Boris’s Kinder Surprise

Boris got a bit more than he bargained for as his law-and-order week took him to meet prison officers who explained how prisoners smuggle drugs into prison. “A Kinder egg?! … Is that inside the… he’s ingested it… he’s plugged it? … You are joking!” Robert Buckland considers explaining to his boss, before taking the safer route of just nodding along knowingly instead…

H/t Joe Pike

Telegraph Bucks Up Justice Secretary Hit Piece

The Telegraph is running a story claiming the Justice Secretary “risks Brexiteer anger” after he stated he thinks a No Deal Brexit would be “chaos”. HuffPost ran the same story and Spectator Coffee House leads their lunchtime email with it. The only problem is it isn’t true…

When asked on the Today Programme “do you still believe that the impact of “crashing out” of the EU would be chaos?”, Buckland said:

“I’ve consistently argued that point and I still do that. That’s why I think that the work that is being done by Government to ensure an orderly Brexit is vital.”

“That’s why I’m really pleased that the structure of Cabinet committees, the way in which Government is bearing down upon the issues, shows a sense of urgency and purpose which is absolutely essential if we avoid the sort of disorder I have talked about.”

“Like I’ve said I think there’s a difference between ‘crashing out’ and not achieving a deal.”

At no point did Buckland, as the Telegraph mistakenly reports, claim that a “no-deal will cause ‘chaos'”. He made a clear distinction between his vision of ‘crashing out’ with no planning, and leaving without a deal.

Clearly, Buckland believes that “crashing out” of the EU this instant with no preparation would be chaotic, but that the work the Government is undertaking now will ensure that leaving the EU on 31st October on WTO terms is orderly and managed. The Telegraph trying to spin this as anything other than bang on message is bizarrely inaccurate…

Robert Buckland: Parliament Needs To Get Its Act Together

The new Justice Minister did not look too happy to be confronted by the latest General Election polling showing the Tories have now slipped to third place…

‘The Malthouse Compromise’: Leavers and Remainers Unite Behind Brexit ‘Plan C’

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…

A-law-ha! Attorney General Holds ‘Summer Beach Party’

They’re cracking out the grass skirts and coconut bikini tops at the Attorney General’s Office: an email invite has gone round inviting staff to a “Hawaiian themed end of term beach party“. The joint law officers’ party – hosted by Attorney General Jeremy Wright and the Solicitor General Robert Buckland – is on Monday:

Guido asked the Attorney General’s Office if sand and palm trees are brought in specially. A spokesman did not get back to us. Your honour-lulu…

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