Theresa May warns of ‘catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust’ if UK remains in EU: Brexit News for Sunday 13 January

Theresa May warns of ‘catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust’ if UK remains in EU: Brexit News for Sunday 13 January
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Theresa May warns of ‘catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust’ if UK remains in EU…

With just two days to go before the Commons vote on her withdrawal agreement, the Prime Minister pleaded with parliamentarians to “do what is right for our country” and back her controversial exit plan. Mrs May said the UK risks crashing out of the EU without a deal or, if MPs are “unwilling” to face the uncertainty of no deal, then the UK may not leave at all. In what she described as the “biggest and most important decision that any MP of our generation will be asked to make”, the Prime Minister said it was time for politicians to “deliver” for the people. Writing in the Sunday Express, Mrs May said: “You, the British people, voted to leave. And then, in the 2017 General Election, 80% of you voted for MPs who stood on manifestos to respect that referendum result. You have delivered your instructions. Now it is our turn to deliver for you. When you turned out to vote in the referendum, you did so because you wanted your voice to be heard. Some of you put your trust in the political process for the first time in decades. We cannot – and must not – let you down. Doing so would be a catastrophic and unforgivable breach of trust in our democracy. So my message to Parliament this weekend is simple: it is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.” – Belfast Telegraph

  • Brexit failure a catastrophic breach of trust, says May – BBC News
  • May warns MPs against ‘breach of trust in our democracy’ – Sky News

…as her party runs the risk of ‘imploding’ over Brexit…

The Tories are on the brink of a historic split, senior Conservatives warned last night, as Brexiteers and Remainers both threatened to torpedo the Government if they did not get their way on Brexit. Pro-EU MPs claimed that a third of the Cabinet would resign if Theresa May pursued a no-deal Brexit in the face of almost certain defeat over her deal, as they threatened a walkout of backbenchers that would obliterate the Government’s Commons majority. At the same time, The Sunday Telegraph understands that several senior ministers are agitating Mrs May to immediately open talks with Labour MPs about a compromise involving a permanent customs union if her deal is defeated by a large margin on Tuesday. One senior Tory said: “A growing number of the Cabinet now think the only feasible option is to tack towards a softer Brexit involving a permanent customs union, in order to get a deal through with Labour votes. Amber [Rudd], David [Gauke], Greg Clark and others have made noises along those lines.” Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptics, warned that the move would risk a split akin to the schism prompted by Robert Peel’s repeal of the corn laws. “It’s difficult to see how at least some Conservative MPs would not withdraw confidence in the Government,” he said. – Sunday Telegraph (£)

…while anti-Brexit MPs plot to seize control of the Commons agenda from Theresa May…

Theresa May has been warned that her government “will lose its ability to govern” after Downing Street uncovered a bombshell plot by senior MPs to seize control of Brexit negotiations and sideline the prime minister. A cross-party group of senior backbenchers — including former Tory ministers — plan what one senior figure branded a “very British coup” if May loses the crunch vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday. At least two groups of rebel MPs are plotting to change Commons rules so motions proposed by backbenchers take precedence over government business, upending the centuries-old relationship between executive and legislature. Downing Street believes that would enable MPs to suspend article 50, putting Brexit on hold, and could even lead to the referendum result being overturned — a move that would plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. – Sunday Times (£)

  • End of democracy? ‘It’s game over for Brexit’ as MPs plot ‘coup’ to stop UK leaving EU – Sunday Express

…as it emerges Dominic Grieve secretly met John Bercow hours before the Speaker allowed his killer amendment

Commons Speaker John Bercow secretly met Tory rebel Dominic Grieve just hours before throwing out centuries of tradition to allow the MP to scupper Theresa May’s Brexit plans. The pair spoke in Mr Bercow’s grace-and-favour Commons apartment the day before the Speaker tore up the rule book to allow the former Attorney General to table an amendment to wrest control of Brexit from the Prime Minister, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Mr Grieve, who was last night accused of mounting a ‘stitch-up’ over the extraordinary events, refused to reveal what he had discussed with Mr Bercow but insisted: ‘Speakers make up their own minds.’ His amendment led to the Prime Minister’s second major Commons setback in 24 hours. Now even No 10 is warning that the Prime Minister could be ousted as soon as Wednesday if she suffers another heavy defeat over her Brexit deal in this week’s crunch vote. – Mail on Sunday

Labour set to call vote to topple Theresa May’s Government if her deal is rejected on Tuesday

Labour MPs have been told to prepare for Jeremy Corbyn to table a dramatic and immediate vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government as early as Tuesday evening in an attempt to force a general election if – as expected – she suffers a heavy defeat this week on her Brexit deal. Messages have been sent to Labour MPs, even those who are unwell, to ensure their presence both for the “meaningful vote” on the prime minister’s Brexit blueprint on Tuesday and the following day. Labour whips have told MPs the no-confidence vote is likely to be tabled within hours of a government loss, with the actual vote taking place on Wednesday. A senior shadow cabinet member said: “There is now recognition that we cannot wait any longer. If May goes down to defeat and she does not resign and call an election, this is the moment we have to act.” – Observer

MoD sends planners to ministries over post-Brexit border fears

Military planners have been deployed to the Department for Transport, the Home Office and the Foreign Office as officials desperately try to avoid backlogs and chaos at the border in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Observer can disclose. Details released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that 14 military planners have been dispatched by the Ministry of Defence to key ministries, which also include the Cabinet Office, the hub of the government’s Brexit planning, in a sign of concerns inside Whitehall at the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU with no agreement in place. In a ramping up of no-deal preparations in recent weeks, one planner is in place at Chris Grayling’s beleaguered DfT, which has already been criticised for awarding a £14m contract to run ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit to a company that does not have any ships. – Observer

Brexit Minister unable to explain why ’emergency’ loophole was used to give £13.8m contract to ferry firm with no ferries

The decision to award almost £14 million of government cash to a ferry company which has yet to run a single service remains a mystery, after a government minister dodged the question no less than three times. It was revealed last week that Seaborne Freight had been awarded the shipping contract in the case of a ‘no deal Brexit’, as part of contingency plans to ease pressure on the port of Dover. However, the contract wasn’t awarded by a competitive tender process, with the government instead using rules which come into play when “unforeseen events” cause an “extreme emergency”. The firm, which plans to run services between Ramsgate in Kent and Osten in Belgium from March, also came under fire after it emerged it doesn’t currently own any ferries, and has yet to run a single service. It was later revealed they had copied their terms and conditions from both a food delivery website and an online clothes boutique. While quizzing Chris Heaton-Harris MP, part of the government’s Brexit department, the SNP’s Joanna Cherry also called for him to explain how the process could have been forced by “unforeseen events”. In the session he confirmed his own department has employed staff to plan for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit since its inception two years. “A range of operators were invited to tender, including new entrants into the market,” he told the committee. – iNews

Liam Fox urged to clarify the UK’s future relationship with Switzerland after leaving the EU

Liam Fox has been urged to clarify what the UK’s future relationship with Switzerland will be like after Brexit, the chairman of the International Trade Committee has urged. SNP MP Angus MacNeil accused the International Trade Secretary of making “blithe assurances of progress” on the transition of a trade agreement between the two countries. Last month, the Government announced that it had approved an agreement with the Swiss Federal Council allowing businesses to continue trading freely after Brexit. The agreement replicates the existing EU-Switzerland arrangements “as far as possible” and will come into effect at the end of the implementation period in January 2021 – or on March 29 if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal. – Evening Standard

No-deal Brexit only way to get back control of borders, insists Iain Duncan Smith

The former Tory leader reckons the UK can reap the benefits of Brexit from March 29 under a no-deal exit, rather than being left in ‘Brexit in name only purgatory’ under the Prime Minister’s deal. He described Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, which MPs will vote on next week, as ‘flawed’. If it was up to the former work and pensions secretary, he’d leave under World Trade Organisation terms. Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘Only by leaving the EU on WTO terms can the UK fully take back control of its borders and deal with these issues. ‘In taking back control of our migration policy we are also giving notice to industry that we will have to invest and train to a far greater degree than they have for some time. ‘The greatest benefit of leaving under No Deal is that our country can start to enjoy the benefits of Brexit from March 29th 2019, rather than being left in the BRINO (Brexit In Name Only) purgatory of Mrs May’s deal. ‘The British people have already waited for almost three years – they should not have to wait any longer.’ – Metro

UK still ‘hopes’ for EU Brexit assurances, says Business Secretary

The government is hoping for further assurances from the EU to win round skeptical backbenchers to supporting Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to Business Secretary Greg Clark. In a key vote Tuesday, MPs in the House of Commons are widely expected to vote down the Brexit deal that EU and U.K. negotiators struck in November. There is particular unease that the Northern Ireland backstop, which is designed to protect the Good Friday peace agreement by avoiding the need for a hard border, may prove impossible for the U.K. to exit. “I hope that our colleagues in Europe will also reassure skeptics in the U.K. that the Irish backstop is not intended to be a perpetual arrangement,” Clark told German paper Die Welt in an interview published Saturday, adding: “I hope that over the next few days the cabinet and the prime minister will be able to provide assurance that won’t be the case.” – Politico

Brussels to send backstop letters as May battles to save Brexit deal

EU officials are preparing letters on the backstop for Theresa May ahead of Tuesday’s vote, in a last-ditch effort orchestrated by Downing Street to save her Brexit deal. The wording has been teased out in closed sessions and phone calls between top aides from London and Brussels but it has not been shared among all the other EU governments. Martin Selmayr, secretary-general of the European Commission, has taken a key role in sketching out the contents, underlining his increasingly prominent role in the Brexit process. Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, another top EU official, has briefed ambassadors that the assurances offered “would be within the existing mandates”. That indicates they will highlight and underline what is already explicit in the agreement, rather than changing anything of substance. This will fall short of earlier British hopes for an expiration date on the backstop, an escape clause from the Northern Ireland protocol or a target date for agreeing a future trade agreement. – Sunday Times (£)

  • More than 100 MEPs from every corner of EU sign heartfelt letter asking British people to reconsider Brexit – Independent

Poland calls for some ‘give’ from Brussels on May’s deal

A senior EU minister has broken ranks over Brussels’ refusal to offer concessions to help salvage Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Speaking on a visit to London, Anna Maria Anders, the Polish Secretary of State for international dialogue, said the ongoing uncertainty over the UK’s departure from the bloc was a “disaster for everybody” and called for some “give” from Brussels. Ms Anders who has studied and worked in the UK, also described the prospect of a second referendum, as the “worst scenario, because we start all over again.” Ms Anders said: “I think a little bit of give on Brussels’ part would be good. The problem with Brussels and the EU generally is the fact it is so different to the way it was when Britain first joined the EU. “I think the bureaucracy in Brussels has become a real issue … Right now they are refusing to compromise. Frankly I just wish that we would get on with it. This period of uncertainty is a disaster. It is a disaster for everybody. It has weakened the leadership in this country terribly and people want to move on.” – Sunday Telegraph (£)

John Major: let’s take time out and revoke article 50

Sir John Major today demands that the government should revoke article 50 to halt Britain’s departure from the EU and hand control to parliament instead. Writing in The Sunday Times, the former Tory prime minister says Theresa May should rescind existing Brexit legislation and call another referendum, arguing that “a new process” of national consultation is required. Major warns that it would be “morally reprehensible” to slip into a no-deal Brexit, saying: “The cost . . . to our national wellbeing would be heavy and long-lasting. The benefits are close to zero. Every single household — rich or poor — would be worse off for many years to come. Jumping off a cliff never has a happy ending.” Calling for a halt to the process, he writes: “In the midst of chaos, it is always sensible to pause and think . . . The only sensible course now is for the government to revoke article 50 and suspend any decision on departure. Sunday Times (£)

Theresa May: It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country

The verdict of the referendum was clear – the people of the UK want our future to be outside the European Union. But behind the record number of votes cast lie many different views about exactly what that future should look like. The same is true of Parliament. The vast majority of MPs want to respect the result of the referendum, which is why nearly all of us voted to trigger Article 50 two years ago. But there is far less of a consensus about the manner of our departure from the EU. This week, I have seen more than 200 MPs from different parties who want to rule out No Deal. I have debated with MPs who want a Second Referendum as well as those who want to pursue what they believe to be the perfect deal which for them means no deal at all. And I have spoken with business and union leaders worried about jobs who want the certainty that comes from a smooth and orderly transition to our future relationship with the EU. As Prime Minister, it is my duty to navigate a path through this complex web of views. That is why, since 2016, I have been working tirelessly to pull together the huge variety of options and opinions into a Brexit that works for the whole of the UK. And, after negotiating hard, standing up for the UK, and winning concessions many said were impossible to achieve, that is what I have done. – Theresa May for the Sunday Express

Dominic Raab: Brexit was a roar for change – and Britain is capable of so much more than this

On Tuesday, MPs will vote on the terms of the Government’s proposed Brexit deal with the European Union. It is a bad deal, and Britain can do better. It’s time to stop treating Brexit as a gloomy book-keeping exercise in risk-management. MPs should vote against the deal, send a clear message to Brussels that the UK will not be bullied – and deliver the optimistic vision that, in 2016, fired up the biggest democratic mandate for change we’ve ever seen. When people voted Leave, it was a vote for change – a vote for hope over fear. Yet, this deal would keep us locked into swathes of EU laws without any democratic say, threaten the integrity of the UK, and prevent us from pursuing an independent trade policy. It suffocates the opportunities Brexit offers. The UK should be a global leader in free trade, removing tariffs and breaking down barriers to trade. We want to keep trading with our European partners, but the growth markets lie between Latin America and Asia. Reducing global barriers to trade is a sure way of boosting small and medium sized enterprises and raising productivity – to create the jobs for the next generation, raise wages for workers, and cut prices in the shops to ease the cost of living for working Britons. That’s who Brexit is for. – Dominic Raab MP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Brits have nothing to fear from Brexit but leaving with a deal is unquestionably best

It unquestionably would be better to leave the EU with a deal. This is partly because it would smooth the path and lessen the worry for those who do any form of business with the EU or are simply holidaymakers. Project Fear may not be true but it has made people fret, which is irresponsible on behalf of its progenitors and a pity for those affected.  More importantly, it is better for the UK to depart on friendly rather than hostile terms. Leaving the EU is not about dislike of our European neighbours, it is about escaping from a failed economic model and reasserting democratic control over the nation’s future. It makes sense to depart in a way that maintains as much friendship as possible. Whatever happens, the European Union will remain an important economic partner and market; on many international issues the UK and the EU will continue to have similar objectives and personal friendships; and inter-connections will remain. A deal would help ease all of this and even be worth making a modest payment for. Trade is helped by an absence of barriers, be they tariff or regulatory ones.  The EU specialises in erecting barriers for a fortress Europe. Leaving without a trade deal under WTO rules would allow us to look to the rest of the world sooner and open up opportunities. There really is nothing to fear but fear itself. – Jacob Rees-Mogg for The Sun

Steve Baker: Let’s be positive, and ready, for a no-deal Brexit

When I launched Conservatives for Britain in the Telegraph on 6 June 2015, I was filled with optimism. I wrote “free nation states should pursue together the ideal of international co-operation”, and “the post-War paradigm of state rules and controls is not merely less relevant but positively alien to a dynamic spontaneous order enabled by technology, liberty and the urge to co-operate with whomsoever may have common Interests”. Nothing has changed. I remain optimistic, even as Europe’s governing class has, as one brave civil servant explained this week, sought to triple lock us into the structures of the EU as we leave. Demoralisation through tales of doom to provoke despondency may be a key pillar of the strategy to reverse the biggest democratic decision in our history, but it will not work. The British are not a small and cowardly people. – Steve Baker MP for the Telegraph

Anthony Bamford: No Deal Brexit would end business uncertainty

With less than 80 days to go until we formally leave the EU, and after many months of political wrangling between Brussels and Whitehall, the current impasse makes the prospect of a so-called ‘no deal’ exit more likely than ever. This does not worry me at all.  At least, it will deliver the ‘clean break’ that I, and more than 17 million others, voted for in 2016. And, as we have seen in recent weeks, the UK and EU have – somewhat belatedly – started to find ways of dealing with any potential short-terms problems with air travel, medicines etc. As a businessman, I would have preferred a well-constructed negotiated settlement, including an agreement on how we trade with the EU in the future. As it stands, in the absence of a negotiated settlement that truly delivers on the result of the referendum, a ‘no deal’ exit means that we’ll default to trading with the EU on WTO terms. I am not concerned about this. In fact, it delivers certainty about how we will trade with our EU neighbours from the moment we leave the EU at 11pm on 29th of March. – Lord Bamford for the Telegraph

Bim Afolami: Brexit is in peril because we politicians have failed to grasp that it can be a springboard for total economic renewal

These are interesting times. Over the past two years, the Conservative Party has been trying to get Brexit out of the way and then move onto domestic policy, regarding the two as distinct and separate. This is both unrealistic in terms of timing, but is also a political error. The British people want, and deserve, hope and opportunity for the future after Brexit. The lack of connection between Brexit and domestic policy is, in my view, a core reason why we lost our majority in the 2017 election. We were asking for a mandate to deliver Brexit, but without offering a vision of what Brexit was for, and how it would make the lives of British people better. If Corbyn is the only change on offer at the next election, he will win. As a party, we need to show we can deliver national renewal into the 2020s. Imagine if, at the 2017 election, Brexit had been connected to a major reform programme for technical education and new investment programmes to regenerate northern cities and the most deprived areas. Many will say that we could have carried out those reforms anyway. We could have. But that misses the point. Our post-Brexit policy need not be constrained to those areas that were technically or legally prohibited within the EU, merely enabling things that we were previously prevented from doing. It should be about hearing the message voters were sending and re-evaluating all policy accordingly. – Bim Afolami MP for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Owen Paterson: No Deal would put the people back in control

The EU question has always been about sovereignty.  It is about who governs the United Kingdom and how. Parliament deliberately put the answer to this in the hands of the British people by passing the EU Referendum Act in 2015.  In 2016, the people gave their answer. They wished, via democratically-elected Members of Parliament, to govern themselves. Perhaps the real reason for the Establishment hysteria surrounding a No Deal Brexit under WTO rules is that we actually would be leaving.  The other options now being floated – extending Article 50, a second referendum, or the subjugation demanded by the Withdrawal Agreement – are designed to hold the UK in the EU’s orbit in the hope that it may be sucked back in. These options would completely fail to honour the biggest democratic verdict ever delivered in British history. The optimal Brexit outcome remains a wide-ranging, zero-tariff Free Trade Agreement as offered repeatedly by Donald Tusk.  Such a deal can still be negotiated, but not by the end of March. Having wasted so much time on the Withdrawal Agreement, leaving on WTO terms is now the only way to break free fully and build a more prosperous, independent future. – Owen Paterson MP for ConservativeHome

Arlene Foster: Deal will fall unless there is change of heart in Dublin and EU on backstop

Yesterday I hosted a meeting with the Republic of Ireland’s Foreign Minister and Tanaiste Simon Coveney in Stormont. We discussed how the Irish Government and Brussels negotiators needed to have a change of heart if the United Kingdom is to reach an agreement with the European Union before March 29. The DUP wants a sensible deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union. One that works for Northern Ireland and our nearest neighbours in the Republic of Ireland. The current withdrawal agreement is not that deal. As the House of Commons debates the withdrawal agreement, it is abundantly clear that the backstop is the problem. Indeed, with the backstop removed, despite other concerns, the withdrawal agreement would command much greater support in Parliament. I am very aware of concerns amongst business leaders who long for certainty. We want to make progress towards a better deal, but to do so will require the Irish Government to raise its voice in Brussels. Common sense needs to be applied. The notion of a hard border is nothing more than a bogeyman. Our focus is on getting a deal which protects the integrity of the United Kingdom market and upholds the precious Union between NI and Great Britain. – Arlene Foster MP for the Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Telegraph: MPs must vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal in large enough numbers to kill it forever

Not only should MPs vote against the Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday, but they must vote against it in large enough numbers to kill it dead, otherwise Theresa May will just keep bringing it back to the Commons until she gets her way. Her supporters say that the only alternative to her deal is the reversal of Brexit – a desperate bid to scare pro-Leave MPs into voting it through. But this is just not true. There are other options – and, yes, that includes no deal, where progress on the preparations is finally being made, if belatedly – and besides, if a treaty is a bad treaty then MPs are duty-bound to vote it down. Be in no doubt: this is an appalling, misconceived deal that would leave us trapped in the EU’s orbit, unable to govern ourselves properly and still arguing about Brexit for years to come. Those saying that Mrs May’s deal is the only one on the table are fraudulently limiting this great country’s options to a Brexit so light it is barely Brexit at all (the Government’s current position) or a reversal of Brexit to keep us within the EU (the effective position of the Remainers, including the Tory rebels). Both options frustrate the will of the people, and MPs have to consider the political backlash. If an MP’s goal is to delay or stop Brexit, let them be open about it and face the consequences at the ballot box. If, however, an MP is genuinely committed to upholding the result of the referendum, then on Tuesday there is only one thing in all good conscience that they can do: vote down Mrs May’s deal. – Telegraph (£) editorial

Dominic Lawson: Parliament takes back control — from the people

Debating points are all very well, but they don’t necessarily become truer — or even true at all — by being endlessly repeated. For example, it is forever being said by those opposed to Brexit: “The ‘leave’ campaign argued for a restoration of full parliamentary sovereignty. Now parliament is doing just that by ‘taking back control’ of Brexit. Ha!” But the argument of the leave campaign was for a restoration of accountability to British voters and away from a supranational authority: a fully sovereign parliament simply meant one not superseded by the European Court of Justice. Actually, there is no need for parliament to take a decision. Or rather, it already has: under article 50, which it voted to invoke, the UK will leave the EU on March 29 whether or not a subsequent withdrawal agreement is approved by MPs. That’s the sword of Damocles that Downing Street was holding over parliament: under all precedent there is no way that primary legislation — for example, to revoke article 50 — could be tabled without the consent of the executive. It now appears that the Speaker is prepared to enable this. – Dominic Lawson for The Sunday Times (£)

Macer Hall: It’s crunch time for battling PM

The opposition forces lined up against the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement appear insurmountable. Her strategists are focused on winning a few feet of political ground rather than achieving the breakthrough towards ultimate victory. Ahead of the Commons division about supporting her deal with Brussels, her generals are already plotting future battles amid expectations that she will have to return for a second and possibly third attempt at rallying a majority behind the package. EU officials are understood not to have seriously contemplated any change to their painstakingly compiled deal whatsoever. In the UK, the Remainers’ “Project Fear” campaign has plucked plenty of imaginary figures out of the air to raise jitters about the economic impact domestically of a no-deal Brexit. Yet in Brussels, there has been no concern raised about the very real figure of £39billion that the EU is set to lose out on in the event of no-deal. No Brexit deal with Britain is plainly not in the EU’s interests. Yet the Brussels bureaucracy’s track record in making key decisions has been dire and self-destructive in recent years. As Tuesday’s vote looms, MPs of all parties are wary of making any predictions about what will happen if and when the Government loses. None of them should rule out Britain quitting the EU without a deal – and plunging the EU into a financial crisis – simply as a result of the incompetence and pig-headedness of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his useless gang. – Sunday Express

James Forsyth: What will be May’s Plan B?

The Cabinet aren’t even waiting for the meaningful vote to be lost to start discussing Plan Bs. As I say in The Sun this morning, multiple ministers are expecting a major row when Cabinet meets on Tuesday morning—ahead of the meaningful vote. The row will be about what to do once the government has lost. One faction in the Cabinet believes that, in the words of one Secretary of State, ‘the only realistic route to go down is to force it into the EU’s hands’. May’s deal is flawed. How could it not be given the failure to prepare properly for no deal which has so weakened the UK’s negotiating position and the loss of the Tory majority in parliament which has hobbled Mrs May. But the reality is that if this deal doesn’t pass, Brexit will only be weakened. The government doesn’t want no deal and doesn’t think it could get it through this parliament even if it did. That means it will soften the deal to try and get Commons support for it. – James Forsyth for The Spectator

Janet Daley: In a final act of betrayal, a cross-party Remainer alliance has conspired to kill off Brexit

I wouldn’t get too excited about the prospect of no-deal if I were you. It may be what you want. It may be what I want. It may have the most credible arguments in its defence of any of the current positions on offer. Indeed, it may seem to be becoming more plausible by the day. But the people who are now joining forces in their determination to stop it are very likely to be invincible. In fact, a lot of the talk about the imminence of no-deal is being orchestrated by them. Paradoxically, the more feasible the Unthinkable Outcome appears, the more acceptable the once Unthinkable Strategies of resistance become. How about an alliance between a Tory government and the most irresponsible, extremist Labour party in living memory? Number Ten and its Cabinet loyalists are working on it. Anybody up for abandoning Ulster and allowing it to be annexed by the EU (in effect, by the Irish Republic) in the interests of a cross party alliance to save Theresa May’s “deal”? You bet. I was reminded last week of Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay on the hedgehog and the fox: “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The clever, disputatious, idealistic Leave fox wants many things – the return of national sovereignty, an open and limitless economic future, a return to accountable government. But the Remain hedgehog wants one big thing: to reverse this wretched popular decision. I fear that its ruthless, single-minded determination has won. – Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph (£)

Robert Peston: Theresa May’s single most important strategic mistake

If May had spent more – or any – time negotiating with MPs from all parties to establish a consensus on an acceptable post-Brexit relationship with the EU, she would stand a decent chance of winning the notorious meaningful vote. But Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of a post-Brexit relationship with the EU is a million miles from that of many of his own MPs and from that of Remainer Tory MPs and even further away from that of Brexiter Tory MPs. The only thing that unites most of them is their contempt for the backstop. Which is why I cannot find any minister who thinks there is any way she can win on Tuesday – and most expect her to lose big. Unless May can persuade EU leaders that she would win the vote on the back of a climbdown on the backstop, they will not put themselves through the humiliation of such a retreat. We are heading, as the PM warned, for uncharted waters. And Theresa May – some would say – only has herself to blame. – Robert Peston for The Spectator

Tony Parsons: If the elite stop us from leaving the EU, those on the fringes of society will feel enabled

The British people are starting to realise that the fix is in. Brexit looks like it is never going to happen because the British establishment are simply not going to allow it. Brexit will be blocked by a majority in the House of Commons, our elected representatives, who smile, bow, scrape and promise us anything and lie through their teeth when they want our votes. And it will be blocked by the House of Lords, the Civil Service and by every living ex-Prime Minister, including Tony Blair, the bottom of the sewer, whose treacherous collaboration with a hostile foreign force would have seen him banged up in wartime. And it will be blocked by the Labour Party, former defenders of the working man, erstwhile champions of the working class, who now view all Labour supporters who voted for Brexit as thick, racist bigots. And Brexit will be crippled by the BBC, our licence-funded state broad-caster, which can never quite stop the anti-Brexit sneers from breaking through. Can you imagine sitting in the canteen at Broadcasting House and revealing that you had voted for Brexit? They would all choke on their avocado focaccia. And Brexit will be blocked by the great embodiment of British fair play and neutrality, John Bercow, the House of Commons Speaker, who probably has “B******s to Brexit” tattooed on his flabby little buttocks. It is a powerful coalition! The full might of the British establishment has joined forces to overthrow the biggest democratic vote in our history. – Tony Parsons for The Sun

The Sun: Softening Brexit further in a desperate plea for Labour votes will be the final nail in PM’s coffin

Her deal is already toxic to Brexiter backbenchers and the DUP on whom she relies for power. Cave in to Remainers further, for example over a permanent customs union tying us to the EU forever, and the Government is kaput. The PM’s only solution after defeat on Tuesday is to return immediately to Brussels, preferably with DUP chief Arlene Foster, and tell the EU it’s now or never for a legally-binding assurance on the Irish backstop. It should be enough for the DUP and maybe Tory eurosceptics faced with the real threat of Brexit never happening. If this Remainer-stuffed Government nullifies or destroys Brexit they can kiss goodbye to their jobs and their party. They will have gifted everything, our economy and our national security, to Corbyn’s anti-western Marxist rabble. Britain will never forgive them. – The Sun says

  • Yellow vest activist James Goddard arrested over Anna Soubry abuse claims – Sunday Times (£)
  • New Brexit referendum is most popular path if May’s deal is defeated, poll claims – Independent
  • Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin forced to end pub Brexit debate as he’s confronted by angry remainers – iNews
  • Tesco and M&S reveal stockpiling amid concerns of a ‘no deal’ Brexit – City A.M.
  • Lord Hattersley calls for second referendum – BBC News