May Talks Down CETA Plus Option

“I don’t recognise the simple binary approach to the question of Brexit and the future relationship between the UK and the European Union post-Brexit. I’ve always said that we’re not looking to take a model off the shelf of a relationship that current exists because the UK is unique. We’re already in the European Union and so we have a relationship with the EU already. When we come out we want to make sure we negotiate a good deal, a bespoke deal, a deal that is right for the United Kingdom.”

Speaking in Canada Theresa May has distanced herself from the CETA plus option for Brexit preferred by Boris, Gove and Vote Leave. She says it is not a binary choice between EEA light and CETA plus, implying government policy will fall somewhere in the middle. It needs to be further along the spectrum towards CETA plus and away from the Hammond / Heywood / Robbins EEA light option to satisfy Brexiteers…

Lol-Ney Simply the Best

Simon Hughes and Sarah Olney singing Simply The Best at Lib Dem conference. Since Simon and Sarah both lost in June it seems the voters disagree…

DExEU Head of Trade Leaving

First Olly Robbins this morning, now Guido can report another DExEU departure: Antony Phillipson, a career civil servant who was the Director of Trade and Partnerships in the Brexit department and described as a key player in deciding what kind of trade deals Brexit creates. Guido understands Phillipson is moving to New York to become Consul General. He has been a civil servant since 1993 so this is being seen as a promotion and natural civil service progression. Two senior departures today…

Boris Meets Trump

Boris is representing Britain at the UN in New York, where he has bumped into another famous blond…

Unite Hired Vicki ‘Hitler is Zionist God’ Kirby

A former Labour parliamentary candidate who was twice suspended from the party for anti-Semitic comments is now working for Unite as a regional officer. Guido can reveal that Vicki Kirby has been hired by Len McCluskey’s trade union despite her notorious history of anti-Semitic statements. In 2014 Kirby was ditched as a Labour PPC after a string of disturbing tweets where she suggested Hitler is the “Zionist God”:

Kirby was Vice Chair of Woking Labour Party, and refused to step down even as she was reported to the police by a fellow party official. She was suspended for a second time following another Guido story

Now Kirby is understood to be working for Unite, based in the union’s South East regional office. Kirby was contacted multiple times and put the phone down on Guido when we attempted to speak to her.  A Unite spokesman said: “We do not comment on staffing matters.” Remarkable that Unite won’t comment on this woman being on their payroll…

UPDATE: Guido understands Kirby has now left Unite. A Unite spokesman said: “While do not comment on staffing matters as a matter of course, Vicki Kirby is not employed by Unite.”

EU Berets at LibDem Conference

Meanwhile down in Bournemouth… yes they really are wearing EU berets. And no idea what this video trailing the new LibDem PPB is about:

Needs a cigarette for the full Herman Cain circa 2012 look

H/T @jhallwood

Momentum Chair: “I’d Rather Have Solidarity With North Korea Than USA”

A Labour Party and Momentum official sports the flag of North Korea in her Twitter bio and says she has “solidarity” with the communist pariah state:

Sarah Cundy, who is the Canterbury CLP Youth Officer and Canterbury Momentum Chair, reckons the DPRK is “willing to stand up to imperialism” and “has weapons to keep themselves and their population safe”, concluding “I’d rather have solidarity with DPRK than the USA”:

She is pictured above with Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and Canterbury Labour MP Rosie Duffield. Are they going to have a word?

Cabinet Brexit Split: Where They Stand

All explained here

Hammond, Heywood, Robbins Pushing For Weak “EEA Light” Deal

The £350 million row is (once again) distracting everyone from the real story. James Forsyth has written a bang on the money blog about the “biggest Cabinet Brexit split” – between “several of the most senior members of the Cabinet” who want an “EEA minus/light” deal, and Boris and Gove who want a CETA/Canada plus model. An EEA minus/light deal means the UK shadows EU regulations and ECJ judgements, tying the UK’s hands and not delivering the Brexit for which Britons voted. A Canada plus deals means the UK shadows some standards but mostly we would be able to forge our own way in the world. This is what is kicking off right now.

Guido understands Boris went bonkers last week when he found out Theresa May was heading towards the EEA light option at her Florence speech. Senior Tory Brexiters say the EEA light model is being pushed by Philip Hammond and Remainer civil servants in the Treasury, the permanently frustrating Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins, the DExEU permanent secretary who it was announced this morning is off to Number 10. Dom Cummings, who Tim Shipman revealed yesterday was still in close contact with Boris and Gove, alleges David Davis is sympathetic to the EEA light option. Friends of DD deny that is the case. Boris and Gove are strongly opposed and insist it is the worst of all worlds.

As Open Europe’s Henry Newman, former SpAd to Gove, explains:

“Government needs to debate and decide what sort of country UK ought to be after Brexit: that’s the prior question rather than transition. The Treasury are pushing for us to be in an “EEA minus” arrangement – just outside of the Single Market but bound into a regulatory ERM. EEA minus would mean all the costs of Brexit and few opportunities. We need to be further along the spectrum from Norway/Swiss to Canada.”

EEA minus/light is essentially the Swiss model. When Switzerland sought to end freedom of movement they were threatened with being cut out of single market access and eventually had to climb down and relinquish control of borders. Theresa May should not be promising loads of money on Friday in exchange for a weak Swiss-type deal which does not deliver the Brexit people voted for. Guido believes May wants to do Brexit right, she has certainly shown no sign of wavering so far. She should remember that Boris and Gove won the referendum, not Hammond and Heywood…

Barry Gardiner: Watson Not Up to Explaining Single Market Late at Night

Intriguing choice of words by Barry Gardiner on Westminster Hour, suggesting that Tom Watson got Labour’s position on the single market wrong because it was a “late night interview”. What’s he implying about the famously fun-loving Labour deputy leader?

Loser LibDems Losing Plot

Vince Cable, yesterday: “I am very confident talking about being an alternative Prime Minister.”

Doddery Vince, asked if Boris Johnson could be Prime Minister this morning: “Yes, I could.”

Alistair Carmichael, today: “It is entirely credible he could be Prime Minister.”

Even Tim Farron didn’t indulge this slightly sad nonsense.

Heil Duncan! FCO Guards Draw Hitler Moustache on Minister

This is the photograph board in the Foreign Office security room, used to help guards recognise ministers and assorted VIPs. Eagle-eyed co-conspirators at this weekend’s Open House London event spotted a distinctive black mark above Sir Alan Duncan’s top lip. As an eye-witness explains: “The security guards had clearly biro-ed a Hitler moustache onto the picture of Alan Duncan.” The guards have obviously had the pleasure of meeting Sir Alan. One’s a short, self-obsessed, megalomaniac, the other…

Boris Article Wasn’t Wrong About £350 Million

Boris-hating journalists have reported the row between BoJo and Sir David Norgrove with such glee that they have neglected to mention that Boris’ article was correct and Sir David has cocked up. The supposedly independent UK Statistics Authority chief wrote in his public letter designed to embarrass Boris:

“I am surprised and disappointed that you have chosen to repeat the figure of £350 million per week, in connection with the amount that might be available for extra public spending when we leave the European Union.”

Except this is wrong and Sir David has made a pretty major error. Boris actually wrote in his Telegraph article:

“Once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week. It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS…”

Boris doesn’t say there would be £350 million extra money available for public spending. He talks about “control”, because half of how this money is spent is currently controlled by the EU, and he wants it to be controlled by the UK. Boris-bashing journalists are pointing to old Vote Leave posters to defend their corner, but Norgrove’s letter was not about those posters, it was very specifically about Boris’ Telegraph article. Sir David has created a huge row distorting the words of a senior Cabinet minister in order to make a political point. An independent public servant would be considering their position…

UPDATE: Nadine Dorries says Norgrove should resign:

“David Norgrove, resign. You are not fit to be head of UK statistics when you deliberately play politics to deceive and distort basic facts.”

UPDATE II: Michael Gove also backing Boris and tacitly criticisng Norgrove:

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Green: No, Boris Isn’t Going to Be Sacked

Damian Green disappoints Boris-hating journalists by confirming that he isn’t going to be sacked. There was nothing in Boris’ article which went against current government policy – as Fraser Nelson says it doesn’t contradict policy, it articulates it better – and BoJo’s team are working hard this morning to insist he is fully behind the PM. Excitable stories and analysis about Boris being sacked are pre-conference dramatisation…

Rudd Refuses to Answer If She Wants to Be Leader

Reminder that Boris isn’t the only one on manoeuvres. Amber Rudd refused to answer Marr’s question about whether she wants to be leader – the answer is yes. She is the most ardent Remainer in the Cabinet, backed by the Theresa May-hating George Osborne. She had many reasons to machine gun Boris on live TV this morning…

Rudd: I Don’t Want Boris Managing Brexit

Amber Rudd machines gun Boris on Marr, accusing him of “backseat driving” and sternly insisting “I don’t want him managing the Brexit process“. Never mind that Rudd is an arch-Remainer who is equally ambitious as Boris, she lost the referendum and Boris won it…

UPDATE: That’s not what she used to say…

Saturday Seven Up

This week 199,987 visitors visited 626,287 times viewing 974,930 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

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

Parsons Green Terror Attack

A British Transport Police spokesman has confirmed that the police are treating this morning’s incident at Parsons Green as “terrorist-related”. A senior officer said:

“At this stage we are treating the matter as a terrorist-related incident and the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command will take responsibility for that investigation.” 

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident.”

The Prime Minister will chair COBRA at 13.00.

UPDATE 11.38: Met Police statement:

UPDATE 14:45: Prime Minister Theresa May has made a statement following this afternoon’s COBRA meeting.

UPDATE 20:25: Prime Minister Theresa May says the national threat level has been raised from severe to critical (the highest level). Operation Temperer – in which troops are deployed to guard static locations – has been activated.

LibDems Learn to Speak English

The LibDem conference agenda is out, and this is scheduled for the first morning:

“09.25-10.10 Policy motion: Learning to Communicate in English”
It’s felt like Sir Vince has been speaking a different language for years…[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

A senior Leaver tells Guido:

“Remainers have been outgunned. They were telling us EEA was nailed on and Spreadsheet Phil was going to get a 5 year transition.”

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