Newslinks for Sunday 26th June 2022

26 Jun

Johnson 1) He is ‘actively thinking about’ a third term in Downing Street

“Boris Johnson has said he is “actively thinking” about a third term, amid criticism of his leadership. The prime minister was asked if he would like to serve a full second term in office – to 2028 or 2029. “At the moment I’m thinking actively about the third term and what could happen then, but I will review that when I get to it,” he told reporters. One Tory MP has said he wants the rules changed so Mr Johnson could face another confidence vote. Speaking to reporters in Kigali, Rwanda, where he has been at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, the prime minister was asked to elaborate on his comment, replying that he was thinking ‘about a third term – mid 2030s’.” – BBC

  • Aspiration is “delusional” claim his critics – The Observer
  • I will not undergo psychological transformation, warns PM – BBC
  • Six Tory MPs “ready to defect” as rebels say: “We can’t wait a year” – Sunday Times
  • Chris Heaton-Harris, the Chief Whip,  “was seen patrolling the gardens of Westminster Abbey on Wednesday night, where the ConservativeHome website had its summer party, noting which cabinet ministers were talking to journalists.” – Sunday Times
  •  “When Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, spoke at the Conservative Home party on Wednesday night, you could sense his stock rising and falling almost by the sentence.” – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times
  • Pull your finger out, if you want to stay PM – Leader, The Sun on Sunday
  • He needs to really get Brexit done – Nigel Farage, Mail on Sunday
  • PM must make good on promises – Leader, Sunday Express
  • Cameron met Dowden “to plot against Johnson” – Mail on Sunday

Johnson 2) Plan “to impose steel tariffs to win back Red Wall”

“Boris Johnson will risk fresh allegations that he is breaking international law this week as he imposes sweeping new steel tariffs as part of an effort to win back support in Red Wall seats. The Prime Minister is preparing to hit several developing countries with new “safeguard” import limits designed to protect UK manufacturers from a “flood of cheap steel” from overseas. At the same time, ministers will announce a two-year extension of steel tariffs already imposed on developed countries and China.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • All protectionism will tell Red Wall voters is that the Government has lost its way – Leader, Sunday Telegraph

Johnson 3) Call on world leaders to step up backing for Ukraine

“The Prime Minister will promise further financial support for Ukraine as he meets world leaders at a series of summits. He will urge allies to continue backing Kyiv against Moscow’s “barbarism,” saying now is not the time to give up on Ukraine. He will pledge £429m in guarantees for World Bank lending. He will attend the G7 summit in Germany and Nato’s meeting in Madrid on Sunday as his leadership is being questioned. Mr Johnson is due back in the UK on Thursday.” – BBC

  • Putin’s threats are emptier than we think – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

Coffey to require benefits claimants to work longer hours to avoid job centre interviews

“Benefits claimants will have to work longer hours in order to be released from regular job centre visits under a crackdown to be announced by Therese Coffey. In an interview with The Telegraph, the Work and Pensions Secretary suggested benefits rules will initially be overhauled so that anyone working fewer than 12 hours a week will have to attend appointments at job centres and look for more work. Dr Coffey said she wanted to increase the threshold even further in a second stage, which could see the current requirement of nine hours work per week increased by more than 50 per cent.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • “I claimed benefits three times before becoming an MP” – Interview with Therese Coffey, Sunday Telegraph

Adams “in the frame” to be next Conservative Party Chairman

“Boris Johnson’s Mr Fixit could be the next party chairman, top Tories say. Minister without Portfolio Nigel Adams is in the frame after Oliver Dowden resigned last week. Adams is seen as a Cabinet enforcer and has served in the Foreign Office, as Sports Minister and a party whip. A Tory source said: “As we head towards the general election, the next party chairman needs charisma, the willingness to campaign, an ability to rally the troops in CCHQ and the activists around the country, and be laser-focused on the party, not their ego.” Business Minister Paul Scully and Foreign Office Minister and ex-chairman James Cleverly could also be asked to take on the role.” – The Sun on Sunday

Fuller calls for taxpayer funding of trade union officials salaries to be capped

“Ministers are under pressure to tighten up on the time public sector workers spend on duties for the trade unions. Tory MP Richard Fuller is writing to Cabinet Office ministers to request time is capped. Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said last week it was “difficult to understand” why union activities are “supported by the taxpayer”. Some public bodies including Network Rail and Hs2 don’t have to reveal the number of union officials working in them or the cost of their “facility time.” Analysis by the Taxpayers’ Alliance estimates that more than £100 million of facility time goes unreported – on top of the £98 million that has been logged for 2020-21.” – The Sun on Sunday

  • Trade unions “blocking the introduction of vital safety equipment” – Mail on Sunday
  • Government pledges to take a tough line – Sunday Express

Dorries: Choose fairness over inclusivity in sport

“Sports have tried to balance inclusivity with fairness. Instead, they’ve offset one against the other. And in a choice between inclusivity against fairness, as Culture Secretary I will always choose fairness. The Sports Councils are clear that ‘categorisation by sex remains the most useful and functional division relative to sporting performance’ and that ‘testosterone suppression is unlikely to guarantee fairness’. So I’m setting a very clear line on this: Competitive women’s sport must be reserved for people born of the female sex. Not someone who was born male, took puberty blockers or has suppressed testosterone. But unequivocally and unarguably someone born female. I want all our sporting governing bodies to follow that policy.” – Nadine Dorries, Mail on Sunday

Green: Ministers should demonstrate their leadership credentials

“The fashion of finding “wedge issues” where you divide the population and leave your political opponents on the wrong side of an argument only works when most people trust what you are saying to them. Without trust, we are left with bombast and rhetoric. Like many others this weekend I have been waiting for Cabinet Ministers to lead this essential debate. It is not a secret that a significant proportion of the Cabinet think they could do a better job of leading the country than the current incumbent. Now would be a good time to demonstrate those leadership qualities.” – Damian Green, Sunday Telegraph

  • If there really is no other Tory able to see of Keir Starmer, the party should turn off the lights – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

Davis: There is a year to deliver real tax cuts

“The biggest policy difference is that we want our Government to stop talking about tax reductions and actually deliver them, so that we are no longer the highest taxing Tory Government in history. I am not one of those who has argued for a change in the rules on leadership. So in theory at least, Boris has a year to earn back the support of those who voted against him. My advice to him is that it is not a psychological change that we want, it is not even big headline grabbing initiatives that we want, but rather a return to being a competent, and above all Conservative Government once more.” – David Davis, Sunday Telegraph

  • Voters turn on Government and Bank of England over cost of living crisis – Sunday Telegraph
  • Stop the groupthink Chancellor … you can cut taxes – Gerard Lyons, The Sun on Sunday

Tactical voting “a growing threat” to Conservatives

“Analysis by YouGov found that there were 44 Tory-held seats where the combined Labour and Lib Dem vote at the 2019 election was higher than the total for the Conservatives. So even if there were to be no Tory deserters, Boris Johnson’s majority would disappear if the maximum amount of tactical voting took place.” – The Observer

  • Why it’s time for Labour to back proportional representation – Andy Burnham, The Observer
  • Tribal voting that is stopping us getting the leaders we need – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • Durham Police have handed out 100 back-dates lockdown fines. So is Sir Keir Starmer’s Beergate gamble about to backfire? – Mail on Sunday

Biden wants to make abortion a key issue for the US mid-term elections

“Even as he prepared to sign the most sweeping gun violence bill in decades yesterday, President Joe Biden’s mind was still on the Supreme Court ruling the day before that removed women’s constitutional right to abortion and ignited protests across America. “Yesterday, I spoke about the Supreme Court’s shocking decision striking down Roe v Wade,” Biden said…he added that his administration was going to do what it could to “protect women’s health”. To do that effectively he needs voters. With Republican-held states already moving to ban abortion across swathes of the country, Democrats are seeking to make women’s rights central to campaigning for crucial midterm elections in November.” – Sunday Times

>Today: ToryDiary: America provides a timely reminder that law is no adequate substitute for politics

Hannan: Ministers should stop presenting public spending increases as a virtue in itself

“Ministers did not need to make a virtue of public spending. They made a choice to boast about successive budget rises rather than presenting them as a regrettable contingencies. Even now, the “line to take” documents put out by CCHQ are often a self-satisfied list of spending rises – as if the money committed, rather than the results secured, was what counted. Unsurprisingly, this prodigality encourages a belief that every problem can be solved by moolah. Or, to put it more precisely, when voters see the Centre-Right party, the party they associate with fiscal rectitude, gaily splashing billions around – not just on Covid response measures, but on discretionary schemes like HS2, net zero, levelling up and social care – they assume that there must be plenty in the kitty.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • Voters are looking beyond partygate. That’s Johnson’s problem – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • Hammered in Honiton, whacked in Wakefield… how bad is it for the Tories? – Matt Singh, CapX
  • More productivity, higher pay – John Redwood
  • Labour’s Wakefield win is nothing to crow over – Joan Smith, The Critic

The post Newslinks for Sunday 26th June 2022 appeared first on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Friday 24th June 2022

24 Jun

By-Elections 1) The Conservatives lose Tiverton & Honiton and Wakefield in double blow amidst tactical voting

“The Liberal Democrats have handed Boris Johnson the biggest by-election defeat in British history as the Tories lost a huge majority in Tiverton and Honiton and surrendered Wakefield to Labour on the same night… The last time a government lost two by-elections on the same night was more than 30 years ago when Sir John Major was the Prime Minister. The loss in Tiverton is particularly humiliating for the Prime Minister as it is the biggest ever majority to be overturned in a UK by-election. The record was held by Labour, which toppled a 23,927 Tory majority in Liverpool Wavertree in 1935. On a balmy night in south Devon, Lib Dem candidate Richard Foord, a former army major, wiped out a colossal 24,239 majority to win a seat the Tories had held ever since its creation in 1997. “– The Daily Telegraph

  • Winning the next general election just became much harder for Tories – John Curtice, The Times
  • The Tories have been utterly humiliated. If Johnson stays, they are doomed – Nigel Farage, The Daily Telegraph
  • There is now clear proof of a Labour pact with the Liberal Democrats – Dan Falvey, Daily Express

>Today:

By-Elections 2) Dowden resigns, telling the Prime Minister that the party “cannot carry on with business as usual”

“A Cabinet minister has dramatically resigned after Boris Johnson suffered a bruising double by-election defeat this morning. Oliver Dowden quit as Tory Chairman saying the party “cannot carry on with business as usual” following today’s losses in Wakefield and Tiverton… Mr Dowden walked out at 5.35am shortly before he was due to do the morning telly round, lashing out at “a run of very poor results for our party”. In a stinging letter he said: “Our supporters are distressed and disappointed by recent events, and I share their feelings. “We cannot carry on with business as usual.” He did not criticise Mr Johnson directly but also did not promise his continued support from the backbenches… Rebels will be watching to see if other Cabinet Ministers follow Mr Dowden’s resignation.” – The Sun

  • The by-election results are a disaster for the Prime Minister – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

>Today:

By-Elections 3) Johnson says he will “listen” to voters but “keep going” after the defeats

“Johnson implied that the cost of living crisis was to blame for what happened, not his own conduct or leadership. He said: It’s absolutely true we’ve had some tough by-election results. They’ve been, I think, a reflection of a lot of things, but we’ve got to recognise voters are going through a tough time at the moment. I think, as a government, I’ve got to listen to what people are saying, in particular to the difficulties people are facing over the cost of living, which, I think, for most people is the number one issue. We’re now facing pressures on the cost of living, we’re seeing spikes in fuel prices, energy costs, food costs – that’s hitting people. We’ve got to recognise there is more we’ve got to do and we certainly will, we will keep going, addressing the concerns of people until we get through this patch.” Johnson also thanked Oliver Dowden for his work as Conservative co-chair.” – The Guardian

  • “Who the hell are we a party for anymore?”, Red Wall MP asks – The Times
  • Sir Roger Gale: Voters “have sent a very clear message of no confidence in the Prime Minister, and we have to recognise that” – The Guardian

Johnson 1) The Prime Minister assures Rwanda that the migrant policy is popular…

“Boris Johnson has personally reassured President Kagame that sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is popular, The Times has learnt. Amid tensions between the prime minister and Prince Charles about the policy, Johnson told Kagame that it was supported by the British public. He claimed that “the media and certain newspapers hate it, and so they maintain this idea that the policy is wrong and unpopular”, a source said. The prime minister is understood to have told Kagame: “All the evidence suggests that the British people are strongly in favour of what we are doing together.” The meeting was Johnson’s first engagement at the Commonwealth heads of government summit in Kigali, the Rwandan capital. The polling evidence on the popularity of the scheme is mixed. According to a YouGov poll for The Times after the controversial deal was signed in April, 42 per cent of Britons opposed the plan and 38 per cent supported it.” – The Times

  • Ukraine refugees fleeing Russia invasion could ‘in theory’ be deported to Rwanda, according to Johnson – The I
  • The Prime Minister tells Prince Charles to ‘keep an open mind’ on the policy – The Sun
  • Jenkyns tells the heir to the Throne to ‘keep his oar out’ of politics – The Daily Mail
  • Secrecy of Rwanda decision is disturbing – Editorial, Daily Express
  • A moment of hope for the Commonwealth – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph

Johnson 2) …as he ‘hits the brakes on biofuel’ and ‘slashes net-zero targets’ to tackle cost of living crisis…

“Boris Johnson has slashed his net-zero targets in a bid to tackle the cost of living crunch – by reducing the amount of biofuel produced in the UK. The Prime Minister has hit the brakes in the push for green fuel, citing concerns that the drive may contribute to spiralling inflation. Biofuel requires wheat and maize – land that Mr Johnson believes could be better used for food production to combat soaring prices. Land used globally to grow crops for the UK biofuel market could feed 3.5 million people if it was converted to food production. The PM will call on G7 leaders to review their biofuel use, arguing that it could help mitigate the global food crisis and supply chain issues exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” – The Daily Mail

  • Don’t be timid – take back control, Boris – Editorial, The Daily Mail

Johnson 3)…he argues that forcing Ukraine to ‘settle for a bad peace’ would be a disaster…

“Forcing Ukraine to “settle for a bad peace” would be a disaster, according to the PM. Boris Johnson admitted “Ukraine fatigue” is setting in among allies with no end in sight to the war. Issuing a rallying cry to the West, Mr Johnson said caving now would be a victory for Russian despot Vladimir Putin. The PM, at a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda’s capital Kigali said: “There is no question that there is a lot of Ukraine fatigue now in the world. “But I think they are going to win. I know they are going to win. It is their country. They are fighting for it desperately hard. “But they need to be properly supported. Now is not the time to settle and encourage the Ukrainians to settle for a bad peace, for which they are invited to give up chunks of their territory in return for a ceasefire. I think that would be a disaster. It would be a trigger for further escalation by Putin whenever he wanted.” – The Sun

  • Russian threats to Lithuania highlight the need for NATO to enhance its presence in the Baltics – Editorial, The Times
  • The EU’s crumbling unity has given Putin another opportunity to win – Fraser Nelson, The Daily Telegraph

Johnson 4)…as it’s claimed that the DUP have stared him down over the Northern Ireland Protocol

“Boris Johnson is preparing to back down in a stand-off with Unionist politicians and proceed with legislation to overrule the Northern Ireland protocol. This month the prime minister told the Democratic Unionist Party that it needed to make a pledge to go back into government with Sinn Fein before he would allow the legislation to be debated in parliament. But the DUP has defied the prime minister’s call, with senior figures telling The Times that his demands were unacceptable. They have made clear that the party wants to see the bill implemented before making a binding commitment to get the Stormont executive up and running again. They added that after reneging on previous pledges made to the party on Brexit, Johnson could not be trusted to keep his word to implement the bill rather than agree to a watered-down set of reforms negotiated with the European Union.” – The Times

Truss urges the Commonwealth to be a “bulwark for freedom” against China

“The Commonwealth must become a “bulwark” against China, Liz Truss will say today. In a speech to fellow foreign ministers from the 54 Commonwealth countries, Truss will argue that the bloc — the largest grouping of nations which does not contain either China or Russia — should act as a “robust counterweight to authoritarian regimes”. She is expected to say: “In an increasingly geopolitical world, where sovereignty is being challenged, the Commonwealth is a vital and growing bulwark for self-determination and a network of prospering free nations.” The foreign secretary says that “in a generation where we face new threats, the Commonwealth’s time has come. We are a network of countries united by a belief in democracy and sovereignty, and together we can be an increasingly powerful force in defending fundamental freedoms around the world.”” – The Times

Lynch says strikers “will pause and consider” next week, but he predicts managers and drivers will join walkouts soon

“Mick Lynch has said that strikers will ‘take a pause next week and consider everything’ as the rail union boss predicted that managers and drivers will be joining the walkouts soon. ‘We’re going to take a pause next week and consider everything. There are other people that are balloting in this industry, the TSSA, the managers’ union, which shows you where the situation is, if the managers are going to go on strike and then we might have more drivers coming into the dispute through separate ballots. So, that is going to escalate,’ the general-secretary of RMT told Sky News. It comes as more than 90% of office workers in London were forced to WFH on the first day of rail strikes, as the RMT unleashed more travel chaos across Britain today.” – The Daily Mail

  • UK faces summer of travel chaos as strike threats spread – The Financial Times
  • Rail bosses hope redundancy compromise will end RMT strikes – The Times
  • Shadow minister refuses to discipline aide for joining picket line – The Daily Mail
  • Meanwhile, dozens of Labour MPs defy Starmer to support the strike – The Times
  • RMT’s archaic and dubious work practices are throwback to a bygone industrial age – Editorial, The Sun
  • Holidaymakers don’t deserve this chaos – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • Spineless stance on strikes sums up Starmer’s failure – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

>Today:

 The Cabinet Secretary admits discussing work “opportunities” for Carrie Johnson

“Cabinet secretary Simon Case has admitted discussing “opportunities” for the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Earthshot prize, but denied recommending her for any paid role. Case’s account followed reports that he had sought to secure a job for Carrie Johnson at their charity, the Royal Foundation, which offers the prize for environmental innovation. In a robust letter released on Thursday evening, after Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, challenged him to account for the reports, Case insisted: “I did not recommend Mrs Johnson for any role.”However, he admitted raising the possibility of Carrie Johnson working with the charity. “In autumn 2020 a former member of the No 10 team asked about opportunities for Mrs Johnson with environmental charities.” – The Guardian

James Forsyth: Buy-to-let landlords, Gove is coming for you

“Buy-to-lets are a big part of the UK mortgage market: 1.7 million were issued between 1999 and 2015. The total value of these was around £200 billion. Gove is keen to improve the quality of the private rented sector. He is proposing new legislation to oblige landlords to keep homes in a good state of repair, prevent them from ending tenancies without a reason and bar them from banning pets. (Jeremy Corbyn wanted to give renters a default right to keep a pet: this doesn’t go quite so far). Gove regards improving the quality of these rented homes as a key part of levelling up… Many Tory MPs are worried that Gove’s changes place too great a burden on landlords. The former cabinet minister David Frost, the tribune of the free-market wing of the party, has lambasted them as “another step on the road to socialism”.” – The Times

Fracking could restart in weeks as Kwarteng waits to receive report on reopening drill sites

“Fracking could restart in weeks as a crunch report into reopening drill sites is due in days. A British Geological Survey paper examining the safety of drilling for energy is expected on Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s desk. He said he would “consider the next steps” — but insisted he would only give it the go-ahead if locals backed it. In a speech yesterday he vowed Britain should “use all the tools at our disposal to ensure our energy security”. And he said that when Russian tanks rolled into Eastern Ukraine it focused minds on to generating “the fossil fuels we need here at home”.Mr Kwarteng said: “It’s an imperative, it’s not a mere option. We have always been clear that shale gas could be part of our future energy mix. “But we need to be led by the science and above all we need to have the ongoing support of local communities.”” – The Sun

Zahawi accuses an exam board of “cultural vandalism” as it removes Larkin and Owen from its poetry syllabus to make way for more ethnically diverse writers

“Removing Philip Larkin and Wilfred Owen from GCSE English literature is “cultural vandalism”, Nadhim Zahawi has said. OCR, one of the three main exam boards, is refreshing its poetry anthology to include new writers, but is also dropping its only works by Larkin, Owen, Seamus Heaney and Gerard Manley Hopkins. One poem by John Keats and two by Thomas Hardy are also being removed, to make way for poets from more diverse ethnic backgrounds. Reacting to the changes revealed in The Times, the education secretary said: “Larkin and Owen are two of our finest poets. Removing their work from the curriculum is cultural vandalism. “Their work must be passed on to future generations — as it was to me. I will be speaking to the exam board to make this clear.”…  Zahawi cannot dictate specific content to exam boards if it falls within the national curriculum, which was last overhauled by Michael Gove in 2014 when he was education secretary.” – The Times

Frost argues Brexit is working and “naysayers” talking it down “just have axes to grind”

“Brexit is working and naysayers talking it down just have axes to grind, Lord Frost said last night. On the sixth anniversary of Britain’s vote to leave the EU, our exit deal’s architect said it had delivered democracy. The ex-minister insisted Brexiteers had “no cause for regrets” and the nation had a prosperous future ahead as “our destiny is in our hands”. He told a UK in a Changing Europe event: “The view that Brexit is hitting us from an economic and trade perspective is generated by those with an axe to grind. “The UK has grown at much the same pace as other G7 countries and our goods exports to the EU are at the highest level ever.” The solutions to any trade niggles would be found by going forward not backwards towards rejoining the bloc, he said.” – The Sun

  • The former Brexit negotiator also tells the Prime Minister to stop saying things that are untrue – The Times
  • Cummings attempts career reboot as political speaker – The Guardian 
  • Six years after Brexit, and the sky still hasn’t fallen in, despite Remoaner predictions – Editorial, The Sun
  • It’s not ideological to oppose rule by foreign judges – David Frost, The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Labour unveils plans to seek limited changes to Brexit deal, as Lammy pledges not to rejoin the single market

“Labour has broken its long silence on Brexit, laying out detailed plans to improve, not scrap, the deal Boris Johnson struck with the EU, in a move it concedes will enrage remain supporters. On the sixth anniversary of the Brexit referendum, the shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, confirmed the party would seek only limited changes and would not seek to rejoin the single market which would bring the return of free trade and free movement of people. “We are not going into the next election saying that we will enter the single market or the EU. “You might not like it but Labour is determined to govern the entire country,” he said adding “there cannot be a rehash of arguments” made in remainer constituencies like his in London. “The British people have made a decision and we have to honour it,” he told the UK in a Changing Europe’s annual conference.” – The Guardian

  • The pro-Brussels establishment is painting Brexit as an economic disaster to reverse it – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon says SNP MPs’ backing of Grady is “utterly unacceptable”

“Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the behaviour of her own MPs as “utterly unacceptable” after a leaked audio recording appeared to show some of the SNP’s Westminster group rallying behind a colleague who had been suspended for making an unwanted sexual advance to a teenage staff member. The party’s former Commons chief whip Patrick Grady was suspended from parliament for two days last week after an independent panel found he had behaved inappropriately towards the 19-year-old man at a social event in October 2016. At a bruising first minister’s questions (FMQs) session on Thursday, Sturgeon was repeatedly challenged over her party’s treatment of the victim.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • These by-election losses are a blow to Boris – Katy Balls, The Spectator 
  • How students corrupted our universities – Matthew Goodwin, UnHerd 
  • Back to the 70s? If only… – Capel Lofft, The Critic 
  • Jeremy Corbyn’s latest interview shows just what a crank he always was – Nicole Lampert, CapX
  • Will the Tories’ humiliating by-election defeats reignite the campaigns to oust Boris Johnson? – Freddie Hayward, The New Statesman 

The post Newslinks for Friday 24th June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Thursday 23rd June 2022

23 Jun

Strikes 1) Teacher strike would be unforgivable, says Zahawi

“A teachers’ strike would be “unforgivable” in the wake of Covid, the Education Secretary has said, as officials draw up plans for an army of supply teachers to keep schools open. Nadhim Zahawi said young people had already suffered “more disruption than any generation that’s gone before them” after the UK’s largest teaching union threatened to ballot for a strike. On Thursday, the Government will reveal plans to change the law to allow businesses to use skilled agency workers to cover striking staff to minimise disruption.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Kwarteng to unveil legislation ending ban on agency staff breaking strikes – Daily Mail

More:

  • Unions pile pressure on bosses after seven per cent pay deal – The Times
  • Fresh wave of rail strikes looms in two weeks as talks fail – Daily Telegraph
  • Lord Chief Justice wants striking barristers to face misconduct charges – The Times

Comment:

  • Robots are coming for trade union dinosaurs – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Johnson needs to show some of Thatcher’s steel – David Mellor, Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Strikes 2) Starmer heads for clash with unions over pay increases

“Sir Keir Starmer has opened the door to supporting below-inflation pay rises for public sector workers, threatening a fresh clash with trade unions. A series of public sector unions, including teachers, doctors and nurses, have demanded pay rises that meet or exceed inflation amid signs that the rail strikes could spread. The Labour leader’s spokesman said he was likely to endorse whatever rates were suggested by the public sector pay review bodies. Eight bodies recommend to the government each year what the levels of pay in their areas should be.” – The Times

  • Labour leader flinches at sacking rebel MPs who joined pickets – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Harman says Labour’s next leader should be a woman – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Why wage-price spirals fuel inflation – and neither the Keynesians nor the Monetarists are completely right

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Starmer struggles to pin Johnson down on the strikes because we have no idea what Labour would do

Rich pensioners should give back state payout increase if they don’t need it, says Coffey

“Rich pensioners should return a £1,000 state pension hike if they don’t need it, a minister said today amid a row over plans to up the payment while telling workers to cool pay rise demands. Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey defended plans to spend billions on a double-digit boost for retirees next year after the Treasury vowed to reinstate its ‘triple lock’ pledge. The bumper rise could amount to nearly £1,000 a year extra at the same time that ministers are insisting that public sector workers like train staff, teachers and nurses temper their requests, to cool rampant inflation.” – Daily Mail

  • Sunak defends plan to give pensioners bigger pay rise than workers – The Sun
  • Triple lock hikes may push millions into HMRC trap – Daily Express

Britain will tear up ‘perverse’ Euro laws in new Bill of Rights, says Justice Secretary

“Britain will tear up “perverse” Euro laws that have been entrenched into UK courts in a new Bill of Rights, Dominic Raab says today. The Deputy PM will “curb abuses” by making sure judges apply common sense in their rulings — and so the Supreme Court can overrule the European Court of Human Rights. Writing in The Sun, Mr Raab reveals under existing laws judges blocked the deportation of a Zimbabwean man jailed for child cruelty against his two-year-old stepson — because he had a “right to family life”.” – The Sun

  • Criminals to spend longer in jail as Bill of Rights ‘puts public safety first’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Bill of Rights ‘will cost taxpayer more’ – The Times

Dominic Raab: Ripping up the edicts of European human rights judges will make us freer and our streets safer

“So, our Bill of Rights will clarify the remit of Strasbourg and ensure our courts have the final say. That is just one of the reforms in our UK Bill of Rights, published today, to replace Labour’s Human Rights Act. We have two fundamental aims. First, we will strengthen traditional UK rights such as freedom of speech — under attack, from expanding privacy law to stifling political correctness — and recognise the importance of jury trials in the UK. This better reflects our tradition of liberty in this country. Second, we will curb abuses of the system and reinject a healthy dose of common sense.” – The Sun

  • This draconian plan is a rights removal bill – Sacha Deshmukh, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Christopher Bellamy QC in Comment: The Bill of Rights, introduced today, builds on the long tradition of British justice

Tory strategists braced for double defeats in by-elections

“The Conservatives are braced to lose two parliamentary by-elections, according to senior party strategists, in moves that could prompt a renewed backlash against Boris Johnson. Voters will head to the polls on Thursday in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, in by-elections prompted by the resignations of Tory MPs. It will be a chance for people to give a verdict on the prime minister’s conduct in the partygate scandal… This month Johnson survived a bruising no-confidence vote by Conservative MPs, when 41 per cent of the parliamentary party refused to back him.” – FT

  • Lib Dem-Labour ‘pact’ could give parties a massive boost – Daily Telegraph
  • Government ‘at risk of losing its electoral footing’, warns Curtice – The Times

Rees-Mogg unveils Brexit ‘dashboard’ to count down the end of EU laws

“Jacob Rees-Mogg has unveiled a new website so that Britons can “count down” the scrapping of the more than 2,000 EU laws still in force. The Brexit Opportunities minister said he hopes the “dashboard” will prompt further suggestions from the public on which rules to axe. But he admitted the site, which is heavy on jargon, could prove difficult for ordinary people to understand and may need improving. “I accept that not everybody is going to have the time or inclination to do this but I think it helps show the scale” of retained EU law, he said.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Eurosceptic Tories warn Boris Johnson must cut taxes – The Sun

Johnson prepares to defend plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda…

“Boris Johnson is preparing to defend the UK government’s contentious policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda when the prime minister meets Prince Charles in Kigali at a Commonwealth summit. The heir to the throne will represent Queen Elizabeth at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting that officially opens on Friday and is being attended by most of the leaders of the organisation’s 54 member countries. The UK has agreed to pay Rwanda £120mn to take asylum seekers for resettlement, in an attempt to deter them from coming to Britain by crossing the English Channel in small boats.” – FT

  • Prime Minister and Prince of Wales head to showdown summit – The Sun

More:

  • How ‘vice-signalling’ swallowed electoral politics – FT

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Ditch the culture war to win. Lessons from the Spanish right’s victory in Andalucía.

…and ‘fails to deny’ that Carrie was considered for Foreign Office and royal jobs

“Boris Johnson has not denied claims that his wife, Carrie, had been considered for senior roles in the Government and Royal household, as he was mocked by Sir Keir Starmer over wanting to appoint her. Urged by Chris Elmore, a Labour MP, to “be honest” with the House of Commons and say if he ever considered appointing Ms Johnson to one of the posts, the Prime Minister did not give a straight answer… It comes amid a week of half-denials by the Prime Minister and Downing Street, following reports of numerous jobs to which he is said to have tried to appoint Mrs Johnson.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He brands Starmer ‘worse than Corbyn’ at PMQs – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: PMQs sketch: On the whole, modern politicians have no solutions

Government ‘could unveil increase in defence spending as soon as next week’

“Boris Johnson could unveil an increase in defence spending as soon as next week, The Sun can reveal. Government sources believe the PM will use next week’s NATO summit to pledge a hike in the Ministry of Defence’s budget that has been hammered by inflation and the war in Ukraine. The Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has repeatedly warned the UK’s promise to spend 2.5 per cent of output on defence at risk of being missed by the middle of the decade. He has written to No10 and the Treasury to directly warn the crucial NATO commitment will be missed by 2025 without a major cash injection.” – The Sun

Sunak to meet oil and gas bosses in ‘windfall tax charm offensive’

“Rishi Sunak will embark on a charm offensive with the oil and gas industry during a visit to Aberdeen on Thursday as he attempts to heal the rift caused by his windfall tax. The chancellor will meet executives from the sector in the Granite City, the home of the British oil industry, days after draft legislation for the Energy Profits Levy (EPL) was published. Sunak last month unveiled the levy, which he hopes will raise £5bn by increasing taxes on the profits of oil and gas producers in the North Sea to fund support for households struggling with the cost of living crisis.” – The Guardian

  • Rising interest costs hit UK public finances – FT

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan’s column: Investors are working out the Government has no plan for the British economy

News in Brief:

  • Johnson’s New Labour critics launder their legacy in Northern Ireland – Henry Hill, UnHerd
  • Britain’s young people are triple-locked out – Sam Ashworth-Hayes, CapX
  • Putin’s billions: have sanctions backfired? – Kate Andrews, The Spectator
  • Generations of politicians have ducked this country’s chronic problems – Henry Hill, The Critic

The post Newslinks for Thursday 23rd June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Wednesday 22nd June 2022

22 Jun

Strikes 1) Johnson ready for rail strike stalemate to last months

“Boris Johnson believes the government must win its battle with the rail unions and is prepared for the stand-off to last months. The prime minister told his cabinet that Britain must be prepared to “stay the course”. He fears giving in to union demands over pay would lead to a 1970s-style inflation spiral. The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has said it is prepared for a war of attrition, but ministers believe it will quickly burn through funds as it spends millions supporting striking workers. The government also argues that people’s ability to work remotely during the pandemic has made it harder for rail unions to “hold the country to ransom”… A senior government source said if ministers gave in to rail unions, they would have to cave in to demands across the public sector. “The prime minister thinks we must win this,” the source said. “If we don’t, the consequences will be an unstoppable price spiral.” – The Times

  • Royal Mail workers consider joining striking rail workers on the picket line – The Daily Mail
  • Savanta ComRes finds 58 percent of respondent supportive of the strikes – but YouGov only 37 percent – The I 
  • Rail strikes ‘justified’ say majority of UK adults – WalesOnline 
  • Poll suggests 76 percent of passengers ‘had seen no impact’ on their journey from strikes – Daily Express
  • ‘The world has changed’: rail strikes’ uneven impact on Britain’s workers – The Financial Times
  • A general strike looms – The Daily Telegraph
  • Rail bosses push for job cuts as strike talks resume – The Financial Times
  • Modernisation of the railways requires reducing costs and overhauling outdate working practices – Editorial, The Times
  • The RMT is engaged in economic vandalism – Editorial, Daily Express
  • Reaction to rail strike is lazy and defeatist – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson and Shapps pretend they can’t end the rail strikes. That’s nonsense. – Ed Davey, The Guardian
  • King Arthur is back where he belongs – Quentin Letts, The Times

>Yesterday:

Strikes 2) RMT general secretary Lynch ‘gloats’ as rail strikes affect millions

“Rail union boss “Mad” Mick Lynch and his militant mates gloated as they caused chaos for millions of commuters yesterday. In a throwback to lockdown, stations were deserted as millions worked from home to beat the transport carnage. Thousands of signal workers, cleaners and maintenance staff from the RMT union walked out in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay and modernisation. They will do the same tomorrow — with the strike certain to go ahead, regardless of the outcome of fresh talks between rail bosses and union barons today. The RMT is refusing to abandon outdated working habits and automation even though its members are on course for a pay rise double that of nurses. Yesterday’s action — the largest in a generation — hit Network Rail and 13 train operators.” – The Sun 

Strikes 3) Teachers set to strike despite being offered a 5 per cent pay rise

“Teachers could be next to join the summer strikes misery — after 40,000 RMT workers brought railways to a standstill yesterday. The National Education Union today tells No10 it wants 12 per cent rises for its members by September. Yesterday 1980s miners’ strike leader Arthur Scargill, 84, supported the RMT in Wakefield, West Yorks. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi warned teachers risk wrecking kids’ recovery from the Covid pandemic if their unions vote to strike. He exclusively told The Sun: “Young people have suffered more disruption to their education than any generation gone before, and it’s the vital work of teachers that is helping them get back on track. “The last thing I — or any parent — want to see is anything that would risk undoing that progress.” NEU chief Mary Bousted will write to Mr Zahawi today threatening industrial action.” – The Sun

Strikes 4) Downing Street is warned its plans to tackle the strikes may be “unworkable”

“Government plans to change the law to break the rail strikes, including a Conservative manifesto pledge, have been thrown into doubt leaving commuters potentially facing months of chaos. Whitehall sources acknowledged that a plan to allow agency workers to replace striking staff on walkout days would do little to solve the absence of skilled drivers and signallers who are critical to the running of the railways. Meanwhile, an industry source said the Government has suggested to the rail sector that introducing minimum service levels on the railways may be “unworkable”. It opens up the prospect of Boris Johnson being forced to ditch his 2019 election manifesto pledge. Downing Street also said minimum service laws were unlikely to be introduced before summer recess, and i understands they would take around six months to get through Parliament and on to the statute book, leaving little chance of them helping in the current dispute.” – The I

  • Laws to curb rail strikes were drafted three years ago, but remain unused – The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Strikes 5) Sunak stresses the need for “fiscal discipline” on pay rises – as inflation hits a 40-year high

“The state pension and benefits are set to rise in line with double-digit inflation, despite the Government telling workers to accept a real terms pay cut. The Treasury on Tuesday confirmed that the pension “triple lock” will be reinstated after it was put on pause during the pandemic, taking the annual payout for retirees beyond £10,000 for the first time. Around six million people will also see their benefits rise in line with inflation. The two decisions will cost taxpayers as much as £20bn. However, Downing Street has insisted that the working population should accept pay rises below inflation, which is expected to hit 11pc this year. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, on Tuesday stressed the need for “fiscal discipline” as they put on a united front in a private meeting of the Cabinet. But Number 10 figures struggled to explain why allowing pay to rise in line with prices would be inflationary if letting the state pension and benefits do so is not.” – The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Strikes 6) Labour shadow frontbenchers take to rail pickets in Starmer mutiny

“Sir Keir Starmer faces a test of his authority after he promised to discipline frontbenchers who defied his orders and joined RMT picket lines yesterday. At least four of his shadow team joined picket lines while his deputy backed the strikes, wrecking the Labour leader’s attempt to forge a compromise position. Starmer was already at odds with the left of his party, with more than a dozen Labour MPs publicly backing the strikes. Starmer has tried to avoid condemning or supporting them. He told his frontbench team that they “should not be on picket lines” in order to show leadership. Kate Osborne and Paula Barker, both parliamentary private secretaries to shadow cabinet ministers, ignored that order, as did Navendru Mishra, a Labour Party whip.” – The Times

  • Starmer is trying to dupe the strike-sick public – Editorial, The Daily Mail
  • Labour’s shamefully dishonest to attack ‘Tory rail strikes’ as their own sniggering MPs man the picket lines – Editorial, The Sun
  • A policy vacuum in human form – Tom Harris, The Daily Mail

Ukraine must not settle for “s—-y peace”, Johnson ‘to tell G7’

“Boris Johnson will push France and Germany to strengthen their support for Ukraine next week as he fears Volodymyr Zelensky could be bounced into agreeing a “s—-y” peace deal. The Telegraph understands the Prime Minister fears Western allies are experiencing “war fatigue” as the Russian invasion of Ukraine approaches its fifth month. Mr Johnson discussed at length with Mr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, what type of support he needed to sustain his country’s resistance when they held talks in Kyiv last Friday. There are fears with the Russian incursions now focused in the east of the country that Mr Zelensky will be pressured by allies to give up the land and seek peace. The Prime Minister will use meetings with fellow world leaders at the G7 meeting in Germany and a Nato gathering in Spain – both next week – to press allies to stay the course.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • Zelensky defiant as Russia inches closer to seizing cities in eastern Ukraine – The I
  • Awkward reunion ahead for Johnson and former PMs at donor dinner – The Times

Raab to unveil a new British Bill of Rights

“European-style privacy laws and bogus human rights claims will be stamped out under a major package of measures today. Dominic Raab will unveil a long-awaited Bill of Rights to replace Labour’s Human Rights Act. The Justice Secretary wants to change the way the European Convention on Human Rights is interpreted in UK law, putting free speech above all other rights. He said the package would be a ‘strong enhancement of free speech’, stopping the courts from introducing Continental-style privacy laws by the back door.  A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the move would ’empower people to express their views freely’ in the face of online ‘cancel culture’. The Bill will set out that rulings by the European Court of Human Rights do not always have to be followed by UK courts, including the measures which blocked the first Rwanda removals flight last week.” – The Daily Mail

  • Ministers will be able to overrule European judges – The Times
  • Ripping up the edicts of European human rights judges will make us freer and our streets safer – Dominic Raab, The Sun

Trevelyan to begin talks with Gulf states over post-Brexit trade deals

“Britain is looking to strike an agreement with countries already worth over £33.1billion in trade and set to be boosted by a further £1.6billion a year following the deal. Negotiations between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, will be kick-started in Riyadh. Only the US and China buy more UK goods and services than the GCC, making it a major market for British exports. The GCC’s demand for international imports is also expected to grow by 35 percent, £800billion, by 2035, creating huge new opportunities. Brussels previously sought to secure a trade deal with the GCC, opening discussion in 1990, but was ultimately forced to abandon hopes of an agreement 2008 after repeated failures to find a breakthrough. Ahead of the talks, Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Today marks the next significant milestone in our five-star year of trade as we step up the UK’s close relationship with the Gulf.” – Daily Express

Dorries to host meeting in Downing Street with telecoms executives over the cost-of-living crisis

“Senior telecoms executives have been summoned to Downing Street to discuss the cost of living crisis after millions of households faced inflation-busting price increases for broadband services. In a meeting hosted by Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, next Monday, industry leaders will be asked for suggestions on how to help struggling customers with rising bills. Senior figures from BT, Vodafone, Virgin Media O2, Three, TalkTalk, Sky and others have been invited to the discussion at No 10, the Daily Telegraph understands. It comes after some of the companies, including BT, Vodafone and O2, recently imposed above-inflation price increases on customers. Ms Dorries wrote to broadband providers in April, urging them to get a larger number of low-income families on to so-called social tariffs.” – The Daily Telegraph

Rees-Mogg to announce major push to strip away decades of EU rules and regulations

“Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Minister for Brexit Opportunities, is set to make his first big announcement since taking on the role of unchaining Brexit Britain from EU red tape earlier this year. Express.co.uk understands that he plans to reveal the extent to which EU rules dreamed up by unaccountable faceless bureaucrats in Brussels still govern our lives and make a plea to politicians, businesses and members of the public to help get rid of them. Sources close to Mr Rees-Mogg have said that he is “keen on people understanding the extent of EU law still applies in this country.” The source added: “It is about people seeing the full extent of all EU laws on our books, which Parliament had no say in, to build momentum for the Brexit freedoms bill.” – Daily Express

Tim Stanley: Is Carrie Johnson our very own Evita?

“Is Carrie Johnson our very own Evita? The rumour (denied by No10) is that Boris tried to get her a government job, which is what Juan tried to do for Eva Perón, and while things ended badly for the Argentine lovers, Carrie can reassure herself that Evita won in the end. She got her own musical. “High-flying, adored…!”…But the most painful extraction was Lord Geidt from his job. This is the former ethics adviser who was reluctant to discuss ethics with the PM in case the PM ignored him, which might have triggered an ethics crisis. Last week he quit; now he says the Carrie story is “ripe” for investigation. Labour did as it always does and sent Angela Rayner into the Commons to denounce the PM; the Tories, as they always do, sent Michael Ellis to insist all is legal at the Casa Rosada.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • Evidence exists that the Prime Minister tried to get top job for Carrie Johnson, says source – The Guardian
  • The Prime Minister’s wife was ‘rejected’ from a job at Prince William’s Earthshot charity – The Daily Telegraph

Macron holds talks with Marine Le Pen and Socialist party chiefs in bid to end deadlock sparked by inconclusive Assembly elections

“French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday held talks with opposition leaders on ending the deadlock sparked by his failure to secure a majority in parliamentary elections. Macron met right-wing, Socialist and Communist party chiefs at the Elysee, including rare talks with far-right leader Marine Le Pen – whom he beat in an April presidential run-off – as he seeks solutions to a tricky situation that risks plunging his second term into crisis two months after it began. The spectre of political paralysis and the breakthrough performance by the far-right under Le Pen has also raised questions over Macron’s leadership in Europe as he seeks to keep a prime role in dealing with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Elysee said French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, blamed by some analysts for heading a lacklustre campaign, had offered her resignation to Macron but the head of state turned it down.” – The Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Blackford apologies for handling of Grady sexual misconduct row

“The SNP’s Westminster leader has apologised for the handling of a complaint against an MP found guilty of sexual misconduct amid mounting pressure on him to resign. Ian Blackford said he regretted that Patrick Grady’s victim did not feel he had been supported by the party and an external review has been ordered of the help available to staff. The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP also said he was sorry that a recording of him urging other MPs to rally around Grady had been leaked, saying it had “caused distress to the complainant amongst others”. However, he did not explicitly express contrition for backing Grady, the Glasgow North MP, despite the widespread criticism his comments have received. His intervention – his first public comments since the leak – came the day after another SNP MP piled more pressure on Blackford by apologising for joining him in rallying support for Grady.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • Another SNP frontbencher cleared of sexually harassing Grady accuser – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Why won’t Gary Lineker name those who racially abused him? – Tom Goodenough, The Spectator 
  • Are women more left-wing? – Mary Harrington, UnHerd
  • The closing of the Episcopal mind – Capel Lofft, The Critic 
  • Who governs Britain? The Tories need to show who’s in charge – not blame problems on Labour – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Henry Kissinger’s whitewashing of Richard Nixon – Jeremy Cliffe, The New Statesman 

The post Newslinks for Wednesday 22nd June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Tuesday 21st June 2022

21 Jun

Railways 1) Government ‘plans to break rail strikes by allowing use of agency workers’

“Boris Johnson has responded to the biggest rail strikes in a generation with plans to break the industrial action by allowing firms to bring in agency staff, a move unions have decried as unworkable, unsafe and potentially breaking international law. As 40,000 workers prepared for Tuesday’s strike, the most wide-reaching on the railways in 30 years, Downing Street brought forward changes to enable employers to replace employees with temporary staff. The highly controversial measure would make disputes long and bitter, unions warned on Monday, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) accusing Johnson of taking a step that “even Margaret Thatcher did not go near”.” – The Guardian

  • Prime Minister rejects rail workers’ pay demands – Daily Telegraph
  • Shapps says Britain ‘taken back to bad old days’ – The Times
  • RMT boss threatens ‘coordinated action’ in every British town… – Daily Telegraph
  • …and claims Cabinet ministers yearn for Thatcher era – The Times

More:

  • Business attacks ‘hugely short-sighted’ HS2 plans – FT

>Yesterday: Robert Tombs in Think Tanks: Our recent history rebuts the perennial narrative of British decline

Railways 2) Teachers, nurses and other public sector workers won’t get big pay increases, Treasury Minister warns

“Millions  of teachers, nurses and other public sector workers will not get big pay rises this year, the Treasury Minister warned today. Simon Clarke effectively ruled out increasing government-funded wages to match inflation as it would send prices shooting up even higher. Unions are demanding up to double-digit raises to their pay packets to reflect inflation busting through 10 per cent. Militant bosses across industries from education to barristers are threatening to strike if their wages do not go up. It has sparked fears of a Summer of Discontent beyond the crippling rail strikes set to cause a week of pain from tomorrow.” – The Sun

>Today: David Willetts’ column: We aren’t getting an explanation from the Government of its pay policy that is honest about the coming pain

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: To win the narrow argument over pay, Ministers will need to make a wider, coherent economic case

Railways 3) Labour meltdown over industrial action

“Labour is in meltdown over rail strikes today as a slew of MPs ignored Keir Starmer’s orders against joining picket lines. The leader’s desperate efforts to avoid taking a side in the industrial action crippling the country are in tatters with his own troops defying him. Kate Osborne, an aide to shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Kyle, was among those who posted photos of herself backing the RMT. The party’s union paymasters have also reacted with fury after Sir Keir banned frontbenchers from showing solidarity with rail workers outside stations, demanding he gets ‘on the side of workers’.” – Daily Mail

  • Opposition frontbenchers banned from picket lines as RMT donations revealed – Daily Telegraph
  • Abbott leads Labour Left in cheering strikes – Daily Express
  • Other left-wingers also back walkouts – The Times

More:

  • Lammy investigated over earnings for speeches – The Times

Comment:

  • I am a proud trade unionist, but these strikes will hurt ordinary workers most – David Blunkett, Daily Mail

Claims Johnson tried to hire Carrie as chief of staff ‘ripe for investigation’, says Lord Geidt

“Lord Geidt believes allegations that Boris Johnson tried to appoint his future wife to a plum government job “could be ripe for investigation”, The Telegraph can reveal. Mr Johnson’s former ethics adviser, who resigned last week in protest against a “deliberate” intended breach of the ministerial code, thinks the incident could be a matter for his successor. Downing Street has said Lord Geidt will not be replaced immediately, and that his position of Number 10 ethics adviser could be scrapped altogether. It was alleged that the pair’s relationship was not public at the time and that Mr Johnson was still married to his second wife, Marina Wheeler.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour seeks to ensure he quickly appoints new ethics adviser – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister could get three ethics advisers instead of just one – The Times

Patel will challenge European ruling that halted Rwanda flight

“Priti Patel will bid to quash the decision by European judges which led to the first Rwanda asylum flight being axed at the last moment, it emerged last night. The Home Secretary is poised to make a formal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights, opening up the prospect of another attempt at sending Channel migrants on a one-way trip to Africa. Her lawyers told judges at the High Court yesterday that official submissions will be made to Strasbourg ‘imminently’. Miss Patel will also ‘resist’ any further attempts by Strasbourg to block future removals, the court heard… The developments open up the prospect of the Home Office resuming charter flights to Rwanda, potentially within days.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: David Gauke’s column: Rwanda and the ECHR, the Protocol and law, steel and the WTO. All show that sovereignty isn’t absolute.

‘Fairer’ BBC licence fee could be linked to council tax, Dorries says

“The BBC licence fee is ‘discriminatory’ and could in future be linked to council tax bands to make the system fairer, Nadine Dorries has said. The Culture Secretary said she was looking at a system in Germany where the amount people are charged is linked to how much property tax they pay. She said it is unfair that everyone pays the same amount no matter what they earn, and it discriminates against women as they are most likely to be convicted for non-payment. Mrs Dorries is about to launch a consultation as part of a year-long review into the future of the £159-a-year TV licence fee.” – Daily Mail

  • She also brands it sexist – The Sun

More:

  • Goodall joins exodus from BBC amid impartiality drive – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Grammar schools. If Downing Street really is prepared to act, MPs need to make sure it counts

SNP’s Westminster boss facing calls to quit

“The SNP boss in Westminster is facing calls to quit after he backed one of his sex-pest MPs. Ian Blackford, the nationalists leader in Parliament is under fire for backing Patrick Grady who has been suspended for two days for harassing a teenage member of staff. Mr Blackford was recorded offering him “as much support as possible” at a meeting of MPs. He was accused of hypocrisy after tweeting the “SNP Westminster group will have zero tolerance of unacceptable behaviour” back in 2017. Another MP Amy Callaghan has apologised for also supporting the shamed MP in the leaked tape.” – The Sun

  • Sturgeon to use legal loophole to push through IndyRef2 – Daily Express

Electoral breakthrough puts far-right leader Le Pen ‘back in the game’

“For over a decade Marine Le Pen’s success in pushing her far-right party into France’s political mainstream has revolved around one key yardstick — the presidential election race which she has entered and lost three times while increasing her score with every campaign. Now her Rassemblement National (National Rally) movement has made a breakthrough in the National Assembly. It has increased its number of seats tenfold to 89 after legislative elections, far eclipsing the far-right movement’s previous best return with 35 seats in 1986 and placing the party and Le Pen at the heart of day-to-day politics in France.” – FT

  • Macron has pushed French voters into the arms of extremists – Jonathan Miller, Daily Mail
  • Lame duck president should envy Britain’s electoral system – Henry Hill, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Pieter Cleppe in Comment: The EU, Spain and arbitration – and why it should spare us lectures on the sanctity of international law

News in Brief:

  • Johnson should scrap the Ministerial Code – Sam Ashworth-Hayes, The Spectator
  • Tube strikes aren’t socialist – Sebastian Milbank, The Critic
  • We need to learn Australia’s lessons on Net Zero – Chris Skidmore MP, CapX
  • The Tories deserve to lose Tiverton – Tanya Gold, UnHerd

The post Newslinks for Tuesday 21st June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Monday 20th June 2022

20 Jun

Strikes 1) Johnson backs laws to curb unions’ powers…

“Strike-busting legislation to allow agency workers to cover for industrial action to be tabled within days. Boris Johnson has backed the plan and will challenge Labour to show it is on the side of passengers and back him. The new law will come too late to stop this week’s travel strike misery. But it could be passed within weeks. It will apply across the whole economy and will clip the wings of powerful unions. A Whitehall source said: “We can’t have a situation where trade unions are holding the country to ransom by grinding crucial public services and businesses to a halt. “If employers want to bring in temporary, skilled workers to fill gaps, they should be able to.” Mick Lynch’s RMT will walk out on three days from tomorrow, costing the hospitality industry £500m.” – The Sun

  • Great Britain faces biggest rail strikes in 30 years starting on Tuesday – The Guardian
  • Teachers and doctors threaten to join strikes, as rail union bosses back calls for a general walkout – The Times
  • Ministers urged to hold last-ditch talks to avert mass rail strike – The Financial Times
  • Rail strikes could continue into the autumn– The I
  • ‘Senior Tories’ call for minimum service agreements to guarantee a base level of train services – The Daily Telegraph
  • Stand firm in the face of union bullying, Boris – Editorial, The Daily Mail
  • No surrender to the militants bringing chaos – Editorial, Daily Express
  • The country cannot be held hostage no nostalgic radicals in the trade unions – Editorial, The Times
  • The Government must enact strike-busting legislation to protect public from future chaos – Editorial, The Sun
  • Scrap unions’ legal protection to tame the troublemakers – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • Marxist union mobs are desperate to take Johnson down and plunge the UK into chaos – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

>Today:

Strikes 2) …as Shapps urges Starmer to condemn rail strikes…

“Grant Shapps last night urged Keir Starmer to finally condemn the rail strikes that will cause chaos for millions of travellers tomorrow. The Transport Secretary called on the Labour leader to issue a last-minute appeal for the unions to reopen their negotiations with bosses. Sir Keir stopped short of denouncing the action yesterday…Services on the railways will be crippled from tomorrow in the biggest walkout for more than 30 years in a row over pay, jobs and conditions. Around 40,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will also strike on Thursday and Saturday…RMT and Unite are holding a 24-hour walkout on London Underground tomorrow, which will cause further disruption. Mr Shapps yesterday accused the unions of resisting the ‘modernisation of some very antiquated working practices’.” – The Daily Mail

  • Labour is letting down the people it purports to represent – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Strikes 3) … Kwarteng considers changing the law to let agency staff do strikers’ jobs…

“Ministers will this week repeal laws banning businesses from using temporary workers to replace striking staff amid concern that walk-outs are spreading across the economy. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, presented plans enabling agency staff to be used to perform the roles of striking workers to cabinet colleagues for agreement last week. The statutory instrument making the change is expected to be tabled this week. It would take effect in mid-July, after the current round of rail strikes, and would apply across all sectors. The ban on agency workers has been in place since 1973, when Edward Heath’s Conservative government feared that workers breaking strikes would be attacked on picket lines. David Cameron promised to change the law in his 2015 election manifesto but later abandoned the proposal amid intense union opposition.” – The Times

  • Public sector employees who want better pay will change jobs – Lucy Burton, The Daily Telegraph

Strikes 4) …and Dorries orders the RMT Union to ‘make mind up’ after a plea for restraint is ignored

“Nadine Dorries has ordered the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) to “make up its mind” as Brits brace for commuter chaos later in a dispute about pay and redundancies. The Culture Secretary took to social media to voice her frustration about the RMT’s upcoming rail strike. Ms Dorries said: “Weeks ago, union said it would never negotiate with a Tory Government. “Now, complaining that there haven’t been talks with ‘the Government’.” The Mid Bedfordshire MP accompanied her tweet with #makeyourmindup. Members of the RMT Union confirmed 40,000 workers from Network Rail and 13 train firms will take action on June 21, 23 and 25 over both pay and redundancies. The action is expected to leave only half of Britain’s rail network open on strike days and there will be very limited service on lines which remain available.” – Daily Express

Boris Johnson: The Commonwealth gives Britain a boost

“This week I will go to Rwanda for a Commonwealth summit and around the table will be 54 countries encompassing about a third of humanity. You could point out that Commonwealth members are vastly different in just about every way and of course you would be right. The Pacific archipelago of Tuvalu (population 11,000) will be at the same table as India (population 1.3 billion).Yet for all the differences between us, we are joined by an invisible thread of shared values, history and institutions and of course the English language… If you retort that this all sounds vague and whimsical and no job was ever created and no parsnip buttered by invisible threads or shared values I would have to point out that you are mistaken – demonstrably and provably mistaken. It is an amazing fact that those invisible threads – particularly a common language and familiar legal and administrative systems – are of immense practical value for trade.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • 1922 Committee election seen as ‘proxy vote’ on the Prime Minister – The Times
  • Johnson ‘airbrushed’ from by-election campaign leaflets – The Daily Telegraph
  • Wakefield’s Conservatives fear the writing is on the Red Wall – The Times
  • Johnson is neither good chap nor great man – Clare Foges, The Times

Number 10 ‘is considering’ backing a campaign by Conservative backbenchers to lift the ban on new grammar schools

“Boris Johnson could usher in a new generation of grammar schools under plans being considered in Downing Street. The prime minister is considering backing a campaign by Conservative backbenchers to lift the ban on new selective schools imposed by Tony Blair in 1998. There are 164 grammar schools in England at present. “There’s more of an open door on grammar schools than there has been in years,” a minister said. “It’s now something that there is a conversation about in Downing Street.” The government is bringing a Schools Bill to the Commons later this year, and Sir Graham Brady, a campaigner for grammar schools and the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, will table an amendment that would lift the ban. Brady said: “After 12 years of Conservative-led government it is really very odd that we still have a statutory ban on any new selective schools. At the very least lifting that ban would provide freedom and flexibility for people where there is demand.”” – The Times

Sunak could help firms buying British under new tax break plan

“Businesses who invest by buying products or services from other British firms could receive tax breaks under new plans. Some in government are pushing for the idea as a way to get UK businesses back on their feet after Covid and the fuel crisis. One source told the Daily Mail: ‘Tax breaks are being looked at for companies that invest. ‘But also, one thing being considered is tax breaks for firms that buy British. We want to boost business here at home. ‘It is not for certain. But it is being talked about.’ Another source said that while the idea was being considered, there could be problems around World Trade Organisation rules. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has tried a number of incentives to boost investment in the wake of the Covid pandemic.” – The Daily Mail

  • Ministers aim to tighten rules on buy-now, pay-later loans – The Times

>Today:

The Culture Secretary calls for UK sports to follow Fina ban on transgender swimmers from elite women’s competitions

“The government minister in charge of sport has backed swimming’s world governing body Fina after it voted to restrict transgender athletes from competing in elite women’s competitions if they have experienced any part of male puberty. Nadine Dorries, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said she has been in talks within government to implement such a policy in UK sporting bodies. The new policy means transgender competitors must not have entered puberty by the age of 12 in order to be able to compete in the competitions. Puberty blockers, which can prevent the onset of puberty, are not provided to children under that age. Fina ruled female-to-male transgender athletes (transgender men) are fully eligible to compete in men’s swimming competitions.” – The I

  • Dorries also said that voters ‘don’t give a fig’ over Lord Geidt’s resignation – The I

The Prime Minister’s wife is under scrutiny over claims that Johnson tried to hire her as his chief of staff when Foreign Secretary

“On Saturday, the Times reported claims that Boris Johnson had tried to hire his now wife as his chief of staff when he was foreign secretary. But almost as soon as the article hit the printers, it was withdrawn, without explanation or clarification. The piece…appeared on page five of some early print copies of Saturday’s Times newspaper but was dropped for later editions. It does not appear that the article was ever published on the Times’ website. The story expanded on claims in a biography of Carrie Johnson by the Tory donor and peer Lord Ashcroft that Johnson had tried to appoint her to a £100,000-a-year government job when he was foreign secretary in 2018. It said the idea had fallen apart when his closest advisers learned of the idea to hire the Tory press chief, then known as Carrie Symonds, whom he later married. Johnson was then still married to Marina Wheeler, a barrister.” – The Guardian

Buckland suggests that Braverman risks prioritising politics over law

“The Government’s top lawyer risks ending up providing misleading advice to ministers for political reasons, the former Justice Secretary has warned after a string of legal controversies embroiling No 10… Attorney General Suella Braverman, an MP who sits in Cabinet but also provides legal advice to the Prime Minister, has sometimes been relied on to give a legal sign-off to contentious plans. But Sir Robert Buckland…has launched a coded warning about Ms Braverman’s role in a new paper for the Institute for Government (IfG). He wrote that the “politician-lawyer, who prioritises being a politician” is in danger of undermining their own legal expertise, adding: “Law officers who prioritise politics fall into the immediate and more grave danger of not being true to their ethos, and their professional conduct as a lawyer. They adapt their advice to reflect the political priorities of their ministerial colleagues.”” – The I

>Today:

Dominic Lawson: From airport queues to asylum-seekers, I fear Lord Heseltine is suffering from Brexit Derangement Syndrome

“Bidding strongly for that gold medal in the ‘Brexit Derangement Syndrome’ contest is the owner of the country’s largest private arboretum, former deputy prime minister Lord (Michael) Heseltine.Last week, he proclaimed: ‘The gardener’s instinct in me has detected a new spring for those who know Brexit to be a disaster.’ And in a column for the Financial Times, the President of the European Movement UK — who will be 90 next year — painted the effect of Brexit on the economy as though it were a blight that had destroyed all his trees. Heseltine described it as ‘the loss of our closest market’. So, according to him, we don’t sell any more in the EU…Fact check: in the most recent figures (for April), our exports to the EU were above the level of the same month in 2019 — before we finally left.” – The Daily Mail

Macron loses majority with just 245 seats in French political ‘tsunami’

“President Emmanuel Macron failed to win a majority in the French Parliament today as the Far-Right National Rally was expected to fill a record 89 seats, according to early projections. Instead, it was Marine Le Pen of the National Rally who was celebrating a massive victory, according to an early IPSOS poll. French President Emmanuel Macron’s alliance lost its majority in the French parliament, winning 245 seats in the 577-member chamber in elections, according to full results published by the interior ministry early Monday. The results mean that Macron’s Together alliance is well short of the 289 seats needed for an overall majority. The NUPES left-wing coalition won 135 seats and the far-right National Rally 89 seats. National Rally’s seats will turn them into a serious parliamentary group capable of challenging the government at every opportunity. Previously they only had eight seats.” – The Daily Mail

  • Spain’s conservative People’s Party wins unprecedented majority in Andalucía – The Guardian

Starmer to rule out return of free movement across Europe

“Sir Keir Starmer is preparing a speech about immigration in which he will rule out bringing back free movement with Europe if Labour wins the next election, The Times has learnt. Under the free movement of labour principle of the single market, citizens of EU member states were able to live and work in the UK while Britain was part of the bloc. Although Starmer has been adamant that Labour will not campaign to rejoin the EU under his leadership, some of his MPs want him to seek a closer relationship with Brussels which could include a new immigration pact. As part of his leadership campaign in 2020 Starmer promised Labour members he would “defend free movement as we leave the EU”. However, he now wants to scotch any suggestion that he would agree to a return of free movement as he tries to win back voters the party lost to the Conservatives at the last election.” – The Times

  • Nandy dismisses claims Starmer has been discussing ‘beergate’ succession plans – The I
  • Creasy attacks Starmer’s silence on Brexit – The Daily Mail
  • Putin mocked me and made me sit on a small chair, says Brown – The Sun
  • Starmer’s dullness is a symptom of Labour problem’s – not the cause – Nick Timothy, The Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon accuses opponents of ‘running scared’ of another independence referendum, as the First Minister ‘eyes legal wheeze’ to hold another vote

“Nicola Sturgeon has accused opponents of ‘running scared’ of a debate on Scotland’s future – as she was claimed to be eyeing a ‘legal wheeze’ in order to bypass Boris Johnson and hold a second independence referendum..The SNP leader, as she kicked off a new campaign for another vote, pledged her Scottish Government would ‘forge a way forward’ if the Prime Minister refuses to grant Edinburgh the powers to hold a fresh referendum. Ahead of the 2014 referendum…former PM David Cameron granted a section 30 order to Holyrood to allow the vote to be held. But Mr Johnson has shown no indication he is willing to do the same and repeatedly told Ms Sturgeon that an independence vote should be a ‘once-in-a-generation’ event. It has now been claimed that Ms Sturgeon is preparing to hold a consultative or advisory referendum, in order to bypass Mr Johnson and the UK Government.” – The Daily Mail

News in Brief:

The post Newslinks for Monday 20th June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Sunday 19th June 2022

19 Jun

The summer of strikes. Rail strikes loom this week. Johnson eases conditions on hiring agency workers and Kwarteng mulls raising limits on damages for employers. Unite and Unison threaten more action.

“Britain’s biggest trade unions have been accused by the Business Secretary of “bribing” workers to go on strike after they doubled daily payments to those who take part in industrial action. The tax-free payments are being offered by several unions threatening strikes this summer, and are being funded from vast “strike funds” that Kwasi Kwarteng said showed that unions had been plotting a “dangerous” summer of chaos “for some time”. Unite, which has threatened strikes in councils and across bus networks, has been putting up posters in local government buildings advertising its “£70 a day strike pay” to staff. Unite and Unison, whose leaders threatened nationwide strikes last week “to protect public services”, have doubled their daily strike payments since 2019.” – Sunday Telegraph

News:

  • National rail strikes due this Tuesday, Thursday and Friday – Observer
  • NEU threatens pay strike – Observer
  • RMT leader Lynch declares class war and asks which side Starmer’s on – Mail on Sunday
  • Carnage at airports – Mail on Sunday
  • Shapps says rail strikes will “punish millions of innocent people” – Sunday Express

Comment:

  • Think Labour are on your side? The strikes and Brexit show that they don’t care about you – Oliver Dowden, Sun on Sunday
  • Get ready for a summer of strikes – Jeremy Warner, Sunday Telegraph
  • The RMT is the relic of a bygone age – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour can’t shake off the Unions’ grip – Mail on Sunday Editorial
  • Starmer is silent on strikes and Johnson must be ready to fight them – Editorial, Sun on Sunday
  • Unions must not be allowed to derail the summer – Editorial, Sunday Times

Boris Johnson: The West must see this war through on Zelensky’s terms

“Alas Putin’s failures do not mean he will have the wisdom to retreat. In his isolation, he may still think total conquest is possible. I am afraid that we need to steel ourselves for a long war, as Putin resorts to a campaign of attrition, trying to grind down Ukraine by sheer brutality. The UK and our friends must respond by ensuring that Ukraine has the strategic endurance to survive and eventually prevail. Time is the vital factor. Everything will depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its capacity to attack. Our task is to enlist time on Ukraine’s side…We must strengthen the hand of our Ukrainian friends to finish this war on the terms that President Zelensky has laid out. That should be the definition of success. The Ukrainian people have been clear they will not be forced into accepting less than that.” – Sunday Times

  • New army chief tells it to prepare for World War Three with Russia – Sun on Sunday
  • Britain’s moral superiority over Ukraine is increasingly clear – Zoe Strimpel, Sunday Telegraph
  • Blink and you’ll miss Johnson’s Ukraine trick, his greatest act yet – Matthew Syed, Sunday Times
  • God forbid the Pope should censure Putin – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

Northern Research Group conference aftermath. Conservative MPs slam Johnson for visiting Ukraine instead of attending. Berry and Davison call for tax cuts.

“Red Wall Tories yesterday urged Boris Johnson to ditch eco levies and cut taxes. They privately hit out at the PM for pulling out of their inaugural conference at the eleventh hour to visit Ukraine. Northern MPs urged Mr Johnson to tear up green levies — which push up electricity bills by 25 per cent. VAT and duty should be cut on fuel to help Brits clobbered at the pumps, they added. They called for No10 to open a proposed mine in Cumbria to wean the nation off Chinese coal and boost British steel jobs. Red Wall poster girl Dehenna Davison said: “I think an easy win on the cost of living in the short term is reducing green levies, cutting VAT on energy bills…Red Wall poster girl Dehenna Davison said: “I think an easy win on the cost of living in the short term is reducing green levies, cutting VAT on energy bills. Red Wall MPs accused No10 of “lying” to them by insisting Boris was planning to attend even after he knew he was off to Kyiv. One Red Wall MP said it was a “sh***y thing to do”.” – Sun on Sunday

> Today: ToryDiary – Johnson evades the Northern Research Group, but he can only visit Ukraine so often

Rwanda migrant plan. Patel and critics manoeuvre as the Government plots its next move.

“Migrants who crossed the Channel in small boats last week have already received letters warning they could be sent to Rwanda. In a sign of the Government’s determination to press ahead with the controversial policy, officials have sent out a wave of fresh notifications, including to a group of ten Albanians…A group of ten Albanians who came ashore after Tuesday and are now at the Colnbrook immigration removal centre near Heathrow are among those who have received letters informing them that could be sent to Rwanda. All but a handful of the original 130 migrants given notice that they could be sent to Rwanda on Tuesday’s aborted flight remain in detention. Around a third are Sudanese, with others from Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria, Eritrea and Vietnam. Fresh flights are considered unlikely before the outcome of the judicial review.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Small boat arrivals to be electronically tagged – Observer
  • Braverman has “significant reservations about our relationship with the European Court of Human Rights” – Sunday Express
  • Voters split over Rwanda policy, Conservative voters strongly in favour – Sunday Telegraph
  • Rwandan Anglican leader defends asylum plan – Mail on Sunday
  • The policy’s critics have no workable alternative – Juliet Samuel, Sunday Telegraph
  • The single reason for staying in the European Convention: its presence in the Belfast Agreement – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Let us decide who comes into our land – Sunday Express Editorial

Ministers and officials “at odds over Raab’s proposed Bill of Rights”

“Ministers and officials are at odds over elements of Dominic Raab’s proposed Bill of Rights, with some claiming that the legislation could amount to a mere “sticking plaster” over problems exposed by Britain’s attempted deportations to Rwanda. Whitehall sources said there were “tensions across government” over parts of the Bill that deal with deportations.  A government source admitted that there “have been challenges”, but said that the tensions had arisen between ministers and civil servants, rather than between ministers…A source insisted that the provision in the Bill would resolve the problem because rule 39 orders are “a procedure. They have no basis in the European Convention on Human Rights”. However, some government figures are concerned that the change could only amount to a temporary “sticking plaster” that will ultimately lead to further court challenges.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • The Justice Secretary’s Bill will protect whistleblowers – Mail on Sunday

Johnson’s critics plot Christmas challenge

“Conservative MPs are plotting a Christmas leadership challenge to unseat Boris Johnson. There is a growing push to change party rules to allow a second confidence vote in the Prime Minister within six months, instead of the current minimum of one year. MPs from both the 2019 intake and the One Nation group of rebel Tories have raised the idea of using the upcoming elections to the backbenchers’ influential 1922 Committee to fill it with more members who would vote through the change. A source familiar with the plans said the six-month gap between confidence votes is seen as preferable because it would provide ‘enough time to give [Mr Johnson] a chance for a reset, but is not long enough to drag it out. It would avoid a lengthy, drawn out, slow death.” – Mail on Sunday

Other news:

  • The Conservatives are heading for by-election hell – Sunday Telegraph Editorial
  • Ministers open Saudi trade talks – Sunday Times
  • Centre for Brexit Policy says that civil servants are thwarting making the most of leaving the EU – Sunday Express
  • The Sun launches Remoaner Watch – Sun on Sunday
  • Johnson’s plan to cut Britain’s reliance on China for the import of critical goods has been scrapped – Mail on Sunday
  • MPs urge Wimbledon to cut ties with HSBC over China – Mail on Sunday
  • Aiken NHS staff fertility leave bill comes to Parliament tomorrow – Mail on Sunday
  • Business leaders call for Corporation Tax cut – Mail on Sunday
  • Woke government 1) Lilley claims NHS management review was hijacked by wokery – Sunday Telegraph
  • Woke government 2) Ofsted says lack of gender identity lessons as factor in primary school grading – Sunday Telegraph
  • Woke government 3) Zahawi urged to ban universities from joining “woke” curriculum scheme – Sunday Telegraph
  • Norway “threatens to abandon North Sea oilfield over windfall tax” – Sunday Telegraph
  • Peer earned £3000 a month after offers to “open doors” for Covid firm – Sunday Times
  • Pickles warns that the Government risks another lobbying scandal – Sunday Telegraph
  • Everything you need to know about the Tiverton and Honiton by-election this Thursday – Sunday Telegraph

David Smith: the economy is down but not out

“A weak currency tells us something. Global investors do not like what they see of the UK economy or British politics. Breaking international law in a way that threatens a trade war with your biggest trading partners — to shore up a deeply flawed leader — is a “sell” signal. Whatever the results of confidence votes among Tory MPs, there is not much confidence out there in this government….But I am going to say here — and this may be controversial — that the gloom over the economy looks overdone. We have entered a period in which growth will be hard to come by and the risk of a technical recession — two consecutive quarters of falling GDP — is real. Compared with the wild swings of the past couple of years, however — including a phenomenal 21.4 per cent slump in GDP over two quarters in the first half of 2020 — a technical recession, if there is one, will be small beer.” – Sunday Times

Other comment:

  • Prime Minister, this is what you should do to save farms – Jeremy Clarkson, Sunday Times
  • Johnson should call a leaders’ summit – Gordon Brown, Mail on Sunday
  • Gove’s plan to smash the landlords will make 11 million people homeless – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times
  • The Government needs a plan to stick to – Rob Colvile, Sunday Times
  • Chinese communists are strangling free speech and we are funding them – Alicia Kearns, Sunday Express
  • The mob cannot pick and choose which laws to obey – Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday

Starmer plans exit strategy if he is fined by Durham police

“Sir Keir Starmer is planning for his own succession and has told candidates vying to replace him to be ready to fight for the leadership if he is forced to quit over claims that he broke Covid rules. The Labour leader has told allies he wants plans in place to ensure that his work rebuilding the party will not be at risk if he is suddenly forced to resign. He has promised to quit if Durham police find he broke lockdown rules when he had beer and curry with staff after a day campaigning in the local elections on April 30 last year…Wes Streeting and Lisa Nandy have made no secret of their ambitions and are believed to be among the candidates to have received Starmer’s endorsement. The Labour leader and his deputy, Angela Rayner, have promised to resign if they are fined by the police for breaching rules by taking part in a gathering at Durham Miners’ Hall. On Friday, they both returned their questionnaires to the police.” – Sunday Times

  • Starmer 1) He urges supporters to make history in Wakefield – Observer
  • Starmer 2) He will “announce clear positions on Brexit and immigration this summer” – Sunday Times
  • Starmer 3) He bans Allin-Khan from Ukraine media appearances – Mail on Sunday
  • How women became more left-wing than men – Sunday Times

The post Newslinks for Sunday 19th June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Friday 17th June 2022

17 Jun

Johnson may not replace ethics adviser

“Boris Johnson is considering not replacing Lord Geidt as his ethics adviser after he suddenly quit, accusing the prime minister of preparing “a deliberate and purposeful breach of the ministerial code”. Geidt, a former private secretary to the Queen, is the second independent adviser on ministerial interests to resign in protest at Johnson’s behaviour in under two years. Downing Street said this afternoon that Johnson would conduct a review into the “vitally important” function performed by the adviser before deciding whether to replace him… The prime minister’s official spokesman said that he would take time to “carefully consider” how best to fulfil the role of ensuring “rigorous oversight and scrutiny of ministerial interests”.” – The Times

  • Ethics chief accuses Prime Minister of plotting ‘deliberate’ breach of code – The Sun
  • Peston forced into ‘humiliating climbdown’ after false claims – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Whitehall can no longer rely on the ‘good chap’ theory of government – Sebastian Payne, FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Another one bites the dust

Ellis calls for Harriet Harman to stand down as chair of Partygate inquiry

“A senior minister appeared to pile pressure on the chair of an upcoming Partygate inquiry to stand down, as he questioned her suitability to conduct the investigation fairly. Michael Ellis, the paymaster general, suggested Labour’s Harriet Harman should not lead the investigation into whether Boris Johnson misled parliament by repeatedly denying Covid rules were broken at law-breaking No 10 parties. The privilege committee’s previous chair, Chris Bryant, recused himself for having been an avid Johnson critic. While the committee has a Conservative majority… Ellis sought to discredit the possibility it could be seen to handle the subject fairly.” – The Guardian

  • Labour accused of hypocrisy over steel row that led Geidt to quit – Daily Telegraph

Agency workers will replace striking rail staff, Shapps says

“Ministers will put agency workers on the railways if strikes drag on, the transport secretary has said. Grant Shapps insisted the government will “look at a full range of options” to deal with future strikes including legislation to allow agency staff to fill roles during walkouts. Speaking at a rail depot in north London, he said people with “transferable skills” could be employed… Ministers are also said to be looking at bringing in “minimum service levels”, which will prevent unions from being able to shut down the entire network.” – The Times

  • Transport Secretary warns strikes risk thousands of job losses – FT
  • Blocking medics and patients getting to hospital could prove fatal – Daily Mail

Say ‘women’ not ‘people with ovaries’, Javid orders NHS

“Sajid Javid is prepared to wage war against gender-free language after he demanded the NHS stop dropping the word ‘women’ from its online health advice. The minister, 52, has repeatedly said he does not agree with the health service removing the word from its ovarian cancer guidance webpage. ‘Women’ does not appear in the overview of the disease on the NHS.uk website, instead being replaced with the ambiguous and gender-neutral term ‘anyone’. The word first appears on the third page of the ovarian cancer section of the website.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Georgia L Gilholy’s column: Conservatives must comprehensively reject the latest anti-smoker crusade

Plans to prevent Strasbourg court from Rwanda-style interventions

“The UK is planning legislation to make it easier to disregard European Court of Human Rights injunctions after the Strasbourg court blocked the first flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda this week. The move would potentially avoid the disruptive elements of a full-blown British withdrawal from the Court and the underpinning European Convention on Human Rights — a step Boris Johnson recently hinted at. But it would also limit the court’s ability to issue interim orders such as the one that grounded the Rwanda flight.” – FT

  • New laws to be revealed ‘in days’ – The Sun
  • British Bill of Rights designed to restrain Strasbourg judges – The Times

More:

  • Rape courts pilot in England dismissed as ‘gimmick’ amid low conviction rates – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Professor Richard Ekins in Comment: The Government should reject this European Court decision – and press on with those Rwanda migrant flights

Northern Tories warn Boris Johnson he must slash taxes or risk losing the Red Wall

“Northern Tory MPs will today warn Boris Johnson he must cut taxes or risk losing the party’s Red Wall seats. The Prime Minister will visit Doncaster to attend a conference of the Northern Research Group (NRG) of backbench Conservatives. In a speech, the group’s chairman Jake Berry will tell him: ‘It’s time to stop talking about being the party of low tax, it’s time to be the Government of low tax.’ He will call on devolved mayoral authorities in the North to be given the power to cut local taxes, promoting competition between regions.” – Daily Mail

  • Can the Conservatives keep the ‘blue wall’ from crumbling? – FT
  • Wakefield by-election: we can regain trust like GPs did after Shipman, says Tory – The Times
  • Election guru Lynton Crosby attending morning meetings – The Guardian

More:

  • Allies fret that Starmer’s caution hampers Labour’s hopes of governing – FT
  • Angry peers demand Downing Street is sent to the North instead – The Sun

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My focus groups in both by-election battlegrounds find the Tory vote roughly halved on 2019

Frost drops strong hints he could stand to become a Tory MP

“Lord Frost has given his strongest indication yet that he plans to stand to become a Tory MP at the next general election, but said he will only do so if Boris Johnson cuts taxes. The former Brexit minister, who is from Derby, announced he would prefer a seat in the East Midlands and insisted he would only run for the House of Commons “if people want me to go for it”. In an interview, he said the Government did not “seem to have a plan and people can sense that”. He called for the Prime Minister to return to a traditional Conservative agenda.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Rees-Mogg’s department quietly quadruples in size – The Times
  • Northern Ireland at risk from Britain’s ‘unsafe goods’, says EU – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

UK throws weight behind £3.5bn package to rebuild post-war Ukraine

“The UK has thrown its weight behind a new £3.5bn support package to rebuild Ukraine. This comes ahead of the UK-Ukraine Infrastructure Summit, taking place in London tomorrow. The high level talks, centred around how the international community can help rebuild Ukraine after the war, will see representatives from Ukraine attend alongside key business leaders. Anne-Marie Trevelyan is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ukraine, confirming the UK’s support for future reconstruction efforts.” – Daily Express

  • Russia has already ‘strategically lost’ the war, head of Britain’s Armed Forces insist – Daily Mail
  • EU to give fast-tracked opinion on Kiev bid – The Guardian

Government paves the way for renters to own pets

“Landlords and tenants across Britain had a rare moment of joint celebration today after the Government paved the way for renters to own pets without causing massive risk for property owners. Housing Secretary Michael Gove’s Renters Reform Bill could allow tenants to have a legal right to keep a pet while landlords could request people living in their properties to take out insurance for damage caused by animals… Law changes in 2019 made it illegal for landlords to ask tenants to take out insurance for damage caused by pets as part of their tenancy agreement.” – Daily Mail

  • Levelling Up Secretary warns that ministers can’t help everyone with cost of living… – The Times
  • …and backs education reform – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Rwanda case exposes the perils of lawfare – Lee Rotherham, CapX
  • Has the Tory left deserted Northern Ireland? – Owen Polley, The Critic
  • France could plunge the eurozone into its next crisis – John Keiger, The Spectator
  • The paranoia driving office politics – Kat Rosenfeld, UnHerd

The post Newslinks for Friday 17th June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Thursday 16th June

16 Jun

Johnson 1) The Prime Minister’s ethics adviser Lord Geidt resigns after Partygate ‘grilling’…

“Boris Johnson’s attempt to relaunch his premiership suffered a fresh blow on Wednesday night when his ethics adviser, Lord Geidt, dramatically quit after conceding the prime minister may have broken the ministerial code over the Partygate scandal. In a statement released on Wednesday evening, Geidt said: “With regret, I feel that it is right that I am resigning from my post as independent adviser on ministers’ interests.” The resignation, the second from an ethics adviser in less than two years, threatens to overshadow Johnson’s attempts to shrug off the public outcry over Partygate, and the subsequent confidence vote from his own MPs last week… The ethics tsar faced a tough grilling from a cross-party committee of MPs earlier this week, during which he conceded it was “reasonable” to suggest Johnson may have broken the ministerial code…” – The Guardian

  • Wragg criticises the Prime Minister for his “carelessness” in losing two ethics advisors in two years – The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Johnson 2)…as he ‘hatches plan’ to insulate Britons against winter bills…

“Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to insulate hundreds of thousands more homes before winter to help shield people from the rising cost of living. The prime minister has told ministers to divert more than £1 billion from existing schemes to focus on insulating poorer households. The Times has been told that during one meeting a No 10 official suggested it could be called “insulate Britain”. It was rejected when someone pointed out that it was the same name as the environmental campaign group that has caused widespread disruption. It may now be called the “Great British Insulation Scheme”, but there are concerns about whether it will apply in devolved administrations. Under the plans No 10 will top up the “energy company obligation”, which is levied from bills and funds energy-efficiency measures for poorer households.” – The Times

>Today:

Rwanda 1) Downing Street suggests human rights rules may be ‘ripped up’…

“PM Boris Johnson said he may rip up human rights rules — after a flight deporting migrants to Rwanda was blocked. Hotels set aside for them lay empty yesterday following the move by an anonymous Euro judge. Meanwhile hundreds more arrived in the UK from across the Channel. The Government could even quit the European Court of Human Rights altogether. Ministers are raging that the court would not reveal the identity of the judge who made the decision at 10pm on Tuesday. The flight had been given the go-ahead by three different British courts — triggering fresh alarm that Euro judges are stopping Britain from controlling its borders… When asked yesterday if Britain could ditch membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, Downing Street admitted that “all options are on the table”.” – The Sun

Rwanda 2) …as Patel’s Rwanda policy faces being delayed for months…

“Priti Patel’s Rwanda policy faces being delayed for months as ministers accept it would be “a gamble” to book another flight before the courts have given their ruling…Patel is also considering ways to limit migrants’ ability to use the Modern Slavery Act to avoid removal after several of those originally due to be on Tuesday’s Rwanda flight used the legislation to claim they were victims. The home secretary is said to be considering increasing the threshold of what constitutes modern slavery. A migrant can avoid removal if officials believe there are “reasonable grounds” for their claim to be slavery victims. Patel told MPs in the Commons yesterday that the Home Office was going ahead with preparations for the next flight to Rwanda, though the failure of the first flight cost more than £300,000.” – The Times

  • European judges could halt flights for a year, but the Home Secretary insists the court’s injunction is not a ‘blanket’ ruling – The Daily Telegraph
  • Inside the Home Office as the Rwanda plan was scuttled at the last minute – The I
  • Poll shows a majority of Tory voters and Brexiteers support the scheme, but Labour voters and Remainers are opposed – The Daily Mail
  • Channel migrant crossings soar by 76 percent since last year, despite the Government’s Rwanda deportation plan – The I
  • By making policy on the hoof and failing to anticipate legal obstacles to it, the Government is responsible for its problems – Editorial, The Times
  • Who really runs Britain? – Editorial, The Daily Mail
  • Farage has the PM cornered over migration – Iain Martin, The Times

Rwanda 3) …and as Raab plots ways to ignore the “Strasbourg meddlers’ divisive rulings”.

“Justice Secretary Dominic Raab is examining whether it will be possible to disregard future last-minute injunctions from the Strasbourg court in cases already examined by British judges. A government source last night noted that its injunctions were ‘not binding’ and said many signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights, which the court interprets, routinely turned a blind eye to its rulings. Pulling out of the ECHR completely would be a massive call, but there is scope for looking again at how we treat out-of-hours injunctions from Strasbourg,’ the source said. ‘People talk about the UK’s role in creating the court after the Second World War and that is right. But the way that charter has been interpreted in recent years has become very elastic and taken it a long way from its original aims.’” – The Daily Mail

  • A way through the Rwanda impasse – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • European court’s secrecy insults our open justice – Editorial, Daily Express
  • European judges are a grotesque affront to our democracy – this madness must end – Editorial, The Sun
  • The Rwanda verdict from the European Court of Human Rights was utterly predictable – Roos Clark, The Daily Mail
  • Britain is in ruins thanks to the failed dogmas of our permanent Leftist elite – Allister Heath, The Daily Telegraph
  • Until we quite the unaccountable, anti-democratic, and bloated Court, Brexit will remain unfinished – Andrew Tettenborn, The Daily Mail

>Today:

The Justice Secretary also plans to establish specialist rape courts to boost speed and the quantity of cases going to trial

“Specialist courts are being set up to boost the number and speed of rape cases going to trial. Dedicated courtrooms will be established in three crown courts which deal with a higher than average case load of sex offences. In the courts, police, prosecutors and all staff will receive trauma training as part of a package of ‘enhanced specialist sexual violence support’. The pilot scheme comes at a time when victims face waiting years for justice. It begins in October at Leeds, Newcastle and Snaresbrook Crown Court in London… Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘Rape convictions are up two thirds over the last year and cases are being completed five weeks quicker. ‘But we are restless to go further, and these pilots will focus on improving support for victims, tackling the backlog and reducing delays.’” – The Daily Mail

Truss vows to stand by Protocol legislation despite EU legal threats as negotiations with the bloc ‘hit a brick wall’

“Liz Truss vowed last night to push ahead with controversial legislation to unpick parts of the Brexit deal despite legal threats from the EU. Brussels yesterday warned Britain that it risked provoking a trade war – or the collapse of the entire agreement – unless it backed down. The EU launched fresh legal action in retaliation over Boris Johnson’s plans to unilaterally scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. At a press conference in Brussels, European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic also unveiled a raft of documents with proposals on how to break the impasse. But British ministers last night accused the EU of recycling old ideas and warned they would have to bring in the legislation to override the protocol as negotiations had ‘hit a brick wall’. A Government source said: ‘The EU proposals are the same as they were six months ago. The proposals they’ve put on the table do nothing to solve the core issues, and in some areas take us backwards.’” – The Daily Mail

>Today:

Javid proposes changing GPs’ contracts to get more seeing patients face to face

“Sajid Javid is eyeing up major changes to GP contracts to get more doctors to see patients face to face. He wants to end the shameful postcode lottery which leaves millions of Brits unable to get an appointment not on Zoom. Vast parts of the country have a massive shortage of full-time GPs – fuelling the problem. The Health Secretary is considering a range of reforms to try to end the scandal. One option is to change GP contracts so they are “incentivised” to go from working part time to full time. While they could also be offered lucrative bungs to move to left-behind areas. And a big focus will also be put on getting GPs to offer more face to face appointments. A Government source said the aim is to give patients “more choice” so elderly patients are not forced to go online when they really want to physically see a doctor. But the number of face to face appointments “is expected to increase”.” – The Sun

  • The Duchess of Cambridge is to tell the Health Secretary that “children’s mental health must be our priority” – The Daily Telegraph

Grant Shapps: Rail union’s dinosaur ways of working should be consigned to the museum of industrial relations

“Damaging to an economy still in recovery after two years of the pandemic, damaging to ordinary working people who do not have the option of working remotely from home, damaging for thousands of Covid-battered businesses, from theatres to cafes and rail freight-dependent heavy industry. And damaging, too, for a rail sector saved from collapse during lockdown only by the injection of £16billion of taxpayers’ money ­­— that’s £600 for every household in the land. Make no mistake, in its current financial state, the railway wouldn’t last a month as an ordinary commercial organisation… But some of the RMT leadership live in another world — a Jurassic one largely populated by dinosaurs. They believe that they can demand a substantial pay rise without promising to reform outdated working practices that, by rights, should have been consigned to the Museum of Industrial Relations.” – The Sun

  • The Transport Secretary accuses Sir Keir Starmer as having ‘one foot in the RMT camp’ – The Daily Mail
  • Thousands of trains set to be cancelled across Britain next week during strikes – The Financial Times
  • Whole cities could be cut off and patients’ lives put at risk – The Daily Mail
  • It’s time to get tough with the rail unions – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • The stupidity of ministers and train firms wrecked our railways – not the unions – Peter Hitchens, The Daily Mail

Braverman ‘slams’ BBC for being too pro-EU and ‘always seeing Britain as the bad guys’

“The Government’s top lawyer yesterday slammed the BBC for being too pro-EU. Attorney General Suella Braverman told a testy interview that the Beeb always sees Britain as the bad guys and Brussels as saints… Probed on Radio 4 about the latest Brexit row, Braverman snapped at a presenter’s claim that she sits in a “law-breaking” government. She hit back: “With respect that’s BBC view if you don’t mind me saying, that the UK government is always malevolent and the EU is always acting as the honest broker and the good guy.” “But I don’t think that’s how many of my constituency sees it and actually when it comes to our international reputation we only have to look to our partners in Ukraine to see the great warmth in which they view the United Kingdom. “With respect I think it depends on who you talk to,” she added.” – The Sun

Osborne: The UK could effectively be back in the EU within 20 years because decision to quit has ‘caused a lot of damage to Britain’s economy’

“Britain could be as tightly aligned to the EU as if it had never left with 20 years due to economic damage caused by the decision to quit, former chancellor George Osborne has claimed. The ex-Tory politician, who helped lead the Remain campaign in 2016, said the referendum ’caused a lot of damage to Britain’s economy’. In radio interview, David Cameron’s former right-hand man slammed Brexiteers who refused to acknowledge the negative as well as positive aspects of what has happened in the past six years. He told LBC: ‘Politics can’t defy reality… it’s not unimaginable in 20 years time, to have a set of economic arrangements with the EU which aren’t too distant from the economic arrangements we had when we were in the EU.’ He added: ‘In many ways the people I respect most are the Brexiteers who say there’s an economic cost to Brexit, but there are other benefits, such as parliamentary control, sovereignty over our borders.”” – The Daily Mail

Interest rates set to hit 1.25 percent as the Bank of England aims to cub inflation

“Interest rates will rise tomorrow for the fifth time in a row to 1.25 per cent amid calls for Boris Johnson to level with the public about the cost of living crisis. The Bank of England is expected to increase rates by 0.25 percentage points from what was already a 13-year high as it seeks to rein in inflation. The Federal Reserve, America’s central bank, went further yesterday, increasing interest rates by 0.75 percentage points, the sharpest rise since 1994. The prime minister has attempted to strike an optimistic note, saying recently that Britain is in a much better position to deal with inflation than it was in the past. Lord King of Lothbury, a former governor of the Bank of England, said that the cost of living crisis would be “reminiscent of the 1970s” and suggested the prime minister should make clear that living standards would fall.” – The Times

Starmer’s team refuse to say party would axe the Rwanda policy as Cooper tells MPs the scheme was ‘putting our country to shame’

“Labour was mired in chaos of its own over Rwanda migrant flights today after the party leadership refused to commit to banning them while a frontbencher was telling MPs how bad the scheme was. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper branded the policy of flying asylum seekers to east Africa ‘Government by gimmick’ in the Commons this afternoon. She told MPs it was a ‘shambles that is putting our country to shame’ after the European Court of Human Rights last night blocked an attempt by Priti Patel and Boris Johnson to send the first flight to Kigali. But while Ms Cooper was on her feet, a spokesman for Sir Keir Starmer repeatedly refused to confirm it would scrap the hardline policy if the party won the next election.” – The Daily Mail

  • Conservative MPs call for Harman to quit Number 10 parties inquiry – The Times
  • Streeting ‘sorry’ for backing union over rail strikes – The Times
  • The change mantle is up for grabs but Labour isn’t claiming it – Robert Shrimsley, The Financial Times

Sturgeon’s pandemic care home restrictions ‘likely led to deaths’, major report says

“”Severe” restrictions imposed by Nicola Sturgeon’s government on care home residents in Scotland caused “great distress” to residents and are “likely” to have contributed to emotional decline and even death, a major report has concluded. Research commissioned by Scotland’s independent public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic found that the legal basis for confining residents to their rooms and banning visitors was “unclear”. The 143-page report, produced by Edinburgh Napier University, found there was “little evidence” in the early months of the Covid outbreak that the human rights of residents and their families were considered. The research acknowledged that the need for some restrictions was “understandable” given the vulnerability of care home residents prior to the vaccination programme, and “the large number of deaths in the sector.”” – The Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • The brilliance of Ben Stokes – Roger Alton, The Spectator 
  • The long march of the French left – Christopher Bickerton, UnHerd 
  • Has the Tory left deserted Northern Ireland? – Owen Polley, The Critic 
  • To tackle the cost-of-living crisis, let’s help drivers switch to electric cars – James Ball, Cap X
  • You said you’d stop watching Love Island. Now’s the time to stick to your word – Amelia Tait, The New Statesman

The post Newslinks for Thursday 16th June first appeared on Conservative Home.

Newslinks for Wednesday 15h June 2022

15 Jun

Rwanda flight halted by European Court of Human Rights

“The first flight to deport migrants to Rwanda was halted after European human rights judges made an 11th-hour intervention. The European Court of Human Rights granted an urgent injunction to one of the asylum seekers to remove him from the flight, just hours after the UK Supreme Court had rejected his plea. The remaining six migrants facing deportation also secured similar injunctions and the £300,000 Boeing 747 charter flight, waiting at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire to take them to Rwanda, was grounded. It could mean that all deportation flights to Rwanda are halted for weeks until a judicial review, due by the end of July, has ruled whether the policy is lawful. It also raises the prospect that ministers could reconsider membership of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to ensure the scheme can go ahead.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson hints at leaving human rights convention – The Times
  • The preparations for the next flight begin now, declares Patel – Daily Mail
  • Plan buffeted by courts and critics – The Times
  • It’s not the job of churches to demonise politicians over migration policy – Michael Azir-Ali, Daily Telegraph
  • Living in Rwanda is no punishment, insist its leaders – The Times
  • How can bishops say a plan to stop women and little ones drowning is immoral? – Amanda Platell, Daily Mail
  • Those who want to scrap the Human Rights Act and even leave the European Convention on Human Rights are having their case made for them – Leader, The Sun
  • Tory MP challenges bishops to take refugees in their palaces – Daily Express
  • It is all very well blaming lawyers, but the Government has the power to change the law – Leader, Daily Telegraph

“Cabinet row” over Rees-Mogg’s measures to scrap EU regulations

“A cabinet row has broken out over Jacob Rees-Mogg’s plans to axe all remaining EU laws in under four years, given concerns about the feasibility of combing through at least 2,000 pieces of legislation while the civil service faces severe cutbacks. The Brexit opportunities minister is pushing for the laws carried over after Brexit to expire by a “cliff-edge” deadline of 23 June 2026, marking 10 years since the EU referendum. However, the Guardian has learned that at least two cabinet ministers have railed against the proposal, while officials have said the goal is “literally impossible” – particularly as Rees-Mogg is also spearheading the cull of the civil service. In a letter to the North Somerset MP, George Eustice said that “messing around” with some rules would mean an additional cost to businesses and be a waste of officials’ time, while senior Whitehall sources voiced fears of a mass deregulation drive by the back door.” – The Guardian

Only “muted” resistance from Conservative MPs to Northern Ireland Protocol changes

“Ministers believe they have largely muted Conservative opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol bill, even though one leading Conservative critic has said no MP should be voting for a breach of international law. Leading opponents of Boris Johnson held off from publicly rejecting the legislation after it was published, despite the government’s fears beforehand that it would provoke a backlash…Sir Roger Gale, the North Thanet MP, was among the only Conservatives to express strong reservations…Stephen Hammond, another Conservative MP and former remainer, also added his voice of criticism.” – The Guardian

  • Prime Minister seeks to take heat out of public rhetoric – Daily Telegraph
  • Burns warns US politicians to mind their language – Financial Times
  • DUP given ultimatum – The Times
  • Johnson is desperate. His illegal plan in Northern Ireland is just designed to save himself – David Lammy, The Guardian
  • Northern Ireland plan is counter-productive – Leader, Financial Times
  • How long can ITV’s sneering political editor get away with such brazen bias? – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • UK exports to EU hit highest level ever – City AM

>Today: Robert Buckland on Comment: To achieve its aims, and protect the UK’s essential interests, the Protocol needs to change

Hannan: Remainers are to blame for our negotiating weakness that led to this deal

“What made us concede a border across our own territory? And why did we accept the absurdity at the heart of the Northern Ireland Protocol: the notion that checks on goods between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic would destabilise the province, but that checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would be fine and dandy? The answer is that, following the 2017 General Election, Remainer MPs would not allow Britain to leave except on terms that the EU liked. They called it ‘preventing a no-deal Brexit’ — but what it really meant was that Brussels could set its own conditions. And, of course, once they had pinched themselves to make sure they were awake, Eurocrats jumped on the opportunity. Before June 2017, when they were still dealing with a Conservative majority, it never occurred to them to suggest that Northern Ireland might be yanked into the EU’s regulatory orbit.” – Daniel Hannan, Daily Mail

Johnson “pressing Sunak to abandon Corporation Tax rise”

“Boris Johnson wants to reverse Rishi Sunak’s planned multibillion-pound tax raid on business as he tries to firm up support on the Tory right in the aftermath of last week’s confidence vote. Allies of the prime minister said that Johnson was determined to stop next year’s six-percentage-point rise in corporation tax that was announced by Sunak last year. But any changes to the planned rise would leave the Treasury with a £15 billion-a-year black hole at a time when growth is stagnating.” – The Times

  • Former Just Eat boss who said ‘Boris must go’ is new cost of living tsar – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Less than half of our panel now expect a Conservative-led Government at the next election.

Stop calling me boring, Starmer tells shadow cabinet

“Keir Starmer has urged his shadow cabinet to stop briefing the press that he is boring, warning them: “What’s boring is being in opposition.” Stung by a series of negative stories about his leadership, Starmer angrily urged colleagues at Tuesday’s shadow cabinet meeting to focus on the job in hand, telling them it was “boring” to undermine Labour’s project of getting back into government. Several of those around the table then echoed their leader’s calls for unity and discretion, in a lengthy exchange described by one shadow frontbencher as “ironically very boring”.” – The Guardian

Finkelstein: Rail strikes show Labour is stuck in the past

“Stuck between its identity as the party of “workers” and its aspiration to govern on behalf of everyone, the opposition has found it difficult to articulate a coherent response. Perhaps eyeing the leadership, in the event that something unfortunate should happen to Sir Keir Starmer following his encounter with an onion bhaji, the shadow ministers Wes Streeting and Lisa Nandy have let it be known they are on the side of the rail workers. Streeting went as far as to say that were he a rail worker he would be voting to go on strike.” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

  • Rail chiefs draw up emergency strike timetable to keep network open – Daily Mail
  • Thousands more workers to vote on strike action – BBC
  • What the rail strikers don’t understand is that the Government relishes this battle – Mark Wallace, The i

Sturgeon sets out case for Scottish independence

“Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled what she called a “refreshed” case for independence. She told a press conference in Edinburgh that her government had an “indisputable mandate” for a second independence referendum. Ms Sturgeon was launching the first of a series of papers setting out the case to break away from the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the 2014 referendum result should be respected. And opposition parties accused the Scottish government of being obsessed with independence.” – BBC

  • First Minister unveils study which argues that Scotland’s huge public spending deficit is irrelevant – Daily Telegraph
  • Scottish independence would mean border checks with rest of UK, admits SNP – The Times
  • Sturgeon is trying to restart a debate most Scots do not want – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • SNP MP faces Commons ban for sexual misconduct towards junior party staffer – The Sun
  • The BBC is failing to hold the SNP to account – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

Cecil Rhodes plaque deserves listed status, says Dorries

“A University of Oxford college’s plaque of Cecil Rhodes is set to be given Grade II listed status after Nadine Dorries intervened to protect the imperialist donor’s monument, The Telegraph has learnt. The plaque on King Edward Street has stoked division since student-led “Rhodes Must Fall” protests erupted in 2016, and again during the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020.” – Daily Telegraph

Gove may give private tenants the right to keep a pet

“Tenants could get the legal right to keep a pet so property renters do not miss out on the companionship of a dog or cat. Housing Secretary Michael Gove will tomorrow announce a major overhaul of rules for those living in private rented accommodation. As part of the shake-up, ministers will change the law to prevent landlords having blanket bans on pets. Property owners will need to have a good reason to refuse permission for a tenant to have an animal in their home.” – Daily Mail

Grant: Remainers are regrouping amid the total failure to capitalise on Brexit

“Ideological drift has emboldened many still unreconciled to the referendum – Tory MP Tobias Ellwood recently demanded that we return to the single market to settle the “Irish problem” and offset cost of living increases, as if high inflation were a purely British phenomenon. Though some are better at hiding it than others, many see this as a first step towards rejoining the EU…Our total failure to reap the rewards of Brexit – absorbing all the costs of departure, while keeping the status quo in every other way – has buttressed the argument that leaving the EU carries only drawbacks.” – Madeline Grant, Daily Telegraph

  • Shadow minister Anna McMorrin would like the UK to rejoin the EU – The Sun
  • Labour would reverse Brexit – Leader, The Sun

News in brief

  • It’s time to resile from the European Convention on Human Rights – Patrick O’Flynn, The Spectator
  • EU membership could have constrained our help to Ukraine – Harry Phibbs, The Critic
  • What the press got wrong about the confidence vote, and my very odd kind of celebrity – Graham Brady, New Statesman
  • A feeble push for another independence referendum is Sturgeon’s last roll of the dice – Henry Hill, CapX
  • How the UK could become self-sufficient in food – Sarah Johnson, The Article

The post Newslinks for Wednesday 15h June 2022 first appeared on Conservative Home.