May Rejects Norway: Boris Happy

Theresa May strongly rejected the EEA option – it will be tough for her to go with Hammond’s EEA light plan given these words:

“European Economic Area membership would mean the UK having to adopt at home – automatically and in their entirety – new EU rules. Rules over which, in future, we will have little influence and no vote. Such a loss of democratic control could not work for the British people. I fear it would inevitably lead to friction and then a damaging re-opening of the nature of our relationship in the near future: the very last thing that anyone on either side of the Channel wants.”

May also stressed the need for Britain to be able to make changes to EU rules and regulations. This is what Cabinet Leavers mean when they say they want Britain to be able to go its own way in the world:

“So the question for us now in building a new economic partnership is not how we bring our rules and regulations closer together, but what we do when one of us wants to make changes.”

Boris happy:

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.”

Boris might be happier than Hammond but May still didn’t explicitly say what Brexit Britain will look like, can kicked down the road…

UPDATE: The speech is also reopening the old Leaver splits from the referendum, with the Leave Means Leave crowd (which includes more hardline Tory Brexiter backbenchers) saying:

“We are deeply concerned that her proposals could lead to nothing changing either during or after the implementation period – which will go on for an undefined amount of time. There is no reference to being able to deregulate, sign our own trade deals or control our borders. This is a rebadging of the status quo and is Brexit in name only. In reality, this means we are still members. The Prime Minister should have explicitly committed to a no deal option and the Government should be planning for it. She has fallen for the trap laid by senior civil servants, the Treasury and the CBI.”

All Smiles After Cabinet

Boris and Hammond clearly made to walk out together from this morning’s two and a half hour Cabinet as some show of unity. “Is he your new best friend?” heckles the BBC’s Chris Mason…

Nadine Complains to Civil Service Chief About Statto’s Boris Blunder

Click to enlarge

Nads is right, Sir David Norgrove cocked up

Telegraph’s Boris Story Back From the Brink

The Telegraph went all in with the claim that Boris Johnson was set to resign at 1pm yesterday, something both Boris and his team denied within minutes of the story being published. The original copy was swiftly and quietly deleted and replaced with the news that Boris was in fact staying and had “dismissed suggestions” he was about to quit. (Suggestions from, er, the Telegraph.) The unchanged URL address suggests it was the Telegraph rather than Boris that came back from the brink…

What Caused Rachel Sylvester’s Boris Volte Face?

Compare and contrast Rachel Sylvester’s drive-by shooting of Boris two weeks ago – branding him an “international joke”, a “wally”, an “irrelevance” – with today’s piece coming to BoJo’s defence: “It is legitimate for the foreign secretary, who has been criticised for his lack of seriousness, to express his opinion on the biggest diplomatic dilemma facing the country in a generation”. What could possibly have caused such a sudden change of mind? Surely nothing to do with the fact that Rachel’s husband, Patrick Wintour of the Guardian, is off to New York to interview Boris…

Boris “I’m Not Resigning”

Telegraph’s pol-ed Gordon Rayner is claiming that Boris will resign if Theresa May goes soft on Brexit.

Boris denies it…

OBR: In 2022 the UK’s Net Weekly Contribution to the EU Will Be £335 Million

In the OBR’s February report there was a table, unnoticed at the time, which includes an OBR forecast on EU budget contributions up to 2021 based on Treasury information. They show the gross contribution soaring to £22.227 billion by 2021/22 – or £427 million per week. If, as Remainers and statisticians insist, we use only the net contribution – subtracting the UK rebate – then even that soars from £13.952 billion in 2016/7, to £17.405 billion in 2021/2. That is a massive 24.7% increase in 5 years…

But most importantly politically, even the net contribution of £17.405 billion works out at some £335 million per week in 2022. So even using the contested Remainer methodology, Boris would basically be right in four years if we don’t leave the EU… 

Stats bods can check the calculation here.

Boris Meets Trump

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

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…

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:

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: 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…

Friday Caption Contest (Bad Hair Day Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Boris SpAd Liam Parker Leaving

Guido can reveal Boris Johnson’s special adviser Liam Parker is leaving for the private sector, he’s joining top PR firm Pagefield as a partner after conference. Parker has been Boris’ spinner for the last year, before which he was Mark Carney’s head of press at the Bank of England. No doubt at Pagefield he will earn more for a slightly quieter life – flying around the world with the Foreign Secretary is one of the more demanding SpAd jobs. Good luck to him.

Expect this to be used by Boris’ enemies in the media as another sign of his apparently waning position. Yet senior Tories Guido has spoken to are perplexed by the determination of some to write BoJo off completely. He remains the man Tory associations want their MP to invite for dinner, he is box office, was instrumental in winning the referendum, is highly unlikely to be sacked in a reshuffle despite reports and his career is certainly not over as some would have you believe. Indeed he is the man most Tory MPs still believe will be next leader. Be interesting to see who he hires…

Chairman Boris?

Speculation that Theresa May could demote Boris Johnson to party chairman is again doing the rounds, weeks after BoJo’s enemies first punted the idea around. Does it make sense? Sacking Boris would create the highest possible profile enemy at a time when the PM is hardly in a position of overwhelming strength. Giving him the party chairman job would then arguably increase his power. Chairman Boris would be able to reconnect with members and activists, effectively given free reign to tour associations and win the membership’s support. He could actually be political, which is what he does best and would only help his popularity in the party. Rather than being sent around the world and restricted to 20 second pooled clips he could do all the broadcast and press he liked. If May really were to do something with Boris in a future reshuffle, making him party chairman would be a particularly brave move…

Tory MPs Predict Boris Will Be Next Leader

Boris has been the subject of multiple character assassinations from jealous journalists this week – Rachel Sylvester’s professional foul was gleefully endorsed by like-minded colleagues, Nick Watt uncharacteristically told Newsnight viewers Boris had been “shovelling” his own “sh*t”. Are they right to write him off? During July and August Populus asked a panel of 41 Tory MPs who they thought would be the next Tory leader – 32% said Boris, well ahead of David Davis on 20% and Dominic Raab and Damian Green on 5%. Seems reports of his demise are a little premature…

The Labour picture is less consensual, with Keir Starmer leading on 15%, followed by Yvette Cooper on 13% and Angela Rayner on 11%. No surveyed Labour MP chose John McDonnell. Which begs another question, with Theresa May pledging to go on and on, will 68 year-old Jez fight the next election?

Libyan Welcome For Boris

Strong.

BBC Making Foreign Office Documentary

The BBC has commissioned a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the inner workings of the Foreign Office, Guido hears. The Beeb has wanted to produce a behind-the-scenes film revealing the inner workings of the FCO for a number of years, and Guido understands they have finally been given the sign off. A Michael Cockerell-style doco like his Inside the Commons series would be worth a watch; he did an episode on the FCO in his 2010 Great Offices of State series and also made a film about Boris Johnson in 2013. Sure Boris won’t do a Seumas and say anything unguarded with the cameras still rolling…

Male Tory MPs Got Most Social Media Abuse

Broken down by party and gender, male Conservative candidates were the group who received the highest percentage of abuse in their mentions, followed by male UKIP and Labour candidates, and female Conservative candidates. Analysis by a research team from the University of Sheffield based on tweets from the general public; replying to tweets made by MPs, candidates at the election and other prominent politicians.[…] 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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