus, but politics remains red in tooth and claw – giving ground is seen as weakness, and when May offered the Remain lobby an inch she emboldened them to demand a mile. ‘Leavers’ reward for two years of loyal support was an outright breach of May’s promises’ Even Leavers are abandoning her Her disastrous strategy gradually reinflated the Remain wing of the Parliamentary Conservative Party, but it inflamed the Leaver side. Not only is this a bad deal from a Eurosceptic perspective, loading the UK with costs without delivering proper democratic self-government in return, but many of May’s colleagues feel it breaks promises made by the Prime Minister to her party and by the Conservative Party to the country. Scores of Tory MPs find themselves unable and unwilling to support it, setting the stage for the largest Commons defeat ever seen.” – Mark Wallace, The i

Brexit 3) Gareth Johnson resigns as a Government Whip to oppose May’s deal

“The man in charge of getting other MPs to vote for May’s EU deal has quit in protest….Assistant Tory whip Gareth Johnson threw in the towel on Monday, January 14, as the PM battles to win last-minute support for her hated deal. The 49-year-old said he couldn’t back it as it would keep us tied to the EU for years to come, and said it was “disrespectful” to the millions of Brits who opted to leave. In his resignation letter to Theresa May he wrote: “This agreement prevents us taking back control and instead could leave us perpetually constrained by the European Union”. Ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker, who also quit over our EU exit, hailed him as a “hero” and said it was “the right thing to do”.” – The Sun

Brexit 4) Prime Minister may have to quit, “suggest some cabinet ministers”

“Theresa May will be expected to stand down if she loses Tuesday night’s crucial vote on her Brexit deal as heavily as predicted, Cabinet sources have said. More than 100 Tory MPs have insisted they will oppose the deal, putting Mrs May on course to break a series of unwelcome Parliamentary records….If Mrs May loses the vote – expected between 7.30pm-9.30pm depending on how many amendments are chosen by the Speaker – she is expected to make an immediate statement on her next move….Downing Street declined to deny that Mrs May would resign if she suffers a defeat well into triple figures, and Cabinet sources said a defeat by a majority of more than 100 would put Mrs May’s future in peril.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 5) Thornberry: Labour may be forced to back a second referendum

“The prime minister must call an election. Anything else would not be stoicism or stubbornness, or whatever other qualities her admirers claim; it would just be sheer cowardice. But if she refuses,if Labour’s no confidence motion fails, and if we have to move to other options, including campaigning for a public vote, we will take no lectures from her about respecting our country’s democracy. Because she will be the one who has forced us into that position by ignoring every historical precedent on which that democracy is based.” – Emily Thornberry, The Guardian

>Yesterday: WATCH: Gardiner attacks the idea of calling off Brexit and staying in the EU

Brexit 6) Boles Bill would mean MPs could instruct May to request an extension of Article 50

“Opponents of a no-deal Brexit will publish a plan today to force Theresa May to delay Britain’s departure from Europe if parliament cannot unite on a way to leave the bloc. In a move designed to upend the “default” setting of Brexit, a cross-party group of MPs are to publish a draft bill that, if passed, would reverse Britain’s automatic departure on March 29. The bill would give Mrs May and parliament six weeks to agree a new way forward if, as expected, the prime minister’s plan is defeated in the Commons tonight. If no consensus can be agreed, MPs would be permitted to instruct the prime minister to request an extension to the Article 50 process, which mandates that Britain will leave the EU even without a deal…The plan is being masterminded by a group of senior Conservative MPs including the former ministers Sir Oliver Letwin, Nicky Morgan and Nick Boles. Yesterday they held talks with a group of cross-party MPs to try to win support for the move.” – The Times

  • Four cabinet ministers back the plot – The Sun
  • Possible amendments to PM’s Brexit deal – BBC
  • It’s all or nothing: Article 50 can’t be revoked temporarily –The Times
  • Idea of senior select committee devising alternative finds no traction – Financial Times

Brexit 7) McVey: Reject the Withdrawal Agreement and show confidence in our country

“Yes, some measure of uncertainty would be created by the government shifting to pursue a bolder, no deal route out of the EU. But we have to believe in the strength of British industry and in our country’s unique place in the world, recognising that this scenario would be far more preferable to staying in an EU that is making a host of wrong decisions at a critical time of global change. As Parliament prepares to finally go through the lobbies for the meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement, I would urge my colleagues to consider the importance of those two words – Trust and Confidence. Trust in the people who made the decision to leave, and confidence that Britain can thrive outside the EU.” – Esther McVey, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 8) Hague: Put your reservations aside and support the Prime Minister

“Ardent Remainers want that second campaign because they think they would win it. But two close referendums would mean this question would never go away. Now, ardent Leavers seem to be warming to the idea as well – a chance to nail it, to run rings round the establishment again, to channel the anger that would erupt if Brexit is foiled. It’s a dangerous idea. Political leaders who try to channel anger tend to be consumed by it instead. It is not responsible to put this country through the agony of another vote. So for multiple reasons I would go through the lobby with Theresa May. It doesn’t look as if a sufficient number of MPs will do that. I hope they don’t have the nerve to complain about the consequences afterwards.” – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 9) Daily Mail makes final plea to back the deal

“After all the endless months of bickering, braggadocio and blatant attention-seeking, the day of destiny for British democracy has finally arrived. Today, the Commons votes on Theresa May’s plan to secure an orderly withdrawal from the EU. In the Mail’s view, the choice before MPs is simple: accept a deal which delivers the main planks of Brexit — and provides the stability the nation yearns for. Or lead us into a dark and hazardous unknown. So to honourable members of all stripes, we make this plea. Before entering the division lobby at such a pivotal moment in our constitutional history, put personal prejudice aside and think very hard about where the overriding national interest lies.” – Leader, Daily Mail

Other comment

  • We need a free vote in the Commons to break the impasse – Rachel Sylvester, The Times
  • MPs must reject this dreadful deal – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Remain MPs message to Leave voters is : “Know your place, plebs” – Brendan O’Neill, The Sun
  • The Tories may never be forgiven – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Promises from the EU can’t be trusted – Leader, The Sun
  • May must become a willing servant of the Commons – Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times
  • Brexit is not only economic suicide, it’s cultural vandalism – William Dalrymple, The Scotsman
  • Opposing the deal is not worth the risk – Leader, Daily Express
  • I cannot vote for a deal that squanders Brexit and betrays the British people – Suella Braverman, Daily Telegraph
  • Like a dying bull in the ring, the PM kept fighting – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Chaos ahead – Leader, The Times
  • This is only the end of the beginning – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

Davis to back 28 day limit to immigrant detention

“Plans to limit the amount of time people can spend as a detainee in immigration centres to 28 days are likely to be passed by MPs within weeks. The Tory MPs David Davis, Dominic Grieve and Andrew Mitchell, along with the Labour MPs Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper, are seeking to force the government to impose the limit on all immigration and asylum detainees apart from foreign national offenders. Under the plans, foreigners who are ineligible to be in the UK under immigration or asylum rules could be detained for 28 days and then removed or tagged. No further detention beyond this period would be allowed in any one year. The MPs believe that they have a cross-party majority to force a change given that the government does not have a majority in the Commons.” – The Times

Raab launches “thinly veiled leadership bid”, with a speech calling for tax cuts

“Dominic Raab finally launched his thinly veiled leadership bid yesterday – outlining a tax-cutting blueprint for post-Brexit Britain. The former Brexit Secretary called for a rise in the National Insurance earnings threshold to £11,850 to save someone earning £15,000 around £412 each year.In a speech at Westminster, he told supporters there should also be more shareholder control over chief executives’ pay. Arguing the Tories must counter the “seductive Marxist allure” of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, he said they should instead be championing consumers and business. Mr Raab proposed a gradual reduction in the basic income tax rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent…..Supporters attending the speech yesterday included the influential chair of the Tory 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady.” – The Sun

  •  ‘I bottled it’ over pulling out of PM race in 2016 after winning Brexit vote, Johnson admits – The Sun

Obesity is not a disease, insists Hancock

“Obesity is not a disease and people should take responsibility for being fat, the Health Secretary said yesterday. Matt Hancock also unveiled a government plan to enrol one million heavies in exercise classes.But he denied it was a “nanny state” approach — saying there should be less intervention for the healthy and more for those who need it. And he claimed “even a fatty cut of delicious steak is healthy in moderation”.” – The Sun

News in brief

  • The EU’s latest effort won’t help May pass her Brexit deal – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Britain has a bright post-Brexit future – Dominic Raab, CapX
  • How the UK repeatedly weakened its own negotiating position – Charles Grant, New Statesman
  • Today UK democracy is on trial in Parliament – John Redwood
  • 113 Tory MPs have indicated they oppose the deal – Alex Wickham, Buzzfeed