Johnson tells Britons to prepare for ‘new act’ in country’s story…

“Boris Johnson will tell the country to prepare for a “new act” in its history as the United Kingdom leaves the EU today. Almost half a century of membership formally ends at 11pm, three and a half years after a referendum in which voters chose to leave the bloc by 52 per cent to 48 per cent. Although Britain will no longer be an EU member as the day closes, the clock will start ticking on a new deadline of December 31, the end of an agreed transition period. With the full consequences of Brexit uncertain, the prime minister will call next week for a basic trade deal based on that between the EU and Canada. In a speech on Monday he will say that he is ready to accept the “off-the-shelf” model first proposed by the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier.” – The Times

  • Such a deal would not include services – Daily Mail


  • Prime Minister rings in the changes with a tax cut – Daily Telegraph
  • It’s party time at last for some (but you can cry if you want to) – The Times
  • Britain bows out of the EU with a mixture of optimism and regret – FT


  • The great people of the UK will have finally got Brexit done – The Sun
  • Exit draws a line under a debate that has divided the country – The Times


…with plan for the Cabinet to meet in Sunderland to show commitment to ‘levelling up’…

“To mark his intent on the historic day, Mr Johnson – who led the Leave campaign in 2016 – takes his entire Cabinet to Sunderland for a special meeting to discuss his ‘levelling up’ agenda to ensure parts of the country are never left behind again. The North East city has a close association with Brexit, as the first population centre to declare its backing for an EU breakaway on the night of the June 2016 referendum count. During the Cabinet meeting, entitled ‘Levelling up in Action’, senior ministers will be asked to play back everything communities and businesses have told them needs to change, after a day of visits across the North.” – The Sun

…but Barnier issues fresh warning on divergence

“Michel Barnier will issue a stern rebuke to Boris Johnson after The Telegraph revealed the prime minister will tell Brussels he would rather accept post-Brexit border checks than lose the freedom to diverge from EU rules. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator is expected to warn Mr Johnson that there is no chance of striking a zero-quota, zero-tariff trade deal unless Britain promises to stick to EU standards after the transition period finishes at the end of 2020. Mr Barnier will set out the European Commission’s draft negotiating mandate for the trade talks in Brussels on Monday, the very day that Mr Johnson is expected to make a major speech setting out his red lines for the UK-EU relationship.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brussels plans to force sign-off on deal by all 27 parliaments – The Sun
  • Three EU countries to ditch extradition deal with UK – Daily Telegraph

…as Gove warns UK business of trade frictions with EU

“Businesses have been warned by cabinet minister Michael Gove about the likelihood of friction at borders and divergence of regulations with the EU that could affect some sectors of the UK economy. Scheduled on the eve of Britain leaving the EU, Mr Gove told a meeting of more than a dozen business groups on Thursday that the UK was pursuing a Canada-style trade agreement with the EU, but made clear to attendees that there would inevitably be some friction at the borders and regulatory divergence over time. While Theresa May’s deal would have seen Britain remain under the auspices of certain EU-wide regulators, ministers are now indicating that the UK will take on those functions through a mix of new regulators and the expansion of existing ones.” – FT

>Today: Saqib Bhatti MP in Comment: Openness, transparency, freedom. Lodestars for our future on the day when we leave the EU

Priti Patel: We’ve got Brexit done, now let’s unleash brilliant Britain

“I am proud to be part of a Government delivering what they want — Getting Brexit Done and moving forward for Britain. Now the opportunities are endless. We will take back control of our borders, laws and trade. We will set our own rules and make our own deals. We will put the interests of the British people first. But this doesn’t mean shutting up shop and closing our doors. To those Sun readers from the EU who have already made the UK their home, let me be clear: you are an important part of Britain, we want you to stay and I am delighted there have already been more than 2.8million applications to our EU Settlement Scheme. It means we will have the freedom to choose how we work with our own friends and allies around the world.” – The Sun

  • We in the EU will make it work – Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, and David Sassoli, The Times
  • Remainers must now aim for Britain to do well, and the EU even better – Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian
  • Brexit ‘liberation day’ is self-serving fantasy – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Odyssey is far from over – Anand Menon, The Guardian
  • Time to love you and leave EU… but we’re no less European – Ross Clark, The Sun
  • Level-headed Leavers don’t feel like gloating – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Now Labour must end the leave-remain divide – Sir Keir Starmer, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Steve Barclay MP in Comment: Tomorrow we will get Brexit done, and start building a better future for every corner of our United Kingdom

Pompeo seeks to ‘draw a line’ under Huawei spat

“Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, on Thursday sought to draw a line under Washington’s face-off with London over the UK’s decision to use China’s Huawei as a supplier for its fifth generation mobile phone network. Although Mr Pompeo insisted China was the “central threat of our times”, he said America’s close ties with the UK were “not at risk” despite Boris Johnson’s move on Tuesday to give Huawei a restricted role in providing kit for 5G networks in the UK. The Trump administration had mounted an intense lobbying operation to try to persuade the prime minister to ban Huawei from supplying 5G equipment owing to US concerns that the Chinese telecoms equipment maker could enable Beijing to spy on western allies.” – FT

  • Don’t distort chicken fears, he warns – The Times
  • Secretary of State vows Brexit Britain ‘front of the line’ for trade deal – The Sun
  • Warning that Trump will ‘put US firms first’ – The Guardian

‘Up to 30’ Tory MPs could rebel over HS2

“Boris Johnson faces a rebellion from up to 30 Tory MPs as he prepares to give HS2 the green light. The prime minister will meet this evening with Sajid Javid, the chancellor, and Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, to discuss the future of the project. Mr Johnson is expected to announce within days that the project should go ahead but make significant cost savings amid concerns that the final bill will exceed £100 billion. Mr Javid now backs the project after a Treasury analysis concluded that no alternative could provide the same regional benefits in the same timeframe. There were signs of frustration in No 10 after Mr Javid’s position on the issue became public yesterday.” – The Times

  • Those opposed have ‘made representations at all levels’ – Daily Express
  • Javid accused of trying to ‘bounce’ the Prime Minister – The Sun


  • Powers to run commuter trains will be devolved to big cities – The Times

Ministers 2) Raab confirms evacuation of Britons from Wuhan

“More than 100 British citizens trapped in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, have been told they will fly out on Friday morning after days of agonising delays. The 200 people who had registered for the evacuation were informed by the Foreign Office that the flight was scheduled to leave the city’s international airport at 5am. This was confirmed by Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary. They were told that there would be a two-week quarantine upon arrival, but received no details about how it would be carried out. They will be medically screened before boarding the flight.” – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The calm before the reshuffle? Our first Cabinet League Table of 2020

Ministers 2) Chancellor to ‘focus on skills’ in bid to hold on to northern seats

“Sajid Javid will make skills a central theme of his March budget as the government seeks to cement its electoral hold on former Labour heartlands by emphasising its post-Brexit plan to “level up” the country. The chancellor is expected to announce more funding to repair crumbling further education colleges, measures to increase the availability of in-career retraining, and a further expansion of apprenticeships. The Tory manifesto promised a £3bn “skills fund” to be disbursed over five years. Javid will set out how it will be spent, but he is also expected to go further.” – The Guardian

  • This Tory chancellor isn’t afraid to turn left – Ed Conway, The Times
  • How the doom-mongers got it wrong about Britain’s Brexit economy – Liam Halligan, Daily Telegraph

Johnson opposed to second term for Baroness Scotland

“Boris Johnson will oppose allowing Baroness Scotland a second term as Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Telegraph understands, after she was on Thursday dragged back into a long-running cronyism row. The Prime Minister will argue against the controversial Labour peer’s reappointment when heads of state gather in Rwanda in June for the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). According to Whitehall sources, Mr Johnson has lost faith in the Baroness to lead the organisation, as it emerged that auditors had strongly criticised her decision to award a lucrative consultancy contract to a personal friend.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Sam Packer in Comment: The Government is still packing quangos with left-wing activists

Government prepares ‘first strike’ against BBC funding

“Boris Johnson’s government will launch its first strike on BBC funding next week, opening a formal process to lift the criminal penalties on those refusing to pay the licence fee. The consultation on decriminalisation will be one of Mr Johnson’s first domestic policy initiatives since the election – a sign of the importance he is placing on shaking-up the broadcaster and the licence fee system it has relied on since the 1920s. BBC executives fear that if criminal sanctions were removed by law, the corporation’s ability to collect the licence fee would be badly weakened, increasing evasion and blowing a hole in the broadcaster’s programming budget of £200m or more.” – FT

  • Corporation fears ‘exodus of editors’ over cuts – The Times
  • Sands is the first big name to go – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Three takeaways from yesterday’s select committee chairmanship elections

Momentum accused of smearing Nandy

“Momentum has been accused of smearing a Labour leadership candidate after it shared a video which claimed she failed to vote against welfare cuts when she was in fact on maternity leave. The pro-Corbyn campaign group was accused of resorting to “sexist and crass” tactics in a bid to undermine rivals of Rebecca Long-Bailey, its chosen candidate to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. It came after Cardiff Momentum, a local group, posted a video on Twitter which suggested that Lisa Nandy, the MP for Wigan, had abstained on legislation on welfare reforms in 2015. The video was also shared by Momentum’s national account to more than 150,000 followers, before it was later deleted following a backlash from Labour MPs and supporters.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Starmer calls on government to give EU citizens voting rights – The Guardian

Hoyle to stamp out Bercow’s bullying legacy

“New Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle declared an end to bullying in Parliament, saying abusive behaviour will not be tolerated. He said that he believed bullying had taken place under his predecessor, John Bercow, meaning Westminster had been an “unhappy place”. Sir Lindsay called for a kinder Commons where he would also allow breastfeeding in the chamber. His comments came after fresh bullying allegations mounted against Mr Bercow, as he a place in the House of Lords. Mr Bercow, who stood down on October 31, denies all allegations of bullying but has had two dossiers detailing allegations against him handed over during recent days.” – Daily Express

  • Breastfeeding will also be permitted – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Now Johnson must decide what Brexit really means – Alan Lockey, CapX
  • The agony of Brexit, for us Germans – Stefanie Bolzen, The Spectator
  • The seven stages of Remainer grief – Polly Mackenzie, UnHerd
  • From feral beasts to pussycats – Anonymous Hack, The Critic
  • The SNP is a motor of educational decay, de-schooling Scots – Gerald Warner, Reaction