Maitland Political Monitor – 11 July 2018

11th July 2018

Good morning,

The Prime Minister will attend today’s NATO summit in Brussels where countries’ defence spending is likely to face scrutiny by President Trump. Trump has taken aim at NATO countries for not contributing enough to the alliance—currently the UK is one of only a few countries that meets its agreed 2 per cent spending of GDP—and he is more than likely to use today’s summit to drive his point deeper. Kicking off at 1.30pm, the first session will be focused on “burden-sharing”. To underline that Britain is doing its fair share, May will be announcing that Britain will almost double its troop presence in Afghanistan to 1,100, as part a NATO mission to restore peace and security.

Meanwhile, David Davis’ former chief of staff Stewart Jackson came out on Twitter against No. 10 after being blocked from taking a job under the new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. “I stood shoulder to shoulder with DD to deliver Brexit & that annoyed the [Downing Street] Europe Unit who are now running the show,” Jackson wrote on Twitter. “I’ve plenty more to say about the Government’s handling of #Brexit but all in good time…” This follows two more Conservative MPs, Ben Bradley and Maria Caulfield, resigning their posts as Conservative vice-chairmen late yesterday afternoon.

Must Read

  • The head of the European Investment Bank has said it would be “extremely sad” if the UK could no longer participate as an active member of the infrastructure bank following Brexit.
  • The Information Commissioner will fine Facebook £500,000 for failing to safeguard its users’ information and failure to be be transparent about data harvesting. The regulator has also sent warning letters to 11 political parties.
  • Jeremy Corbyn has instigated a mini-reshuffle of his front bench. Naz Shah, previously suspended over anti-Semitic slurs, has been made shadow minister for women and equalities.

My view of May’s new Brexit plan. It’s just about better than No Deal. But now a line in the sand must be drawn – Daniel Hannan, Conservative Home

Daniel Hannan, an MEP, argues MPs must weigh up whether the Chequers plan is better than “a complete rupture… whether, on balance, a Brexit that recovers legal sovereignty but cedes some day-to-day control to Brussels is preferable to a short-term disruption in our supply lines.” He runs through Theresa May’s negotiating blunders and lack of preparation for a no-deal, calling the “Irish backstop” concession in December “extraordinary” for putting “Britain in the impossible position of being responsible for what the Irish government does on its side of the border… Few in Brussels believe that we are prepared to walk away. They may well be wrong: it is an age-old British trait to switch from emollient complacency to sudden resolve when it is almost too late.” Hannan concludes the Chequers plan is “just about” better than a no-deal. He criticises the customs arrangements for making Britain akin to a colony, but reflects “I am more relaxed than some Eurosceptics about regulatory alignment in goods. Standards in manufactured products are largely set at a global level, and no one seriously imagines that Britain is going to start producing, say, dishwashers to a different specification.” He warns against the current terms being “watered down any further… No deal would be better than what would unquestionably be, in those circumstances, vassal status.”

On Manoeuvres

  • Theresa May attends the Nato summit in Brussels.
  • Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, speaks at a Sport and Recreation Alliance Sports Summit.
  • The government should consider the impact of the migration target on Scotland, according to the Scottish affairs committee.
  • 9.30am Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, gives evidence on disability employment to the work and pensions committee.
  • 9.30am Michael Gove, the environment secretary, gives evidence to the environmental audit committee.
  • 3pm Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister, gives evidence to the Brexit committee.
  • 5pm Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, meets Quim Torra, the Catalan leader.

House of Commons

  • 11.30am Scottish questions.
  • Midday Prime ministers questions: David Lidington stands in.
  • Ten-Minute Rule Motion: National Health Service (Eleanor Smith)
  • Opposition debates: Universal Credit & UK defence industry and shipbuilding
  • Adjournment: Visas for non-EEA citizens employed in the fishing industry (Alistair Carmichael)

House of Lords

  • 3pm Questions on prevention of contract cheating in UK universities; ensuring disabled children are not unfairly excluded from school; publication of the government’s green paper on the future funding of adult social care; establishing the new train timetables around the country.
  • Debate: 5th report from the select committee European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018: Sifting of proposed negative instruments by the secondary legislation scrutiny committee; consideration of Commons amendments; and grand committees on questions for short debate.
  • Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill
  • Debate: Combating neglected tropical diseases

Top Twittery

Torcuil Crichton@Torcuil

Replying to @MattChorley

Anyone told the SNP?

Matt Chorley @MattChorley

Labour has tabled a soft motion on shipbuilding which the government won’t oppose, so there will be no vote at 7pm, so MPs can get away for #ENGCRO