Maitland Political Monitor – 10 August 2018
Boris Johnson’s burqa row rolls on into another day of full coverage during an otherwise quiet week during recess nearly 5 days after the Telegraph published Johnson’s original piece. After party Chairman Brandon Lewis announced there would be a formal investigation into Johnson for the comments, some right-wing supporters of Johnson are frustrated, saying that Lewis has managed to prolong the whole affair unnecessarily. Former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell was on Newsnight last night backing Johnson and asking for some perspective to be employed “Let’s look at what Boris said. He expressed himself in colourful language, but he hasn’t committed any offense. We need to be really careful about our handling of this, because we believe in free speech in this country. Free speech by definition includes the fact that some people will be offended by what we say.”
Meanwhile, the PM is still having to deal with the fallout from her Chequers plan as Conservative Brexiteers discuss ways to stop it at all costs—including the possibility of withholding funding to CCHQ and even a general election. Also stoking the flames is a massive new YouGov poll for the “People’s Vote” campaign, which found 45 percent of people now back a referendum on the final deal, against 34 percent opposed. Former Cabinet Minister Priti Patel has come out in the Sun warning that the public will feel betrayed by May’s compromise plan and believes it could cost the Conservatives seats in working-class areas at the next election. Despite Patel’s gloomy predictions, a new Times/YouGov poll puts the Conservatives at a four-point lead over Labour.
- Boris Johnson is the subject of a preliminary investigation by Conservative HQ into his comments about the burka.
- Britain’s largest businesses have called on Theresa May to continue letting EU citizens seek work in Britain after Brexit to get a better trade deal with the bloc.
- Labour has been considering how to head off a concerted attempt by Remainers to stage a vote at its annual conference calling for a second referendum.
The EU and the UK need to calm down about Brexit—Karin Kneissl, Financial Times
Austria’s foreign minister Karin Kneissl believes that alarmists that say that Brexit is “the darkest hour” in British history are using the wrong analogy as there has certainly “been more difficult chapters in our common history. Instead, she notes that the agreement is 80% completed already and claims that “a pragmatic approach will make it easier to strike a balance between benefits and obligations.” The most important element to the agreement, Kneissl writes, is that it provides an end to uncertainty to governments, people, and the business community.
- Reaction expected from Philip Hammond, the chancellor, as the Office for National Statistics releases its estimate of UK GDP for the second quarter.
- Office for National Statistics releases UK overseas trade statistics covering trade with EU and non-EU countries.
- Labour MP Rupa Huq is on Any Questions alongside Conservative MP Bim Afolami, crossbencher Lord Hennessy and journalist Marie Le Conte.
House of Commons & House of Lords
- In recess until Tuesday September 4.
Christian May @ChristianJMay
Is this a spoof? Guardian readers prepare for Brexit:
“I will endeavour to learn to bake bread.”
“We buy veg from an organic veg co-op, so fingers crossed they will carry on with their UK box”
“I’ve also got… lightbulbs, matches, candles, firewood”