Will May name a resignation date to get her deal through?

“Theresa May will be urged by her own MPs to name the date of her departure on Wednesday as the price of getting her Brexit deal through Parliament. The Prime Minister will attend a meeting of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs where she will be pressed to announce she will be gone by the autumn. In return, “a lot” of Brexiteers would drop their opposition to her Brexit deal, giving her until Friday night to get it agreed before a deadline set by the EU. Eleven Tory MPs who previously voted against the deal have signalled they are prepared to switch sides, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the ERG group of Tory Brexiteers, who said the deal was “definitely not” worse than remaining in the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • MPs urge her to announce it at the 1922 Committee this evening – The Sun
  • Prime Minister ‘on the brink’ of naming a date – Daily Mail
  • Downing Street asked rebels if resignation would work – The Guardian


  • Voters back Tories… but desert May – The Times
  • SNP’s Westminster leader would ‘relish’ snap poll – The Scotsman


  • Tories would be mad to risk an election now – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

Rees-Mogg switches…

““The choice seems to be Mrs May’s deal or no Brexit,” Mr Rees-Mogg said on Twitter ahead of a likely third House of Commons vote on the agreement this week. His group contributed heavily to the deal’s overwhelming defeats in two previous Commons votes this year. “Is this deal worse than not leaving?” he added in a podcast recorded for the ConservativeHome website. “No, definitely not. If we take this deal we are legally out of the EU… It restores our independence.” Mr Rees-Mogg has in the past attacked the deal for potentially reducing Britain to a “slave state” because of the so-called backstop, a measure that could indefinitely yoke the UK to a customs union with Brussels.” – FT

>Yesterday: Audio: The Moggcast. Deal-or-No-Brexit “becomes the choice eventually…May’s deal is better than not leaving at all”

…and will Johnson do likewise?

“Boris Johnson signalled he is edging closer to backing Theresa May’s Brexit deal – after months of slamming it. The ex-Foreign Secretary said he could “see the point of view” of Tory Brexiteers who are rowing in behind the PM’s deal. But his comments were met with fury from Brexit-backing members of the audience at his speech in London. One angry member of the crowd shouted that he was “going soft” on Brexit. But Mr Johnson hit back, telling The Daily Telegraph event: “Someone is shouting at me I am defeatist. I’m not!” He accused the EU of wanting to “administer a punishment beating” to the UK. He also warned that in some ways Mrs May’s deal is worse than staying in the EU, telling the event: “Why would you leave a club to be run by its members?”” – The Sun

  • Ex-Mayor widens breach in Eurosceptic ranks – FT
  • May nears ‘shock victory’ as rivals back down – Daily Express


  • DUP spokesman backs one-year delay over May’s deal – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister warns border chaos could lead to loss of Province – Daily Mail

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I apologise for changing my mind, but here’s why

“I apologise for changing my mind. Theresa May’s deal is a bad one, it does not deliver on the promises made in the Tory Party manifesto and its negotiation was a failure of statesmanship. A £39 billion bill for nothing, a minimum of 21 months of vassalage, the continued involvement of the European Court and, worst of all, a backstop with no end date. Yet, I am now willing to support it if the Democratic Unionist Party does, and by doing so will be accused of infirmity of purpose by some and treachery by others. I have come to this view because the numbers in Parliament make it clear that all the other potential outcomes are worse and an awkward reality needs to be faced.” – Daily Mail

  • The people’s day of jubilation has been hijacked by pirates – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph
  • We won’t be bullied into backing this toxic deal – Sammy Wilson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Our view of May’s deal

Indicative votes today

“The closest precedent for today’s procedural adventure is from 2003, when Tony Blair’s government sought to break a deadlock on reforming the House of Lords by asking MPs to vote on five options. All five motions were defeated, including one to leave the Lords untouched. MPs backed several contradictory outcomes and the upper chamber remains unchanged. As Iain McLean, professor of politics at Nuffield College, Oxford, writes in Red Box today, the same risk exists when it comes to Brexit. “MPs have already voted against no deal. But if they vote against all the other options, the result is that the UK leaves with no deal on April 12,” he says.” – The Times

  • How the process will work – FT
  • The pros and cons of each of the options – Daily Telegraph
  • Farage reveals ‘surprising’ best option – Daily Express

Northern Ireland:

  • Stay in Single Market and lose British Summer Time – The Times
  • Time zone split between Northern Ireland and Republic possible, warns UUP – News Letter


  • Boles gloats – The Sun
  • Business leaders back ‘Common Market 2.0’ – FT
  • EU leaders heap praise on revolt – The Times
  • Brussels could offer extension until 2020 – The Guardian
  • Brexiteers warn of ‘Trojan Horse’ – The Sun
  • Ministers ‘brush off’ anti-Brexit petition – Daily Mail

>Today: Chris White in Comment: A guide to today’s indicative votes – and their significance, as the legislature seizes power from the executive


Greg Hands: Why a customs union is the worst choice for MPs

“MPs risk voting away their own influence over a big part of UK economic policy — its trade policy. Being in a customs union with the EU is a serious loss of UK sovereignty. And this is not just a theoretical concept. I believe that, over time, this would be democratically unsustainable, for the world’s fifth biggest economy to have its trade policy set by others, and without a seat at the table. I believe it was Senator Elizabeth Warren who coined the phrase, “if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” Nowhere is this truer than in trade policy. Today, MPs should think about the customs union option, and vote to reject it.” – Times Red Box

  • Boles’ Norway plan is the worst of all worlds – David Davis, Daily Telegraph
  • For the sake of democracy, today’s votes must be properly cast – Iain McLean, Times Red Box
  • Let’s hope MPs see off the unicorns – Anand Menon, The Guardian
  • The delusion of taking back control – Martin Wolf, FT


>Today: Robert Halfon MP’s column: Mythbusting Common Market 2.0

>Yesterday: Neva Sadikoglu-Novaky in Comment: Leaving the EU is an opportunity for greater localism, and to adapt our laws to suit our interests

Will the Conservatives be whipped?

Theresa May was warned by Remain members of her Cabinet that she will face mass-resignations by junior ministers if she attempts to whip votes that could lead to a softer Brexit. Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark all argued in Cabinet that there must be free votes on alternative Brexit options on Wednesday, including on membership of a Customs Union, revoking Article 50 and a second referendum. One Cabinet source said there will be “carnage” if the Prime Minister denies ministers free votes, with around 20 ministers prepared to quit. “There won’t be a junior Remain minister left in Government,” the source said. Cabinet ministers, however, are not expected to resign over the move. How many Tory MPs will rebel against voting for extension?” – Daily Telegraph

  • May urged to suspend MPs who defy her… – The Sun
  • …as she struggles to fill fifteen places in her Government – The Times
  • Cameron privately urges MPs to push May towards a soft Brexit – The Sun


  • Corbyn prepared to whip for the softest of Brexits… – The Times
  • …and could back ‘Common Market 2.0’ – The Guardian


  • The rage on both sides has to end – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail
  • MPs must smash the party system to see off this disaster – Rafael Behr, The Guardian


Who is Letwin, the man behind the coup?

“In the tabloid press he was known as the hapless minister who left documents in a park bin, posed in a toga and let a burglar into his home at 3am. Now, however, Oliver Letwin has emerged as the driving force in a “parallel government” of UK MPs drawing up plans for an alternative Brexit…. But some Tory colleagues see Sir Oliver as the figurehead for an understated, “very British coup”. “Our Prime Minister in name only waits for our Prime Minister in all but name — namely, Oliver Letwin,” Paul Goodman, editor of the ConservativeHome website, wrote on Tuesday, before warning of challenges ahead for Sir Oliver. “Today, he sits triumphantly astride the Commons tiger. Tomorrow, for all he or anyone else knows, it could shrug him off and devour him.”” – FT

  • The error-prone polymath who kept Cameron’s trust – The Times
  • He claims to have a solution to every crisis… but rarely does – Daily Telegraph


  • Loony Letwin could wreck Brexit – Quentin Letts, The Sun
  • How did the bungling architect of the Poll Tax get this far? – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Brexit-hating minority determined to impose its views – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph


  • MPs have put the country in the hands of a most blunder-prone MP – The Sun


Halfon calls for stop-and-search to extend to schools

“Stop and search could be used in schools as a way to help clamp down on knife crime, the chair of the education select committee has suggested. The Conservative MP Robert Halfon was speaking ahead of a committee hearing that has been called to look at whether there is a link between the rise in school exclusions and an increase in the number of stabbings. Halfon said he accepted there were different views on stop and search, but he wanted to hear evidence from experts on whether it could play a role in the fight against knife crime. “I think possibly in schools where there’s trouble you probably need to do it,” he said. “I want to hear the evidence.”” – The Guardian

Bercow forced to apologise for insulting Hands

“John Bercow has apologised after telling a former minister that he “wasn’t a very good whip”. On Monday the Speaker told Greg Hands, a Conservative MP: “I do not require any help from the right honourable member, who would not have the foggiest idea where to start. He was once a whip — he wasn’t a very good whip. It would be better if he could keep quiet. That is the reality of the matter.” There were cries of “withdraw” and “outrageous” from the Tory benches, and several MPs raised complaints with the Speaker… Mr Hands was defended by Anna Soubry, a member of the Independent Group, who said that he was “a rather good whip [who] resigned on a point of principle”.” – The Times

Ex-Watson staffer accuses Labour of racism

“A former political adviser to Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, is taking the party to an employment tribunal alleging racial discrimination, saying she was treated less favourably as the only “black person on the team”. Sarah Goulbourne had a complaint accepted at the Central London employment tribunal, in which she accuses Alicia Kennedy, a member of the deputy Labour leader’s office, of racial discrimination, harassment and bullying. Goulbourne lost her job in Watson’s office in 2018 when Labour party headquarters cut funding for his staff, with seven employees leaving in total. Six other employees who were white either took voluntary redundancy or were not replaced, and Goulbourne was made redundant.” – The Guardian

  • Trump’s envoy brands Opposition’s treatment of Jews a ‘disgrace’ – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Tragic ERG moving too late to save May’s deal – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Parliament’s authority should not trump the referendum – David Davis, Brexit Central
  • The case for the backstop is unravelling – Owen Polley, CapX
  • Why Theresa May can’t ignore the result of the indicative votes – Robert Peston, The Spectator
  • The Lib Dems must become the standard-bearers for freedom – Andy Briggs, 1828