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Johnson will make his last-ditch push for a deal this week…

A source familiar with the conversations between Johnson’s Brexit sherpa, David Frost, and EU negotiators told The Sunday Times: “He’ll be talking to Merkel, Macron and Juncker by the end of Monday to see if there’s agreement on a ‘landing zone’ for Northern Ireland and customs. The message is: ‘Let’s finish this off.’ The alternative is to agree a friendly version of no deal and finish it that way.” – Sunday Times

…But there’s a pincer movement on him.  The “rebel alliance” will drive for a referendum in Parliament next weekend – deal or no deal…

“Johnson needs the votes of the DUP and most of the 28 hardline Brexiteer rebels from the ERG group if he is to win. Even Tory optimists doubt claims that 30 Labour MPs would back the deal, with estimates putting it in single figures. While around half of the 21 MPs stripped of the Conservative whip are seeking a way back and could be expected to support the deal, all of them are thought likely also to back a “rebel alliance” amendment to attach a “confirmatory referendum” to the legislation, forcing Johnson to put the deal to the people as well.” – Sunday Times

…and for an extension too

“Former Cabinet Ministers Philip Hammond and Dominic Grieve are central to moves to compel Mr Johnson to send a letter to Brussels asking for an extension to the UK’s membership, regardless of the outcome of this week’s high-stakes Brexit diplomacy. The plot, which threatens to throw the Prime Minister’s plans for a snap post-Brexit Election into disarray, caused fury in No 10, which last night accused Mr Hammond of trying to ‘sabotage’ Mr Johnson’s ‘do or die’ Halloween exit date.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Get ready for the first Saturday Commons session since the start of the Falklands War in 1982 and just the fourth in 80 years – Mail on Sunday

DUP

Conservatives

  • ERG expected to take their lead on plan from the DUP – Observer
  • Thirty Tory peers oppose No Deal Brexit – Sunday Times
  • Morgan: prospects for a deal are promising – Observer
  • Masterton says Commons will go for a referendum if there’s No Deal, but won’t if there isn’t… – Sunday Express
  • …But Bebb suggests otherwise: that he and other Tory Remainers will vote for a referendum in any event – Sunday Express
  • Lidington leans against a second plebiscite – Observer

Labour

  • Starmer threatens legal action on extension, Redwood cool on Johnson plan – Mail on Sunday
  • Could Corbyn stand aside and let Bercow become Prime Minister – Sunday Times
  • Nineteen Labour MPs “ready to vote for deal”, including Jarvis, Flint, Peacock and Onn – Sun on Sunday
  • Khan adds to pressure on Corbyn over referendum – Observer

Other

Jacob Rees-Mogg: I appeal to Brexiteers to trust Johnson

“In the final stages of the Brexit negotiation, compromise will inevitably be needed, something even the staunchest Leavers recognise, albeit unwillingly – but, as a Leaver, Boris can be trusted. He wants to take back control and has dedicated his political career to this noble cause. If he thinks the ship of state is worth an extra ha’porth of tar, he deserves support. In three months the Prime Minister has made extraordinary progress.” – Sunday Telegraph

Other comment

  • If Johnson succeeds the blame will lie with Brexiteer Corbyn – Jo Swinson, Sunday Times
  • Will the LibDem leader lose her seat? – Mail on Sunday
  • “Gove makes no secret that he believes no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for the government and for the country” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • Brexit hostilities are turning us into devils – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph
  • No Deal is better than a Bad Deal is still the right approach – Christopher Meyer, Sunday Times
  • Did Cummings’ fiery briefing spook Veradkar? – Salma Shah, Sun on Sunday
  • “Perhaps there was a clue to the seriousness of the [meeting with Varadkar] in the fact that Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s senior adviser, chose to wear a tie.” – Sunday Times Editorial
  • “The reality is that Mr Johnson is serious about getting a deal, upholding the integrity of British democracy, finishing the job and delivering Brexit. This is why the public back Boris and are right to do so.” – Sunday Express Editorial
  • “After a week of high-stakes political poker, he could be within touching distance of achieving what doomsayers preached was impossible” – Sun on Sunday Editorial
  • “It is well over three years since the country voted to leave the EU and the failure of the political class to satisfy that vote has contributed to a devastating collapse in trust in our institutions. Remainers have compounded that crisis by vandalising our constitution, aided and abetted by the Speaker.” – Sunday Telegraph Editorial

> Today: ToryDiary – Ten hurdles that Johnson must leap if a deal is agreed this week

Queen’s Speech Patel Bill 1) New immigration bill to point migrants north

“The policy – which is to form part of the new Immigration Bill to be unveiled in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech – is designed to attract skilled workers to less prosperous parts of the country. Under a new points-based system, people will be allowed to live and work in the UK if they score highly enough on measures including education, salary level, skills – and a willingness to work away from the South East. The new Bill – one of 22 being introduced by the Government to set out its post-Brexit domestic agenda – will outline Home Secretary Priti Patel’s radical plans for immigration following the end of free movement of EU citizens.” – Mail on Sunday

Queen’s Speech Patel Bill 2) Police protection measure will toughen sentences

“Home Secretary Priti Patel will put safeguarding officers at the heart of a law and order crackdown with a Police Protection Bill. It will ensure officers who put their lives on the line have the resources and equipment they need — and the support of the criminal justice system. Serious assaults on emergency service workers, including police, will be punished by up to two years in jail — double the current maximum. Ms Patel faced resistance from Justice Secretary Robert Buckland but a source revealed: “It’s going to happen.” Barely one in four of those convicted of attacking police has been jailed since the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act was introduced in November.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Targets 1) Environment Bill will have them to drive cuts in air pollution… – Sun on Sunday
  • Targets 2) …and disposable waste – Mail on Sunday
  • Bill to compel voters to show ID before casting their ballots – Sunday Telegraph
  • Bill to replicate Thomas Cook rescue plan – Sun on Sunday
  • Twenty-one Bills in all, plus a White Paper to reform railway franchising – Sunday Telegraph
  • Key HS2 papers to be released – Sunday Telegraph
  • Hippo ivory to be banned – Sunday Telegraph
  • If the Conservatives win a majority, “the Speaker won’t be able to sneeze without the permission of the Government” – Sunday Telegraph

Raab says U.S diplomat’s wife car crash suspect no longer has diplomatic immunity

“In a letter to Harry’s parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said she does not have this right since leaving the country. In the letter seen by Sky, Mr Raab says: ‘The UK government’s position is that immunity, and therefore any question of waiver, is no longer relevant in Mrs Sacoolas’ case, because she has returned home. ‘The US have now informed us that they too consider that immunity is no longer pertinent. In these circumstances, Harry’s case is now a matter for Northants police and the CPS to take forward.’ “ – Mail on Sunday

Pressure on Corbyn as Murphy is ousted

“When one of Corbyn’s key lieutenants, Karie Murphy, was quietly shifted aside last week, the official line was that she was keeping her title of chief of staff, and would move to Labour’s HQ in Victoria to oversee the party’s election campaign….Corbyn’s close allies John McDonnell and Diane Abbott have been pressuring him to move Murphy for months, citing unhappiness among the 30-plus staff in his office, and the concern she was one of those acting as a brake on Labour’s shift towards supporting a second referendum.” – Observer

  • McDonnell is now “Labour leader in all but name” – Sunday Times
  • Phillips may stand for the leadership – Mail on Sunday
  • Victims of IRA terror call on Corbyn to apologise – Sunday Times
  • Watson tries another apology over false Beech claims – Mail on Sunday
  • Hussain £20,000 freebie to Saudi – Sun on Sunday
  • Osamor is fifth Labour woman MP to face deselection threat – Observer
  • Were we right about the Zinoviev letter after all? – Mail on Sunday

Prime Minister’s “grave concern” over Erdogan’s assault on the Kurds

“The prime minister told Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of his “grave concern” at the attacks in northern Syria in a phone call on Saturday, after Germany and France announced that they had suspended all arms exports to Turkey. “He expressed the UK’s grave concern about Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, which he said could further worsen the humanitarian situation there and undermine the progress made against Daesh (so-called Islamic State),” a No 10 spokesman said.” – Observer

  • Raab calls on Turkey to show maximum restraint – Sun on Sunday

Belgian Princess held in Extinction Rebellion protest

“And those detained include Belgian Princess Esméralda who was taken into a police van for questioning and held for about five hours after she joined a sit-in at Trafalgar Square on Thursday. “The more people from all sections of society protest, the greater the impact will be,” the 63-year-old said. Other protests launched on Saturday included one by more than 50 healthcare professionals – wearing scrubs and singing the Extinction Rebellion anthem – who gathered outside Shell’s headquarters before they marched to Parliament Square.” – Observer

> Today: Sam Hall on Comment: Conservatives shouldn’t ridicule or rage against Extinction Rebellion. Instead, we should trump them with our own ideas.

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