The Press Room

18 January 2019


Theresa May’s Brexit plan B talks descend into acrimony (Financial Times)
Opposition parties who attended talks with Mrs May were left bewildered after Downing Street made clear it would resist demands to shift towards a softer form of Brexit.

Brexiters optimistic that May will stand firm on customs union (The Guardian)
Meetings held at Downing Street on Thursday to find way to break Brexit impasse.

Brexit: DUP edges towards customs union (The Times)
The DUP would be open to a soft Brexit that kept the whole of the UK in a customs union with Brussels, senior sources have told The Times.

Corbyn says British PM’s offer over Brexit talks a ‘stunt’ (RTE)
Speaking at a party rally in Hastings, Jeremy Corbyn said that the British Prime Minister must “ditch her red lines” over Brexit.

Theresa May tells Jeremy Corbyn ruling out no-deal is ‘impossible’ (Independent)
Prime minister insists crashing out can only be blocked by agreeing a deal, or by revoking Article 50 – adding: ‘I believe it would be wrong to overturn the referendum result’.

Labour splits deepening over Jeremy Corbyn warning MPs not to talk to government on Brexit (Politics Home)
Jeremy Corbyn is facing a mounting backlash over his decision to urge Labour MPs not to hold Brexit negotiations with the Government.

Labour MPs defy Jeremy Corbyn and attend Brexit talks at No 10 (The Times)
Labour MPs accepted Theresa May’s invitation to cross-party Brexit talks yesterday in defiance of Jeremy Corbyn’s demand that they join his boycott.


Cabinet ministers warn Theresa May she will face mass resignations unless she allows MPs to stop no-deal Brexit (Telegraph)
As many as 20 mid-ranking ministers have indicated that they are prepared to quit the Government so they can support backbench moves to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Tory MP plans bill to make no-deal Brexit legally impossible (The Guardian)
Pro-remain cabinet ministers back bid to block EU departure without deal, Nick Boles says.

Senior MPs intensify efforts to block no-deal Brexit (Financial Times)
Former ministers Nick Boles and Dominic Grieve aim for common plan.

Parliament can take control of Brexit – but that won’t solve the impasse (Institute for Government)
While the ‘Nick Boles’ plan to wrest control of the Brexit process from Government could work, Dr Hannah White argues that it will merely delay rather than solve the Brexit impasse.

Tory MP pledges second referendum amendment to May’s Brexit plan (The Guardian)
Sarah Wollaston wants MPs to have vote on holding fresh poll when PM’s proposal is debated.

UK government: Second Brexit vote would take a year to organize (Politico)
Advocates of a people’s vote said that the government was trying to “undermine support” for a second referendum.

Corbyn could face string of resignations if he backs ‘people’s vote’ (The Guardian)
A number of Labour frontbenchers say they would consider their positions if leader backed idea.

Heidi Allen, Anna Soubry and Guto Bebb: It is time our Conservative Party backed a Final Say (Independent)
We understand why colleagues are reluctant, but how can it be a betrayal of the people to hand them the chance to vote?

Common Market 2.0: inside the campaign for a Norway-Style Brexit (The House)
Supporters of a Common Market 2.0 believe they have the solution to get the PM out of a deep hole. Sebastian Whale sits down with three of them, Lucy Powell, Rob Halfon and Stephen Kinnock.

Business groups call for politicians’ consensus on Brexit plan B (Financial Times)
Lobbyists say no point in delaying EU exit without change in MPs’ position.

Gordon Brown calls for Brexit to be delayed a year while the Government works out what people want (Telegraph)
The former prime minister has called for Brexit to be delayed for a year while the Government tries to fathom what the British people want with a series of public meetings.

Helen Goodman: Parliament Should Consider Alternative Voting To Reach A Clear Consensus On Brexit (HuffPost)
We elect the Speaker and committee chairs with preferential votes – this new way would finally deliver Parliamentary sovereignty on Brexit.

Why a general election could be Theresa May’s least worst option (The House)
Conservative MPs, voters and even political journalists don’t want to hear it, but going back to the country could be the PM’s only escape from the trench warfare at Westminster, writes George Parker.

Whitehall Chiefs ‘Told To Prepare For Snap General Election’ Over Brexit Deadlock (HuffPost)
It comes just two days after government faced a confidence vote.

Across the Channel

EU holds back budget cash to soften blow of no-deal Brexit (Politico)
Brussels takes precautions to avoid financial shock.

UK can delay Brexit without holding Europe elections, say lawyers (Financial Times)
Legal opinion could remove one obstacle if Britain seeks to stay in bloc beyond May vote.

France triggers €50m contingency plan in case of no-deal Brexit (The Guardian)
Five decrees to be issued within three weeks to authorise investment in border control checkpoints, roads and lorry parks at ports.

Portugal looks to protect tourism from no-deal Brexit (Financial Times)
“Millions of Britons visit Portugal as tourists every year,” António Costa, the prime minister, said on Thursday. “We have to ensure the flow is not interrupted.”

Alan Posener: Don’t rely on Germany to solve Brexit, it doesn’t need to help Britain (The Guardian)
Angela Merkel has bigger worries at home, and her carmakers have more important customers.

Bitte! Stop Brexit and stay with us, Germany asks Britain (The Times)
The frontrunner to become Germany’s next chancellor has issued an 11th hour plea for Britain to change its mind and stay in the European Union.

Germany’s Maas: We need to talk about whether to reopen Brexit accord (Reuters)
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said a discussion should be held on whether to re-open the draft deal for Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, but only if all EU members agreed.

Amid Brexit Chaos, E.U. Sees a ‘Catastrophic Success’ (The New York Times)
Frans Timmermans cited the Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might get what you need.” If only it were clearer to Brussels what Britain wanted, let alone needed.

Ready for Brexit?

Brexit: Are we running out of parliamentary time? (BBC)
There are now fewer than 40 legislative days left before Brexit is due to happen. And if the withdrawal agreement were to be approved, it would then have to be turned into new legislation.

Whitehall warns on lack of replacement trade deals after Brexit (Financial Times)
Memo reveals slow progress on new agreements ahead of March 29 deadline.

Government calls up British army reservists to help prepare for no deal (Independent)
Ministers have issued a formal notice calling up British army reservists to help tackle the impact of crashing out of the EU “on the welfare, health and security of UK citizens and economic stability of the UK”.

The Great Brexit Stockpile: U.K. Plc Braces for No Deal (Bloomberg)
Britain has turned into a warehouse as manufacturers, retailers and food producers build up vital supplies.

UK manufacturers set cash aside in case of hard Brexit (The Guardian)
Firms under strain as they tie up money in stockpiling materials, says Santander.

Enrolment of EU students at British universities hits reverse (Financial Times)
Concerns over Brexit outweigh benefits of studying in the UK.

Millions of EU citizens can’t access personal records, high court told (The Guardian)
Home Office rules could prevent people from asserting right to remain in UK after Brexit, says QC.

Pharmacists struggling to get hold of drugs amid fears of a no-deal Brexit (The Times)
Shortages of common medicines are worsening again, costing taxpayers tens of millions of pounds and raising fears that speculators are playing the market in anticipation of a no-deal Brexit.

Organised crime may exploit UK ‘loopholes’ to smuggle guns and drugs after Brexit, says NCA chief (Telegraph)
Steve Rodhouse, NCA director general (operations), said organised crime bosses were “creative” and would seek to capitalise on weaknesses in Britain’s defences after it left the EU.


Fintan O’Toole: It was never about Europe. Brexit is Britain’s reckoning with itself (The Guardian)
Brexit was sold in the referendum as a fantasy of national liberation. It simply could not survive contact with reality. You cannot free yourself from imaginary oppression.

Tim Harford: Brexit lessons from the wreck of the Torrey Canyon (Financial Times)
Sometimes the idea of changing tack becomes literally unthinkable.

How Britain embraced referendums, the tool of dictators and demagogues (The Economist)
We can go from “the people’s vote” to “a people’s veto,” says Robert Saunders of Queen Mary University of London.

Tony Barber: Brexit turmoil exposes perils of partisanship (Financial Times)
Political gridlock in the UK and US makes for an unedifying spectacle.

Philip Collins: A vote on every option is way out of this mess (The Times)
If Theresa May were bold she would make MPs choose between all available Brexit outcomes — and hers might even win.

Brexit, mother of all messes (The Economist)
Solving the crisis will need time—and a second referendum.

Noel Whelan: No Brexit more likely now than at any point since June 2016 (The Irish Times)
Signs are that the process is going in direction preferred by the Irish Government.

Matthew Parris: Leavers have just killed the best chance of Brexit ever happening (The Spectator)
Could it be that Leavers don’t really, unconsciously, want to leave at all? A bold assertion, but it does explain their behaviour as no other attempted explanation does.

Daniel Capurro: Philip Hammond, the Cabinet’s most prominent Remainer may be gloomy, but he is seldom incorrect (Telegraph)
When the Chancellor says something is or will be the case with Britain’s departure from the European Union, he elicits a rancorous response from Eurosceptic colleagues. But rarely does he prove to be wrong.

Iain Martin: Brexiteers must wake up and smell the coffee (The Times)
My fellow Leavers on the Tory benches must see sense and compromise or face losing Brexit altogether.

James Forsyth: The brutal truth is that May is heading towards a softer Brexit (The Spectator)
Rebel MPs now want to dictate the terms of Brexit. Will they succeed?

Katy Hayward: Was the backstop a good idea? (The Irish Times)
The greater the domestic chaos in the UK, the greater the need for legal measures.

Jeremy Warner: Until Brexit is no longer seen as a Right-wing plot there will never be a cross-party plan (Telegraph)
Brexit is in essence a partisan project for which a national political consensus – as opposed to a popular vote – was never established. It found itself harnessed from the start to the cause of perceived party political advantage.

Simon Jenkins: Theresa May must form a one-issue coalition to resolve this Brexit mess (The Guardian)
The Tories never forgave Robert Peel for seeking opposition support in 1846, but the episode provides a lesson for this prime minister.

Andrew Gimson: Not yet angry – but patriotic and bewildered (ConservativeHome)
Fear of betrayal is the dominant emotion at the Leave Means Leave rally.

Vernon Bogdanor: Post-Brexit Britain may need a constitution – or face disintegration (The Guardian)
The EU is the glue that holds the UK together. Devolution and the Good Friday agreement are now under grave threat.

James Kirkup: Brexiteers are destroying their own dream (The Spectator)
HL Mencken had a point when he said that democracy is the theory that the people “know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

17 January 2019


Tories rally behind May to defeat Corbyn’s no‑confidence motion (The Times)
Cabinet members split over demands for softer exit from EU as May wins confidence vote by 19.

May’s cross-party overtures snag on no-deal stand-off (The Irish Times)
Prime minister resisting Corbyn’s demands that she drop no-deal ‘blackmail’ threat.

May Faces Tough Talks With Opponents to Get New Brexit Deal (Bloomberg)
May is prepared to blur her red lines to find a plan that will get through Parliament, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Cabinet rivalries on best way forward burst into the open (The Times)
Cabinet divisions over whether Theresa May should soften her Brexit deal to attract Labour support burst into the open yesterday.

Denis Staunton: Loathing of Corbyn now the only thing that unites Tories (The Irish Times)
Labour leader’s attacks on floundering May blunted by his own Brexit evasions.

Theresa May’s Historic Defeat On Brexit Has Blown Up Downing Street’s Plan For What To Do Next (BuzzFeed)
Number 10’s plan was to bring her deal back for a second vote, but that was based on a much smaller defeat than the crushing 230-vote margin on Tuesday night.

Robert Peston: Why May can never craft a negotiable Brexit deal that keeps her party intact (ITV News)
She’s likely to face a choice between being the lame-duck servant of a parliament that doesn’t know what it wants, supporting a no-deal Brexit, which would see a third of her cabinet resign, and a referendum that could yield no Brexit at all.

Tory Brexit rebels split into six opposing camps (The Times)
The scale of Theresa May’s challenge in trying to get any deal through parliament is laid bare by analysis showing that her Tory opponents are split six ways.

Camilla Tominey: Gove writes his own obituary, as Brexiteers insist that their moment is about to arrive (Telegraph)
Far from believing that they have risked a softer Brexit by voting down the withdrawal agreement, ERG members think they have done the PM a favour by giving her the leverage she needs to re-negotiate with Brussels.

Sebastian Payne: Conservative party may now be heading for a major split (Financial Times)
Brexit is about to become softer and this could be the final straw for many Tory MPs.

No 10 rules out customs union after Brexiters warn of Tory split (The Guardian)
Pro-leave MPs tell May she risks a breakaway if she makes concessions on exit terms.

William Hague says Brexit crisis could yet lead to an election (Financial Times)
Former Conservative leader says media are underestimating chances of a poll.


Sam Lowe and John Springford: After the meaningful vote, what are Theresa May’s options? (Centre for European Reform)
Despite the furore, the fundamental options remain the same.

Stephen Bush: No one has a foolproof plan to prevent no deal and nobody knows whose gamble will pay off (New Statesman)
They can’t all be right. Someone in this queue is an idiot. But who?

Philip Hammond tells business chiefs MPs will stop no-deal Brexit (Telegraph)
The Chancellor set out how a backbench Bill could effectively be used to stop any prospect of no deal.

Response to the vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration (Commons Exiting the European Union Committee)
What alternative courses of action are there?

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott: What will happen next? Brexit and the parliamentary possibilities (Prospect)
A legal professor and constitutional expert weighs up the possibilities ahead.

Nikki da Costa: Nick Boles’s plan is certainly crazy. But it just might work (The Spectator)
The MP is proposing to take power away from the government and place it in an alternative opposition.

Could the customs union help Theresa May break Brexit deadlock? (Financial Times)
Adoption would attract Labour support but deeply anger Eurosceptics and DUP.

Labour MPs seek Brexit consensus with citizens’ assembly plan (The Guardian)
Stella Creasy and Lisa Nandy explore ways to put idea to parliament in an amendment.

Tom Clark: There is one way out of the Brexit impasse that no one has noticed (Prospect)
If Labour is serious about forcing an election, it could start by implementing a forgotten pledge from the last Conservative manifesto

Across the Channel

EU indicates it could accept a delay to Brexit — with conditions (Financial Times)
Attitudes are shifting after May’s deal defeat but the bloc is holding firm on backstop.

Brexit: EU ready to delay withdrawal until next year (The Times)
Previous planning had centred on a three-month delay to Brexit but now, according to multiple sources, EU officials are investigating legal routes to postpone Britain’s withdrawal until 2020.

EU Willing to Delay Brexit By Many Months, Sources Say (Bloomberg)
However, there isn’t complete agreement among EU member states, with some thinking the best strategy is still to insist that the U.K. leaves on the original date.

The EU Thinks Theresa May’s Attempts To Build Support With MPs For Her Brexit Deal Are Too Late And Will Probably Fail (BuzzFeed)
A diplomatic note seen by BuzzFeed News also warns that extending Article 50 to delay Brexit would not be as simple as some people assume.

Speeches by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier (European Commission)
From the Plenary session of the European Parliament on the occasion of the debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Did French President Emmanuel Macron sum up Brexit better than the British? (Euronews)
“Good luck to the representatives of the nation who have to implement a thing which doesn’t exist and explain to the people: ‘you have voted on a thing, we lied to you.”

German Brexit plan: keep calm and carry on (The Irish Times)
Merkle says she regrets deeply vote result on Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement with EU.

Chaotic Brexit would shake German business, industry group warns (Financial Times)
A disorderly Brexit would hit economic growth in Germany and leave businesses “staring into the abyss”, the country’s powerful industry federation warned on Thursday.

Mairead McGuinness: Theresa May needs to realise she can’t keep every Tory happy (The Guardian)
The EU wants an orderly Brexit – and May can still achieve it if she forgets inflexible Brexiteers and appeals to moderates

What the world’s papers say about Theresa May’s Brexit deal vote (The Times)
German newspapers gorged on the catastrophe of the vote, casting Britain as stuck and rudderless.


Ireland’s Leo Varadkar rejects time limit on Irish backstop (Financial Times)
Premier rules out revisiting demand for binding legal measures to avoid border checks.

Ireland accused of hiding truth about border checks (The Times)
The Irish government has been accused of secretly preparing for customs checks at the border with Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Checks on both sides of Irish border ‘mandatory under no-deal Brexit’ (The Guardian)
Customs expert says extra costs and delays will harm small businesses and WTO rules would ‘kill UK farming’.

Dr Peter Holmes: A Free Trade Agreement will not solve the Irish border problem (UKTPO)
Since the Government’s defeat in the House of Commons, there has been a flurry of comments, notably from Steve Baker arguing that Mrs May’s deal can be replaced by some form of Free Trade Agreement.

Irish watchdog urges UK auditors to prepare for ‘no deal’ Brexit (Financial Times)
British firms would need to register as ‘third country’ auditors without a deal.


A “meaningful vote” cast: What happened and what next? (House of Commons Library)
The House of Commons declined to approve the Prime Minister’s exit deal on Tuesday evening. This Insight explains what happened in the Commons and sets out what we expect will happen next in the “Brexit timeline”.

Catherine Haddon: The no-confidence motion exposed a new constitutional mess (The Times)
With Labour’s vote of no confidence in the government, people are realising that there are big concerns with how the Fixed Term Parliaments Act works.

Extending Article 50 may mean Britain must elect MEPs again (The Economist)
Delaying Brexit could interfere with European elections due at the end of May.


Electoral Commission ready for second referendum (The Times)
Britain’s election watchdog is drawing up contingency plans to hold a second referendum and to participate in the forthcoming elections to the European parliament if Brexit is postponed.

The question of the question (Tortoise)
A second referendum on Britain’s EU membership is looking more likely. The first question is what’s the question? There are dozens of options.

How to run a new Brexit referendum and disappoint everyone (The Economist)
There are many ways to hold a three-way vote, none optimal, says L. Alan Winters of the University of Sussex.

Business leaders demand People’s Vote (The Times)
In a letter to The Times, more than 130 executives called on MPs to “not waste any more time” and abandon hopes of renegotiating an agreement with the EU before Britain leaves on March 29.

Opposition leaders beg Jeremy Corbyn to back a second Brexit referendum after election bid defeat (Politics Home)
Opposition leaders have issued a last-ditch plea to Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum on Brexit after he failed to trigger a general election.

John Rentoul: Does Corbyn’s failure to secure a general election mean he will now support a Final Say referendum? (Independent)
Curiously, the Labour leader’s response to the result of this vote is roughly the same as Theresa May’s response to the Brexit vote yesterday.

Stephen Bush: Why Labour MPs could regret trying to call Corbyn’s bluff on backing a Second Referendum (Telegraph)
The big challenge that Corbyn faces is not staving off calls for a second referendum - but rather pressure for him to take decisive action to prevent a no-deal Brexit.


Business leaders warn of ‘supertanker GB’ heading for the rocks (The Guardian)
CBI appeals to Tory MPs to shift position to avoid a no-deal Brexit, or risk further harm to the economy.

City chiefs call for Brexit delay after PM’s deal is rejected (Financial Times)
Senior financiers criticise parliamentary logjam and urge UK to ‘stop the clock’.

Brexit Forces Biggest Insulin Supplier to Turn to the Skies (Bloomberg)
The prospect of the U.K.’s departure from the EU without a deal creates “real, tangible and immediate threats to patient safety,” the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations said in a statement.

Tesco braces for Brexit by renting frozen food containers (Financial Times)
UK’s biggest supermarket group adds to storage space to ease potential disruption.

Newspapers Are Stockpiling Ink and Newsprint Against Brexit (Bloomberg)
Publishing industry among businesses preparing for no deal.

Other Brexit news

Taiwan objects to Britain’s trade plans post-Brexit (RTE)
Taiwan objects to Britain’s proposed rules for managing its trade in services after it leaves the EU and has requested negotiations at the World Trade Organization.

Banks primed for £250bn lending spree if UK crashes out of EU, says Mark Carney (The Times)
The Bank of England governor told MPs that rules could be relaxed and believed that the banking system could cope with a financial shock.

Marine Strauss: Four Out of Five Belgian Companies Aren’t Prepared for Brexit (Bloomberg)
Government readies package to help in case of no-deal exit.

Drivers may be forced to carry insurance card after Brexit (The Times)
Drivers would have to apply for the document from insurance companies up to a month before travel under rules imposed in the event of no deal.

Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland at mercy of Westminster chaos over Brexit (The Scotsman)
A second referendum would not guarantee that Scotland’s wishes will prevail, although SNP members would seek to amend any legislation with a “four-nation lock”.

Sturgeon told time is right for another shot at independence (The Times)
Ms Sturgeon travelled to London before the no-confidence vote in the British government to meet Scottish National Party MPs and devise a strategy against Mrs May’s proposals for leaving the EU.


The great rescrambling of Britain’s parties (The Economist)
One thing is clear in all the confusion: anyone who thinks that Britain can go through the madness of the Brexit drama and then revert to politics as normal is howling at the Moon.

Nick Timothy: Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement is dead, but so too is no-deal Brexit (Telegraph)
No-dealers continue to fight, but they increasingly resemble Teruo Nakamura, the Japanese soldier who went on fighting the Second World War until 1974.

Parliament has increased the risk of no deal – now it needs to ensure the Government is ready (Institute for Government)
Having voted overwhelmingly to reject the Brexit deal, Parliament must now make sure that the Government is ready for no deal, says Tim Durrant.

Philip Stephens: Theresa May has one last throw of the Brexit dice (Financial Times)
She has one chance left to attach a redeeming footnote to her dismal premiership. Sad to say, there was nothing in her first reactions to this week’s vote to suggest she will grasp the challenge.

Martin Kettle: It’s now or never for May. Time to compromise on Brexit (The Guardian)
May can hardly be compared with Franklin Roosevelt, the greatest political leader of the 20th century. But he wrote the playbook that she needs to follow at this dire moment.

Tony Blair: Theresa May’s Brexit deal isn’t a deal. It’s a political contrivance (New Statesman)
Bludgeoning parliament into voting for a bad “deal” under threat of a no deal is no way to govern a country faced with the most momentous decision of our time.

Jenni Russell: Breathtaking ignorance of rent-a-quote MPs (The Times)
While some have risen to the challenge, others are playing fast and loose with the facts.

Simon Nixon: Brexiteers have failed to grasp the legal realities of leaving the EU (The Times)
Astonishingly, the former foreign secretary Boris Johnson appears to be still unaware that as a matter of legal fact there can be no transition period without a withdrawal agreement.

Owen Jones: Labour must pursue a better Brexit deal, not a second referendum (The Guardian)
In the absence of an election, Norway plus has the potential to unite parliament – and the country.

David Aaronovitch: Corbyn’s clique are the old guard Brexiteers (The Times)
Labour’s anti-Brexit majority now has the problem of how to win Corbyn over or neutralise him. Probably by holding an emergency conference to commit Labour to a second referendum.

Heather Stewart: Obsession, vanity or grit – what makes Theresa May tick? (The Guardian)
Some say the prime minister is resilient, others that she is inflexible, but all agree she is determined in her mission.

Gisela Stuart: Why a general election may be the only way to save Brexit (Telegraph)
The normal and accepted way to resolve a political crisis is to hold a general election. This is now probably the best way forward for the country.

Frederick Studemann: The unsettling business of applying for ‘settled status’  (Financial Times)
UK government is forcing a choice that many of us never wanted to make.

Billboard campaign reminds voters of MPs’ Brexit promises (The Guardian)
Posters repeat Gove claim UK will hold all the cards and Rees-Mogg call for second vote.

Newton Emerson: The backstop has completely backfired for Ireland (The Irish Times)
Provision has poisoned relations and muddied understanding of Belfast Agreement.

A Short History of Brexit by Kevin O’Rourke review – a devastating account (The Guardian)
After Theresa May’s historic defeat, what next for Brexit? The past, imagined and real, offers fascinating answers.

16 January 2019

The vote

Theresa May suffers historic defeat in vote as Tories turn against her (The Guardian)
PM faces vote of confidence after MPs reject her Brexit plan by majority of 230.

How the Brexit vote was lost (Politico)
A look at Theresa May’s defeat in graphics and charts.

The full list of Conservative and Labour rebels in the vote on May’s Brexit deal (ConservativeHome)
Here are the full lists of those MPs from the two main parties who rebelled in either direction on the Prime Minister’s proposed EU deal.

Sam Coates: Cabinet has nothing new to say as whips fail to hit their target (The Times)
The chief whip’s team were telling allies they expected to be defeated by a margin of about 140.

The Brexit speeches by MPs that made a mark (Financial Times)
Few minds have been changed by days of debate but six parliamentarians impressed.

May’s final plea to do sacred duty falls on deaf ears (The Times)
Theresa May told MPs that they should use the most meaningful vote of their careers to fulfil their “sacred duty” to deliver on voters’ hopes for a “brighter future” outside the European Union.

Michael Deacon: Everyone knew Theresa May would lose. So why didn’t she get it over with weeks ago? (Telegraph)
Well, what a waste of time that was. Five long, weary days of debate that absolutely everyone – including, surely, Theresa May herself – knew from the start would end in crushing defeat.

What next?

How does a no-confidence motion work, and what’s next for May? (The Guardian)
The government faces a no-confidence vote that it will expect to win, but what are the PM’s next steps?

James Forsyth: What options does Theresa May have left after this defeat? (The Spectator)
What May thought would be her plan, going back to Brussels, trying to get something and then bringing the deal back is now off the table.

Peter Foster: Do not expect the EU to fix Brexit - it is for MPs to come up with answers now (Telegraph)
After this vote, we enter a new and perilous phase. Privately senior officials on both sides have in recent weeks started to recognise this reality.

Gary Gibbon: Crushing defeat for May – where next? (Channel 4 News)
Several former Cabinet Ministers told me that the PM would blow the party apart if she reached over to Labour senior backbenchers.

Laura Kuenssberg: Can May find common cause in Parliament? (BBC)
Her team has been quick tonight to suggest that, while she is promising to listen, she has no inkling at this stage of dropping her own firm commitments.

Faisal Islam: A fight between no deal and a referendum, with a side order of Article 50 delay (Sky News)
With the middle ground collapsing beneath the PM, the battle over Brexit has become even more polarised.

Sam Coates: Let’s talk – humbled May reaches out to opposition after Brexit deal drubbing (The Times)
Downing Street said that the prime minister would consult “senior parliamentarians”, refusing to name Jeremy Corbyn as one of those to whom she would speak.

Jessica Elgot: Ministers split over whether May should soften Brexit deal after defeat (The Guardian)
Shocked cabinet argues PM should seek firm commitments from DUP or appeal to Labour.

Cabinet urges against appealing to Labour MPs (The Times)
Theresa May has been warned by cabinet colleagues not to try to get her Brexit deal through parliament by appealing to Labour MPs.

The Prime Minister will find it hard to build a cross-party consensus on Brexit (Institute for Government)
The scale of the Prime Minister’s defeat means she has been forced to look beyond tweaking the backstop to build support for a deal with the EU. But there is no easy consensus there for the taking, argues Jill Rutter.

John Rentoul: What will happen to Brexit after Theresa May’s Commons defeat? (Independent)
The prime minister will simply keep trying until parliament is forced to decide not just what it is against, but what it is for.

We should have second referendum with or without May, says Sturgeon (The Times)
The UK government must commit to a second EU referendum whether or not Theresa May’s administration survives today’s no-confidence vote, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

David Davis: After the PM’s defeat we must now maximise the strength of our negotiating position: here’s how (Telegraph)
After losing the vote by a huge margin, the Prime Minister has said she will continue with her deal, seek some changes from Brussels and bring the deal back. We encourage her to take a different path.

Tom McTague: British politics goes over a cliff (Politico)
Despite the defeat of historic proportions, the prime minister’s aides intend to resuscitate the Brexit deal.

Professor David Howarth: Seizing control of Brexit (UK in a Changing Europe)
One striking proposal is that the House of Commons should take control of the process. Can that happen? If so how? And would it damage the UK’s system of government?

Tim Bale: Would a Norway option break the Brexit stalemate? (New Statesman)
Here’s what the polling says.

Brussels and the EU27

Alex Barker: May’s defeat spells trouble for the EU’s Brexit approach (Financial Times)
Brussels sees outcome as a reality check on timing, renegotiation and Irish backstop.

The EU Says The Ball Is Still In Britain’s Court After Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Was Rejected (BuzzFeed)
European Council president Donald Tusk hinted that Britain could remain in the EU in the wake of the result.

Tony Connelly: Ball still in UK’s court as Brexit deadline looms (RTE)
Had Theresa May lost by a narrower margin and had it been clear that anger at the backstop neatly accounted for that margin, then the EU would have been in a more uncomfortable position.

Michel Barnier insists rejected Brexit deal is still ‘best compromise’ (Financial Times)
EU’s chief Brexit negotiator says UK must be ‘clear’ in ‘how we are to take things’.

Jon Stone: EU opens door to further trade negotiations if Theresa May ditches red lines (Independent)
Political declaration but not withdrawal agreement could be re-opened, Michel Barnier says.

Jon Henley: EU states escalate no-deal preparations after May defeat (The Guardian)
Countries work on emergency laws to avert potential chaos of no-deal Brexit.

Macron - Britain would be biggest loser in case of no-deal Brexit (Reuters)
After praising the head of the European Council Donald Tusk and the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Macron said he expected Britain to eventually ask for more time to renegotiate a deal.

German minister says UK should be given more time on Brexit (Politico)
There appears to be no parliamentary majority for a no-deal Brexit, Peter Altmaier says.

Coveney says extension of Article 50 must come with a plan for orderly Brexit (RTE)
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Coveney said that a withdrawal deal was still on the table and he did not believe the EU was in any mood to change it.

Dublin holds firm on backstop despite Brexit debacle (Financial Times)
Irish government insists Northern Ireland provisions remain closed to renegotiation.


Corbyn’s no-confidence move lays bare Labour’s Brexit divisions (Financial Times)
Leader and his allies look at alternatives as many push for second referendum.

Labour ready to ramp up pressure with more votes of no confidence (The Times)
Senior party sources said last night that they would make a series of attempts to oust Theresa May’s government.

Jeremy Corbyn offers little hope for people’s vote campaigners (The Guardian)
Labour leader’s focus on election disappoints those wanting second Brexit poll.

Hardliners step up their resistance to hated Irish backstop (The Times)
An ERG source said that even if Mrs May could add a time limit to the backstop, that concession would not fly.

Bill Cash: In almost every aspect of British life there are positives to a no-deal Brexit (Telegraph)
Now the EU Withdrawal Agreement has been defeated we have a golden opportunity to walk away. There is no signed agreement, and there is no legal obligation to abide by its costly rules.


Hammond raises Article 50 delay to reassure business over Brexit chaos (Financial Times)
‘Parliament’s pantomime’ greeted with corporate fury as no-deal messages from ministers clash.

Bosses round on ministers after May defeat (Sky News)
Bosses from Amazon and Tesco criticised the lack of clarity from ministers‎ after the PM’s Commons defeat, Sky News learns.


Robert Shrimsley: Theresa May’s drubbing points to a Brexit delay (Financial Times)
A softer Brexit may seem closer but the journey there is not going to be any more comfortable.

Sean O’Grady: The Brexit deal is dead (Independent)
It is beyond resuscitation. Theresa May – doughty and resilient and persistent as she is – has recognised as much.

Tim Stanley: Why are Remainers so happy? Right now, Britain is on course for a no-deal Brexit (Telegraph)
As of right here, right now – the morning after – the UK is legally on course to leave the EU on March 29. Without a deal. This could be stopped, perhaps it will, but Remainers have left an awful lot to chance.

Daniel Finkelstein: Blame the Brexiteers for last night’s farce (The Times)
Tory Leavers who once advocated pragmatic changes to our relationship with Europe have become reckless zealots.

Brexit vote: Remain and Leave’s reaction shows enormity of PM’s failure (Sky News)
With the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement rejected, the way forward is as clear as mud, writes Sky’s Lewis Goodall.

Henry Newman: The clock may be ticking, but the chaos just keeps coming (The Times)
After last night’s historic vote the government’s Brexit policy is in peril. But although the prime minister has been defeated, she is not politically dead.

Asa Bennett: Theresa May’s Brexit deal defeat shows the cost of taking Tory Brexiteers for granted (Telegraph)
When Tory Brexiteers expressed concern about it to the chief whip, he told them bluntly: “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to vote for it”. How dearly he must regret saying that now.

Matthew Parris: It’s time for parliament to wrest control from the zombies (The Times)
Dramatic as the result proved, nothing has changed. Instead what may reasonably be hoped for is a settling understanding of the enduring realities.

Stephen Bush: Theresa May can’t pass a Brexit deal. Jeremy Corbyn can’t win a confidence vote. What now? (New Statesman)
We will be treated to the surreal and ridiculous display of Conservative MPs who just voted against the government’s flagship policy, voting that they do, in fact, have confidence in May’s government.

Bronwen Maddox: The historic significance of Theresa May’s defeat (Institute for Government)
The extraordinary quality of this spectacle lies in the way that, after two and a half years, every option which every faction has entertained in that time is, at least in theory, still in play.

Matt Chorley: What a mess (The Times)
What did we do in a previous life to be punished by having these leaders, at this time?

Elsewhere in Brexit

David Hannay: Meanwhile, in the Lords… (InFacts)
The Lords have provided a clear indication of the rocky road that lies ahead for the government as it seeks to pass in the ever-shrinking period before March 29 a whole raft of legislation.

One in Six Britons Considers Stockpiling Food and Medicine for Brexit (Bloomberg)
Four percent of more than 1,100 people surveyed have begun stockpiling and 13 percent are likely to.

No-deal Brexit may leave millions unable to claim on insurance policies (Financial Times)
Incomplete process leaves policyholders across Europe exposed.

Britain’s Luxury Carmakers Prepare for Worst as Brexit Looms (Bloomberg)
Aston Martin, Bentley seek to avoid supply-chain problems.

Border checks on trade to follow no-deal Brexit (Irish Independent)
Coveney and Ross in private conversation caught on tape.

We have never had a hard Irish border, insists Foster (The Times)
Arlene Foster has attracted criticism for her claim that a backstop was not needed because Northern Ireland “never” had a hard border.

DUP doubles down on Foster’s claim that NI ‘never’ had hard border (The Irish Times)
Sammy Wilson says Republicans ‘caused army checkpoints’ to be put in place.

EU assurances to the UK on Brexit (House of Commons Library)
This paper looks at what the EU has offered by way of ‘clarifications’ and ‘assurances’ on the backstop.

Portugal Plans Loans to Help Firms Adapt to a No-Deal Brexit (Bloomberg)
The Portuguese government will provide financing to help companies that need to adapt to a possible no-deal Brexit by changing their internal procedures or diversifying export markets.

Court throws out bid to challenge electoral watchdog’s Brexit ruling (The Times)
The Vote Leave campaign group lost a bid to bring a High Court challenge against the Electoral Commission.

Professor Catherine Barnard and Sarah Fraser Butlin: Myth-busting free movement (UK in a Changing Europe)
Much nonsense is spoken about free movement, and we will address five of the most common canards.


Jonathan Freedland: After this staggering defeat for May, our country is left lost and adrift (The Guardian)
The prime minister’s catalogue of errors led us to this point. Now we face paralysis and humiliation.

Philip Johnston: She may survive her confidence vote, but Mrs May is still ill-equipped to be Prime Minister (Telegraph)
Her authority has gone, yet she still thinks she is the only person who can find a way out of a mess that she has herself created.

Jane Merrick: Theresa May should have resigned after her crushing Brexit defeat – she has not served the national interest (Independent)
Time and again the prime minister has failed to listen to any side except the Brexiteer wing of her party.

The Prime Minister has suffered a humiliating defeat (The Telegraph)
She misread the EU, misread her party and misread Parliament.

Anne Applebaum: Theresa May experiences a historic parliamentary humiliation (The Washington Post)
The most unpopular government policy that anybody can remember was produced by a political class that turned out to be ignorant — about Europe, Europeans, trade arrangements, institutions — and arrogant.

Philip Cowley: Proportionally, this Brexit rebellion beats even Iraq (The Times)
Sometimes scale brings clarity. That was certainly true of last night’s mammoth Commons defeat for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

How should this Brexit crisis be fixed? Our writers’ verdicts (The Guardian)
Theresa May faces a vote of no confidence after her historic defeat. Four political commentators look at what should be done.

Anne Mcelvoy: Leave the mouldy cherries of Theresa May’s Brexit deal... Now feast on battle of Bercow (Evening Standard)
A decisive battle will rage between the Speaker and No 10, on how far each will shape the next tranche of options to be voted on.

James Millar: If only Cameron and Osborne had listened to Scotland before Brexit (Total Politics)
English politics is now cleft along Leave and Remain lines, and the example of Scotland shows that will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Mark Elliott: Why on earth didn’t parliament take control when it had the chance? (Prospect)
MPs squandered a golden opportunity in January 2017, in the aftermath of the Gina Miller Supreme Court case. The consequences are now all too clear.

Robert Halfon: Now is the time for Common Market 2.0, and an EFTA-type plan for Brexit (ConservativeHome)
Common Market 2.0 deliver can Brexit before 29 March.

Polly Toynbee: Corbyn and Labour must now go hell for leather for another referendum (The Guardian)
Until now, the left’s voice has been missing. This is the moment when the Labour leader can change hearts and minds.

Nicholas Crafts: Brexit – blame it on the banking crisis (Vox)
Brexit in 2019 and the banking crisis in 2007 to 2009 are usually seen as unrelated events. This column argues that they are in fact closely connected.

Joris Luyendijk: A polite request from Europe – wake us up when you know what you want from Brexit (The Guardian)
Excuse us if we can’t get excited about the ‘meaningful vote’. From the outside it looks like more paralysis and delusion.

The opposite of enthusiasm: why do people support or oppose the Brexit deal? (UK in a Changing Europe)
A YouGov survey of 1,754 adults in Britain conducted on 7-8 January helpfully asked them if they’d expand on their reasons for either opposing or supporting the government’s Brexit deal.

15 January 2019

Business for Tuesday 15 January 2019 (House of Commons Business Paper)

Possible amendments to PM’s Brexit deal (BBC)

The vote

How Theresa May resorted to pleading, threats and dire warnings in last-ditch bid to save her Brexit deal (Telegraph)
The Government released the exchange of letters between London and Brussels that were supposed to provide reassurance to MPs. Yet the correspondence only served to further enrage the DUP.

House of Lords overwhelmingly rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal (Politics Home)
Peers overwhelmingly rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal - 24 hours before MPs are set to do the same.

May’s Brexit deal faces defeat despite EU assurances (The Irish Times)
Prime minister admits letter from Juncker and Tusk does not address MPs’ concerns.

May: Brexit deal rejection would ‘strengthen’ hand of united Ireland advocates (Politico)
The prime minister refused to rule out extending the Article 50 negotiating period.

Isabel Hardman: May’s new Brexit pitch: my bad deal is better than no deal (The Spectator)
She refrained from praising her deal as being particularly good, instead asking MPs to imagine how very bad a no-deal exit could be.

Theresa May on course for historic defeat as Hilary Benn withdraws Brexit amendment (Politics Home)
The prime minister is on course for an historic Commons defeat on her Brexit deal tonight after a Labour MP withdrew an amendment which could have reduced the scale of her loss.

Patrick Maguire: Has Theresa May found a way to escape a landslide defeat? (New Statesman)
An amendment to tomorrow’s meaningful vote aims to make the Irish backstop temporary – but it’s a non-starter in Westminster and Brussels.

Government whip Gareth Johnson quits ahead of Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal (Politics Home)
A Tory MP has quit the Government on the eve of the crucial Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal after he branded it “detrimental” to the country.

Toyota urges support for PM’s Brexit deal (BBC)
Toyota’s Europe boss has reiterated his support for the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal ahead of Tuesday’s key Commons vote.

Bercow backs proxy vote on Brexit for pregnant Labour MP (The Guardian)
The Speaker said “the notion that an MP would have to be pushed through the division lobby in a wheelchair is completely uncivilised” and repeatedly described the situation as “lamentable”.

7 takeaways from the EU’s Brexit reassurance letter (Politico)
The exchange of letters between London and Brussels is not a renegotiation, but it is more than cosmetic.

After the vote

Laura Kuenssberg: The multiple meanings of the vote (BBC)
Forget what might happen on Tuesday night, let’s think about what’s at stake. According to MPs and ministers of different flavours, these are some of the factors that matter and that the result might influence.

Robert Peston: A Brexit vote that changes nothing and possibly everything (ITV News)
Theresa May will lose the vote tonight, widely seen as the most important vote in parliament since the early years of the Second World War, and yet nothing of importance may change - at least not immediately. How can that possibly be?

What next if Theresa May’s deal finally goes down in flames? (The Times)
Tonight the House of Commons will finally get the opportunity to pass judgment on Theresa May’s Brexit plan. It looks certain to be heavily defeated. The critical question is what happens then. These are the options.

Tony Connelly: Europe eyeing events in London with fascination and frustration (RTE)
Europe’s response will be calibrated on the scale of Mrs May’s defeat.

Dark mood descends on No 10 as Theresa May chases every vote (Financial Times)
Senior Tories resigned to thumping defeat for PM on Brexit agreement.

After the meaningful vote, what next for Brexit? (Institute for Government)
With Parliament expected to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Jill Rutter explores what the Prime Minister and the various players who are trying to wrest control of the process from her could decide to do next.

New report shows Commons can gain control of the Brexit process (UK in a Changing Europe)
The House of Commons can take control of the Brexit process from the government, a new report detailing the role Parliament might play between now and exit day finds.

Cabinet Ministers Back Moves To Force Theresa May To Implement ‘Plan B’ Brexit Voted By Commons (HuffPost)
Exclusive: If she digs in, parliament would “instruct” her to change course, HuffPost UK has been told.

Theresa May to blame if we back second vote, say Labour (The Times)
Emily Thornberry appeared to acknowledge that Jeremy Corbyn’s widely expected move to seek a vote of no confidence in the government was unlikely to succeed. Labour could then shift to back a second referendum.

Second Brexit Referendum Is Not Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Preferred Option’ If He Fails To Trigger General Election (HuffPost)
‘Not possible’ to consult party members on ‘every twist and turn’, says spokesman.

Political paralysis looms as MPs dismiss cross-party Brexit plan (Financial Times)
Idea of senior select committee devising alternative finds no traction.

Door to staying in the EU clearly open, says first minister Nicola Sturgeon (The Times)
Ms Sturgeon said yesterday that the situation had left the door to staying in the EU “clearly open” as she urged MPs not to shut out any opportunity to reverse the referendum decision.

U.K. and EU Diplomats Now Assume Brexit Will Be Delayed (Bloomberg)
Officials dealing with Brexit for the U.K. and EU are separately preparing for the possibility, even though there have been no discussions on the issue between the two sides and no indication from May that this is her plan.

A No Deal Brexit

Brexit threat exposes frailties in UK debt markets (Financial Times)
Foreign investors are ‘sitting on their hands’, leaving some asset classes at risk.

UK advertising market faces recession under no-deal Brexit (The Guardian)
Spending in sector to decline by 3% this year to £22.5bn if UK crashes out of EU, says report.

Germany’s united front on Brexit crumbles ahead of London’s Tuesday vote (The Irish Times)
No-deal Brexit could spell chaos for German manufacturers and exporters, study warns.

No-deal Brexit - a Berlin view (RTE)
A no-deal Brexit would lead to a deterioration of long-term political relationships, which would make a new trade deal and other forms of EU-UK co-operation less likely.

Farmers demand Gove pays their costs if UK crashes out (The Times)
Michael Gove will be liable for a no-deal Brexit farming bill, Scotland’s agriculture secretary has vowed.

Could no-deal Brexit lead to loo roll logjam? (BBC)
The Confederation of Paper Industries says it is concerned about the potential for delays if the UK does not achieve a trade deal over Brexit.

Alarm grows over impact of Brexit with no deal (The Times)
A no-deal Brexit would have devastating consequences for the island of Ireland, the two largest business groups on either side of the border have warned.

Brexit deal failure will lead to ‘national emergency’, warns CBI chief (Independent)
Leaving the EU with no deal in place would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to the UK economy, business group warned.

Other news

Britons in EU may have to retake driving tests after a no-deal Brexit (The Guardian)
Expats told to swap UK licences for European ones before 29 March if there is no deal.

Spain and UK strike reciprocal Brexit deal on voting rights (Politico)
The deal maintains the rights of citizens to participate in municipal elections, says Foreign Minister Josep Obscure pro-Brexit group spends tens of thousands on Facebook ads (The Guardian)
Britain’s Future has spent £88,000 on pro-Brexit ads despite Facebook transparency promises.


Polly Toynbee: This is only the end of the beginning of our Brexit civil war (The Guardian)
This momentous week in parliament will not bring closure. There is no deal available that can do that.

Fintan O’Toole: Today Britain discovers that it cannot escape history (Irish Times)
After nearly half a century, the EU is under the skin of British life. And nation states with ambitions to remain part of the international community cannot simply jettison their commitments like so much unwanted ballast.

The Times view on today’s Brexit vote: Chaos Ahead (The Times)
There is no clear alternative to Theresa May’s deal that could command a majority in parliament. Defeat is a recipe for chaos.

MPs must reject this dreadful deal  (The Telegraph)
Its supporters say that it is the only way guaranteed to end uncertainty. But its manifold flaws preclude it from becoming the settled basis of a stable future relationship with the EU.

Simon Jenkins: MPs are lying to voters – there is no alternative to May’s Brexit deal (The Guardian)
MPs must vote for the deal. It’s the only way to move forward in a realistic fashion.

Paul Goodman: Almost good enough isn’t good enough (ConservativeHome)
Strangely but truly, Tory MPs can best help their leader by voting her deal down today, sending her back to Brussels, and gaining backstop concessions.  .

William Hague: Why MPs should put aside their reservations and back the Prime Minister’s deal (Telegraph)
For multiple reasons I would go through the lobby with Theresa May. It doesn’t look as if a sufficient number of MPs will do that. I hope they don’t have the nerve to complain about the consequences afterwards.

Suella Braverman: Theresa May’s warning that no Brexit is more likely than no-deal won’t affect how I’m voting (iNews)
The reality of the deal is that an indefinite backstop robs the UK of any negotiating advantage and imprisons us to EU rules and regulations.

Rachel Maclean: Only Theresa May’s Brexit deal will deliver on the greatest democratic exercise in our history (The Times)
Today MPs have a monumental decision before them — to vote to back the deal that delivers on the will of the British people or to vote against it and risk stopping Brexit altogether.

Kate Hoey: It would be madness to consign ourselves to EU leaders’ mercies (Telegraph)
I resent the way in which the threat of no Brexit is being used to push through a withdrawal agreement that does not take back control of our money, laws or trade and keeps us trapped under the thumb of the EU.

Bob Neill: The PM’s deal is a sensible, mature compromise (Politics Home)
The Chair of Parliament’s Justice Committee warns that leaving the EU without a deal could weaken the government’s ability to protect the public and fight terrorism and other serious crime.

Esther McVey: MPs need to trust the voters and have confidence in Britain’s ability to thrive after Brexit (Telegraph)
Some measure of uncertainty would be created by the government shifting to pursue a bolder, no deal route out of the EU. But we have to believe in the strength of British industry and in our country’s unique place in the world.

George Bridges: If we want to leave with a deal we must compromise (Evening Standard)
Politicians like to say country comes before party. Rarely has it been more important to turn those words into reality.

David Davis: ‘We Should Not Be Afraid of No Deal’ (Der Spiegel)
“In any negotiation, you always have to have a walk-away option. When you go buy a car or buy a house or buy a piece of land, you’ve got to have the option of not buying it. Otherwise, the price becomes ridiculous.”

Robert Shrimsley: May’s best course after a Brexit thumping (Financial Times)
If the PM’s plan is heavily rejected, she must become a willing servant of the Commons.

Rafael Behr: On Brexit our MPs have been in hiding. They must show themselves (The Guardian)
It is an offence against democracy for elected politicians to stare disaster in the face and turn away through fear of saying aloud what they know Brexit to be: a mess, a mistake, a wrong turn, a dead end.

Brian Taylor: Searching for constitutional precedent (BBC)
The UK or, more precisely, our elected representatives in the House of Commons, are not yet ready, it would seem, to sanction a departure from the EU on March 29.

Rachel Sylvester: MPs need a free vote to break Brexit impasse (The Times)
With neither May nor Corbyn providing the necessary leadership, parliament must seize the chance to shape events.

Richard Wyn Jones: Unexpectedly, the 1997 referendum on Welsh devolution is back in the news (Twitter)
The lesson of Wales 1997 is actually about ‘loser’s consent’.

Phillip Blond: Forget project fear. Remainers now need a ‘project patriotism’ (The Guardian)
If a second referendum is held with a remain option, the argument must be positive and persuasive to social conservatives.

Paul Marshall and Ian Wace: Let’s hurry up with Brexit – there will be benefits for all (The Times)
Mrs May’s deal gives up much of our flexibility to do trade deals. But it is a start. Business and the City need certainty. We all want a country led with a spirit of optimism, confidence and decisiveness. And we need it now.

Aditya Chakrabortty: For the sake of working people, the left must back remain (The Guardian)
It’s riskier than People’s Vote diehards know, but Jeremy Corbyn should seize the chance to alter the course of Britain’s future.

Gideon Rachman: Brexiters’ delusions on trade die hard (Financial Times)
The sad truth is that if the Brexiters are really serious about negotiating trade deals that will open up new markets for Britain, they should be clamouring to stay inside the EU.

Charles Grant: In search of lost Brexit (New Statesman)
How the UK repeatedly weakened its own negotiating position.

14 January 2019

EU to issue letter over backstop reassurances to UK (RTE)
The EU will issue a letter later this morning to the British government spelling out a series of reassurances on the Irish backstop. But the letter will insist that there can be no renegotiation of the backstop.

As the week starts

Brexit brinkmanship: playing chicken over Theresa May’s deal (Financial Times)
Failure to win Commons approval will intensify the brinkmanship that has left all sides believing they can secure their own outcome.

Tony Connelly: 2019 – the year of unlikely outcomes (RTE)
“There’s a feeling that there’s a whole universe of possibilities,” says one bewildered EU official, “and that every single outcome looks very, or moderately, unlikely.”

Tories on brink: Historic split looms as Brexiteers and Remainers threaten to torpedo government (Sunday Telegraph)
Pro-EU MPs claimed  a third of the Cabinet would resign if Theresa May pursued a no-deal Brexit in the face of almost certain defeat over her deal.

Catherine Haddon: Parliament is slowly taking back control of Brexit (Financial Times)
But there remains much to do if it is stop Britain leaving the EU with no-deal.

The vote

Theresa May warns Brexiteers of EU trap (The Times)
If my deal fails we could be permanently shackled to Brussels, prime minister tells Tories.

PM’s claim that all parties accepted Welsh devolution questioned (The Guardian)
Theresa May herself did not back Welsh devolution bill after narrow win for devolution in referendum.

Katy Balls: How heavily will Theresa May’s Brexit deal be defeated? (The Spectator)
Despite the government decision to delay the vote until after Christmas in the hope MPs would calm down, few in the Commons believe it has any hope of passing when it’s put to a vote on Tuesday night.

Theresa May’s Brexit deal unlikely to pass, says Liam Fox (The Guardian)
Minister urges MPs to back deal because blocking Brexit would be ‘political disaster’.

Tory MP made Privy Counsellor says he will support Brexit deal after all (Politics Home)
A veteran Tory MP who was appointed a Privy Counsellor by Theresa May has announced he has changed his mind and will now support her Brexit deal.

Paul Goodman: A fact amidst the rumours (ConservativeHome)
The Prime Minister is failing to persuade most rebel Conservative MPs to switch and support her deal.

Former ministers join forces to urge Tory MPs to have ‘confidence’ and back a no-deal Brexit (Politics Home)
A string of Conservative ex-ministers have urged Tory MPs to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal in favour of leaving the European Union without an agreement.

I’m close to voting for May’s deal, says Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick (The Times)
A Labour MP has said he is almost certain to vote for Theresa May’s deal, warning that it is the only viable way of stopping the UK crashing out of the EU without an agreement.

Labour MP John Mann set to break ranks and back PM’s Brexit deal (Sky News)
The Brexiteer predicts others will break ranks too, suggesting one is “in discussions” with Downing Street.

Corbyn feels the heat as Sir Kevin Barron pledges to back deal (The Times)
Jeremy Corbyn is under fresh pressure over Brexit after another Labour MP said that he would back Theresa May’s deal, and left-wing supporters stepped up their campaign for a second referendum.

Plan B options narrow ahead of historic vote (Financial Times)
Main choices would all struggle to reach a Commons majority.

Robert Peston: Will the PM become champion of no-deal Brexit? (ITV News)
If her words are to be taken at face value, they imply a no-deal Brexit – however economically costly that may be – is what she would prefer over a referendum and no Brexit at all.

Commons plot to seize control from Theresa May ahead of Brexit vote (The Sunday Times)
Former ministers plan to hijack Brexit on Tuesday.

Senior MPs to table legislation for fresh referendum as defeat of May’s deal looms (Independent)
PM faces a historic revolt against her withdrawal agreement on Tuesday.

Jeremy Corbyn: We will do ‘everything’ to prevent no-deal Brexit (Politico)
The Labour leader declined to say when he would lay a no-confidence motion if MPs reject the Brexit deal.

Philip Cowley: Could the vote on May’s deal end in an historic government defeat? (Prospect)
How would a defeat that involves a substantial Conservative rebellion measure up against other famous votes?

A delay?

Brussels braced for request to delay Brexit by three months (The Times)
Based on confidential diplomatic contacts with Olly Robbins, Mrs May’s lead negotiator, EU officials know that the government has already fallen significantly behind on its parliamentary timetable.

EU preparing to delay Brexit until at least July (The Guardian)
Brussels expecting UK request to extend 29 March deadline, with May’s deal on brink.

Brexit: Britain unlikely to leave EU by end of March, top forecaster predicts (Independent)
Now 30 per cent chance of Final Say vote, according to Economist Intelligence Unit.

Delay to Brexit on way, Cabinet ministers reveal (Evening Standard)
Growing backlog of key bills that must be passed could force delay.

MEPs consider nightmare scenario of Brexit delay (Politico)
A holdup to Britain’s EU departure would pose numerous headaches for the European Parliament.

A referendum?

Remainers unite to call for second Brexit poll - on Theresa May’s deal or staying in EU (Telegraph)
Pro-EU MPs will raise the stakes on Monday in the battle over Brexit by publishing draft legislation to force a second referendum that could reverse the result of the 2016 vote.

The debate over a second Brexit referendum (The Economist)
As part of its Open Future initiative, The Economist has asked proponents and opponents of a second vote to put their case.

Vince Cable offers No 10 deal to Jeremy Corbyn (The Sunday Times)
Sir Vince Cable has signalled that he is prepared to help install Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street if he backs a new EU referendum.

Brexit: Lord Hattersley says people should get vote on PM’s deal (BBC)
Former Labour deputy leader Roy Hattersley has said he supports another Brexit referendum “very strongly”.

Lord Myners: May’s Deal Is Dead, So Businesses Must Speak Up For What’s Right For Britain (HuffPost)
Rather than wasting more time going down blind alleys, business leaders should get on the front foot and back a second referendum.

Preparing for a No Deal Brexit

MoD sends planners to ministries over post-Brexit border fears (The Observer)
Military to assist government departments set to take brunt of no-deal chaos or backlog.

Britons circulate ‘hamster list’ of supplies needed for no-deal Brexit (Financial Times)
‘Terror’ of going hungry starts to take hold as people fret about gridlocked ports and empty shelves.

Britain’s Most Ardent Brexit City Shows a Country on the Brink (Bloomberg)
The people of Stoke-on-Trent voted with gusto to leave the EU. They now serve as a warning over the dangers of a second referendum.

EU urges states to detail airline ownership ahead of Brexit (Financial Times)
Commission letter calls for clarity as it ramps up no-deal preparations.

Welsh Government ‘stepping up’ no-deal Brexit planning (BBC)
Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles said they have been working with council leaders to decide on “issues around food supply and fuel supply” if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

‘More efficient than clockwork’? How Calais is gearing up for a no-deal Brexit (Telegraph)
A French government official confirmed to the Telegraph that identity and documentation checks will be applied, and that British businesses would need to be ready to supply paperwork and undergo inspections.

Brexit: Could leaving with no deal cause traffic jams? (BBC)
The UK government pledged to introduce “contingency arrangements to manage the flow of traffic” in the event of delays. So how could traffic be affected and what are the plans to stop any gridlock?

No-Deal Brexit Would Be ‘National Suicide’, Says Dominic Grieve (HuffPost)
But Liam Fox says it would not be as bad as “Dunkirk”.

Caroline Spelman and Jack Dromey: Thousands more job losses are the human cost of a no‑deal Brexit (The Times)
In less than 80 days’ time, the UK may well crash out of the EU without a deal. Business must now make significant adjustments to cope with such a shock.

Chris Giles: Growth forecasts lost in the fog of Brexit (Financial Times)
No-deal portrayed as the worst scenario but studies suggest recession unlikely.

Hundreds buying ‘Brexit Box’ amid food supply fears (BBC)
Hundreds of so-called Brexit survival kits costing almost £300 are being sold ahead of the UK leaving the EU.


Mark Wallace: As the ‘meaningful vote’ approaches, apply buckets of salt to all Government news (ConservativeHome)
The healthy follower of political news is an autocondimentor, taking everything with at least a sprinkling of salt. Some of this weekend’s headlines require not just fistfuls but barrels of the stuff.

Theresa May’s authority hangs by a thread (The Sunday Times)
Britain gives the outside world every impression of not having a government. When British governments negotiate international agreements, they do not expect to have them voted down by parliament.

Faisal Islam: PM needs to remember mandates matter (Sky News)
The current parliamentary mess is caused by the loss of the PM’s majority in the 2017 snap General Election in an attempt to gain a bigger one for precisely the purposes we will see this week.

Theresa May is about to find out that Brexit is bigger than her (The Guardian)
The need for a viable deal means the prime minister will shortly become a bit-part in this national tragedy.

Sir John Major: The cost of a bad decision now is too great. Please, stop and think (The Sunday Times)
Only a minority of the voting population voted to leave. Unless we seek a more consensual policy, 100% of our present and future population may have to live with the bitter consequences of a bad deal.

Boris Johnson: We must be brave and vote down a deal that represents the worst of both worlds (Telegraph)
On Tuesday night, MPs must make a historic choice. They can either vote for the present Withdrawal Agreement, with all its appalling defects – or they can insist on something better.

Nicky Morgan: Imperfect, certainly. But May’s plan avoids the twin perils of No Deal and No Brexit (ConservativeHome)
I hope, in the short time left before the vote, that other MPs will think very long and hard about what a defeat for the Prime Minister’s draft deal will mean.

David Davis: Kill Theresa May’s Brexit bill and set Britain free (The Sunday Times)
From the beginning, I feared too much was being conceded with too little in return. Now it is time for the UK to call the shots.

Dominic Raab: Brexit was a roar for change – and Britain is capable of so much more than this (Telegraph)
It’s time to stop treating Brexit as a gloomy book-keeping exercise in risk-management.

Bob Seely: MPs voting down May’s Brexit deal are the elite revolting against democracy (The Guardian)
If the Commons rejects the government’s withdrawal agreement it will be failing the British people.

Peter Bone: I helped move Cameron’s Government to deliver the referendum. This deal doesn’t deliver on the result (ConservativeHome)
The Prime Minister’s proposal might be the worst deal ever for this country. It is certainly not the Brexit that people voted for. As Bill Clinton might have said about Brexit: It’s the Sovereignty, Stupid!

Jane Merrick: If you’re voting for something ‘with a heavy heart’, maybe it’s a bad idea (The Times)
This week, it is up to parliament to do its job and prevent a failure of statecraft being forced on the country.

Chris Grayling Accused Of ‘Gutter Politics’ Over Brexit Extremist Prediction (HuffPost)
Transport secretary accused of “raising spectre of far-right”.

Jonathan Hill: Norway-style Brexit will not help UK’s financial services sector (Financial Times)
My recollection is that EEA ministers were extremely grateful just for a meeting and even pleasantly surprised to get a reply to their correspondence. No EEA country had any material “rule-shaping” effect on financial services.

Justin Welby: no-deal Brexit would harm poorest people in UK (The Guardian)
Archbishop of Canterbury says he prays every day for Theresa May and other politicians.

Clare Foges: It’s a myth that the ‘left behind’ were ignored (The Times)
The mantra that Brexit is the fault of an establishment that marginalises the poor is a complete distortion of the truth.

John Harris: A nation ‘bored of Brexit’ risks sleepwalking into disaster (The Guardian)
Voters are switching off from the sound and fury as Brexit hits fever pitch. But this indifference could redefine our politics.

Wolfgang Münchau: The EU should kill off the UK’s chance of delaying Brexit (Financial Times)
For Theresa May’s deal to pass, Brussels must remove the option of stalling Article 50.

David McKay: What really motivates the European Research Group? (Prospect)
The pro-Brexit alliance in the Conservative party is often characterised as being obsessed with immigration. In reality, their thinking is more complex.

John Bercow’s historic power shift from government to parliament (The Sunday Times)
As a by-product of Brexit, we may now be witnessing one of the most fundamental shifts in relationship between the government and parliament since William Lenthall, the Speaker, defied King Charles I in 1642.

Nikki da Costa: This dangerous amendment could strip the Government of its powers (Telegraph)
If this amendment is tabled, the government needs to have woken up every Conservative MP to the dangers.

Robert Saunders: We can debate whether this is a good idea, but it is not a “coup” (Twitter)
It is not an attack on democracy, or a violent overthrow of our institutions. All governments draw their authority from Parliament. And what Parliament giveth, Parliament can take away.

Adam Boulton: Call John Bercow whatever you like, but as Speaker he’s given parliament its voice back (The Sunday Times)
The most powerful justification for the Speaker’s decision is that the government lost by 308 to 297. If May could command a Commons majority it wouldn’t matter what was debated. But she can’t.

Andrew Rawnsley: Out of the Brexit nightmare must emerge a more robust democracy (The Observer)
A cobbled-together, unwritten constitution is a major reason why no one knows how to take control and guide us out of this mess.

David Henig: This summary of US negotiating objectives for EU trade makes for an interesting read (Twitter)
What will the UK do when faced with a similar document?