Maitland Political/AMO Monitor – 24 September 2018

24th September 2018

Good morning,

Over the weekend, reports came out suggesting that May’s aides were considering running with a snap general election in the event of parliament voting down the final Brexit deal. However, no one inside government is saying anything more than enough to dismiss the story.

Theresa May will be hosting a special Cabinet meeting on post-immigration Brexit policy today which will also be her first meeting with senior ministers since last week’s Salzburg summit. The Telegraph reports a group of Cabinet Brexiteers are planning to push the PM to drop her Chequers plan, but the Guardian reports that half of the Cabinet wants to hold out to see what the EU’s counter-proposals might be.

The Times reports that Home Secretary Sajid Javid will be briefing Cabinet that he wants to effectively maintain the free movement of people from Europe for more than two years in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Unsurprisingly, Conservative Brexiteers are unhappy with the plan, with Iain Duncan Smith saying that Javid’s plan is a “cop out”. Conservative Brexiteers will be unveiling their alternative plan for a post-Brexit free trade deal this afternoon, alongside the government’s final batch of plans for a no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, at Labour party conference, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell will be delivering today’s keynote speech at 12.15 pm where he’s expected to unveil some fairly radical domestic policies—most significantly, the idea that larger firms should be giving 10 percent of their shares away to their employees. Business leaders are pushing back against the idea seriously, saying the plan would cost billions and would force them to move their headquarters abroad.

McDonnell’s also said today that Labour would only offer people a deal or no deal vote in a referendum – with no option to stay in the EU. This comes starkly against the aims of a referendum as thought up by the People’s Vote campaign, meaning that Labour wouldn’t be offering a way out of Brexit.

Driving the day

  • A new Brexit referendum should only be about a departure deal and should not include the option of staying in the EU, John McDonnell has indicated.
  • Theresa May will come under intense pressure from leading Brexiters to ditch her Chequers proposals and back a free trade deal with the EU.
  • Sajid Javid, the home secretary, will propose that EU citizens be waved through the border for 30 months if Britain crashes out of the bloc.

On Manoeuvres

  • Theresa May is expected to chair a pre-conference cabinet meeting, discussing Brexit and the Migration Advisory Committee report on post-Brexit immigration.
  • Preliminary hearings begin in the infected blood inquiry, examining why people in the UK were given contaminated blood in the 1970s and 80s.
  • Public service staff are at “tipping point” over unpaid overtime and pay, a report by Unison says.
  • The Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank launches its alternative Brexit plan, proposing “a new and practical” framework for UK-EU trade.

Labour conference fringe

  • 8am Hilary Benn, chairman of the Brexit select committee, speaks at a Society of Labour Lawyers event on Brexit and financial services.
  • 8.30am Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, speaks at a PoliticsHome briefing with Liz Kendall, the former Labour leadership candidate, and Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former Jeremy Corbyn spokesperson.
  • Midday Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, is invited to speak at a MillionPlus and NUS event on a national education service.
  • 12.15pm Stand Up to Racism event on challenging the hostile environment and Tommy Robinson, featuring Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, and Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary.
  • 1pm Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, addresses an event organised by Labour in Europe, with Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary.
  • 2pm John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, participates in a Federation of Small Businesses and New Statesman question session.
  • 2.30pm Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, address a meeting organised by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges on priorities for investment in the NHS.
  • 3pm Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, addresses an event hosted by the Chatham House think-tank, on “Britain in the World: Where next for UK foreign policy?”
  • 3.30pm The actor Steve Coogan speaks at an event hosted by Hacked Off and the Mend charity on media manipulation of minorities.
  • 3.45pm Tom Watson, the deputy Labour leader, is invited to address a Prospect magazine event on an inclusive economy.
  • 4pm The former education ministers Lord Baker, Lord Knight and David Laws reflect on their experiences at an Education Policy Institute event.
  • 5pm Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, and the Labour MP Chris Williamson speak at a Stop the War event, with Andrew Murray, a political adviser to Jeremy Corbyn.
  • 5.30pm Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, speaks about mental health at The World Transformed, a series of events organised by pro-Corbyn activists coinciding with conference.
  • 5.30pm Jewish Voice for Labour event entitled “Fighting antisemitism, fighting the far right”, with co-chairs Jenny Manson and Leah Levane, and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi.
  • 6.45pm Jeremy Corbyn is invited to an event organised by NGOs on reclaiming internationalism, with Kate Osamor, the shadow international development secretary, and Laura Parker, Momentum’s national co-ordinator.
  • 7.30pm Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the former French presidential candidate, and Jon Trickett, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, speak at The World Transformed.
  • 7.30pm John McDonnell speaks at The World Transformed, reflecting on the decade since the financial crisis.

Westminster Bubble

House of Commons & House of Lords

  • The Commons and Lords are in recess until 9 October.