Newslinks for Monday 17th June 2019

Hancock backs Johnson… “Matt Hancock endorses Boris Johnson’s campaign for Downing Street today, pledging to be a “voice of moderation”… Read more »

Hancock backs Johnson…

“Matt Hancock endorses Boris Johnson’s campaign for Downing Street today, pledging to be a “voice of moderation” for the man who will “almost certainly” become prime minister. The health secretary dropped out of the race on Friday having won 20 votes in the first ballot of MPs and accepting that the Conservative Party was not looking for a “fresh face”. After spending the weekend choosing between Mr Johnson and Michael Gove, Mr Hancock endorsed the front-runner, insisting that he “will hold him” to his promises to govern as a One Nation Conservative and to support business as “the engine of prosperity”.” – The Times

  • He reportedly has his sights on the Chancellorship – The Times
  • Johnson pledges fast internet to every home by 2025… – Daily Telegraph
  • …and rejects ‘secret coronation’ plan – The Sun

Comment:

  • Let’s reboot ‘left-behind Britain’ with a broadband revolution – Boris Johnson MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Boris and I have our differences, but he’s the one to unite us – Matt Hancock MP, Times Red Box
  • Johnson supports my blue-collar agenda, so I’m backing him – Esther McVey MP, Daily Telegraph

…as Cox blocks his Brexit strategy…

“Boris Johnson will have to over-rule existing government legal advice if he wants to make good on his promise to withhold the £39bn Brexit bill in order to win a better deal from the EU, The Telegraph can reveal. Mr Johnson, who is now hot favourite to win the Tory leadership contest, has threatened to “retain” the promised financial settlement until the European Union has provided “greater clarity” about the future EU-UK trading relationship. However several Whitehall sources have confirmed that on-record internal legal advice from Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, has warned that linking Brexit bill payments to the progress of any trade talks would be illegal. The advice sets up a potential clash between Mr Johnson and Mr Cox who last week backed the former foreign secretary for the Tory leadership.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Although EU chief admits Brussels can’t force payments – The Sun

More:

  • Rudd: there are enough anti-no deal Tories to bring down the Government… – The Sun
  • …and Clarke says he’ll bring down the ‘idiot’ who tries to force one – Daily Express
  • Johnson faces uphill task to secure any tweaks to the deal – FT
  • Farage says front-runner won’t deliver on his promises – The Sun

…and Channel 4 is accused of ‘sidelining’ Raab

“Channel 4 was accused by Tory MPs of attempting to “sideline” Dominic Raab, the one ‘hard’ Brexiteer, in the first television debate of the party’s leadership race on Sunday. Tory MPs complained that the debate had been “geared up” to encourage the leadership candidates to “knock chunks out of each other”. The complaints appeared to vindicate the decision by Boris Johnson, the runaway favourite, not to attend the 90 minute long primetime hustings, saying last week it would be “cacophonous”. One of the camps also claimed the 120-strong audience – which had meant to be split 47 per cent for and against Brexit, and 6 per cent ‘don’t know’ – had been biased against leaving the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He claims Party is ‘toast’ if Brexit is delayed again… – The Sun
  • …and clashes with Gove over the ‘will of Parliament’ – Daily Express
  • Contenders clash over no-deal exit – The Times

More:

  • Hopefuls go beyond Brexit with their pitches – The Times
  • Javid says UK is ready for first British-Pakistani leader – The Sun
  • Front-runner ’empty-chaired’ – FT
  • Stewart scoops two anti-no deal ministers – The Sun
  • What the rivals said about key issues – The Times

Trevor Kavanagh: Only Johnson can win a Brexit election for the Tories

“Boris’s only option, which he cannot reveal and his closest pals will not discuss, is the biggest second referendum of all… a final, conclusive once-and-for-all Brexit general election. A new Prime Minister faced with extinction by Nigel Farage’s irregulars has no option but to stand by the 2016 Referendum verdict and fight. And only Boris can win that fight for the Tories. As this column has frequently pointed out, more than half the country — 17.4million voters — backed Leave in 2016. They have not gone away. They have simply been driven by Theresa May into the arms of Nigel Farage. Most of those who switched to his Brexit Party in last month’s EU elections were angry Tories. Boris can win them back.” – The Sun

  • Why the threat of an early election makes MPs double down on Boris – Katy Balls, The Guardian
  • How the next Prime Minister can solve the backstop – Sir Graham Brady MP, Times Red Box
  • Only one candidate established themselves as leader of the chasers – Iain Dale, Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron has helped ‘old pal’ Johnson’s path to Number 10 – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Hopefuls must be straight with their Brexit Plan B – Sam Gyimah MP, Times Red Box
  • EU leaders risk no-deal exit by sitting on the fence – Wolfgang Münchau, FT
  • The real winner was Corbyn – Henry Zeffman, The Times

Conservatives may strike seat pact with the Brexit Party

“Conservatives could reportedly be set to do a deal with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party which would see Tories pull out of fighting certain seats at the next general election. Farage confirmed he had been approached by Tory party donors but added his party is currently planning to contest every seat… A snap election could be on the cards, if Tory leader frontrunner Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister next month. The Brexit Party is leading the polls with 24 per cent according to a recent poll. The Tories and Labour are three points behind in joint second place. But with Boris still clearly leading the leadership race, hardline Brexiteers issued a strong warning, pressing him to deliver on Brexit.” – The Sun

  • Donors open secret talks with Farage – Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit Party leader lashes out over Labour’s Peterborough campaign – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • To save Britain from Corbyn, a deal must be found – Johnny Leavesley, Daily Telegraph

May pushes for more legacy spending

“Theresa May will announce plans today to ban the use of police cells to hold people with a mental illness. Under the plans teachers, healthcare staff, social workers and local authority staff will be offered training to identify signs of mental illness and help young people at risk of self-harm or suicide. The announcement is a further sign that, after her failure to deliver Brexit, Mrs May intends to use her remaining weeks in Downing Street to leave a legacy that addresses the “burning injustices” she identified when she became prime minister in 2016. Last week she committed Britain to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, making it the first major country to commit to such a target.” – The Times

  • All new teachers will be trained to spot mental ill-health – Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister runs into budget pressures – FT
  • She’s accused of trying to tie her successor’s hands – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • We should never accept a rise in mental health problems – Theresa May MP, The Sun

Hunt warns of risk of war with Iran

“Jeremy Hunt has warned of the “great risk” of a drift to war with Iran following the attacks last week in the Gulf on two oil tankers. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has joined Britain and the United States in blaming the Iranians for the attacks – a claim which Tehran has strongly denied. His alert followed attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The incidents caused oil prices to soar amid heightened fears of a conflict in the region causing major disruption to world supplies. The UK Foreign Secretary said Britain was urging all sides in the dispute to “de-escalate” in order to avoid a slide into armed conflict.” – The Sun

  • UK defends envoy after Tehran claims – The Times

More:

  • Britain and Russia consider summit to thaw relations – The Guardian

Labour 1) Chope says Khan should take Trump’s criticisms on board

“Sadiq Khan should take on board Donald Trump’s criticisms and get a grip of the violent crime crisis in London, say MPs and campaigners. After the murder of three people in separate attacks in less than 24 hours in the capital, they warned knife crime would continue to spiral unless the London mayor took a tougher stance on stop and search, secured more police officers and backed heavier sentences for repeat knife offenders. President Trump tweeted that Mr Khan was a “disaster” whose policies in failing to tackle violent crime were “destroying London,” saying he should be replaced with a new mayor “ASAP.” Sir Christopher Chope, a member of the Home Affairs Committee, said Mr Trump’s attack appeared  “fair comment” in light of events, though he would not personally want the President to advise on law and order in London.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour 2) Corbyn plots ‘vicious’ raid on parents’ gifts to children

“Jeremy Corbyn is planning a huge tax raid on children who inherit homes from their parents. The Labour leader’s proposal replaces inheritance tax with a “lifetime gift tax”, The Sunday Telegraph reported. The tax will apply to property or cash given to individuals during the course of their lives. The report, Land for the Many, claims it would help “the better sharing out” of “unearned windfalls”. Labour hopes the tax would add £9billion a year to the Treasury. The current system allows parents to avoid inheritance tax if they gift their children more than seven years before their death. Duncan Simpson, Research Director at the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), referred to the “very common method” known as the seven year rule.” – Daily Express

  • Britain is headed for what we thought impossible: a Marxist government – Daniel Hannan MEP, Daily Telegraph

Labour 3) Watson pushes Labour towards second EU vote

“Labour must argue strongly to remain in the EU, Tom Watson will say today as the shadow cabinet considers hardening its support of a second referendum. Mr Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, will make the case this morning for the party to take a “proudly Remain” stance. His speech had been designed to take place immediately before a meeting of Jeremy Corbyn’s top team amid pressure on the Labour leader to full-throatedly back a new vote. But last night, barely more than 12 hours before the meeting, shadow cabinet ministers were told that it had been “postponed as a number of colleagues are unable to attend”. Tuesday’s regular shadow cabinet meeting will go ahead, but climate change will be its central subject.” – The Times

  • Grassroots and Shadow Cabinet ‘add to pressure’ – The Guardian

Who’s supporting whom: David Jeffrey’s calculations. 1) Ministers and backbenchers

From the blog of the University of Liverpool academic: his detailed breakdown of the contest.

Conservative Leadership election: who Ministers and backbenchers are supporting.

Source: David Jeffrey’s Blog.

David Jeffrey of Liverpool University has been undertaking some fascinating study in depth of the contest on his blog – which we have quoted several times in the course of our coverage.

So we will run this week a selection of some of his most interesting findings.  They can all be seen on his blog, which we link to above.

Jeffrey declares at the start that “this information in this is correct as of 17:00, 13/06/2018”.

His study is of declared supporters from before the first ballot – so Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Matt Hancock are all included in his calculation.

The chart above shows the percentage figures.  Obviously, it must be remembered that some candidates won more declared supporters (and votes) than others, and the percentages must be seen in that light.

To us, the most interesting findings relate to candidates with a relatively large number of declared backers, and a small percentage of either backbench or Ministerial supporters.

So, for example, the relatively small proportion of Ministers backing Dominic Raab, and the relatively large one supporting Sajid Javid, both of whom got similar votes in the first round, stand out.

David Jeffrey is on Twitter as @DavidJeffery_.

Calling Conservatives: New public appointments announced. Chair of the Trade Remedies Authority – and more

Further details enclosed.

Six years ago, the TaxPayers’ Alliance reported that “in the last year, five times more Labour people were appointed to public bodies than Tories”.

Since then, the figures have varied, and some Conservative members or supporters have been selected to fill important posts. 

Nonetheless, it remains the case that, since it took office in 2010, our Party has punched beneath its weight when it comes to public appointments. One of the reasons seems to be that Tories simply don’t apply in the same number as Labour supporters.

To help remedy this, every week we put up links to some of the main public appointments vacancies, so that qualified Conservatives might be aware of the opportunities presented.

– – – – – – – – – –

The Royal Armouries – Chair

“The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is seeking to appoint an outstanding individual as the next chair of the Royal Armouries, to take the Museum forward as this new critical period in its history. The ideal candidate will have a passion for cultural heritage, a commitment to public service, strong commercial acumen and a successful track record in public service, heritage management, or business. This is a very exciting time for the Royal Armouries, having substantially increased its commercial operations, and now in the process of devising a masterplan to transform the museum brand and its offer at the main museum site in Leeds.”

Time: ~4 working days per month.

Remuneration: “Reasonable expenses”.

Closes: 19 June

– – – – – – – – – –

Charity Commission – Board Members

“Last year the Charity Commission redefined its purpose: to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society. To help us meet that purpose, fulfil our proud commitment to represent the public interest in charity, and meet the challenges we face, the Board has set a new and ambitious five-year strategic plan. To be the effective regulator that the public demands and the sector requires, the Commission must do all it can to ensure that charities show they are being true to their purposes, can demonstrate the difference they are making, and meet the high expectations of conduct and behaviour demanded by the public.”

Time: 18-24 days per annum approx.

Remuneration: £350 per diem plus reasonable expenses.

Closes: 19 June

– – – – – – – – – –

Public Weather Service Customer Group – Chair

“The Public Weather Service Customer Group (PWSCG) is an independent body which acts as the customer on behalf of the public and public sector users of the Public Weather Service (PWS). It provides independent advice to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to enable the formal agreement of the PWS Customer-Supplier Agreement (CSA) between Government and the Met Office. It is responsible for defining the outputs required from the Met Office and holding them to account for delivering to a satisfactory level. The funding for the PWS is currently around £120M per annum, of which £100M is paid by BEIS.”

Time: Up to 36 days per annum.

Remuneration: £20,000 per annum.

Closes: 23 June

– – – – – – – – – –

Office of Rail & Road – Board Members

“ORR is the independent regulator for Britain’s railways and the independent monitor of Highways England. We are here to ensure the two networks operate safely, reliably, meet the needs of users, and provide value for taxpayers and customers by making best possible use of their capacity and their funding, and support economic growth across our country. A role on the ORR board provides an opportunity to use your skills and experience to contribute to the development of the sectors and the delivery of a strategy that would help shape the future of rail and road in the UK. Both of these sectors touch fundamentally on the ability of the UK’s economy to grow and prosper and are likely to change significantly in the next few years as opportunities emerge through innovation in technology and changing user behaviour.”

Time: 3.5 days per month average.

Remuneration: £22,429 per annum.

Closes: 24 June

– – – – – – – – – –

Innovate UK – Executive Chair

“We are seeking an inspirational leader to lead Innovate UK as it gears up to take centre-stage as the UK’s national Innovation Agency. To enable the UK to thrive in the face of the challenges ahead, Innovate UK will need to seize the economic opportunities they bring, investing in innovative companies that will drive a productive, growing economy and a better society… The Executive Chair will be someone who can lead transformational change and drive a new and holistic approach to achieving Innovate UK’s mission, including – creating the right conditions for growth by driving greater business investment in R&D, and creating the right environment for new innovative businesses to thrive.”

Time: Full-time, other working arrangements considered.

Remuneration: £180,000 base pay & £37,500 performance-related pay.

Closes: 28 June

– – – – – – – – – –

UK Research & Innovation – Non-Executive Directors

“UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has a vital and strategically important role in this. Through leading the overall strategic direction of research and innovation funding in the UK, the organisation is pushing the frontiers of human knowledge and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy, through world-class research and business-led innovation. UKRI was established a year ago through a joining of seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. With an annual budget of £7.5 billion a year to fund ground-breaking research and new enterprise growth, our combined strength and cross cutting capabilities mean we play a critical part in delivering the Government’s Industrial Strategy.”

Time: 20 days per annum.

Remuneration: £9,180 per annum.

Closes: 28 June

– – – – – – – – – –

National Leadership Centre Advisory Board – Chair

“The Chair will: provide leadership to the Advisory Group, contributing to strategic growth and organisational development; play a significant role in maintaining and further developing the National Leadership Centre’s relationship with key stakeholders in the UK including government departments and Ministers, representing the organisation and opening doors; provide encouragement and inspiration to staff and managers in their efforts to achieve the National Leadership Centre’s objectives; lead the Advisory Group in holding the Executive to account for the delivery of the NLC pilot; [and] review the effectiveness of the Advisory Group and its composition, ensuring that appropriate processes are in place to appoint new members.”

Time: Four meetings per annum.

Remuneration: None.

Closes: 28 June

– – – – – – – – – –

UK Endorsement Board – Chair

“The new United Kingdom Accounting Standards Endorsement Board (UKEB) will serve the UK public interest by contributing to; the research and development of high-quality international financial reporting standards; their endorsement and adoption for use in the UK; and international debate on developments in financial reporting by entities.  It will do this by: providing thought-leadership to research, contribute to and influence the development of financial reporting internationally; [and] following the process for the endorsement and adoption of IFRS specified in legislation; and adopting, following and representing the guiding principles of transparency, accountability and independence in all its activities.”

Time: Full-time, three-year contract.

Remuneration: £190,000 per annum.

Closes: 30 June

– – – – – – – – – –

Financial Conduct Authority – Non-Executive Director

“The Government is seeking to appoint a number of Non-Executive Directors to the Board of the Financial Conduct Authority. These appointments are to fill vacancies which arise from retirements in 2019 and 2020 as Directors complete their maximum terms. In accordance with the Financial Services Act 2012, one of these appointments will be made jointly by the Treasury and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, with further appointments made solely by the Treasury… These vacancies are senior roles requiring people with the necessary skills to assist the Chair in providing strategic leadership and oversight of the FCA and in supporting and positively challenging the FCA’s senior executives.”

Time: Up to 36 days per annum.

Remuneration: £35,000 per annum, plus £10,000 if committee chair.

Closes: 30 June

– – – – – – – – – –

UK Atomic Energy Authority – Non-Executive Directors

“The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is seeking to appoint four Non-Executive Directors who will be responsible for contributing to and overseeing the UKAEA’s strategy, and carrying out its aims, within the overall framework of Government policy. The UKAEA manages the UK fusion programme at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), which is one of the world’s leading fusion research laboratories. UKAEA works with partners around the globe to lead commercial development of fusion power and related technologies, and position the UK as a leader in sustainable nuclear energy. The incoming NEDs will have the exciting role of overseeing the forward work programme and working through the Chief Executive to carry out the Board’s decisions.”

Time: 12-15 days per annum.

Remuneration: £15,000 per annum.

Closes: 07 July

– – – – – – – – – –

Trade Remedies Authority – Chair

“Trade remedies measures are key to ensuring an effective rules-based system for international trade. They can level the playing field and restore the competitive balance. The European Commission is currently responsible for undertaking trade remedies investigations – and imposing measures – on behalf of the UK. Once we leave the EU, we will no longer be part of this process. Therefore, the Government is establishing a UK Trade Remedies Authority (TRA). It will ensure the UK can continue to provide a safety net to domestic industries after the UK has left the EU. The TRA will be set up as a non-departmental public body.”

Time: 50 days per annum for the first year, with 45 days per annum in the second and third year.

Remuneration: £32,000 for the first year and £29,000 for the second and third year,

Closes: 12 July

– – – – – – – – – –

Student Loans Company – Chair

“The Chair of the SLC Board has the usual fiduciary duties associated with a director of a UK Company, but is also answerable to the Minister for Higher Education. This relationship is one of the primary formal communication channels between SLC and its parent department. Striking the right balance between the Board exercising its fiduciary duties and acting on instructions from its shareholders will be a key task for the Chair. The Minister for Higher Education writes to the SLC’s Chair annually on behalf of all four Shareholders setting out their strategic priorities for the year. This is a key document and will form the basis for the Chair’s own objectives.”

Time: ~8 days per annum.

Remuneration: £50,000 per annum.

Closes: 06 August

WATCH: Johnson has a trust problem, and I’m right to call it out, says Stewart

“I don’t even know what he believes. He won’t talk to me. He won’t talk to you. He won’t talk to the public.”

WATCH: Hunt – “I am not committing to a 31 October hard stop at any cost”

He says that he is prepared to leave the EU without a deal, but that given the uncertainties ahead it is unwise to name specific dates.

WATCH: Raab insists that Britain must leave the EU by October 31

He says there is a corrosion of public trust and that the Tories will be toast if Brexit isn’t delivered.

WATCH: I voted for Hancock and will now vote for Stewart, says Ellwood

He says that the Johnson must be tested – and that the International Development Secretary is the candidate to do it.

WATCH: Rudd – “I’m still thinking very carefully about any lifts home with Boris”

The Work and Pensions Secretary refuses to say whether or not she would serve under him.