Irony Alert: Brazen Bercow Sends MPs ‘Behaviour Guide’

In a stunningly ironic move, the Speaker has decided to send all MPs a pamphlet entitled “Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House of Commons.” In an accompanying letter he stresses that “This document should serve as a gentle reminder to longer-serving colleagues, or as a useful guide for those others who have recently started the journey on their parliamentary career.” Bercow might do well to “find the time to acquaint [himself] with the content”…

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Hancock: Time For “Full Preparation” For No Deal

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Newsnight last night that the NHS has gone to “full no deal planning” and added that there is a need for the “whole of government” to go to that position “because it’s the responsible thing to do”. This morning’s Cabinet meeting is set to centre around the issue, with Philip Hammond set to release a futher £2 billion to government departments for planning. Several departments are named and shamed in The Sun for supposedly having only spent a third of their no deal allocations so far…

No deal will have its challenges but it can largely be managed with sensible policy responses from the UK. One unnamed Cabinet minister tells The Sun: “No Deal must look credible, and the EU must be made to understand we’re serious.” It would have done more to make the UK’s position credible if full preparations had started when May first set out her “no deal is better than a bad deal” position years ago. Better late than never…

America’s Take on May’s Predicament

Guido is not convinced the impressions (or the scriptwriting) are particularly good, but Saturday Night Live’s take on Theresa May’s current predicament is worth watching for Matt Damon’s appearance as David Cameron, if nothing else. Britain’s political crisis is in danger of putting satirists out of business…

UK and EU Agree to Maintain Common Transition Convention Even if No Deal

The UK has negotiated an agreement to stay in the Common Transit Convention (CTC) even if there is no Brexit deal between the two sides. This means that goods can continue to be transported freely between the UK and the EEA with customs declarations and import duties only being paid when the goods arrive at their final destination. It is particularly important for the Republic of Ireland which transports the majority of its exports to the EU across the UK “land bridge”. More evidence that sensible contingency deals will be signed in a “managed no deal” scenario…

May Attacks Second Referendum

Theresa May hits out at holding a second referendum, saying it would do “irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics” and that it would say to millions of voters that “our democracy does not deliver”She might want to have a word with some of her Cabinet about that…

Juncker’s Christmas Pay Rise Gives Him €32,700 a Month

President Juncker will be able to afford a many more boozy lunches in 2019. As a result of a Christmas pay rise, from January bureaucrats in the EU will be paid more than €20,000 a month, Commissioners will be paid €26,600 a month, and President Juncker will be paid a whopping  €32,700 a month. Good to see our taxes going to such a great cause…

Chris Bryant Gives Kay Burley Birthday Present Live on Air

What a gent! 

Blair: A No Vote Means No

Tony Blair has been back on the airwaves over the last few days insisting the people must be made to vote again, after having got it wrong in the EU referendum. This is an interesting evolution of his position in 2004, when just days after he promised a referendum on the proposed EU Constitution (later to be renamed the Lisbon Treaty) journalistic pressure forced him to categorically state that the people mustn’t be asked to vote again and again.

“If the British people vote no, they vote no. You can’t then start bringing it back until they vote yes.”

“If the British people vote no in this referendum, that is their verdict. That is absolutely clear.”

Has he changed his mind, or was he lying again…

Target of Carole’s Latest Conspiracy is Remain Donor

Carole Cadwalladr has had a busy weekend getting worked up about Channel 4’s Brexit film starring Benedict Cumberbatch. She fired off a number of “intemperate” tweets before deleting (some of) them and apologising to playwright James Graham, insisting she didn’t mean “to intimidate”. Which will come as news to anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of one of Carole’s notorious phone calls.

Carole’s main gripe appears to be that the film is part-financed by Access Industries, a company owned by Len Blavatnik, the Russian businessman and philanthropist who funds large parts of the entertainment industry through Warner Music. Carole calls Blavatnik a “Trump donor & Putin chum” while moaning about an “ongoing cover-up” and “absence of basic facts”. A feeling that will be familiar to anyone who has read her stories…

There’s just one problem with her latest conspiracy theory. As Sky News revealed back in May 2016, Blavatnik’s Access Industries was actually a donor… to the Remain campaign:


At least she’s finally going after Remain campaign funding for once…

Backstop Threatens UK’s AAA Credit Rating

Ratings agency DBRS has warned that the UK’s AAA rating could be at risk from a Brexit deal that separates Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. The ratings agency confirmed its rating for the UK at AAA with a ‘Stable Trend’, but noted that “significant uncertainty remains over different regulatory and customs regimes between Northern Ireland and the mainland, and how this might impact the UK” and warns that the “longer-term constitutional integrity of the UK is important to [the UK’s] AAA sovereign rating.” The backstop will put this at risk…

Interestingly, the agency is less concerned about the impact of no deal on the UK’s rating, saying that it “acknowledges some degree of event risk associated with such a scenario, but it expects a broadly appropriate and timely policy response from the UK and the EU to any resulting economic or financial turmoil”No deal is manageable if the Government takes sensible steps to respond to it, the backstop is not…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Fox: Brexit Deal Needs “Legally Binding” Changes

Liam Fox has said that Theresa May’s Brexit deal needs “legally binding” changes to address the risk of the backstop “locking the UK into the customs union”. Then Fox weasels out with talk of “clarification” and “definition”…

Gwynne: Labour Won’t Table Confidence Motion Before Meaningful Vote

More “clarity” from Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne on Marr this morning, who said that Labour won’t consider tabling a motion of no confidence in the government until after the meaningful vote. Expect that line to last all of a few hours before Labour has to “clarify” it again. May hardly needs encouraging to delay the vote as long as possible…

Gwynne Suggests Labour Could Back Brexit in Second Referendum

Andrew Gwynne has suggested that Labour could go into a second referendum backing a Labour-style Brexit deal, before ‘clarifying’ Labour’s position with “let’s wait and see”. Whenever the Government’s position seems unclear, the Shadow Cabinet always seem determined to go one better…

Hoey: EU and Ireland have “connived” together

Northern Irish Labour MP Kate Hoey has accused the EU and Ireland of “conniving” together to undermine Brexit and trap the UK as close as possible to the EU. As Tony Connelly’s RTE exposé revealed last year, she may have a point…

Sturgeon: Juncker’s Behaviour “Pretty Distasteful”

Nicola Sturgeon has described Jean-Claude Juncker’s behaviour on Friday where he said Theresa May “was kissing me” and ruffled another EU employee’s hair as “pretty distasteful”. Yet she’s determined to stay in the organisation he leads…

Damian Hinds Attacks Second Referendum

Following Tim Shipman’s story this morning that May’s top allies Gavin Barwell and David Lidington have been discussing a second referendum, Education Secretary Damain Hinds has come out to criticise it on Ridge this morning. More convincing than Barwell’s denial?

Brexit Film Extended Trailer

A new extended trailer for Channel 4‘s Brexit film starring Benedict Cumberbatch has been released by HBO, who will be broadcasting it in the United States. Being produced by Channel 4, it looks like it might go hard on wild data conspiracies, and Vote Leave veterans have already noted some inaccuracies, but over all it should be well worth a watch. It will air on Channel 4 at 9pm on 7th January 2019…

Saturday 7-Up

This week 227,463 visitors visited 803,675 times viewing 1,317,822 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido, or behind…

Dimbleby’s Musical Question Time Farewell

Last night at the Question Time party thrown in celebration of David Dimbleby’s time in the chair of the BBC’s flagship political programme, a song (composed by Question Time’s recently promoted producer Poppy Bullard) was sung in his honour, set to the tune of ABBA’s Dancing Queen.[…] Read the rest

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