Press play to listen to this article
By JACK BLANCHARD
Good Monday morning.
TICK TOCK: Brexit is 7,000 hours away.
DRIVING THE DAY
RALLYING THE TROOPS: Theresa May will address a packed meeting of Tory MPs this evening as she seeks to avoid a series of damaging defeats to her flagship Brexit legislation. A huge week for the PM’s Brexit strategy will begin in earnest tonight as she pleads for unity in a speech to the backbench 1922 committee of Tory MPs. It comes ahead of two days of debates and votes on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill on Tuesday and Wednesday, with May seeking to overturn 14 of the 15 amendments passed by the House of Lords last month. The long, tortuous passage of the most important Brexit bill is finally coming to a head.
Unity is strength: The PM’s message is aimed squarely at the pro-EU rebels in her party considering voting against the government on one or more of the amendments. “The message we send to the country through our votes this week is important,” May will tell her MPs tonight. “We must be clear that we are united as a party in our determination to deliver on the decision made by the British people.” PA has a decent write-up here.
Liddo wades in: While May addresses MPs directly, her Remain-friendly deputy David Lidington follows up his Marr Show interview with an op-ed for the Telegraph. His message is also aimed at would-be Tory rebels and is no different to that of the PM. Lidington warns the “hostile amendments” laid down in the Lords would “restrict the government’s ability to negotiate,” and says overturning them “is profoundly in our national interest.”
So how worried is Downing Street? For all the noise over the weekend about the government’s confidence of overturning all 14 amendments, the truth is one or two of these votes are likely to be pretty tight. The big one remains the so-called meaningful vote amendment tomorrow afternoon, which gives parliament control of the negotiations if MPs reject the final Brexit deal. It’s worth remembering that it was on the subject of the “meaningful vote” that May suffered what has been her only Commons defeat on Brexit so far. It seems MPs just love voting to give themselves more power.
Speaking of meaningful votes: In Westminster Hall this afternoon, MPs will debate a petition signed by more than 100,000 people insisting the Commons vote at the end of the year should include a third option — to abandon Brexit and remain in the EU.
Plot thickens: Defeat for May on any of the most important Lords amendments (such as those on the meaningful vote, the customs union, the EEA or the frictionless Irish border) would cause some to raise questions about her future. But on the Westminster Hour last night, Tory MP and former Vote Leave campaigner Theresa Villiers played down any talk of a Brexiteer-led coup. “I don’t believe that for a moment,” she said. “I think it would be totally the wrong thing to do to any way undermine the prime minister … I’ve never heard any sort of discussion of that sort amongst the [Brexit-backing] ERG at all. I think it’s nonsense.”
So let’s ask this guy: ERG Chairman and Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has his regular phone-in show on LBC Radio at 9 a.m.
Also divided: The Labour Party, with Jeremy Corbyn still battling to quell rebellion on the amendment to keep Britain inside the EEA. You can expect tonight’s PLP meeting to be highly charged, given the scale of the outcry last week when Corbyn unveiled his rival proposal to keep Britain close to (but not part of) the single market. On the Westminster Hour last night, Commons public accounts committee Chairwoman Meg Hillier confirmed she will be one of the expected several dozen Labour MPs voting to keep Britain in the EEA.
Circling the wagons: It seems noteworthy given the timing that Corbynista outriders such as Matt Zarb-Cousin (here), Aaron Bastani (here and here) and Ash Sarkar (here) have been busy on social media over the weekend attacking left-wingers for caring too much about Brexit.
Caring too much about Brexit update: The more hardcore anti-Brexit campaign groups are beginning 36 hours of “non-stop protests” in central London today. The plan is for an all-day rally outside parliament, an evening rally outside No. 10, a “night march” through the city and then an all-night vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice, where Article 50 is apparently going to be challenged in court tomorrow. You can’t fault their enthusiasm.
Meanwhile in Brussels: Brexit Secretary David Davis is in Brussels today for informal talks with his opposite number Michel Barnier. Nether man had a great week last week, with DD privately threatening to resign before backing down for what looks like a fairly meaningless concession on customs and Barnier bungling his press conference and being forced to rush out a clarification. Time for a consolation three-bottle lunch, surely?
Cherry on top: POLITICO’s James Randerson and Ginger Hervey run their eye over the 12 EU cherries Britain still hopes to pick from the Brexit process.
Most interesting line from the Sunday papers: Came via the Sunday Times’ Tim Shipman, who revealed that new Home Secretary Sajid Javid has abandoned his predecessor’s plan to offer preferred immigration status to migrants from the EU. This has long been seen in the Treasury as one of the few big cards Britain has to play in the Brexit talks, and Javid’s decision surely means another big Cabinet row is headed down the tracks. Excitingly, Shipman says we’ve got another war Cabinet away-day at Chequers to look forward to as well.
Speaking of the Sunday Times: The Daily Beast’s Nico Hines filed this behind-the-scenes piece last night on how the bizarre Isabel Oakeshott/”leaked” emails story detailing Arron Banks’ links to Russia came about.
Spooked: Banks tells the Times’ Lucy Fisher that all those meetings with Russians are actually fine, because he and PR chum Andy Wigmore told a man who worked for the CIA about it afterwards. Apparently the pair are now “trawling their systems” to find some email evidence this meeting actually happened.
TRUMP VS. THE WORLD
MAY STRIKES BACK? Theresa May will deliver her verdict this afternoon on U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest trade tantrum when she makes a statement in the Commons on the abortive G7 summit. The PM is due on her feet at 3.30 p.m., although as ever this can get pushed back if urgent questions are granted by the speaker. May has been relatively restrained in her criticism of Trump so far, compared with other leaders — though her only reward at the summit was to be largely ignored by Trump throughout.
With friends like these: Trump is now in Singapore ahead of his big summit with Kim Jong Un, which is due to kick off in the very early hours of tomorrow morning. But the in-depth preparations for what are the most important peace talks in many years naturally haven’t stopped the U.S. president from getting on Twitter and lambasting his country’s closest neighbors and allies.
At 2.05 a.m.: “Fair Trade is now to be called Fool Trade if it is not Reciprocal. According to a Canada release, they make almost 100 Billion Dollars in Trade with U.S. (guess they were bragging and got caught!) … Then Justin acts hurt when called out!”
At 2.17 a.m.: “Why should I, as President of the United States, allow countries to continue to make Massive Trade Surpluses, as they have for decades, while our Farmers, Workers & Taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay? Not fair to the PEOPLE of America!”
At 2.29 a.m.: “… And add to that the fact that the U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO — protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on Trade (they pay only a fraction of the cost — and laugh!). The European Union had a $151 Billion Surplus — should pay much more for Military!”
At 2.42 a.m.: “… Germany pays 1% (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4% of a MUCH larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense? We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on Trade. Change is coming!”
At 2.45 a.m.: “Great to be in Singapore, excitement in the air!”
At 3.41 a.m.: “Sorry, we cannot let our friends, or enemies, take advantage of us on Trade anymore. We must put the American worker first!”
Surrogates declare war: Trump’s excitable Twitterstorm follows a day of abuse aimed at Europe and Canada from the president’s surrogates touring the Sunday shows in America. Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow claimed Canadian PM Justin Trudeau had “stabbed us in the back” by criticizing U.S. trade tariffs in his end-of-summit press conference, “a betrayal” that meant Trudeau was “essentially double-crossing President Trump.” Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro said Trudeau deserved “a special place in hell.” The Times, the FT and the Metro all splash the story. (And here’s POLITICO’s take.)
What Trump told Macron: French President Emmanuel Macron tried to win Trump round in their G7 bilateral on Friday by suggesting they work together on China. Trump replied sharply that the EU is “worse than China,” Axios’ Jonathan Swan reports.
Trolling Trump: Donald Tusk shows his own Twitter game ain’t too bad.
Better still: MEP Guy Verhofstadt seems to have won the caption competition for what was surely the best summit photo of all time. If anyone has seen a better picture from any summit ever, then do please send Playbook a link.
Overheard: U.K. Ambassador to the U.S. Kim Darroch at the British embassy residence on Friday night, gently making fun of Trump for wrongly suggesting to Trudeau that it was Canada that burned down the White House in the war of 1812. Darroch told the audience Britain has now secured a formal presidential pardon “because it turns out we weren’t the ones who burned down the White House.” Darroch was speaking at a cocktail bash celebrating the U.K.’s commitment to LGBT rights.
Reminder: Donald Trump’s first visit to Britain as U.S. president is now only 32 days away.
LATEST FROM SINGAPORE
FIRST MEETING: Scheduled for 2 a.m. Tuesday morning (U.K. time). The first session is set to be just Trump and Kim, plus translators, with no other advisers in the room. Your guess is as good as mine as to what will happen. The BBC has a decent tee-up here of the whole shebang.
Kim’s hotel: Looks nice. Trump is staying half a mile down the road.
Summits I remember: The Wall Street Journal takes a look back at the great peace summits of the Cold War era.
Required reading: NKNews.org is down with all things North Korea, and there’s loads of good stuff on its Twitter timeline.
All kinds of wrong: Twitter has made a special summit emoji.
TODAY IN WESTMINSTER
TODAY’S BEST READ: BuzzFeed’s Emily Ashton has an essential profile of Gavin Williamson that will make tough reading for the defense secretary this morning. (You suspect some of his colleagues will love it.) The verdict from insiders who spoke to Ashton is that Williamson is struggling to rise to the job. “There is a tendency for some who arrive in the department to want to play with the toys and grandstand,” one source says witheringly. Another senior staffer tells her: “He grandstands at Cabinet — it’s embarrassing. People look down and just cringe.” Keep an eye on Defense Questions in the Commons at 2.30 p.m. — you’d imagine a Labour MP or two will be following this up.
Important update: Ashton also confirms Williamson’s pet tarantula Cronus has been banished. “Its move to the MoD proved short-lived,” she writes. “Department sources confirmed that Cronus was sent back to Williamson’s family home in Staffordshire after an arachnophobic official down the corridor was terrified to come into work.” What is the MoD coming to?
Happier headlines: The Daily Mail splashes on the government’s decision to finally offer British visas to Afghan interpreters who risked their lives to work with the British Army since 2006. Williamson gets the plaudits, but hats off too to the Mail’s Defense Editor Larisa Brown, who led the paper’s three-year campaign … and sees it through in her final week before relocating to the Middle East.
ECONOMY DAY: The ONS will release a raft of short-term economic data covering trade and production at 9.30 a.m.
SAJID MEETS SADIQ: Sajid Javid today meets London Mayor Sadiq Khan for the first time since being made home secretary, with violent crime at the top of the agenda. Another man was stabbed to death in north London over the weekend, triggering the Met’s 74th murder investigation of the year.
Poison pen: Still, London MP Neil Coyle is not impressed with Katie Hopkins’ latest attack on the city.
PHONE BAN: Culture Secretary Matt Hancock won’t let his children use mobile phones, the Guardian reports. Presumably this means they can’t access the Matt Hancock App? “They don’t have access to the devices,” he tells the paper. “They don’t have phones. Why do they need phones? They’re children, they’re 11.”
However: Hancock says he does not support introducing laws to control the exposure of children to digital technology. The Telegraph won’t be happy — it launches a new front page campaign today demanding more protection.
Today program: Sarah Wollaston, chair of the health select committee (7.50 a.m.) … James Carafano, member of Donald Trump’s State Department transition team (8.10 a.m.).
Nick Ferrari at Breakfast (LBC Radio): Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Elizabeth Campbell … Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg hosts his regular phone-in (9 a.m.).
Daily Politics (BBC2, noon): Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad.
Reviewing the papers tonight: BBC News (10.40 p.m.): Former Trade Minister Digby Jones and Demos think tank Director Polly Mackenzie … Sky News (10.30 p.m. & 11.30 p.m.): TLS Editor Stig Abell and filmmaker Jenny Kleeman.
TODAY’S FRONT PAGES
(Click on the publication’s name to see its front page.)
City A.M.: Trump’s tirade — U.S. president lashes out at allies after G7 tantrum.
Daily Express: Wonder stem cell cure for heart failure.
Daily Mail: Sanctuary for Afghan heroes.
Daily Mirror: Corrie Ken — Why I forgive sex trial accusers.
Financial Times: Trump lashes out at G7 leaders and leaves the West in disarray.
HuffPost: Grenfell — One year on. The battle for justice continues.
i: Tories rally for Brexit showdown in Commons.
Metro: Trump falls out with key allies.
The Daily Telegraph: Force social media firms to protect children.
The Guardian: MPs call for police inquiry into Brexit donor’s Kremlin links.
The Independent: Exclusive poll — Most voters want railways renationalized.
The Sun: Flight bunch of RAF idiots — £100-million jets guarded by 5ft picket fence.
The Times: Trump “stabbed in back” by G7.
On the Continent: Read what the rest of Europe’s papers are saying in POLITICO’s EU press review blog here (updated daily at around 8 a.m.).
BEYOND THE M25
LE TECH TALK: France is locked in a power struggle with Britain to become Europe’s leading tech nation … and Emmanuel Macron has the upper hand. POLITICO’s Mark Scott, Annabelle Dickson and Cat Contiguglia report.
NO PORT IN A STORM: Italy’s new interior minister, far-right leader Matteo Salvini, refused permission for a Mediterranean rescue vessel to drop off more than 600 migrants picked up in waters off the coast of Libya. He wants Malta to take them in instead — but the island has refused. The BBC has the story.
PEOPLE POWER: Russia’s political and civil opposition is far stronger than the West appreciates — but it needs more consistent European support. Political scientist Barbara von Ow-Freytag of the Prague Civil Society Centre writes for POLITICO.
Westminster weather: 🌤☀😎 Another beautiful summer’s day — they just keep on coming. Some cloud at first, but clearing away at lunchtime to leave a fabulously sunny afternoon with highs of 23C.
Travel: Greater Anglia Peak services to and from London Liverpool Street via Stratford are disrupted due to a major track fault. Full details here.
Opening today: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey. The galleries are set dramatically in a high-up 700-year-old section of the abbey not previously open to the public. Treasures from the archive will be on display, from England’s oldest surviving altarpiece to the marriage license of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Her Maj and Prince Charles got a guided tour at the weekend.
Ooft: “Admission is by timed ticket, which is bought in combination with an Abbey entry ticket,” the website says. Tickets already cost £22 … is there a more expensive church in the world to walk into?
Essential listening: Starting tonight on BBC Radio 4 at 8 p.m. is the first episode of “The Long March of Corbyn’s Labour,” a documentary by broadcaster Steve Richards looking at the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. Preview clips on the radio last night included interviews with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Unite the union boss Len McCluskey and Corbyn’s defeated leadership rival Owen Smith.
Happy anniversary: Corbyn celebrated 35 years as an Islington MP yesterday.
Out today: One for the lawyers … Human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson QC publishes his memoir, titled “Rather His Own Man: In Court with Tyrants, Tarts and Troublemakers.” Robertson was involved in many of the most celebrated or notorious cases of the past 40 years, with clients including including the Brighton bomber, the Guardian (vs. Neil Hamilton), Peter Hain and Mike Tyson.
Happy birthday to: Leicester West MP Liz Kendall … Labour’s former Lords Chief Whip Steve Bassam … London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton … former Trade Minister Tim Sainsbury.
Celebrating over the weekend: Deputy Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle … The Indy’s Political Correspondent Ashley Cowburn.
PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich.
- The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance
- The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - First lady casts Trump as fighter for the 'forgotten'
- Teflon Don will go on and on: How could Trump survive November's election when he's engulfed in riots, Covid meltdown and high unemployment? One Pulitzer-winning reporter says he's set to win
- Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien believes Dem policies are key to reelection
- The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump goes birther again; no deal on COVID-19 package
- John McCain the Republican vs. John McCain the Patriot
- Macron-mania: French president and his wife follow red-carpet reception with casual Washington walkabout ahead of state welcome from Trump at the White House
- FOREX-Dollar rally resumes as U.S.-China tensions escalate; Swiss franc falls
- Exxon's exit means there's just one oil company left in the Dow
POLITICO London Playbook: Rallying the troops — Trump vs. the world — Farewell Cronus have 3202 words, post on www.politico.eu at June 11, 2018. This is cached page on Game Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.