Chris Moncrieff: Brexit route won't be plain sailing for May

THERESA May's timing was impeccable. It was a wise, indeed essential, move on the part of the Prime Minister to announce on the eve of the Conservative Party conference that progress is already being made to begin Brexit.

How will Jean-Claude Juncker respond to Theresa May's Brexit timetable?

Had she failed to do this, she would have been nagged from the start of the conference until the end with cries of “get a move on!”

May has put forward what, on the face of it, appears to be a comprehensive and sensible package. But those in the engine room, so to speak, who will have to continue negotiating with Brussels, will not find it plain sailing. Storms lie ahead.

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They will have to contend with some hard-headed Eurocrats, notably Jean-Claude Juncker.

They will bitterly oppose any attempts to indulge in what they call “cherry-picking” by Britain during the negotiations.

It is interesting how the protests of the anti-Brexiteers have now died down. Barely any of the horrors they predicted as a result of the referendum vote have come to pass.

This leaves Juncker and his fellow Eurocrats fearful that other countries may follow Britain’s lead.

The “Project Fear” campaign now appears to be in shreds and Britain will be able to govern itself rather than be governed by Brussels before too long.

Are we now looking at the prospect of an early election ahead?

JEREMY Corbyn wins an even greater mandate to lead Labour, and yet a large proportion of the Parliamentary Labour Party still wants to oust him.

But they are stuck with him – and the party is at an impasse, or worse. And unless the present Labour leadership election process is drastically changed, they won’t get rid of him, even if there were 100 more such elections.

And even if Labour suffer a heavy defeat at the next general election, I doubt whether he would go. When the hard left get a foothold on power, they do not give it up that easily. The party is hoist by its own petard and, as a consequence, will have to live – or die – by it.

HOW corrupt is professional football in Britain? Judging by what we have seen and read over the past week or so, one is forced to the conclusion that it is rampant and almost “normal”, like money-grubbing MPs cheating on their expenses.

Whether the police intervene or not, I think at the very least, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee should mount a thorough inquiry into what appears to be a massive scandal.

How come, for instance, the disgraced former England manager, Sam Allardyce is forced to leave under a cloud with a “reward” of a cheque for a million pounds in his pocket?

Maybe the further public exposure of this racket, which a probing by MPs 
would achieve, could mean that 
football fans pay a little less than the astronomical prices now demanded 
for tickets to matches – as if the Premiership clubs don’t have enough cash already.

Let’s hope Westminster will intervene.

GREAT British pudding eaters will be aghast at the news that the Government is considering suggesting to restaurants they serve smaller pudding portions in a bid to conquer obesity. They will do this, apparently, by naming and shaming restaurants that serve what Ministers regard as too much by way of puddings. An undercover Whitehall man, perhaps, spying on you as you relish your sticky toffee pud.

Talk about a nanny state!

Why don’t they go the whole hog and and introduce special spoon-feeders to ensure we don’t devour too much spotted dick, jam roly-poly or apple charlotte – or whatever?

I presume, probably wrongly, that this would involve a reduction in price. If I were a pudding aficionado – and there are plenty of them about – I would simply try to scupper this ludicrous interference by ordering two portions and tell the Government to go hang.

Chris Moncreiff is a former political editor of the Press Association.