Cabinet divisions deepen over preparations for no-deal Brexit…

“Cabinet divisions re-emerged yesterday when the Brexit secretary called for planning for no-deal to be stepped up minutes before a colleague said that it should be ruled out in law. Stephen Barclay said MPs should “face facts” and accept that preparations must resume “at pace” if Theresa May’s European Union withdrawal agreement does not pass the Commons in a fortnight. Attitudes to a no-deal Brexit, which two thirds of Conservative members support, according to a poll for The Times, will form a key part of the coming leadership contest. Mr Barclay, who is rarely spoken of as a contender, refused to rule himself out, instead sniping at likely candidates.” – The Times

  • Barclay leads calls for more preparation – Daily Express
  • May makes final push despite growing sense of doom… – FT
  • …as ministers urge her to scrap plans for vote – The Sun
  • New offer has ‘nothing new in it’ – Daily Mail


  • Heseltine faces calls for expulsion – The Times

>Today: Anthony Browne in Comment: Policy Gains from Brexit 1) We need more debate about what to do when we take back control

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Barclay refuses to rule out a leadership bid

…as seven Cabinet ministers threaten to block Johnson…

“Seven Tory Cabinet ministers will today launch a bid to prevent Boris Johnson from leading Britain out of the EU without a deal if he becomes the next leader of the party. In a significant intervention, the 60-strong ‘One Nation Caucus’ of Conservative MPs will publish a ‘declaration of values’ rejecting ‘narrow nationalism’. The group last night said it aimed to ‘shift the Conservative Party towards the centre’. Sources confirmed it would hold hustings during the impending leadership contest and would ‘work to stop any leadership candidate who endorses a ‘Nigel Farage No-Deal Brexit’. The stance is a direct warning to Mr Johnson and other Tory leadership candidates flirting with a No Deal Brexit.” – Daily Mail

  • Leadership hopefuls told to prioritise ‘climate emergency’ – The Guardian


  • A vote for Johnson is a vote to break up the UK – Clare Foges, The Times
  • If I were Corbyn, I’d be praying for Boris – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian

>Today: Nicky Morgan MP’s column: Our country needs One Nation Toryism more than ever. And we will measure leadership candidates against its ideals.


…and Farage issues ultimatum to leadership hopefuls

Nigel Farage has said that he would find it difficult to work with a future Tory leader who has backed Theresa May’s Brexit deal, ruling out a tie-up with Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab. Tory MPs are openly speculating on whether a future Conservative leader would come to a deal over contesting seats if a general election is called to deal with the Brexit impasse in Parliament. On Saturday Conservative MP Crispin Blunt said it was an “unavoidable necessity” that the Tories would have to form “some kind of electoral pact and common platform” with the Brexit Party. However, on a campaign tour of Essex, asked if the next leader would have to drop support for the Withdrawal Agreement to win the Brexit Party’s backing Mr Farage told The Daily Telegraph: “Of course. Absolutely.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexit Party could win more votes than pro-Remain parties combined… – Daily Telegraph
  • …as it ‘surges to second place’ in Scotland – The Scotsman
  • Farage says licence fee has ‘risen up’ his agenda over BBC bias – Daily Express
  • Brown urges investigation into party’s funding – The Guardian
  • EU will not renegotiate deal with new Prime Minister, Ireland warns – News Letter


  • Back the Brexit Party… before Johnson goes to Downing St – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Hancock has the skill and appeal to heal a divided party – Harry de Quetteville, Daily Telegraph
  • Victory for Farage would complicate EU appointments – Wolfgang Münchau, FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The Australian Liberals know who their target voters are. The Conservatives don’t seem to have a clue.

Charles Moore: Tory grandees are wrong to brand support for Brexit as ‘extreme’

So when Lord Heseltine and Sir John lay a unique claim to the middle ground, they inadvertently insult millions of people. Leave and Remain can be equally moderate positions. If the Tory Party were led by Brexiteers, it would be no more extreme than it is currently when led by someone who does not know what she thinks: it would simply win a lot more votes. If we are to use this word “extreme” so freely, we could ask Lord Heseltine and Sir John – politely, of course – whether it might not itself be rather extreme to write off the decision of more than half the participating electorate (and about 
70 per cent of their own party) and tell them they cannot have what they voted for.” – Daily Telegraph

  • City doom-mongers will be proven wrong once again – Liam Fox MP, Times Red Box
  • Tories will pay for forgetting their pro-EU voters – John Harris, The Guardian
  • No-deal threat far from over – Caroline Spelman MP and Jack Dromey MP, Times Red Box


  • Europe completely clouds the Tories’ judgement – The Times
  • Nothing is more important than keeping Corbyn from power – The Sun

Labour chairman attacks Party’s deceptive language on second referendum

“Ian Lavery, chairman of the Labour party, has accused senior colleagues in the party of trying to mislead the public by using the phrase “confirmatory ballot” to describe a second referendum. His comments reflect the unease of some top Labour officials about a possible rerun of the 2016 vote. Mr Lavery is one of the party’s most strident opponents of such a move, which he describes as “self harm”. The Labour chairman told the FT that he was “not sure” about why other senior Labour figures had begun to refer to a “confirmatory ballot” — an idea floated by MPs such as Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman, and deputy leader Tom Watson.” – FT

  • Corbyn ducks question on EU policy seven times on Marr… – The Sun
  • …as he shifts on free movement and a second referendum… – The Times
  • …but defends party’s push for leavers and remainers – The Guardian


  • Umunna: cancel Brexit without a vote – The Sun
  • SNP will push for independence even if Brexit blocked – The Scotsman
  • BBC apologises after Cable curses on-air – The Sun


Treasury warned that scrapping HS2 could be a ‘disaster’

“Failure to build HS2 would be a “disaster” for the economy in the Midlands and north of England, the Treasury has been told amid growing concern that the project could be scrapped. More than 20 prominent figures in local government and business, including Andy Street, the Conservative mayor for the West Midlands, said that any decision to cancel the high-speed rail line would undermine Britain’s “national prosperity for decades to come”. In a letter to Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, the group insisted that Europe’s biggest infrastructure project was already having a positive impact by attracting investment.” – The Times

  • Scrap high-speed rail and aid target, say Tory members – The Times

Home Office: Javid orders British citizens out of Syria…

“Sajid Javid is to give British citizens in northern Syria 28 days to leave or face up to ten years in prison when they return to the UK. Britons will also be banned from travelling to Idlib and the northeast of the country under new powers to tackle jihadist fighters. Among those in the area is Shamima Begum, 19, whom Mr Javid stripped of her British citizenship this year. The home secretary will outline his plan today in a speech at Scotland Yard that will be seen at Westminster as part of his bid to become the next Conservative leader and prime minister.” – The Times

  • Money laundering legislation ‘unenforceable’, Government warned – Daily Telegraph

…as Government warned over torture

“The government has been accused of developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees. A freedom of information request has revealed that an internal Ministry of Defence policy document, dated November 2018, creates a provision for ministers to approve passing information to allies even if there is a risk of torture, if they judge that the potential benefits justify it. Last night a leading QC and former chairwoman of the Bar human rights committee said that domestic and international legislation on the prohibition of torture was clear and that the MoD policy supported breaking of the law by ministers.” – The Times

  • British spy chiefs were briefed on Trump dossier – Daily Mail
  • Shipbuilders deal blow to MoD over naval contracts – FT


  • This makes us less, not more, safe – David Davis MP, Times Red Box

Raab proposes extension to maternity protections

Mothers returning to work after maternity leave will be protected from redundancy for six months under new legislation proposed by one of the frontrunners to succeed Theresa May. Dominic Raab has put strengthening protection for families and working mothers at the heart of his policy vision for post-Brexit Britain. The former Brexit Secretary has sponsored a bill to ban employers from making new mothers redundant for six months after they return to work, up from the current limited protection women have while on maternity leave… The Telegraph’s Women Mean Business campaign has highlighted issues faced by working women, including discrimination for pregnant women and mothers returning to work.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Working mothers deserve better – Dominic Raab MP and Maria Miller MP, Daily Telegraph

Hinds welcomes university move to tackle grade inflation

“Universities have vowed to crack down on grade inflation in the first joint pledge to stop runaway numbers of first-class degrees. The collective action against dumbing down comes after the Department for Education and the student watchdog, the Office for Students, put pressure on institutions to tackle the issue… Damian Hinds, the education secretary, warned that quality should not be “cast aside” to inflate reputations or league-table rankings. He welcomed the statement of intent but said that it had to be followed by action.” – The Times

Corbyn supports payouts to former colonies

“Britain should consider paying reparations to its former colonies, Jeremy Corbyn has said. The Labour leader agreed in an interview with the musician Gaika for Dazed magazine that Britain has a “special responsibility” to the countries it colonised, especially as the government tries to combat climate change… He last spoke about reparations in September 2015, weeks after being elected Labour leader. Portia Simpson-Miller, Jamaica’s prime minister at the time, urged the UK to pay reparations for the slave trade, during a visit by David Cameron to the country. ” – The Times

  • Firms would be forced to train one Brit for every foreign worker – The Sun
  • Labour to make online casinos renew licences – The Times


  • The Opposition is right about Britain’s private utilities – Jonathan Ford, FT

New punishments drawn up for MPs

“Misbehaving MPs could be sent on anger management courses, barred from restaurants and banned from foreign junkets. The new punishments have been drawn up by the Westminster sleaze watchdog, a letter seen by The Sun reveals. Currently, politicians found to have committed minor breaches of expenses rules are allowed to get away with saying sorry – while those found guilty of serious misconduct can be kicked out of the Commons. Two Cabinet Ministers lost their jobs last year over the ‘Pestminster’ scandal – Michael Fallon and Damian Green… But the latest move follows outrage of a lack of action over harassment and bullying in the Palace of Westminster.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Spain’s far-right has arrived, but how far can it go? – Luis Pablo de la Horra, CapX
  • Face it: a new Tory leader means an early general election – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Why we shouldn’t bail out British Steel – Fabio Rossi, 1828
  • Even fantasy fiction is now offensive – Karen Yossman, The Spectator
  • The dangerous influence of expats – Mary Dejevsky, UnHerd