Johnson has ‘last-ditch’ meeting with Varadkar…

“Boris Johnson is fighting to salvage his Brexit deal after an explosive row with Angela Merkel put talks on the brink of collapse. The prime minister will make a last-ditch effort to convince Leo Varadkar to engage with his plans for a customs border in a face-to-face meeting that could take place tomorrow. Mr Johnson and the Irish prime minister discussed the sticking points of the British proposals during a 40-minute phone call in which they stressed their mutual desire for a way through. An extraordinary day of recriminations began with an early morning call during which the German chancellor rebuffed Mr Johnson’s appeal for help to rescue negotiations over his new backstop proposals.” – The Times

  • Ireland and Germany in ‘line of fire’ over collapsing talks – Daily Telegraph
  • Taoiseach accused of ‘breaking vow’ to find compromise – The Times
  • Ireland unveils no-deal budget – The Sun
  • Deal ‘impossible’ after call with Merkel, claims Downing Street – Daily Telegraph


  • Prime Minister ‘can legally object’ to extension – The Times
  • Campaigners ask court to prepare letter requesting delay – The Guardian
  • Johnson to ‘tell Queen she can’t sack him’ – The Sun

>Yesterday: Audio: The Moggcast. “The Government will obey the law, but it’s not necessarily entirely clear precisely what the law is.”

…as he faces a Cabinet rebellion over No Deal…

“Boris Johnson is facing a new cabinet rebellion over a no-deal Brexit and there are mounting concerns in Downing Street of further resignations. A group of five ministers — Nicky Morgan, Julian Smith, Robert Buckland, Matt Hancock and Geoffrey Cox — are on a “resignation watch list”. It came after a “fractious” cabinet meeting in which ministers warned Mr Johnson about the “grave” risk of the return of direct rule in Northern Ireland and raised concerns about Dominic Cummings, his most senior adviser. One cabinet minister told The Times: “Cabinet will set the strategy, not unelected officials. If this is an attempt to do that then it will fail. We are not a cabinet of sock puppets and nodding dogs.”” – The Times

  • Five ministers put on ‘resignation watch list’ – Daily Express
  • ‘Dozens’ of MPs might run on softer platforms or even stand aside – FT
  • Fury at Cummings for questioning security cooperation – Daily Mail
  • Both sides gambling on an election before Christmas – Daily Telegraph


  • Poll suggests Brits will blame Parliament for delaying Brexit – The Sun
  • UK ready for No Deal but ‘risks remain’, says Gove – The Guardian


  • The more voters hear about No Deal, the more they support it – James Johnson, Times Red Box

>Today: ToryDiary: Why resignation may be the least bad option for Johnson

…and Corbyn faces his own rebellion as 19 MPs defy leadership to urge Brussels not to delay Brexit

“Jeremy Corbyn is facing a revolt from within his own ranks, as 19 Labour MPs send a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk urging the EU to “work night and day” to agree a Brexit deal that will prevent a delay to Britain’s departure. Labour MP Caroline Flint has revealed she has sent a letter to EU chiefs alongside 18 other Labour MPs, pleading for them to agree a Brexit deal with the UK. The MPs warn that a further delay “will solve nothing” and only add to public division and disenchantment with UK politics – a complete contradiction to Jeremy Corbyn’s stance. They want Brexit to be delivered on October 31 as the Brexit debate has gone on for too long already.” – Daily Express

  • Tusk turns Twitter troll to taunt Johnson – The Times
  • Juncker claims no-deal exit will lead to ‘collapse’ of the UK – Daily Express
  • Brussels plays for time as UK goes on the attack – FT

Iain Duncan Smith: The EU has not been negotiating in good faith, and we cannot trust it

“It is beyond obvious now that the only way for the UK to strike a deal with the EU is from the outside. By testing the patience of both the public and the Government, that is where the EU’s intransigence and bad faith have left us.  And perhaps that will be better for all sides. A free trade deal is in everyone’s interests, but we can do one more quickly and more equitably when we are not at the mercy of an EU which wishes to hamstring our competitive ability. Tariff and regulatory arrangements can be made immediately after we have left. And the EU might finally see the need to compromise, if they are to get help with their budget and are to protect their industry from a tariff war.” – Daily Telegraph

  • London and Brussels are calling each others’ bluff – Oliver Wright, The Times
  • Without a deal, Johnson remains Parliament’s prisoner – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit is a journey without end for Britain – Martin Wolf, FT
  • Downing Street’s bombast won’t work, but there is yet hope for a deal – Simon Walters, Daily Mail
  • Johnson’s deal has collided with reality. What now? – Rafael Behr, The Guardian


  • Brussels will not browbeat us into breaking up the United Kingdom – Daily Telegraph
  • This farce of a negotiation must end – The Sun

Tory election hopes ‘hit by rise of floating voters’

“Boris Johnson’s push for a snap election could backfire because half of people are now floating voters, a study has suggested. The prime minister and his aides believe that they can win a Commons majorityon a promise of completing Brexit, winning in areas previously considered out of bounds for the Tories. Increased political volatility, however, means that no party can take its past voters for granted, clearing the way for one of the most unpredictable elections in years. The latest edition of the British Election Study, first published in 1964, reveals the extent to which voters have switched allegiances over the past decade. In the three elections in 2010, 2015 and 2017, 49 per cent of voters did not vote for the same party each time.” – The Times

  • UK set for ‘most unpredictable election in decades’ – FT

>Today: Matthew Lesh in Comment: The radical neoliberal programme which can revitalise the Conservatives

London Assembly pledges ‘action’ on Arcuri allegations

“The London Assembly said last night that Boris Johnson had failed to meet its deadline to answer questions about his relationship with Jennifer Arcuri. The prime minister had been given until 6pm yesterday to respond to the assembly’s inquiry into an alleged conflict of interest in his dealings with the businesswoman when he was mayor of London. A Conservative source said that Mr Johnson had responded “just before 7pm”. Len Duvall, Labour chairman of the assembly’s oversight committee, said the delay was “very disappointing”, unhelpful and had made a serious situation “grave”. “The allegations of potential misuse of taxpayers’ money are no laughing matter,” he said. “We will be taking this further.” The Tory source accused Mr Duvall of “grandstanding” and said they had not been informed of the “invented” deadline.” – The Times

  • Ex-Mayor ‘didn’t disclose meetings in his diary’ – Daily Mail
  • Freeman denies claims of ‘friendship’ – The Sun

Patel faces questions as rural police forces receive fewer new officers

“Police forces in rural areas will get disproportionately fewer extra officers than big metropolitan constabularies in the first wave of Boris Johnson’s 20,000-strong boost to the frontline. Prit Patel, the Home Secretary, said every single police force in England and Wales would benefit from the extra 6,000 officers in the first year of the three-year planned expansion, funded by an additional £750 million. However, to recruit and train the officers in the time, the Home Office has had to use the standard Government grant funding formula which sees additional officers skewed more towards forces such as West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, South and West Yorkshire and the Met.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Spending spree will force Government to break own fiscal rules – The Sun


  • Country voters feel abandoned by the Tories – Alice Thomson, The Times

Labour 1) Corbyn aid removed from his office after infighting

“Jeremy Corbyn’s chief of staff has been removed from the Labour leader’s office until the end of the next general election after weeks of tumult at the top of the party. Karie Murphy, a divisive figure at Westminster, has been seconded to Labour’s headquarters to work on the election campaign. She was informed by Lord Kerslake, a former head of the civil service who has known John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, for decades and has been advising the party. A fortnight ago at the party conference radical pre-election policy announcements were overshadowed by a failed attempt to abolish Tom Watson’s post of deputy leader and the resignation of Andrew Fisher, Mr Corbyn’s policy guru. Ms Murphy’s style of management was blamed by some Labour figures for both incidents.” – The Times

  • Party rift deepens as Murphy is sidelined by the boss – Daily Telegraph


  • Is Corbyn’s grip finally weakening? – Henry Zeffman, The Times

Labour 2) Blair warns against using referendum to buy SNP support

“Tony Blair has warned the Labour leadership against using the union as a bargaining chip and accused Boris Johnson of putting the future of the UK at risk over Brexit. During a visit to Edinburgh, the former prime minister said it would be a “big mistake” for Jeremy Corbyn to enter into “horse-trading about the union”, when he was asked if the Labour leader should grant a section 30 order – which gives the Scottish National party the necessary legal powers to hold a second independence referendum – in order to secure their support at Westminster in the event of another hung parliament… Blair repeated warnings that a general election focusing on Brexit was an “elephant trap”, insisting a referendum was the only way to resolve the issue.” – The Guardian

  • Former leader says he would ‘struggle to vote for Labour’ under current leadership – The Times

Soubry calls for retiring MPs and peers to staff temporary government

“Cabinet posts in a government of national unity should be filled by retiring MPs and members of the House of Lords, according to one idea floated in the cross-party talks aimed at avoiding a no-deal Brexit, The plan was put forward at a meeting of opposition chief whips and MPs last week in a bid to ensure any temporary administration could not be manipulated for partisan gain. The plan would see grandee figures, such as former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke and ex Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, take up leading positions in a so-called unity government. The idea was proposed by Change UK leader Anna Soubry, but was met with derision by the SNP, which has no peers and would not commit to having MPs standing down at the next election.” – Daily Telegraph

Norwich council estate wins major architectural award

“A Norwich council estate of low-rise brick terraces has won this year’s Stirling Prize, British architecture’s most prestigious award. It might surprise some people that council housing is being built in the UK at all, but this is a sensitive, sustainable and elegant social scheme on the eastern edge of Britain. The estate is a very different winner from last year’s £1bn Bloomberg Building, the City of London’s most expensive office block, embodying a shift in priorities – and recognition of the depth of the UK’s housing crisis… the hundred houses of Goldsmith Street are the result of Norwich council cleverly negotiating rules that were designed by the Thatcher government to stop councils reinvesting the proceeds of right-to-buy council housing sales to build new housing.” – FT

  • A triumph for radical ordinaryness – Ellis Woodman, Daily Telegraph
  • Too many proud towns are scarred by ugly houses – Esther McVey MP, Times Red Box

>Today: Ben Houchen in Local Government: The Conservatives are the party of towns

News in Brief:

  • Until an election, we are stuck in Brexit purgatory – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Don’t write the Scottish Tories off yet – John Macleod, Reaction
  • SNP show why thwarting Brexit probably won’t stop Brexit – Stephen Daisley, The Spectator
  • The EEA is our way to leave the EU on October 31 – Lord Owen, Brexit Central
  • What if Germany’s economy toppled? – Peter Franklin, UnHerd