Maitland Political Monitor – 13 June 2018

13th June 2018
Good morning,
Although she’s lost justice minister Phillip Lee to a resignation, Theresa May has narrowly avoided a rebellion in the Commons with her 11th-hour pledge to compromise on parliament’s power to shape the final Brexit deal.  While it may have satiated would-be rebel MPs for the vote yesterday, it could mean that another big party row is upcoming, as Conservatives on both sides seem to give different accounts of the assurances promised to them by the PM. May hasn’t managed to buy herself that much time as well, as ministers have to publish their new proposals before the EU Withdrawal Bill returns to the Lords on Monday. The Telegraph reports that three more Remain-backing ministers—Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, Business Minister Richard Harrington and Northern Ireland Minister Shailesh Vara—could be considering following Lee and resigning over Brexit.
The rest of the Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill will be debated in the Commons this afternoon, with another six-hour session scheduled from around 1 pm. Peers’ moves to keep Britain in the single market and/or the customs union are the ones to watch today, though government whips have managed to quell a rebellion on customs for now by tweaking the wording of the amendment. Instead, Conservative rebels are planning to strike on customs next month, when the trade and customs bills return to the Commons. This means all eyes will be how many Labour Remainers defy Jeremy Corbyn and vote in favour of keeping Britain in the single market.
POLITICO reports that Labour’s sister party in Northern Ireland—the SDLP—emailed all Labour MPs yesterday calling for them to back the amendment to keep Britain inside the EEA. “While membership of the EEA is not the SDLP’s ideal position, the adoption of this amendment will allow for the necessary alignment with the single market which is fundamental to preventing a hard border on the island of Ireland,” SDLP leader Colum Eastwood wrote. “The SDLP urges all MPs to support the Lord’s amendment to remain in the EEA — we don’t just need a vision for a better negotiation strategy, we need it to be a plan.”

Must Read

Laura Kuenssberg speculates over what Theresa May promised potential rebels yesterday. She quotes Solicitor General Robert Buckland who brokered the deal in public over the despatch box: “he was crystal clear that there has been no assurance or guarantee that the government will actually make a change to its plans, just a commitment to “further discussions” to try to find a way forward that may well result in a tweak – such as a new amendment”. She warns of “very, very dark mutterings from those who had been persuaded by what they thought was a promise”. The prime minister risks being seen as “double dealing” with one senior Brexiteer commenting the prime minister “talks from two different sides of her mouth”. Kuenssberg concludes “the immediate disaster of defeat was avoided but the action taken to stop it happening may have made the situation even worse.”

On Manoeuvres
  • Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit Northern Ireland.
  • Theresa May hosts a tech roundtable in Downing Street.
  • Greg Clark, the business secretary, speaks at the Shaping the Future of Food and Drink Convention.
  • Betsy DeVox, the US education secretary, begins a three-day visit to London.
  • Sir Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary, speaks at Civil Service Live: Birmingham.
  • Simon Stevens, chief execeutive of NHS England, speaks at NHS Confed18.
  • John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, speaks at TheCityUK Annual Conference.
  • 9:30am UK House Price Index and Consumer Price Index published.
  • 9.30am Michael Gove, the environment secretary, gives evidence to the Efra committee.
  • 10am Jeremy Wright, the attorney-general, gives evidence to the justice committee on disclosure of evidence in criminal cases.
  • 2.45pm Sir Alan Duncan, foreign office minister, gives evidence to the foreign affairs committee on the Western Balkans Summit.
Westminster Bubble
House of Commons
  • 11.30am Wales questions
  • Midday Prime Minister’s Questions
  • Ten Minute Rule Motion: Packaging (Extended Producer Responsibility) (Anna McMorrin)
  • Consideration of Lords amendments: European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – Day 2
  • Adjournment: Proposed ban on foie gras imports (Henry Smith)
House of Lords
  • 3pm Questions on impact on crime levels of reductions in local authority funding; impact on the value of the government’s Royal Bank of Scotland shares of the actions of the bank’s global restructuring group; protection of client assets from administrators of failed fund managements firms, in light of the present Beaufort Securities situation; and representations to the Nicaraguan government to ensure the human rights of those demonstrating against President Ortega are protected.
  • Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill – Third reading
  • Electronic Presentment of Instruments (Evidence of Payment and Compensation for Loss) Regulations 2018
  • Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Approval and Designation of Schemes) Regulations 2018
  • Breaching of Limits on Ticket Sales Regulations 2018
  • Debate: Report from the European Union Committee ‘Operation Sophia: a failed mission’

Top Twittery


(((Dan Hodges))) @DPJHodges


Just back from two weeks in New York. Dominic Grieve has mounted a coup. Love Island has become mandatory viewing. Scotland are better at cricket than England. That the basic shape of things?