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Brexit 1) May’s broadcast attempts to rouse voters against MPs

“Theresa May last night tried to turn voters’ anger on to MPs who are opposing her deal before an EU summit today where leaders will decide whether to allow a Brexit delay. “You the public have had enough,” she said in an address from Downing Street designed to deflect blame for the crisis on to parliament… She blamed MPs for thwarting Britain’s EU exit on Friday next week, saying that the looming delay was a “matter of great personal regret”. Hours earlier she had written to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, to ask for a three-month extension to the Article 50 process. That length of delay had been described last week by David Lidington, her de facto deputy, as “downright reckless”.” – The Times

  • Speech provokes fury amongst parliamentarians – Daily Mail
  • The Prime Minister finally made a decision – Daily Telegraph
  • She tells voters: I’m on your side – The Sun
  • Brexiteers brand extension bid a ‘humiliation’ – Daily Express

More:

  • UK to step up no-deal planning – FT
  • Over 3,500 troops will be on standby – The Sun

Analysis:

  • May positions herself as the people’s champion – Francis Elliott, The Times

>Today:

Brexit 2) She appears to be trying to scare up Labour votes with no-deal threat…

“Cabinet ministers on both sides of the Brexit debate are increasingly pessimistic about her chances of winning the vote next week. Pro-European Cabinet ministers were furious after the Prime Minister rejected calls for a long extension, with one saying she had given Eurosceptics an “incentive” to vote against her deal. One told The Telegraph: “She has done a complete 360 degree turn. She is clearly trying to win over Labour MPs. It won’t work, she is losing ERG support. They are pursuing a strategy that is guaranteed to see MV3 fail.” On Monday a cross-party group of MPs pushing for a soft Brexit will attempt to seize control of the process with a series of votes in the Commons.” – Daily Telegraph

  • A dangerous volte-face – FT
  • Tickets were sold on Grayling’s no-deal ferries – The Sun

More:

  • Soft-Brexit MPs prepare yet another attempt to seize control of the timetable – The Times
  • Corbyn meets with Tory Remainers – The Sun
  • Hague warns that Parliament could cancel Brexit next week – Daily Express
  • Tories condemn ‘toxic blame game’ – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Time is tight, the votes are tighter still – Nikki da Costa, Times Red Box
  • Battle is on between no deal and no Brexit – Andrew Lilico, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Alex Morton’s column: Riots, looting, pillaging, yellow vests. France shows what Britain could face if Brexit is blocked.

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Bercow grants emergency debate on Brexit. Rumour of May statement at 20.00.

Brexit 3) …but is the Prime Minister really prepared to countenance no deal?

“At PMQs she made her U-turn public with a hint that delaying Brexit beyond June would trigger her departure. “I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30,” she told MPs. She was not flanked by David Lidington, her Remain-supporting deputy who suggested only last week that the government would embrace alternative Brexit options if parliament voted for them… Later, in private meetings, she made her views clearer, leading two senior Tories to conclude independently that she was hardening in favour of a no-deal Brexit as the price of saving her premiership. She reassured more than a dozen Brexit-supporting cabinet minsters after lunch that even if Brexit were delayed until June, there would be no alternative options and she was serious about no-deal. She also told them she had no intention of resigning.” – The Times

  • Why Eurosceptics now believe they can secure a no-deal exit – FT
  • How Brexiteer ‘pizza club’ ambushed May – Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Brexit 4) If the deal is defeated again, might May resign?

“Theresa May has today hinted she will QUIT as Prime Minister if MPs don’t back her Brexit deal next week. She confirmed she will bring her defeated agreement back for a THIRD vote next week as she begged the EU for a three-month delay to Brexit. In a sign that the PM is determined to get her deal pushed through this time, she said she’s not prepared to put off our EU exit beyond June 30 – and she could go if she’s made to by Parliament or Brussels. And in a fiery rallying cry she blasted Brexiteers and Remainers for blocking her Brexit deal for weeks on end.” – The Sun

Comment:

  • If she loses again, the Prime Minister is finished – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “As Prime Minister, I could not consider a delay beyond 30th June”

Brexit 5) What the EU says about extension: fears of ‘chaos’

“European Union leaders will reject the idea of delaying Brexit unless MPs first ratify the withdrawal agreement amid fears it could lead to the unravelling of the bloc’s decision-making process. In a carefully worded response to Theresa May’s request, Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, tried to maximise the chance of the deal being passed by MPs next week while minimising disruption in the EU. “In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days I believe that a short extension will be possible but to be conditional on a positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons,” he said.” – The Times

  • Member States prepared to veto if May doesn’t convince – Daily Telegraph
  • Frustration rises as talks enter final hours – FT
  • Merkel tells Britain to pass the deal or leave – Daily Express

Analysis:

  • EU leaders ‘give up hope’ – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph
  • What did May ask for and how did Brussels respond? – Oliver Wright and Henry Zeffman, The Times
  • The EU’s enemy within: Eurosceptic Remainers – Simon Kuper, FT Magazine

>Yesterday:

Brexit 6) Corbyn walks out of key meeting… because Umunna was there

Jeremy Corbyn walked out of a cross-party meeting with the Prime Minister because Chuka Umunna was included. The Labour leader was called “juvenile” after refusing to join the meeting when he saw the Independent Group MP there. Mr Umunna was invited as the spokesman of the Independent Group, which was formed last month by seven breakaway Labour MPs. Mr Corbyn is understood to have said Mr Umunna is “not a real party leader” before walking out. Sir Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat leader, said it was “rather a strange way to behave in a national crisis.” He added: “Jeremy Corbyn’s kinder, gentler politics was found wanting as he stomped out of the meeting before it began rather than breathe the same air as Chuka Umunna.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour bosses fear electoral price for being ‘party of remain’ – The Sun

Comment:

  • The Labour leader could yet decide the future of Brexit – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 7) The Spectator: The Conservatives will bear the most blame for this mess

“After a reckless gamble on an early election, May lost her majority, then lost her nerve. Calamitously, she agreed to the EU’s sequencing of talks: that we would discuss a trade deal only after we’d agreed how much money we would hand over and what we would do about the Irish border. Then she lost control over her government, allowing those opposed to Brexit to make sure there was no proper no-deal plan. This all led to the shameful mess before us now. What has gone wrong will be studied by politicians for years, and will keep historians occupied for much longer. Lord North is one of the few beneficiaries of the May premiership: he is now no longer the worst prime minister in our history.” – The Spectator

  • Screeching u-turn makes May unfit to lead – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • Four decades after Callaghan’s collapse, history is repeating – Philip Cowley, Times Red Box
  • With an extension, MPs must finally make a decision – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • May’s big gamble risks a no-deal exit – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Rudderless Britain lurches towards no-deal – Iain Martin, The Times
  • May is the Remainers’ greatest asset now – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • We need Europe to dig us out of this hole – Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian

Editorial:

  • Tories are close to handing power to Corbyn – The Sun
  • Trust running out for procrastinating Prime Minister – Daily Telegraph
  • National humiliation – The Times

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: The EU’s anti-democratic culture. First it corrupted other countries. Now it is corrupting Britain.

Mercer calls for changes to Party leadership rules

“A rising star Tory MP calls for major rule changes to leadership contests to stop a Westminster stitch up. Johnny Mercer wants Conservative MPs to pick four candidates for the party’s wider membership to pick from, not just the current two. Today’s limit allows grandees to fix the outcome and it will chain it to years more Brexit obsessing, the Army officer-turned-MP argues… In an article today for the Conservative Home website, he added: “With two candidates the whole contest will be about Brexit. Far too many of our members have become frustrated with this all-pervasive process, and will remain desperately uninspired. Instead there is a huge opportunity coming shortly to have a genuine and engaging public discussion of what modern Conservatism actually looks like beyond Brexit.”” – The Sun

>Today: Johnny Mercer MP in Comment: Reform the leadership rules. MPs should present members with a final four candidates, not two.

Ministers 1) Hinds says truancy, not exclusion, is key to surge in knife crime

“Truancy, not exclusion, is a key reason for rising knife crime, says the Education Secretary, as he admitted efforts to reduce the number of pupils’ persistently absent from school have stalled. Damian Hinds challenged those such as London mayor Sadiq Khan who have claimed the rise in exclusions is behind the surge in knife attacks, saying the reality was more complex. “A much bigger concern is the number of young people who are ‘persistently absent’ from school,” said Mr Hinds, citing research that showed four-fifths of young knife crime offenders had regularly truanted in one of the five years prior to the offence. Around one in 10 children are persistently absent while overall unauthorised absence has increased from 1% in 2006 to 1.3% in 2016/17, according to official datas. The same trends are expected to be confirmed by figures today.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Troubled Families programme could be renamed, hints Brokenshire – The Guardian

Comment:

Ministers 2) Men warned to ignore Hancock on genetics

“Men have been urged not to follow the example of Matt Hancock, the health secretary, who was criticised by experts for a “ridiculous” claim that a genetic test may have saved his life. Mr Hancock shrugged off accusations of wasting NHS time after he said that he was seeing his GP for a blood test because a commercial DNA test had told him he was at a 50 per cent higher risk of prostate cancer. In a speech to the Royal Society he called for more sharing of DNA data to boost research, and said that more use of such predictive genetic tests would prevent illness and save lives. “I’ve already booked a blood test and obviously I’ll be on alert as I get older. I’m going to make certain I don’t miss any screening appointments in the future,” he said, adding that the test may have saved his life.” – The Times

  • NHS doctor shortages cannot be filled, think-tank warns – FT

Activists plot against Momentum’s Jewish leader…

“Ex-Labour activists who have been accused of anti-Semitism are plotting to force out Momentum’s Jewish leader. Suspended Labour member Jackie Walker and ex-Labour activist Tony Greenstein are campaigning for the grassroots organisation to ditch Jon Lansman. Ms Walker, who its understood is still subject to an ongoing investigation over anti-Semitism allegations, called on her followers to sign a petition calling for him to “resign immediately or call for him to be removed” because the group has “lost its way”. The petition, which has got almost 1,000 signatures so far, demands a “new pro-Corbyn campaign group” be set up instead.” – The Sun

  • Shamed Labour MP sent ‘solidarity’ to comrade expelled over antisemitism – The Times
  • Corbyn’s party is institutionally racist, report claims – The Sun
  • Party adopts formal definition of Islamophobia – The Guardian

…as Labour threatens new tax on motorists

“Labour would whack a £9billion tax on motorists by hiking fuel duty, the party’s transport boss indicated yesterday. Andy McDonald said the Government’s nine-year fuel duty freeze is “not a sensible approach” when bus and rail fares are increasing. In a speech to the Institute for Government he also signalled Labour would increase Air Passenger Duty (APD) – hiking the cost of holidays. Fuel duty is charged at 57.95p per litre of fuel sold – making it around half the cost of filling up and raises £30 billion a year for the Treasury… But later a Labour spokesman contradicted Mr McDonald’s comments, saying: “Labour is not pledging to increase fuel duty.”” – The Sun

  • Row after Watson refuses to surrender phone at meeting – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Tories’ humiliation could be as lasting as Labour’s in 1976 – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Cameron and Clegg’s idiotic reforms to parliament are making this crisis worse – Mark Fox, Reaction
  • Norway Plus is no solution to Britain’s Brexit dilemma – Victoria Hewson, CapX
  • History backs Bercow – Diane Purkiss, UnHerd
  • Taxing the sky: the EU’s next attack on consumers – Bill Wirtz, 1828

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