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May’s Chicken Game 1) February 27 emerges as the new deadline for a meaningful vote…

“Theresa May is to urge MPs to give her another fortnight to seek changes to her Brexit agreement, as pro-Remain rebels prepare a second attempt to remove the option of leaving without a deal….Downing Street sources suggested that Mrs May would ask for more time, by pledging to facilitate a further debate later this month, by committing to tabling a fresh motion to which backbenchers could table amendments and debate by a new deadline of February 27.” – Daily Telegraph

May’s Chicken Game 2) …As pro-Remain and Soft Brexit MPs mull whether to have another Cooper Amendment-style push this week

“Mrs May is expected to table a sparsely worded Government motion asking the Commons to note her progress that will be open to amendments from backbenchers. She went through the same procedure at the end of last month. Like a 1970s television schedule, the daily Commons order paper is increasingly filled with repeats. Pro-Brussels MPs have yet to decide whether to use Thursday’s showdown as another opportunity to try to pass a binding motion ruling out a no-deal Brexit.” – Sunday Express

  • Barnier and Barclay “getting to know you” meeting tomorrow – Sunday Times
  • Hunt, Fox and Grayling meet Clark, Gauke and Rudd to try to find a common way through – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour MPs Kyle and Wilson caucus with Wollaston, Grieve and Soubry first to pass May’s deal and then to put it to a referendum (with Remain as the other option) – Observer
  • “We must be out by the time of local elections”: Gary Porter’s warning to Downing Street – Sunday Express
  • Soubry calls for Grayling to go over Seaborne, Rees-Mogg suggests Ireland’s government intervened – Observer
  • Duguid hopeful that bid to have end date for CFP membership included in the Fisheries Bill will be adopted by the government – Scotland on Sunday
  • Tusk profile – Observer
  • Japan seeks concessions in trade talks – Observer
  • Ellwood rejects Evans’ plea for a Red Arrow fly-past on Brexit Day – Mail on Sunday
  • Two Tory donors threaten to quit in the event of No Deal – Observer
  • May Black-and-White Ball jibe at Bercow – Mail on Sunday

Meanwhile, Labour moves to head the Prime Minister off

“In an interview with The Sunday Times, Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, reveals that Labour will try to stop a no-deal exit with an amendment that will compel the prime minister to hold another “meaningful vote” before February 26. The move is an attempt to stop May delaying the vote until after the European Council summit on March 21 — only eight days before the UK is due to leave the EU. “We have got to put a hard stop into this running down the clock,” Starmer says. “And that’s what we want to do this week.” – Sunday Times

Adam Boulton: Don’t believe the denials. Number Ten is preparing for a snap election.

“As reported last week, both the civil service under the cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, and Conservative Party headquarters are preparing for a D-Day election on June 6. Downing Street insiders put the probability of an early election at between 60% and 70%. “I know the difference between complacent Sunday afternoon campaigning and going to war — and this is war,” one veteran reports.” – Sunday Times

  • Wreckers on both sides of the channel mustn’t stand in the way of a deal – Dominic Raab, Sunday Telegraph
  • Beware, Ireland: Brussels is planning to end your low corporation tax model – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • The Government is keeping us in the dark – Nick Cohen, Observer
  • Why we can’t stand Juncker – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Norway Plus offers something for everyone – Alan Johnson and John Denham, Sunday Times
  • We should join the EEA, Episode 94 – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
  • The letters pages of the Daily Telegraph contain solutions to the problems thrown up by Brexit – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday: Book review by Andrew Gimson: Why Britain wants to leave this European Union of failed nation states

“Minister, you must be in on the story” 1) Mordaunt on Green

“To do this, the necessary steps need to be taken to end the misuse and misunderstanding of confidentiality agreements. That’s why the UK government will launch a consultation to hear from those affected and understand whether there should be more limitations on confidentiality clauses so that workers cannot be intimidated into silence and to find out what needs to be done to ensure that workers are clear about their rights.” – Sunday Telegraph

“Minister, you must be in on the story” 2) Rudd on Green (we presume)

“To curb these freelancers playing fast and loose with your cash, I am going to make ‘wilful or reckless behaviour’ relating to a pension scheme a criminal offence, with jail terms of up to seven years for the worst offenders. We’ll also give the courts powers to levy unlimited – yes unlimited – fines. So if you run your company pension into the ground, saddling it with massive, unsustainable debts, we’re coming for you. The new criminal offence we are introducing is a major step forward in stamping out the abuses that we’ve seen in some final salary schemes, and bringing the fat-cat failures to book.  So if your boss recklessly risks your retirement, they’ll have plenty of time behind bars to contemplate their fate.” – Sunday Telegraph

“Minister, you must be in on the story” 3) Hancock on social media

“Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed he will set up a handpicked cyber-squad to oversee the removal of self-harm pictures from Instagram. He declared: “This is far too important to be left to the whims of social media companies.” In an exclusive interview with The Sun on Sunday, Mr Hancock said he had given bosses two months to come up with a fix. And he warned of tough new laws if they don’t clean up their act quickly, adding: “All options are on the table.” – Sun on Sunday

Other Conservative news –

  • Lewis opposes Electoral Commission’s bid for new powers – Sunday Telegraph
  • Hunt launches global bid to curb state murder of reporters – Sunday Times
  • Tomorrow, Boles’ Association will ask him if he wants to stand again at the next election, but he will refuse to answer – Sunday Times
  • Cars 1) Williamson parking space nuclear bunker yarn – Mail on Sunday
  • Cars 2) Malthouse leapt from vehicle to help injured women – Sun on Sunday
  • Formal complaint to Standards Commissioner into Deben – Mail on Sunday
  • “Turning Point fundraiser is Putin cheerleader” – Mail on Sunday

> Today: ToryDiary –“Minister, you must be in the story”

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Effective web regulation will not be easy, and ministers must take the time to get it right

Why doesn’t Corbyn’s new biographer tell us what he really thinks?

All from the Mail on Sunday

Blair aides and fans plot new social democratic party to be launched “within weeks”

“Countdown star Rachel Riley and Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling’s agent are teaming up with advisers from Tony Blair’s Government to launch a breakaway Labour Party within weeks. The plotters, led by Blair’s former Chief of Staff, Jonathan Powell, addressed about 50 ‘potential supporters of a new political movement’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn getting the keys to No 10, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The secret meeting on Tuesday night was held in the Central London offices of Ms Rowling’s agent, Neil Blair, where Powell and former Blair speechwriter Philip Collins delivered plans for a new pro-European centrist party.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Twelve Labour MPs to quit – Sun on Sunday
  • “In a few weeks, a handful will display the courage the majority of their contemporaries lack. They will walk away from the cesspit their party has become.” – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Clegg accused of conflict of interest when Deputy Prime Minister – Mail on Sunday

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