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May’s Cabinet ‘close to collapse’…

“Theresa May will be warned today that her government faces total collapse unless she passes her Brexit deal – as the prime minister’s aides were at loggerheads over whether to accept a soft Brexit or call a general election this week. In an emergency conference call last night Brexiteer cabinet ministers agreed they would resign if May accepted a customs union or got Tory MPs to vote for the UK to take part in European elections in May. They will deliver their threat when the prime minister consults her cabinet today. More than half her Commons party, 170 MPs and ministers, have signed a letter telling May to pursue a no-deal departure from the EU rather than accept a soft Brexit. It also demands that the UK leave the EU by May 22. But May will face resignations from at least six cabinet ministers on the party’s remain wing if she backs no-deal.” – Sunday Times

  • Prime Minister warned that accepting softer Brexit would ‘break’ the Party – Sunday Telegraph
  • She faces huge pressure to quit ‘next week’ – Sun on Sunday
  • Last stand of the ‘Spartans’ as they warn of government collapse – Mail on Sunday

Editorial:

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Three cheers for the Commons for the way it is conducting the necessary argument on Europe

…as Cox accuses Letwin of collusion with Brussels…

“An extraordinary row broke out last night after the Government’s top lawyer accused the Tory MP dubbed the ‘Prime Minister for the Day’ of conspiring with Brussels to keep Britain in the EU’s customs union. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has told fellow MPs he believes Oliver Letwin is co-ordinating his bid to wrestle control of Brexit negotiations directly with the European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Eminent QC Mr Cox warned colleagues that he thinks Mr Letwin is attempting to engineer Britain staying tied to EU customs and tariff rules and is being helped by Brussels to do so. Old Etonian Mr Letwin has worked with Commons Speaker John Bercow to give MPs the whip hand over Downing Street on how to break the Brexit impasse through a series of indicative votes designed to water down the UK’s exit or halt it all together.” – Mail on Sunday

  • ‘Remainer trap’ could bind UK to the EU permanently – Sunday Express

More:

  • EU braces for ‘wrecking ball’ Brexit – Sunday Times
  • Varadkar holds meetings with Merkel over ‘Backstop 2.0’ – Sunday Telegraph

Comment:

  • Stop this power grab or chaos governs – Richard Ekins and Stephen Laws, Sunday Times

>Today: Greg Hands in Comment: Why won’t my colleagues think it through? A Customs Union would be a disaster for British foreign policy.

…and the Prime Minister is warned against ‘annihilation’ at an election

Theresa May must not be allowed to lead the Conservatives into a snap election, senior Tories have warned. A series of ministers and MPs have told The Telegraph the party would be “annihilated” at the polls if the Prime Minister insisted on fighting a campaign to face down Parliament over Brexit in the coming months. The warning came as it emerged that senior ministers have virtually given up any hope of the Democratic Unionist Party, which is propping up the Government, supporting Mrs May’s Brexit deal. Its MPs’ refusal to budge means she faces a growing likelihood that Parliament will legislate this week to force her into seeking a soft Brexit, if backbenchers can agree on a specific plan.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • All-out civil war over ‘kamikaze’ proposal – Mail on Sunday
  • Furious MPs say they’ll prevent her going to the country – The Observer
  • All options lead to disaster for May – Sunday Times
  • Shock poll shows five-point Labour lead – Mail on Sunday
  • Watson says Labour can win election on second referendum promise – The Observer

Comment:

  • The only way to save Brexit is a general election – Robert Tombs, Sunday Telegaph
  • A Canute option to turn the Brexit tide – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • May’s failure jeopardises bid to improve people’s lot – Katie Perrior, Sun on Sunday
  • She played the worst of hands spectacularly badly – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

Johnson and Raab blamed for DUP not backing deal…

“Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab have been blamed by a senior cabinet minister for the decision by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) not to back Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement at the third time of asking. The DUP’s support was seen as critical as it could have led to enough members of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group (ERG) switching their vote on Friday to enable May’s deal to be passed. A cabinet minister sought to blame Johnson and Raab after both had met senior members of the DUP in recent weeks. The May ally said: “The DUP interviewed Boris and Raab and decided they were not really unionists. That’s why they withheld their support for the deal.” Another source said the Unionists were spooked when Johnson failed to assure them that he would strive to maintain regulatory alignment between Britain and Northern Ireland after Brexit.” – Sunday Times

More:

  • Johnson and Gove under fire over Vote Leave lawbreaking – The Observer

Comment:

  • History will favour those who respect the will of the people – David Davis, Sun on Sunday
  • A customs union would be the end of the line for May – Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Mail on Sunday
  • Deal was a betrayal, but our country and institutions can be renewed – Steve Baker, Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour is about to tell the working class their vote doesn’t count – John Mann, Sunday Times

…as May is accused of plotting to block the former’s ambitions

“Theresa May has been accused of plotting to block Boris Johnson’s leadership ambitions by dragging out the contest to succeed her until the Tory Party conference in October. Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis has told friends that if Mrs May survives the coming weeks, then Downing Street hopes to delay the final stages of the contest until the gathering in Manchester – in the hope it will deprive Mr Johnson of an immediate ‘Brexit bounce’ if Britain has left the EU. Allies of Mrs May believe that a long contest would offer the best chance for the leadership to skip a generation, allowing a ‘dark horse’ candidate such as Tom Tugendhat, James Cleverly or Mark Harper to surge through the ranks. Under the plan, the leadership contenders would parade their wares to the party faithful before a final vote by the Tory membership. It would also, they believe, allow Mrs May to be given a ‘dignified’ send-off by the party.” – Mail on Sunday

Interviews:

Comment:

  • Next leader should be someone who voted for Brexit – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sunday Telegraph
  • Nobody wants a clown, Boris – Andrew Gimson, Daily Mail
  • Brexit has made us risk-averse, we must lead again – Tobias Ellwood, Sunday Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Next Tory Leader. It’s Johnson first, Raab second and Gove third in our first survey since May’s pledge to quit.

Eurosceptics support Grieve over no-confidence vote

“Conservative Brexiteers in parliament leapt to the unlikely defence of Dominic Grieve yesterday, the day after the pro-EU Tory MP lost a vote of no confidence held by his local party. The former attorney-general faces deselection after a former Ukip member tabled a motion that saw Grieve defeated by 182 to 131 votes. The result came after a combustive late-night meeting in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, in which pro-Brexit members of the local Conservative Party called him a “liar”, “traitor” and “disgusting” and heckled him loudly. One compared his EU approach to Lord Halifax, who supported appeasement with Nazi Germany. Another responded to his opposition to a no-deal Brexit by crying: “How f****** dare you?” Those who joined a chorus of support for Grieve included leading Eurosceptics who remain adamantly opposed to his desire for a second referendum.” – Sunday Times

Comment:

  • Forty years from Neave’s death, we must treat MPs with respect – Kemi Badenoch, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday:

New ‘socially liberal’ grouping set up to offset the ERG

“A new socially liberal group championing “compassionate Conservatism” has been launched to seize back the initiative from the party’s Eurosceptic wing. Led by Amber Rudd, Damian Green, Nicky Morgan and Sir Nicholas Soames, the “One Nation” group will promote progressive Conservative values and seek to become a powerful counterweight to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s European Research Group. The group, which is already 50-strong, will seek to influence domestic policy and is united in its opposition to a no-deal Brexit. Other high-profile members include Greg Clark, the business secretary, David Gauke, the justice secretary, and David Mundell, the Scottish secretary. In recent weeks the group has been meeting daily amid fears the party is being hijacked by hardline Brexiteers. The group, whose board is co-chaired by Rudd and Morgan, is seeking to influence any leadership contest by hosting hustings.” – Sunday Times

  • They will challenge pro-Brexit leadership candidates – The Observer
  • Party splits into groups to search for its ‘soul’ – Sunday Telegraph
  • Angry Tories ‘turn on ERG’ as factions trade insults – Sun on Sunday

Comment:

  • We agree on ‘no deal’, let’s work on an alternative – Caroline Spelman and Jack Dromey, Sunday Telegraph
  • How Clark, Gauke, Hammond, and Rudd could put Corbyn in power – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

Lord Ashcroft: There is more than one gap in the current political market

“When I asked people how they would vote in an Election with these new entrants standing against the current players, the liberal ‘New Party A’ did well, with 24 per cent of the vote, including nearly a third of 2017 Labour voters and nearly half of Lib Dems. But they were pipped at the post by the much more conservative ‘New Party B’, with 27 per cent, including more than four in ten 2017 Tories and nearly half of Leave voters. It is pretty fanciful to suppose that this could happen at the next Election, with the Conservatives and Labour reduced to third and fourth place. But it demonstrates that there is a real appetite for credible alternatives – and that the gap in the political market is not only in the liberal centre.” – Mail on Sunday

Javid pledges ‘everything I’ve got’ to tackle knife crime

“Home Secretary Sajid Javid yesterday vowed to give police all the backing they needed to curb the knife crime epidemic. He pledged that new stop-and-search powers given to seven of the worst-affected forces were just the start. Senior officers fear his changes do not go far enough and want them extending countrywide. But Mr Javid told The Sun on Sunday: “Knife crime has shaken the country to its core. “I’ve been clear that I’ll do everything in my power to help bring an end to the shocking acts of violence and senseless loss of life on our streets. “This includes giving our brave police officers on the frontline the support they need.” Stop-and-search was curtailed by PM Theresa May in 2014 when she was Home Secretary. But the surge in knife crime prompted Mr Javid to relax the controls in a breakthrough for our Beat the Blades campaign.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Home Secretary under pressure over migrant crossings – Sunday Times

More policy:

  • Rudd unveils scheme to help single mums find work – Sun on Sunday

Comment:

McDonnell proposes huge, state-run ‘Post Office bank’

“Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, will today unveil plans to transform post offices into branches of a new nationalised bank. A government led by Jeremy Corbyn would put £2.5bn into the “Post Bank” to save the high street and protect face-to-face banking. Britain has lost two-thirds of its bank and building society branches in the past 30 years. The Post Office has a sprawling but struggling network of more than 11,500 branches. The state-owned business faces pressure from online delivery services such as Amazon and the wider decline of the high street but made a profit of £35m last year, up from £13m in 2016-17 — the first year that it had been in the black for 16 years. Ministers have been criticised for letting the Post Office shrink, with branch closures and the crippling loss of lucrative government contracts. Under McDonnell’s proposal, Post Bank would have the biggest network of all the high-street banks.” – Sunday Times

  • Business warned to step up preparations for a Corbyn government – Sunday Telegraph
  • Senior aide blocked suspension of anti-Semite – Sunday Times

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