DD: Government Must Release “Complete” Legal Advice

David Davis has added his voice to calls for the Government to release the legal advice they have received on the Irish backstop. Davis told Today that there was “no argument whatsoever” that at the very least the Cabinet should have access to the full information before making their decision on the deal, while rejecting Matt Hancock’s suggestion on Peston last night that Geoffrey Cox answering questions in Parliament would amount to sufficient scrutiny:

“What we must see is the complete legal advice, not a summary, not something that just glides and glosses over the difficult issues, but the actual legal advice.”

Interestingly, Hancock did add that it would be a “decision in exceptional circumstances for the Prime Minister”. Under the Ministerial Code, the legal advice can be released if the “law officers” i.e. the Attorney General agree to it. May herself attacked Brown and Blair for not showing legal advice they had received on the Iraq War to the Cabinet and MPs, labelling it a breach of the ministerial code. The circumstances of Brexit are at least as exceptional as those of the Iraq War…

In any case, MPs may seek to take the decision out of her hands, with Tory rebels considering supporting a humble address motion from Keir Starmer in Labour’s opposition day debate next Tuesday which could compel the Government to release the advice. If there is nothing to hide in the advice, the Government can avoid the whole row by simply agreeing to release it in full…

ConHome Leader Survey: Boris Still Leading… Just

Sajid Javid continues to inch his way up in the estimations of Tory members, meanwhile Boris’ support has slipped by ten percentage points. Last Month Boris was on 30%, and David Davis on 6%. This month Boris falls to 19%, with DD soaring to third place on 13%. Michael Gove, who once topped the survey is now firmly in the also rans. The wider top ten includes the fresh faces of Penny Morduant, Liz Truss and James Cleverly. It’s a very wide field and there’s all to play for…

David Davis: “Terror Will Win” on Brexit

David Davis has given his prognosis for how the Brexit talks will eventually play out, predicting that “terror will win”. Speaking alongside the “Brexiteers’ brain” Shanker Singham at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Davis told a room packed with numerous MPs including Steve Baker, Owen Paterson, Simon Clarke, John Penrose, Eddie Hughes and the DUP’s Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson that the “irrational fear of no deal” would ultimately win out and a deal would get through Parliament, possibly at the second attempt:

“Terror will win, the fear of no deal… I think the irrational fear of no deal, a WTO deal – that will win and there will be a deal. It may take two passes – it may be a deal that’s agreed in Brussels and fails in Westminster and comes back again, it may take two passes.”

Guido largely agrees with his analysis – the strength of opposition to the deal May appears to be edging towards cannot be underestimated if it still includes an unlimited backstop that locks the UK into the customs union, hence it may well be voted down the first time round. This will no doubt unleash Project Fear on levels not even seen during the referendum, with MPs coming under immense pressure to vote again until they get the ‘right result’. Sound familiar?

However, the pressure will not just be on the UK if the deal falls in Parliament the first time. The EU, and Ireland in particular, do not want a ‘no deal’ scenario either if they can possibly help it. This may be the time when the EU finally starts to seriously move on its position…

UPDATE: Davis has just tweeted this clarification

David Davis Sells Out

Brexiteers need not panic, the former Brexit Secretary has not betrayed the Eurosceptic cause. Instead, a black-tie gala dinner at the Carlton Club hosted by the Margaret Thatcher Centre, which he is addressing, has sold out within days of tickets going on sale. Proving that the old bruiser still has box office appeal in Tory circles. Will David Davis still give his after-dinner speech if he is Prime Minister?

David Davis Cashing in on Speech Circuit

David Davis famously lost the Tory leadership to David Cameron on the back of a comparatively poor speech. Nevertheless he has now got permission to sell his public speaking services – so long as he doesn’t tell any Brexit negotiating secrets. Guido thinks we have already got the benefit of his views on the Brexit negotiations for free. DExEU have also banned him from lobbying. Presumably his unpaid lobbying against Chequers is permitted…

DD “Stitched Up” by Downing Street

David Davis has told Peston he was “stitched up” by Downing Street before warning the EU could do the same to the UK:

“If I can be stitched up by Number 10, Britain can be stitched up by the European Commission in exactly the same way if we don’t get absolutely explicit guarantees on timetable.”

Brexiteers are concerned that another stitch up is indeed on the way with Theresa May calling a meeting of a limited group of Cabinet ministers tonight at 5pm for an “update” on the negotiations. The suspicion is that this a move to shore up the loyalists in preparation for a deal with major concessions being presented as a fait accompli to the full Cabinet next week, just as happened with Chequers. Can the Cabinet Brexiteers stomach a full climbdown on the customs union?

The DUP are also furious about the emerging deal and deliberately abstained on a division on the Agriculture Bill last night to send a warning signal to Number 10 that their threat to vote down the Budget is serious if the Brexit deal breaches their red line on Northern Ireland. Downing Street is banking on rebellious MPs falling into line when it comes to the crunch votes. Increasingly the signs are that they aren’t going to play ball…

DD: Chequers “Just Wrong”

DD not beating around the bush with his views on Chequers…

In Full: Alternative Brexit Plan

Brexiteers have released their much-vaunted alternative Brexit plan this morning. Dubbed “Plan A+”, the plan attempts to set out a viable alternative to Chequers and respond to the common critiques of a Canada+ model.

The paper is written by Shanker Singham and Radomir Tylecote of the IEA and will be launched later this morning by a panel including David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Read for yourself here…

DD: “There Will Be No Hard Border… It’s That Simple”

David Davis in his Brexit speech in Munich says:

“The border issue is eminently solvable if the political will is there. I do question, therefore, why it has become so intractable. It seems to me this issue has become the proxy for the negotiations as a whole. Why? Perhaps as a way to keep us tied to the single market and the customs union; perhaps to punish us for leaving; or perhaps it has more to do with internal Irish politics.

In any case, the heads of both the British and Irish customs authorities have told us that a hard border is not necessary. Jean-Claude Juncker, Leo Varadkar and Theresa May have all said that they would never enforce one.

There will be no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It’s that simple.”

He’s not wrong…

DD on Govey

David Davis says of Michael Gove…

“he is clever. But sometimes clever men miss the obvious.”

Davis: I’ll Vote to Chuck Chequers Proposal

The former Brexit Secretary tells Marr “The Chequers proposal is almost worse than staying in…”

DD: May’s Chequers Plan Is Not Brexit

Must-read article by David Davis in the FT, in which the former Brexit Secretary denounces May’s Chequers deal threatens democracy, squanders the opportunities of Brexit and kills our ability to strike trade deals.

Last week, the government’s Brexit white paper told the country it could look forward to a “common rule book” with the EU. We now face continued harmonisation with the bloc’s rules on goods. Unfortunately, this jeopardises the opportunities offered by Brexit. Under this plan agreed by the cabinet at Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence, Britain would have to obey EU regulations, follow EU rules on how all goods are made, and on a huge range of interconnected areas such as environment and food production. The chance to become a credible trading partner will be compromised and we will be unable to strike free trade deals. As Donald Trump aptly pointed out, it would “kill” the prospect of a US-UK deal. Without control over goods, we would lack the crucial leverage to open up the UK’s export of services to the rest of the world. Not controlling our own regulation is far from an arcane technicality. It would mean that the UK is simply not running its own economy. How laws are made is also a central indicator of whether we have a functioning democracy. If parliament determines laws, we have one; otherwise, we do not. If British democracy is now at stake, so too is our future prosperity.

Those Brexiters still backing the deal should take a step back and remember this is the former Brexit Secretary saying it is not Brexit…

Humphrys Blows DD Interview

READ: Davis Resignation Letter in Full

David Davis Resigns

Guido understands David Davis has resigned. Dexeu midnight runner…

UPDATE: Steve Baker also resigns.

“We Don’t Deal With the Tea Boy”

If Davis Davis was in any doubt as to how he has been rendered impotent by Number 10, Playbook quotes an Irish minister:

“We deal with Olly Robbins. We don’t deal with the tea boy.” 

It’s a zinger because it’s true. You have to wonder how much more DD can take – every few days there are briefings against him from Remainers in Downing Street and Whitehall, openly deriding the Brexit Secretary in the press for failing to steer the government away from the alignment course set by Robbins. How much more will he have to take at Chequers next week…

Starmer: DD Has Threatened to Resign More Times Than He’s Met Barnier

Banter at Dexeu questions. Those five times Davis has threatened to resign here

Number 10 Call DD Stupid: “He Has Nothing”

An extraordinary briefing from Number 10 to The Sun, essentially calling David Davis stupid and claiming he has been completely outplayed by May and Robbins. The “senior government source” told Tom Newton Dunn that DD had been “bamboozled by drafting again”.

 “The language about the time limit is all expectations and aspirational. DD hasn’t got anything concrete.Remember, a few weeks ago DD agreed to the backstop because it was time-limited and would go alongside agreement of a preferred long-term end state for customs. As of now, he has nothing on long-term end state, and a highly dubious expectation of a time limit that has to be agreed by the EU Commission. I like DD, but she’s done him like a kipper again.”

Why is DD taking this?

5 Times DD Didn’t Resign

After today’s double false alarm, Guido takes a look back at the other times David Davis threatened to resign as Brexit Secretary. And then didn’t…

  • In November last year Davis was said to be preparing to resign after the Mail On Sunday published the Gove-Boris letter. He didn’t.
  • In December last year Davis warned May he would walk if Damian Green was sacked. He didn’t.
  • In March Davis was said to have told ministers he would go over fishing. He didn’t.
  • In April friends of Davis briefed he could go over the customs partnership. He didn’t.
  • This week he threatened to resign (several times) over the backstop fudge. He didn’t.

No one in the government or Tory party has come out of today well.

H/T New Statesman

Government Remainers Mock DD For Crying Wolf

Remainers in the government are now openly briefing that David Davis does not have the balls to resign and will accept an Olly Robbins fudge:

[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Trevor Kavanagh’s analysis of the Brexit process…

“Thanks to Mrs May and her useless Chancellor Phil Hammond, this will not come without pain. But we escape with imagination and true British grit or we will be boiled alive.

It means on this centenary Remembrance of our struggle against tyranny, we risk ceding non-military victory in Europe to the undemocratic forces of an unaccountable totalitarian regime.”

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