Merkel has given a strong hint that the EU could be prepared to move on the backstop, telling a German press conference that the backstop will be “overwritten” if alternative solutions can be found. This doesn’t actually change the EU’s position yet – as things stand the UK would still be signing up to the backstop in the legally-binding Withdrawal Agreement while the alternative arrangements would be in the non-binding political declaration. It’s still a significant softening of the EU’s rhetoric around the backstop after stonewalling the issue throughout the Tory leadership contest…
It’s good timing, the Alternative Arrangements Commission run by ProsperityUK, led by Greg Hands and Nicky Morgan, published their 268-page Alternative Arrangements Report and Protocols just yesterday. No solution for the Irish border is going to be perfect from day one but it does blow apart the fiction promulgated by May and the EU that the backstop is the only way to solve the border issue. The backstop remains by far the single biggest impediment to a sensible deal, no excuse for either sides’ negotiators not to be looking at alternative arrangements now…
Nicky Morgan intervened on Theresa May’s opening speech to confirm the “surprising” news that Tory Remainers and Leavers had formed an unlikely alliance around the ‘Malthouse Compromise’.
One MP who obviously didn’t have much to offer the constructive cross-partisan discussions was Anna Soubry, who was caught grumbling loudly “would have been nice to have been told that” as Morgan spoke. Given that she’s doing everything she can to derail Brexit altogether, Guido isn’t really sure why she’s surprised to be left out. How times have changed…
In an unexpected development late last night, reports began to leak out of a secret compromise hammered out between Brexiteers including Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker and Remainers including Nicky Morgan and Stephen Hammond. Even Remain-leaning Government ministers Robert Buckland and Kit Malthouse are on board, with Baker crediting Malthouse for bringing the warring factions together as he confirmed the reports which somehow managed to remain secret until last night. Remarkable given the range of people involved…
According to the messages sent to Tory MPs by Nicky Morgan last night, The ‘Malthouse Compromise’ would’:
- Replace the backstop with the alternative protocol from the ‘Better Deal’ report launched last month, which would be “acceptable indefinitely”.
- Extend the transition period for up to a year until the end of 2021 to give time for a smooth transition to a new relationship (Plan A).
- Include a “triple safety net” around exiting with no Withdrawal Agreement:
- Continue to offer ‘Plan A’
- Agree a standstill transition period with the UK paying its financial commitments
- Offer a “GATT 24 WTO-compliant standstill on trade with no tariffs, no quantitative restrictions and no new barriers for execution” to come into force at the end of 2021 if the future relationship has not been agreed by then
Morgan says that “this would allow time for both parties to prepare properly for WTO terms, but also provide a period in which the parties could obviate this outcome by negotiating a mutually beneficial future relationship”. EU citizens’ rights would be guaranteed in all circumstances.
The big question is how this plan relates to today’s Parliamentary action. There are no amendments specifically related to it for MPs or even the Government to get behind, but the broad coalition of support behind it makes it impossible to ignore. Guido understands that Downing Street is interested in the proposals but has concerns about technical aspects around SPS checks…
Brexiteers remain divided over whether to support Sir Graham Brady’s amendment on renegotiating the Irish backstop, despite Theresa May giving it her official backing last night. Liam Fox confirmed on Today that the Government would be seeking to reopen the legal text of the deal if the amendment passed, potentially reassuring Brexiteers that it is not simply going to be ‘Operation Figleaf Mk II’. Guido cannot see any good reason for Brexiteers not to support Brady’s amendment, it is compatible with the ‘Malthouse Compromise’ and the best chance of changing the worst aspect of May’s deal…
"There is no majority in parliament for a no deal Brexit… if you want to stop crashing out of the EU then the law needs to change to extend Article 50' says Nicky Morgan MP #Ridge
— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) January 20, 2019
"Is this a coup?" asks @SophyRidgeSky
"It's a strange sort of coup that starts with a whole lot of democratically elected members of Parliament… it is unprecedented" responds Nicky Morgan. #Ridge
— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) January 20, 2019
Oliver Letwin, Nicky Morgan, and Nick Boles are among a group of ultra-Remainer Tories to propose a plan that would force the Government to recind Article 50 when May’s Deal is voted down tomorrow. This is the first time rescinding A50 has been seriously proposed as fallback…
The plan goes that if no consensus is reached by Parliament as to what to do next in the six weeks that follow the meaningful vote, the Prime Minister would be compelled to ask the EU for an extension to Article 50. If they refused then the plan would force the PM to unilaterally rescind Article 50…
Obviously the EU is only going to do one thing if they’re given the chance to automatically end the Brexit process. The EU would have proved escape is impossible, and the UK would be left humiliated…
“It’s for MPs to step up to the plate and sort this out now as elected representatives, otherwise I think our democracy will be in really big trouble.”
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) July 3, 2016
On 3 July 2016, Nicky Morgan told Peston that she had “listened to party members” and decided that it was “important” that “somebody who wanted to leave the EU” became PM. NiMo said “it’s now up to the political class, the Westminster bubble, to realise just how people feel out in the country” as she endorsed Michael Gove for leader. This was Morgan backing leaving the single market and customs union. Gove as PM could have meant nothing else. Today she is joining Clegg and Miliband’s anti-Brexit alliance. How does that work? NiMo was fine with leaving the single market and customs union so long as she was getting a big Cabinet job…
Nicky Morgan has protested to the chief whip and her association chairman has lodged an official complaint with the Tory party after her colleague Andrew Bridgen sent a statement of support to a pro-Brexit rally in her constituency. On March 10 the cross-party ‘Brexit Means Exit’ tour was in Leave-voting Loughborough, hosting speakers from all the major parties. Brexiter Bridgen had agreed to attend and notified Morgan’s office, only for NiMo to email the chief whip and for Julian Smith to then ask him not to go. Bridgen accepted and instead sent the rally organisers an innocuous statement about how “the people of our country voted to leave the European Union and to take back control of our Laws, our borders and our money”. Which is, after all, government policy…
That didn’t satisfy Team NiMo – Guido hears her association chairman responded by lodging an official complaint with the Tory party. Seems a bold move given Bridgen was in Loughborough actively campaigning for Morgan a few weeks earlier, Brexit is the policy of the government and NiMo voted with Labour when Remain rebels defeated the government in December. Who should be the one getting a telling off from the chief whip?
UPDATE: Here is the statement Bridgen gave the rally. Nothing in there which any Tory should be disagreeing with.
On the 23rd of June 2016 the people of our country voted to leave the European Union and to take back control of our Laws, our borders and our money. To fulfill that wish ,means that we have to leave the single market, the customs union and the juristriction of the European Court of Justice all of which was made clear by those on both sides of the argument in the run up to the Referendum.
Let us be clear, there is no hard or soft Brexit, only Brexit as promised in the referendum or a betrayal of the British people and indeed of our democracy itself. Parliament decided to give the British people the final say on this decision when it voted overwhelmingly for the EU referendum. When those who regret the way the Referendum result went or those who wish for Parliament to reverse or dilute the people’s decision through votes in Parliament ,they often cite that “Parliament is sovereign” and must have the final say regardless of the referendum result. I say this, elected members of Parliament are the servants of the people ,not their masters, MPs are custodians of power for a relatively brief period of time, sovereignty belongs to the people and the people have spoken.
I assure you I will continue to work tirelessly for the Brexit the British people voted for and in the confident ,steadfast ,determination that it will be delivered.
That our country’s future place in the world and its social and economic prosperity will be decided in our Parliament by Members elected by the British people and not in Brussels or Strasbourg by unelected EU bureaucrats.
I sincerely believe our country’s best days are ahead of us if we take this path. Something future generations of our great nation will be eternally grateful for.
I wish you all well with today’s meeting and urge you all to Keep Calm and carry on campaigning.
— Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) 15 October 2017
Nicky Morgan says she was contacted by a “very senior” member of the Cabinet who said “she” was appalled by briefings against Hammond. The only “very senior” member of the Cabinet (other than the PM) is Amber Rudd. Oops…
UPDATE: Remarkable hypocrisy from NiMo. Two weeks ago she said Boris “has to go” if he can’t keep quiet on Brexit. Last week she was widely implicated in the plot against the PM. Today Morgan says “it’s not helpful for anybody to have ministers being attacked, whether it’s the Chancellor or the Foreign Secretary” and criticises “self-indulgent” colleagues doing so. Eh?
By all accounts this year’s conference has been as eventful as ever in terms of people ending up in hotel rooms they didn’t book. Though one young couple didn’t make it that far, unfortunately for the nearby NiMo:
Young couple getting amorous in the ladies loo at the Midland hotel last night as Nicky Morgan reapplies her makeup.
— Eye Spy MP (@eyespymp) October 3, 2017
Eye or ear witnesses get in touch…
As a Remainer and famous critic of the government, Nicky Morgan (along with Anna Soubry) was top of the list of potential defectors for those seeking to form a new anti-Brexit party. Just one problem. Nicky thinks it’s a terrible idea and won’t be having anything to do with it.[…] Read the rest
If it weren’t for the Russians (allegedly) MPs’ inboxes would be constantly pinging with emails from colleagues canvassing for support for select committee chairmanships. The hotly-contested elections take place in July, as ever Guido gives you your runners and riders…
The big bunfight is the Treasury select committee, where MPs are jostling to fill the not inconsiderable shoes of Andrew Tyrie.[…] Read the rest
‘I would like to remind a few of my colleagues, if you keep rocking the boat then Corbyn will be in Downing Street’ says Tory MP pic.twitter.com/R0GN6TdOeU
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 11, 2017
Bernard Jenkin tells Nicky Morgan, Anna Soubry, Osborne and Heseltine to shut up or Corbyn will be in Downing Street.[…] Read the rest
This morning Guido reported that Tory MPs were under pressure to quit Open Britain over the group’s decision to target Tories in LibDem marginals. Well, Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan have just resigned from the group:
“As long standing Conservative Party members and MPs it is untenable for us to play any further role in an organisation, such as Open Britain, which is advocating campaigning against Conservative MPs or candidates, and we will not be doing so.”
Dominic Grieve and Neil Carmichael have also quit the group.[…] Read the rest
Open Britain, the zombie Remain campaign formerly known as BSE, has published a hit list of 20 MPs they are aiming to unseat in the name of fighting Brexit. You would have thought the 20 would all be Brexit backers. Nope, Open Britain are targeting Remain-voting Tory MPs Nicola Blackwood, James Berry, James Heappey and Luke Hall.[…] Read the rest
The latest attempt to frustrate Brexit comes in the form of Tory MPs seeking a white paper so there can be “greater debate” in the Commons, a demand being made by Remainers Anna Soubry, Alistair Burt and Nicky Morgan. Worth looking at how their constituencies voted (numbers from Chris Hanretty).[…] Read the rest