Davis: Transition Must Be Over By 2022

Yesterday Guido told you Leave Tories were willing to support the government on a so-called ‘clean Brexit with a soft-landing’, with transitional arrangements and a departure date before the next election. Today David Davis has confirmed Brexit will be complete by 2022 as “the most important thing is it’s got to be done before the election”. Consensus among Leave Tories and government…

May Tells EU Citizens: “We Want You to Stay”

Cameroons Disagree on DUP

David Cameron tweeted his endorsement of Theresa May’s deal, ordering Tory MPs to get behind the PM:

Seems Dave’s old team didn’t get the memo. Here’s George Osborne’s front page:

Guido can give you Photoshop lessons, George. Meanwhile Cameron’s old comms chief Craig Oliver is also slagging off the arrangement:

Not listening to the boss anymore…

Labour Promised More Cash For Northern Ireland in 2010

Labour are complaining today that Northern Ireland should not get more funding than other parts of the UK and that May has given them a deal “to help her cling to power”.

“Where is the money for the Tory-DUP deal coming from? And, will all parts of the UK receive the much needed additional funding that Northern Ireland will get as part of the deal? This Tory-DUP deal is clearly not in the national interest but in May’s party’s interest to help her cling to power.”

Almost gotta admire the hypocrisy…

In 2010 Gordon Brown wrote to the DUP seeking a deal to help him cling to power. He guaranteed money for Northern Ireland and implied Northern Ireland would need more cash than the rest of the UK:

“I am writing to confirm my continued commitment to the block grant for Northern Ireland for the current financial year and to confirm the financial settlement for the budget of the newly established Department of Justice… As you know, I believe it is an imperative to stabilise the economic recovery in Northern Ireland…. I recognise that the legacy of the past will make this more difficult to achieve in the coming months than we may expect in other parts of the United Kingdom. This is a challenge we must all meet. The achievements made by you and the political leaders of Northern Ireland have been an example to us all. I remain firmly committed to doing all I can to support this momentous progress and you can count on my continued support.”

In 2015 Labour under Miliband did the same. Read Gordon’s letter to the DUP, there are lots of similarities with May’s words today…

Leave Tories Support Time-Limited “Soft Landing” Brexit

Tory Leavers will support the government on interim Brexit arrangements lasting two or three years so long as the period is strictly time-limited and cannot be extended. Leave-supporting ministers and MPs say they back the government’s plan for a so-called “softer landing”, arguing it is both sensible and necessary to achieve a proper Brexit outside the single market and customs union. Yesterday leading Brexiter and Open Europe chairman Lord Wolfson called for a “smooth” rather than “rushed” departure process. The feeling among Tory Leavers is that the destination is the same – a clean, open Brexit – but there will be a “softer” journey to get there. 

Suella Fernandes, the new head of the influential European Research Group of 80 Leave Tory MPs, tells Guido:

“It is entirely pragmatic and sensible, as we do with other legislation, for there to be a strictly time-limited interim implementation phase, but by no means should that be read as a cover up for staying in.”

Leave MPs have two main conditions for supporting an interim arrangement. They say it is crucial the period is “time-limited” – that an irrevocable departure date is set and cannot be extended. Their fear is that without a time-limit continuity Remainers and civil servants will aim for “permanent transition” or repeated delays to ultimately keep the UK inside the EU. Leavers also want Britain fully out of the single market and customs union within two or three years, well in time for the next election. Tory MPs are concerned that the public will want to see progress on immigration and trade deals by the time they next vote. One of David Davis’ main reasons for lobbying Theresa May to call a snap election was so Brexit could be fully completed by the next election. This means an interim period of two or three years, over well in time for 2022.

The Remain media’s focus on “soft” versus “hard” Brexit has been misleading. Everyone in government including Philip Hammond agrees on a destination outside the single market and customs union. It is the journey that is interesting – Hammond and Leavers now agree on a “softer landing”, so long as the transition is short and time-limited. Expect UKIP to complain (they have to, or else they have nothing to say). But so long as Leave MPs’ conditions are met this seems to Guido a sensible approach for a smooth, real Brexit…

Deal Done! May Hands DUP £1 Billion

Arlene Foster drives a hard bargain, especially considering the Tories didn’t need a formal deal for the government to survive. £ rising on the news…

UPDATE: You can download and read the deal in full here. Additional details of UK government financial support for Northern Ireland have also been released. It is intended to last for the entire length of the parliament…

UPDATE II: Key details:

+ £400m for Northern Ireland infrastructure

+ £150m for superfast broadband

+ £100m for immediate health and education pressures

+ £200m for health service transformation

+ £50m for mental health

+£100m for relieving deprivation

UPDATE III: TaxPayers’ Alliance slams the deal:

“Taxpayers resent politicians cooking up deals behind closed doors that invariably end with their cash being thrown wherever is politically advantageous rather than where it could be best spent. The unfair way in which money is allocated between the Home Nations has been clear for decades, best illustrated by the significantly higher levels of public spending in Scotland than in considerably poorer parts of England. But until there is a major decentralisation of tax raising powers, Westminster politicians will always have ultimate control of the purse strings and be able to dish out taxpayers’ cash in a way that benefits them more than the general public.”

Theresa May and the Holy Grail

Via Insiders ABC

Davis and Priti Won’t Rule Out Leadership Bids

David Davis criticised “self-indulgent” colleagues plotting leadership bids on Marr, though failed to rule out a run himself, insisting: “I’m not getting into it”. Always ambitious Priti Patel gave even less of a non-denial on Peston, refusing to answer the question several times. Count them in your runners and riders…

Notable that Davis broadly endorsed Hammond’s desire for transitional arrangements (though his preference is two years rather than four). The Sunday papers are reporting a Hammond-Davis plot to take over from Theresa May, and Davis’ former SpAd James Chapman is stirring it up:

A ticket that would be tough for Leave Tories to stomach…

Colonel Ruth Davidson

We’re used to seeing her on manoeuvres atop a tank, now Ruth has been made an Honorary Colonel of 32 Signal Regiment. If she could just get her head around Brexit she’d be in with a decent shout you know…

EU Refuses to Accept May’s Offer on Migrant Rights

As Donald Tusk predictably criticises May’s generous offer on EU citizens’ rights this afternoon, it is once again clear that Remain ultras in Britain will side with the EU even when the UK government is being entirely reasonable. What did Remainers want? EU citizens’ rights to be guaranteed. And the government has indeed guaranteed their rights from the Article 50 trigger date, a completely fair and common sense proposal. Still the Guardian’s Brexit correspondent bizarrely calls it “disgraceful”.

Juncker wants the ECJ to continue to hold sway in Britain post-Brexit as part of any deal: “I can’t see the ECJ being excluded from the settlement in the future”. Any fair-minded pundit can see this is unacceptable – the UK voted to take back control of laws. 

Sky News, ever-more partisan for a supposedly impartial broadcaster, asked May what her mandate was for leaving the single market and customs union. Seriously? This debate has been had time and time again – even the government’s biggest Remainers accept it is over. May quite rightly slapped down Faisal, telling him yet again that 80% of voters backed parties which support leaving the single market and customs union. There is a lot of important Brexit scrutiny that Remain supporters could be carrying out. Instead they are backing the other team and asking the same tired old questions…

Ousted Brexit Minister David Jones Joins Leave Means Leave

Guido hears ousted Brexit minister David Jones is joining the board of Leave Means Leave. Readers will know LML as the group fighting to make sure the government sticks to the mantra of no deal being better than a bad deal – an important negotiating position that is increasingly under threat post-election. Jones says he will “work to ensure that the spirit of confidence and optimism that was behind last year’s historic vote continues to inspire the process of withdrawal from the EU”. Interestingly LML chief Richard Tice says an additional 13 MPs have joined the group. Enough to vote down a bad deal…

Hammond’s Revealing Today Interview

During his Today programme interview this morning Philip Hammond all but confirmed his desire for a three or four year transitional arrangement which wouldn’t see us fully leave the European Union until 2022 or 2023. Perhaps even more revealing was his choice of metaphor:

“When you buy a house you don’t move all your stuff in on the first day.”

Well you do unless you have more than one house…

Prezza’s Boris BBC Bias Bunkum

Here is John Prescott complaining that the BBC has not covered Boris Johnson’s car crash interview conducted by the BBC’s Eddie Mair on BBC Radio 4. You can listen to Boris’ Diane Abbott moment, courtesy of the BBC, below. It is the third-most watched clip on the BBC website this morning.

Cripes…

May: We Failed Grenfell Victims, I’m Sorry

Humility from the PM during a sombre Queen’s Speech debate this afternoon.

Number 10 Chaos: May Has 8 Fewer SpAds Than Pre-Election

There is chaos in Downing Street: no hierarchy, little communication, humiliation at the hands of the DUP and an embarrassing exodus of top-ranking staff. Number 10 policy chief John Godfrey, one of May’s more senior aides, is the latest to quit.

The full list of Number 10 advisers who have left or are on their way out: Fiona Hill, Nick Timothy, John Godfrey, Katie Perrior, Lizzie Loudon, Chris Brannigan, Will Tanner, Alex Burghart, Neil O’Brien and Chris Hopkins. By Guido’s count May has just 22 SpAds in Downing Street, eight fewer than before the election…

Get in touch with any updates to our SpAd list…

Another No.10 Departure: Iraq War Hero Out

Yesterday Guido told you how the government is understaffed at SpAd level, with Downing Street in particular needing reinforcements after a spate of departures. Here’s another vacancy: a source confirms Chris Brannigan, an Iraq War hero who was the Director of Government Relations at Number 10, is also out. He was the PM’s big business point man. By Guido’s count May now has just 24 advisers, quite a lot fewer than before the election.

If you know of any other updates, let Guido know

DUP Talks Stall

Sky News quote DUP sources saying:

“The party can’t be taken for granted. Negotiations haven’t proceeded in a way that DUP would have expected.”

As Guido reported this morning, Tory MPs are increasingly concerned about the way May has handled the negotiations. Several MPs believe it is possible no deal will be struck. Which won’t stop the Queen’s Speech passing as the DUP would never bring down the government and allow Prime Minister Corbyn. But it would be another humiliation for May…

Hammond’s “Sound Money” Speech Sadly All Spin

Philip Hammond’s Mansion House speech this morning was sound in its rhetoric. “We must make anew the case for a market economy and for sound money,” he said, warning that “higher taxes and higher borrowing” must be rejected, taxes must be kept “as low as possible” or else they will “slow growth, undermine competitiveness, and cost jobs”. He repeated this language at Cabinet, telling colleagues of the “importance of making the case for a market economy and sound money”. This is all positive rhetoric. The policy truth is alas very different.

Hammond confirmed this morning that he still wants to push back closing the deficit until 2025, ten years later than the Tories promised. The Tories have added £500 billion to the national debt in 7 years, Hammond now plans to add a billion a week to the burden. That is not “sound money” by any definition of the term.

Taxes have risen under the Tories. The claim by the Tories to be a low tax party has not been true this century. They raised VAT almost immediately upon coming into office. They argue they have cut business taxes, yet they raised dividend taxes on small business owners and tried to raise National Insurance contributions. Hammond ditched the triple tax lock at the election. He has signalled further tax rises are likely. The tax burden under this Chancellor will rise to its highest level since 1969. That is not keeping taxes “as low as possible”. 

Hammond is sounder on economics than Theresa May and her former aides. Talking up the “market economy” is clearly a slap down of the PM’s failed attempt at interventionism in the manifesto. Though his claim to be funding public services by anything other than more borrowing and more taxes is sadly all spin…

May to Schmooze MPs at No.10 Party Tonight

“I don’t gossip. I don’t go drinking in Parliament’s bars. I don’t often wear my heart on my sleeve. I just get on with the job in front of me,” Theresa May is famously fond of telling us. As a sign of how much things have changed, this evening she is throwing a drinks party for Tory MPs at Number 10, taking the unprecedented step of schmoozing her own MPs. Colleagues say this is a rare occurrence – not many of these events have taken place under May. Good to see the PM finally come round to the merits of a drink and a gossip…

Tory MPs Unimpressed By May’s DUP Negotiating Skills

Tory MPs expected the PM to have a deal in place with the DUP well before tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech, instead it has gone right to the wire. Nine days have passed since Downing Street erroneously announced a deal had been struck, only to have to clarify that it hadn’t.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Philip Hammond uses a trip to Berlin to mock the Foreign Secretary:

“A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece. Wise words with some applicability to the Brexit negotiations although I try to discourage talk of “cake” amongst my colleagues.”

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