Hammond and Rudd Satisfaction Ratings Plunge

At the weekend Hammond and Rudd bombed in a focus group of Tory voters. Now their net satisfaction ratings on ConHome have taken a plunge – Hammond is down 14 points to minus 37 and Rudd is down a huge 20 points to minus 9. Crystal clear what Tory members think of their attempts to water down Brexit.

May Won’t Say If Boris is Unsackable

Theresa May declined to say that Boris is unsackable on Marr this morning. It would be just as relevant to ask if Philip Hammond is unsackable – the Chancellor has consistently been more at odds with government policy than Boris. Hammond wants a five year transition, May and Boris want two years. Hammond wants an EEA minus model, May and Boris don’t. Is it really Boris who is out of line with policy, or is it Hammond?

Boris Reciting Kipling’s “Mandalay”

Full credit to Boris for recalling a Kipling poem, Guido has long struggled trying to recall “If” at appropriate moments. The ambassador was unamused and considered the moment inappropriate. Channel 4 and The Guardian are trying to work it up into a full international gaffe. Here’s Charles Dance giving it full justice at the memorial to commemorate VJ Day on the seventieth anniversary of the country’s final victory in World War II:

Makes you proud…

YouGov Tory Member Poll: Borismania Back, Rudd Bombs

For all the attacks on him in the media and among Remainers over the last few weeks, YouGov finds Boris is the choice of Tory members to be the next leader. Ruth Davidson is in second place and Jacob Rees-Mogg is in third. Notably David Davis is some way behind on just 11%, while the Cameroon choice Amber Rudd is completely out of it on just 6%. Hammond is on a meagre 5%. Sobering for the Remain hope Rudd, and a reminder that the anti-Boris Remain media narrative does not reflect the views of Tory members…

H/T Sam Coates

Thornberry on Boris’ Paternity Test

The set-piece gag in Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry’s speech was a joke about Boris Johnson not liking maternity tests. Miaow…

Davis: Boris Didn’t Change May Speech

David Davis has slapped down this morning’s claims by Team Boris that their man “saved Brexit” and toughened up May’s Florence speech. DD insisted government policy hasn’t changed for some time, he also backed Amber Rudd’s drive-by on Boris on Marr last weekend and confirmed he is halfway between the EEA light and CETA plus models, as Guido reported last week. This DD slap down has to be viewed through the prism of their rivalry, this morning’s Sunday Times reports Davis vetoed an election night plan by Boris and Hammond to oust May…

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)

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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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