Conservative Party

Tories being asked for help in shoring up the Prime Minister’s position may have been misled, reports the Telegraph.

The Conservative Party Chairman has been accused of peddling “nonsense” to grassroots Tories in a conference call intended to win support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Brandon Lewis told local Conservative Association chairmen that the proposed deal contained a “very, very high legal bar” requiring the EU to agree a trade deal before there was any need for a Northern Ireland backstop.
Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement says the EU must use its “best endeavours” to agree a trade deal before the end of the transition period, but lawyers and Brexit-supporting MPs have argued that the phrase is legally worthless.

And the Tories’ own website, Conservative Home, reports the opinions of the membership.

Last month, 68 per cent of respondents to our survey wanted a Canada Plus Plus Plus-type Brexit, or else no deal at all – in other words, a quite hard to very hard Brexit.
And this month, we have 72 per cent against the Prime Minister’s draft deal and 23 per cent for it.
In other words, the bulk of our Party member panel respondents want a hardish or clean Brexit, and see Theresa May’s draft deal as not delivering it – a view that many will have taken without reading the best part of 600 pages of which it consists.

Tory leadership

Meanwhile, the party’s leadership is still under question. Sky News will interview the Prime Minister this morning:

Theresa May will come out fighting in a Sky News interview, hitting back at Tory MPs bidding to remove her and cabinet ministers demanding a better Brexit deal.
Under more scrutiny and pressure than ever before, the prime minister will be appear on Sophy Ridge On Sunday at the start of a week, which if it goes wrong for her, could see her lose her job.
Mrs May is under attack on three fronts:
Tory backbenchers led by the European Research Group’s Jacob Rees-Mogg claim they are close to securing the 48 MPs required to trigger a vote of no confidence.

The Express reports on a plot to replace her and a boost for UKIP.

SENIOR Brexiteers are in talks to decide who should replace Theresa May with a confidence vote expected this week.
Sources have told the Sunday Express that Boris Johnson and David Davis, who both quit the Cabinet in July over Mrs May’s Chequers plan, have held a mini-summit to try to agree which one should be the “Brexit candidate” in a leadership contest. The revelation came as two polls reveal the Tories are haemorrhaging support in the wake of criticism of the Prime Minister’s proposed deal with the EU. But allies of Mrs May have warned that if her deal is rejected, the Government will amend it to keep Britain under Brussels rule in the customs union – ending the chance for free trade deals with the rest of the world.

But what is the best time to make their move? The Mail reports:

Supporters of a Boris Johnson leadership bid are at war over whether to attempt to force Theresa May out now – or wait until she brings her Brexit deal to the Commons.
The former Foreign Secretary’s entourage has been debating furiously if they should join Jacob Rees-Mogg’s campaign to force a vote of no-confidence in the Tory leader.
Some influential figures warn that if a vote is held now and Mrs May wins it, she would be locked into the job for the next year. They say they should hold off from sending in letters to the 1922 Committee until after the Commons votes on the Brexit deal – believing that MPs will reject it and bring the Prime Minister down.

The former Brexit secretary, who sensationally quit last week, could be lining up to throw his hat into the ring, reports the Sun.

HIGH-flyer Dominic Raab is gearing up for a head-to-head battle with Boris Johnson for the Tory crown.
The former Brexit Secretary has emerged as front-runner to succeed Theresa May after quitting the Cabinet over the PM’s doomed deal for leaving the EU.
He is expected to run with the backing of David Davis, who also previously resigned from the Brexit role.
But they will face a tough challenge from ex-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

And the Telegraph also the reports the manoeuvring.

The campaign to unseat Theresa May neared tipping point tonight as the Conservatives’ former London mayoral candidate called on the Prime Minister to resign and a former Brexit minister told how members of the Government were hoodwinked over her deal.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Zac Goldsmith, a Brexiteer, says he would have voted Remain rather than choose Mrs May’s plan and that her departure will “give us the chance of a fresh start”.

Brexit

The subject of all these shenanigans is covered in the Telegraph.

Senior Conservatives are in talks with opposition MPs over a “fallback plan” for Brexit in the belief Theresa May’s deal will be voted down in the Commons.
Influential former ministers are drawing up plans to put a Norway-style deal with the EU to a Commons vote in an emergency motion days after an expected defeat in the “meaningful vote” on her plan.
The MPs claim their proposal, which is likely to be fiercely opposed by many Brexiteers, is the only one that could gain the support of a majority of MPs in a bitterly divided Parliament. They believe it would attract the support of up to 70 Labour rebels.

And there have been claims that the UK is being bullied by Brussels in the Times.

Dominic Raab today warns that Theresa May has allowed Britain to be “blackmailed and bullied” by Brussels and that she should toughen her stance on Brexit or face disaster.
In an interview with The Sunday Times the former Brexit secretary called on the prime minister to show greater “political will” and made a veiled pitch for her job, saying Britain would not look like it is — “frightened of its own shadow” — if he was running the negotiations.
He called on the prime minister to walk away from the talks rather than submit to the “predatory” behaviour of “dark forces” in Brussels.

Is there any will to continue the fight against the EU? BBC News reports one opinion.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has criticised the government’s “lack of political will and resolve” in dealing with the European Union.
Mr Raab, who quit on Thursday over the Brexit deal, told the Sunday Times the UK should not allow itself to be “bullied”, and must be prepared to walk away from negotiations if necessary.
There has been widespread criticism of the PM’s draft withdrawal agreement.
However, Theresa May dismissed suggestions the deal could be amended.

The former Brexit secretary says we should make further demands from Brussels in the Sun.

DOMINIC Raab has blasted Theresa May, suggesting she has failed to stand up to a bullying European Union over the Brexit deal.
Raab stepped down as Brexit secretary on Thursday saying he could not accept the terms of the deal done by the Prime Minister.
He told the Sunday Times the UK should demand an agreement that allows it to unilaterally leave any customs union.

The Express also reports Raab’s words.

THE FORMER Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, has today fuelled the fire of Theresa May’s critics as he hit out at the Prime Minister for failing to stand up to a bullying European Union over the Brexit deal.
Mr Raab resigned from his position on Thursday in protest at the terms of the withdrawal agreement. His decision to quit came less than 24 hours after Mrs May said there was “collective agreement” in the Cabinet on the deal. He has now spoken out to criticise the Prime Minister’s negotiation strategy.

Gang of five’

Meanwhile, five senior Tories are ganging up against the PM over pizza, the Mail says.

Andrea Leadsom has told Theresa May there is ‘more to be done’ to her EU withdrawal deal as the Brexiteer ‘Gang of Five’ in the Cabinet turns up the pressure on the PM.
The Commons leader’s veiled threat to Number 10 came after she and four other leading Leave supporters agreed to stay in the Cabinet in a bid to rewrite the Brexit deal.
Mrs Leadsom and her allies Michael Gove, Penny Mourdaunt, Liam Fox and Chris Grayling have reportedly been holding ‘pizza nights’ at her home.

They are said to support Mrs May but disagree with her plan, says ITV News.

There is still time for “more to be done” and the Brexit deal “improved”, Andrea Leadsom has said as the Conservative Party continues to row over Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement with Brussels.
The Brexiteer Commons leader said she supports the Prime Minister but suggested there is an opportunity before a special European Council meeting on November 25 to get “the best possible deal for the UK”.

The Sun covers the deliberations of the Pizza Plotters.

BREXITEER plotter Andrea Leadsom has said there is “still time” to try and force Theresa May to change her deal.
The Commons leader is working with Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Penny Mordaunt and Chris Grayling to make the PM seal more promises on a future trade deal.
The so-called Pizza Plotters, named after a group who have held talks over takeaways in the past, will hold talks this weekend and early next week to try and pin down a Canada-style trade deal from the EU.

Labour Party

And the turmoil is handing support to the official opposition, says the Mail.

The Conservatives have lost ground to Labour in the polls after a chaotic week at Westminster.
Two surveys carried out at the height of the Tory civil war over Brexit saw the Conservatives fall between three and four points behind Jeremy Corbyn‘s party.
In one poll the Conservatives lost 10 points among Leave voters, reflecting deep divisions among Brexiteers about the PM’s withdrawal agreement. 

And an MP who was elected as a Conservative has backed the Labour leader, reports Westmonster.

Conservative Remoaner Anna Soubry has sparked anger after tweeting support for Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn to back a second referendum.
Soubry’s tweet states: “Please sign and RT! Petition · Jeremy Corbyn: Labour must now lead on a People’s Vote”.
The petition was started by Labour MP Angela Smith and reads: “We call on Labour’s Leader Jeremy Corbyn to back a People’s Vote on Brexit at the earliest opportunity — and if he is successful in forcing a General Election then Labour’s manifesto must commit clearly to an immediate People’s Vote, in which Labour will campaign to Remain.”

EU

Across the Channel, it seems that Brussels is still looking for the UK to yield further, reports the Express.

FRANCE is looking to turn the screw on Theresa May by pressurising EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to demand Britain makes even more concessions in next week’s talks to discuss the draft withdrawal agreement.
Meanwhile Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has also sought to turn up the heat by claiming Britain faced economic disaster if the House of Commons fails to ratify the deal, with Mrs May forced into a u-turn weeks later.

And the Times reports that even as diplomats agreed not to change the plan before them, there were mutterings of discontent.

As EU diplomats gathered on Friday to examine the final withdrawal agreement, they resolved not to tinker with the 585-page exit deal that has been 20 months in the making.
Yet as they prepare for a meeting of Europe ministers in Brussels tomorrow to review a separate text on the future EU-UK relationship, several are finding the provisions of the backstop on fish too odorous to ignore.
“It has left a bit of a stink for some, but the attitude is that we’ve landed this thing so let’s just get on with it,” said one person familiar with the discussions.

And the Express claims the bloc will start making even further demands of us.

MICHEL Barnier is ready to twist the knife by locking Britain out of Europe’s internal security database after Brexit, telling member states the UK must face up to the consequences of leaving the bloc.
In a move which has echoes of the EU’s plan to exclude Britain from the Galileo satellite system, Mr Barnier said there would be “difficult negotiations” over the maintenance of access to parts of the EU’s database. A diplomatic note circulated to ambassadors of the remaining EU27 states, whom Brexit negotiator Mr Barnier met on Friday, paid tribute to UK Prime Minister Theresa May for sticking to the agreed withdrawal agreement despite fearsome domestic opposition which could see her face a no-confidence vote as Tory Party leader in the next few days.

Farage

Will our former leader return? The Sun speculates.

NIGEL Farage is poised for a return to frontline politics unless the PM drops her “Brexit betrayal” plan.
The former Ukip boss warned he will be unable to sit on the sidelines if Theresa May drives through her “half-baked” proposal.
He told The Sun on Sunday: “If I have to step back into the fray and do it all again I shall.
“But this time there would be no more Mr Nice Guy. I would knock their legs from underneath them.”
Mr Farage admits he can feel frustration welling up inside him and is already considering his options – either a return to run Ukip or launching a new party.

The Times reports on Farage’s relationship with his money man

Nigel Farage’s relationship with Arron Banks, who bankrolled the unofficial campaign to leave the European Union with the biggest donation in British political history, has cooled amid growing scrutiny of the businessman’s finances and links to Russia.
A source close to both men claimed they remained friends, but are speaking less after revelations about contacts between Banks and Russian officials in the run-up to the EU referendum, and a series of deals offered to him by Kremlin agents.

Education

Away from front-line politics, the Times reports on primary schools.

Religious primary schools achieve better test results than other state and private schools, according to the latest rankings by The Sunday Times.
The success of faith schools, revealed in today’s Parent Power tables, means they account for almost half of the top 500 state primaries, with 48 in the top 100, made up of 25 Catholic, 19 Church of England, two Jewish, one Muslim and one Hindu school. Overall, faith schools account for 37% of all primaries.

And the Mail reports on schools failing boys.

Britain’s schools are failing to help boys who under perform at school out of fear it will be ridiculed by feminist and gender equality groups, ex-UCAS chief has warned.
Mary Curnock Cook, who was head of the university admissions service until last year, has stated her alarm that boys falling behind at school has become ‘normalised’, reports the Telegraph.
She added that it has become an unpopular topic of conversation because she believes feminist groups have made the issue ‘taboo’.

Universities could be ready to offer quick degrees, says the Sun.

UNIVERSITIES are to offer fast-track degrees which will leave students up to £25,000 better off.
New two-year courses will have the same qualification and quality as the standard three-year study.
Those who sign up for an “accelerated degree” will pay a fifth less in tuition fees, saving them £5,500 plus a year’s housing and living costs.

Climate change

A demo by climate change activists really snarled up London yesterday, reports the Times.

Environmental protesters paralysed central London yesterday after occupying five of its busiest bridges “in anger” at the lack of action on climate change.
At least 85 people were arrested for obstruction but the demonstrations remained largely peaceful even when the protesters occupied Parliament Square, blocked traffic in surrounding roads and dug holes to plant trees as “a symbol of life”.
“We closed Southwark, Waterloo, Westminster, Blackfriars and Lambeth bridges,” said the campaign group Extinction Rebellion, the organiser of the protest.

Reuters reports arrests.

British police said they arrested more than 70 people at an environmental protest on Saturday, after demonstrators blocked five bridges across the River Thames in central London.
Organizers of the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ event said they wanted to put pressure on Britain’s government to take greater action to slow climate change and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.
The protest centered for several hours on Westminster Bridge, near Britain’s parliament, but there was also disruption to traffic on four other bridges.

The Mail also reports the demo.

Hundreds of eco-activists barricaded bridges, blocked traffic and caused travel chaos during ‘a day of rebellion’ on the streets of London today in order to force the government to impose radical new laws on climate change.
Five bridges across the Thames – Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges – were blocked off during the day of havoc, and police claimed more than 70 people were arrested at the protests organised by Extinction Rebellion (ER).

The Sun says the capital came to a standstill.

PROTESTERS blocked five major bridges and brought London to a standstill yesterday.
Hundreds of activists urged Theresa May to tackle global warming while they staged a sit-in along the River Thames.
At least 85 were arrested as police struggled to clear Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges.
The rally, which continued outside Parliament last night, caused major traffic jams and blocked routes for emergency vehicles.

HS2

Has he truth about the high-speed rail line come out yet? The Telegraph reports:

The company behind the HS2 rail link is gagging local authorities with non-disclosure agreements that keep residents in the dark, a new report states.
The major review of England’s planning system warns HS2 Ltd is stoking resentment among communities who discover their councils are prevented from revealing details about the construction of the high-speed line.
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that 26 local authorities across the country have signed NDAs with the company at the early planning stage.

And the Times reports on more delays.

The £56bn HS2 rail line is expected to be delayed by more than a year after it emerged in contract talks that the building project was at risk of soaring over budget.
Sources said costs for the “main works civil contracts” on the London-to-Birmingham stretch — including bridges, tunnels and embankments — had come in “several billion pounds” over the official budget of £6.6bn. That work is due to start next year.

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