Maitland Political Monitor – 13 February 2018

13th February 2018

Good morning,


In the first of a series of speeches from senior Cabinet ministers, tomorrow Boris Johnson will be delivering his much-awaited speech on a ‘liberal Brexit’, where he’s due to call for both Leave and Remain voters to unite and argue that Britain will only be able to reap economic gain from the Brexit vote if it is ready to diverge from EU regulations. “What I would like to see is this country taking advantage of the people’s decision, to get the best economic result from that decision, and do the best we can do,” said Johnson in a recent interview with the Guardian.


Meanwhile, the Home Office has teamed up with a start-up whose £600,000 software can automatically detect Isil propaganda and stop it from going online. Ministers claim the new tool, to be deployed across Facebook, Twitter or Google, can detect 94 per cent of Isil propaganda with 99.9 per cent accuracy.


In Northern Ireland, power-sharing talks inch closer to a final deal after yesterday’s day of crunch talks with Leo Varadkar and Theresa May at Stormont. Mary Lou McDonald, the Sinn Féin leader, said last night that all sides were “close to an agreement”. She added: “This is now a decisive phase in the progress, this is the week for decision time.”


Must Reads

Brexiters owe us clarity on sovereignty dividend – Financial Times, Janan Ganesh
Janan Ganesh believes the Brexit debate increasingly centres on whether Britain should remain in the customs union, or at least align its regulations with the EU. Though this is a reasonable free-market argument, Ganesh is concerned that some Leavers, who insist on the right to sign bilateral trade deals and diverge from EU regulations, are reticent to make explicit what they want, or would do. He also believes they know voters do not want a less regulated economy.
Chuka Umunna believes it is clear, halfway through negotiations, that Brexit cannot be delivered in the form it was sold to the British people. He argues whilst 2016’s referendum “revolved around hypotheticals”, now we have certainty. He further suggests that millions of Labour voters chose Leave in order to grant the NHS more money. He argues another referendum would not ‘thwart the will of the people’, concluding: “If you voted to leave in 2016 and that is still your view, you can simply vote the same way again, but just as floating voters change their minds at every general election, voters may have a different view on this occasion. As the leading Brexiteer, now the Brexit Secretary, David Davis famously said: “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

On Manoeuvres
  • Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is on a week-long tour of European countries.
  • Amber Rudd, the home secretary, speaks about online terrorism at a Digital Forum event in the United States.
  • Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, attends a counter-Daesh coalition meeting in Rome.
  • Alistair Burt, the international development minister, attends an Iraq reconstruction conference in Kuwait.
  • Antonio Tajani, the European parliament president, gives a speech on the future of Europe
  • The work and pensions committee publishes its responses to its inquiry into the collapse of Carillion from the “Big Four” accountancy and audit firms.
  • MPs on the business, energy and industrial strategy committee release a report on the draft Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill.
  • Annual parliamentary pancake race organised by the Rehab charity
  • Office for National Statistics publishes single official house price index.
  • 9.30am UK consumer price and retail price index data is released.
Westminster Bubble
House of Commons and House of Lords
  • Parliament is in recess and will return on Tuesday February 20.

Top Twittery

Works as a theme: Minister For International Trade can’t do International Trade; Minister For Exiting The EU can’t Exit The EU; Minister for Foreign Affairs is Boris Johnson