Maitland Political/AMO – 8 November 2018

8th November 2018

Driving the Day

BEARING DOWN ON THE BACKSTOP: Theresa May is facing pressure from the DUP, Labour and Liberal Democrats to publish the Attorney General’s full legal advice on the different implications for the Irish backstop. Conservative Brexiteers, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, said they believe Cabinet should read the advice. While the question of the Irish backstop is ultimately a political decision, if an agreement is reached the legal advice will inform an international treaty. This morning Labour added to the pressure on the government by threatening to use a “humble address” motion in its Opposition Day debate when parliament returns from recess.

PRE-PUBLICATION REVIEW: Senior Cabinet ministers have been invited in to read an almost-complete text of the EU withdrawal agreement. However the document does not include proposals for the Irish backstop. These remain the most contentious element. Theresa May embarks on a tour of Europe today. No.10 is insisting a deal is not yet done, but the Cabinet are expected to meet Saturday or Monday to agree the final deal.

CLARIFICATION CHAOS: Cabinet ministers are said to be pushing Theresa May to clarify her position after she told the Cabinet on Tuesday to expect a “UK-wide level playing field”. Pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers, most notably Transport Secretary Chris Grayling – a May loyalist, have expressed concerns that Theresa May’s deal could keep Britain in the single market by stealth. They are especially concerned that she could agree to follow EU rules on state aid, workers right and the environment.

In the Blue Corner

Tom Tugendhat has used a speech to on economic and social reform to argue Theresa May’s plans to change the country have been “drowned out” by Brexit. In a wide ranging speech, Tugendhat praised the bakery chain, Greggs, for offering support to staff and encouraging them into more challenging roles. Tugendhat said the company should be an inspiration for reforms to take people out of poverty. Tugendhat chairs the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. The speech has been widely taken as a leadership bid, though Tugendhat commented “It’s not a leadership bid, it’s a bid to change the country.”

In the Red Corner

A senior peer and close adviser to Jeremy Corbyn, Lord Kerslake, has publicly backed a second Brexit referendum.

Brexit Countdown: 141 Days

FERRIED ALONG: Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, confirmed the choice of goods available in shops would be affected unless the UK could maintain friction-less trade at the French border. Raab said “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this…we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.” Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has said the government is installing fridges to stockpile medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

BUSINESS BASH: Yesterday’s leaked document claiming to be a Brexit deal comms plan for the government involved securing support from a series of business groups and high profile figures. Business groups including the CBI, TheCityUK, BCC and IoD have reacted with irritation to suggestion. The CBI tweeted it had no knowledge of the document “and will judge any deal on its merits.” The IoD said it would never be “a mouthpiece for any government.”

LEGAL COUNSEL: The European Count of Justice will rule on whether the UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50. Scottish Green MSP, Andy Wightman originally brought the case to he Scottish courts. He commented “the question needs to be answered before the UK parliament votes on Brexit.” Today a new pressure group, Business for a People’s Vote will launch.

UNSECURED STRATEGY: Sir Mark Lyall Grant, former national security adviser to Theresa May, told BusinessInsider the government is “consumed” by Brexit. he referred to National Security Council meetings that were cancelled at the last minute because of meetings on Brexit.

BLARED: Speaking at a Web Summit in Lisbon, Tony Blair restated his belief that Brexit could be stopped if parliament voted down Theresa May’s Brexit deal and a second referendum could be held. He said “up to the very end I am going to do everything I can to stop it…It’s not in our political interest, it’s not in our economic interest, I think it weakens Britain and it weakens Europe.”

On Manoeuvres

  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to make a speech in France on UK-France relations.
  • International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom host the Women MPs of the World conference.
  • Communities Secretary James Brokenshire speaks at the Locality National Convention to launch the Government’s new Open Doors project.
  • Home Secretary Sajid Javid meets tech firms in the US on the issue of child sexual abuse.
  • Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is expected to speak at the People’s Assembly’s campaign launch: Britain is Broken: We can’t afford the Tories.
  • The Business for a People’s Vote campaign is to launch.

Reports and Statistics 

  • The Institute for Government releases a report asking who will assume European Commission’s supervisory role in the UK after Brexit.
  • The House of Commons European Statutory Instruments Committee publishes a report on its verdict on the latest batch of proposed negative instruments put forward by the Government.

Order Paper Highlights

The Commons and Lords are in recess until November 12.

Top Twittery

Peter Walker @peterwalker99

In other news, Ed Balls is the fourth-most popular politician in Britain, according to YouGov, despite no longer being a politician.