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PM sends ‘sherpa’ to Brussels

“David Frost, No 10’s Brexit “sherpa”, will meet European officials tomorrow in an effort to find an alternative to the Irish backstop and avoid a no-deal Brexit. Mr Frost held a first round of meetings at the start of this month and his second trip follows a series of bilateral talks between Boris Johnson and EU leaders, including Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and President Macron of France. The EU has responded with cautious optimism that Mr Johnson is serious about looking for a deal, especially after his meeting with Mrs Merkel in Berlin last week. “He has come across as serious, well briefed and, against our first impressions, he wants a deal. He has personally moved the dial,” a senior European diplomat said. “We are willing to look at British proposals, but they must be workable.” According to a senior government source Mr Frost has been holding intense talks with his EU counterparts over the past month. “There have been a lot of discussions going on at that level with David Frost,” the source said. Speaking at the G7 summit yesterday Mr Johnson said: “It is the job of everyone in parliament to get this thing done. It’s what our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel want. They want it over.” – The Times

  • ‘Brexit sherpa’ sent to get deal done – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson refuses to rule out suspension of Parliament – The Guardian
  • And he wants peerages for ‘unsung Brexit heroes’ – The Times
  • Johnson to flood Lords with Leave heroes – Daily Express
  • Tory loyalists to be sent to Lords – The Guardian
  • No 10 backs PM’s pork pie claim despite rebuttals – FT
Comment
>Today:

As he is ‘marginally more optimistic about deal’

“Speaking at the end of the G7 summit, the UK prime minister said other EU leaders wanted the Brexit process to be concluded soon, but any breakthrough in negotiations might not come until the moment the UK is set to leave the bloc. Mr Johnson has insisted that the UK will leave the EU at the end of October, with or without a deal. His approach has alarmed many MPs in Westminster who are concerned about the potential disruption resulting from a no-deal scenario. On Monday, the prime minister said that parliament should respect the referendum result. “I think that it’s the job of everybody in parliament to get this thing done. I think it’s what the people want. I also think, by the way, it’s what our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel want,” he said. “I do think that the EU does tend to come to an agreement right at the end. Clearly for us, the walking away, as it were, would come on October 31 when we would take steps to come out on the terms for which we will have by then made absolutely colossal and extensive and fantastic preparations.” Mr Johnson said he was “marginally more optimistic” about striking a new deal after his conversations with fellow European leaders. His comments followed an earlier warning by a senior British official that EU leaders should not rely on parliament to stop a no-deal Brexit. Mr Johnson told his EU counterparts in bilateral meetings that he did not believe parliament would force him to change tack, according to government sources.” – FT

  • ‘The EU wants a deal, they want this over’ – Daily Mail
  • Sun boycott helped Remain vote on Merseyside – FT
  • Nearly 40% of Remainers would be upset if child married Leave voter – Daily Mail
Comment

But EU threatens to block trade deals if UK doesn’t cough up £38bn

“Guy Verhofstadt fired off the warning after Boris Johnson told Brussels we won’t pay a whopping divorce bill if there is a No Deal Brexit. Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator, fumed on Twitter: “If the UK doesn’t pay what is due, the EU will not negotiate a trade deal. “After a “No Deal”, this will be a first condition of any talks. Britain is better than this.” Officials in Brussels said the UK must honour commitments made during its EU membership and pointedly said that “settling accounts is essential to starting off a new relationship on the right foot”. European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said: “All commitments that were taken by the 28 member states should be honoured and this is also and especially true in a no-deal scenario where the UK would be expected to continue to honour all commitments made during EU membership. “Rather than going now into a judicial action threat, I think it is important to make clear that settling accounts is essential to starting off a new relationship on the right foot based on mutual trust.” – The Sun

>Today:
>Yesterday:

Trump ready to meet Iranian president

“In an upbeat mood after an unexpectedly harmonious gathering in Biarritz, Mr Trump praised President Macron for his efforts to forge a rapprochement with Iran after the decision by the United States to leave the 2015 international accords on curbing its nuclear programme. In a surprise gambit Mr Macron brought Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, to Biarritz for talks in the G7 margins on Sunday. Mr Trump said he agreed with Mr Macron that the time had come to meet President Rouhani in the coming weeks. “If the circumstances were correct I would certainly agree to that,” he said. Mr Macron’s timeline for a meeting was realistic, he added. “I think he’s going to want to meet. I think Iran wants to get this situation straightened out.” In the face of strong criticism from hardline elements in the Tehran regime Mr Rouhani said yesterday that he was ready to meet Mr Trump. The US president said that his policy of applying maximum pressure on Tehran through crippling sanctions was paying off but the situation had changed. “Iran is no longer the country it was when I took office,” he said. “Iran is a country of tremendous potential. We are not looking for leadership change. I really believe Iran can be a great nation, but that can only happen without nuclear weapons.” – The Times

G7
  • Trump willing to meet Rouhani – Daily Mail
  • Brown condemns ‘impotent G-Zero leaders’ – The Times
  • US to host next G7 and invite Putin – The Times
  • Trump says he has been waiting six years for Johnson to become PM – Daily Telegraph
  • UK-Australian trade deal could be done ‘within a year’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Brexiteers launch savage attack on Tusk: Why is he there? – Daily Express
  • Johnson is just pretending to be like Trump, Hugo Rifkind – The Times
Comment

Corbyn told to ‘scrap plot to be PM’

“Efforts to block a no-deal Brexit were in disarray last night as Jeremy Corbyn was told that his plan risked keeping Boris Johnson in power. The Labour leader has invited other party leaders and several Tory Remainers to a meeting in parliament today before MPs return to Westminster on Tuesday. He faces increasing pressure, however, to drop his call for other MPs to make him a caretaker prime minister in a “government of national unity”. Labour sources indicated that Mr Corbyn still believed the idea was the simplest and most democratic way to avoid a no-deal Brexit, although they said he was prepared to discuss alternative proposals. Mr Corbyn has called on MPs to install him in No 10 long enough to extend the Article 50 EU exit process and call a general election to break the Brexit deadlock. Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrats’ Brexit spokesman, said that Mr Corbyn should “do the right thing” and stand aside if he did not have the numbers to form an emergency government. Any attempt to form a unity cabinet would require the support of Lib Dem MPs, something Jo Swinson, the party’s leader, has ruled out. Opposition MPs will also meet in Westminster today to sign a declaration opposing any suspension of parliament. Mr Johnson has refused to rule out proroguing parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit. In a six-page document prepared for Mr Corbyn, Baroness Chakrabarti, the shadow attorney-general, concluded that such a proposal could be open to judicial review.” – The Times

  • But he could support pre-Brexit election – The Guardian
  • Shutting down Parliament ‘grave abuse of power’ – The Guardian
  • Corbyn says fight against No Deal is battle against ‘the few’ – Daily Mail
  • And he ‘plots coalition of chaos’ – The Sun
  • Archbishop warned not to interfere with Brexit – The Times
  • Archbishop told to ‘butt out’ – The Sun
Comment

Farage unveils ‘unstoppable alliance’

“Nigel Farage has said he would put “country before party” and team up with Prime Minister Boris Johnson if the Tories committed to delivering a no deal Brexit. Mr Johnson has repeatedly said he will deliver Brexit by the end of October this year with or without a deal, but has so far failed to achieve concessions from the Brussels bloc. Opposition parties, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, have said they will do everything in their power to block a no deal Brexit in the Commons, potentially pushing the UK towards a general election in October. But, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has explained the circumstances in which he would work with the Prime Minister to get Brexit over the line. Mr Farage responded to a question about the Prime Minister backing a no deal Brexit – in which the Brexit Party leader said he would support the move. He hinted he would be willing to stand down candidates in certain seats, to ensure an alliance between the Brexit Party and Conservatives in that circumstance. Mr Farage also claimed an alliance of that kind would be “unstoppable” and allow Britain to leave the EU without a deal.” – Daily Express

Tim Bell, Thatcher’s spin doctor dies at 77

“Initially an advertising executive at Saatchi and Saatchi, Lord Bell shaped Thatcher’s image and media strategy during her time as Britain’s prime minister. He went on to parlay this success into a career advising some of Britain’s biggest companies, as well as high-profile but often controversial clients such as the government of Saudi Arabia, the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian president of Belarus. He was best known for being the brains behind a Conservative election campaign poster unveiled in 1978 which showed a long line of people queuing for the unemployment office with the slogan “Labour Isn’t Working.” It was widely judged to have been pivotal to Mrs Thatcher’s victory in the 1979 general election. Lord Bell was later involved in the Conservatives’ election campaigns in 1983 and 1987, and was awarded a knighthood by Thatcher in 1990 and a peerage by Tony Blair. He often mused on his close working relationship with Thatcher. “She used to call me ‘the man on the Clapham omnibus’. She used to think I was in touch with ordinary folk, God knows why,” he said in a Financial Times interview in 2014.” – FT

Paxman attacks ‘worst PMs in modern times’

“Jeremy Paxman has attacked the state of Parliament and called the three most recent prime ministers the ‘worst in modern times’. The broadcaster lambasted David Cameron over the 2016 referendum, and described Theresa May as a ‘cornucopia of failure’. Speaking about Boris Johnson, Paxman, 69, told the Radio Times: ‘Now we find ourselves required to entrust the country to a man you wouldn’t trust alone with your sister.’ He also criticised MPs about delivering Brexit, saying: ‘What’s wrong with our politicians that, three years after the event, they can’t decide how to implement Brexit?’ He said MP numbers should be halved to reform our democracy.” – Daily Mail

More
  • Johnson accused of ‘passing the buck’ in TV licence dispute – The Times
  • Patel gives Home Office 72 hours to solve migration crisis – Daily Mail
  • 40,000 failed asylum seekers still in UK – The Times
  • Phone mast restrictions could be lifted – The Times
Comment
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