With Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve

THE BIG IDEA: Brett Kavanaugh is no David Souter.

President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court made a name for himself as a partisan warrior when he worked for Ken Starr and has proved his reliability as a consistently conservative judge over a dozen years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told Trump that Kavanaugh’s lengthy paper trail over a quarter of a century in the public arena would make it harder to confirm him through the narrowly divided Senate than two of the other finalists being considered.

But the same track record that could cause headaches in the next several weeks is exactly what made Kavanaugh so appealing to leaders of the Republican legal establishment, including Federalist Society chief Leonard Leo and White House counsel Don McGahn, who wanted someone they feel confident they can count on for the next generation.

Kavanaugh, who has long been active in the Federalist Society, fits that bill. He was one of Starr’s top bulldogs as the independent counsel investigated Bill Clinton and at times advocated internally for an even more aggressive approach against the Democratic president. Kavanaugh was a lead author of the Starr Report and has acknowledged writing portions that laid out grounds for  impeachment.

He was deeply involved in the exploration of Clinton White House lawyer Vince Foster’s suicide, which Trump suggested in 2016 might have been a murder. Kavanaugh even appeared before the Supreme Court in a bid to subpoena notes taken by a lawyer whom Foster spoke with shortly before he died.

Kavanaugh represented the American relatives of Elián González pro bono as they tried to prevent the boy from being sent back to Cuba, a cause celebre on the right in 1999 and 2000.

He helped defend Jeb Bush’s school voucher plan in the Florida courts and then worked on George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 recount. Then he got a job in the White House Counsel’s Office under Alberto Gonzales, helping pick Bush’s judicial nominees. From there, he was promoted to staff secretary, which gave him more direct access to the president and control of the paper flow into the Oval Office.

Bush nominated Kavanaugh to the appeals court in 2003, but Democrats held up his confirmation for three years because of his polarizing work for Starr. At the time, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called him the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics” because he seemed to be in the thick of every controversial legal fight that gripped the capital. Kavanaugh was eventually confirmed in 2006 as part of a larger deal on nominations by a vote of 57 to 36.

Since joining the court, Kavanaugh has written about 300 opinions —  including key decisions on guns, abortion and regulation. He ruled that the way the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is structured makes it unconstitutional, for instance, and has routinely taken the side of big business in disputes with government.

George H.W. Bush nominated Souter for the Supreme Court in 1990 at the recommendation of then-White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu. Souter was on the New Hampshire Supreme Court but hadn’t ruled on hot-button issues, so he emerged as a consistently liberal vote once on the high court. No one who knows Kavanaugh doubts that he will pull the court to the right if confirmed.

Based on Kavanaugh’s votes on the D.C. Circuit, a political scientist at Emory University calculates that there is a 55 percent chance that he will be further to the right than Clarence Thomas and an 81 percent chance that he will be to the right of Chief Justice John Roberts:

Tom Clark@tom_s_clark

Wondering how is? I just estimated preferences from all voting by DC Circuit judges on en banc cases Ih/t Mike Giles). I estimate he is the fifth most conservative of the 47 judges for whom I have data.

McConnell recognizes that Kavanaugh’s nomination presents a target-rich environment for Democrats, who have dozens of potential avenues of attack because there are so many cases and episodes to choose from. Even though Kavanaugh is likely to ultimately make it through the Senate, there are enough unpopular positions he has staked out that most of the Democrats from red states should not have that hard of a time finding palatable justifications to oppose his nomination. (It’s always possible they’ll vote for him anyway if he already has the votes to get confirmed.)

Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings also ensure that some of the darkest chapters of the Bush era will be re-litigated, including the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

— Importantly for Trump, though, Kavanaugh’s views on executive power have evolved significantly since he worked for Starr. In a 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh noted that the Starr team he worked on operated under a “badly flawed” law, “particularly the extent to which it allowed civil suits against presidents to proceed while the President is in office.”

More recently, Kavanaugh has argued that presidents should not be distracted by civil lawsuits, criminal investigations, or even questions from a prosecutor or defense attorney while in office, Michael Kranish and Ann E. Marimow report. “Having observed the weighty issues that can consume a president, Kavanaugh wrote, the nation’s chief executive should be exempt from ‘time-consuming and distracting’ lawsuits and investigations, which ‘would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.’ If a president were truly malevolent, Kavanaugh wrote, he could always be impeached.”

— Neil Gorsuch, who also served in the Bush administration, was pushed by legal activists on the right last year because he too was a known commodity and had been consistently conservative as a circuit court judge. He helped the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004 as a volunteer lawyer in Ohio. When he was interviewing for a senior job at the Justice Department, then-Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman emailed a top White House official to put in a good word. “He is a true loyalist,” Mehlman wrote of his former roommate.

Meet Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee

President Trump announced July 9 that Brett M. Kavanaugh will be the Supreme Court nominee to fill Justice Kennedy’s vacant seat.


— He is just 53 years old. An avid runner, Kavanaugh could realistically spend four decades on the Supreme Court. He finished the Boston Marathon in 3:59:45 in 2010 and 4:08:36 in 2015.

— He has an elite pedigree. His father ran a cosmetics trade association here for decades. His mother was a high school teacher who became a lawyer and then a judge. Kavanaugh attended Yale for both undergrad and law school after attending Georgetown Preparatory School. Gorsuch, whose mom ran the Environmental Protection Agency, was a classmate at the elite private high school in Washington. The two then clerked for Kennedy at the same time.

Kavanaugh also clerked in San Francisco for Judge Alex Kozinski on the Ninth Circuit, who retired in December after 15 women alleged that he had subjected them to inappropriate sexual behavior.

The D.C. Circuit, where he serves now, is considered the second most important court in the land, only after the Supreme Court. Current justices John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas were each elevated from there.

— Kavanaugh identifies as an originalist. “A judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent,” he said last night. (Note the difference between being “informed” by precedent and being bound by it. Those are two very different things.)

— Trump called Kavanaugh to tell him on Sunday night and informed Kennedy of his decision on Monday, per a senior White House official. “Kavanaugh’s link to the Bush political dynasty gave Trump pause during the search process, and he peppered associates with questions about whether ‘my base’ would embrace him,” Robert Costa, Robert Barnes and Felicia Sonmez report. “But ultimately, prodded by top advisers and veteran Republicans, Trump decided that Kavanaugh’s lengthy conservative judicial record made up for any lingering concerns about how some of his core supporters would view the pick.”

— As Kavanaugh praised the president during his speech in the East Room, you could see why he fared so well during his interview with Trump. “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination,” Kavanaugh said, as the president smiled.

— With Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance, Kavanaugh went out of his way to emphasize his relationships with women. He laid it on thick: “My mom was a trailblazer,” he said. “When I was 10, she went to law school and became a prosecutor. My introduction to law came at our dinner table when she practiced her closing arguments. Her trademark line was ‘Use your common sense. What rings true, what rings false?’ That’s good advice for a juror — and for a son.”

  • “For the past 11 years, I have taught hundreds of students, primarily at Harvard Law School. … I remain grateful to the dean who hired me, Justice Elena Kagan.”
  • “I am proud that a majority of my law clerks have been women.”
  • “I have two spirited daughters, Margaret and Liza. Margaret loves sports, and she loves to read. Liza loves sports, and she loves to talk. I have tried to create bonds with my daughters like my dad created with me. … For the past seven years, I have coached my daughters’ basketball teams. The girls on the team call me Coach K.”
  • Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley, was Bush 43’s longtime personal secretary: “Our first date was on September 10, 2001. The next morning I was a few steps behind her as the Secret Service shouted at all of us to sprint out the front gates of the White House, because there was an inbound plane. In the difficult weeks that followed, Ashley was a source of strength for President Bush and for everyone in this building.”

— Fun fact: The president’s big reveal preempted another reality TV show: “The Bachelorette” paused during Trump’s speech for a special report, and then ABC went back after Trump gave a metaphorical rose to Kavanaugh.

 “Not since Warren Harding in 1921 nominated former President William Howard Taft to be chief justice has the country been presented with a high court nominee so completely shaped by the needs and mores of the executive branch as Brett Kavanaugh,” Garrett Epps, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, notes in The Atlantic. “Though Kavanaugh served as Kennedy’s law clerk during the October 1993 term, the contrast between the two men could hardly be more complete. Kennedy’s roots lay in his days of small-town private practice; he made his way to the bench from private practice, and, as a judge, he was conservative but independent. Kavanaugh has been the creature and servant of political power all his days. It would be the height of folly to expect that, having attained his lifetime’s ambition of a seat on the Supreme Court, he will become anything else.”

As President Trump announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, senators and activists demonstrated outside the Supreme Court building in Washington.


— Because Kavanaugh is already so well known on Capitol Hill, the partisan battle lines are mostly drawn:

  • Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): “I will lift heaven and Earth to see that he is confirmed.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.): “I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have.”

— Every Democratic senator who was invited to attend the announcement at the White House declined, including Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Doug Jones (Ala.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.). Incidentally, so did Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who says she supports abortion rights and could be pivotal. On the other side, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller — the most vulnerable Republican up for reelection in 2018 — proudly sat in the front row.

— Americans for Prosperity, which is part of the Koch network, announced plans to spend “seven figures” on paid advertising and “grassroots engagement” in support of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The GOP-aligned Judicial Crisis Network separately says it will spend $1.4 million on TV ads in the next week touting Kavanaugh in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia.

— A good illustration of how Republicans are likely to fall in line: Kavanaugh ruled in 2015 that “the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment.” If a Democratic nominee wrote that, there is no doubt that the libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would come out swinging against his or her nomination. Instead, Rand tweeted last night he has an “open mind,” and GOP aides say privately that they don’t think he’ll pose any kind of a problem.

Watch Brett Kavanaugh’s full acceptance speech after Trump nomination


Story 2: President Trump Flies To Europe for 7 Days for NATO Summit in Brussells and Meeting With Prime Minister May in England and Russian President Putin — Time To Step Up Military Spending of NATO Member Countries — Videos

See the source image

See the source image

See the source image

Trump pushes NATO allies to keep spending commitments

Trump to NATO members: Pay up

NATO contributions country-by-country

Trump takes on NATO over defense spending

President Trump Pressure NATO Allies Ahead of Summit – ENN 2018-07-10

NATO vs BRICS – What’s The Difference & How Do They Compare?

How many NATO member states are there?


Trump takes shots at NATO, May but praises Putin as he prepares to meet with alliance leaders

Philip Rucker, Michael Birnbaum and William BoothWashington Post

President Donald Trump signaled he was ready for a transatlantic brawl Tuesday as he embarked on a consequential week of international diplomacy, taking aim at vulnerable British Prime Minister Theresa May and suggesting that meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be easier than talking with Western allies at the NATO summit here.

Leaders converged on Brussels fearful of what the combative U.S. president might say or do to rupture the liberal world order, with some European diplomats privately predicting calamity.

As he departed Washington on Tuesday, Trump stoked the deep divisions in May’s government to undermine the leader of America’s closest historic ally on the eve of the NATO meeting. Asked if May should remain in power, Trump said, “That’s up to the people,” while also complimenting her top rival, Boris Johnson.

Some of Europe’s counters to Trump, including May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arrive with heavy domestic political baggage of their own, making them vulnerable in negotiations with Trump as they seek to protect the Western alliance from his impulses on defense spending and trade.

Trump has long prized his instincts for taking advantage of an adversary’s weaknesses, and referred to the “turmoil” confronting May at home in remarks to reporters.

The prime minister faces a rebellion from advocates of a hard break from the European Union, who say she has been waffling, and is in danger of losing control. Johnson, a potential successor to May, resigned Monday as foreign secretary and reportedly savaged her Brexit plan as “a big turd.”

Trump praised him in personal terms: “Boris Johnson is a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me and very supportive. And maybe we’ll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson. I’ve always liked him.”

Trump’s seven-day journey begins in Brussels and will take him to England for his first visit there as president, to Scotland for a weekend respite at his private golf course and finally to Helsinki for his tête-à-tête with Putin. European leaders are as concerned about what concessions he might make to Putin – such as recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine – as they are about the chaos he could create at the NATO summit.

May plans to roll out the red carpet for Trump and first lady Melania Trump at a gala supper Thursday at Blenheim Palace, former prime minister Winston’s Churchill’s boyhood home, and at a luncheon Friday at Chequers, the prime minister’s country estate. She also secured him an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

It was a startling gambit for Trump to risk offending his host by showering Johnson with praise while May faces threats of a revolt – even a no-confidence vote – by her own Conservative party over how she is handling Brexit.

“Trump goes after the weak people. He smells who is weak and who is strong, and he gets on well with the strong ones,” said Robin Niblett, director of the Chatham House, a prominent think tank in London.

To her critics, May is forever making compromises to carry out Brexit, even though she herself voted against leaving the European bloc. She has not helped her image by endlessly kicking the can down the road and delaying decisions.

Alternatively, Johnson could be seen as strong by Trump because he pushed for Brexit, he won – and when he didn’t get what he wanted, he quit. In a leaked audiotape, Johnson also praised Trump as the consummate dealmaker. “Imagine Trump doing Brexit. He’d go in bloody hard,” Johnson said. “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere.”

Trump seizing on perceptions of weakness in the diplomatic arena is in keeping with how he dealt with rival developers and other adversaries in real estate deals, according to Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio.

“There are certain fail-safe bully tactics that can be employed when you’re the stronger, bigger kid,” D’Antonio said. “He is willing to be extreme and seek the upper hand, especially with people that he perceives to be polite and well-mannered.”

That impulse may be strongest this week with Merkel, who has been a stalwart against Trump’s disruptions in Europe but whose standing took a blow last month when she confronted the most serious leadership challenge in her 13-year rule of Germany.

Trump loathes Germany’s trade imbalance with the United States and feels the country is free-riding off the U.S. security umbrella. He also has long criticized Merkel for her 2015 decision to admit more than 1 million asylum seekers from Syria and elsewhere, warning that they were a proverbial Trojan horse who could destroy Europe’s way of life.

Trump has tried to spotlight any signs of Merkel’s political troubles, tweeting last month that “the people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition.”

In Brussels, Merkel will defend her decision to raise defense spending more slowly than Trump’s goal and seek to maintain the 35,000 U.S. troops deployed to Germany, which Trump has threatened to pull back.

But Merkel has actually benefited at home from Trump’s attacks, since the U.S. president is deeply unpopular among the German electorate, as he is with voters across much of western Europe.

Other sometimes-adversaries of Trump will be in Brussels as well, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, creating the potential to extend disagreements that upended last month’s Group of Seven leaders summit in Quebec. Trump left that gathering without signing the perfunctory joint statement among the leaders that his aides had endorsed, and he proceeded to trash its host, Trudeau, as “weak” and “dishonest.”

Ahead of the NATO meetings that begin here Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tried to strike an optimistic note and play down the simmering disputes.

“Our summit comes at a time when some are questioning the strength of the transatlantic bond and I would not be surprised if we have robust discussions at the summit, including on defense spending,” Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday. “Different views are normal among friends and allies, but I am confident that we will agree on the fundamentals.”

But European Council President Donald Tusk was more direct in anticipating that Trump may have designs on sowing discord, delivering a stinging warning to the visiting Americans president.

“Dear America, appreciate your allies,” Tusk said. “After all, you don’t have that many.”

As he departed the White House, Trump offered a rebuttal.

“Well, we do have a lot of allies,” he told reporters before boarding Marine One. “But we cannot be taken advantage of. We’re being taken advantage of by the European Union. We lost $151 billion last year on trade. And on top of that, we spend at least 70 percent for NATO. And, frankly, it helps them a lot more than it helps us. So we’ll see what happens. We have a long, beautiful week.”

This story first appeared in the Washington Post.

Story 3: Will Prime Minister May Remain in Office? Brixit Breaks May — Videos

Try not to smirk too much, Boris: Johnson poses for picture of himself signing his lengthy resignation letter as he accuses May of letting ‘Brexit dream die’… and Jacob Rees-Mogg says he will make a ‘brilliant’ Prime Minister

  • Boris Johnson accused Theresa May of ‘suffocating’ Brexit as he sensationally resigned as Foreign Secretary
  • He declared war on the PM’s Chequers’s plan and said negotiators had ‘white flags fluttering above them’
  • But he came under fire after posing up for resignation photos which showed him signing the letter to the PM
  • Lib Dem MP Layla Moran called him a ‘poundshop Churchill impressionist’ and accused him of ‘running away’ 
  • Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg backed Mr Johnson and said he would make a ‘brilliant’ Prime Minister  

Theresa May is fighting for her political life today after Boris Johnson accused her of killing Brexit and his allies backed him to be a ‘brilliant’ PM.

Mr Johnson used his decision to quit as Foreign Secretary to declare war on her Chequers plan for leaving the EU.

Warning that the UK was heading for colonial status, he said the Brexit dream was ‘dying – suffocated by self-doubt’.

He claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’ and surrendering control to Brussels. Following a chaotic day of resignations and rumours, Downing Street is now braced for a potential leadership challenge.

Boris also faced criticism in many quarters for taking the time to stage the photos of himself signing the resignation letter and was branded a ‘poundshop Churchill’.

In a reference to his decision to resign only after David Davis had quit as Brexit Secretary on Sunday night, one May loyalist said: ‘There’s not much honour in being second over the top.’

Mrs May also swiftly reshuffled her cabinet, bringing in Jeremy Hunt from Health to replace Boris as Foreign Secretary and Dominic Raab to replace Mr Davis.

But, in a significant intervention, Jacob Rees-Mogg last night backed Mr Johnson, saying he would make a ‘brilliant’ prime minister. 

The former Foreign Secretary declared war on the PM's Chequers plan, but came under fire after he posed up for resignation photos as he sensationally quit the CabinetThe former Foreign Secretary declared war on the PM’s Chequers plan, but came under fire after he posed up for resignation photos as he sensationally quit the Cabinet

Theresa May was fighting for her political life last night after Boris Johnson said the Brexit dream was ‘dying – suffocated by self-doubt’ in his resignation letter

Boris Johnson writing his resignation letter

Who’s in and who’s out of PM’s cabinet after the Chequers rebellion

  • Jeremy Hunt leaves Health to replace Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary.
  • Matt Hancock promoted from Culture to be Health Secretary.
  • Dominic Raab leaves Housing to replace David Davis as Brexit Secretary.
  • Chris Heaton-Harris promoted to junior Brexit minister, replacing Steve Baker who followed his bossDavid Davis out of the door.
  • Kit Malthouse, an ally of Boris’ when he was Mayor of London, becomes Housing Minister.
  • Attorney General Jeremy Wright replaces Matt Hancock at Culture.
  • Barrister Geoffrey Cox replaces Wright as Attorney General.

Slamming the photos, Ms Moran, a leading member of the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain, said: ‘This staged resignation photograph is pathetic. This man is a poundshop Churchill impressionist. Its just very sad.

‘But Boris is doing what he does best: when the going gets tough he runs away like a coward.

‘He did it over Heathrow and he’s done it today. Rather than fight for the country he yet again cares only for his own self interest.

‘But at least he will have a little memento of the day his dreams came crashing down around him.’

Labour’s David Lammy said: ‘The fact that Boris Johnson arranged for a photoshoot of himself signing his resignation letter for the front pages tells us everything we need to know about him.

‘Self-obsessed, vain egomaniac devoid of substance caring only about himself and advancing his career. Good riddance.’

Sam Macrory, an ally of Nick Clegg, said: ‘We all know that Boris Johnson’s decision to quit is absolutely not about one man and his personal ambitions, but I’m struggling to think of another time where a Secretary of State called in the photographers to record the moment a resignation letter was signed.’

Gavin Sinclair said: ‘This sums up Boris – has a senior minister ever called in a photographer before resigning…and just before the PM’s statement to the Commons?!’

And Jon David Ellis criticised Mr Johnson’s behaviour in the aftermath of the Novichok poisonings, saying: ‘Boris literally posed with his resignation letter. Hours after a British citizen died from a foreign agent he chooses self image over basic dignity.’

More than 80 MPs attended a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, which Mr Rees-Mogg leads, in order to attack Mrs May’s Chequers plan. ‘This has got to be killed and it’s got to be killed before recess [in two weeks’ time],’ said one attendee.

Another Eurosceptic confirmed MPs were writing to the Tory 1922 Committee backbench group to trigger a no- confidence motion.

Boris Johnson's resignation letter to Mrs May in which he said the Brexit 'dream' was being 'suffocated by needless self-doubt'

Boris Johnson’s resignation letter to Mrs May in which he said the Brexit ‘dream’ was being ‘suffocated by needless self-doubt’

Boris Johnson leaves Carlton Gardens after his resignation
Mr Johnson (pictured) claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’Mr Johnson (pictured) claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’
The departed Foreign Secretary came under fire after he posed for pictures while signing his resignation letter 

Two more MPs quit top team in anger over Brexit

Two more Conservative MPs resigned from the Government last night.

Both parliamentary private secretaries, they said they were stepping down because of their concern over the direction of Brexit negotiations.

Chris Green, PPS to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, announced his departure from the position following last night’s 1922 Committee meeting with the Prime Minister.

Conor Burns, who was Boris Johnson’s PPS at the Foreign Office, also announced his resignation.

Mr Green’s constituency Bolton West voted 55.6 per cent Leave in the 2016 referendum and Mr Burns’ constituency Bournemouth West voted 57.7 per cent Leave.

Although the role of a PPS is often described as a ministerial ‘bag carrier’, it shows growing discontent within the Party and heightens speculation of a challenge to Theresa May’s leadership.

One said: ‘It’s over now. She’s done. It would be good if it were done quickly. I want to know who will be standing against her. We need to establish a new government because this offer is indefensible’.

One MP told the 1922 Committee that Mrs May had orchestrated a ‘Remain coup’ at Chequers on Friday. All four ‘great offices of state’ are now held by those who campaigned for Remain.

Friends of Mr Johnson, whose aide Conor Burns also resigned, were tight-lipped last night about his next move. But his resignation letter offered no support for Mrs May and, unlike Mr Davis, he did not urge MPs to back her.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid was among those to praise Mr Johnson yesterday, saying he would miss his ‘Reaganesque optimism and passion for global Britain’. On a day of turmoil at Westminster:

  • Eurosceptic MPs said more ministers would resign unless Mrs May backs down and abandons her Chequers plan;
  • It was rumoured the Eurosceptics are close to gathering the 48 names needed to force a vote of confidence in Mrs May;
  • Mr Davis stepped up his attack on Mrs May’s tactics, saying ‘we are giving too much away too easily – and that is a dangerous strategy’;
  • Steve Baker, who quit as Brexit minister, said the Establishment was trying to block Brexit;
  • Jeremy Hunt took over as Foreign Secretary, while Matt Hancock succeeded him as Health and Social Care Secretary;
  • Mr Davis’s former chief of staff Dominic Raab replaced him as Brexit Secretary;
  • Downing Street was forced to deny that Mrs May will offer ‘preferential’ access to the UK jobs market to EU citizens;
  • No 10 admitted that the customs arrangements signed off at Chequers may not be fully ready before the next election in 2022;
  • Mrs May told Tory MPs they had a duty to stick together to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street.

In the Commons yesterday Mrs May paid tribute to both Mr Davis and Mr Johnson, who she said had displayed ‘passion’ for the Brexit cause. But in her reply to Mr Johnson’s attack last night, the PM noted that he had initially backed the plan at Chequers last week, reportedly choosing to toast her success with champagne.

Mrs May said she was ‘sorry – and a little surprised’ to receive his resignation ‘after the productive discussion we had at Chequers’.

One of her allies said: ‘For all the flowery language in his letter, what is conspicuous by its absence is anything resembling an alternative plan.

‘He moans about all these things but there is no sense of how he might achieve a different outcome. That is the difference.’

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Mr Johnson will make an excellent Prime Minister after more than 80 MPs attended a meeting of the pro-Brexit European Research Group that he leads

How could Theresa May be ousted as Tory leader?

Theresa May faces a mortal threat to her leadership of the Conservative Party and Government.

A Tory leadership contest can be called in one of two ways – if Mrs May resigns or if MPs force and win a vote of no confidence in her.

Calling votes of no confidence is the responsibility of the chairman of the 1922 Committee, which includes all backbench Tory MPs.

Chairman Graham Brady is obliged to call a vote if 15 per cent of Tory MPs write to him calling for one – currently 48 MPs.

The process is secret and only Mr Brady knows how many letters he has received.

The procedure was last used in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was ousted as Tory leader.

If Mrs May is ousted, any MP is eligible to stand.

Conservative MPs will then hold a series of ballots to whittle the list of contenders down to two, with the last place candidate dropping out in each round.

The final two candidates are then offered to the Tory membership at large for an election.

Addressing the 1922 Committee, the Prime Minister acknowledged the controversy the Chequers deal had caused, but told MPs: ‘To lead is to decide.’ Outside the meeting, her supporters claimed she was in a better position following the resignations.

‘She is strengthened by all of this – it helps her,’ said Solicitor General Robert Buckland. ‘She has made decisions and the consequences are that some people feel they cannot be bound by collective responsibility, respect to them for resigning, but she has shown leadership.

‘This idea she is some sort of vacillator who cannot make her mind up and wants to keep everybody in the tent – no – she is showing leadership.’

Tory MP James Heappey said there was ‘huge support’ for Mrs May at the 1922 Committee. He said Brexiteers seeking to depose her ‘can do their worst, but it won’t be enough’.

In the Commons pro-Remain Tories, including Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, backed Mrs May. But the Prime Minister faced direct challenges from a string of Eurosceptic Tories.

Mr Rees-Mogg said her Brexit promises ‘have been watered down to the point that we are, or would be, in a semi-suspended state of membership of the European Union’.

He said the Cabinet resignations ‘really undermine the credibility of what was agreed at Chequers’.

Andrea Jenkyns, who quit the government to speak out on Brexit last month, said she would be writing a letter of no-confidence in Mrs May.

She said Mrs May’s premiership ‘is over… there’s a feeling we need a PM who believes in Brexit’.

Senior Conservative Sir Bernard Jenkin warned there had been a ‘massive haemorrhage of trust’ as a result of the direction the PM was taking and said it ‘may well come’ to a vote over her leadership.

In the Commons, Peter Bone accused Mrs May of betrayal. Mr Bone, who faced cries of ‘shame’, told the PM that activists in his Wellingborough constituency were questioning why they were still campaigning for the party.

Mrs May replied: ‘This is not a betrayal. We will end free movement. We will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

‘We will stop sending vast sums of money to the European Union every year.’

In full: Boris Johnson’s damning resignation letter to Theresa May

Dear Theresa

It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy.

They were told that they would be able to manage their own immigration policy, repatriate the sums of UK cash currently spent by the EU, and, above all, that they would be able to pass laws independently and in the interests of the people of this country.

Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy.

That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.

We have postponed crucial decisions – including the preparations for no deal, as I argued in my letter to you of last November – with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.

It now seems that the opening bid of our negotiations involves accepting that we are not actually going to be able to make our own laws. Indeed we seem to have gone backwards since the last Chequers meeting in February, when I described my frustrations, as Mayor of London, in trying to protect cyclists from juggernauts. We had wanted to lower the cabin windows to improve visibility; and even though such designs were already on the market, and even though there had been a horrific spate of deaths, mainly of female cyclists, we were told that we had to wait for the EU to legislate on the matter.

So at the previous Chequers session, we thrashed out an elaborate procedure for divergence from EU rules. But even that seems to have been taken of the table and there is in fact no easy UK right of initiative. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public. If a country cannot pass a law to save the lives of female cyclists – when that proposal is supported at every level of UK Government – then I don’t see how that country can truly be called independent.

It is also also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence

Conversely, the British Government has spent decades arguing against this or that EU directive, on the grounds that it was too burdensome or ill-thought out. We are now in the ludicrous position of asserting that we must accept huge amounts of precisely such EU law, without changing an iota, because it is essential for our economic health – and when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.

In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony – and many will struggle to see the economic or political advantages of that particular arrangement.

It is also clear that by surrendering control over our rulebook for goods and agrifoods (and much else besides) we will make it much more difficult to do free trade deals. And then there is the further impediment of having to argue for an impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.

What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK – before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.

On Friday I acknowledged that my side of the argument were too few to prevail, and congratulated you on at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the way forward. As I said then, the Government now has a song to sing. The trouble is that I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat. We must have collective responsibility. Since I cannot in all conscience champion these proposals, I have sadly concluded that I must go.

I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary in your Government. As I step down I would like first to thank the patient officers of the Metropolitan Police who have looked after me and my family, at times in demanding circumstances.

I am proud too of the extraordinary men and women of our diplomatic service. Over the last few months they have shown how many friends this country has around the world, as 28 governments expelled Russian spies in an unprecedented protest at the attempted assassination of the Skripals. They have organised a highly successful Commonwealth summit and secured record international support for this Government’s campaign for 12 years of quality education for every girl, and much more besides. As I leave office, the FCO now has the largest and by far the most effective diplomatic network of any country in Europe – a continent which we will never leave.


In full: Theresa May’s withering reply to Boris Johnson’s resignation letter

Dear Boris,

Thank you for your letter relinquishing the office of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

I am sorry – and a little surprised – to receive it after the productive discussions we had at Chequers on Friday, and the comprehensive and detailed proposal which we agreed as a Cabinet. It is a proposal which will honour the result of the referendum and the commitments we made in our general election manifesto to leave the single market and the customs union. It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money – ending the freedom of movement, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers’ money to the European Union. We will be able to spend that money on our priorities instead – such as the £20 billion increase we have announced for the NHS budget, which means that we will soon be spending an extra £394 million a week on our National Health Service.

As I outlined at Chequers, the agreement we reached requires the full, collective support of Her Majesty’s Government. During the EU referendum campaign, collective responsibility on EU policy was temporarily suspended. As we developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed Cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their individual views. But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case, and if you are not able to provide the support we need to secure this deal in the interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that you should step down.

As you do so, I would like to place on record my appreciation of the service you have given to our country, and to the Conservative Party, as Mayor of London and as Foreign Secretary – not least for the passion that you have demonstrated in promoting a Global Britain to the world as we leave the European Union.

Yours ever,

Theresa May

May makes Jeremy Hunt Foreign Secretary after facing down rebel MPs and telling them they’ll make CORBYN PM as she AVOIDS a no confidence vote

Jeremy Hunt – Britain’s longest ever serving Health Secretary – was promoted to head the Foreign Office after Boris Johnson’s shock resignation.

Theresa May moved to reshuffle her frontbench team after a day of high political drama which threatened to bring her premiership crashing down.

Earlier she faced down her critics at a crunch meeting with her MPs – known as the 1922 committee – in Parliament, warning them they risk handing the keys of No10 to Jeremy Corbyn if they oust her.

Mr Johnson’s departure fuelled feverish discussion about whether mutinous Tory MPs will move to topple Mrs May by sending in letters of no confidence.

Jeremy Hunt is the new Foreign Secretary

Matt Hancock is the new Health Secretary

Jeremy Hunt (left) has been appointed Foreign Secretary while Matt Hancock (right) replaces him as Health Secretary

Theresa May is battling to hang on as PM

Theresa May is battling to hang on as PM

Theresa May’s premiership is hanging in the balance after David Davis and Boris Johnson quit in a shock double cabinet resignation.

Here are the odds, via bookmakers Ladbrokes, on who will be the next PM:

Michael Gove (Environment Secretary) – 9/2

Has buried the hatchet with Mr Johnson after brutally ending his Tory leadership campaign in the wake of David Cameron’s resignation.

Thought to be less concerned with short term concessions that Mr Johnson, but focused on ensuring the UK is free from Brussels rules in the longer term.

Jeremy Corbyn (Labour leader) – 5/1

The labour leader will be hoping to capitalise on Brexit disarray in the Cabinet to seize power himself in an election

Sajid Javid (Home Secretary) – 5/1

Brought in to replace Amber Rudd after she resigned amid the Windrush scandal, Mr Javid was seen as a reluctant Remainer in the referendum.

Many thought the former high-flying banker would plump for the Leave campaign, but he eventually claimed to have been won over by the economic case. He is likely to focus be guided by evidence about trade calculations in discussions over how closely aligned the UK should be with the EU.

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory backbencher) – 6/1

A leading Tory backbencher, he is chairman of the European Research Group – the powerful group of backbench Brexit backing Tory MPs.

Boris Johnson (ex Foreign Secretary)- 8/1

The Brexit champion in the Cabinet until today, has been agitating for a more robust approach and previously played down the problems of leaving with no deal.

He is unhappy with plans for a tight customs arrangement with Brussels – warning that it could effectively mean being lashed to the EU indefinitely. Said to have bluntly dismissed concerns from pro-EU companies by saying ‘f*** business’.

Andrea Leadsom (Commons leader) – 12/1

A leading Brexiteer who ran for the leadership last year before pulling out allowing Theresa May to be crowned.

Jeremy Hunt (Health Secretary)  – 14/1

A Remainer in the referendum campaign, Mr Hunt has since embraced the Brexiteer arguments – with speculation that he is positioning for a tilt at the top job should Mrs May be abruptly ousted. He has been heavily

Dominic Raab (Brexit Secretary) – 16/1

The new Brexit Secretary, Mr Raab is a leading Brexiteer who has been brought into the Cabinet after David Davis’ shock resignation.

David Davis (ex Brexit Secretary) – 25/1

A long-time Eurosceptic and veteran of the 1990s Maastricht battles, brought back by Mrs May in 2016 to oversee the day-to-day negotiations.

He has plunged her Government into chaos after sensationally quitting last night.

He has said the government will be seeking a ‘Canada plus plus plus’ deal from the EU.

But the PM has insisted that she will stay on and fight if a leadership contest is triggered.

The promotion of Mr Hunt – a Remainer who now says he would back Brexit – comes weeks after he secured a £20billion a year funding boost for the NHS to mark its 70th birthday.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock will move to head up the health service, attorney general Jeremy Wright has become the new Culture Secretary while Brexiteer Geoffrey Cox is being made Attorney General in the shake-up.

Earlier this year Mr Hunt fended off efforts by the PM to move him from the health brief to become Business Secretary – telling her he was determined to stay on and finish the job he had set himself as Health Secretary.

It came hours after Mrs May promoted Brexiteer Tory MP Dominic Raab to the post of Brexit Secretary as Mr Davis’ replacement.

Unlike his predecessor, Mr Hunt backed Remain in the EU referendum – but he has said he would now vote for Brexit because he has grown fed up with the ‘arrogance’ of Brussels.

The PM moved to shore up her support among the Tory backbenches by defending her Brexit plans in the Commons chamber and a packed meeting of the parliamentary party which took place immediately afterwards.

She warned mutinous Tories threatening to mount a revolt to out her that they risk letting a hard left Corbyn- led Government.

And she was given a reprieve tonight with news she will not face an immediate vote of no confidence.

The rare bright spot for the PM came as she issued a defiant message at a stormy session of the Tory 1922 committee in Parliament, with her premiership hanging by a thread.

Mrs May told the gathering that ‘to lead is to decide’ and raised the prospect of the Labour leader imposing a left-wing revolution on the country.

And in a boost for the embattled PM, the chairman of the powerful 1922, Sir Graham Brady, is said to have confirmed at the session tonight that currently he has not received the 48 letters from MPs that would trigger a no-confidence vote.

After the meeting, solicitor general Robert Buckland told journalists that Mrs May had received strong support from the party rank-and-file.

He said: ‘She talked about Jeremy Corbyn, she talked about the alternative being to deliver the country to the sort of Government people didn’t vote for and any Conservative voter would be repelled by.’

Mr Buckland insisted Mrs May could emerge strengthened from the furore, comparing the turbulent events to the crises which faced German Chancellor Angela Merkel in her early years in office.

He said: ‘I think she is strengthened by all of this, I think it helps her.

‘The most striking remark she said was “to lead is to decide”.’

Tory MP Geoffrey Cox – a Brexiteer who has been promoted to Attorney General in today’s reshuffle  – said many Eurosceptics inside the meeting urged the PM to stay on and lead them through Brexit.

He said: ‘I regret Boris and David have gone, but I think they were wrong – they should have stuck in and make this deal successful.’

He said the third way deal Mrs May has put forward represents a ‘giant step’ on the road to Brexit.’

But Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Tory MP and leader of the European Research Group – the powerful group of backbench Tory MPs – said the PM must ditch her Chequers plan.

He said: ‘You see that those supporting Remain two years ago are supporting quasi Remain now…the key question for today is does the rather bad Chequers deal go ahead.’

And he warned that if the Tory party splits along the two wings of Brexiteers vs Remainers – the fault will lie squarely with Downing Street.

He said: ‘If the Government plans to get the Chequers deal through on the back of Labour Party votes then that would be the most divisive thing it could do.

‘And it would be a split coming from the top, not from the members of Conservative party across the country.’

‘I can’t put my name to this’: How Boris finally quit after being asked to put his name to article DEFENDING Chequers Brexit summit deal

Boris Johnson’s dramatic resignation came after he refused to put his name to a Downing Street-drafted article supporting the Chequers agreement, it emerged last night.

Mr Johnson, who quit the Government yesterday, had appeared to have fallen into the line with the negotiating strategy announced on Friday evening – despite apparently referring to it as a ‘t**d’.

He was even said to have congratulated the PM at dinner for securing Cabinet agreement. But on Saturday he refused to sign off a joint newspaper article with the Remain-backing Chancellor Philip Hammond – a long term Remainer – supporting the deal.

A friend said Mr Johnson took one look at the article and said: ‘I can’t put my name to this.’ A text drafted by No 10 was passed to the Treasury, then sent on to the FCO on Saturday. But seeing the consequences of the deal in black and white made him realise he would have to quit, allies revealed.

Boris Johnson refused to put his name to a Downing Street-drafted article with Chancellor Philip Hammond supporting the Chequers agreement

‘At that point he knew it was indefensible,’ the friend said.

On Sunday a series of articles purporting to be written by Cabinet ministers supporting the deal were placed in newspapers. Both Mr Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis were conspicuous by their absence.

By yesterday, according to allies, Mr Johnson was ‘racked with doubt’ about whether to stay in the Cabinet at all and concluded he simply couldn’t improve the deal from inside government.

He telephoned Downing Street yesterday lunchtime and told them he planned to announce his resignation in the evening.

But No 10 refused to allow him that luxury and – in a clear attempt to spike his guns – made the unusual decision to announce his departure in a short statement at 3pm, before Mr Johnson had even finished composing his resignation letter.

It emerged hours later, warning that the UK was heading for a ‘Semi-Brexit’ as a ‘colony’ of Brussels and that the dream of the Leave campaign – to take back control of our democracy – was ‘dying’.

In her icy reply last night, the Prime Minister said she was ‘a little surprised’ to see Mr Johnson departing the Government after the Cabinet signed off on her deal at Chequers on Friday. She suggested he was going back on his word.

But after Mr Davis quit the Government at midnight, speculation quickly swirled around Westminster that Mr Johnson would follow. The rumours soon reached fever pitch when he failed to attend a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee at 1pm to discuss the Salisbury poisonings.

He had also been expected to host, but was notably absent from, the Western Balkans Summit in London’s Docklands yesterday afternoon, involving ministers from several EU states.

Allies of the Foreign Secretary insisted last night that neither this, nor leadership ambitions, was ultimately a factor in his decision to leave Indeed, when his resignation letter was finally released, it was a vivid deconstruction of the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy. Savaging the PM’s Chequers deal, he said vast swathes of the economy would be ‘locked in’ to Brussels rules but with no influence over them.

He also launched a scathing attack on the PM personally, accusing her of being ‘suffocated by needless self doubt’ and of running up the white flag to Brussels.

And he warned this ‘disturbing’ opening bid could be followed by further concessions on immigration and money ‘for access to the single market’.

Unlike Mr Davis – who notably backed Mrs May staying in office in interviews yesterday – Mr Johnson made no such offers of support.

Mr Johnson wrote: ‘Brexit should be about opportunity and hope. It should be a chance to do things differently, to be more nimble and dynamic, and to maximise the particular advantages of the UK as an open, outward-looking global economy. That dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt.’

Mr Johnson said the failure to prepare for ‘no deal’ means ‘we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system.’

And he condemned Mrs May’s customs proposals, the Facilitated Customs Arrangement, calling it an ‘impractical and undeliverable customs arrangement unlike any other in existence.’ In his letter, Mr Johnson accepted that on Friday he had congratulated the PM on ‘at least reaching a Cabinet decision on the way forward’. He then added: ‘As I said then, the Government now has a song to sing. The trouble is I have practised the words over the weekend and find that they stick in the throat.’

Last Thursday night, David Cameron made an extraordinary appeal to Mr Johnson not to resign.

The former prime minister, acting with the blessing of Mrs May, met for drinks with his fellow Old Etonian at a London club just hours before the make-or-break summit.

Last Wednesday other pro-Leave cabinet ministers met Mr Johnson in the Foreign Office as details of Mrs May’s proposals leaked out. Penny Mordaunt, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Liam Fox, Chris Grayling, Michael Gove and David Davis – as well as Gavin Williamson discussed the plan. A similar group met the next day to plan tactics for Chequers in an attempt to push an alternative plan.