Credit Where Credit’s Due

Theresa May has been claiming credit on Twitter for the new ban on credit card charges, even tweeting out this handy graphic about how “we” are responsible:

The ban is actually an EU-wide directive that has been imposed on the UK government. Nothing to do with Theresa May or the Tories.

We’ve fixed your graphic for you…

Friday Caption Contest (Twitching Edition)

Entries in the comments…

May: No Vote on Fox-Hunting

May on “The Labour Sisterhood”

Harriet Harman and Liz Kendall would both like that to come true…

May and Juncker Announce Deal

The news you’re waking up to this morning is that a deal has been reached in Phase One of the Brexit negotiations and ‘sufficient progress’ has been declared, paving the way for trade talks. Read the deal in full here

‘One Week to Stop a Soft Brexit’, Barwell Failing to Hold it Together

Two columns today show just how serious things are between Number 10 and the Brexiteers. In the Speccie James Forsyth quotes a leading Vote Leave figure warning there is “a week to fight back” against a soft Brexit. His piece blames the whole clusterf**k on a “hopelessly understaffed” Downing Street, “a general lack of direction and grip” and the vacuum caused by Damian Green’s distractions. In the Times Iain Martin is even more damning, he says Number 10 “resembles a morgue” and names Gavin Barwell as “struggling to hold it all together”Yesterday Guido told how May is being bounced by Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins into a non-Brexit which prevents us from diverging from the EU – this is now the crunch issue.

Cabinet Brexiteers do not believe Theresa May wants to sell them out on Brexit. However they think May, Barwell and Number 10 do not understand the implications of the direction they are taking on regulatory alignment. Leavers are genuinely raging that there is no one in charge and the lack of leadership in Downing Street has allowed Heywood and Robbins to dictate the process and shift them towards a soft Brexit. Tories are even muttering wistfully that Nick Timothy would never have stood for this – it is a sign of how bad things are that some are almost longing for the days he was in charge. The Cabinet reckoning on the Brexit end state is promised before the end of the year. May has delayed it to hold her government together but in doing so her indecisiveness and caution has allowed the Remainers to walk her towards a non-Brexit.

The Vote Leave figure says there is a week to fight back against a soft Brexit. The other way of looking at it is May has a week to save herself from the consequences of taking the wrong path… 

May Promises Mogg Red Lines Aren’t Turning Pink

May tells Brexiteer Tory MPs that the red lines set out in her Lancaster House speech remain…

Knives Out For Heywood and Robbins

Tory Brexiteers fear Theresa May is being bounced by her top civil servants Jeremy Heywood and Olly Robbins into a non-Brexit which prevents us from diverging from the EU after we leave. Leavers have been pragmatic, calm and willing to compromise throughout the Brexit process so far. This is really the first time things are in danger of seriously kicking off. This line in the draft text apparently agreed by Number 10 has caused genuine fears among all Brexiteers:

“In the absence of agreed solutions, the UK will maintain full alignment with the internal market, customs union…”

This is wholly unacceptable, it is almost unbelievable Number 10 would sign it off. Guido bumped into Lord Trimble last night and showed him this line, he stared at it for some time as if having difficulty believing it could be real before commenting: “This is surely not something the British government could sign up to”.

Brexiteers believe Heywood and Robbins are taking advantage of a weak Downing Street to force through a Brexit which keeps us too closely aligned to Brussels. Guido reported in September that Heywood and Robbins were seeking a softer EEA minus model, there are now genuine fears of a stitch up and Number 10 choosing a route closer to that than the real Brexit preferred by Boris, Gove and Fox, and demanded by the referendum result. A Whitehall source says May is “way too reliant” on Robbins. It is baffling that they appear to have conceded alignment on agriculture between the EU and the whole of the UK – could the Environment Secretary really live with that? There are also serious concerns that May could drop the ECJ red line from her Lancaster House speech. Leavers are seeing the situation as salami slices being given away until eventually there is no salami left. 

There is also disbelief that May did not consult Cabinet about what they were about to concede. A Whitehall source tells the Sun“Cabinet is in the dark about what the PM is doing now, which is a very strange state of affairs to be in”. A Cabinet source tells the Telegraph: “The Prime Minister is playing a risky game”. Brexiteers are asking who in is in charge: is it Heywood and Robbins bouncing a weak May into a softer Brexit, or is it May trying to bounce the Brexiteers? It is more likely to be the former. May knows she owes her position to keeping Leavers onside – if she sells out they won’t stand for it.

Regulatory Convergence Between UK & EU Denied

Last night Robert Peston set the hares running reporting that “permanent regulatory convergence between the UK and EU” is Theresa May’s “preferred route”. This would essentially be the EEA minus option preferred by Hammond and the Remainers, meaning the UK would have to follow EU rules permanently, denying the opportunities of Brexit that the country voted for. Fortunately government sources are strongly kicking back at the Peston report and denying there will be regulatory convergence between the UK and the EU. The Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn says alignment – which is different to convergence – would only be in limited areas of the Good Friday agreement.

It certainly would be brave for May to suddenly back the convergence model – that would go completely against the spirit of her Lancaster House speech, it would not be a real Brexit and it would mean the end of Brexiteer support for her premiership, which she has worked very hard to maintain over the last year. This episode again stresses the need for the Cabinet to thrash out once and for all what type of Brexit they actually want…

Juncker: No Deal Today, “Very Confident” Sufficient Progress Next Week

Juncker on May

Juncker does May a favour:

“She’s a tough negotiator, not an easy one.”

May: Trump Wrong

Trump v Theresa

Number 10 wake up to this:

Next phone call between them is going to be fun…

Kev Fancies Theresa

Responding to Emma Dent Coad’s latest comments, Kevin Maguire tells Good Morning Britain he thinks Theresa May is “quite attractive for her age”. Your age, Kev…

Now Emma Dent Coad Calls Theresa May Ugly

After her Shaun Bailey humiliation you would have thought a period of quiet reflection might be a good idea for Labour MP Emma Dent Coad. Instead last night she tweeted this charming graphic saying Theresa May’s face “gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it”. Pity the people of Kensington having this as their MP.

Dawn Butler: Theresa May Is No Friend of Women

Charming as ever from Labour’s Dawn Butler, who says Theresa May “might be female but she is no friend of women”, and that the Tories have done nothing for women despite having had two female Prime Ministers. Bold given Labour hasn’t even had a female leader.

PMQs Sketch: The Grey-Some Twosome’s Budget Panto

Theresa May and Philip Hammond have the least sexy Prime Minister-Chancellor relationship in British political history. Thatcher-Lawson, Major-Lamont, Blair-Brown: these titanic battles of personality and politics had real zing. There was a dangerous chemistry about each, and like two reactive elements thrust together, the mixtures would eventually explode. Our grey-some twosome are too dull even to destroy one another…

How utterly similar they looked: like two wan Waitrose shoppers. You can imagine them now, plodding down the high street in any nameless provincial town. We are told there is no love lost between them, but today, they co-ordinated to stage the crumbling theatre’s final panto. Both seemed to know they had little to lose…

Continue reading

May-Hammond Cough Sweets Double Act

Wahey!

Corbyn’s Black Rod Message Backfires

“I hope it isn’t going to take 650 years before the Labour Party has a female leader.”

Jezza walked into that one.

New Tory Slogan: “Building a Britain Fit For the Future”

Here are seven words you can expect to hear a lot more of over the next few weeks and months: Guido understands the new Tory slogan is “Building a Britain fit for the future”. Theresa May used it three times at PMQs on Wednesday, telling the Commons: “this government is building a country fit for the future”, “we are building a Britain fit for the future” and “We in the Conservative Party are building a Britain that is fit for the future”.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Embattled Henry Bolton on his battles…

“I’m going nowhere. I have seen people die, I have seen people blown up, I have seen people shot. Even the Taliban doesn’t quite prepare you for UKIP, though.”

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