Theresa May in appeal for Tory unity on Brexit: Brexit News for Monday 11 June

Theresa May in appeal for Tory unity on Brexit: Brexit News for Monday 11 June
Sign up here to receive the daily news briefing in your inbox every morning with exclusive insight from the BrexitCentral team

Theresa May in appeal for Tory unity on Brexit

Theresa May will appeal for a show of unity from her warring MPs as she seeks to avoid a series of damaging Commons defeats on the Government’s centrepiece Brexit legislation. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns to the Commons on Tuesday with ministers seeking to overturn a raft of amendments by the House of Lords intended to keep Britain close to the EU after Brexit. However, they face a revolt by pro-EU Tory MPs determined to retain as many of the changes as possible in the legislation. In what is likely to be a highly-charged appearance before the backbench 1922 Committee on Monday, the Prime Minister will remind her MPs they have a duty to deliver on the referendum vote to leave the EU. She will make the point that while the bill itself may be a largely technical measure, the way that they vote in the division lobbies on Tuesday and Wednesday will send an important signal to the country. – ITV News

  • May seeks united Tory front as Commons votes test Brexit strategy – FT (£)
  • Theresa May could be forced out if she loses key Brexit vote, Gordon Brown says – Independent
  • ‘I don’t expect a meltdown’: May’s deputy slaps down Boris for criticising No10’s Brexit strategy and tells his party to unite and back the PM – Daily Mail
  • Tory MPs reluctantly unite behind Theresa May – Katy Balls for The Spectator

No 10 says it ‘has the numbers’ to see off any revolt by pro-Remain MPs in votes on the Withdrawal Bill…

Senior government figures are confident of winning a series of crucial House of Commons votes on the Brexit bill, despite threats of a revolt by pro-remain MPs. Ministers and aides indicated that they remain “quietly reassured” that they have the numbers to pass the EU withdrawal bill when it returns to the lower chamber on Tuesday. As parliament enters a momentous week and a final vote on the bill, the government is seeking to vote down amendments from the House of Lords which were meant to soften the UK’s exit from the European Union. – Guardian

…as Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer urges Tory remainers to vote with Labour on Brexit…

Keir Starmer has urged Conservative MPs who want Britain to remain in the EU to vote with Labour on a series of crucial Brexit amendments that come before the House of Commons this week. As the Commons enters a momentous week, several votes – including on the customs union and the role of parliament in approving the final deal, known as the meaningful vote – remain close. Opposition MPs need only a dozen or so Tories to join them to disrupt Theresa May’s Brexit plans. – Guardian

…while Labour edges towards backing workers’ free movement

Labour’s position on free movement appeared to be softening yesterday as Sajid Javid drafted proposals for tighter access to Britain for Europeans. Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, and Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, both hinted at a change in attitude. The party said in its election manifesto last year that it would seek to negotiate “fair rules and reasonable management of migration”, but pledged: “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.” Senior Labour figures have raised concerns about alienating Leave voters by weakening its stance on immigration. – Times (£)

Tory grandee Ken Clarke claims cabinet Brexiteers ‘act like Trump’

A Conservative grandee has accused cabinet Brexiteers of acting like Donald Trump, despite calls for Tory unity ahead of crunch parliamentary votes this week. Former chancellor Ken Clarke claimed senior ministers such as Boris Johnson and David Davis were vetoing progress on Brexit by using methods similar to the US president. His warning comes ahead of the EU Withdrawal Bill’s return to the House of Commons on Tuesday and Wednesday, when MPs will decide whether or not to back 15 amendments made to the key Brexit legislation by the House of Lords. – Sky News

Civil servants ‘hobbled by Whitehall secrecy’

A culture of “extraordinary secrecy” in Whitehall is blocking the ability of senior civil servants to plan for Brexit, according to a study. Deep political divisions in the cabinet over Britain’s departure from the EU are “driving inordinate levels of secrecy” and forcing officials to classify documents at a higher level of confidentiality than necessary, an Institute for Government (IfG) report said. Some documents are not allowed out of locked rooms to which few have access. The IfG, a think tank, spoke to senior officials across Whitehall and public bodies. Its report also highlighted inconsistent assumptions within Whitehall, difficulties in the recruitment and retention of senior talent, delays to decisions and an “inability to make trade-offs”. – The Times

Daily Express: Let tough May plough ahead with quitting EU

Backbenchers who have been privately baying for her blood would no doubt be delighted. Or would they? With a shock poll putting the Tories seven points ahead of Labour despite the chaos in Downing Street, it seems the public does not quite share MPs’ concerns about Mrs May’s “weak and wobbly” leadership. Indeed, contrary to claims she could be “toast” whatever happens in this week’s crucial EU Withdrawal Bill votes, the working classes appear to regard her as a trooper who keeps soldiering on despite what’s thrown at her. It seems ironic that despite being accused of not having the guts to stand up to Brussels, no one in the Tory Party has had the courage to launch an effective challenge. – Express editorial

David Lidington: It’s time to roll back the amendments and adopt original Withdrawal Bill

This week, when the EU Withdrawal Bill returns from the House of Lords, members of Parliament will face a stark choice. During its time in the Upper House, the Bill has been amended in ways that go far beyond its primary purpose. Changes relating to some of the most contentious questions at stake in the Brexit process have been tacked on to the Bill with the avowed intention of damaging the Brexit process. My parliamentary colleagues will have to decide whether to support the Government in restoring the Bill to its original purpose of delivering legal certainty, or whether to allow hostile amendments to frustrate those essential aims, restricting the Government’s ability to negotiate. – David Lidington MP for the Telegraph (£)

Juliet Samuel: Brexiteers think we can surrender now and rebel later. They’re wrong

Slowly but surely, the Brexiteer mood is softening. Six months too late, Brexit MPs are starting to understand the British surrender that began last December. But now, unlike then, they are weary and confused. They want done with it all. One, a usually pugnacious member of the European Reform Group, suggested to me recently that it would be best to say yes to the EU for now and then unwind the surrender later under a new prime minister. This is a rather astonishing turn. Brexiteers are typically the first to argue that the EU ratchet never stops, it only pauses – and that’s why we have to leave. Yet now, they argue the opposite. – Juliet Samuel for the Telegraph (£)

Dominic Lawson: Why won’t Eeyore’s Treasury tell us how they came up with their latest Brexit doom-mongering?

On this occasion, the British are as one with the other 27 member states of the European Union. Along with his fellow European Ambassadors to the U.S., our own Sir Kim Darroch signed a joint open letter pointing out what fabulous trade there was between the EU and the U.S., and why President Trump was wrong to put it at risk with arbitrary tariff increases. ‘Together,’ said the ambassadors, ‘the U.S. and the EU have created the largest and wealthiest market in the world … Nearly one-third of the world’s trade in goods occurs between the EU and the United States alone.’ – Dominic Lawson for the Daily Mail

John Redwood:The EU negotiates against its own interests

We read that the EU wishes to follow its veto over the UK’s positive and generous proposals so far with a further push to demand we continue with freedom of movement. This could well be the item that persuades more UK voters that No Deal is the best option. The EU has broadly stuck to its mantra that you cannot belong to the trade part of the EU without paying contributions, accepting their laws and agreeing freedom of movement. Accepting this many of us said we must leave the Customs Union and single market when we leave the EU. We said offer them a free trade deal. The EU has not even been prepared to talk about this. – John Redwood’s Diary

Brian Monteith: Poor strategy leaves May scrambling over genuine Brexit

How the EU negotiators must be laughing in Brussels, laughing so heartily I‘m surprised we can’t actually hear them. Michel Barnier and his team, together with the EU elite of Junker, Tusk and Verhofstadt – day after day, week after week, have humiliated Theresa May, David Davis and the rest of the cabinet. The Prime Minister’s strategy of going out of her way to seek a trade deal, rather than starting from the position of how we could be economically successful without one (like many other prosperous trading nations) and focusing on transitional arrangements towards relying upon WTO rules, has left her at the mercy of the EU negotiators who have dictated her agenda and extracted compromises when none should have been necessary. – Scotsman

Brexit in brief

  • 12 Brexit cherries the UK wants to pick – Politico
  • Local councils urge Westminster to match EU investment – FT (£)
  • Leave.EU co-founder to be questioned by MPs over his contacts with Russian officials – Telegraph (£)