Theresa May papers over the cracks as Cabinet backs her Brexit deal: Brexit News for Thursday 15th November

Theresa May papers over the cracks as Cabinet backs her Brexit deal: Brexit News for Thursday 15th November

Theresa May papers over the cracks as Cabinet backs her Brexit deal…

Theresa May confronted her mutinous party with the threat of “no Brexit at all” after she forced her draft deal with the EU through a divided cabinet. Esther McVey, the welfare secretary, was believed to be on the verge of quitting last night after clashes at the end of a marathon five-hour meeting. She was shouted down by the chief whip and cabinet secretary after she demanded a vote by ministers on the deal. Although Ms McVey was one of nine senior ministers to criticise the deal, Mrs May emerged claiming to have secured cabinet backing for a “decisive step” towards finalising Brexit at a special summit on November 25. The prime minister admitted, however, that she faced “difficult days ahead” as Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the Brexiteer Tory backbenchers, rejected the draft agreement, saying that it would make Britain “a permanent rule-taker” and warned that it could trigger a vote of no confidence. – The Times (£)

  • Cabinet backs draft agreement – BBC News
  • Cracks appear after May statement – with questions over future of Raab – Express
  • May braced for backlash after winning ferocious Brexit battle – FT (£)

> WATCH: Theresa May delivers her statement following the Cabinet meeting

> On BrexitCentral: Text of Theresa May’s statement announcing that the Cabinet has backed the draft Withdrawal Agreement

…but this morning sees the first ministerial resignation as Shailesh Vara quits as Northern Ireland Minister…

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, has resigned. Mr Vara, a Conservative MP, has left his post over the Brexit draft deal. Agreement has been reached between the UK and EU on the Irish border, the main sticking point in the talks. The North West Cambridgeshire MP has been at the Northern Ireland Office since January, when Karen Bradley became Northern Ireland Secretary. In a statement Mr Vara said the draft Brexit agreement the UK has reached with the EU “leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign state.” – BBC News

…while Jacob Rees-Mogg urges MPs to join him in opposing the deal…

The Prime Minister insisted the Cabinet had taken a decision “in the national interest” and warned MPs that if they voted against the deal they would be left with “no deal or no Brexit at all”. But last night she appeared to have lost the support both of Eurosceptic Tories and the DUP, on whose MPs she relies for her parliamentary majority. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the 60-strong ERG group of Leave-supporting Tory MPs, wrote to his colleagues to say he “cannot support the proposed agreement” and calling on them to join him in voting against it. Several Eurosceptic Tory MPs were last night reported to have submitted letters to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, demanding a confidence vote in Mrs May after saying it was time to change leader. If 48 letters are submitted, a vote will be triggered automatically. The DUP also vowed to vote against the deal because the proposed “backstop” to avoid a hard border in Ireland if there is no trade deal would mean different rules for the UK and Northern Ireland. Sammy Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesman, told Channel 4 News that the EU was trying to achieve “what the IRA couldn’t achieve” by forcing through a deal that would weaken the Union. Sources close to the DUP leader Arlene Foster said last night that the inclusion in the proposed deal of new north-south bodies in Ireland – which the DUP has always resisted – was a deal-breaker. – Telegraph (£)

> On BrexitCentral: Text of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s letter urging MPs to oppose the draft Withdrawal Agreement

> Simon Clarke MP on BrexitCentral today: As humiliations go, accepting this Brexit deal would be complete and unendurable

…and Tory Brexiteers sharpen their pens for letters of no confidence in May

A wave of Brexiteers are poised to submit letters of no confidence in Theresa May, hardliners claimed last night, prompting predictions of a contest within days. The leadership of the European Research Group (ERG), which represents about 50 or more hard Brexiteers, decided to start pulling support from Mrs May yesterday afternoon. Key ERG figures urged colleagues to write letters of no confidence to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee. As the cabinet meeting dragged into its fifth hour, however, the group stopped short of asking that they be sent amid growing expectations of resignations within days. Under the rules, Sir Graham must hold a vote of no confidence if he receives 48 letters from Tory MPs. – The Times (£)

How Brexit Cabinet erupted with a ‘massive bust-up’ between Esther McVey and Theresa May

When Theresa May emerged on the steps of Downing Street on Wednesday night and said there were “difficult days ahead”, she was far from exaggerating. The Prime Minister had just seen a Cabinet meeting that was scheduled to finish at 5pm overrun by two hours after what she described as an “impassioned” debate by ministers. And while Mrs May assured the public that she had secured “collective” support from the Cabinet for her deal, No 10 was on resignation watch. According to Cabinet sources, 11 ministers – equivalent to a third of the Cabinet – spoke out against the plans during furious exchanges. Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, was among the most vocal, with Cabinet sources describing her as “emotional” and “aggressive” towards the Prime Minister. During a tense, three minute confrontation she repeatedly demanded a vote in Cabinet so that ministers could put their positions on the record, but was rebuffed by both Mrs May and Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill. – Telegraph (£)

  • Blow-by-blow of bitter Cabinet meeting: ‘Emotional’ Esther McVey is on resignation watch after her demands for ministers to vote on May’s Brexit deal were rebuffed – Daily Mail

Scottish Secretary David Mundell backs the Brexit deal but angry Scottish Tory MPs warn of Union threat

Theresa May has persuaded David Mundell to swing behind her Brexit deal rather than resign after furious Scottish Tory MPs warned it threatened the Union. Amid strong speculation he was considering quitting, the Scottish Secretary emerged from a marathon emergency Cabinet meeting to say he was “satisfied” with the agreement. Mr Mundell said he had been assured that special arrangements for Northern Ireland would not “undermine the economic or constitutional integrity of the UK.” He also said that the UK will become an “independent coastal state” in fisheries negotiations after the transition period ends in December 2020. Mr Mundell was last night starting the task of trying to win over his dozen Scottish colleagues. Their opposition would make it virtually impossible for Mrs May to get the deal through the Commons. But several angry MPs told the Telegraph that giving Northern Ireland a closer relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK was a boon for the SNP. – Telegraph (£)

Scottish Conservative MPs split by post-Brexit fisheries fears

Scottish Conservative MPs are split over whether to support Theresa May’s Brexit deal amid fears over its impact on the “sovereignty” of Britain’s waters. David Mundell, the Scottish secretary, announced that he will support the plan, hours after joining his 12 backbench colleagues in threatening to vote it down. In a letter sent to the prime minister shortly before cabinet met, the MPs said that they would not support any agreement with the EU that prevented the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares. However, Mr Mundell said as he left No 10 last night that he was “satisfied with the deal” and later issued a statement reiterating his conditional support. “I was content to move to the next stage of the process on the basis that Brexit will deliver for our fishing industry — as I and colleagues set out in our letter — and . . . that arrangements for Northern Ireland will not undermine the economic or constitutional integrity of the UK,” he said. – The Times (£)

> Austin MItchell today on BrexitCentral: It looks like we’re seeing another betrayal of the British fishing industry

The DUP tear into May’s Brexit plan branding it a ‘bad deal’ which its MPs will not vote for…

The DUP today lashed Theresa May’s Brexit plan as a ‘bad deal’ which MPs will reject – as their pact to prop her up in No10 hangs in the balance. Sammy Wilson, the party’s Brexit spokesman, said many in the country will be ‘appalled’ at the deal the PM  has thrashed out with Brussels. And he vowed that the DUP will vote against it when the deal comes heads to Parliament for a titanic battle next month. His words are a major blow for Mrs May as the DUP’s 10 MPs are propping the Tories up in Number Ten in a confidence and supply deal. The party’s leader Arlene Foster flew down to Britain this morning and is expected to hold showdown talks with the PM in No10 tonight. But Leo Varadkar, the Irish PM, welcomed the ‘decisive progress’ made in the Brexit talks and thanked Mrs May for safeguarding the peace process in Northern Ireland. If the DUP pull their support for the Tories then they could send Mrs May’s Government crashing down. – Daily Mail

> WATCH: Sammy Wilson MP on Sky News

…as Tory chairman Brandon Lewis admits there is ‘work to be done’ to get DUP support

The chairman of the Conservative Party has admitted there is “work to do” to get the DUP to back the prime minister’s draft Brexit agreement. Theresa May secured Cabinet approval of the draft agreement on Wednesday evening, but faces an uphill battle to get it through a Commons vote. Appearing on ITV’s Peston, Brandon Lewis denied the deal with the DUP propping up the Tory government was “in tatters”. He told the programme: “I do accept we have got work to do over the next few weeks with colleagues as they go through the detail of this deal.” He also said the agreement will not mean the UK will be stuck in the customs union “for years”, which many Brexit supporting MPs are fearful of. – ITV News

EU leaders welcome ‘decisive step’ in Brexit process…

EU chiefs have hailed the deal on Britain’s withdrawal treaty as a “decisive step” in navigating Brexit, as national governments across the bloc began detailed scrutiny of a pact that could govern relations with the UK for years. Even as Theresa May faced a political backlash at home from sections of her Conservative party, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, welcomed an “important moment in this extraordinary negotiation”, and urged all sides to “take their responsibilities” in pushing the talks to a successful conclusion. His comments pave the way for Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, to convene a special summit of EU leaders later this month to bless the deal and refocus Brexit talks on to planning the long-term future relationship with Britain. – FT (£)
Draft agreement a ‘decisive’ step forward, says Barnier – BBC News

  • Provisional UK Brexit deal with EU difficult to secure, says Barnier – Guardian

Emergency EU summit called for 25th November…

European Council President Donald Tusk and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Thursday welcomed the British cabinet approval of a draft Bexit deal and called for a November 25 EU summit to endorse the agreement. “If nothing extraordinary happens, we will hold a European Council meeting in order to finalise and formalise the Brexit agreement. It will take place on Sunday, the 25th of November at 9:30am,” Tusk said, a day after the 585-page withdrawal agreement was approved by the British cabinet. Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Barnier welcomed the progress made on the Brexit deal, but warned, “Our work is not finished. We still have a long road ahead on both sides.” – France 24

…but the fog of Brexit war can’t hide Brussels’ win…

Brussels is happy. Westminster is in chaos. After 18-months of fractious negotiations, the U.K. prime minister squeaked her Brexit deal through her divided top team Wednesday and now faces yet another struggle to survive, let alone steer the deal through an angry parliament that must sign off the divorce treaty in the coming weeks. Theresa May’s fate now rests on her ability to win support for the deal from the public and parliament — both of which remain deeply cynical about the agreement. With the Brexiteer wing of her party increasingly hostile, May is relying on the support of moderate backbench Conservative MPs — and the Labour Party — to get her deal through parliament, and neither on Wednesday appeared willing to come to her aid. In Brussels, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier hailed “decisive progress,” a signal to European Council President Donald Tusk to call a special summit of EU leaders later this month in order to formally approve the agreement. Underneath the obfuscating political fog, sits a 585-page draft international treaty which protects the EU’s economic interests and inches it closer to its long-term political objectives, while leaving the U.K. as boxed in as ever by its own red lines. The central choices of Brexit remain, delayed but starkly unavoidable as the U.K. looks to begin negotiations to settle its future relationship with the European Union. – Politico

…although UK-EU divisions are already apparent as Michel Barnier signals future trade relies on Britain remaining in a customs union…

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator, declared on Wednesday night that “decisive progress” had been made in UK-EU talks, paving the way for a final deal, but signalled that the future trading relationship would be based on Britain remaining in a permanent customs union with the bloc. Moments after Mr Barnier had finished speaking, a UK official denied that was the British understanding of the agreement. “That is their negotiating position, not our negotiating position,” the official told The Telegraph in a sign of early divisions over the newly minted deal. “Our objective is to abolish customs duties and quotas for all goods based on what we’re proposing in the Withdrawal Agreement, a single customs territory,’ he said during a Brussels conference after Theresa May announced the Cabinet had backed the plan. His comments confirmed that the EU wants to negotiate the future free trade agreement on the proviso that Britain is in a customs union with the EU, which would help prevent a hard border in Ireland but could curb the UK’s ability to conduct an independent trade policy. A 15 page political declaration setting out the broad terms of the trade deal was published alongside the 585 page Withdrawal Agreement. – Telegraph (£)

…while Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomes Cabinet backing Brexit deal

The breakthrough on Brexit proved that the European Union had succeeded in turning a political promise into a legally-binding treaty, Leo Varadkar said last night. The Taoiseach described the draft withdrawal agreement as “stronger” than that set out in December, but said it was “impossible to predict” if it would get through the British parliament. The Dáil will vote on the draft treaty in a move not legally necessary but that would shore-up support for the document, he indicated. Theresa May confirmed that her cabinet had signed-off on the 585-page document during a five-hour meeting in Downing Street yesterday. The British prime minister acknowledged that there would be “difficult days ahead” starting with outlining the deal to MPs today. She will face a hostile reception from Tory Brexiteers in a Commons statement as they weigh up whether to trigger a vote of no confidence. If she wins she cannot be challenged for another year. – The Times (£)

  • Varadkar praises May’s ‘mettle’ in talks – but warns Brexit could still be blocked by MPs – Express
  • Leo Varadkar takes care as Brexit prize within grasp – FT (£)
  • Irish PM heralds ‘pretty good’ day as he secures Brexit guarantee – Guardian

Labour ‘is wrong to feign unity on deal’…

Labour is facing its “moment of truth” over Brexit and should not pretend it is not as divided as the Tories, backbench MPs have told the party’s leadership. Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, briefed the weekly meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party on Monday and set out the policy hammered out at its annual conference in Liverpool. He reminded MPs and peers that Labour had set six tests for the deal, including that it should provide the “exact same benefits” as staying in the EU’s customs union and single market. In a carefully constructed compromise, Labour says it will vote against any deal that fails the tests and press for a general election. Should it fail to secure one then “all options are on the table”, including support for a second referendum. The fragile truce was starting to fray last night, however, as MPs revealed that they had challenged Mr Starmer and other party leaders to accept that it would be impossible for the party to hold a common position. “He was congratulated on a good job so far but told that now that it was decision time it was going to be impossible to hold the line,” one veteran Labour figure said. “It’s better to acknowledge that there are differences rather than pretend we all believe the same thing.” – The Times (£)

…as Theresa May meets Jeremy Corbyn to appeal for Labour to support her Brexit deal…

According to Sky News’ Faisal Islam, Mr Corbyn met with the Prime Minister privately following a day of opposition from the Labour party, her party and her Cabinet. Prior to the meeting, Mr Corbyn tweeted: “This is a bad deal which isn’t in the interest of the whole country.” He had attacked Mrs May’s proposals during Prime Minister’s Questions earlier that day. He said: “After two years of bungled negotiations, from what we know of the government’s deal it’s a failure in its own terms. It doesn’t deliver a Brexit to the whole country, it breaches the prime minister’s own red lines, it doesn’t deliver a strong economic deal that supports jobs and industry. And we know they haven’t prepared seriously for no deal.” Mrs May also held a five-hour meeting with her Cabinet before her meeting with the Labour leader in which it is thought at least 10 ministers gave vocal opposition to the proposed deal. – Express

…but Labour is confident even its Brexiteers will vote against May’s deal

Labour is confident it can convince the majority of potential rebels to vote with their whip against the prime minister’s proposed Brexit deal, with a number of the party’s prominent Eurosceptics suggesting they would vote it down. Tory sources had briefed that they believed up to 20 would back the government, but a number appeared to be already wavering on Wednesday, putting the deal at significant risk. On Wednesday night, the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and chief whip, Nick Brown, met May for a 20-minute meeting after she briefed her cabinet, in order to discuss the run up to the vote. Corbyn tweeted after the meeting: “This is a bad deal which isn’t in the interests of the whole country.” A Labour source said Corbyn had stressed importance of giving parliament and committees sufficient time and information for serious scrutiny of the deal and that Labour would put down its own amendment when the deal was put to parliament. – Guardian

Theresa May to reveal plan to end free movement before putting Brexit deal to MPs

Theresa May plans to formally detail plans to end EU free movement just days before putting her Brexit deal to MPs, The Sun can reveal. Sources claimed a delayed Immigration White Paper will finally be published the first week of December. This means it would follow a planned EU Council but come before a crunch ‘Meaningful Vote’ on Brexit in the Commons in the middle of the month. Labour insiders believe a vote is earmarked for December 10. The White Paper will detail plans to take back control of borders by ripping up EU free movement rules to end unlimited EU immigration. Insiders claim its release will be timed to win over ‘softer’ Eurosceptics still weighing up whether to vote down the Brexit agreement. One source claimed: “This way it won’t antagonise the Europeans and can be used to remind MPs that the Government is taking back control of the UK’s borders.” – The Sun

Smooth Brexit will cost £2,000 per household, claims IMF

Theresa May’s plans for a comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union would cost the UK no more than £50 billion in lost growth over the next decade, according to the International Monetary Fund. The world’s financial policeman has sketched out Brexit scenarios as part of its annual health check of the UK economy and concluded that Britain would be worse off under all options. A disorderly no-deal Brexit would risk a recession, it suggested, but the prime minister’s preferred plan would involve only minimal damage. Under the IMF’s base case of a smooth transition to a free trade agreement, the long-term cost to GDP would be between 2.6 per cent and 3.9 per cent relative to no Brexit. It said. The reduction was largely down to additional trade frictions caused by leaving the single market and lower migration. However, Philip Gerson, head of the IMF’s UK team, signalled that Mrs May’s deal would be better than the base case. He said: “The Chequers deal would involve slightly lower barriers, at least for goods trade.” – The Times (£)

  • No-deal Brexit will cost UK staggering £140bn, warns IMF – Express

Nick Timothy: This is not a compromise – it’s a capitulation by our Prime Minister

The silence in Brussels is revealing. If the draft Withdrawal Agreement had included wins for Britain, and compromises by the Europeans, the Commission would have been spinning furiously. It knows it has won hands down, so it feels no need to reassure its own audiences. Of course, British compromises were inevitable. But the proposal presented to Cabinet is a capitulation. Worse, it is a capitulation not only to Brussels, but to the fears of the British negotiators themselves, who have shown by their actions that they never believed Brexit can be a success. This includes, I say with the heaviest of hearts, the Prime Minister. If you believe people voted for Brexit to control immigration, and you fear it brings only economic downsides, you might consider the draft agreement the least bad outcome for Britain. If you believe Brexit can restore surrendered sovereignty, reform our economy and change the country, you will find it a horror show. – Nick Timothy for the Telegraph (£)

Andrea Jenkyns: May’s catastrophic plan poisons the well for her successors

I am deeply concerned that the British people have been betrayed. From what I am hearing, the Prime Minister’s draft agreement will result in a bad deal and fails to deliver on the promises she made. For many, a potential withdrawal agreement will come as a relief after a tiresome and drawn-out process. No-one would like to get us out of the EU faster than me, but the details of this agreement are incredibly important, and unless we get this right there could be huge ramifications for the party and country. It appears we could be staying in the customs union, perhaps indefinitely. This would be completely unacceptable, leaving us unable to take advantage of the freedoms that Brexit offers, and tied from negotiating free trade deals with non-EU countries. – Andrea Jenkyns MP for the Telegraph (£)

Kate Hoey: It is hard to see how I and fellow Labour MPs can back the PM’s potential travesty of a deal

All of Westminster now waits to see the details of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, but the early indications are that it is a travesty of what people voted for in the referendum. The striking thing is how few politicians are speaking up for it. As I talk to fellow Labour MPs – Remainers and Leavers alike – there is little expectation that this will be a package that any of us can support. Some of my Labour colleagues still harbour a desire for another referendum and hope to stop Brexit yet. I don’t believe that Jeremy Corbyn is one of these, and I am sure he would much prefer to be looking at how, after Brexit, a Labour government would be able to implement a radical manifesto without having to adhere to EU rules on state aid and re-nationalising our railways. Other colleagues, like myself, want to leave the EU and all its institutions so that we can have real control over our borders, our laws and our money. A similar division exists in the Conservative ranks, and it looks like what the Prime Minister will present to us will please virtually no-one. – Kate Hoey MP for the Telegraph (£)

James Forsyth: May’s Brexit Cabinet – the rows, the threats, the deal

Five hours of Cabinet discussion produced several memorable moments. Esther McVey’s push for a formal vote, I understand, went on for several minutes and ended in Mark Sedwill, the new Cabinet Secretary, looking up the rules on procedure. Perhaps more worryingly for Number 10, both Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary and Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary, urged Theresa May to go to Brussels and get more before putting the deal to parliament. – James Forsyth for The Spectator

Maria Caulfield: The British people deserve better than bad solutions to a myth

If the speculation surrounding the proposal is correct and this is really as good as it gets, this deal is selling voters, their families and our country short. It is a view held by so many that is seems to be doing the impossible: uniting those who voted Leave and Remain against the deal. There is a worry that the possible deal will prevent us from taking back control of anything -— we would be abandoning control of our laws and our borders, and paying £39 billion for the privilege. We should walk away with our heads held high and save £39 billion of taxpayers’ money and trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules instead. As someone once said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.” The EU has a reasonable concern in wanting to maintain the integrity of the single market and customs union as the UK leaves. Northern Ireland, being a future land border with the EU, has the potential to put that at risk. Initially it was thought that the only way to deal with this was to implement a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which would be unacceptable in terms of jeopardising the peace process. The backstop mechanism was therefore devised. – Maria Caulfield MP for The Times (£)

Norman Lamont: If this deal collapses, Britain must ignore the scaremongers and choose No Deal

As a former Chancellor, I am no stranger to Treasury forecasts. My most famous (or infamous) prediction came in the autumn of 1991 with the economy in the grip of a recession. Despite the metaphorical frost on the ground, I detected the “green shoots of recovery”. I was much maligned at the time, but within a year sustained growth had resumed and by 1997 we were able to bequeath to Tony Blair a golden inheritance of growth and sound public finances. Today’s Treasury has little time for green shoots –  it sees a blackened wasteland in assessing the impact of the biggest shift in UK policy for decades. During the referendum campaign of 2016, highlights (or lowlights) of the Treasury crystal ball, all to follow immediately after a vote to Leave, included the following: the average British household would be £4,300 a year worse off; a year-long recession with an immediate drop of 3-6 per cent of national output; a punishment Budget featuring tax rises and spending cuts to fill a black hole in the public finances. – Lord Lamont for the Telegraph (£)

Ross Thomson: Why I will not vote for Theresa May’s deal

No self-respecting nation would accept the reported terms of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, writes Ross Thomson MP. I campaigned for a Leave vote in 2016 because I believe Britain can thrive outwith the EU. Throughout the negotiations, I have backed the Prime Minister and voiced my support for a deal that ensures we can seize the huge opportunities that lie ahead. However, I have also been clear that we cannot have a deal at any cost. I am a Unionist and I fought with head, heart and soul to stop the SNP breaking up the UK in 2014. If the backstop arrangements mean a separate regulatory regime for Northern Ireland or closer alignment with the EU, then that is something no Unionist could support. – Ross Thomson MP for The Scotsman

Andrew Lilico: No deal is better than this deal

Just as the fine print can make an apparently good deal into a bad one, it can also do the reverse. The Cabinet apparently has a few hours to read through 500 pages of fine print, without any outside scrutiny or analysis, before today’s cabinet meeting. The chances they will have the foggiest idea what implications May’s Brexit deal fine print has to be slim to none. But since, at the time of writing, UK commentators have not seen the fine print, there must be the tiny chance it changes everything. However, let us assume it does not, and that the Brexit deal does indeed take the form the leaks suggest: Great Britain staying in a customs union and Northern Ireland staying in a customs union and Single Market unless and until the European Court decides some future agreement with the EU meets the EU’s requirements for the Irish border, the EU setting the UK’s social, environmental, competition and state aid policies without any UK influence, indefinitely, plus a few pages of waffle that commits to neither Chequers nor Canada+ as our future trade deal in exchange for the UK paying £40 billion. – Andrew Lilico for CapX

Daniel Hannan: Theresa May’s Brexit deal purgatory is even worse than remaining OR leaving the EU

Let’s try a little thought experiment. Can you imagine a Brexit outcome so appalling that Leavers would rather stay in than accept it, and Remainers would rather leave cleanly than accept it? It’s quite a challenge, but let’s have a go. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that Britain ended up with all the costs and obligations of European Union membership, but with no voice, no vote and no veto. Suppose we had to accept all the EU’s rules — on technical standards, on environmental protection, on labour law — but no longer had any say over what those rules should be. Suppose we had to submit to a trade and tariff regime designed solely to benefit the other 27. I hope both sides could agree that such an outcome would be the worst of all possible worlds. And yet, that is where we appear to have ended up. First, under the transition, we shall explicitly be non-voting members for two years. – Daniel Hannan MEP for The Sun

> LISTEN: Dan Hannan MEP on BBC 5 Live

John Longworth: Businesspeople must shun Mrs May’s disastrous Brexit deal – we can do much better without it

We will hear a lot of noise over the coming days and weeks from multinationals, often foreign-owned or run, calling for acceptance of the deal being put forward by the Prime Minister, because it is in their narrow vested interests that the UK. should remain trapped in the customs union and tied to EU regulation. Multinationals see their advantage in segmenting markets, producing cheaply and selling at the highest possible margin. Barriers to entry of competition are a positive for them, gaming complex regulatory systems are their meat and drink. If foreign-owned and run organisations have any loyalty beyond maximising executive bonuses and shareholder return, it is to their homeland. It is little wonder that some of the most vociferous proponents of a bad deal for Britain have been the German-owned Siemens and BMW, the Franco/German owned and German-run Airbus and the French-owned Nissan. Even the Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover has a German Chief Executive. – John Longworth for the Telegraph (£)

Philip Stephens: Parliament should reject Theresa May’s rotten Brexit deal

The echoes of Suez grow louder. In 1956 Anthony Eden’s failed expedition to regain control of the Suez Canal forced Britain to take a long hard look in the mirror. In place of the great imperial power they had imagined, the elites saw a nation struggling to retrieve lost glories. Brexit has forced another self-examination. The Brexiters promised “Global Britain” — a great power reborn, cutting a dash across every continent. Instead, the reflection shows Britain bowing to terms set by the Europe it was supposed to be escaping. The best argument for the deal negotiated by Theresa May’s government is that it is an expression of the balance of power between Britain and its neighbours. Michael Gove, a cabinet Brexiter, used to claim Britain “held all the cards”. Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary, said it could “have its cake and eat it”. The prime minister fell into the trap and said the EU would bend itself out of shape to offer a “bespoke” settlement. Michel Barnier, Brussels’ chief negotiator, never once blinked. A plan that put Conservative party unity above serving the interests of the nation will deliver neither. – Philip Stephens for FT (£)

Robert Tombs: Imposing a ‘backstop’ on Northern Ireland will infringe the human rights of its citizens.

In the proposed Northern Irish arrangements, Northern Ireland is likely to be in the Customs Union, much of the Single Market for Goods, and subject to other conditions considered by the EU to be necessary for north-south cooperation, such as regulations on state aid. To judge by recent demands, the Common Fisheries Policy may be added to the EU’s demands made in the name of keeping the North-South border unpoliced. There will be a considerable EU legislative presence, but Northern Ireland will be unrepresented in the European Parliament and in the Council of Ministers by a government it elects. The backstop itself might be circumvented for a time by giving the EU these powers (and more) over the entire United Kingdom. However, the point of the backstop is that in all circumstances – unless the EU agrees an alternative, which appears unlikely – the EU will have significant power in Northern Ireland. – Robert Tombs for Briefings for Brexit

The Sun says: Don’t trick us PM, it is time for the decades of lies that took us into the EU and kept us there to end

It is time for the decades of lies that took us into the EU and kept us there to end. It is time to be straight with us, Prime Minister. Britain is a eurosceptic nation. In the 1970s, Ted Heath and Harold Wilson both knew we would baulk at belonging to a Common Market that robbed us of our national independence. So they hid its true purpose — “ever closer union”, leading to a superstate with one currency. The public was reassured our sovereignty would not be surrendered to any meaningful degree. The Tory and Labour leaders both knew this was a lie. But they kept quiet when signing us up in 1973 and when holding the first referendum in 1975. Voters were betrayed from the start. And the pattern was set. In 1992 John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty, creating the EU, without risking the public vote that saw it initially rejected by the Danes and Irish. – The Sun says

Brexit in Brief

  • Labour could win power if it backs a second referendum – Lord Adonis for The Times (£)
  • A rejection of the Barnier Brexit plan would hurl all Europe into existential crisis – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)
  • Tory members must back the deal and Theresa May her – Lord Feldman for ConservativeHome
  • The 51 MPs who have pledged to Stand Up for Brexit must keep their promise – Rebecca Ryan for ConservativeHome
  • If the Commons rejects the deal, here are three alternatives – Alex Morton for ConservativeHome
  • Flawed, yes, but this deal will give us Leavers much of what we wanted – and may heal a divided nation – Stephen Glover for Daily Mail
  • This is no deal – this is just a very bad Withdrawal Agreement to make us pay and bind us in – John Redwood’s Diary
  • The 10 groups of MPs in the House of Commons Theresa May must deal with to get her plan passed – Telegraph (£)
  • Brexit ‘may not happen at all’ if Conservative MPs wreck Theresa May’s deal, says William Hague – Independent
  • Donald Trump berated Theresa May over Brexit and Iran sanctions in phone call – The Sun
  • Brussels ‘delighted’ that Angela Merkel and Macron want to create European military force – Independent