Two Cabinet ministers threatening to resign over May’s refusal to renegotiate the Irish backstop deal: Brexit News for Monday 19 November

Two Cabinet ministers threatening to resign over May’s refusal to renegotiate the Irish backstop deal: Brexit News for Monday 19 November
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Two Cabinet ministers threatening to resign over May’s refusal to renegotiate the Irish backstop deal…

Allies of Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom say they could both quit by the end of the week unless Mrs May relents. But differing tactics emerged among the rebel Cabinet group last night. To the dismay of Brexiteers yesterday, Mrs May argued that the backstop plan to ensure the Irish border stays open wouldn’t work if either side could pull out of it. The PM told Sky News: “Just think about if you took out an insurance policy, and if you were coming up to the point where that insurance policy was being used, and suddenly people pull the plug on it for you? What would you think?” The DUP also called on the PM to renegotiate the backstop last night, arguing it splits Northern Ireland from the EU. Its Westminster leader Nigel Dodds said: “It is clear that it is time to work for a better deal which does not undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom” – The Sun

…but the PM warns rebels that her Brexit deal is final…

Theresa May will confront the “gang of five” Cabinet Brexiteers on Monday by saying she will not renegotiate the EU Withdrawal Agreement, in a move that risks prompting fresh ministerial resignations. The Prime Minister will use a speech to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) to say the terms of the UK’s divorce from the EU have been “agreed in full” and the only thing left to discuss is the future trade deal. Mrs May will say in her CBI speech: “The core elements of the deal are already in place. The Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed in full, subject of course to final agreement being reached on the future framework. That agreement is a good one for the UK.” – Telegraph (£)

  • May eyes progress on future relationship to sell Brexit deal – Politico

…and threatens that getting rid of her would risk delaying Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday toppling her would risk delaying Brexit and she would not let talk of a leadership challenge distract her from a critical week of negotiations with Brussels. May has vowed to fight on, but with both pro-EU and pro-Brexit lawmakers unhappy with the draft agreement, it is not clear she will be able to win the backing of parliament for it, raising the risk Britain leaves the EU without a deal. “These next seven days are going to be critical, they are about the future of this country,” May told Sky News. “I am not going to be distracted from the important job. “A change of leadership at this point isn’t going to make the negotiations any easier … what it will do is mean that there is a risk that actually we delay the negotiations and that is a risk that Brexit gets delayed or frustrated.” – Reuters

  • Brexit won’t be easier if I’m oustedBBC News
  • Replacing me won’t change parliamentary maths, May tells Tories – Bloomberg
  • Toppling me won’t help negotiations, May tells rebel Tory MPs – Guardian

> WATCH: Theresa May interviewed on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday

Defiant May tries to takes control of Brexit with immigration pledge

Theresa May will promise on Monday that the United Kingdom is about to regain “control over our borders” as she steps up her efforts to sell her Brexit plans to her sceptical MPs. She heads to Brussels this week for fresh talks on the country’s future relationship with the EU amid a Tory backlash against her draft agreement with Brussels. The Prime Minister insists the two issues are linked – and will point to immigration as a key area where her critics will notice an immediate change after Brexit is complete. She will also argue that ending freedom of movement for EU nationals will “deliver on the verdict of the referendum”. Mrs May will tell the CBI annual conference: “In the future, outside the EU, immigration will continue to make a positive contribution to our national life. “But the difference will be this: once we have left the EU, we will be fully in control of who comes here. – iNews

> Holly Whitbread on BrexitCentral today: The opposition to Theresa May’s deal proves Brexit was about far more than controlling immigration

Britain could be locked into the EU until December 2022, says Michel Barnier

Brussels last night raised the possibility of the transition dragging on until the end of 2022 – more than six years after Brits voted to leave. Michel Barnier proposed a maximum two year extension to the window, which will see Britain stay in the Single Market and Customs Union until at least December 2022. During that time we’ll have to accept free movement and pay substantial budget contributions estimated at £10 billion a year. Most EU capitals agreed on New Year’s Eve 2022 as a final end date for the transition at a meeting with Mr Barnier in Brussels yesterday. The final date, currently marked in the Withdrawal Agreement as “20XX”, needs to be thrashed out by the UK and EU ahead of a summit to sign off the deal next Sunday. – The Sun

  • Brexit transition could be extended until December 2022, says Barnier – Telegraph (£)

May’s Brexit deal is as good as it gets, insists Merkel aide…

There is no chance that the European Union will salvage the Brexit deal by going back to the negotiating table, a senior German MP from Angela Merkel’s party has warned. The so-called “pizza club” of five Brexiteer cabinet ministers, including Michael Gove and Andrea Leadsom, is pressing Theresa May to go back to Brussels and win a better exit agreement. They hope that the EU will give way and hand Britain the power to leave the customs union of its own volition. However, Norbert Röttgen, the chairman of the German parliament’s foreign affairs committee and a former minister in Mrs Merkel’s cabinet, said the European side had gone as far as it could to meet the UK’s demands and there would be no further concessions. He also dismissed as “embarrassing nonsense” a claim by Dominic Raab, who resigned as Brexit secretary last week, that Britain was being “bullied and blackmailed” by the EU. – The Times (£)

…while Irish PM Leo Varadkar also says no to any further negotiations over the Brexit withdrawal agreement…

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said no to any renegotiation with the British government over the Brexit withdrawal agreement.Speaking on Sunday to RTE, Mr Varadkar said “we’ve always had an open ear, open door” to requests from the UK government, and said he would keep an open mind towards any proposals made in regard to the future political relationship declaration. But pressed on the 585-page withdrawal agreement, which outlines the terms of Britain’s divorce from the EU, he said: “No. That’s been agreed already by the UK government and by negotiators.” Mr Varadkar’s comments echo those of the German chancellor Angela Merkel, who said on Friday: “We have a document on the table that Britain and the EU 27 have agreed to, so for me there is no question at the moment we negotiate further.” – Independent

  • Government not contemplating hard border if deal rejected – Varadkar – RTE

…although the DUP’s Nigel Dodds says now is the time to work for a better Brexit deal

It is time to work for a better Brexit deal which does not undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom, the deputy leader of the DUP has said. “This deal would place a trade border in the Irish Sea, subject us to EU rules without any power to influence or change them and binds us to the EU with no unilateral ability to leave. Indeed, Northern Ireland is part of the EU customs union not the UK’s. “I understand why some people fear a ‘no deal’ scenario. But the choice is between this very bad deal and the right deal,” DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said in a statement. “With MPs on all sides of the House pointing to the dangers for the Union of the Withdrawal Agreement, it is clear that it is time to work for a better deal which does not undermine the integrity of the United Kingdom,” said Mr Dodds. – RTE

New referendum not an option for now, says Jeremy Corbyn…

A new referendum on the UK’s relationship with the EU is “an option for the future” but “not an option for today”, Jeremy Corbyn has said. The Labour leader confirmed on Sky News that his party would vote against the draft withdrawal agreement. Mr Corbyn said Labour “couldn’t stop” Brexit because it does not have enough seats in Parliament. Asked about calls for a further referendum as demanded by some of his MPs, Mr Corbyn said: “If there was a referendum tomorrow what’s it going to be on, what’s the question going to be? If such a referendum were called, Mr Corbyn, who voted Remain in 2016, said: “I don’t know how I am going to vote – what the options would be at that time.” Speaking on the Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, the Labour leader said Mrs May’s draft deal with the EU was a “one-way agreement” where the EU “calls all the shots”. – BBC News

  • Jeremy Corbyn admits he hasn’t read the Brexit deal he’s trying to defeat – and doesn’t know how he’d vote in second referendum – The Sun
  • Second EU referendum ‘an option for the future’ says Jeremy Corbyn as he admits not reading Brexit deal in full – Telegraph (£)

…as he plans to set out a Labour alternative to PM’s Brexit plan…

Jeremy Corbyn will set out Labour’s “good Brexit plan” on Monday, saying that leaving the European Union must be the catalyst for a “radical programme of investment and real change” as the party steps up efforts to show it has an alternative to Theresa May’s approach. Speaking to business leaders at the CBI’s annual conference in London, which will also be addressed by the prime minister, Corbyn will claim May’s deal, published last week, would “leave the country in an indefinite halfway house without a real say over our future”. Instead, he will say, “a good Brexit plan for this country is not just about what can be negotiated with Brussels. It must also include a radical programme of investment and real change across our regions and nations. “Brexit should be the catalyst to invest in our regions and infrastructure, bringing good jobs and real control to local communities and people.” – Guardian

…and is urged to meet Nicola Sturgeon and form united front for new Brexit vote

Scottish Labour figures have called on Jeremy Corbyn to meet Nicola Sturgeon this week and present a united front to overhaul Theresa May’s deal with Brussels or give the people a chance to reverse Brexit. The First Minister will go to London for talks with politicians working to thwart the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan, and said she hopes to sit down with Labour and others to formulate an alternative. The call for unity came as Mr Corbyn faced criticism for again appearing to play down the prospects of a referendum on the terms of Brexit, claiming it was “not an option for today” and refusing to say how he would cast his ballot in a so-called “people’s vote”. Ms Sturgeon described Mrs May’s draft agreement as a “blindfold Brexit” that lacked clarity on the UK’s future relationship with the EU and confirmed SNP MPs would vote against it in the Commons. – The Scotsman

Second referendum would be ‘seriously undemocratic’ says Damian Hinds

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has told RTÉ that holding a second referendum on Brexit would be “seriously undemocratic” and “would likely produce the same result”. Speaking on RTÉ’s This Week programme Mr Hinds said British Prime Minister Theresa May would be going back to Brussels on Tuesday for further negotiations on the withdrawal deal and future relationship, ahead of next Sunday’s EU council meeting. Mr Hinds said that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and until the final signatures are on the document there are always discussions to be had.” Mr Hinds said hardline conservatives and the DUP needed to consider the alternatives to the deal. “It’s been at the heart of the Prime Minister’s approach to ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom and to make sure there is no return to a hard border between the Northern Ireland and the Republic. This deal does deliver that,” he said. – RTE

Leading Brexiteers visit Washington to talk US-UK free trade agreement…

David Davis, the former Brexit minister, and Owen Paterson, another pro-Brexit ex-minister, confirmed Friday morning that they’re meeting with Trump administration officials to discuss a US-UK free trade agreement. ‘We’re clearly here to advocate for a US-UK free trade agreement,’ said Shanker Singham of the Institute for Economic Affairs, who serves as an outside adviser to Boris Johnson. ‘We’re meeting with members of the administration, we’re meeting with industry groups.’ ‘Unashamedly, we are here’ for that purpose, Paterson told me. He added that he had been to the States in September for the same purpose. Johnson, tipped as May’s successor, was here then too. ‘If the US and UK can agree on a free trade agreement that pulls the UK out of the EU’s regulatory rotational orbit, this will be enormously beneficial to America’s farmers, business and consumers.’ said Davis. – Spectator USA

…where May’s Brexit plan is seen as a disaster for US-UK trade

The deal unveiled this week for Britain to exit the European Union would block U.S. plans to negotiate a free trade agreement with the U.K., preventing a new opening for American agricultural trade with the country, several British officials tell Agri-Pulse. The plan announced by Prime Minister Theresa May would essentially keep the U.K beholden to all of the tariffs and customs, phytosanitary, sanitary and scientific regulations that U.S. farmers and ranchers were hoping to see removed during Brexit, say British politicians David Davis and Owen Paterson and Shanker Singham, a director at Britain’s Institute of Economic Affairs. “We would not be able to do any deal with the U.S. and that could go on forever,” Davis said in an interview. “To be clear, we would not be able to control our own regulations and we would not be able to control our own tariffs and therefore we would not be able to do any free trade agreements.” – AgriPulse

  • PM’s Brexit deal ‘so bad it cannot proceed’, says North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson – Shropshire Star

Jo Johnson backs bid to force Treasury to reveal no-Brexit forecasts

Jo Johnson, the Conservative MP who resigned as a minister to back a second Brexit referendum, will on Monday throw his weight behind a bid to force the government to publish economic forecasts that compare its deal with remaining in the European Union. The Orpington MP is expected to make his first speech from the backbenches to support a cross-party amendment to the finance bill. Tabled by Labour’s Chuka Umunna and the Conservative Anna Soubry, the amendment is backed by 70 MPs from six parties, including the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, and the SNP’s Europe spokesman, Stephen Gethins. It is aimed at forcing the Treasury to publish projections comparing the “fiscal and economic effects” of the government’s Brexit deal, with the outlook “If the United Kingdom had remained a member of the European Union”. – Guardian

CBI President to endorse Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal

The president of Britain’s most powerful employers’ body, the CBI, is to endorse Theresa May’s draft European Union withdrawal agreement, arguing that while not perfect it opens “a route to a long-term trade arrangement”. Allan is expected to say: “We’re trying to reach a deal that respects the result of the referendum and minimises damage to our economy. I know how hard it’s been to get to this point. In the five months I’ve been president of the CBI, the team and I have met ambassadors, MPs, MEPs, heads of state. “And I know this: every single one of them has had to compromise in reaching that deal. While companies in this room would be the first to say that it is not perfect, it does open a route to a long-term trade arrangement and unlocks transition – the very least that companies need to prepare for Brexit. – Guardian

Sir Graham Brady confirms Tory plotters haven’t yet got the 48 letters to challenge Theresa May…

Put to him that the threshold had not been reached, Sir Graham replied “indeed” and added that party rules would require him to consult rapidly with the party and Prime Minister if that point was reached. “The intention is clear that if it were to happen it ought to be a test of opinion very quickly in order to clear the air and get it out of the way,” he added. Asked by BBC Radio 5Live how many letters he had received, he said: “I can’t tell you how many times a day I’m asked that question, including in the supermarket and on the street.” He added that even his wife and his deputies on the 1922 Committee did not know the running total. “We are coming to the endgame of a very serious, very difficult negotiation, and for the government to be plunged into uncertainty would have implications for that.” – iNews

…as former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell warns colleagues against hunting May like Thatcher…

Senior Brexiteers claim that they have “firm pledges” by more than 50 MPs that they will submit letters by this evening. If a leadership election is triggered it is likely to take place within 24 hours of the threshold being reached. Mr Mitchell, who was a backbench MP when Thatcher was deposed, warned of the risks of a contest, even if Mrs May could not get her deal through parliament. “If these letters succeed in triggering a challenge then the party will turn in on itself and that is not a good place for the Conservatives let alone the country,” he said. “It will end making us look like we’re hunting the prime minister down as happened with Margaret Thatcher. It will do the party untold damage in the eyes of the public.” – The Times (£)

…while Dominic Raab stokes leadership speculation as he refuses to rule out a future bid for the top job

Dominic Raab stoked speculation of a leadership bid by refusing to rule himself out of the running if Theresa May is ousted and talking up his patriotism in what appeared to be a direct pitch to Tory MPs. Mr Raab, 44, who is currently favourite with some bookies to be the next Tory leader, said talk of a no confidence vote in the Prime Minister was “a total distraction from what we need to do” in getting Brexit “over the line”. Asked whether he would stand in a Tory leadership contest, Mr Raab said: “I’m not even getting sucked into all of that.” He added: “I’m supporting this Prime Minister. I will not be supporting anyone who is sending in letters to the 1922 Committee and in a vote of no confidence I would support her.” – Telegraph (£)

Boris Johnson: The EU will turn us into captives if we sign up to this appalling sell-out of a deal

Well, it seems my predictions of last week were, if anything, too optimistic. If MPs vote for this deal, we are bowing our neck to the yoke. We are preparing to take colonial rule by foreign powers and courts. We are handing over colossal sums of money for nothing. We are giving up the hope of new free-trade deals. We are giving up the right to vary our laws. We are betraying Leavers and Remainers alike: we are poised to abandon any UK influence in Brussels, and yet we are signally failing to take back control. In fact, we are surrendering control to the EU – and this 585-page fig-leaf does nothing to cover the embarrassment of our total defeat. Of all the lies that are currently being peddled, the worst is that this agreement can somehow be remedied in the next stage of the talks. I have heard it said that this is like a football match, in which we are one-nil down at half-time, but – as the Prime Minister suggested in her interview yesterday morning – we can still pull it back and get the Brexit we want. – Boris Johnson MP for the Telegraph (£)

Liam Fox: The Prime Minister deserves our support to make her case to the EU and bring it back to Parliament for approval

I have long believed that Britain would eventually leave the European Union. From the time that Britain joined the European Community, we have never really been moving in the same direction. As the veteran German MEP Hans Olaf Henkel put it “Britain joined a football club but Brussels decided to play golf”. Once we get beyond this point we will begin to negotiate our future partnership, including the trade relationship which will also be crucial to our freedom to negotiate agreements beyond the EU. The Cabinet gave collective agreement to the Prime Minister to proceed to the next stage of negotiation. She has handled a difficult political situation with enormous patience, great dignity and enormous resilience. I have known her for many years and I know she will always act in what she believes to be the national interest. She has acknowledged that, like many of us, she shares reservations about some of the issues but it is, after all, a negotiation. – Dr Liam Fox MP for the Telegraph (£)

Iain Duncan Smith: No deal is and always has been better than a bad Brexit deal

The Prime Minister has said on many occasions, no deal is better than a bad deal. I continue to stand by this conviction. Unfortunately, this strong early conviction seems to have been replaced by a sense that no deal (leaving on World Trade organisation terms), would be worse than any other deal. Yet her latest Brexit deal is in itself a bad deal. The proposal fails to deliver upon the referendum, her Lancaster House red lines or the manifesto promises that we as Conservatives stood on in 2017. I am still in favour of a free-trade deal with the European Union, but the government seems stuck on their flawed plan. Listening to the House of Commons on Thursday it was crystal clear that people were united in their opposition to the deal. One after another they got up to say, on both sides of the House that the current deal is poor indictment of the government’s negotiation strategy. Whether or not the Prime minister re-engages and accepts the need for change, we should now accelerate the plans to leave on WTO terms, onto a system that the rest of the world uses and, which the UK helped set up and supports. – Iain Duncan Smith MP for the Express

David Davis and Shanker Singham: Now is the chance for America to strike free trade deal with Britain

There is no doubt that the United States will find negotiating with the European Union every bit as frustrating as we in Britain have found it, and that the United States in fact found it when trying to negotiate the original Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which fell apart over two years ago. European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has already started imposing harsh preconditions, warning President Trump that the negotiations would grind to a halt if the United States insists that fair treatment of American agricultural goods remains on the table. With Britain, there would be no such preconditions and no bullying on either side. We will have talks between two nations with a proud heritage of free trade and are not afraid to compete openly and fairly on a level playing field. We have the opportunity to demonstrate to the world what real free trade looks like, the type of trade that President Trump has urged, based on zero tariffs and zero manipulations of regulations that give one side or the other an advantage. – David Davis MP and Shanker Singham for The Hill

Michael Fabricant: I won’t write to Sir Graham as long as Mrs May goes for a no-deal Brexit

I vehemently oppose the current iteration of the Chequers Agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister with the EU. And I will vote against the Government if this version is presented to Parliament. But what I will not be doing is writing to Sir Graham Brady, the Chairman of the 1922 Committee saying I have lost confidence in Theresa May.  As a Brexiteer since before the word was invented, the last thing we need right now is a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister.Mrs May, like all leaders, has her faults. But her sense of duty and meticulous understanding of detail cannot be doubted. I believe that if the current Chequers plan were rejected, she would apply her talents to delivering a Brexit which would work in the national interest while not binding us to Brussels. And if she is not prepared to pivot and work for a no-deal Brexit, then – and only then – will I be free to write my letter to Sir Graham. – Michael Fabricant MP for the Telegraph (£)

Mark Littlewood: A no-deal Brexit would not be as bad as the doom-mongers tell you

The prime minister used to have a mantra to sum up her approach to Britain’s departure from the European Union. “No deal is better than a bad deal,” she would state, repeatedly. Although she was entering the negotiations with the EU in good faith, she was — she claimed — willing to simply walk away if acceptable new arrangements could not be agreed. In practice, however, politicians display a propensity to wish to reach deals rather than to concede that thousands of hours of planning and diplomacy have ended in failure. Mrs May’s proposals appear to be without many friends and even fewer enthusiasts. Given the political deadlock over Brexit, the chances of Britain leaving without a full deal in place have increased markedly. If we do arrive at such a scenario, the doomsayers are likely to have again overstated how bad things will get and to have underestimated the economy’s resilience. It could be a bumpy ride for a while, but it is not likely to be the full-scale car crash that some claim to foresee. – Mark Littlewood for The Times (£)

Roger Bootle: Don’t believe the doom merchants – they’ve been wildly wrong before

Over coming days we will doubtless be subjected to a barrage of propaganda, telling us that if we leave without a deal this would amount to economic Armageddon. Planes will fall out of the sky – that is, of course, assuming that they are allowed to take off in the first place – while medicines will run out and production will collapse. I wouldn’t be surprised to see forecasts of rising sea levels and virulent hurricanes as the gods of the EU vent their fury. The great and the good told us that if we left all hell would break loose. Well, we did leave and all heaven broke loose, with the fastest sustained growth of output in our industrial history. There are sound reasons for believing that not only will we be fine but we will have the opportunity to shine and prosper. This is precisely why M. Barnier and his merry men are so keen that we shouldn’t have the chance. – Roger Bootle for the Telegraph (£)

Katy Balls: Tory Brexiteers divided over how to kill off May’s deal

The problem is Tory Brexiteers are not united when it comes to a response to May’s EU withdrawal agreement. There are a small number of Tory Leave MPs who actually support it – Andrew Percy, Steve Barclay, Kwasi Kwarteng among them. Then there is a much larger group of Tory Brexiteers who dislike the deal – ranging from Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Steve Baker right through to Michael Gove and Graham Brady. These MPs may be able to agree that the divorce deal is flawed but that doesn’t mean they can agree on what to do about it. Just as ERG members slowly came to the conclusion that May was the problem, Brexiteers like Raab will eventually need to make a decision. If the Prime Minister has no plans to change the deal and refuses to do so, will she become the problem or will the ‘loyal opposition’ roll over? – Katy Balls for The Spectator

Deborah Meaden: This poor Brexit deal is bad for business, which means I’m out

I am an investor who risks money to back businesses. I’ve learnt to listen as closely to what pitchers don’t say about their idea as to what they do. And I’ve lost count of the number of times a promising prospect has fallen apart when the questioning starts. Today hundreds of British business leaders will gather at the CBI conference in London to talk about the future of our economy. They will hear Theresa May “pitch” her Brexit deal, the only real subject of conversation. It’s only going to get worse with a deal that will mean deep damage to the fastest growing sectors of our economy, plus years of uncertainty because the promises two years ago were so contradictory and the biggest questions remain unresolved. The prime minister’s proposed agreement is not the solution to this Brexit crisis but an exacerbation of it. – Deborah Meaden for The Times (£)

Matthew d’Ancona: A Tory leadership contest won’t solve the Brexit crisis

Britain is approaching the end of formal negotiations with the European Union that will decide this country’s commercial, economic, demographic and cultural character for decades to come. And what are the Tories doing? Fretting over the number 48, that’s what. I’ve been calling for May’s resignation since the day after she lost the Conservatives’ Commons majority last June. But – come on – there’s a time and a place. Disastrous prime minister though she undoubtedly is, what evidence is there that a different Tory leader would be able to negotiate a better deal in the midst of this crisis and in the time remaining? May’s position is what it always is. She is staying put. Immobility, stubbornness, stasis: that’s what she does. – Matthew d’Ancona for the Guardian

Larry Elliott: All eyes on the Bank’s response to the threat of a disorderly Brexit

Mark Carney will give evidence to the Commons Treasury committee this week and MPs will want to know how the Bank of England plans to respond if the result of voting down the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May is that the UK leaves the EU next spring in a disorderly way. For the time being, though, it doesn’t really suit May’s purposes to have Carney tell MPs that he and the other members of the monetary policy committee would do what they did after the EU referendum in 2016 and cut interest rates. What the prime minister needs from the governor’s testimony are headlines of the “Borrowing costs set to soar after Brexit chaos” variety. The lack of serious market mayhem will make it harder for the prime minister to win a Commons vote. – Larry Elliott for the Guardian

Brexit in Brief

  • May’s broken promises on the ECJ, the backstop, customs – and dividing the UK –  ConservativeHome editorial
  • How the Irish protocol would separate Great Britain from Northern Ireland. – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome
  • Will Scottish Tories be filleted and gutted for backing May? – Brian Monteith for The Scotsman
  • We must use every cultural asset at our disposal post-Brexit – Tim Loughton MP for  PoliticsHome
  • Famous five or fatuous five? – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome
  • In Berlin speech, France’s Macron urges EU revival to prevent global ‘chaos’ – France 24
  • No more Mr Nice Guy! Farage plots British politics return to stop ‘half-baked’ Brexit plan – Express
  • UK warehouses filling up as Brexit Project Fear claims dismissed – Express

And finally… Stanley Johnson urges UK to ‘chuck Chequers’ on Brexit blind date

Stanley Johnson will to appear on a political blind date discussing Brexit and and urging the UK to “chuck Chequers”. The father of former foreign secretary and Leave campaigner Boris will be paired up as part of a series of Brexit-themed lunch dates. Johnson will appear alongside Ulrika Jonsson, diver Tom Daley’s husband Dustin Lance Black and Love Island contestant Zara McDermott, who has voiced her support for returning minister Amber Rudd. Brexit Blind Dates will feature on the Victoria Derbyshire programme, with famous Leave and Remain supporters discussing the divisive issue over lunch. – The Argus