ConservativeHome are reporting Theresa May’s former Joint Chief-of-Staff is standing for the Tory candidacy in the safe seat of Meriden (a 19,198 majority). It already looks like he’s got a hand in writing the Tories’ cash-splashing manifesto…
Theresa May sees #Brexit as “a damage limitation exercise”, according to her ex-aide Nick Timothy
PM’s former chief of staff speaks to @bbclaurak for BBC2 documentary ‘Inside the Brexit Storm’
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 1, 2019
The inexorable truth straight from the mouth of the adviser who knew her best. Much as Timothy rightly took much of the blame for the 2017 election debacle, if anything the long-term damage done by removing the true Brexit believer from May’s inner circle has been far greater…
Another important intervention from Nick Timothy in the Telegraph today, who directly advises his old boss to drop her customs partnership and back the Brexiters’ Max Fac option. Last week Timothy savaged the NCP, today he makes the case for Max Fac and tells Number 10 to “get on with it”. Theresa May still listens to her former chief of staff, it is also significant that Max Fac is being pushed by someone in the PM’s trusted inner circle, not just Cabinet Brexiters and the ERG. Timothy says Max Fac:
“…can be made efficient by sensible policy and technology, and the costs can be offset by the opportunities provided by trade deals with the world’s fastest growing economies…
Downing Street’s reluctance to choose “max fac” is driven by concern about the Northern Irish border. But “max fac” does not demand a hard border. Checks do not need to be conducted along the border: the administration can be done in advance through pre-registration and trusted trader schemes, and monitoring can be conducted in each country. Small businesses can be exempted, more powers devolved to Belfast, and more all-Ireland governance arrangements can be agreed to facilitate trade.
The Commission says this is impossible, but their negotiating stance is hardly surprising when they believe Parliament might force the Government into a customs union. And whatever Barnier says, “max fac” would be no anomalous lacuna in the EU’s border. Two years ago, more than a million migrants simply walked into Europe. And as anybody who has driven into France from Switzerland knows, there are no checks along whole sections of the EU border.
The EU is ignoring its own negotiating guidelines. They say “the unique challenges of Ireland will require flexible and imaginative solutions”. The responsibility to find these solutions is not only British but European too.
If there is a compromise to be made, ministers might accept that “max fac” will take longer to be introduced than the current implementation timetable suggests. But to get its way with Brussels, and to convince Parliament that there is an alternative to a customs union, the Government needs to get on with it, choose “max fac” – and start making its case.”
The crunch meeting is now on Tuesday next week. If Timothy was still in Downing Street May would be backing Max Fac, instead she has been captured by Remainers. Five days to see sense…
An important intervention from Nick Timothy in The Sun, who has called on Theresa May to drop the customs partnership proposal. His critique of the plan backed by Olly Robbins and Cabinet Remainers is devastating:
After months of scrutiny, it seems unlikely to work. The EU has dismissed it as impossible, and it involves significant risks for Britain.
It would almost certainly require “full regulatory alignment” with the EU, meaning that after Brexit we could not change our laws and regulations in a long list of ways. It would create a bureaucratic burden on businesses and some may choose to use higher EU tariffs, or avoid importing and exporting altogether.
And, because of the need for alignment with EU regulations and the complexity of dual customs checks, it would be much harder to negotiate trade deals with other countries. So today, when Theresa May chairs her Brexit Cabinet Committee meeting, she should lead ministers to a clear decision about the Government’s favoured customs policy.
That decision should be to reject the “new customs partnership” and pursue instead the Government’s own alternative proposal: its “highly streamlined customs arrangement”.
If Timothy was still in Number 10, the customs partnership would be dead. The people keeping it alive are Remainers trying to undo the referendum result…
Nick Timothy attempted to come to the aid of his old boss yesterday by revealing that Theresa May was on holiday when the infamous ‘Go Home’ vans were signed off. It is fair to say doubts have been raised about May’s supposed opposition to the vans. Timothy has now deleted his Twitter account…
Asked by the BBC’s Eleanor Garnier if he is still in contact with Theresa May, her former chief of staff Nick Timothy said he hadn’t seen her since the election. That’s a yes then…
Consider this left-wing nonsense:
“The Government should be prepared to redistribute more through the tax system: from the wealthy to working families with modest incomes. They should be prepared to increase taxes on accumulated wealth so they can cut taxes on income. They could raise more money through inheritance tax.”
In a country where the top-marginal rate of tax is 60%* is the pressing policy challenge a lack of redistribution and too low rates of taxation? After managing to keep a mere 40% of your justly earned income this wonk wants to increase the tax burden on your savings. If you then want to pass on your savings to your children he wants to tax the cash all over again…
Which left-wing Corbynista policy wonk is responsible for this nonsense? Nick Timothy, author of that Conservative Party manifesto and Theresa May’s former right-hand man for policy, proposed this in The Sun this morning. How he thinks social mobility will be increased by taxing people more heavily is not clear. Margaret Thatcher correctly identified that many of her opponents would “rather have the poor poorer, provided that the rich were less rich.” Levelling down is the worst form of social mobility…
*According to the Taxpayers’ Alliance a salary of £110,000 will, including employers’ NI, see you on a marginal rate of 66.6%.
Tory MPs always enjoy Nick Timothy’s “Ideas to Win” column in the Telegraph. The snap election manifesto author reckons this week’s policy announcements were rubbish:
“This week was the opportunity for the Tories to reset and show the country not only that they understand the need for change, but that they have the policies to change people’s lives for the better. Unfortunately, they failed to take their opportunity… It is odd, for example, that the Treasury supported putting £10 billion into helping people to buy existing homes but only £2 billion into building new ones… Where was the policy earlier in the week? Where was the plan to make our economy truly dynamic? What is the future for school reform? What should we expect from the review of higher education? What about the cost of living? Several policies felt like they had been watered down due to disagreements between ministers… The Tories need to get their act together, and fast.”
Some may bristle at being lectured on terrible policies by Timothy, but he is right. 5,000 new homes a year is paltry, £360 a year extra for students is a mickey-take and imposing an energy price cap while extolling the virtues of the free market is not credible…
A timely intervention from Theresa May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy, who fingers Philip Hammond for being “on manoeuvres” against Brexit. Timothy says May “deserves the support of her ministers, Leavers and Remainers alike” – the implication being that the likes of Hammond and Rudd are undermining the PM on Brexit. He accuses Hammond of playing “games” and says “the Treasury’s reluctance to even mention the positives of leaving the EU, such as the Brexit dividend, is why the government has not talked positively enough about the opportunities of Brexit. In that respect, the Foreign Secretary was right in his Daily Telegraph column last Saturday”. As Guido reported on Monday, Hammond and the Treasury have been pushing for a soft EEA-light Brexit, contrary to government policy…
For an idea of just how much the Treasury hates Brexit, here is former HMT permanent secretary Nick Macpherson responding to Timothy’s article:
Keynes on HM Treasury: “it is an essential bulwark against overwhelming wickedness”. #timetogetreal
— Nick Macpherson (@nickmacpherson2) September 20, 2017
Sir Bruce Fraser: the Treasury exists “in order to curtail the natural consequences of human nature.”
— Nick Macpherson (@nickmacpherson2) September 20, 2017
The man who ran the Treasury until last year implying Brexit is an “overwhelming wickedness” and some terrible example of human nature that needs to be “curtailed“. This is the sort of pompous, anti-democratic civil service intransigence May is still having to deal with. Mandarins and Remainer Cabinet ministers are working against government policy and the referendum result…
Those Tories uncomfortable with Nick Timothy’s more statist policy platform will be amused to see he is a disciple of Yanis Varoufakis. The book beardless Timothy is reading is the Greek firebrand’s “My Battle with Europe’s Deep Establishment”. Nick was one of the leading Brexiters in the government before he quit, no doubt he and Yanis have some shared experiences…
Nick Timothy might be out of Downing Street but he is almost certainly still advising Theresa May off the books. Many MPs are convinced he will just be emailing her from his Gmail account rather than his Number 10 address. Timothy was a Brexiter, one of the sounder people in May’s team on Europe, and had consistently argued to the boss and Cabinet that a real Brexit had to mean leaving the ECJ, single market and customs union. In an article for the Speccie today, he outlines what the PM has to do to fulfil her promise that Brexit means Brexit:
“Skilful leadership may deliver stability, but the absence of an overall majority means the nature of the Brexit deal the government negotiates is more uncertain. There has long been talk of a choice between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ forms of Brexit, with the latter requiring membership of the EU’s single market. Since that would involve accepting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, vast annual membership payments to the EU, and the continuation of free movement rules, people who voted to leave the European Union might wonder whether advocates of a ‘soft’ departure really do understand that Brexit means Brexit.”
Many Leave Tory MPs who hated Timothy’s manifesto were apprehensive about him leaving Number 10 due to his strong commitment to a real Brexit. They will be hoping Theresa is still listening to him…
Nick Timothy out:
“I take responsibility for my part in this election campaign, which was the oversight of our policy programme. In particular, I regret the decision not to include in the manifesto a ceiling as well as a floor in our proposal to help meet the increasing cost of social care. But I would like to make clear that the bizarre media reports about my own role in the policy’s inclusion are wrong: it had been the subject of many months of work within Whitehall, and it was not my personal pet project. I chose not to rebut these reports as they were published, as to have done so would have been a distraction for the campaign. But I take responsibility for the content of the whole manifesto, which I continue to believe is an honest and strong programme for government.”
Read his whole article on ConHome.
A Tory spokesman says Fiona Hill has resigned too. May now all alone in Number 10 without the aides upon whom she depended…
The Sunday papers reported that Philip Hammond has shelved plans for a new death tax after deciding his previous statements on the policy meant a u-turn would be too toxic. The Sunday Mirror said Hammond “feared he’d look a plonker”, while the Sunday Times quoted an aide:
[…] Read the rest
“Virtually everyone who was in the cabinet when the death tax was first suggested is on the record saying it is a terrible idea.
The Tories have consistently denied that Downing Street chief of staff Nick Timothy worked directly on the expenses scandal-hit South Thanet campaign. CCHQ’s line has been that Timothy only “provided assistance for the Conservative Party’s national team“. Tim Ross’ book ‘Why the Tories won‘ – the authoritative inside account of the 2015 general election – tells a very different story. […] Read the rest
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) February 28, 2017
The long legs of top Theresa May adviser Nick Timothy allow him to run away from Michael Crick’s Tory election expenses questions…[…] Read the rest
Downing Street has chosen the first day of the Christmas holidays to publish the salaries of government special advisers. Theresa May’s joint chiefs of staff Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy are on £140,000 each. There are now 83 SpAds costing the taxpayer £7.9 million a year…[…] Read the rest
A report published today by the Public Administration Select Committee has found that CCHQ were wrong to ask Special Advisers to campaign for the party in the Rochester by-election. Theresa May’s SpAd Nick Timothy was dropped from the candidates list in a major internal Tory row after he argued that demands from Grant Shapps for SpAds to take part in telephone canvassing were against their Code of Conduct.[…] Read the rest