A second referendum during Brexit negotiations would be absurd | Simon Jenkins

Justine Greening’s suggestion fails to acknowledge that the current parliamentary deadlock is party political

Justine Greening endorses second Brexit referendum

An eerie truth is starting to dawn. Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn agree on Brexit. They are both realists. They know Britain needs a customs union with the EU. Perhaps they should go off to a Welsh mountain together, and do a Trump/Putin? Either way, it is time for parliament to offer united support to Britain’s negotiators in Brussels, as it did to the leave decision on article 50.

On Sunday, May’s former education secretary, Justine Greening, added to her misery by calling her Chequers negotiating compromise a fudge. All compromises are that. In truth Chequers was a tactical way-station to the inevitable: a customs union. It was not ideal, but it was progress, and anything else is fantasy. Greening complains May’s union would leave Britain with “no say on shaping” EU trade rules. But that is what leave meant. In reality, Norway, the US, even China, have plenty of say on trade rules with the EU where it affects them. Trade on goods with the EU is a trivial aspect of Brexit.

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Brexit: May’s plan ‘dead’, say Tory remainers and leavers jointly ahead of key votes – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including possible Tory rebellions as MPs debate the customs bill

Greg Clark, the business secretary, was also on the Today programme this morning. He defended Theresa May’s Brexit plan and insisted it was still viable. He said:

This is a white paper that is now the basis of our negotiation. What I hope is that the EU should now respond positively to that.

If, as I expect, that happens and we have a comprehensive deal that can be put before parliament - and there had been a commitment to have a meaningful vote - what comes with that is the certainty for working people right across the country that will be able to invest with confidence, will be able to create new jobs, that implementation period will be available.

Justine Greening, the Conservative former cabinet minister, has become the most senior figure in her party to back a second referendum on Brexit. In an article in the Times (paywall), she proposes a three-option question - a no deal Brexit, Theresa May’s plan, or staying in the EU - with a preferential voting system, so that if no option gets more than 50% on first preferences, second preferences get taken into account. Her intervention must make the chance of some sort of second referendum taking place a bit more likely, although opposition to such a plan remains considerable and the obstacles in its way are formidable.

Tomorrow's front page: New Brexit referendum ‘is only way to end deadlock’ #tomorrowspapertoday pic.twitter.com/0Zk5IWoHSm

Related: Justine Greening endorses second Brexit referendum

In practice is suits no one, and whether you’re a remainer who looks at it and thinks, actually, we’re signing up to all the rules but now we won’t be around the table to influence them, or indeed you’re a leaver, who says this doesn’t give us the clean break we want, it doesn’t keep anyone happy. The reality is that parliament is now stalemated. Whatever the proposal on the table, there will be MPs who vote it down.

Well, I don’t think it can work. I think it was a genuine, clever attempt at a compromise that could work, but in practice, having looked through the detail now, it just won’t.

I suspect the Chequers deal is in fact dead. I’m afraid it is neither beloved by remainers or leavers, and Justine’s article rather underlines that. It is also quite likely to be either rejected by the European Union, or more demands will be made upon it, so it will be even less acceptable.

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Don’t blame lawyers for their Brexit bonanza | Stefan Stern

Confusion and anxiety bring commercial opportunity, and lawyers are providing a necessary professional service

Some good Brexit news at last: lawyers are rolling in it. Profits at “magic circle” (that is, elite) law firms were reported to be a remarkable £2.6bn in 2017. While many have worried about the dampening effect of Brexit on business activity, lawyers have been in demand, working on mergers and acquisitions designed to shore up companies’ positions, and advising business leaders on the almost infinite variety of outcomes that Brexit might throw up.

Matthew Layton, managing partner of Clifford Chance, one of the elite firms, told the Times: “Our clients are seeing a very complex legal and regulatory environment. Unfortunately, I don’t think the landscape will get any simpler for clients, so the demand for legal expertise is only going to grow.”

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Is UK science and innovation up for the climate challenge?

The government has shaken up the UK research system. But fossil fuels, not low-carbon technologies, still seem to be in the driving seat.

A new report by Richard Jones and James Wilsdon invites us to question the biomedical bubble - the slow but steady concentration of research and development (R&D) resources in the hands of biomedical science.

A provocative case, it’s already generated some discussion. Here, I want to pick up a point that might be easily missed amongst fights over the role of biomedicine: the all-too-small amount of resource being put towards decarbonising energy.

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Labour antisemitism code could breach Equality Act

Legal advice prepared by law lecturer states party has ignored Macpherson principle

Labour has been warned that its antisemitism definition could breach the Equality Act, as the party battles to contain the fall-out with Jewish members over its new code of conduct.

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) will hand the party new legal advice, ahead of a crunch meeting on Tuesday, which advises that the party’s decision to exclude some examples from an international antisemitism definition breaches the 2010 act.

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Theresa May is teetering. But her fall would not end the crisis | Matthew d’Ancona

Though the prime minister has been a profound disappointment, she is only the symptom of a deeper malaise

Theresa May’s expression is hard to read at the best of times, and almost impenetrable at the worst. So it proved on Sunday when she made her second appearance in less than a month on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. Was the embattled prime minister boldly channelling Marshal Ferdinand Foch during the first Battle of the Marne in 1914: Mon centre cède, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j’attaque (“My centre is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking”)? Or did her delphic mask recall the terror one imagines she felt in her youth when wickedly “running through fields of wheat”?

If May is apprehensive, she is absolutely right to be. Last week was bad enough – two senior cabinet resignations, Donald Trump’s helpful interventions – but this week the legislative substance of Brexit returns to the floor of Commons, in the form of the taxation (cross-border trade) bill and the quite distinct trade bill.

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Why the kid gloves for Trump, when it’s gloves off for the EU? | Nesrine Malik

Fawning over Trump is supposed to be realpolitik, while a conciliatory attitude to Europe would never do. That’s madness

If leaving the EU was meant to be an exercise in self-belief, pride and patriotism, Donald Trump’s visit seems to have led some members of the political class to temporarily mislay these noble notions. The government that received him did not seem like a majestic keeper of the national flame, but a diminished, kowtowing embarrassment. It was a state visit of constant degradation. Trump came, he saw, and he humiliated the British political establishment.

An ​exercise in regaining sovereignty has ended up with ​​Brexiters cowed before an incompetent president

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May faces Commons reckoning over cross-border trade bill

Parliament will on Monday test the prime minister’s hard won Chequers settlement

Ten days after the Chequers summit, a parliamentary reckoning beckons. It may not sound particularly exciting but the remaining stages of the taxation (cross-border trade) bill in the Commons on Monday represent a critical moment for Theresa May’s premiership.

Can the prime minister steer her Brexit legislation through parliament past the Labour-Tory remainer alliance and the increasingly angry hard Brexiter faction? Can she endure whatever Boris Johnson and David Davis want to tell MPs about Brexit policy and her leadership after their resignations a little less than a week ago?

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Steve Bannon calls for Tommy Robinson to be released from prison

Ex-Trump strategist tells LBC radio he doesn’t think jailed far-right leader is ‘a bad guy’

Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump, has defended the jailed far-right leader Tommy Robinson, saying that he didn’t think hewas “a bad guy” and that “he’s got to be released from prison”.

Bannon’s remarks came during an interview with LBC radio’s political editor, Theo Usherwood.

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How did Trump go from bad joke to good bloke in the UK press?

Enthusiasm for the US president in parts of the UK press is a very real threat to democracy

Suddenly, Donald Trump is not such a bad man. A large portion of Britain’s media betrayed an increasing measure of enthusiasm for the US president even before the Sun devoted seven pages on Friday to its “world exclusive interview”.

Although it meant the rest had to play catch-up, with the Daily Mail carrying a lame page imagining what Trump would say to May, they didn’t take long to repeat and analyse his genuine undiplomatic statements. Even when Trump tried to deny his Sun interview by laughingly calling it “fake news”, the Brexit-supporting papers continued to delight in his attacks on Theresa May, which the New York Times rightly described as “a breach of protocol”.

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Cambridge discovers the economic benefit of clustering | Richard Partington

Victorian concept of the ‘industrial district’ could protect the UK from the worst of Brexit

There are tourists punting on the river and cyclists thronging the street. On this summer day, many of the trains have been cancelled or face severe delays. It’s more than a century since the Victorian economist Alfred Marshall taught at Cambridge University - where the economics library still bears his name - yet he would still recognise plenty of things about the city today.

More than a century ago, the mentor to John Maynard Keynes developed the idea of the “industrial district” to explain how bringing jobs and businesses together in specific locations can help improve the productivity of work. There are advantages in huddling together; of encouraging technical dynamism in particular places. Knowledge can spread more quickly, often by accident. People with similar skills are drawn together to pursue careers in the same field.

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Theresa May: Donald Trump told me to sue the EU

PM reveals president’s Brexit advice was not to negotiate with the bloc at all

Theresa May has revealed that Donald Trump advised her to “sue the European Union” rather than negotiate with the 27-country bloc in a private conversation that the US president referred to during his visit to the UK on Friday.

The prime minister was asked on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show what was the “brutal” Brexit negotiating advice that Trump had talked about in their joint press conference outside the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat.

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Theresa May’s grand plan has left her stranded in no woman’s land | Andrew Rawnsley

The prime minister simply hasn’t got the votes to push her Brexit proposals through parliament

Like a desiccated woman who is crawling across a scorching desert and thinks she has spotted a source of moisture, for a brief moment Theresa May tasted the sweet tang of relief from her miseries.

She had about 72 hours of experiencing what it feels like to be a prime minister who is in control. This time last week, she had launched her Brexit plan and it had not instantly exploded on takeoff. EU leaders gave the blueprint a polite, if highly guarded, reception. No one flounced out of the Chequers meeting, saying they could no longer sit in her cabinet. Even critics expressed some backhanded praise for the way in which Mrs May choreographed the corralling of her ministers. Opponents revived the old charge, an accusation not heard against her since she blew last year’s election, that an imperious leader had railroaded ministers into signing up to the plan. The poor things had been denied their mobile phones and told that it was a long walk home if they were thinking of quitting.

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No honour, no glory: adieu to Boris Johnson

The former foreign secretary’s biographer asks if the political maverick has finally run out of road

As a six-metre high blimp of a blond-haired baby in a nappy rose above Parliament Square in London on Friday, a casual observer might have been forgiven for imagining they had witnessed an inflatable Boris Johnson. After all, the former foreign secretary had not been seen in public since his resignation last week and, judging by social media, he is about as popular with voters (and presumably Theresa May) as the visiting American president.

The blimp’s “babysitters” were targeting Donald Trump, but many of their complaints are equally valid against Johnson. Both men indulge in infantile petulance, self-obsession at everyone else’s expense and a fondness for dog-whistle pronouncements on Brexit, race and women. No wonder the Liberal Democrat leader, Vince Cable, briefly came out of hiding to brand them the “terrible twins”.

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Britain’s Brexit dilemma: are Leavers losing faith?

Two years on from the referendum, we find out if people in Stratford-upon-Avon would now vote differently

On the sun-drenched streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, Andy Martin, a Remainer from the farming community, says he doesn’t discuss Brexit with most of his friends, though he is surprised how many farmers voted out.

“They all had the false sense that someone was telling them what to do. But there will always be someone telling them what to do. That’s life,” he said last week.

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The dishonourable Boris Johnson has brought us to the brink of catastrophe

Lord Carrington and the other foreign secretaries who resigned on matters of principle contrast starkly with today’s populists

The resignation of Alexander (“Boris”) Johnson from the prestigious post of foreign secretary in Her Majesty’s government came on the very same day that his illustrious predecessor Lord Carrington died at the wonderful old age of 99.

Johnson becomes the fourth foreign secretary to have resigned since the war – all of them since the arrival of Margaret Thatcher’s revolutionary government on the British political scene in 1979, and three of them Tories – after all, Conservative foreign secretaries have had more chance to resign, since their party has been in office during 26 of those 39 years.

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Steve Bannon: ‘Now is the moment’ for Boris Johnson to challenge May for PM

  • Former Trump strategist interviewed by Daily Telegraph
  • Ex-foreign secretary is ‘like Trump … people dismissed him’

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon believes now is the time for Boris Johnson to challenge British prime minister Theresa May for her job, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Related: Trump adviser Roger Stone 'probably' American cited in Russia indictments

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Peter Mandelson joins Brexiters in attack on May’s EU ‘humiliation’

Labour peer says it would be better to crash out of the EU than back PM’s latest blueprint

Britain’s former trade commissioner in Brussels, Lord Mandelson, is making common cause with hardline, anti-EU Tories, saying Theresa May’s latest Brexit blueprint would lead to “national humiliation” and leave the country in a worse position than if it turned its back on the entire European economic system.

In an extraordinary intervention that shows that even the most ardent Remainers in parliament find the plans unacceptable, Labour peer Mandelson says the plans would deliver “the polar opposite of taking back control”, and would mean “the EU would ultimately call the shots, not just now but indefinitely”.

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Minister steps down after sending explicit messages to constituents

Andrew Griffiths, 47, ‘deeply ashamed’ as he resigns as minister for small business

Andrew Griffiths, the minister for small business, has resigned from the government after being found to have sent more than 2,000 explicit messages to two women in his constituency.

The Conservative MP for Burton, and Theresa May’s former chief of staff, released a statement saying apologising for what he had done, after the texts were put to him by the Sunday Mirror.

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The Chequers Brexit compromise offers the worst of both worlds | Peter Mandelson

This half-in, half-out option will meet an abject fate

When I first looked at what had been agreed on Brexit at Chequers, I thought the plan would please nobody, but that the public might conclude that these proposals represent the best available.

In reality, it’s a spatchcocked, half-in, half-out plan and the business response was frustration: it is better trade news for goods but a disappointing hard Brexit for services. Those who voted to “take back control” were more vitriolic: it is an attempt to remain close to Europe, full of concessions and compromises, and therefore a million miles from what they expected.

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Brexit Britain is out of options. Our humiliation is painful to watch | Nick Cohen

Rarely have we been so enfeebled and isolated. The only certainty is a perilous future

It is dangerous to assume the past is superior to the present. After going back through all the crises since the end of the Second World War, however, I cannot find a time when Britain was so out of options and so out of luck. By “options”, I don’t mean escape routes liberal readers of the Observer would welcome, just alternatives that seemed plausible at the time.

Suez? Get the troops out of Egypt. Union militancy? Thatcher. The degradation of the public realm? New Labour. The crash of 2008? Austerity. There was always an escape, however unpalatable. Now, to steal William Hague’s description of the eurozone crisis, Brexit Britain is a burning building with no exits. The alarms ring but no rescuers come.

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Labour opens up biggest lead over Tories since general election

Opinium poll puts Jeremy Corbyn’s party four points ahead as Ukip revives

Labour has opened up its biggest poll lead over the Conservatives since shortly after last June’s general election, as the government’s chaotic handling of Brexit appears to have triggered a dramatic fall in support for Theresa May and the Tories – and a sudden revival of Ukip.

The latest Opinium poll for the Observer puts Labour on 40%, the same score as last month, but four points ahead of the Tories who have dropped by six points since early June to 36%. The fall in Tory support would appear to be the result of Conservative supporters who backed leaving the EU turning to Ukip, whose support has shot up by 5pts from 3% last month to 8%.

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Political calculation still governs our approach to gropers | Jess Phillips

A proposal to end impropriety is announced this week but it will fail if MPs still protect each other and their parties

Previously on the Westminster sexual impropriety scandal, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House, promised a robust and independent system for handling the complaints of bullying and harassment suffered by those who work in and around parliament. The much-trailed system will be revealed this week and MPs will get to have their say.

Hats off to Leadsom, whose feminist credentials have not always been the best. I know she cares about getting this right, not least because she has had to handle the “bants” of the one-time secretary of state for defence, Michael Fallon. When Leadsom complained of cold hands, so the story goes, Fallon allegedly replied: “I know somewhere you can put them to warm up.” I assume he wasn’t suggesting that she wrap her hands around the Trident nuclear missile...

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Police tell Trump supporters not to gather at US embassy

Met orders supporters of Trump and jailed EDL founder to meet at Temple Place

Police have ordered Donald Trump supporters not to march from the US embassy in Nine Elms to Whitehall in an effort to prevent public disorder in central London on Saturday.

The Welcome Trump group had planned to hold speeches outside the embassy on Saturday afternoon before marching to Whitehall to join a protest being staged by supporters of the English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson.

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