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Westlake Legal Group > Nicky Morgan MP

Paul Mercer: The Conservatives are the Party of large men bedecked with scary tattoos

Cllr Paul Mercer is a councillor on Charnwood Borough Council and is the Lead Member for Housing in the Cabinet. He is writing in a personal capacity.

One of the joys of being a Conservative councillor in a ward which has traditionally been held by Labour is that every election is a battle. One therefore gets to know the electorate well. Rigorous canvassing in the May local elections, with a slightly more selective follow-up in December, hinted that a gradual shift in electors’ voting behaviour was taking place. In the wake of the election, detailed opinion polls have confirmed these trends and largely matched what we found on the ground.

Perhaps it was once true that those who lived in big houses were professionals and tended to vote Conservative; and those who lived in terraces voted Labour. Although the change has not been completely diametric, this relationship now no longer exists. Instead, we often found Labour supporters in private new estates and a far higher proportion of Tories on council estates.

One of the starkest examples that we came across occurred when we knocked on a council house door and a large man, bedecked with scary tattoos, wearing a vest, and holding back his Staffy, opened it, looked at us and shouted:

“It’s the Tories, luv!”

We politely enquired whether he would be voting for us. He looked up his stairs and again shouted:

“We’re Tories, aren’t we luv!”

After the election, the marked register showed that they had indeed both voted.

Campaigning in the ward was underpinned by meticulous statistical analysis carried out by Adam Stares, a graduate mathematician from the University, who very accurately predicted the number of votes in both elections. His analysis ensured that our May campaigning was precisely targeted on the areas most likely to produce pledges. As a consequence, the ward not only saw the highest turnout in the town, but a swing in our favour, against the national trend.

In May, we had noticed that the idea that Jeremy Corbyn might become Prime Minister frightened many traditional Labour voters. On numerous occasions, we were told that we were speaking to a long-time Labour voter – but not this time. Corbyn’s willingness to associate with terrorists seemed to be the main reason.

Brexit was, of course, a major factor. We found quite a few traditional Conservative voters who were reluctant to offer their support because they were Remainers. However, this was offset by the number of Labour voters who were passionate Leave supporters. This shift was very apparent when the boxes were opened during the count. In some strong Conservative wards there was a noticeably higher Lib Dem and Labour vote; and in traditional Labour wards there were far more Conservative votes than usual.

Labour had been hoping that they could defeat Nicky Morgan as MP by winning a majority of Borough Council wards in the May election. Our ward was listed as one of their ‘targets’. Two years earlier, they had replaced the local leader of the Labour group, who had stood in 2017, with an affable barrister from outside Leicestershire who, in 2019, moved into the constituency. Labour’s calculation was presumably that he would appeal more to the key village vote and this would be enough to remove Nicky. Although her last-minute decision to stand down caused a number of logistical issues for the Conservatives, it also meant that Labour’s whole campaign – which had been aimed squarely at her – was also thrown into disarray.

The Conservatives received an unexpected boost when, on two occasions, the former candidate complained publicly that his successor had been unfairly “parachuted” into the constituency. Although the Conservatives ran a positive non-personal campaign it was clear that some voters were suspicious about the local credentials of the Labour candidate. In the final week of the campaign, Labour distributed two leaflets which personally attacked the Conservative candidate. These leaflets had her name prominently displayed and although it may have cost us a few votes they helpfully went a long way towards letting the electorate know who to vote for.

Following the election, Labour held a private members’ meeting which was addressed by their candidate. In a speech, he emphasised that it was important to “understand how bad this is”. He suggested that blaming the media “was like a sailor blaming the weather”. Labour was in a “really bad place”. The allegations of anti-Semitism were genuine and “this is not OK” – it was “stain on our party”. Unless Labour “fought back against that completely unacceptable position we are going nowhere; we are morally spent”, he suggested. Corbyn and McDonnell had “taken us a long way” with the 2017 manifesto but then things went wrong in 2019 as it adopted “ideas which were just chucked out like confetti”. Many of these new policies “completely alienated communities and alienated people we need to win over.” Free movement and the abolition of private schools were two he cited.

He was concerned that prominent party figures described themselves as “socialists” which was further alienating the electorate:

“I don’t mind if people describe themselves as ‘socialists’ behind closed doors. But we can’t take the electorate for granted. Every time someone says ‘I am a Socialist’ knocks about 10,000 votes of us”.

“What did the working class say to us? They said they are not interested. Because we did not speak for them. Because we were not listening to them.”

He argued that unless Labour understood these problems, unless it “got real”, then it faced “14 more years in the wilderness”. It was important to go into communities “and to say why Labour gives a shit about people”.

It is not often our views coincide with those of the local Labour candidate but on this occasion, his analysis is largely accurate. So long as Labour is perceived to be extreme and out of touch, it will remain unelectable. Labour’s challenge is winning back many of these core voters. However, it may be that, having voted Tory once, they will be unwilling to return to the fold.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jan Zeber: How to unleash the power of the Union 3) Culture unites us, and teaches us about one another

Jan Zeber is a Research Fellow at Policy Exchange.

Before it is anything else, a nation is an identity, and identity is expressed through culture. This is why any endeavour to strengthen the United Kingdom must have a strong cultural dimension. Sport, art, history and trade all have a role a play.

But how is this to be done? This third and final instalment of Policy Exchange’s articles on revitalising the Union – drawing on our recent report, Modernising the United Kingdom – will offer practical answers. Celebrating the constituent nations of the United Kingdom in all corners of the country, regularly sharing government art and museum collections with regional galleries and exhibitions and ensuring that more sporting events that unite the nation are on free-to-view TV are just a few examples of what can be done.

The upcoming centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland in 2021 is an opportunity to celebrate its history and culture in the spirit of our shared heritage. As the then-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland confirmed in July of this year, the Northern Ireland Office is already exploring the options for official celebrations. It should consider making the day a UK-wide bank holiday, which would fall on the 5th May 2021, so that its impact and significance is felt across the entire country.

Whitehall departments should also consider how they can take part in and support the planned Northern Ireland ‘Expo 100’ events taking place in 2021 to celebrate Northern Ireland’s birthday. The Department for International Trade could, for example, launch a special campaign promoting foreign direct investment opportunities in Northern Ireland, while the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport could support the development and promotion of cultural tourism opportunities, such as working with Tourism Northern Ireland to promote Northern Ireland as a tourism destination in the UK.

We should also make our shared heritage – recorded in works of art and museum exhibits – more easily available to people all over the UK. In 2015, it was revealed that just three per cent of central government and local authority-owned art collection – valued then at £3.5 billion – was on display and available to the public. This is an opportunity to build on the success of Tate Liverpool and V&A Dundee, as well as ‘roving’ exhibitions such as the tour of ‘Dippy’ the replica diplodocus skeleton usually on display at the Natural History Museum. It requires our most prominent cultural institutions that receive significant amounts of public funding to demonstrate their impact across the United Kingdom. Importantly, it should also mean key cultural institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (such as the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Scottish National Gallery, National Museum Wales, Ulster Museum and Titanic Belfast) establishing a presence outside the borders of their home nations, similarly through temporary exhibitions and other outreach programmes, working together with their counterparts from other nations of the UK. All four nations of the United Kingdom have proud cultural traditions, and together they make Britain an internationally renowned cultural leader.

Moments of national unity that take place whenever a home nation does well in the Olympics or world cups show how important sport is to countries coming together in shared celebration of their identity. Whether they are playing in men’s or women’s tournaments, playing as Team GB or as constituent nations, playing football or cricket, rugby league or rugby union, sporting teams have an immense capacity to bring British people together. The UK has had many sporting successes to celebrate over the summer, but unfortunately they are often all too difficult for the public to access.

Celebrating these successes (or failures, as the case may be) must be easier. The Government should review what sporting events should be protected (‘listed’) under the Broadcasting Act 1996 and therefore ‘free-to-air’ in whole or in part. There is a particularly strong case for making at least one of England’s home cricket test matches each summer and coverage of the men’s and women’s Cricket World Cup final and semi-finals, as well as women’s national football tournaments, available on free-to-air TV, the latter of which already has the backing of Nicky Morgan.

The Government should also renew support for the joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA Men’s Football World Cup in the UK and Ireland, as well as support a new joint bid to also host the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The objective should be to host games all over the UK, and as part of this, the Government should work with the Scottish Football Association to upgrade the Scottish national stadium at Hampden Park in Glasgow, and with the Irish Football Association to support Belfast in being able to host games in the future.

These are just some of the examples of what could be done to strengthen the cultural appeal of a collective British identity. It should be noted that it is not just about promoting what we have in common. It is also about bringing the culture of individual nations of the United Kingdom closer to people outside them. Many (even most) Britons will have roots in more than one of the constituent nations – it should be easier for someone living in England to celebrate and identify with their Scottish roots, for example. That is also what we mean by ‘shared heritage’.

As Arthur Aughey, Emeritus Professor at Ulster University, points out, ‘[when] placed in the broadest international context, the United Kingdom can sometimes look like an oddity. But the Union on which it is predicated is a remarkably enduring constitutional arrangement and – by almost any comparative standards – a surprisingly cohesive national state.’ Culture is a key part of that cohesiveness and should not be forgotten in any attempt to reinvigorate the Union.

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Javid keeps the gold but Johnson and Rees-Mogg fail to medal in our Cabinet League Table

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Sep-19-1024x956 Javid keeps the gold but Johnson and Rees-Mogg fail to medal in our Cabinet League Table ToryDiary Thérèse Coffey MP Theresa Villiers MP Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Liz Truss MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

Another month in and once again the Johnson Ministry appears to be holding fairly steady in the affections of grassroots activists.

There has been a slight downward drift, illustrated by the top scores no longer breaking the plus-80 barrier, but there are no ministers with negative scores and compared to the tail end of Theresa May’s time in office these are healthy scores.

Yet is it the calm before the storm? We are now only a month away from the October 31 Brexit deadline, which the Prime Minister insists he’s going to meet but nobody can really see how he can. Our next survey will be conducted as he runs into that tempest – it will be interesting to see what affect it has.

A few details:

  • Javid gold again… The Chancellor has seen his score slip a little but, as that is in line with the overall trend, he remains the most popular member of the Government amongst party members for the third month in a row.
  • …as Johnson slips… Last month the Prime Minister was ranked second by our panellists and just a couple of points shy of Javid. This month he slips to sixth after losing more than 12 points. Is this simply a response to various stories this month, or a foretaste of a backlash next month?
  • …and Rees-Mogg stumbles. It’s been an even worse month for the Leader of the House, who has fallen from a bronze-medal position last month to 11th place now after a fall of almost 15 points.
  • …but Brexiteers benefit. The beneficiaries of the above moves are principally Michael Gove, Geoffrey Cox, Dominic Raab, and Stephen Barclay. It is not until Liz Truss, in tenth position, that we find a Remainer.
  • Two departures. It’s goodbye to Amber Rudd and Jo Johnson, who both resigned from the Cabinet this month, and hello to Thérèse Coffey, who takes over from Rudd at Work & Pensions. Johnson’s successor, Chris Skidmore, is not attending Cabinet.
  • Wallace rebounds. Last month we asked what might have caused the Defence Secretary to suddenly slump to near the bottom of the table. Whatever it was, it’s passed – he’s now just below Rees-Mogg after gaining 20 points.

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Javid, Johnson, and Rees-Mogg hold their podium slots in our Cabinet League Table

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Aug-19-1024x954 Javid, Johnson, and Rees-Mogg hold their podium slots in our Cabinet League Table ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP   Last month we published our first Cabinet League Table of the Johnson Ministry. It offered a sea-change from Theresa May’s embattled government, both in terms of composition and the estimation in which party members held it.

One month on and the general picture hasn’t really changed. If anything, over August there was a general upward drift in the scores, reflecting what many commentators – including our own Mark Wallace – thought was a very strong start in the role.

It goes without saying that the data for this was collected prior to the return of the Commons and the Government’s miserable week therein. We might therefore anticipate a quite different set of results in October.

Here are a few of the details:

  • Post-Ruth politics. Our survey was front-page news in Scotland last month when it showed the Scottish Conservative leader, so often one of the most highly-rated individuals, down to a positive score of just +14. Perhaps it was an omen of things to come, because Ruth Davidson has since stepped aside, triggering a battle for the future of the Party in Scotland.
  • Javid tops the poll again. The Chancellor puts on four points to take his score into the mid-Eighties. This suggests that activists are either untroubled by the Government’s decision to move away from spending restraint, which Sajid Javid is by necessity spearheading, or are at least not holding it against him.
  • Johnson and Rees-Mogg fill out the podium. No change in the ordering of any of the top three, and both the Prime Minister and Leader of the House have put on about five points to their score.
  • Gove climbs… The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is climbing the ranks. But will his ongoing defence of May’s deal, and reports that he is leading the charge against Johnson’s disciplining of anti-No Deal rebels, put a dent in his score next month?
  • …as does Cleverly. Of course small changes in position may not be terribly significant, but the Party Chairman is nonetheless one of the most popular politicians in the survey. If this continues it can’t hurt his chances of being offered a Cabinet brief in a future reshuffle.
  • What happened to Wallace? In a survey which generally saw very little movement – save for two outright departures – there are a couple of obvious exceptions. Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has seen his score drop by over ten points and now languishes near the bottom of the table.
  • Williamson wins members over. The other is the Education Secretary, who has seen his stock rise from +27 to +45 and gone from being close to the bottom of the table to comfortably in the middle.

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David Gauke: Why I believe that Parliament must stop a No Deal Brexit this week

David Gauke is a former Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, and is MP for South West Hertfordshire.

Following Nicky Morgan’s return to the Cabinet, the Editor of this website (and my esteemed former colleague in George Osborne’s Shadow Treasury team) asked if I would like to be a regular columnist. My role, as I understood it, would be to demonstrate that all strands of Conservative Party thinking was represented on this site and, in doing so, I should therefore stir it up a bit. I gladly accepted.

It hasn’t passed my notice that my views are not entirely in harmony with the majority of ConservativeHome readers when it comes to Brexit. And, given that this article is being published at the beginning of one of the most contentious and important weeks in the Brexit saga – and I have found myself somewhat in the thick of it – this is not likely to be a gentle introduction.

Before turning to the events of the week ahead, I should say a little about the evolution of my thinking. Like most Conservatives of my generation, I came to political age in the era of Margaret Thatcher. I admired her determination to transform the British economy, her willingness to take on vested interests, her belief in the free market, free trade, sound public finances, low inflation and the need for a pro-business tax and regulatory environment.

I also shared her instincts on Europe. I was opposed to our membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, feared that the Delors European Commission was trying to reverse her supply-side reforms and always believed that the UK should stay outside the single currency. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, I feared that, in the end, we would have a choice as to whether to become part of a United States of Europe or leave the EU altogether. If it came down to that choice, I would be a Leaver.

When I entered Parliament in 2005, I joined a small group of Eurosceptics who chipped in a contribution from their Parliamentary Staffing Allowances to pay for a researcher to ensure we were ever vigilant against the advance in Euro-federalism. I even had a spell as Treasurer of this organisation, called – accurately enough – the European Research Group.

It would be fair to say that the ERG and I drifted in different directions over the years. I came to the view that the UK could be part of the EU without being destined to be part of an EU superstate.

I also came to accept that it is only possible to bring down trade barriers on the basis of co-operation with other countries. There is a trade-off between regulatory autonomy and the openness of markets and I am a free trader.
By the time we got to the 2016 referendum, I was firmly in the Remain side. Not a starry-eyed, Ode to Joy-singing Europhile, still concerned about EU overreach but, nonetheless, a believer that, on balance, our interests were best served by continued EU membership.

I was on the losing side. Having provided a referendum, we had a duty to implement it. Failure to do so would ensure our politics would be scarred by the politics of betrayal.

The only responsible way to do so was with a deal, ensuring that we entered into a deep and special partnership and that we would have a smooth and orderly departure from the EU. But the problem with this is that leaving the EU was always going to be complex. It was never possible to maintain exactly the same benefits of EU membership whilst walking away from the institutions and the rules. Leaving in the abstract was one thing; the specifics of leaving – where detailed trade-offs have to be made – is another.

The Leave campaign made big promises in terms of our independence from EU institutions. It also reassured the public as to the minimal impact on businesses and sectors trading with the EU. The problem is that it is impossible to deliver on both sets of promises at the same time.

Theresa May tried and, in my view, got a good deal – a compromise that struck a pragmatic balance. But, as measured by the absolutist hopes of some Brexiteers, it fell short of delivering the dreamed for ‘independence’. Any deal will. But the cost of failing to reach a deal – in terms of our prosperity, security and the integrity of the UK – is far too high.

Leaving with a deal remains much the best outcome. But, given that Parliament has three times rejected a deal, this is not going to be easy. The Prime Minister clearly wants a deal but he has set out one big red line – the replacement of the Northern Irish backstop.

Will the EU change their position? The purpose of the backstop is to ensure that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This is an important and legitimate objective, and it is unrealistic to think they will abandon the backstop unless there is an alternative that works.

The Prime Minister has accepted that it is for the UK to propose a workable replacement to the backstop. To succeed, it must have the confidence of the people and businesses on both sides of the Irish border. If we engage positively in that endeavour, the EU has always said they would work constructively with us. But if we fail to come up with credible plans, threats of a no deal departure (which will obviously impact the UK more than the EU) will not force the EU to abandon its long-held position.

Assuming a deal is reached (and that is a very big assumption), the deal then needs to get through Parliament. It may well face opposition from a significant number of Conservative MPs who want wider changes to the Withdrawal Agreement. The more my colleagues say they want wider changes, the more remote it appears any kind of deal could be delivered.

Even with the numbers, there is the question of time. The European Council is on 17 October and the Queens Speech debates will conclude on 22 October. Is anyone seriously suggesting that a Withdrawal Agreement Bill can be concluded in nine days? All stages in both the Commons and the Lords in just over a week? Those of us who served in the previous Cabinet will recall that those responsible for managing House business would advise us that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill would take two to three months to complete.

The conclusion is clear. If the Prime Minister is sincere that we leave on 31 October ‘do or die’ (and I believe he is sincere) the overwhelming likelihood is that, unless Parliament intervenes this week, we will leave without a deal. Some may welcome that. But for those of us who believe that this would be a tragic mistake, Parliament will have to step in.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Greg Hands: One might think that no-one in Brussels has read our Alternative Arrangements report

On the face of it, this week’s exchange of letters between Boris Johnson and Donald Tusk doesn’t offer a lot of encouragement for the great majority of us who do want to see a Brexit deal done between London and Brussels. Tusk’s response in particular, came across as rather intransigent, even absurdly claiming that the Prime Minister is seeking a return of a hard border in Ireland.

At times, the whole debate about the Northern Ireland Backstop is reminiscent of that between Pope Leo X and Martin Luther in the years after 1517. Brexit can appear like a debate between two rival sets of theologians. In 1517, the issue was transubstantiation or consubstantiation: did the communion wafer actually become the body of Christ, or was it merely representative of it?

This was a debate which would have been barely familiar to anyone just a few years before. And the sale of indulgences, and the basis of the scriptures and so on all formed part of it, too. At the Diet of Worms in 1521, the debate came to a head between the representatives of the papacy and Emperor Charles V on the one hand, and Luther and his followers on the other.

Four years on, however, what the theologians had missed was that the debate was no longer about narrow points of doctrine, but had come to involve much more fundamental principles like self-determination and popular consent, and a desire to find a solution that all sides could work with.

The current Brexit debate seems like that debate in 1521. Brussels has become entrenched. It is sticking hard and fast to the backstop, stubbornly ignoring the bigger picture. Practical politicians need to give this a fresh look. Unfortunately, the current Commission remains in place until November. A new set of eyes would understand that whatever the merits of the backstop, it simply isn’t going to pass through the Commons. And without the assent of the Commons, there is, by definition, never going to be a Brexit deal. That has been the case since early 2017 – whatever deal was negotiated would have to be agreed by the Commission and Council with the UK Government, and then ratified by the Commons and the European Parliament. All four hurdles need to be crossed. Three isn’t good enough.

So the backstop, like transubstantiation in 1521, might seem esoteric. But Johnson is also right when he describes it as anti-democratic, and therefore, like in 1521, emblematic of wider and more significant issues. He puts it succinctly in his letter to Tusk: “The backstop locks the UK, potentially indefinitely, into an international treaty which will bind us into a customs union and which applies large areas of single market legislation in Northern Ireland. It places a substantial regulatory border, rooted in that treaty, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The treaty provides no sovereign means of exiting unilaterally and affords the people of Northern Ireland no influence over the legislation which applies to them. That is why the backstop is anti-democratic.”

And that isn’t his only objection to the backstop. So, if the backstop isn’t going to pass the Commons, and doesn’t any longer have the agreement of the UK Government, it is self-evident that we need to urgently find something that does. This might seem an impossible task with just 72 days to go until Brexit date.

But much of the work has already been done. When Nicky Morgan and I agreed to co-chair the Prosperity UK Alternative Arrangements Commission in April, we knew we would be working with a superb team of technical experts from around the world – experts in borders, customs, logistics, transit and so on – and that we were giving ourselves around 10 weeks to produce a report on how it could all be done.

Fortunately, we knew that both sides wanted to see the work done. In their Strasbourg Declaration (actually, not that far from Worms) in March, both sides had committed themselves to finding alternative arrangements to the Backstop. When we published our 272 page report and draft protocols in July, we therefore thought we ought to be pushing at an open door. We went three times to Northern Ireland, twice to Dublin, and to Brussels, Berlin and The Hague to market the proposals to politicians, the media and other opinion-formers.

Both Johnson and Jeremy Hunt warmly welcomed our report during the recent Conservative leadership campaign. It should therefore not have a been a surprise to Messrs Tusk and Juncker that Alternative Arrangements would form the explicit or implicit basis of a refreshed UK approach on Brexit. The Prime Minister’s letter was, in my opinion, carefully crafted to be both realistic and conciliatory on what could be done, but one thing was clear, that the backstop could not form part of the deal, as it won’t pass the Commons. That is simply a statement of Realpolitik.

So Tusk’s response was disappointing. A Brussels spokesman quoted by the BBC claimed to not know much about Alternative Arrangements at all, asserting that the Prime Minister’s letter “does not set out what any alternative arrangements could be” and there was “no guarantee” they would be ready by the end of the transition period. It is almost as if nobody around Tusk had actually read our report.

Our Commission concluded clearly that Alternative Arrangements can and will work. But they won’t be up and running by October 31st. This is not a “No Deal” blueprint. Quite the opposite: our solution is the only one available which leads to a Brexit solution which will pass all four hurdles. And our proposals do need the (or at least a) transition period. Many of them can be brought in quite quickly. Some like the trusted trader scheme might take 12 – 15 months. We don’t believe anything will take longer than two to three years.

The Brexit solution lies in Alternative Arrangements. It just needs both sides to grasp it. Otherwise, I fear there could be a schism between London and Brussels which might take years, maybe decades to overcome.

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Asher Glynn: One-nation Conservatives should stay and fight for our Party

Asher Glynn is a Conservative Party member and founder of the Liberal Conservatives.

Since the resignation of David Cameron as Prime Minister, one-nation Conservatives have had a tough time in the Conservative Party.

Theresa May wanted to be a one-nation Prime Minister, but was at the mercy of the European Research Group throughout her time in government and failed to implement any policy with the cloud of Brexit over her premiership. The election of Boris Johnson has caused many one-nation Conservatives to leave the Party, and in some cases, join the Liberal Democrats.

However, we one-nation, Liberal Conservatives want you to stay and fight.

To those who have left us, or are considering leaving, we understand your frustrations with the party. We find it difficult that our Home Secretary has previously supported capital punishment. We find it difficult having a Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State who has called feminists “bigots”. We find it difficult that the government is fully championing a no-deal Brexit. We have the same frustrations as you.

However, we are optimistic about the future of the Conservative Party. Despite not leading government anymore, the official One Nation Caucus, led by MPs Nicky Morgan and Nicholas Soames, among others, now make up over one third of the parliamentary party. This group of MPs also includes some senior cabinet ministers such as Matt Hancock, Amber Rudd, and Robert Buckland, leading their departments in a one-nation way.

This group is working very hard to win the battle for the soul of our party, and they need our support.

In the leadership contest, Boris Johnson and many of his supporters, such as Johnny Mercer, pledged that he is a one-nation Conservative, and would govern as one. He also responded to letters from the caucus and the Tory Reform Group about his one-nation credentials and plans. In these letters, Johnson claimed to be “liberal”, “progressive”, “compassionate” and “moderate” and with 66.4 per cent of the Conservative party membership, and over half of Conservative MPs, supporting him on this pledge, he has a clear mandate to govern in this manner.

As one-nation Conservatives, our mission is to unite people. Benjamin Disraeli talked about how Britain had become two separate nations: one poor and one rich. His idea about One-Nation Conservatism was to re-unite these two nations in order to create one harmonious country.

Brexit can be seen in a similar way with our country separated into two nations: the 52 percent and the 48 per cent. As Disraeli proposed in 1845, one-nation Conservatives need to follow in our founder’s footsteps and re-unite Britain with a one-nation Brexit. We Liberal Conservatives have taken the view that the best way to do this is to do Brexit as quickly and as well-managed as possible, with a deal. If we are to get out of this mess as unscathed as possible, we all need to compromise and step back from our ideological positions to come up with a solution.

Brexit, however, is not what one-nation Conservatives are in politics for. There are people on both sides of the EU debate that share our values, but it is not what drives us in politics. We have a vision for a pragmatic and liberal Britain with equality of opportunity at the heart of every policy we make. Only under a one-nation Conservative government will you see a strong economy, social freedoms and sound public services, and this is what drives us to remain in the party and fight for our values.

We created our page to counter the infiltration and blatant entryism seen by Leave.EU and former-UKIP members. Arron Banks, co-founder of Leave.EU, boasted about putting 20,000-25,000 members into the Conservative party to vote for the hardest Brexit candidate and to deselect one-nation Conservative MPs.

We are clear that we don’t want to be Blue-UKIP, and that these people that have joined our party just to kick talented MPs out are not Conservatives and should be kicked out. If centrist members leave the party, the only people left in are the hard right, who would like to see Nigel Farage as Prime Minister and wouldn’t mind our precious Union splitting up.

This is why we are writing to you today, to stay in the party and fight for our party to return to being a one-nation Conservative party again, rather than turning into a UKIP tribute act.

We recently set out our ten Liberal Conservative values on our Twitter page, and we invite you to go and read them.

We do not want people who are not Conservatives to join. That is the entryism that Leave.EU and Arron Banks have inflicted on our great broad-church coalition. But, if you are not a member, but support our values as shown on our twitter page, please join the party to support our vision and aims.

To those members considering leaving, the only way to avoid a Jeremy Corbyn government and to make Boris Johnson govern as a one-nation Conservative is to stay and fight from within, where we have real influence and power.

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Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Jul-19-1024x955 Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP The Cabinet Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Ruth Davidson MSP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

When Mark predicted last month that it would be the last Cabinet League Table with that line-up, he was more right than he might have expected. Boris Johnson ushered in the new era with one of the more brutal reshuffles in modern political history.

A glance at last month’s table illustrates how the clean break has certainly restored the Cabinet’s standing in the eyes of the grassroots: every single member has a positive rating, nearly all of which would have put them comfortably in the top ten during the ancien régime.

But how much of that is due to unfamiliarity? This isn’t usually something we scrutinise, but no fewer than 16 of the politicians above-listed had ‘Don’t Know’ as their highest single response, with a couple more avoiding that fate by a bare handful of votes. A blow to the egos of a few, perhaps, but it does also mean that those ministers still have plenty of scope to make a positive impression.

Here are a few of the other takeaways:

  • Javid leads the pack. The Chancellor holds onto the position he took last month, and continues to enjoy the dividends of a good leadership election. Remarkable to think that two months ago this spot was held by Penny Mordaunt, now on the backbenches.
  • Johnson in his prime. Theresa May departed our table with a score of -61.2 (that’s lower than Chris Grayling), so Boris Johnson’s +77.2 is a happy contrast. However, he ought to recall that at one point his predecessor recorded record-breaking positive scores too. Fail to deliver and his standing will fall, fast.
  • Rees-Mogg makes the podium. Perhaps unsurprising, but the titular star of our Moggcast is a hit with the membership. Leader of the House is a good position for retaining their favour too, as Andrea Leadsom discovered, as it offers numerous opportunities for scoring points off John Bercow.
  • Brexiteers on top. Also unsurprisingly, Leave-backing MPs dominate the top of the table – it isn’t until Liz Truss, in seventh place, that we find a minister who backed Remain in 2016. Amber Rudd, one of the surprise survivals of the reshuffle, is at the bottom of the table. Except…
  • Davidson in the doldrums. The Scottish Conservative leader has previously been relatively shielded from the ups and downs of the Cabinet, often chalking up podium positions as she focused her fire on the SNP. She is currently the lowest-ranked politician in the entire table, most likely fallout from her highly-publicised split with the Prime Minister and hostility to No Deal.
  • Survivor spread. Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a particular position pattern for those ministers who did appear in our previous table (apart from the generally improved scores). Truss, Michael Gove, and Steve Barclay are at the upper end of the table, Rudd and Brandon Lewis near the bottom.

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Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government

Westlake Legal Group Cabinet-League-Table-Jul-19-1024x955 Javid pips Johnson and Rees-Mogg to the top of the podium in our first Cabinet League Table of the new Government ToryDiary Theresa Villiers MP The Cabinet Steve Barclay MP Sajid Javid MP Ruth Davidson MSP Robert Jenrick MP Robert Buckland MP Rishi Sunak MP Priti Patel MP Paul Davies AM Oliver Dowden MP Nicky Morgan MP Natalie Evans (Baroness) Michael Gove MP Matthew Hancock MP Mark Spencer MP Kwasi Kwarteng MP Julian Smith MP Jo Johnson MP James Cleverly MP Jake Berry MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP Highlights Grant Shapps MP Geoffrey Cox MP Gavin Williamson MP Esther McVey MP Elizabeth Truss MP Dominic Raab MP ConservativeHome Members' Panel Brandon Lewis MP Boris Johnson MP Ben Wallace MP Andrea Leadsom MP Amber Rudd MP Alun Cairns MP Alok Sharma MP Alister Jack MP

When Mark predicted last month that it would be the last Cabinet League Table with that line-up, he was more right than he might have expected. Boris Johnson ushered in the new era with one of the more brutal reshuffles in modern political history.

A glance at last month’s table illustrates how the clean break has certainly restored the Cabinet’s standing in the eyes of the grassroots: every single member has a positive rating, nearly all of which would have put them comfortably in the top ten during the ancien régime.

But how much of that is due to unfamiliarity? This isn’t usually something we scrutinise, but no fewer than 16 of the politicians above-listed had ‘Don’t Know’ as their highest single response, with a couple more avoiding that fate by a bare handful of votes. A blow to the egos of a few, perhaps, but it does also mean that those ministers still have plenty of scope to make a positive impression.

Here are a few of the other takeaways:

  • Javid leads the pack. The Chancellor holds onto the position he took last month, and continues to enjoy the dividends of a good leadership election. Remarkable to think that two months ago this spot was held by Penny Mordaunt, now on the backbenches.
  • Johnson in his prime. Theresa May departed our table with a score of -61.2 (that’s lower than Chris Grayling), so Boris Johnson’s +77.2 is a happy contrast. However, he ought to recall that at one point his predecessor recorded record-breaking positive scores too. Fail to deliver and his standing will fall, fast.
  • Rees-Mogg makes the podium. Perhaps unsurprising, but the titular star of our Moggcast is a hit with the membership. Leader of the House is a good position for retaining their favour too, as Andrea Leadsom discovered, as it offers numerous opportunities for scoring points off John Bercow.
  • Brexiteers on top. Also unsurprisingly, Leave-backing MPs dominate the top of the table – it isn’t until Liz Truss, in seventh place, that we find a minister who backed Remain in 2016. Amber Rudd, one of the surprise survivals of the reshuffle, is at the bottom of the table. Except…
  • Davidson in the doldrums. The Scottish Conservative leader has previously been relatively shielded from the ups and downs of the Cabinet, often chalking up podium positions as she focused her fire on the SNP. She is currently the lowest-ranked politician in the entire table, most likely fallout from her highly-publicised split with the Prime Minister and hostility to No Deal.
  • Survivor spread. Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a particular position pattern for those ministers who did appear in our previous table (apart from the generally improved scores). Truss, Michael Gove, and Steve Barclay are at the upper end of the table, Rudd and Brandon Lewis near the bottom.

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Johnson’s shuffle. If one asks for decisiveness – for an end to drift – don’t complain when it’s delivered.

ConservativeHome offered Boris Johnson advice on his coming reshuffle over a month ago.  Whatever you do, we said, shuffle with purpose.  Every single member of your new Cabinet must be signed up to leaving the EU on October 31 – without a deal if necessary.  Do or die.  All together now.  Band of brothers (and sisters).  No more Theresa May-era mass resignations over Brexit policy, totting up in the end to over 50, even without taking into account the very last ones.

A question this morning is whether or not the new Prime Minister has followed that train of thought to the point where it crashes into the buffers – and drives uncontrollably through them, leaving a trail of wreckage and corpses in its wake.  For he not only fired those Cabinet members who couldn’t support the policy (those that were left, anyway), but went on to sack many of those who surely could have done, or would at least have made their peace with it.

Jeremy Hunt, Liam Fox, Penny Mordaunt, Damian Hinds, David Mundell, James Brokenshire, Karen Bradley, Jeremy Wright – all of these would presumably have rallied round the new leader.  Two of them, Fox and Mordaunt, were 2016 Brexiteers.  The latter was prominent within Vote Leave.  One of them, Brokenshire, was a Johnson voter in the leadership election.  Yet the new Prime Minister deliberately chose to bundle them up in no fewer than nine full Cabinet sackings.  Greg Clark hung on until the end, while Chris Grayling went of his own volition. That brings the total to ten.

This was the bloodiest Cabinet Walpurgisnacht in modern history – making Macmillan’s night of the long knives look like a day trip to Balamory (although technically the changes marked the start of a new Government, not a shuffle within the old one).  Add the ten to the departure of Theresa May, Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Rory Stewart and David Lidington, and one reaches 15.  And that’s before getting into the dismissal of MPs entitled to attend, such as Mel Stride and Clare Perry.  That’s ten Conservative MPs alienated and in some cases added, perhaps, to the core of perhaps 25 ultra-rebellious Tory Soft Brexiteers and Remainers.  And the Government’s majority soon looks to dwindle to one.

There are many ways of assessing the replacements for the departed 15 or so.  For a start, there is ethnicity.  To Sajid Javid is added Rishi Sunak, now to be Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Alok Sharma at International Development plus, above all, Priti Patel at the Home Office (and of those entitled to attend there is James Cleverly, the new Party Chairman, plus Kwasi Kwarteng).  Then there are women: to Patel, we can add Liz Truss at Trade, Andrea Leadsom at Business, Theresa Villiers at Environment, Nicky Morgan at Culture, Amber Rudd at Work and Pensions.  This is Johnson’s briefed-in-advance “Cabinet for modern Britain”.  May had only three female members of her full Cabinet: Rudd, Mordaunt, Bradley and herself.  Javid was the only ethnic minority member.

As for the changes themselves, they seem to us to be a mixed bag.  Sunak, Cleverly, Leadsom, Robert Buckland at Justice, Ben Wallace at Defence: these are good appointments.  Julian Smith will know the Northern Ireland scene well from his work as Chief Whip.  Alister Jack is presumably in because Johnson wants a Leaver at the Scottish Office.  Nicky Morgan at Culture can take as her motto the saying of Leo X: “God has given us the papacy – let us enjoy it”.  Robert Jenrick, with Sunak one of three authors of a pro-Johnson leadership endorsement, has a big promotion to housing.  Their co-signatory, Oliver Dowden, will be a Cabinet Office Minister “entitled to attend”.

He will be among a swelling group of people: no fewer than ten, including Jacob Rees-Mogg as Leader of the House.  The new Prime Minister is doing nothing to make the Cabinet more compact.  The site would have preferred to see Theresa Villiers back at Northern Ireland rather than pitched in to Michael Gove’s shoes at Environment.  The big experiment will be exposing Gavin Williamson to the electorally-sensitive world of teachers and parents.

But if you want to locate the key to this reshuffle, it isn’t ethnicity, or gender, or finding horses for courses.  Rather, it is support for Johnson himself – and for Brexit. Rudd is the only declared Hunt voter to survive.  Morgan plumped for Gove.  Everyone else voted either for Johnson, right from the start of this contest, or at least after elimination themselves (if we know what they did at all).  Furthermore, 15 out of the 32 people eligible to gather round the Cabinet table voted Leave in 2016, compared to seven out of 29 in May’s last Cabinet.

Dom Raab at the Foreign Office – First Secretary of State, to boot – plus Patel, and Michael Gove at the Cabinet Office, working hand in glove with Dominic Cummings, while Steve Barclay hangs on at DexEU.  These are all general election-ready, Vote Leave veterans.  One has the spooky sensation, looking at this Cabinet and leadership, that the year is somehow 2016 – and that we now have the Government that we should have had then, ready at last to counter the charge that Vote Leave scurried away from Brexit, rather than manning up to deliver it.

Yes, the slaugher is spectacular.  And yes, the demotion of Hunt was unwise – though perhaps not as much so as his own refusal to take responsibility in government for our armed forces.  But look at it all another way.  Johnson stood accused of being a soft touch – indecisive; yielding; vacant.  So one can scarcely complain when he wields – not least before those who look on from abroad – the power that the premiership still has.  Brexiteers are accused of not taking responsibility.  After this shuffle, they can’t be: Johnson and Patel and Raab and company are unmistakably, unmissably in charge.

Remainers and Leavers alike can converge on a shared point.  Vote Leave helped to create Brexit.  Let their leaders now own it.  If one asks for decisiveness – for an end to drift – one can scarcely complain when it’s delivered.

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