May and Juncker Announce Deal

The news you’re waking up to this morning is that a deal has been reached in Phase One of the Brexit negotiations and ‘sufficient progress’ has been declared, paving the way for trade talks. Read the deal in full here

Deal Done: Read In Full

Phase 1 Joint Report by Ross Kempsell on Scribd

That “full alignment” line is worrying Leavers this morning…

Who’s On Question Time Tonight?

Go Kate!

‘May Not Bringing Brexiteers With Her’

Pretty damning analysis from the Telegraph’s Juliet Samuel about the situation between Brexiteers and Number 10. Let’s hope this can all be resolved amicably when the Cabinet meets to discuss the end state later this month…

Gisela: Regulatory Alignment “Completely Unacceptable”, Doesn’t Respect Referendum

Gisela Stuart and Change Britain have published an interesting Q&A on what “regulatory alignment” means under the definition used in existing EU trade agreements – and it doesn’t look good. They say alignment would make Britain a rule-taker, where we have to follow EU rules but have no say, a worst of all worlds option.

‘Regulatory alignment’ is used by the EU in trade agreements to force other countries to accept EU law. The Ukraine-EU agreement, for example, makes clear that regulatory alignment means ‘Ukraine shall… incorporate the relevant EU acquis into its legislation’ 

The referendum result was a vote for the UK to take back control of its laws. If we have to accept an agreement where our laws continue to be written in Brussels – without elected British representatives having any say over them – this would clearly be incompatible with that result.

Gisela says accepting regulatory alignment would be “completely unacceptable”:

“The referendum result was a vote for real change, a vote to do things differently, and most importantly a vote to take back control. It would therefore be completely unacceptable if we were forced to agree a deal where regulatory alignment saw the UK continue to be subject to rules designed and imposed by Brussels. It would be Single Market membership in all but name.”

Boris, Gove and Brexiteer Tory MPs will agree with Gisela…

Osborne Doesn’t Rule Out Return To Parliament

George Osborne didn’t rule out a return to parliament at his press gallery lunch today. The Evening Standard editor gave a lively speech and when asked if he would return to parliament he said: “I don’t rule it out”. But he did rule out joining the NUJ…

Osborne had the following to say:

On Boris: “A pretty effective mayor of London.” 

On the Tory leadership: “It is the consensus party view that there will be a Conservative Leader contest this parliament.”

On Corbyn: “If the Labour movement was led by a social democrat of even middling ability they would now be 20 points ahead in the polls.”

On Freezergate: Taught him “a thing or two about editorial conference.”

On why Remain lost: “We looked like the establishment.”

On the importance of the metropolitan elite: If the Tories are “anti-modern and anti-metropolitan then people will be anti-us.”

Mayoral bid or return to the Commons? A George / Amber / Ruth Remoaner dream team…

H/T The Lobby

Boris: Whole of UK Must Take Back Control

Boris put it simply in the Q&A after his speech today:

“Whatever way we devise for getting onto the body of the talks, it’s got to be consistent with the whole of the United Kingdom taking back control of our laws, of our borders and of our cash.”

Close alignment does not sound like taking back control. Worrying this needs to be said 18 months on from the referendum…

CBI: Brexit the Worst Thing to Happen In Any Country in the World Ever

Guido awards the Order of the OTT to the president of the CBI Paul Drechsler, who told a City of London Corporation party last night that Brexit is the “most serious issue any country in the world has ever had to face”. Yep, forget the Russian civil war, Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Blitz, the Great Chinese Famine, the Black Death, the Irish potato famine, the introduction of smallpox to South America, the 1971 Iranian blizzard, 9/11, the Nanking massacre, the break-up of Bucks Fizz, the Great Depression or the assassination of JFK. According to the CBI it is Brexit that is the worst thing to happen in any country in the world ever. Peak Remoan…

H/T Politico Playbook

Pompous Benn Too Busy for Brexit Questions

The always pompous and unfailingly officious Hilary Benn was just too busy for any more questions on Brexit this morning, cutting off his Sky News interview after only a few minutes. No great loss…

Labour’s Second Round of Student Debt Fibs

When Corbyn gave the impression during the election campaign that student debts would be cancelled it was a crucial vote winner. After the election when it was pointed out that this was unaffordable John McDonnell pointed to the manifesto small print and said it would only apply to new students. Luke Pollard in his Plymouth swing seat doesn’t appear to be troubling himself with small print, he’s promising Labour will abolish existing student debts. Luke is no fool so this surely can’t be an accident, the former leading light of the Progress faction has even put a picture of Jeremy Corbyn on the leaflet…

Understandably the Tories are pushing this hard:

Will student voters notice?

Schulz: Member States Must Accept United States of Europe Or Leave EU

Martin Schulz has told the SDP party conference today that a new treaty should be presented to member states creating a United States of Europe and countries who oppose it must leave the EU. He demanded “there to be a constitutional treaty to create a federal Europe… the treaty will be presented to the member states and those who are against should just leave the European Union… We want the United States of Europe”. His plan is for this to come into existence by 2025. And some Remainers think they have a hope of changing the public’s mind about Brexit…

LibDems Livid at Olney’s £68,000 Salary For Four Day Week

There is near mutiny in LibDem HQ after party staff discovered Sarah Olney is being paid £68,000 for a four day week. When Olney quit as Vince Cable’s chief of staff after just six weeks, she was given a cushy non job as head of “special projects”. LibDem sources in the office are bewildered as to how Olney fills her days, she doesn’t appear to do any work and the only email staff remember her sending is the HQ “Hero of the Year” award, which in previous years was done by the PA. Most of the aides in LibDem head office are on £20,000-£30,000, there is outcry among the troops that Olney is on triple their wages for what is ostensibly a nothing job, and for which she only does a four day week. Members’ subs being well spent…

UPDATE: The LibDems have launched an investigation to find who leaked details of Sarah Olney’s salary to Guido. Our mole in the office says it is being carried out by the party’s head of fundraising Emma Cherniavsky. Good luck…

Ian Paisley Jnr Reads Out Guido’s Story on Labour’s Brexit Positions

Another happy reader

‘One Week to Stop a Soft Brexit’, Barwell Failing to Hold it Together

Two columns today show just how serious things are between Number 10 and the Brexiteers. In the Speccie James Forsyth quotes a leading Vote Leave figure warning there is “a week to fight back” against a soft Brexit. His piece blames the whole clusterf**k on a “hopelessly understaffed” Downing Street, “a general lack of direction and grip” and the vacuum caused by Damian Green’s distractions. In the Times Iain Martin is even more damning, he says Number 10 “resembles a morgue” and names Gavin Barwell as “struggling to hold it all together”Yesterday Guido told how May is being bounced by Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins into a non-Brexit which prevents us from diverging from the EU – this is now the crunch issue.

Cabinet Brexiteers do not believe Theresa May wants to sell them out on Brexit. However they think May, Barwell and Number 10 do not understand the implications of the direction they are taking on regulatory alignment. Leavers are genuinely raging that there is no one in charge and the lack of leadership in Downing Street has allowed Heywood and Robbins to dictate the process and shift them towards a soft Brexit. Tories are even muttering wistfully that Nick Timothy would never have stood for this – it is a sign of how bad things are that some are almost longing for the days he was in charge. The Cabinet reckoning on the Brexit end state is promised before the end of the year. May has delayed it to hold her government together but in doing so her indecisiveness and caution has allowed the Remainers to walk her towards a non-Brexit.

The Vote Leave figure says there is a week to fight back against a soft Brexit. The other way of looking at it is May has a week to save herself from the consequences of taking the wrong path… 

Momentum Claim They Only Spent £38,743 on Election

The Electoral Commission has today launched an investigation into Corbynista shock-troops Momentum to establish whether the group “breached campaign finance rules in relation to spending.” The questions the probe:

“Whether or not Momentum spent in excess of the spending limits for an unauthorised non-party campaigner in the UK Parliamentary general  election;
whether or not Momentum submitted a return that did not include accurate donation information and/or the required declaration stating that the donation return was complete and accurate; whether or not Momentum submitted a return that was not a complete statement of payments made in respect of controlled expenditure; whether or not Momentum submitted a return that did not include all invoices for payments of more than £200.”

Bob Posner, the Electoral Commission’s Director of Political Finance and Regulation and Legal Counsel, said:

“Momentum are a high profile active campaigning body. Questions over their compliance with the campaign finance rules at June’s general election risks causing harm to voters’ confidence in elections. There is significant public interest in us investigating Momentum to establish the facts in this matter and whether there have been any offences. Once complete, the Commission will decide whether any breaches have occurred and, if so, what further action may be appropriate, in line with its enforcement policy.” 

Momentum reported expenditure of £38,743. Guido said it back in November, that sounds impossibly low…

Jezza Backs Sick Coffin Stunt Targetting Female Tory MP

Sick-minded Labour activists used a coffin in an intimidating publicity stunt targeting a female Tory MP this week – only to be backed by leader Jeremy Corbyn. Totnes Labour Party members paraded a coffin through the Devon town before leaving it outside Sarah Wollaston’s constituency office. Ostensibly, the march was a campaign on the NHS. But protest invoked the worst possible echoes…

Dr Wollaston said:

“The crass insensitivity of delivering a coffin effigy to a woman MP seems to have passed some people by. My office has already been repeatedly targeted with aggressive vandalism by those who can’t abide reasoned debate and want to make it harder for people to access their MP.”

Moderate Labour MP Ben Bradshaw tweeted supportively of her “Memo to any @UKLabour members at this event: @SarahWollaston fights tirelessly for NHS and Social Care as @CommonsHealth chair.” Advising them, “Next time, go canvassing.”

Guido understands Dr Wollaston and her staff were upset and distressed by the incident. A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said:

“Decisions about demonstrations and who carries them out are a matter for them.”

Thanks to Corbyn’s Labour, these disturbing mob tactics will soon be in your town…

Greatest NUS Election Video Ever

Tom Harwood is running the most honest NUS election campaign you will see, and he certainly has the best campaign video. He has already won the endorsement of Nick Boles, who says “Put this man in charge of Conservatives digital campaigning!” Speaking truth to the pious self-serving NUS lefties…

Santa Bone Delivers Presents in Brussels

A lot of work has clearly gone into Peter Bone’s excellent Christmas card this year. Think we have an idea what he thinks we should give them in the Brexit bill…

PMQs Sketch: Corbynish for Beginners

“Thank you Mr Speaker, but on her way back to Britain, someone forgot to share the details of the Irish Border detail, deal, with the DUP. Surely Mr Speaker there are one and a half billion reasons why the Prime Minister really shouldn’t hadn’t forgotten to do that.”

Is English Jeremy Corbyn’s first language? During this lunchtime’s ball-achingly pathetic exchange, the Labour leader confirmed once and for all it is not.

When he was 18, Mr Corbyn travelled to Jamaica to volunteer as a teacher. Thanks to the lasting influence of his pedagogy, it is believed that there are now entire communities on that island who speak only Corbynish. Let us decode this mysterious tongue.

If you would like to learn Corbynish, start with Yoda from Star Wars. Say the following sentence in your head in a Yoda-like voice, but imagine you are Jeremy Corbyn: “the Prime Minister really shouldn’t hadn’t forgotten to do that, forgotten to do that she really shouldn’t hadn’t”. You’re already halfway to thinking in Corbynish.

Continue reading

Sports and Social Closed Indefinitely

Bad news for parliament’s junior boozehounds – the Sports and Social bar has been closed indefinitely, not because of handsy MPs but because two older Commons staffers had a brawl there last night. Police were called at 6.30pm, at which point a 57 year-old man was arrested for GBH and affray and a 64 year-old man was taken to hospital by ambulance.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Former public schoolboy Chuka Umunna told the  ‘Exit From Brexit Dinner’…

“Remainians, Remoaners, I don’t care what the label is, I’m proud. It’s fashionable to label everyone in this room as the liberal metropolitan elite . . . This caricature is promoted by a bunch of former public schoolboys!” 

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