POLITICO London Playbook: What MPs did for Christmas — The hard Brexit sell — SAGE schools scoop – POLITICO

Good Monday morning. This is Emilio Casalicchio protecting for Alex Wickham, who’ll be again subsequent week.

SORRY TO DISTURB: British politics is cranking again into life after the quiet Christmas weekend. Hopefully you had one, regardless of the restrictions, and are prepared for extra Brexit and coronavirus as we plod on towards the top of 2020. If, like Playbook, you need extra Christmas, then console your self with the truth that it’s at the very least a financial institution vacation, and you may catch up on what a load of MPs did throughout the festive break.

What MPs did for Christmas I: Prime Minister Boris Johnson basked within the Queen’s Speech … Business Secretary Alok Sharma fed turkey to his canine Olly … Transport Secretary Grant Shapps nervous about testing truck drivers … Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden took possession of a large stick of sprouts … Labour chief Keir Starmer left biscuits and a carrot out for Santa and reindeers … Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy had a fusion Christmas dinner of donated substances … Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey took a beer within the sunshine … Former Cabinet Minister Andrea Leadsom was at Silverstone Circuit with glowing English wine … Conservative MP Andrew Bowie cooked his first-ever Christmas dinner … Conservative MP Duncan Baker delivered meals on wheels for a neighborhood charity …

What MPs did for Christmas II: Conservative MP Dehenna Davison went for a post-Christmas run … Former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch performed Buckaroo … Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth went on a six-kilometer run … SNP MP Kenny MacAskill fed carrots to a horse … Labour MP Dawn Butler visited a neighborhood theater … Conservative MP Rehman Chishti and a cat wore Santa hats … Shadow Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry set the Christmas dinner desk tremendous good … Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds frolicked along with his household in matching pyjamas … DWP Minister Will Quince celebrated his birthday and having misplaced 78 kilos with a protein bar deal with …

What MPs did for Christmas III: Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson went strolling within the snow … Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard made a Lego Ferrari … Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire made Christmas biscuits …Conservative MP Nigel Huddleston adopted a Mary Berry recipe for bacon-mummified turkey … Conservative MP George Freeman watched the Snowman on Christmas Eve … Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins confirmed off a gingerbread home her nine-year-old son embellished … Labour MP Chris Elmore noticed a blistering sundown … Conservative MP Guy Opperman placed on a Santa hat and held a pleasant canine … and Labour MP Tracy Brabin did precisely the appropriate factor: learn a e-book and ate chocolate.

Right: Onto the information.

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THE HARD BREXIT SELL: Downing Street will this morning crank up its drive to win most assist for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal in parliament as preparations for the top of the transition interval ramp up. Following a lull in outreach over the Christmas weekend, the Cabinet and whips are again on the job of assuring Conservative Brexiteers the settlement secured final week fulfills their anti-EU fantasies. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is gearing up for a Zoom name along with his backbenchers, which might happen tomorrow, and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is on the printed spherical. As nicely as promoting the deal, Gove will urge companies and members of the general public to make their last-minute preparations for December 31, when Brexit occurs for actual.

Wave to the waverers: Brexiteer authorized minds, together with the European Research Group “Star Chamber,” have been scouring the element trying for gremlins within the textual content which could not fairly match their notion of a sovereign Britain. The ERG is hoping to unveil its closing verdict tomorrow earlier than the deal is rushed by parliament in a invoice on Wednesday. Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs Playbook spoke to final night time had been withholding their closing judgment earlier than ending their scrape of the 1,200-page authorized textual content, however had been sounding optimistic on what they’d seen thus far. “If there had been something ghastly in the text it probably would have been spotted by now,” one stated. Grassroots Conservative members are additionally followers of the settlement.

The clock is ticking: The one grumble thus far has been that MPs should rattle the invoice by the Commons in a matter of hours on Wednesday earlier than it goes to the Lords for an equally quick passage. There had been noises within the papers over the weekend {that a} single day for parliament to debate the matter is just not sufficient, with calls to reflect the EU plan of implementing the deal provisionally and having a proper ratification later, as soon as parliament has had extra time to verify it over. That appears like transfer for democracy however there’s scant likelihood of No. 10 permitting it. MPs additionally wish to see the laws they’re anticipated to vote on. ERG Chair Mark Francois is quoted by way of Lucy Fisher within the Telegraph calling on the federal government to publish the deal invoice as quickly as potential.

PLP friction: As it stands, it seems Labour chief Keir Starmer is the one with a insurrection to comprise, after he ordered his troops to again the deal. Playbook spoke to quite a few Labour MPs final night time who had been torn over whether or not to abstain. Worries are that it might comprise unexpected penalties, and that constituents in anti-Brexit seats won’t be too impressed. In the Telegraph, Tony Diver names Ben Bradshaw, Kevin Brennan, Neil Coyle, Rupa Huq, Geraint Davies and Clive Efford as amongst those that might insurgent. Coyle confirmed to Playbook: “I’m not voting for something that so clearly lets down British people, British business and the U.K. as a whole.” In the Times, Eleni Courea provides frontbenchers Daniel Zeichner and Paul Blomfield to the record, and notes that quite a few Socialist Campaign Group MPs might vote towards the invoice.

Who else? The SNP and Lib Dems will vote towards the deal.

MEANWHILE, IN BRUSSELS: EU ambassadors will meet at 11.30 a.m. Brussels time to debate the deal and provoke the method for its provisional software, an EU diplomat stated final night time. The German authorities can be anticipated to approve the deal this morning, based on my POLITICO colleague Hans von der Burchard.

Brextra time: Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier will meet the Brexit steering group of MEPs at 8.30 a.m. Brussels time to transient them on the deal. After that, he and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are set to fulfill the Conference of Presidents, which decides on enterprise within the European Parliament, to debate when the ultimate ratification may happen. The working assumption is {that a} vote might occur when the chamber sits on February 8. Failing that, a brand new date shall be sought earlier than the provisional software of the deal is ready to expire on February 28.

BREXIT GEEKERY: The authorized textual content of the settlement was revealed over the weekend and commerce nerds have been blissing out on countless jargon and annexes. To prevent studying by the doc your self (and there was, after all, little question you’ll have), my POLITICO colleague Anna Isaac has a 10-point rundown of among the most fascinating particulars, together with notes on what’s lacking within the deal: monetary companies preparations, different companies elements and recognition of chemical substances and client items regulation, amongst different issues. The Institute for Government has additionally put collectively an indispensable information to the content material of the settlement.

Top takes: Brexit Twitter was awash with chin-stroking threads over the weekend to assist make sense of the legalese. Anton Spisak from the Tony Blair Institute set out the morass of committees that may govern the U.Ok. relationship with the EU going ahead. Former diplomat Peter Ricketts mulls the advantages and limitations on safety preparations and knowledge sharing. EU competitors lawyer James Webber breaks down the all-important subsidies chapter. And U.Ok. in a Changing Europe professional Matt Bevington explains fish. This is only a choice.

Speaking of fish: The sector seems to be to be the DUP of the long run partnership settlement — with many within the business feeling it’s been thrown beneath a bus with a purpose to clinch a deal, regardless of guarantees from Johnson. This assertion from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations was seething, and even Brexit Party chief Nigel Farage picked fish out as the most important compromise in an in any other case satisfactory deal. He made clear he’s keen to neglect it although, and Conservative Brexiteers Playbook spoke to final night time took an analogous line. It’s nearly as if the fishing sector was solely a tiny a part of the U.Ok. economic system all alongside. The huge query shall be what occurs after the five-and-a-half-year transition, throughout which the U.Ok. will steadily tackle 25 % of the EU quota. Journo John Lichfield reckons there shall be no additional catch for Britain after 2026, opposite to what Johnson stated final week.

Overall: Former Downing Street Europe adviser Raoul Ruparel had a pleasant take final night time that either side made compromises after changing into “focused on defending their key interests rather than on their offensive asks.” It meant the U.Ok. restricted its obligations within the deal and the EU protected the only market — however the proposed huge beneficial properties touted at the beginning had been forgotten. Trade professional Sam Lowe additionally had a must-read total assessment within the Observer, setting out how the ambitions had been toned down and why the wrangling will proceed.

Now learn this: Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has given an interview to Le Figaro wherein he insists he was not sidelined by the European Commission in negotiations; notes that authorized wrangling with the U.Ok. beneath the brand new deal is “obviously a risk;” and stated talks nearly blew up twice: as soon as in London a month in the past and once more in Brussels extra lately throughout a telephone name between Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen. Barnier additionally confirmed that his e-book in regards to the Brexit course of shall be out in spring, and made some cryptic noises that sound like he is perhaps mulling a return to frontline French politics to assist rebuild the appropriate.

TURKEY DEAL FOR CHRISTMAS: Britain is ready to lock in its commerce preparations with Turkey this week — lastly made potential by the take care of the EU (defined right here). “We now look forward to working with Turkey towards an ambitious tailor-made U.K.-Turkey trade agreement in the near future, as we aim to open new global markets for great British businesses, drive economic growth and improve people’s lives across both countries,” International Trade Secretary Liz Truss stated in a single day. The FT has a full write-up.

WHAT BRITAIN DID NEXT: Aside from overhauling tax for companies (based on Boris Johnson) and a few niceties about international Britain (based on Dominic Raab), the U.Ok. ought to use its new discovered freedom and second of renewal to reform regulation, devolve extra, ditch the House of Lords and overhaul the civil service, based on former Downing Street aide Nick Timothy.


SAGE SCHOOLS SCOOP: Boris Johnson has been informed in direct phrases by his SAGE scientists that the prevalence of the brand new U.Ok. coronavirus variant means he must preserve schools closed in January to forestall infections from spiraling uncontrolled, my colleague Alex Wickham stories, forward of a crunch assembly on schools on account of happen at this time.

Nightmare assembly earlier than Christmas: The SAGE consultants, led by Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance, delivered their newest recommendation at a gathering final week, an individual acquainted with their conclusions informed Alex. They agreed that the R fee would surge above 1 even when the PM carried out a November-style nationwide lockdown with schools remaining open — i.e. they’re saying even one other nationwide lockdown akin to what England had final month is not going to be sufficient within the new yr. SAGE suggested that the R is perhaps stored beneath 1 if schools are stored closed in January, and located that closing secondary schools would have a stronger impression than shutting major schools.

Et tu, Shaun? Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has urged Johnson to maintain schools closed for two extra weeks after the Christmas break, in a bid to chop transmissions. The Mail has a write-up.

But however however: “Whilst the genius of science and medicine now has a vaccination for COVID, there isn’t a vaccination for potentially damaging children’s life chances, well being, mental health and safeguarding and continued loss of learning through not being at school,” training committee Chair and Conservative MP Robert Halfon informed Playbook final night time. He pointed to earlier proof suggesting there was low threat of COVID from youngsters being at college and stated clearer proof should be sought.

POSH BRITS GO AWOL: Hundreds of Brits who had been meant to be in coronavirus quarantine scarpered from the Swiss ski resort of Verbier, based on stories. The vacationers had been ordered to isolate as a result of new pressure of the virus thought to have unfold from Britain. “Many of them stayed in quarantine for a day before they set off unnoticed under cover in the darkness,” stated a spokesperson for the area. Some surfaced later in neighboring France. Full write-up right here.

GOOD NEWS INJECTION: Much hypothesis within the papers in regards to the Oxford vaccine being set for approval this week — probably even at this time — with a hoped-for rollout date of January 4, though authorities aides weren’t giving something away final night time. It comes as fears about hospital capability proceed to mount, with one physician warning wards have gotten like “war zones.” The London Ambulance Service stats for Boxing Day had been fairly one thing. The BBC has a write-up.

THE LONG GAME: Shop gives on unhealthy meals will face restrictions from April 2022 beneath authorities proposals set for session. The plans, introduced in a single day, embrace a ban on confectionary at grocery store tills and on free refills of sugared drinks in eating places. Public Health Minister Jo Churchill stated the federal government needed to “make sure the healthy choice is the easy choice” by banning the unhealthy stuff that tastes good. It’s all a part of the PM’s drive to chop weight problems, after his bout with the coronavirus. Reuters has extra.

WOE FOR RISHI LATEST: The financial restoration from the coronavirus shall be a “bumpy ride” and ministers will in all probability want to take care of huge state assist for longer than deliberate, based on a brand new report from the Resolution Foundation. The suppose tank stated the more durable lockdown measures to comprise the brand new pressure of the virus might depart the economic system 6 % smaller by Easter than was hoped a month in the past. Ouch.

NEXT TIER REVIEW: Is set for Wednesday. Don’t maintain your breath for downgrades.

YESTERDAY’S UK STATS: 30,501 new circumstances, ⬇️ 5,190 on yesterday and ⬇️ 5,427 on the earlier Sunday … 316 deaths, ⬆️ 86 on yesterday and ⬇️ 10 on the earlier Sunday.

**A message from Barclays: From Derby to Bournemouth, we’re persevering with to supply finance and broader COVID-19 assist to a whole lot of hundreds of native companies to assist them by the pandemic. Learn extra at #BackingtheUK**


REFURBING THE REFURB PLAN: “MPs and peers could be housed in the same building under a cut-price parliament renovation plan that it is hoped will breathe new life into the stalled multibillion-pound project,” Frances Elliot stories within the Times. He notes the outcomes of a assessment are on account of be revealed within the new yr, and can suggest different cost-saving schemes and dismiss the suggestion by Boris Johnson that the House of Lords might transfer to York.

TALKING OF LORDS: One complained there weren’t sufficient British cooks within the friends’ parliament canteen, Mikey Smith reveals within the Mirror.

YOU’RE (NOT) HIRED: Labour is looking on the federal government to underwrite the wages of latest apprentices after the variety of new starters for the reason that Conservatives took workplace dropped by 130,000 annually — even earlier than the pandemic. Hugo Gye has the story within the i newspaper.

**POLITICO is launching the Paris version of its flagship Playbook. From February 2021, Playbook Paris will publish on weekday mornings in French, lifting the curtain on the facility behind the scenes within the French capital with authentic information, sharp perception and contact of humor. Sign up right here.**


FROM SCOTLAND: Queen of the South (apparently a soccer staff) apologized to followers after former MP George Galloway was allowed to attend their match towards Dundee along with his household on the weekend — regardless of supporters being banned from grounds. He insisted he was there as a part of a sponsorship negotiation. The Daily Record has a write-up.

FROM WALES: First Minister Mark Drakeford complained Wales has had much less affect on Westminster since Boris Johnson got here to energy and gained a giant Commons majority. “I don’t think our voice in Wales has a lot of influence on Mr. Johnson,” he informed the BBC in an interview, making a distinction between the present PM and his predecessor Theresa May. “He has a majority and can do as he likes in the House of Commons, without listening to anyone else.”

LOOKING TO WASHINGTON: Nature doc legend David Attenborough stated the election of Joe Biden within the U.S. was excellent news within the struggle towards local weather change. “It’s of the greatest possible importance,” he stated in an interview with the Radio Times, including, “if we are to find a solution with international agreements the presence of America is beyond measure.” PA has a write-up.

ACTUALLY IN WASHINGTON: “President Donald Trump signed into law a major coronavirus stimulus package along with an annual spending bill, avoiding a government shutdown before a Monday night deadline,” my POLITICO colleagues Stateside report.


Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove broadcast spherical: Times Radio (7.35 a.m.) … Today program (8.10 a.m.).

Also on Times Radio Breakfast present: Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery (8.05 a.m.) … SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford (8.40 a.m.) … Conservative MP John Redwood (8.50 a.m.).

Reviewing the papers tonight: BBC News (10.40 p.m. and 11.30 p.m.): Journalist Daisy McAndrew and Telegraph columnist Claire Cohen.


(Click on the publication’s title to see its entrance web page.)

Daily Express: We’ll be free by February.

Daily Mail: A jab in your village corridor.

Daily Mirror: A shot at freedom.

Daily Star: Swamped.

HuffPost UK: ‘Justice still not served in 2020.’

POLITICO UK: 10 key particulars within the UK-EU commerce deal.

The Daily Telegraph: Volunteer military able to distribute COVID vaccine.

The Guardian: COVID’s impression on psychological well being will final years, royal school warns.

The Independent: Errors that led to COVID nursing disaster.

The Sun: Vacc to the long run.

The Times: Hospital circumstances of COVID surge in the direction of new excessive.


Westminster climate: ☁️ 🌧️⛅ Confused mixture of clouds, rain and solar. Highs of 4C.

POLITICO’s most-read tales of 2020: My colleague Sofia Diogo Mateus has crunched the numbers and has this record of our 20 most-read tales of 2020.

Farewell: “China’s ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming will be retiring soon and replaced by foreign vice-minister Zheng Zeguang,” the South China Morning Post reported over the weekend.

Birthdays: Former Energy Minister Joan Ruddock … Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Neale Hanvey … Tory peer Helen Newlove … NHS England Chief Financial Officer Julian Kelly … Sadiq Khan spinner Jon Weisgard … Ta Nea London correspondent Yannis Andritsopoulos … Former Telegraph Editor Max Hastings … and former Labour deputy chief Roy Hattersley, who turns 88.

Celebrated over the weekend: Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson … Scotland’s former Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood … Former Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips … Sky News presenter Dermot Murnaghan … POLITICO’s personal Matt Honeycombe-Foster, Shéhérazade Semsar, Tim Ball and Nicholas VinocurNazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who stays in an Iranian jail … Work and Pensions Minister Will Quince … Channel 4 News political correspondent Liz Bates … Sky News Political Reporter Alan McGuinness … Cabinet Secretary Simon Case … Tory peer (and father-in-law to Samantha Cameron) William Astor … Mayor of Leicester Peter Soulsby … Tory peer Brian Griffiths … Labour peer Irene Adams … Tory peer Jeffrey Sterling … Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee … Channel 4 News Political Correspondent Liz Bates … and Public First’s Vinous Ali.

PLAYBOOK COULDN’T HAPPEN WITHOUT: My editor Zoya Sheftalovich, analysis assistant Andrew McDonald and producer Arnau Busquets Guàrdia.

primarily based on web site supplies www.politico.eu

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