Newslinks for Sunday 15th September 2019

Former Tory leadership contender Sam Gyimah has joined the Liberal Democrats

“Boris Johnson has suffered a fresh blow as the former Tory universities minister Sam Gyimah dramatically defected to the Liberal Democrats, accusing the prime minister of “veering towards populism and English nationalism”. In a major coup for the Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson at the start of her party’s annual conference, Gyimah said he had left the Conservatives to fight against the government’s “scorched earth approach” to delivering Brexit regardless of the cost to the country. Announcing his defection exclusively to the Observer as his new party gathered in Bournemouth, Gyimah said centrists were being “cast out of both main parties”. The East Surrey MP called on them to unite and fight back against the drift to the extremes.” – The Observer

  • “I am an outcast in the Tory party” – Interview with Sam Gyimah – The Observer
  • Sixth MP to join the Lib Dems in recent months – Sunday Times
  • Swinson aiming for a hundred seats – Sunday Times

Tougher sentences for child killers to be imposed

“Killers of young children will never be released from prison under Boris Johnson’s dramatic plans to ensure that “life means life” and the most violent
offenders remain behind bars for ever. The Telegraph can disclose that Downing Street will use the prorogation of Parliament to relaunch the Prime Minister’s domestic policy agenda by unveiling a tough new approach to criminal justice. For the first time, murderers of pre-school children will be subject to whole-life orders, while Mr Johnson’s administration is also considering increasing minimum tariffs for other types of killings. Mr Johnson will use the Queen’s Speech to announce a new Sentencing Bill and plans to introduce statutory instruments – allowing the provisions of an Act to be subsequently brought into force without Parliament having to pass a new Act – in the week of Oct 14.” – Sunday Telegraph

Johnson “didn’t believe in Brexit”, claims Cameron

“Boris Johnson “didn’t believe in” Brexit and backed the leave campaign only to “help his political career”, David Cameron has declared, attacking the prime minister’s motives as he does battle with Brussels over a new deal. In a withering takedown of Johnson, Cameron accuses the leaders of the leave campaign of declaring “open warfare” on him and says they were guilty of “lying” to the public to win the referendum. In exclusive extracts from his memoir published today in The Sunday Times, Cameron brands Michael Gove a “foam-flecked Faragist” for his claims that millions of Turks could move to the UK. And he criticises Gove’s decision to abandon their friendship to vote leave before knifing Johnson during his first leadership bid. “As for Michael, one quality shone through: disloyalty. Disloyalty to me and, later, disloyalty to Boris,” Cameron writes.” – Sunday Times

  • Smug elitist who didn’t get it then and still doesn’t now – Matthew Goodwin, Mail on Sunday
  • “Nothing can prepare you for the death of a child” – Cameron Memoirs, Sunday Times
  • The Queen hoped the Scots would ‘think very carefully’ about independence – Cameron Memoirs, Sunday Times
  • ‘Boris and Michael behaved appallingly: ambassadors for the truth twisting age of populism’ – Cameron Memoirs, Sunday Times
  • Sam and I had never heard our young daughter say the f‑word – Cameron Memoirs, Sunday Times
  • The sorrowful legacy of a good chap – Leader, Sunday Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The curse of Cameron

Facebook removes altered Conservative advertisement

“Facebook has removed a Conservative Party advert which misrepresented a BBC News story. The ad carried a BBC logo and headline saying “£14 billion pound cash boost for schools” – despite the story it linked to putting the figure at £7.1bn. The social media giant say the Tories had “misused” its advertising platform and it was working to stop headlines being changed in this way. The party has said it is reviewing the way its Facebook adverts are produced. The advert started running on 2 September following a government announcement on new funding for primary and secondary schools in England.” – BBC

PM insists he can ignore Commons vote without breaking the law…

“Boris Johnson today tells Brussels that Britain will break out of its ‘manacles’ like The Incredible Hulk if a Brexit deal cannot be struck by October 31. In an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister says that if negotiations break down, he will ignore the Commons vote ordering him to delay the UK’s departure, adding: ‘The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets.’….If he fails to strike a deal, Mr Johnson is adamant that he will not obey Parliament’s order to ask the EU to extend Article 50. He has said that he would rather ‘die in a ditch’ than do so. No 10 strategists say they have devised a secret plan, known only to the PM and three key advisers, which they claim will allow them to ignore the order without breaking the law – although most legal experts are sceptical that such a ruse could work.” – Mail on Sunday

  • ERG MPs may back a new deal – Sunday Times
  • Johnson will not blink – Leader, Sun on Sunday
  • ‘Watered‑down’ Northern Ireland backstop raises hopes of deal – Sunday Times
  • Bill of Rights ‘can defeat Remain court case’, says David Starkey – Sunday Telegraph

…while Remainer MPs “plot to revoke Article 50”

“Remainer MPs are secretly plotting to revoke Article 50 and stop the UK leaving the European Union at the end of next month, the Government warned on Saturday night. If no deal can be agreed with EU leaders by October, Downing Street sources say a “Remain alliance” of MPs in the Commons will try to force through new legislation to stop Brexit altogether….New concerns have also emerged about the conduct of John Bercow, the House of Commons speaker, who went further than before in criticising the Government’s Brexit policy.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Lib Dems risk becoming illiberal on Brexit – Leader, Sunday Times
  • Morgan would vote Remain in a second referendum – The Observer

Corbyn faces party conference showdown with Remainers

“A leaked dossier reveals the scale of dissent that Jeremy Corbyn will face over his Brexit position at the Labour Party conference next weekend. Four hundred pages of motions due to be debated in Brighton indicate a showdown between Corbyn and his grassroots over the European Union. Labour has pledged to hold a second referendum if it gets into government — but stopped short of saying that it would campaign for remain in all circumstances. More than 50 constituency Labour parties (CLPs), including many supportive of Corbyn personally, have submitted motions calling for an unambiguously pro-remain position. Dozens say that Labour’s manifesto must support stopping Brexit by campaigning for remain in a second referendum or by revoking article 50.” – Sunday Times

A quarter of the Shadow Cabinet own second homes

“Labour plans to clobber buy-to-let landlords despite a quarter of its Shadow Cabinet having second homes, a Sun on Sunday investigation reveals. It wants to give private tenants the same right-to-buy deal as council tenants.Britain’s 2.5million landlords would lose tens of thousands of pounds — even if they were pensioners relying on the income. Yet senior figures, such as Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry, are sitting on property portfolios most voters can only dream of.” – Sun on Sunday

“Anyone but Harriet” campaign for next Speaker…

“Cabinet ministers have launched an “anyone but Harriet” campaign to stop Harriet Harman being made speaker of the Commons when Mr Bercow steps down in seven weeks’ time…MPs will whittle down the current shortlist of eight candidates to be speaker over a series of votes on Nov 4, overseen by Ken Clarke, the longestserving MP and Father of the House, a few days after Mr Bercow quits after his decade in the chair on Oct 31. Conservative MPs are desperate to unite behind a rival to Ms Harman, a former deputy prime minister, who launched her bid to be speaker late last week on a “great reform agenda”. One Cabinet minister told The Sunday Telegraph: “We have to stop Harriet”, adding that they are throwing their weight behind respected Labour deputy speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle. A second Cabinet minister added: “It has to be Lindsay Hoyle. He is the only one who can restore balance.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: Peter Bone on Comment: Why the next Speaker must be biased – not impartial

…as poll shows the public has lost faith in Parliament

“Almost eight in 10 believe Parliament is in desperate need of reform and 74 percent believe it is not fit for the 21st century. Seven in 10 think it fails to reflect the nation’s views and three-quarters believe that, internationally, it does not show Britain in a good light. A ComRes survey, carried out for the Sunday Express, found that almost six in 10 say it has not respected the 2016 referendum result – causing Brexiteers to blame the lack of trust in MPs on the failure to leave the EU….In a boost to Boris Johnson, 59 percent agreed there should be an election if the Labour/Remainer “surrender bill” to force another extension of EU membership succeeds.” – Sunday Express

  • MPs in dock for not delivering on EU poll – Leader, Sunday Express

Hodges: Corbynite push for deselections may backfire

“There’s a practical reason why the Momentum-led show trials of Labour MPs is set to backfire. It will actually make those MPs who survive the ordeal stronger. The number one Corbynite target for deselection was Deputy Leader Tom Watson. But he was safely reselected by his constituency with only one vote cast in opposition. And that was reportedly because the member concerned got confused about which box to tick. Numerous other Labour MPs are also safely negotiating the process. And they are as mad as hell about being forced through it, especially with a General Election on the horizon.” – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

Lawson: Hammond’s attacks on “rightwing extremism” are absurd

“The idea that Johnson is a hardline right-wing extremist, compared with nice old middle-of-the road Phil, is hilarious to anyone who has studied both men’s careers. When Hammond first stood for parliament in the 1994 Newham by-election, the most noticeable feature of his campaign was a pledge to bring back hanging (as if he could). Hammond was 38 — this was not an excess of youthful enthusiasm for the rope — and it was considered “extreme right-wing” even then. Much more recently — in 2013 — Hammond, then defence secretary, broke ranks with the rest of the cabinet to attack David Cameron’s plans to legalise same-sex marriage. He told BBC’s Question Time audience there was “a real sense of anger” among voters at the proposed change and that “I have just never felt that this is what we should be focusing on”.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

Ashcroft: How Rees-Mogg made his millions

“Once it was clear that Rees-Mogg’s demands would not be met by Lloyd George, he left the business, along with Johnson, Robertson and several other members of staff – and set up a venture of his own, Somerset Capital Management. Working from the basement of Rees-Mogg’s Mayfair townhouse, the newly formed company began operating in earnest in July 2007. Rees-Mogg has said that for the first few months he paid all the salaries out of his own bank account as the business got off the ground, and his pride in his subsequent achievement is palpable. In total, it had £400 million under management in its first year. By 2010, its clients included the household of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. SCM now employs 43 people in London and Singapore, and has $7 billion under management.” – Lord Ashcroft, abridged from Jacob’s Ladder: The Unauthorised Biography Of Jacob Rees-Mogg – Mail on Sunday

Hannan: Putin is still making excuses for Stalin

“Today’s anti-communist Russian regime has no reason to make excuses for Stalin. It is deliberately opting to do so. Just as Lenin chose to take up the strategic goals of Imperial Russia, so Putin chooses to inherit those of USSR, whose dissolution he has always regretted. Behind the playing down of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, behind the bizarre propaganda about Polish aggression, behind the puerile claim that Stalin had been forced onto the defensive, lies a conviction that Poland, the Baltic States, Moldova and even Finland are all, somehow, renegade Tsarist provinces. Just as Stalin was within his rights to reoccupy them so, implicitly, Putin is within his rights to regard them as protectorates.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • Why the UK hasn’t presented any specific, backstop proposal to the EU – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • It’s time for some perspective to replace the Operation Yellowhammer hysteria – John May, Brexit Central
  • Why the next Speaker should be a traditionalist – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • Backing for a second independence referendum in Scotland – Independent
  • Last of the summer whine – John Redwood
Read More

Newslinks for Friday 13th September 2019

Cabinet allies ‘urge Johnson to seek Article 50 extension’…

Boris Johnson has been urged by Cabinet allies to ask Brussels for a Brexit extension rather than disobey the law and risk a Jeremy Corbyn government. A Cabinet minister told the Telegraph Mr Johnson – who has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay – should back down and follow Parliament’s instruction to ask for a three-month extension if he cannot agree a deal. “The Government does not break the law,” the minister said.  The Prime Minister has staked his premiership on getting Britain out of the EU on Oct 31 “do or die” whether or not he can broker a new deal. The comments from the minister, a Brexiteer, are the first sign of a Cabinet split over Mr Johnson’s insistence that MPs cannot stop him taking Britain out of the EU without a deal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ministers don’t want to see Corbyn in Downing Street – Daily Mail

More:

  • New legal challenge could see judges sign letter instead – FT
  • Bercow vows to stop the Prime Minister breaking the law – The Guardian

…as Kwarteng is criticised for attack on judges…

“A government minister has been criticised for suggesting “many people” think judges are biased in relation to Brexit. The business minister Kwasi Kwarteng made the remarks after judges at the court of session in Edinburgh said the suspension of parliament was “unlawful”. When asked about the Scottish court’s judgment, Kwarteng told the BBC: “Many people are saying – I’m not saying this – but, many people … are saying that the judges are biased. The judges are getting involved in politics. I think that they are impartial, but I’m saying that many people, many leave voters, many people up and down the country, are beginning to question the partiality of the judges.”” – The Guardian

  • Crass Downing Street jibe unites Scottish politicians – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Government disowns attack on Scottish judiciary and tries to reassure Unionist allies

…who ‘pile on the pressure’ over prorogation

“Judges accused Boris Johnson of waging a “clandestine” operation to shut down parliament last night, hours after he denied lying to the Queen over his reasons for seeking the suspension. The Court of Session in Edinburgh issued detailed reasoning for its ruling on Wednesday that the five-week prorogation was unlawful. One judge accused Mr Johnson of failing “to give a proper and complete account of the executive’s true reasons for exercising the prerogative to prorogue parliament”. The ruling left Mr Johnson open to the accusation that he deliberately misled the Queen in applying for the measure, which he said was necessary to introduce legislation.” – The Times

  • Avoiding scrutiny only ‘rational’ reason for five-week span, court argues – Daily Telegraph
  • Court in Belfast dismisses legal challenge against No Deal – FT

Comment:

  • The Brexit crisis is political, and so too must be its resolution – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: If judges are seen to become political actors, corrosive media attention will surely follow

Letwin plans ‘zombie parliament’ to endure until next summer…

“Sacked Tory rebel Sir Oliver Letwin wants to create a “zombie parliament” by delaying Boris Johnson’s general election until next summer at least if he fails to get a new Brexit deal. He warned there was a cross-party majority in favour of blocking going to the polls until our EU split is resolved — either by passing a deal or holding a second referendum. Sir Oliver, a leading architect of the law to block a No Deal, said going back to the people to vote on Brexit must come first as an election would “muddle things up”. But Tory Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith accused him of “stabbing Conservative MPs in the back”.” – The Sun

  • Stewart urged to stand against Johnson at an election – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Forgiving the rebels would be a dangerous move for Johnson – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • How the Prime Minister joined the People’s Vote campaign – Pat McFadden, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “The landing zone”

…as Cummings tears up conference truce to keep up pre-election pressure

“Dominic Cummings has told Tory aides to ignore the conventional conference season truce as the gloves come off before an election. Boris Johnson’s chief strategist instructed special advisers to try to upstage Jo Swinson and Jeremy Corbyn, the rival party leaders, over the next fortnight with a series of high-profile events and policy announcements. The major political parties usually observe an unofficial agreement to allow each other a free run during their annual conferences. The truce generally holds. Conventional wisdom dictates that there is little point in seeking to upstage rivals’ gatherings, since media organisations have already committed resources to their coverage.” – The Times

  • Tory Brexiteers ‘urge Johnson’ to accept pact with Brexit Party… – The Sun
  • …as study shows Farage far more likely to pick up Labour Leave voters – Daily Mail

Has the DUP ‘opened the door’ to a deal with the EU?

“Boris Johnson was handed a lifeline by the Democratic Unionist Party last night when it agreed to shift its red lines in a move that could help to unlock a Brexit deal. The Times understands that, for the first time, the party has said it would accept Northern Ireland abiding by some European Union rules after Brexit in a deal to replace the Irish backstop. The DUP has also said privately that it would drop its objection to regulatory checks in the Irish Sea, which it had called unacceptable as this would separate Northern Ireland “politically and economically” from the mainland. In return Brussels would have to drop its insistence that Northern Ireland remain in a customs union with the EU.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister ‘handed Brexit lifeline’ – The Sun
  • Yet the Ulster party deny softening stance on backstop – The Guardian
  • Johnson says he has ‘rough outline’ of deal – Daily Mail

More:

  • Bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland a ‘very good idea’, says Johnson – The Times

Comment:

  • Leavers must unite around rebranded deal – Iain Martin, The Times

>Yesterday: Garvan Walshe’s column: No Deal has failed. The choice is May’s deal, no Brexit – or no United Kingdom.

Philip Collins: Johnson is a liberal, but he’s not a conservative

“When MPs responded with a new law compelling an extension to Britain’s membership of the European Union, No 10 left open the possibility that the prime minister might sit tight and refuse to obey it. When the Scottish court ruled that the suspension was illegal, Mr Johnson permitted his team in Downing Street to imply that the institutions of British justice leave a lot to be desired. Contradictory briefings on the options for an Irish border suggest little if any genuine interest in the future of the Union. Neither does the dismissal of Scottish courts as interfering busybodies. Whatever else, this is not the Conservative and Unionist party of old.” – The Times

  • He has no right to call himself a one-nation Tory – Lord Heseltine, The Guardian

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: The Prime Minister. He gets knocked down. But he gets up again.

Bercow vows not to let ‘limitations of the existing rulebook’ stop Parliament blocking No Deal

“John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, has warned Boris Johnson that he will allow parliament to do whatever it takes to stop the prime minister illegally implementing a no-deal Brexit on October 31. In a speech in London, Mr Bercow said he would permit MPs to indulge in “additional procedural creativity” if necessary to stop the prime minister sidestepping a law that was passed by the Commons this month forbidding a no-deal Brexit. Delivering the annual Bingham lecture in London, Mr Bercow said: “If we come close to [the prime minister ignoring the law] I would imagine parliament would want to cut off that possibility … Neither the limitations of the existing rulebook nor the ticking of the clock will stop it doing so.”” – FT

  • Speaker likens Johnson to a ‘bank robber’ – The Times
  • Jenkin says role has been ‘irretrievably politicised’ – Daily Express

Johnson to revive ‘Northern Powerhouse’ to woo Labour Leave voters…

“Boris Johnson will revive George Osborne’s northern powerhouse agenda today as he continues to woo Labour Leave voters. The prime minister will vow to “maximise the power of the north” in a speech in South Yorkshire and announce the creation of a northern powerhouse group tasked with boosting economic growth. “We are going to make sure that it is people here who are in control over the things that matter to them,” he will say. Mr Johnson will also restate his commitment to the Sheffield city region deal, designed to bring greater devolution and growth to the area, and to beginning negotiations on devolving powers to Leeds and West Yorkshire.” – The Times

Comment:

  • High time the North was fixed – Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham, Times Red Box

…as he promises to revive domestic violence legislation

“Boris Johnson vowed to introduce a new crack down on the “horrific crime” of domestic abuse in October. A new Domestic Abuse Bill would be in the Queen’s Speech when Parliament returns, the PM vowed. It follows an outcry over the fact that Theresa May’s long delayed legislation – forcing councils to provide shelter for victims – was dropped when Mr Johnson decided to ‘prorogue’ the Commons. Charities – outraged earlier this week by the knighthood for Sir Geoffrey Boycott – demanded a “clear pledge” from the PM to reintroduce the legislation in the Queen’s Speech on October 14… Mrs May’s bill was introduced with cross-party support in July.” – The Sun

Cummings’ ex-boss ‘lifts lid on controversial past’

“If Boris Johnson’s Brexit power grab is beginning to read like something out of a Soviet dictatorship manual, that may not be far wrong. The strategy that plunged the Tories and the nation deep into chaos in the past fortnight is masterminded by his special adviser Dominic Cummings – an admirer of the Bolsheviks’ methods. In his controversial career, the spin doctor who helped Leave win the 2016 referendum has been referred to as a “career psychopath” and “unelected foul-mouthed oaf”. More recently, he was dubbed the Prime Minister’s “Rasputin”. And yesterday, the man who gave Cummings his first job – in Russia – said he was obsessed with the Bolsheviks’ “ruthless seizure of power” in 1917.” – Daily Mirror

Labour prepare for Brexit ‘showdown’ at conference

“Labour is set for a fresh Brexit showdown at its annual conference as Britain’s largest opposition party remains deeply divided over its policy on the issue dominating domestic politics. Some senior figures are pushing for a clear Remain position when the party gathers in Brighton on September 21 as they grow alarmed at the “ambiguous” stance, whereby Labour would enter the expected imminent election promising to seek a new, improved withdrawal deal from Brussels and then put it to the country in a referendum. The lack of clarity threatens Labour’s prospects in a general election scenario, they fear. “It’s like having your hand in a blender, you have the choice of leaving it there or taking it out,” said one.” – FT

  • Eurocrats slam Labour’s ‘mad’ policy – Daily Mail
  • Watson accused of ‘sticking two fingers up’ to Labour voters – The Sun

…as McDonnell hints that Labour could back a four-day week

“Labour could back a four-day working week, John McDonnell suggested last night, despite a report commissioned by the party that warned against a cap on workers’ hours. Wage freezes followed France’s decision to introduce a 35-hour week two decades ago, the inquiry report, by the former Tory peer Lord Skidelsky, said. Asked whether Labour could back a four-day working week, an idea he described as “really interesting” last year, Mr McDonnell said: “Watch this space.” He welcomed the report, which also called for tax cuts for companies that reduced working hours and for the government to guarantee every adult a job. No price was put on the recommendations, but Lord Skidelsky warned they “will cost money”. Mr McDonnell’s comments provoked a backlash from business.” – The Times

  • Opposition planning £1.6 billion tax raid on private schools – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Momentum launch tool to help students register to vote – The Guardian
  • Party boss ‘met police in secret’ – The Times

Liberal Democrats want to give every adult £9,000 for learning

“The Lib Dems want to give every adult in Britain £9,000 tax-free to help them “learn” – a decade after sparking fury by backing £9,000 tuition fees on students. A motion at this weekend’s party conference will see Vince Cable push a £1.5 billion plan for a universal Education and Skills Account which would see the Government hand every person £3,000 when they turn 25, 40 and 55. They would get a top-up if ever they are laid off – or to “encourage workers to retrain into shortage occupations”. Details buried in documents for the party conference reveal: “We would make three contributions to PESAs, each worth £3,000 when 25, 40 and 55.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Gareth Streeter in Comment: An intelligent spending review could halt the Liberal Democrats in their tracks in the South West

News in Brief:

  • How the ‘Minister for the Union’ can live up to his title – Henry Hill, Bright Blue
  • What is Johnson’s next move? – Sunder Katwala, CapX
  • Will turning the Tories into the pro-Leave party pay off? – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • The EU’s soul-destroying rhetoric – Giles Fraser, UnHerd
  • New Italian administration could spring a surprise on the EU high command – Robert Fox, Reaction
Read More

Newslinks for Thrusday 12th September 2019

Scottish judges rule prorogation was ‘unlawful’

“Parliament will be recalled if the UK’s top court upholds a Scottish court’s explosive ruling that Boris Johnson gave the Queen unlawful advice, the government has promised. Downing Street was forced to make the pledge after outrage among Conservatives when a senior minister and an official at No 10 cast doubt on the impartiality of Scottish judges. A constitutional crisis provoked by the prorogation of parliament will come to a head in the Supreme Court on Tuesday after diametrically opposed rulings from judges in England and Scotland. This week parliament was prorogued for five weeks, the longest such shutdown since the Second World War.” – The Times

  • MPs used 300-year-old Scottish law to win – Daily Telegraph
  • Kwarteng accuses judges of ‘interfering in politics’ – Daily Mail
  • Eyes on Johnson over whether he misled the Queen – FT
  • Sturgeon slams Government for ‘bias’ jibe at Scottish courts – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister pans ‘anti-democratic’ Remainers for blocking election – The Sun
  • Belfast court to rule today on legal challenge to No Deal – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Ruling takes us into uncharted legal terrain – Michael Gordon, Times Red Box
  • Supreme Court would be wise to accept prorogation is political – Clive Thorne, Daily Telegraph
  • Parliament must be recalled – Joanna Cherry MP, Times Red Box
  • Remainers are confirming Leavers’ worst fears with litigation spree – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Court ruling plays into Johnson’s strategy – Henry Zeffman, The Times

Editorial:

  • Remainers hope courts will do their dirty work – The Sun

‘Yellowhammer’ worst-case scenario documents published

Boris Johnson has faced renewed pressure to recall Parliament after the Prime Minister was forced to publish its “worst case scenario” plan for a no deal Brexit, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer. The opposition seized on the release of Operation Yellowhammer assessments of the impact of leaving the EU without an agreement to insist MPs return to Westminster. However, the document, which was released following a vote in Parliament that demanded its publication, is already almost six weeks out of date, meaning it does not take into account Mr Johnson’s ramped up no deal planning in that time.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Food shortages, delays, and disorder – The Times
  • Or is it chaos, but no food shortages? – Daily Mail
  • Union warns Johnson not to make civil servants break the law – The Guardian
  • No Deal ‘existential threat’ to many Ulster businesses – FT

Comment:

  • Damage would pale in comparison to a Corbyn-led government – Liam Halligan, The Sun

Johnson offers ‘olive branch’ to rebels…

Boris Johnson has offered Tory rebels a way back into the party amid a growing split among Conservatives over his decision to kick them out. The Prime Minister instructed the Chief Whip to write to all MPs setting out the appeals process to restore the whip, which was described as a “ray of light” for the rebels by a senior party source. It comes amid growing signs Mr Johnson could be about to broker a Brexit deal over Northern Ireland for which he would need the maximum possible number of Tory MPs to get it through the Commons. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, have all urged the Prime Minister to offer an “olive branch” to some of the rebels.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Chief Whip opens door for favoured renegades – The Times
  • Prime Minister forced into ’embarrassing u-turn’ – Daily Express

…as he refuses to hand over private messages…

“Boris Johnson last night defied MPs’ orders that he publish private messages on proroguing parliament only hours after a court ruled the shutdown to be illegal. The prime minister rejected the demand by the Commons to see advisers’ communications, calling it “unprecedented, inappropriate and disproportionate”. He added that MPs were to blame for the “real failure of democracy” because the result of the EU referendum had not been honoured… In a letter last night to Dominic Grieve, the former Conservative MP who brought the motion, Michael Gove, who is in charge of no-deal planning, said the demand “goes far beyond any reasonable right of parliament”.” – The Times

…again rules out Ulster-only backstop in ‘People’s PMQs’…

“Boris Johnson has ruled out a Northern Ireland only backstop after an Irish EU chief said chances of a Brexit deal are rising. Bo-Jo told a People’s PMQ’s session that he “would not accept” any form of backstop in talks with the bloc because it “simply doesn’t work for the UK”. The backstop, the most controversial element of Theresa May’s deal, has been a constant stumbling block in Brexit negotiations. But the PM was handed a boost this week when Phil Hogan, a nominee for EU trade commissioner,  said the “penny had dropped” after he suggested an “all-Ireland” farming market after our divorce from the bloc.” – The Sun

  • Poll shows Northern Irish voters narrowly choosing Dublin – Daily Express
  • PSNI seeks 800 new officers to combat growing terror threat – The Guardian
  • Why does Johnson think he can bridge the Irish Sea? – Daily Mail

More:

  • Merkel insists there is ‘every chance’ a deal can be reached… – The Sun
  • …as she warns of danger to EU of ‘Singapore-style’ UK – The Guardian
  • France accuses Prime Minister of pursuing ‘mini-deals’ which undermine negotiations – FT
  • European Parliament to ‘raise alarm’ over treatment of EU nationals – The Guardian

…and rejects pact with the Brexit Party

“Allies of the prime minister attacked Nigel Farage yesterday and said that he should never be allowed “anywhere near government” as Boris Johnson appeared to kill off the Brexit Party leader’s hopes of an electoral pact. A senior Conservative source added that Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader, was not a “fit and proper” person. Mr Farage had told the prime minister that the Brexit Party could be his best friend or his worst enemy and that the Conservatives would lose a general election if he rejected a “non-aggression” agreement. However, a spokesman for the prime minister said: “The PM will not be doing a deal with Nigel Farage.”” – The Times

Shipbuilding ‘renaissance’ could save iconic Ulster firm

The fortunes of troubled shipbuilder Harland and Wolff could be revived with the announcement on Thursday of the preferred bidder to design new Type 31 frigates to be built in the UK. Work will commence before the end of this year with the first of at least five ships ready by 2023 as part of a pledge to expand the Royal Navy’s fleet over the next 20 years. British shipbuilders BAE Systems, Babcock and Atlas Elektronik UK are on the shortlist for the £1.25 billion contract to replace Type 23 frigates. The Babcock-led team, which the Daily Telegraph last month reported was set to win the tender, included Harland and Wolff before the 158-year-old company which built the Titanic went into administration last month.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Warship deal worth £1.3 billion – The Times
  • Lifeline for collapsed shipyards in Scotland and Northern Ireland – FT

More:

  • Midlands seeks £3.6 billion for regional rail projects – FT

Javid offers prospect of reprieve for hounded freelancers

“Freelancers who took advantage of tax avoidance schemes could be spared penalties worth billions of pounds after the chancellor ordered an independent review into the government’s policy to pursue them. Self-employed locum nurses, IT contractors, management consultants and other freelancers face fines totalling £3.2 billion after signing up to so-called disguised remuneration schemes to minimise their tax burden going back more than 20 years… Politicians, lawyers and campaigners have argued that HMRC has acted improperly in pursuing many of those who used such schemes.” – The Times

  • Treasury bows to campaigners’ demands to reconsider ‘retrospective tax’ – FT

More:

  • Hancock criticises Treasury for promising return of ‘cheap booze and fags’ – Daily Mail

Priti Patel and Gavin Williamson: Allowing graduates to stay shows we’re an outward-facing nation

“To be eligible for the graduate route, students will need to have successfully completed a course at undergraduate level or above at a reputable higher education institution. For two years after they have finished their studies, they will be able to get a job in any sector while they consider their career options. Once they have found a suitable role they will be able to switch to a skilled work visa. There will be no cap on the route; all graduates who meet the criteria will be able to apply. The UK is one of the most popular study destinations in the world, second only to the United States, but this is a crucial step in our efforts to attract even more of the brightest and best students.” – The Times

Rudd calls for proportional representation

“Amber Rudd is to use her first speech since leaving the government to call for cross-party efforts to consider proportional representation. In a speech to the Reform thinktank in London on Thursday evening, Rudd – who quit as work and pensions secretary and resigned the Conservative whip over Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans – will call for compromise on leaving the EU, warning that either no deal or revoking article 50 would risk public anger. The comments on electoral reform are more notable given they indicate a potential willingness among at least some senior Conservatives to consider replacing the current first-past-the-post system. Given the Brexit impasse, Rudd is to say, it is time to “ask ourselves some tough questions about whether our institutions remain fully fit for purpose”.” – The Guardian

Labour considers holding EU referendum before negotiating…

“Voters would face a re-run of the 2016 EU referendum under a Labour government, according to plans being considered by the party’s leadership. In a reversal of the present position, Labour strategists have drawn up a proposal to hold a second referendum as soon as the party came to power and before striking a revised deal with the European Union. Under the terms of the proposed referendum, Labour would revoke Article 50 if the Remain campaign prevailed. It would pledge to take Britain out of the EU on the “best possible terms” if the Leave campaign won again.” – The Times

  • Corbyn will let his MPs campaign for leave or remain – The Sun
  • EU officials regret alliance with the Opposition – The Times

Comment:

  • Watson has worked out that fence-sitting won’t work – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • But he’s wrong, we need an election before a referendum – Tom Kibasi, The Guardian

…as a score of Labour MPs signal they might back the Prime Minister if he comes back with a deal

“Up to 20 Labour MPs may be prepared to defy Jeremy Corbyn and support any revised Brexit deal that Boris Johnson is able to strike with the European Union, senior party figures believe… One senior Labour source said that about 20 of their MPs would vote for a revised Johnson deal even if the Labour leadership opposed it. “It is hard to calculate because you don’t know what the deal will be,” they said. “But if it is not that different from the current withdrawal agreement and the government had a realistic prospect of getting enough support on their own side I think you could see up to 20 of our lot backing it.”” – The Times

Read More

Newslinks for Wednesday 11th September 2019

Johnson ‘reassures DUP’ amidst fresh talk of separate deal for Northern Ireland…

“Boris Johnson is examining a backstop deal with the European Union that could split Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom behind a new trade border. Senior EU officials and diplomats said yesterday that the “all-Ireland” option appeared to be the prime minister’s plan after preliminary talks over the past week. Phil Hogan, Ireland’s European commissioner who becomes the EU’s trade negotiator in November, said the penny was “finally dropping” in London that the only alternative to a whole-UK backstop was to come up with specific arrangements for Northern Ireland. The plan, which would create a potential trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, is a red line for the Democratic Unionist Party, led by Arlene Foster, which vetoed the idea when it was suggested by the European Commission in 2017.” – The Times

  • Brussels senses London’s shift on the backstop – FT
  • Could ‘All-Ireland’ proposal break the deadlock? – Daily Telegraph
  • Would such a plan sell-out Ulster? – Daily Mail
  • Bridge to Ulster ‘could solve backstop problem’ – The Times

Ireland:

  • Ahern: any deal must be acceptable to the Democratic Unionists – The Guardian
  • Martin launches ‘scathing attack’ on Varadkar over No Deal readiness – Daily Express
  • Hogan: Johnson’s Brexit-hating nemesis – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Terrorists will fill Northern Ireland’s power vacuum – Sean O’Neill, The Times

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My Northern Ireland polling. Six out of ten voters there accept the backstop. But only one in five Unionists do so.

…as he tells rebels he is prepared for Brexiteer ‘spears at his back’…

“Boris Johnson told Conservative rebels he is preparing for “spears in my back” from party Eurosceptics in a sign he may now try to compromise on a Brexit deal. After a series of defeats for the Prime Minister, he has now hinted he is ready to soften his key demands that Brussels scraps the Irish backstop. Doing so would ignite confrontation with hardline Brexiteers of the European Research Group (ERG), who call themselves the Spartans. The backstabbing remark came during talks with some of the 21 Conservative MPs who were kicked out of the party for voting for a Brexit delay and defying the Government. Mr Johnson pleaded with the Remainer rebels and insisted he would need their support soon. He told them: “The spears in my back won’t be from you, they’ll come from the Spartans.”” – Daily Express

  • Crunch Cabinet talks amidst fears of no Brexit and no election until December – The Sun
  • Delay means UK will need to pick a commissioner – The Times

>Today: Robert Halfon MP’s column: The choice for Conservatives. Back the Prime Minister, or face election oblivion.

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: The former Conservative MPs who have lost the Whip all abstain on the Tory attempt to force an election

…whilst Downing Street prepares to clash with them over communications…

“Downing Street is on a collision course with Remainer MPs after they demanded Number 10 aides grant them access to their personal mobile phones in a bid to prove Boris Johnson suspended Parliament to avoid Brexit scrutiny. MPs voted by 311 to 302 in favour of telling Number 10 advisers to hand over WhatsApp, Facebook and text messages and for ministers to release their No Deal contingency plans in full. The MPs, led by former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve, set a deadline for the material to be surrendered of tomorrow at 11pm but today it appeared unlikely that the government will fully comply. Ministers are willing to publish a ‘revised’ version of their secret Operation Yellowhammer No Deal documents but the request for personal correspondence has sparked fury.” – Daily Mail

  • No Deal will cause resentment ‘on the scale of Thatcher’, says Stewart – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Polls show public want vote respected and end to uncertainty – Daily Telegraph
  • More than a third of Remainers ‘now want EU exit’ – Daily Express

Comment:

  • A small window Johnson might squeeze through for a deal – Matthew Lynn, Daily Telegraph
  • He can’t escape the clutches of May’s zombie Agreement – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Adam Honeysett-Watts in Comment: I voted Remain and backed a second referendum. But here’s why I now back Johnson.

…and Farage sets his price at ’80 to 90 seats’

“Nigel Farage has spelt out his price for an election deal with the Tories – to give his Brexit Party a free run in 80 to 90 parliamentary seats. In exchange, the anti-EU party chief has told No10 he would not field any candidates against sitting Tory MPs and in the Conservatives’ target seats. The landmark offer has been relayed to Boris Johnson by senior Tory figures after discreet conversations with Mr Farage opened up, The Sun has been told. The seats that Mr Farage wants Mr Johnson to abandon are ones where the Brexit Party or his old outfit UKIP have come second to Labour. They are spread across south Wales, the Midlands and the North East. The veteran MEP believes he can win “40 to 50” of them, giving him a major foothold in the Commons for the first time.” – The Sun

‘Monstrous’ Fixed-term Parliaments Act should go, say MPs

The government is coming under increasing pressure to scrap the ‘Kafkaesque’ Fixed-term Parliaments Act amid mounting criticism it has contributed to the political impasse over Brexit. Described as a ‘monstrosity’ by Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, the hastily drafted legislation – designed to hold the coalition government together in 2010 – has prevented Boris Johnson from calling a general election to break the deadlock because it requires the agreement of two thirds of MPs. On Tuesday night, former foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan, who tried to repeal the 2011 Act in a ten-minute rule Bill in 2015, said it had “catastrophic constitutional significance”. “We all understand why it came into being—it was to be the glue in the coalition Government after the 2010 election—but it should have had a sunset clause,” he said.” – Daily Telegraph

Daniel Finkelstein: Prime Ministers, not Parliament, must be able to call an election

“The idea of such a reform had been mooted many times by constitutional types and its objective was worthy: to remove from the prime minister what was regarded as an arbitrary power to call a general election at a moment that suited the governing party best. Worthy, but a bit pointless. What was the problem it was trying to solve? I can’t think of an occasion when this power to time general elections has given prime ministers a decisive advantage… Now, however, it is revealing itself as worse than pointless. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act didn’t make the power over elections disappear into thin air. Instead it handed that power to others in parliament. And this has, to say the least, not been an improvement.” – The Times

  • Prorogation? The real coup is how Remainers have tied up Johnson – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

Government to relax rules on overseas students

“International students will be allowed to remain in the UK for two years after completing their university studies while seeking work in a sharp reversal by Boris Johnson of tight controls imposed by his predecessor as prime minister. Mr Johnson said the “new route for international students to start their careers in the UK” would ensure the country was “open to the brightest and the best from across the globe to study and work”. The move followed longstanding warnings from the higher education sector that tough immigration controls were undermining the appeal of studying in the UK at a time it is facing uncertainties over Brexit and rising competition from other countries.” – FT

  • Visa climbdown allows graduates to stay for longer – The Times
  • Johnson accused of opening up ‘backdoor route’ to the UK… – The Sun
  • …as he insists he’s the most liberal Tory premier in decades – Daily Mail

Comment:

Cabinet 1) New roles for Truss and Goldsmith in mini-reshuffle

“Liz Truss has been made women and equalities minister and Zac Goldsmith promoted to attending cabinet as Boris Johnson conducted a mini-reshuffle on the first day of parliament’s shutdown. Truss was given the portfolio on Tuesday following Amber Rudd’s resignation on Saturday from that role as well as from her seat in cabinet as work and pensions secretary along with the Conservative whip in protest at the direction of Johnson’s Brexit policy. The new equalities minister is a rightwinger and free marketer who was an early backer of Johnson and entered his cabinet as international trade secretary, a role she will continue to hold. Truss voted for same-sex marriage but abstained on a vote to extend those rights to Northern Ireland.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Truss is the new Womens’ Minister, Goldsmith will attend Cabinet. The Government is reshuffled at Ministerial level.

Cabinet 2) Raab hits out at Iran for breaking word over tanker

“Red-faced Dominic Raab blasted Iran after a sanction-busting oil tanker released by Gibraltar turned up in Syria. The Foreign Secretary summoned the Iranian Ambassador to “condemn” Tehran for going back on its word not to flog its crude to Bashar al-Assad. The gaffe is likely to incense the US – which issued a warrant for the seizure of the Adrian Darya ship last month to try and prevent it sailing from the ‘Rock’. Iran’s foreign ministry on Sunday said the tanker had reached its final destination “on the Mediterranean coast”. Satellite imagery revealed it was off the coast of Syria… The tanker was seized by British marines in July when it was moored off the coast of Gibraltar for breaking EU sanctions on Syria.” – The Sun

  • Two British nationals seized by the Islamic Republic – The Times

Corbyn accused of plot to ‘turn the clock back’ with new rights

“Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of wanting to “turn back the clock decades” after vowing to introduce the biggest expansion of workers’ rights in British history. A ministry of employment rights, the return of sector-wide pay deals and a ban on unpaid internships and zero-hours contracts would be introduced under a Labour government. Speaking to the Trades Union Congress in Brighton, Mr Corbyn said that he wanted to put power “in the hands of workers”… Labour would create a secretary of state for employment rights and a workers’ protection agency to enforce rights, standards and protections so every job was a “good job”, he said. Collective bargaining would be introduced for whole sectors, with councils of worker and employer representatives charged with negotiating minimum terms, conditions and standards.” – The Times

  • Fury at proposals which would take Britain back to the 1970s – Daily Mail
  • Activists push for ‘radical’ manifesto – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Think Johnson bad on the rule of law? Corbyn would be far, far worse – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • His claim the economy is broken is manifestly ridiculous – The Sun

>Yesterday:

Labour divisions on Brexit ‘back in the spotlight’…

“Labour’s divisions over Brexit have burst into the open again, with Jeremy Corbyn and his deputy publicly supporting different policies on a second referendum. Tom Watson will today call for a fresh referendum to take place before any general election, saying that going to the polls with Brexit unresolved would not be desirable. This is a different sequence of events from Mr Corbyn’s plan, reiterated yesterday, in which the party would back a general election once the UK and the EU had agreed a Brexit delay and then seek to hold a referendum as the government. In a speech to the Creative Industries Federation today Mr Watson will say that a “Brexit election” may “seem inevitable, but that doesn’t make it desirable”, adding: “Elections should never be single-issue campaigns.”” – The Times

  • No appetite for Watson’s second referendum plan, MP admits – Daily Telegraph
  • Deputy Leader to break Labour’s Brexit truce – The Guardian
  • ’50 Opposition MPs’ could vote for May’s deal – The Times

More:

  • Party’s nominees for peerages stood against it in election – The Times

…as the Liberal Democrats promise to revoke Article 50

“The Liberal Democrats have hardened their position against Brexit by pledging to fight the next general election on a promise to cancel Britain’s departure from the European Union — a move that piles the pressure on Labour to shift stance. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has seen his party’s support eroded because of its relatively ambivalent position on the biggest issue in UK politics. By contrast the Lib Dems clear position on remaining in the EU has led to a revival in support after hitting rock-bottom in the 2017 general election. The party overtook Labour in May’s European elections and has seen a surge in membership in recent months. The Lib Dems hope that their new, unambiguous position will allow them to further eclipse Labour in the eyes of Remain voters.” – FT

  • Blair and Mandelson ‘pulling strings’ of ‘Remain Alliance’ – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Revocation is as undemocratic as the race to No Deal – Stephen Kinnock MP, The Guardian

Bercow criticised for prorogation ‘fracas’

“John Bercow was criticised by his Lords counterpart and a former Black Rod after parliament was suspended amid extraordinary scenes of protest in the early hours of yesterday morning. After Black Rod, the officer in the House of Lords who summons MPs to the upper chamber, arrived in the Commons, MPs held up signs saying “silenced” and shouted “Shame!” as a five-week prorogation began at 1.30am. Others shouted “No!” while Black Rod read out the words to begin the prorogation ceremony. Lloyd Russell-Moyle, 32, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, who seized the mace at the end of last year, briefly tried to stop the Speaker leaving his chair, forcing doorkeepers to intervene. Other MPs involved in the fracas included the shadow cabinet minister Dawn Butler, the Labour frontbencher Clive Lewis and Caroline Lucas, the sole Green MP.” – The Times

  • Government break with 250-year tradition to deny him a peerage… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but he still gets a ‘gold-plated’ £1 million pension – Daily Express
  • Did he fake his tears during resignation speech? – The Sun

More:

  • Westminster refurbishment takes centre stage in succession race – The Times
  • Harman vows to be ‘scrupulously neutral’ if selected – The Guardian

Comment:

  • In a crowded field, what was Bercow’s most partisan moment? – Benedict Spence, Daily Telegraph
  • Why I’m standing for the Speakership – Meg Hillier MP, Times Red Box

Editorial:

  • Rowdy scenes bring politics further into disrepute with the public – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The shocking truth about Commons disorder. MPs during Brexit “have been almost shamefully well behaved”

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: The next Speaker. Will MPs be guided by party or by prejudice?

Former Prime Ministers pay tribute to Ashdown

“Past prime ministers, present-day parliamentarians, diplomats and armed services personnel filled Westminster Abbey to pay tribute to former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, described as “ a man for ideals, not shabby deals”. Former premiers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Sir John Major joined Lord Ashdown’s widow, Jane, their two children, grandchildren and other relatives, at a service of thanksgiving. Ashdown died on 22 December 2018, aged 77, shortly after announcing he had bladder cancer. In an address that traced Ashdown’s life from “boisterous young Marine” to “elder statesman”, Major described him as a political opponent who had become a friend.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • What if Dominic Cummings is right? – Andrew Willshire, Reaction
  • Where will a general election be won and lost? – Matt Singh, CapX
  • Labour will not endorse Remain in a general election – Robert Peston, The Spectator
  • Is conservatism normalising the alt-Right? – Eric Kaufmann, UnHerd
  • Electoral reform should be on the agenda – Ben Ramanauskas, 1828

And finally… Robbie Gibb: my war against caterpillars

“For many months I have been waging a silent war against a determined threat to the British way of life — and it hails from Brussels. On a scale never seen before, our gardens are quite literally being eaten alive by a caterpillar that was imported (accidentally, I am sure) on the leaves of Belgian box hedges. Left unchecked, this invader threatens to destroy the much-loved traditional British garden box. These tight and neatly trimmed hedges shape modern gardens and are the perfect material for that most peculiar of this nation’s pastimes – topiary. But now, hedges and bushes are succumbing to the voracious appetite of the offspring of the box tree moth – a bright green caterpillar with a distinctive black stripe.” – Daily Mail

  • May’s flops did not deserve honours – Quentin Letts, The Sun

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Sir Craig Oliver might be forgiven a certain sense of satisfaction today

Read More

Newslinks for Tuesday 10th September 2019

Protests, and yelling from the chair, as Parliament is prorogued

‘Signs with “silenced” written on them were held by some Labour MPs, including Clive Lewis (Norwich South). Before walking to the Lords, Mr Bercow said of the protest: “I recognise that our presence is desired by our Majesty the Queen’s Commissioners. They are doing what they believe to be right and I recognise my role in this matter.” Mr Bercow added: “I’m perfectly happy to play my part, but I do want to make the point that this is not a standard or normal prorogation.” The Speaker continued: “It’s one of the longest for decades and it represents an act of executive fiat.” Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson (Pendle) shouted at the Speaker and left the chamber. In response, the Speaker said: “I don’t care if you don’t like it. I require no response from you young man. I require no response from you. Get out man, you will not be missed.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

  • Some Labour MPs try to hold the Speaker in the chair – The Sun
  • Mayhem dismays voters – Daily Mail

>Today:

Bercow announces his imminent departure

‘John Bercow announced he is stepping down after a decade as Speaker of the House of Commons with a swipe at Boris Johnson for his government’s perceived attacks on the UK’s parliamentary democracy. Mr Bercow said he would quit immediately in the event of MPs voting later on Monday for a general election next month. Otherwise he will stand aside on October 31, the day the UK is set to leave the EU. His last act would likely be to assist MPs in blocking a no-deal Brexit. In an emotional statement, the Speaker said the role had been “the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life” and he hoped his successor would continue to defend the role of parliament. “I wish my successor in the chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of honourable and right honourable members individually, and for parliament institutionally as the Speaker of the House of Commons,” he said.’ – FT

>Yesterday: MPsETC: MPs praising the Speaker’s record ought to read the Cox Report on the bullying of Commons staff

MPs vote to compel ministerial advisers to disclose private correspondence…

‘Rebel MPs last night ordered Boris Johnson’s aides to hand over secret messages they claim prove Parliament was shut down to force through Brexit. The PM has furiously denied the claim and says Westminster was ‘prorogued’ so he can set out his domestic plan. But in a blistering attack on No10, sacked Tory Dominic Grieve said public officials had told him the shutdown “smacked of scandal”. His motion to order nine No10 aides – including Dominic Cummings – to hand over their private emails and texts scraped through by 311 votes to 302. It orders No10 to hand over the messages and secret No Deal plans, known as Operation Yellowhammer, by 11pm on Wednesday night. The motion even asks for any messages, whether formal or informal, on the applications WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook messenger. But Downing Street immediately hinted they could defy the order, branding it “disproportionate and unprecedented”.’ – The Sun

  • Cox warns that the motion would ‘trespass on fundamental rights’ – The Times

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Ex-Tory MPs split three ways on the question of compelling advisers to publish private correspondence

…and reject an election yet again

‘The next general election will not take place before the Brexit deadline of October 31 after Boris Johnson pushed ahead with his historic suspension of parliament yesterday. The longest parliamentary session in modern history closed at the end of the sitting early today, removing any possibility that voters would be called to the polls next month. Opposition MPs and Tory rebels rejected for a second time the prime minister’s call for an October 15 election, insisting that a law blocking a no-deal Brexit must take effect first. Amid mass abstentions, 293 MPs backed the prime minister’s motion for a snap election and 46 opposed it. Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, Mr Johnson needed to secure votes from two thirds of MPs or at least 434.’ – The Times

  • The Prime Minister blasts ‘yellow belly’ Corbyn – The Sun
  • If you want a delay, ask permission from the people, Johnson argues – Daily Telegraph
  • The Tories and the Brexit Party must do a deal – The Sun Says
  • Either that or Johnson must squeeze Farage – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Downing Street demands ministers produce retail policies for conference speeches – The Times
  • Former Rudd adviser claims private polling shows the Conservatives would lose seats – Daily Mail

>Today:

Hints of a backstop shift as Johnson visits Dublin

‘Boris Johnson yesterday hinted that he could sign up to a watered down version of the controversial Irish backstop as government sources suggested that he planned to use the next five weeks to renew efforts to find a deal. Mr Johnson, speaking on the steps of Government Buildings in Dublin alongside Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said that a no-deal Brexit would be a “failure of statecraft”. He added that both sides needed to “find a way to ensure the UK is not kept locked in the backstop arrangement and there’s a way out for the UK”. Downing Street denied that Mr Johnson’s comments represented a shift in his position that the backstop needed to be scrapped entirely. However, government sources suggested that Mr Johnson was determined to use the weeks before an EU summit on October 17 to try to bridge the gap between Britain and the EU.’ – The Times

>Today: Simon Fawthrop on Comment: The letter requesting a Brexit delay was sent by carrier pigeon and arrived too late? What a shame.

May’s resignation honours list includes Timothy, Hill and Robbins

‘Theresa May has given honours to the two advisers blamed for her disastrous election campaign in a resignation list that also rewards the Downing Street team that failed to secure Brexit. Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, Mrs May’s former joint chiefs of staff, are both appointed CBE despite being forced to quit after the Conservatives lost their majority at the 2017 election. Mrs May subsequently failed to gain the support to pass her Brexit plan in parliament and resigned this year…Ben Howlett, who was MP for Bath until his defeat in 2017, said: “For those that lost their seats in 2017, this will go down like a cup of very cold sick.”’ – The Times

  • She is accuse of ‘rewarding failure’ – Daily Telegraph
  • John Mann gets a peerage – The Times
  • Knighthood for Boycott – The Times
  • Darroch becomes a Lord – Daily Mail
  • Two major donors are on the list – The Times
  • The former Prime Minister’s diabetes doctor is made a CBE – The Times
  • Robbins is off to work for Goldman Sachs – FT

Wallace: Withdrawing the Whip was brutal, but the 21 left the leadership little choice

‘It’s a question of what it means to be a party. It cannot mean agreeing on everything, or there would be 66 million single-member parties. But nor can it mean just a meaningless logo, with no coherence on ideas or policies. Some people are genuinely tribal, cheering on the badge and chauvinistically believe the best of their own and the worst of everyone else. But for most it’s about some type of common worldview, which you believe to be a better guide to running a country than the alternatives. It was rebellion against that fundamental principle, not simply internal disagreement, which cost the 21 the Whip – they didn’t vote against a policy, which happens all the time, they voted to strip their own party of power, and by extension to put a different, competing worldview into office. In practice, they’d already left their party. The loss of the Whip simply formalised that truth. That disciplinary action was brutal, controversial and costly. But it’s easy to lament and rather harder to suggest what alternative was available. Keeping those MPs on would either require the whole of the rest of the Conservative Party to subjugate its beliefs to theirs – 180,000 members doing what 21 wanted, regardless of the breach of promise to millions of voters.’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

Patel pledges longer sentences for ‘monsters’ who attack police

‘Home Secretary Priti Patel has called for urgent action over assaults on police with tougher punishments for the “monsters” who attack officers… Last year the maximum punishment for attacking an emergency services worker was increased to 12 months in prison. Speaking at the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) event she said: “We need a strong deterrent to make those thugs think twice. The Assaults on Emergency Workers Act was a start, but in its first six weeks only one in four people convicted of new offences were jailed and the average sentence was just over two months. I know the strength of these punishments is a matter of concern to you all, and I share those concerns.”‘ – The Sun

  • Senior officer admits the police cannot do what the public expect of them – The Times

Austin lambasts ‘completely unfit’ Corbyn

‘Mr Austin renounced his whip earlier this year to protest the “culture of antisemitism” he claimed took hold of the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership. In a two-minute tirade, Mr Austin said: “No other senior figure in the Labour Party’s history would have joked about lynching a female Member of Parliament. They don’t believe in the rule of law abroad either. They always back the wrong side whether it is the IRA, Hamas or Hezbollah who they describe as friends. No previous Labour leader would have supported brutal totalitarian leaderships such as Cuba or Venezuela who have absolutely no regard for the rule of law. And no previous Labour leadership would have allowed a party with a proud history of fighting racial prejudice to be have been poisoned by racism which is what’s happened under these people. Racism against Jewish people to the extent that members have been arrested on suspicion of racial hatred. The party itself has become the first in history to be investigated under equalities laws but are equalities and human rights commission. These people and the people around them are million miles away from the traditional, mainstream, decent policies of the Labour Party. They have poisoned what was once a great party with extremism. They cannot be trusted with the institutions that underpin our democracy. They are completely unfit to lead the Labour Party, let alone our country.”’ – Daily Express

CIA extracted senior covert source from Russia ‘due to Trump security concerns’

‘The US government extracted one of their most senior covert sources inside the Russian government in 2017 amid fears over how Donald Trump was handling intelligence, a US broadcaster has alleged. The secret removal took place amid fears over the individual’s safety and was successful, according to CNN, which broke the news. The decision reportedly came just weeks after a May 2017 meeting when Mr Trump is said to have discussed highly classified intelligence with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to America. CNN referred to a person said to be directly involved in discussions claiming the removal was driven in part by concerns over the handling of intelligence by Mr Trump and his administration. The CIA did not deny the source had been extracted in a comment given to CNN but categorically denied the suggestion that Mr Trump’s handling of intelligence “drove” the operation.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • The President denies knowledge of US airmen staying at his Scottish resort at taxpayers’ expense – Daily Telegraph
  • Putin’s party loses seats in Moscow elections – The Times
  • Freed Iranian tanker predictably sells its oil to Syria – The Times

News in Brief

Read More

Newslinks for Monday 9th September 2019

Johnson heads to Ireland amid fears of more resignations

“Against a backdrop of mounting disquiet inside government at Johnson’s gung-ho approach and the combative style of his chief strategist Dominic Cummings, the British prime minister hopes to demonstrate that he is serious about negotiating a fresh Brexit deal. When he returns from Dublin later on Monday, Johnson is expected to make a second bid to trigger a 15 October general election by asking MPs to support a motion tabled under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. But he is almost certain to be rebuffed for a second time, after opposition leaders agreed on Friday to reject a snap poll until a no-deal Brexit has been definitively avoided. The backbench bill aimed at blocking no deal is expected to receive royal assent on Monday. Rudd’s abrupt departure followed that of the prime minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, who resigned last week after 21 rebels lost the Conservative whip for supporting what Downing Street calls “Jeremy Corbyn’s surrender bill”. Rudd’s resignation on Saturday evening sparked fears of a domino effect, with other Tory moderates following suit.” – The Guardian

  • Varadkar plays down prospects of breakthrough – FT
  • Irish PM ‘conscious’ Johnson once voted for Backstop – Daily Telegraph
  • Northern Ireland-only Backstop on menu for meeting – Irish Times
  • Secret Brexit report warns No Deal ‘will cost lives in Northern Ireland’ – Belfast Telegraph
Comment
>Today:

Tory MPs urge Johnson to break law against Buckland advice

“Tory MPs are urging Boris Johnson to break the law so he can take the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31, leaked WhatsApp messages seen by BuzzFeed News reveal. The conversation took place in the Conservative MPs’ WhatsApp group over the weekend, with two MPs — Sheryll Murray and Chris Green — suggesting Johnson should ignore new legislation passed by Parliament last week that effectively outlaws a no-deal Brexit. In a sign of the extreme measures hardline Brexiteers are considering in order to force a no-deal, they had to be warned by justice secretary Robert Buckland that the government “observes the rule of law at all times and for all seasons”. There has been speculation at Westminster in recent days that Johnson could try to ignore the anti no-deal legislation, possibly by asking the Queen not to grant royal assent. The conversation began on Saturday evening, when government chief whip Mark Spencer told the WhatsApp group that Johnson is “flat out trying to get a deal”. – BuzzFeed

  • Buckland backs PM after conversation about rule of law – Twitter
>Yesterday:

Tory Brexit war explodes amid speculation more will follow Rudd out

“The hardline stance taken against the rebels by Number 10 has sparked widespread outcry on the Tory backbenches with Amber Rudd citing their treatment as one of her main reasons for quitting the government and surrendering the whip last night. Mr Johnson has said he wants to ‘build bridges’ with his former colleagues but the chances of that happening took a hit today as the rebels and members of the Johnson administration squared off in public. Ms Rudd’s resignation prompted numerous senior Tories to bemoan the decision and to praise her for her work in government. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said: ‘The Conservative party has always been a broad church shaped by those within it. ‘Gutted to see Amber leave – but hope other One Nation Tories will stay and fight for the values we share.’ But Mr Hammond responded to Mr Hancock: ‘Sorry Matt, I’m afraid the Conservative Party has been taken over by unelected advisors, entryists and usurpers who are trying to turn it from a broad church into an extreme right-wing faction. ‘Sadly, it is not the party I joined.’ The former chancellor’s comments prompted Conor Burns, one of Mr Johnson’s closest allies and an International Trade Minister, to hit back and accuse him of talking ‘absolute c**p’.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Smith threatens to quit and warns of Northern Ireland chaos after No Deal

“The Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith has threatened to quit the government unless Boris Johnson’s agrees to bring in emergency laws to protect the province in a no-deal Brexit. The Times understands that Mr Smith called for emergency legislation to govern Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit at cabinet on Tuesday and a meeting of Mr Gove’s Brexit operations committee on Friday. At that meeting he asked for his interventions to be minuted as he made a series of “apocalyptic” warnings about what would happen if emergency powers were not in place. He said he has been asking the Brexit strategy committee, chaired by the prime minister, to come to a decision on emergency powers for three weeks. Mr Gove was said to be “sympathetic” to his concerns. “He is very, very unhappy,” a government source said. “He’s on the resignation watch list. If you’re a minister and you don’t have the powers you need to govern Northern Ireland in the event of no deal you have to go. He was making apocalyptic warnings about the implications for security and policing in Northern Ireland.” – The Times

Coffey replaces Rudd as Work and Pensions Secretary

“Her campaigns include stopping the A14 toll, improving NHS experience for patients, better broadband, a fairer share of funding, preventing coastal and estuary erosion, rail improvements and improving skills and education. Coffey recommended pensioners should be forced to pay National Insurance in a paper for the Free Enterprise Group. The paper provoked a backlash among older constituents, who claimed that in an already tough economic environment, it was wrong to tax pensioners further. However, she said that she had “no regrets writing about National Insurance” and that it was “a policy proposal – it is by no means, at this stage, anymore than that.” Her website describes her interests outside politics as enjoying watching football, gardening and listening to music.” – The Sun

>Yesterday:

PM has plan to legally stop Brexit extension

Boris Johnson has drawn up plans to “sabotage” any Brexit extension without breaking the law, the Telegraph has learnt. It means Monday’s vote on a general election is the “last chance” for MPs to block a no-deal Brexit, the Government believes. The Prime Minister’s key advisers held a meeting on Sunday to thrash out a strategy to scupper Parliament’s efforts to force a three-month Brexit extension if no new deal is agreed. One plan under serious consideration would see the Prime Minister send an accompanying letter alongside the request to extend Article 50 setting out that the Government does not want any delay after Oct 31. On Sunday night, a Cabinet source told The Telegraph: “There is a prescribed letter that has to be sent… Does that stop the Prime Minister sending other documents to the EU? I don’t think it does. “A political explainer perhaps, as to where the Government’s policy is. It has to make clear that the Government is asking for an extension, but let’s not forget what the next step is. “Once that is done, the Europeans are going to ask: ‘Why? What is the reason?’ [What] if the Government said: ‘We don’t have any reasons for an extension’? “There is a clear path now: the Europeans need to refuse an extension.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson’s cunning plan – Daily Mail
  • As he intends to take fight to supreme court – The Sun
  • And he stokes flames by sticking to aggressive policy – FT
  • Critical day for Johnson as No Deal bill awaits Royal Assent – The Guardian
  • Meanwhile, MPs will seek demand papers on prorogation – The Times
  • And Tories will stand against Bercow – The Times
  • French minister threatens to veto three-month delay – The Times
  • France threatens to veto Brexit extension – The Guardian
  • Poll shows voters prefer Johnson to Corbyn – FT
  • ‘It’s Boris or me,’, what Jo Johnson’s wife told PM’s brother – Daily Mail
  • Stewart leads rebel Tories into election pact with Lib Dems – Daily Express
  • Sacked Tory rebels in shock bid to rejoin party – Daily Express
Comment

Or on the other hand, Johnson is in retreat over Brexit plan

“Boris Johnson has signalled to cabinet ministers that the government would have to accept a further three-month delay to Brexit if it is forced on him by the courts. In a private climbdown from his repeated insistence that Britain will leave the European Union on October 31, the prime minister has assured senior colleagues that he will “abide by the law”. The Times understands that Mr Johnson had been warned by several cabinet ministers that their positions would be untenable if he flouted a Supreme Court ruling ordering him to accept an extension. “The prime minister has assured me that we abide by the rule of law,” one said. Julian Smith, the Northern Ireland secretary, threatened to quit over the government’s failure to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.” – The Times

  • What is Johnson’s Brexit strategy now? – The Times
  • Brexit negotiating team shrinks to just four staff – The Times
  • EU talks stall as Westminster descends into chaos – FT
  • KPMG predicts No Deal recession in 2020 – The Guardian
  • Corporate warnings on Brexit soar amid No Deal fears – FT
Comment

Former cabinet colleagues accuse Rudd of being unprofessional

“The now former Work and Pensions Secretary kept her decision to walk out of government – and the party – secret from Boris Johnson as she lined up an interview with a Sunday newspaper. Downing Street became concerned that Ms Rudd was preparing a dramatic intervention in the Brexit debate on Saturday afternoon and the Prime Minister repeatedly tried to contact her. Mr Johnson finally managed to speak to Ms Rudd at just after 9pm on Saturday evening, and a senior Government source claims the news of her resignation was made public while the phone call was going on. Ms Rudd’s behaviour – as well as her attack on the Government’s Brexit strategy – were criticised by her former colleagues, with Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi saying: “When Boris Johnson invited colleagues to join his government he was explicit that we had to agree to his strategy of leaving on the 31st Oct with or without a deal.” – Daily Telegraph
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/08/cabinet-spat-amber-rudds-resignation-former-colleagues-suggest/
Raab hits back over Rudd resignation – Daily Telegraph

  • Insults fly as Rudd resignation triggers blue-on-blue warfare – The Times
  • Scottish Tories warn party may become unelectable ‘sect’ after Rudd resignation – Daily Telegraph
Comment
  • Rudd’s departure from DWP is bound to be destabilising, Patrick Butler – The Guardian

Nigel Farage: I am a 100% sincere in offering a non-aggressive pact with the Tories

“Boris Johnson is to be congratulated for sacking the 21 Tory MPs who voted to block a No Deal Brexit this week. It was a radical move on his part, but contrary to what the moaners and whingers have been bleating about, it was not without precedent in parliamentary history. Furthermore, the rebels knew exactly what they were doing. These self-serving men and women – many of them not proper Conservatives anyway – all received fair warning that their arrogance and disloyalty would have consequences. When you commit an act of political sabotage, you earn your punishment. Johnson’s decisiveness proves something much more significant than just his ability to bring his party to heel, however. For the events of this summer confirm that the centre of gravity in British politics is shifting inexorably in favour of Brexit. A much-needed realignment is taking place. I have been arguing for this for years and I am only too delighted that the swamp is being drained at last.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour
  • Labour could offer May’s deal or Remain in new poll, McDonnell hints – Daily Telegraph
Comment
>Today:
>Yesterday:
More
Comment
>Today:
News in Brief
Read More

Newslinks for Friday 6th September 2019

The ‘other Johnson’ quits Government over Brexit

“Boris Johnson’s brother yesterday became the first member of his cabinet to quit the government, saying that he could no longer resolve the tensions between family loyalty and the national interest. Jo Johnson said he was resigning as universities minister — a post that meant he attended cabinet meetings — and would also stand down as an MP. He is understood to have told friends that the sacking by his brother of 21 Conservative opponents of a no-deal Brexit had brought matters to a head. He had previously been a key member of the rebel group, having resigned under Theresa May to push for a second referendum. He campaigned for Remain in 2016.” – The Times

  • The inside story of a schism – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Agony’ before knocking big brother for six – The Times
  • Leader ‘begged’ brother not to do it… – The Sun
  • …but pays tribute to ‘fantastic’ sibling – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Friends bombarded him with calls to resign – John Kampfner, Times Red Box
  • Betrayal is a heavy blow to the Prime Minister – Rosa Prince, Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson needs to consider an olive branch – Sebastian Payne and George Parker, FT

The Prime Ministers vows to fight for a general election…

Boris Johnson will continue campaigning for an election he is yet to successfully call, after a torrid day in which his brother resigned from Government while describing being torn between family and “the national interest”. The Prime Minister will visit a farm in Aberdeenshire on Friday, to drum up support among voters, as opposition leaders continue their talks over how to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31. Labour and the SNP could again on Monday refuse to back the PM’s renewed attempt to get an early election, because of concerns the poll should be delayed until a Brexit deadline extension has been secured.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Poll shows decisive loss of support if Brexit is delayed – Daily Mail
  • He ruled out early election in Cabinet just days before seeking one – The Times
  • Downing Street secretly testing ‘trust the people’ as slogan – The Sun
  • Johnson and Farage could ‘crush’ Labour, poll suggests – Daily Express

More:

  • Johnson insists he would rather ‘die in a ditch’ than delay – Daily Telegraph
  • Government will not seek changes to extension bill – The Times
  • Prime Minister criticised for use of police for ‘political speech’ – The Guardian

Comment:

  • A speech to forget from a put-upon Johnson – Henry Deedes, Daily Mail

…as Tory rebels gear up to stand as independents…

“A series of Tory rebels are preparing to stand as independents in a snap general election in a fresh blow to Boris Johnson’s plan for a majority. At least 12 of the former Conservative MPs are contemplating a run in their seats against any official new party candidate, The Sun has been told. They are Philip Hammond, David Gauke, Dominic Grieve, Ed Vaizey, Sam Gyimah, Alistair Burt, Steve Brine, Caroline Nokes, Antoinette Sandbach, Rory Stewart, Margot James and Stephen Hammond. Even if the rebels fail to win them, the move could split the Tory vote and hand the seats to opposition parties, diminishing the PM’s chances of a majority. It came as Sir John Major last night demanded the PM reinstate the 21 rebels – and sack controversial aide Dominic Cummings in an extraordinary attack.” – The Sun

  • Javid wants rebels re-admitted ‘at some point’ – The Times

More Major:

  • Ex-Prime Minister urges Johnson to sack ‘anarchist’ Cummings – The Times
  • Tory MPs blame aide, not leader – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • My colleagues should not have been sacked, their constituents should judge – Lord Young, Times Red Box

…and Labour agrees ‘secret pact’ with the SNP to block poll before exit postponed

“Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford held a secret meeting over an election strategy yesterday with growing signs of a pact between Westminster’s two largest opposition parties. The Labour leader and the leader of the Scottish National Party at Westminster agreed that any snap election must not take place until after Britain had secured another Brexit delay from Brussels, ruling out Boris Johnson’s plan for a contest on October 15. The SNP is no longer demanding that an election be agreed by the end of next week. Mr Corbyn, meanwhile, appeared to have bowed to pressure from his shadow cabinet and backbench MPs not to sign up to Mr Johnson’s schedule.” – The Times

  • Plot to ‘trap’ Johnson into extending Article 50 – Daily Telegraph
  • Opposition will block election until Brexit is delayed – The Times
  • Union boss says Labour should back poll once bill is passed – The Guardian
  • Thornberry ‘ridiculed’ over Opposition’s Brexit position – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • However you cut it, an election would not be good for Labour – Martin Baxter, Daily Telegraph
  • Rebels should say no to an election at any time – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Election early, or late? Dilemma will decide future of Labour and Brexit – Sir John Curtice, The Guardian

Editorial:

  • Remainer MPs have broken politics more than the expenses scandal – The Sun

France warns that it might veto further extension as it ‘would not solve the problem’

“France has warned the Commons that President Macron could veto another delay to Brexit because the demand for a new extension “would not solve the problem”. MPs have seized control of Brexit by voting for legislation forbidding Boris Johnson to meet his “do or die” deadline for leaving the EU on October 31. The legislation requires the prime minister to ask for a new delay at an EU summit on October 17 by extending the Article 50 withdrawal process until February next year. Amélie de Montchalin, the French European affairs minister and lead negotiator on Brexit, said the plan would be rejected if it simply continued the parliamentary deadlock and political chaos in Britain.” – The Times

  • EU warns Johnson plan on rules will hinder talks – FT

Johnson’s agenda isn’t ‘hard right’, and he public know it

“The Tories have been “taken over by the hard-Right”, they say, indulge in “tub-thumping populism”, thuggery and even dictatorship. They lament that the once-broad Conservative clan has mutated into a cult that expels genteel types like Kenneth Clarke and Rory Stewart. And who could possibly re-elect a party now so visibly and embarrassingly captured by fanatics? But in the wider country, things look different. A great many people see in all of this a leader finally determined to act and break free of Parliament’s traps. The House of Commons may be revered by its members, but not by the public. A recent European poll shows just one in five Brits saying they “tend to trust” Parliament. Only the Bulgarians and Croats have less faith in their legislature.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He’ll need the Brexit Party to get his agenda through – Iain Martin, The Times

Gove to meet Irish Government

“Michael Gove is to meet Ireland’s deputy prime minister at the weekend for talks as tensions mount over Brexit and the Irish border. The chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster’s meeting with Simon Coveney in Cambridge will take place just before Boris Johnson’s visit to Dublin on Monday, when he will meet the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, for the first time since becoming prime minister. Both meetings come as the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said he was deeply concerned about reports that the UK was backsliding in Brussels talks regarding commitments on Irish matters in the joint report signed by Theresa May and the EU in December 2017.” – The Guardian

  • He says he would now vote for May’s Withdrawal Agreement – Daily Telegraph

Miller in court with legal challenge to prorogation

“Desperate lawyer Gina Miller and ex-PM John Major have launched their last-ditch court battle to stop Boris Johnson shutting down Parliament. The Remainer pair had their case heard at the High Court this morning where judges were told the PM’s decision to stop MPs sitting was an “unlawful abuse of power”. Miller, who challenged the Government at the High Court in 2016 over the triggering of the Article 50, joined forces with Tory grandee Major last week. Their case is being fought by Bo-Jo whose lawyers will argue that the advice given to the Queen was not unlawful. The PM previously warned the case could cause “catastrophic damage” to politics if it succeeded in stopping Brexit.” – The Sun

  • Government forced to reveal controversial memos – The Guardian

Williamson says free schools should ‘focus on troublemakers’

“Disruptive, troubled children thrown out of school or on the brink of expulsion are to be the new focus of the government’s free schools programme, the education secretary has said. Announcing a dramatic change of direction for the flagship policy, Gavin Williamson said that the alternative schools for these children were not good enough and “perpetuated a cycle” of underachievement which simply “shored up problems” for the future. The free school movement, with its emphasis on innovation and doing things completely differently, was ideally placed to provide better options for this neglected group, Mr Williamson said.” – The Times

  • Girls are getting further ahead of boys in key tests – The Sun

Comment:

  • A society which writes children off is not solving anything – Gavin Williamson, Times Red Box

Osborne ‘gives up’ on bid to be IMF chief

“George Osborne has abandoned his attempt to become the next head of the International Monetary Fund. Boris Johnson lobbied President Trump personally for the former chancellor in a phone call before the G7 summit last month. Mr Johnson was apparently still willing to nominate the editor of the Evening Standard but Mr Osborne threw in the towel. “The US administration was supportive and the UK was willing to nominate him but the feedback was that the European process was too far down the track,” a friend of Mr Osborne said. “He was pleased to get a lot of positive support including from the US and China but in the end it wasn’t going to be enough.”” – The Times

  • Economists claim banks’ no-deal warnings were ‘propaganda’ – Daily Telegraph

Liberal Democrats to announce two more defections this week

“Lib Dem chief Jo Swinson is poised to announce two more defections – after revealing ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger as the party’s latest recruit on Thursday. The Sun understands that ex-Labour backbencher Angela Smith and ex-Tory Heidi Allen will join over the coming week. All three were part of the breakaway Change UK party that formed in February but collapsed just months later.  Ms Smith could be unveiled as a Lib Dem MP as early as today. Ms Berger became the second MP to defect to the Lib Dems this week andMs Swinson boasted she was close to persuading Tory rebels on board too… Ms Swinson said she was in “conversations” with the 21 Tory rebels who Boris Johnson kicked out of the party for backing moves to delay Brexit.” – The Sun

  • Berger insists joining party is in the ‘national interest’ – The Times

Comment:

  • Conservative split could spark Gladstonian revival for Lib Dems – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • The old two-party politics is broken – Luciana Berger MP, Times Red Box

Pence talks up UK-US trade deal

“US Vice President Mike Pence gave Boris Johnson a much needed pre-election boost as said a bumper trade deal would quadruple business between the two countries. Donald Trump’s right-hand man met the PM for talks in No10 yesterday in a sign of the strengthening ties between Mr Johnson and the US President’s administration… In the meeting Mr Johnson again warned Washintgon Trump’s administration the NHS is “not on the table” during any post-Brexit trade deal with the US. The PM said he would not allow the health service to be carved up in trade talks with America and added that Britain was “not too keen on that chlorinated chicken”.” – The Sun

  • NHS not on the table, Vice-President told – The Times

Mugabe dies

“Brutal dictator Robert Mugabe has died aged 95 after battling ill health, it has been confirmed today. The former Zimbabwe president was remembered as a brave liberation hero who became a ruthless ruler and crippled his own country under a bloody reign of terror that lasted almost four decades. It was confirmed today that Mugabe had died while in Singapore with his family including wife Grace by his side. It is believed he had been receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness since April, with reports in November last year that he had been unable to walk. And as news of his death broke across the world, mixed tributes flowed for the man once feted as an African liberation hero and champion of racial reconciliation.” – The Sun

Read More

Newslinks for Thursday 5th September 2019

Johnson faces ‘desperate battle’ to secure an election…

“Boris Johnson faces an increasingly desperate battle to force a general election as his opponents plot to trap him in office but without power until after the next Brexit delay. The prime minister suffered two more defeats in the Commons last night as MPs first voted to compel him to secure another extension and then denied him the poll he wants on October 15. His motion to force a general election failed to secure the support of two thirds of MPs — 434. The Commons voted 298 for and 56 against after Labour abstained. Jeremy Corbyn said that he would back another general election once the Brexit delay bill had become law. The Labour leader faces a full-scale rebellion if he seeks to force his MPs to vote for an election before October 31.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister to make emergency speech attacking Corbyn’s “cowardly assault on democracy” – Daily Express
  • Day of defiance and defeat puts Government on the defensive – The Times
  • Johnson will try to ‘ram through’ an election on Monday – The Sun
  • More than 100,000 apply to register to vote – The Guardian
  • Has the Prime Minister got any cards left to play? – Daily Mail

…as Labour gripped by own turmoil over vote…

“Jeremy Corbyn was at odds with his own party over a general election last night as Labour MPs tried to force him to delay any vote to go to the polls until November. Despite having called for an election repeatedly over the past two years, Labour has been in chaos over whether to back Boris Johnson’s request for a vote on October 15. Yesterday, the tensions burst into the open as senior Labour MPs demanded that the party wait until a Brexit extension past October 31 had been secured before backing a poll. They said Labour should withhold consent until after the Prime Minister had been forced to request a delay from Brussels. However, Mr Corbyn – who has insisted over and over that he wants an election – hinted that he might agree as soon as next week. He suggested he would once a Bill to tie the Prime Minister’s hands has received royal assent.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour plots to delay poll until November – Daily Telegraph
  • Opposition MPs ‘at odds’ over election – The Times
  • Could Corbyn take office without an election? – Daily Express
  • Is he the most dangerous chicken in Britain? – The Sun

Comment:

  • Why Europe fears an early Brexit election – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

…peers abandon bid to filibuster anti-No Deal bill…

“The House of Lords has agreed to get the Benn bill ruling out a no-deal Brexit through all stages of parliament before it is suspended by Boris Johnson. Around 1.30am on Thursday following late-night debate, peers were told it had been agreed that the bill – which has been passed by rebel Tories and opposition MPs in the Commons – would be returned to the lower house by 5pm on Friday, ruling out the prospect of attempts at a filibuster. It could then be voted on again by MPs on Monday and presented for royal assent, the Lords heard. Peers are set to debate the Benn bill itself and amendments on Thursday. Baroness Smith, Labour’s leader in the House of Lords, said the opposition supported the move, and hoped there would be “no further frustrations” of the bill on Friday.” – The Guardian

  • Government drops resistance to end ‘key barrier to Labour support’ for an election – Daily Mail

…and rebels plan to stand as ‘Independent Conservatives’

“Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Rory Stewart are all expected to try to stand as independent Conservatives in a general election after being stripped of the party whip. Tory rebels were waking up yesterday to the reality of the first day outside the party that some had served for nearly five decades. A total of 21 Tory MPs, including two former chancellors, were sacked in alphabetical order on Tuesday night, with some receiving the news by text message. Now independent MPs, they signalled their determination to fight Boris Johnson’s decision with their first act yesterday, taking their seats on government benches… Mr Hammond has vowed to give No 10 the “fight of a lifetime” to prevent it stopping him standing as a Conservative candidate. Several of the group are understood to be prepared to stand as “independent Conservatives” in their constituencies.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister bets on ballot-box dividend from risky gamble – FT
  • He’s told to ‘rein in’ Cummings – The Times
  • Cabinet members demand u-turn over whip – The Sun
  • So too do ‘over 100 MPs’ – Daily Mail
  • Pressure builds as Party anger mounts over expulsions – The Times

Comment:

  • Why I joined the Conservative revolt against No Deal – Guto Bebb MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Party haunted by ghost of Peel – Lord Lexden, The Times
  • Cummings has gatecrashed a great Party, and must go – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Jenni Russell: It is too early to say that Johnson’s plan isn’t working

“The country is being played on a grand scale by the men in Downing Street. Nothing is as it seems. Boris Johnson wanted and intended to lose his historic vote. The headlines declaring he has lost control are only half right. Johnson and his chief strategist, Dominic Cummings, deliberately planned and engineered last night’s defeat, goading the Commons into opposing him; he was lying to his party, parliament and the country when he claimed that he was being pushed into calling an election. An early election that he could deny seeking is exactly what he has been scheming to achieve ever since he took power. And although elements of this strategy went badly wrong this week it is just plausible that Johnson’s tactics of deception could give him victory still.” – The Times

  • He’s gambling it all on an election that will transform Britain – Robert Shrimsley, FT
  • Corbyn holds the reins, and the narrative of the election is already shaping up – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • The Conservative and Brexit parties must reach a formal compact – Rod Liddle, The Sun
  • Three thoughts to give Tory strategists insomnia – Alex Dawson, Times Red Box
  • Brexit has read the rites over British Conservatism – Philip Stephens, FT

Court rejects bid to block prorogation

“Boris Johnson got a boost today after Brexit wreckers’ bid to stop him shutting down Parliament failed in court. Lord Doherty ruled that suspension of parliament is “political territory” and courts cannot rule on it. And he added: “Accountability for the advice is to Parliament and ultimately the electorate and not to the courts. “In my opinion, there has been no contravention of the rule of law.” More than 75 campaigners and MPs had challenged Boris’ plans to prorogue Parliament from next month. Last week he revealed plans to shut it down for five weeks so Britain can prepare for a new Queen’s Speech. But Remainers were in uproar, accusing him of destroying democracy.” – The Sun

Javid finds billions for ‘decade of renewal’

“Sajid Javid promised a “decade of renewal” yesterday after years of austerity as he embarked on a multibillion-pound spending spree, with extra cash for health, schools and the police. In front of a raucous House of Commons the chancellor set out plans to increase spending by 4.1 per cent or £13.8 billion next year, focused on the “people’s priorities”. He told MPs: “We are turning the page on austerity and beginning a new decade of renewal. A new economic era needs a new economic plan and today we lay the foundations with the fastest increase in day-to-day spending in 15 years.” Labour criticised the announcements as “grubby electioneering”. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, told Mr Javid “not to insult the intelligence of the British people”. He said: “They’re pretending to end austerity . . . it’s almost [as if] they forget they’ve been in government for nine years.”” – The Times

  • Chancellor signals radical shift in strategy – FT
  • National campaign to recruit 6,000 police officers launched – Daily Telegraph
  • Social care and schools also benefit – The Sun

Comment:

  • End to austerity… and Tory prudence – Philip Aldrick, The Times
  • This Government will show police officers the respect they deserve – Priti Patel MP, Daily Telegraph
  • We’re spending money on what people care about – Andrea Leadsom MP, Times Red Box

Carney says No Deal won’t be as bad as the Bank of England anticipated

“Britain’s economy will not be as badly damaged as feared by a worst-case scenario Brexit because of preparations made by several sectors, according to the Bank of England. Mark Carney, the governor, said that measures taken by ports in the UK and France and a last-minute concession by Europe over trillions of pounds of complex financial contracts had lessened the likely impact of a disorderly departure from the European Union. In a letter to the Treasury select committee, he said that Britain would still plunge to a severe recession but GDP would contract by 5.5 per cent over the course of the contraction, not the 8 per cent forecast by the Bank in November. That compares with Britain’s 6 per cent peak-to-trough contraction during the financial crisis. Mr Carney added that there was almost no chance of the Bank reversing its hands-off stance on sterling by intervening in foreign exchange markets to support the pound if it fell sharply after Brexit.” – The Times

Patel ‘backtracks’ from plan to end freedom of movement

“Priti Patel has backtracked on the government’s promise to end free movement immediately in the event of a no-deal Brexit, instead returning to the previous policy of giving new EU migrants three years’ temporary leave to remain. The announcement vindicates repeated warnings from lawyers and policy experts that bringing a hard stop to free movement on 31 October – as Number 10 pledged last month – would be impossible to implement in such a short space of time. They also warned it would leave Boris Johnson’s new government open to legal challenge. Ms Patel said on Wednesday she would revert to her predecessor’s no-deal plan to replace freedom of movement. This would grant all EU nationals entering the UK between the planned Brexit date of 31 October 2019 and the end of 2020 a three-year temporary leave to remain.” – FT

  • She admits it will continue until 2021 under No Deal – The Sun

Labour MP demands Johnson apologise for comments

“A Sikh MP demanded Boris Johnson apologise for comparing women in burkas to letterboxes in an astonishing Commons showdown yesterday. Labour MP Singh Dhesi ambushed the new Prime Minister over his “derogatory and racist remarks” made in a newspaper column last year. The astonishing confrontation, which came in Boris’ first ever PMQs, shocked the Commons. And in a rare move, MPs on the Opposition benches erupted into a round of applause for Mr Dhesi – the first turban-wearing Sikh in the Commons… The PM hit back, insisting he defends the rights of people to wear what they want.” – The Sun

Read More

Newslinks for Wednesday 4th September 2019

Government defeated in crucial vote

“Boris Johnson lost control of Brexit last night as MPs paved the way for an extension of the October 31 deadline. The prime minister also faced being unable to carry out his threat of calling a snap election after suffering a humiliating defeat in his first Commons vote. MPs took control of the parliamentary agenda by 328 votes to 301, a majority of 27. The government confirmed that it would strip the whip from the 21 Conservatives, including nine former cabinet ministers, who rebelled. The vote means that legislation forcing Mr Johnson to secure another Brexit delay is likely to pass today as opposition parties and Tory rebels combine to stop a no-deal exit next month.” – The Times

  • Who were the 21 Tory rebels? – Daily Telegraph
  • Former Chancellor led ‘Remain coup’ against the Prime Minister – The Sun
  • ‘Day of reckoning’ as enemies close in on all sides – The Times
  • Raab warns that No Deal law will cost taxpayers £1 billion a month – The Sun
  • Prime Minister urges Commons not to undermine negotiations – The Times

More:

  • Prorogation plan was approved weeks ago – The Times
  • Emails revealed to legal challenge – The Sun

Corbyn refusing to support call for a general election

“Jeremy Corbyn will block Boris Johnson’s attempts to call a snap election today as the Labour leader was accused of leading a “junta” to stop Brexit. Boris Johnson has been forced into seeking a general election 
after Tory rebels united with Remainer MPs to seize control of Parliament to delay Brexit. He lost his first vote as Prime Minister by 328 to 301 after 21 Tories rebelled, and said he would pursue an election if Parliament votes in favour of a Bill to delay Brexit until Jan 31. The legislation will be rapidly forced through the Commons between 3pm and 7pm today, before passing to the House of Lords. To kill off the bill, the Prime Minister will ask MPs to approve plans for an election on Tuesday Oct 15 so that voters can settle the question of UK-EU relations once and for all.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Opposition to let Johnson ‘stew in his own juices’ – The Times
  • Labour ‘split’ on strategy – FT
  • Thornberry clashes with Hoey over bill – Daily Express

More:

  • What might be the outcome of an election? – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson ‘delays polling day’ to accommodate Jewish voters – The Sun
  • What can the Prime Minister do today? – Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • Voters will take their revenge on shameful Remoaners – The Sun
  • What next? – The Times

William Hague: Forget prorogation, we need a dissolution now

“We have a parliament that cannot go backwards, forwards, or agree to sit still. It is unable to agree on the best or prepare for the worst. While we should not blame all the individuals in it, many of whom have striven to avoid this paralysis, the collective effect of this Rubik’s Cube of a House of Commons is that it cannot properly serve the country in any scenario that we can now construct. It is the most seriously defunct Parliament of modern times. There is only one solution to that. It is the one adopted in each of our serious constitutional crises of recent centuries. In 1910, when the Lords refused to bow to the elected government; in 1831, as the arguments raged over the Great Reform Act; in 1784, as the Commons rebelled against the King’s choice of ministers, the argument was settled by the electorate being asked to choose a new parliament. The right course for Boris Johnson is not to prorogue Parliament but to seek to dissolve it.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Fixed-term Parliaments Act has made this Brexit mess even worse – Catherine Haddon, Times Red Box
  • Prorogation may prove to be an election-winning move – Professor Sir John Curtice, Daily Telegraph
  • The Government can’t govern, Parliament can’t decide… what a toxic mess – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

More;

  • No Deal is preferable to Corbyn, and that will be the choice – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • Johnson’s bold plan is the only way to avoid becoming a laughing stock – Leo McKinstry, The Sun
  • Democratic crisis goes deeper than Brexit – Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian

Cox reportedly warned Johnson his backstop demand was a ‘fantasy’

“Boris Johnson was reportedly warned by Geoffrey Cox that his plan to delete the backstop from the Brexit divorce deal was a ‘complete fantasy’ and would put the UK on course for a No Deal split from Brussels. The Attorney General is believed to have urged the Prime Minister to drop his hardline negotiating stance and instead pursue a compromise on the Irish border protocol. Meanwhile, Mr Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, is alleged to have described Brexit re-negotiations as a ‘sham’. Downing Street has furiously denied the accusation levied at Mr Cummings. But Theresa May’s former chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, has claimed he has heard the ‘same reports’ regarding the comment as he also insisted he was ‘sometimes misreported’ when he was in Number 10.” – Daily Mail

  • Johnson forced to deny claim of ‘sham’ talks – The Times

Wallace says rebels have no legal right to remain Conservative candidates…

“But Tory sources said it was impossible for a candidate to stand if the leadership had withdrawn the whip. One source pointed to the example of former Tory vice-chairman Howard Flight, who was sacked by the then leader Michael Howard in the run-up to the 2005 election after making unauthorised comments about plans for Tory spending cuts. Mr Howard withdrew the whip from him, leaving him unable to stand at the election just six weeks later. Mark Wallace, of the Conservative Home website, said: ‘Philip Hammond was readopted perfectly validly, but that’s not an unassailable, inalienable status. If he loses the whip, effectively ceasing to be a member of the Conservative Party’s Approved Candidates List, then he would cease to be eligible to be nominated as the official Conservative candidate come election time.'” – Daily Mail

  • Hammond vows to fight on ‘as a Tory’ – The Times
  • Davidson joins backlash against decision to remove the whip – The Guardian
  • Chief of Staff ‘ranted’ at rebels in Downing Street – Daily Telegraph

…as the Government loses its formal majority as Lee crosses the floor

“Boris Johnson’s Conservative party lost its working majority in the House of Commons on Tuesday, as former minister Phillip Lee defected to the pro-Remain Liberal Democrats in a day of high Brexit tension. Dr Lee, a general practitioner who served as justice minister, crossed the floor of the Commons chamber as Mr Johnson delivered a statement on the recent G7 summit. As one of the few Tory MPs in favour of a second Brexit referendum, he had long been expected to leave the party. A member for 27 years, he bid farewell to the Tories, saying that the party had become “a narrow faction” that is “infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism”. Dr Lee said that the Liberal Democrats were “best placed to build the unifying and inspiring political force needed to heal our divisions”.” – FT

  • Liberal Democrat activists resign over his admission – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Why am I quitting as an MP? Marxist Corbyn and job-destroying Johnson – Justine Greening MP, Times Red Box
  • Johnson has every right to strip rebels of the whip – Iain Duncan Smith MP, Daily Telegraph

Bercow criticised for using Gove’s children as basis for ‘scathing’ personal attack

“John Bercow was blasted last night for using Michael Gove’s children in a scathing personal attack on the MP. The divisive Commons speaker ranted at Cabinet minister Mr Gove about his behaviour at the school gates. In an extraordinary blast, the Remainer Speaker even appeared to name the school attended by Gove’s children, in a shocking breach of family privacy. He said: “I say to the Chancellor of the Duchy, that when he turns up at our school as a parent, he’s a very well-behaved fellow. He wouldn’t dare behave like that in front of [the school] and neither would I.” Red-faced Bercow, 56, croaked: “Don’t gesticulate, don’t rant, spare us the theatrics, behave yourself.” He then screamed: “Be a good boy young man – be a good boy.”” – The Sun

  • He’s accused of getting ‘too personal’ – Daily Mail
  • I’m just backing the Commons, Speaker insists – The Times
  • Tories considering plan to stand against Bercow at election – Daily Telegraph

Javid adds £2 billion to Brexit preparation fund

“Sajid Javid is to announce another £2 billion for Brexit projects today including one to develop Britain’s own global navigation satellite system. The money comes on top of an additional £2.1 billion pledged last monthincluding more funds to ready the country for a no-deal exit. It takes to £8.3 billion the total set aside since the referendum by Philip Hammond and Mr Javid, his successor as chancellor, to prepare for Brexit. Among other projects that Mr Javid has approved in the one-year spending round is one that he was denied when home secretary under Theresa May. Mr Hammond refused to agree his bid for extra cash for Border Force, prompting one of several rows that dogged their relations. Brexiteers accused Mr Javid’s predecessor of deliberately withholding proper funding to frustrate the credibility of any threat to walk away without a deal.” – The Times

  • Recession ‘highly probable’ in the event of a crash-out Brexit – FT
  • Gove promises to prop up firms hit by no-deal tariffs – The Times
  • World business groups warn against cliff-edge exit – The Guardian

More:

  • Javid sounds death knell for Retail Price Index – FT

Comment:

  • No Deal will only prolong economic uncertainty – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon to demand referendum powers

“Nicola Sturgeon is to demand the power to hold a second Scottish independence referendum. The SNP leader vowed to pass a law on the issue by the end of 2019, with a view to holding the vote in the second half of next year. The last Scottish independence referendum was held in 2014, with the ‘No’ campaign securing 55 per cent of the vote to the nationalists’ 45 per cent. Previous First Minister Alex Salmond said in a 2014 TV interview that the previous vote was a ‘once in a lifetime’ event, although he later denied having said that. Speaking in Holyrood today, Ms Sturgeon said it ‘now seems inevitable that there will be an early UK general election’. She added: ‘Let me be crystal clear today – the SNP will put Scotland’s opposition to Brexit and our right to choose independence at the very heart of that contest.'” – Daily Mail

  • Sorry Nicola, the UK is strong enough to survive Brexit intact – Ruth Davidson MSP, Daily Telegraph

Government accused of ‘taking MPs for a ride’ on HS2

“The government was accused of attempting to mislead parliament over the cost of HS2 yesterday after it emerged that the line needed a further £32 billion to be fully built. Labour claimed that successive Conservative transport ministers had allowed legislation on HS2 to pass through parliament despite widespread suspicion that it could not be constructed for the existing budget. In July Nusrat Ghani, the transport minister, told parliament that the programme could be delivered in line with its previous £56 billion budget. It could now cost up to £88 billion. The legislation needed for phase one of HS2 between London and Birmingham gained royal assent in February 2017, allowing the company behind the project to proceed with detailed ground investigations and demolition.” – The Times

  • Project to be delayed by up to five years as costs spiral – The Guardian
Read More

Newslinks for Tuesday 3rd September 2019

‘I don’t want an election. You don’t want an election…’ – Johnson lays out an ultimatum

‘Boris Johnson has issued a final Brexit ultimatum to rebel MPs by pledging to call a snap general election next month if the House of Commons pushes ahead with a bill tabled by a cross-party group of backbenchers seeking to block no deal. In a carefully choreographed sequence, Johnson held an emergency cabinet meeting, addressed Conservative MPs at a Downing Street reception and then made a live television address outside No 10 to say there were “no circumstances” under which departure from the EU would not happen on 31 October. Johnson said in his televised address, which was punctuated by chants from protestors at the gates of Downing Street, that he did not want an election. But No 10 briefings openly threatened one on 14 October if rebels did not back down.’ – The Guardian

>Today: Stephen Booth’s column: The No Deal paradox. If it stays on the table, there may yet be a deal. If it’s taken off, that’s unlikely.

>Yesterday: WATCH: The Prime Minister – “There are no circumstances in which I will ask for delay. We are leaving on 31 October, no ifs or buts.”

Remainers publish Bill intended to bar the Prime Minister from leaving without a deal

‘The alliance of Remainer Tories and opposition MPs yesterday published a bill that makes a No Deal exit on October 31 illegal. If it’s passed, it compels the PM to ask the EU for and also accept an extension of Article 50 talks until January 31. The law also allows the EU to set an even longer extension with the Commons’ approval. In an extra lock, only a successful vote in the Commons will allow the UK to leave on time without a new agreement in place. The European Union (Withdrawal) (no 6) Bill will be voted on by MPs tomorrow. First, the alliance of MPs will try to win a vote tonight to seize control of Parliament’s timetable.’ – The Sun

>Today: Stewart Jackson on Comment: No Conservative MP acting in good conscience can back today’s ploy to defy the people

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Hammond’s reading of the 2017 manifesto is more than a little selective

Tory rebels will lose the Whip, and thereby be deselected

‘A group of at least 11 confirmed rebel Tory MPs could by thrown out of the party if they try and block No Deal Brexit later today and tomorrow. Boris Johnson threatened to remove the whip and deselect Conservative MPs who vote to pass a law in the Commons stopping the UK from crashing out of the EU on October 31. Tory sources said any Conservative MP voting against the Government would have the whip removed and face the effective end of their careers. Mr Johnson held a crisis meeting yesterday with his Cabinet and spent yesterday afternoon privately urging Tory MPs to fall back into line.’ – Daily Mail

  • Hammond says he will fight deselection – Daily Mail
  • MPs may undermine the government, but it’d be silly to imagine that is without consequences – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister ‘conceded’ Leavers could be deselected for voting against a deal, too – The Times
  • It turns out he meant ‘do or die’ – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Swinson has a little list of seats where the Lib Dems would stand aside for Remainer Tories – The Times
  • Leo Docherty’s brother writes to him saying he should resign – The Guardian
  • The realignment of British politics is well underway – Stephen Davies, Daily Telegraph
  • Lords Speaker appeals to Johnson not to pack the House with allies – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Grieve today, Francois tomorrow? The rights and wrongs of withdrawing the whip from Conservative rebels.

Corbyn says he is ‘delighted’ and ‘ready’ for an election

‘Jeremy Corbyn proclaimed himself “delighted” last night at the prospect of a general election despite warnings from his party not to back Boris Johnson’s proposed date for a snap poll. Speaking at a rally soon after the prime minister’s October 14 gambit emerged, the Labour leader said: “I am proud to lead our party, I’m proud to take the fight to the Tories and I will be delighted when the election comes. I’m ready for it, you’re ready for it, we’re ready for it. We’ll take the message out there and above all we will win for the people of this country.”’ – The Times

  • McDonnell introduces him as ‘Britain’s next socialist Prime Minister’ – Daily Mail
  • Many in his party are not so keen – The Sun
  • Tory donors rally to support ‘over 100’ target seats – Daily Telegraph
  • Downing Street is polling ‘culture war’ issues – Rachel Sylvester, The Times
  • Momentum’s conversion to anti-No-Deal helps the Tories – Ross Clark, Daily Telegraph
  • Blair: I hate Brexit so much I’d vote for Corbyn – The Times
  • Leak alleges Cummings called continued negotiations a ‘sham’ – Daily Telegraph
  • The EU prepares to use natural disaster fund to cover No Deal losses – Daily Telegraph
  • Leak alleges Cummings called continued negotiations a ‘sham’ – Daily Telegraph
  • The EU prepares to use natural disaster fund to cover No Deal losses – Daily Telegraph
  • German manufacturers already suffering – FT

Javid and Hancock: We’re putting more money into training NHS staff

‘The single most important part of any public service is its people. And nowhere is this more true than in the NHS. Three-quarters of the NHS budget goes on staff, and rightly so, because how we care for our 1.3 million NHS workforce will ultimately determine how well they can care for us. So today we’re announcing that the spending round will include a £210 million funding boost for frontline staff: every nurse, midwife, and allied health professional will receive more than £1,000 each, over the next three years, in the form of a personal development budget. They will be able to use these dedicated funds to learn new skills and new specialisms, undergo professional training so they are up to date with new techniques and new treatments, and so they can meet the changing needs of the NHS and patients. Nursing staff will be able to change jobs more easily if we help them obtain advanced practice. They will be able to work in different parts of the health service, places where their skills may be in greater need.’ – Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock, The Times

HS2 costs rise even further, as the timetable slips

‘Ministers are poised to announce that HS2 will be delayed for up to three years and come in £24billion over-budget. The first leg of the new high-speed rail line between London and Birmingham was due to open in 2026 but is now expected to be put back until 2028 or 2029. Meanwhile, the budget for the whole project — including phase two from Manchester to Leeds — is expected to rise from £56billion to £80billion. The Government will unveil the updates in a Commons statement later this week, the Birmingham Live website reported. The delay is not thought to be as a result of the root-and-branch review of the entire HS2 project ordered by Boris Johnson last month.’ – The Sun

Williamson ‘will always back’ headteachers who expel disruptive pupils

‘Head teachers will have the government’s full backing if they expel or suspend badly behaved pupils from their schools, they have been told. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said that heads must be able to enforce “proper and full discipline” for children to get a decent education. On a school visit he said a “crack team” would work with schools that struggle with behaviour, and that there were plans to set up “behaviour hubs” to help teachers to maintain “safe and disciplined” schools. Mr Williamson said: “Any head teacher who makes the decision to either suspend or expel a pupil because they need to do it in order to be able to enforce proper and full discipline in their school, and making sure that they’re protecting the whole interests of the school, will always have my backing. We have empowered them to make that judgment. We have empowered them to make sure that they protect the interests of all the children in that school. That’s what I will always and consistently do.” The number of permanent exclusions has hit its highest level for almost a decade, with 42 children a day being thrown out of school.’ – The Times

  • Ofsted plan to judge schools on ‘cultural capital’ is attacked as ‘elitist’ – The Guardian
  • Heads object to new tests – The Guardian
  • Moped crime halves after police start ramming criminals off bikes – Daily Mail

Labour would introduce massive tax rises and launch a raid on pension pots

‘Corbyn will impose a £26billion tax bombshell on Brits if he becomes PM, shocking new research warns. Labour’s hard-left leader has promised £250bn of extra spending over the next decade. He has vowed to end austerity, pour cash into railways and roads, and reverse most benefit cuts. But Labour has also promised to cut public debt – meaning they will have to slap tax hikes to bankroll their spree. Critics said the brutal figures show that a Corbyn government would leave many hard-working Brits poorer. Kristian Niemietz, from the free market think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, warned Brits already have to pay more tax than at any point in the past 40 years… Meanwhile, a separate study by law firm Clifford Chance warned that Labour plans to seize a staggering £300bn of company shares will hit pensioners and see investors flee Britain. The analysis found that a staggering £31bn will be wiped off the value of pension pots.’ – The Sun

  • And that’s just for starters. Is this what Tory Remainers want to usher in. – The Sun Says
  • Their economic madness would make No Deal look like a picnic – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • A ruinous revolution – Daily Mail
  • McDonnell’s buy-to-let claims are bogus, his neighbours say – Daily Mail
  • Who’s who in Corbyn’s Kremlin – FT

Hong Kong’s Lam says she would apologise and resign if she was free to do so

‘Carrie Lam has said she would quit her post as Hong Kong’s chief executive if she had a free hand, after causing “unforgivable havoc” by triggering the territory’s political crisis. “If I have a choice, the first thing is to quit, having made a deep apology,” she said in an audio recording of remarks made to a group of businesspeople. She added that she had “very limited” room for manoeuvre because the public unrest had become a national security and sovereignty issue for Beijing. She was required by the constitution to “serve two masters: the central people’s government and the people of Hong Kong”.’ – The Times

Read More

Newslinks for Monday 2nd September 2019

Johnson threatens to kick rebels out of the Party…

“Boris Johnson raised the stakes against Tory rebels last night by promising to remove the whip from any who vote to block a no-deal Brexit and ban them from standing as a Conservative candidate at the next election. The prime minister issued the threat as opposition leaders and some Tories prepared to force through legislation compelling the government to secure another delay if there was no agreement with the European Union. No 10 is braced for John Bercow, the Speaker, to allow the coalition opposed to no-deal to seize control of the Commons agenda as soon as MPs return from their summer break tomorrow.” – The Times

  • Withdrawing the whip could cost the Government its majority – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister viewed as strong, decisive… and dishonest – The Times

…as Gauke says rebels are prepared to defy the whip anyway…

David Gauke has signalled that he and other Tory rebels are prepared to sacrifice their careers as Conservative MPs this week to vote with the opposition to block a no-deal Brexit. Ahead of a monumental battle in Parliament this week, the former justice secretary claimed that if MPs did not step in to prevent no-deal they would be “complicit in something that will be very damaging for this country.” Responding to Boris Johnson’s ultimatum to Tory MPs opposed to no-deal, Mr Gauke accused the Prime Minister of attempting to Conservatives into “a Brexit Party”. He added that the Government appeared to be “goading” party rebels to vote for legislation to extend Article 50 in order to call a general election and “purge” those standing in the way of no-deal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson cancels ‘peace talks’ as dissidents accuse him of hypocrisy – The Times
  • Remainers finally unveil ‘futile’ plot – Daily Express
  • Claim that the Prime Minister is trying to ‘provoke an election’ – Daily Mail

…Williamson hints that ministers could resist anti-No Deal law…

“A second cabinet minister has suggested the government could ignore laws to block a no-deal Brexit. Gavin Williamson said it would be “perfectly normal” not to enact such legislation straight away, adding: “We would be looking at what the impact of the legislation would be on the government’s negotiating position.” The education secretary’s comments in an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain follow Michael Gove’s refusal to guarantee that Downing Street would be bound by any bill passed by parliament this week. MPs are expected to initiate efforts tomorrow to pass a bill which would prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal on October 31.” – The Times

  • Gove: Government will ‘wait and see’ what legislation is proposed – Daily Telegraph

…and Tories may stand against Bercow at next election

“Conservative Brexiteers could mount a challenge to John Bercow at the next election to punish him over claims that he is biased towards Remainers. By tradition the Commons Speaker is not opposed by the main parties in a general election, in recognition of the role’s independence. However, mounting anger over Mr Bercow’s willingness to help the government’s opponents has prompted calls for a Conservative rival to stand in his Buckingham seat. Mr Bercow interrupted his holiday in Turkey last week to issue a statement in which he condemned the planned prorogation of parliament for five weeks as a “constitutional outrage”.” – The Times

  • Bercow will bend the rules again, warns former Black Rod – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Brexiteers must bring the Speaker down – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph
  • People need to trust the umpire for the game to work – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

Gove launches No Deal public information campaign

“Michael Gove’s £140million public information campaign was launched on Sunday with a full run down of the facts for the public. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster stated that the “Get Ready for Brexit” campaign will give “everyone” from business owners to hauliers and EU citizens, “the facts they need” to prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU on October 31, according to The Sunday Telegraph. The campaign reportedly includes advertisements and interviews in order to reassure the public against statements made by Remainers.” – Daily Express

  • He admits that food price rises are ‘a threat’ – The Times

More:

  • Doctors warn that NHS will face ‘disintegration’ – Daily Mail
  • Lawyers say that UK can’t stop free movement swiftly – The Sun

David Davis: Futile games in the Commons only damage our negotiating position

Put aside the hyperbole and exaggeration about “the death of democracy” and “constitutional outrage” that have accompanied the Prime Minister’s plans to prorogue Parliament. It is actually a sensible strategy that can potentially reset the tortured Brexit negotiations…By reducing the options of unreconciled Remainer MPs, and making it abundantly clear that no deal is much more likely and that Parliament cannot block it, Boris Johnson has signalled to the EU that they need to focus on what a new Withdrawal Agreement would look like. At the very minimum it needs to be shorn of the backstop.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prorogation leapfrogs Brexit to be top news story – Will Clothier, Times Red Box
  • If only the Remainer rabble would see light, like the Archbishop of Canterbury – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Javid ‘caught off guard’ by surge in defence spending

“Boris Johnson intervened to double an increase to defence spending next year in a move that raises fresh questions about Sajid Javid’s independence. The Treasury initially intended defence spending to keep pace with inflation with a settlement in Wednesday’s spending round of £800 million. That has been increased to £1.6 billion after the intervention of the prime minister, according to Whitehall sources. It will allow Mr Johnson to claim that the UK has not only met the Nato benchmark of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence but that the target has been exceeded.” – The Times

  • Chancellor pledges £5 million for new office for veterans – The Sun
  • Teachers receive biggest pay rise for new starters ‘in decades’ – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • More splash-the-cash short-termism – Richard Partington, The Guardian

Rudd launches new site to help parents find work

“Amber Rudd has declared: “I’m backing parents” as she launches a new website to help them find jobs with flexible working hours. The site collates thousands of roles best suited for parents juggling childcare with a career. The Work and Pensions Secretary said she still remembers waving her own children off on their first day of school, and recalled the difficulties of balancing parenthood with her career. She is launching the new jobs site tomorrow, and says the scheme will make it easier than ever for parents, especially mothers, to find or return to work.” – Daily Express

Labour 1) Share giveaway would ‘cost £300 billion’

“Labour’s plans to give shares to workers would amount to a confiscation of shares worth £300 billion in 7,000 big companies, according to research. Under a Labour government’s “inclusive ownership funds” every business with more than 250 workers would transfer 10 per cent of its shares to staff over a decade. An analysis of official figures shows that the transfer would be worth between £270 billion and £300 billion, dwarfing the size of previous interventions designed to redistribute income. Clifford Chance, a law firm which produced the research with the Financial Times, said that there was “no historic precedent” for such a large-scale state appropriation of wealth.” – The Times

  • McDonnell declares war on buy-to-let landlords – The Guardian

Labour 2) Blair warns Corbyn to avoid election ‘elephant trap’

“Tony Blair will today warn Labour not to fall into the ‘elephant trap’ of forcing a snap election, as senior party figures remained hopelessly split on the issue. In a speech in London, the former prime minister will say the ‘right way’ to consult the public on Brexit is through a second referendum, not a general election. Labour is divided over whether to push for a formal vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson that could lead to a snap poll. But Mr Blair will warn that forcing an election would play into Mr Johnson’s hands.” – Daily Mail

Read More

Newslinks for Sunday 1st September 2019

Johnson warns Tory rebels – ‘it’s me or Corbyn chaos’

“In his first newspaper interview since becoming prime minister, Johnson delivers an ultimatum to former ministers leading the charge against him to pick a side. About 20 have talked about breaking away from the party if he makes them fight a snap election on a no-deal manifesto. Locked in the deepest constitutional crisis for a century, the prime minister promised to unveil the “biggest, most generous spending review since the height of Tony Blair’s New Labour” in Wednesday’s spending review. Local councils will get £3.5bn extra — the first real-terms rise in their budgets for a decade — with £1bn earmarked for social care. “We need to put a tiger in the tank, put our pedal to the metal, foot to the floor,” he said. “We’re putting a huge amount into social care, into schools, into transport and education.” But Johnson also warned Conservative MPs intent on “parliamentary shenanigans” this week to block a no-deal Brexit that they would make it “impossible” for him to get a new deal with Brussels and would put Corbyn in power. Johnson accused the Labour leader of having “made a historic decision to turn his party into the anti-democratic, referendum- cancelling party”. – Sunday Times

  • Exclusive interview with Johnson – Sunday Times
  • Senior rebels threaten to stand as independents – Sunday Times
  • Johnson considers expulsion of Tory rebels as Barnier rules out backstop change – Sunday Telegraph
  • And he will call election in days if No Deal blocked – Sun on Sunday
  • Europe alarmed by ‘brutal’ Johnson – Sunday Times
  • Rees-Mogg dares Remainers to bring Johnson down – Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson allies threaten to topple Bercow – Mail on Sunday
  • Anti-Brexit MPs could have Parliament passes deactivated – Sun on Sunday
  • Johnson and Farage ready for polls – Sunday Express
  • No Deal Brexit plan – ‘to turn blind eye at border’ – Belfast Telegraph
  • Welby calls for Remainers to stop whingeing – Sunday Telegraph
  • Investors pull billions from UK at prospect of No Deal – FT
  • A voters’ guide to the blizzard of spending pledges from No 10 – Sunday Times
Comment
Davidson
>Today:
>Yesterday:

Michel Barnier: No change to backstop until deal agreed

“More than three years ago, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Shortly afterwards, the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, said that this meant that the UK would leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. The current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed this position. The consequences of these decisions are clear: they create barriers to trade between the EU and the UK that do not exist today. After two years of painstaking talks, the EU and the UK reached an agreement on operational solutions for a whole range of areas where the UK’s withdrawal creates uncertainty: first, how do we make sure that UK and EU citizens continue to enjoy their existing rights, with strong enforcement mechanisms and life-long guarantees? What happens to researchers or organisations in the UK that receive EU funding? What should we do after Brexit with the extradition of criminals that began under EU law? How should we make sure that Cypriots living in the UK Sovereign Base Areas continue to enjoy their rights under EU law? It is now nine months since the 27 EU governments reached an agreement with the UK on the terms of an orderly withdrawal and on the framework for the future relationship. So far, the House of Commons has failed to approve the agreed package. Some MPs voted against it because they do not want Brexit at all, others because they would prefer a “no-deal” outcome.” – Sunday Telegraph

Comment

…..meanwhile end to freedom of movement postponed

“The government’s plans to end freedom of movement at midnight on October 31 have been torn up after lawyers warned that ministers risked losing a court case that would derail no-deal preparations. Priti Patel, the home secretary, signalled last month that freedom of movement would legally end when the UK leaves the EU. However, plans to change the law in one move were shelved when lawyers hired by the Home Office said this could cause chaos. Freedom of movement for EU nationals was to be abolished using the upcoming Immigration Bill, but that will not become law in time for the Halloween deadline. Ministers then explored plans to use provisions in the European Union Withdrawal Act that would allow ministers to change the law without primary legislation. The government’s no-deal war cabinet — known as the XO committee — was told last week that doing so would result in ministers being taken to court, where they would have a 70% chance of losing.” – Sunday Times

And Gove accused of watering down No Deal report

“Sources familiar with the document, which was compiled by the Cabinet Office, described the version being prepared for release to the public as “soft soap” and “neutralised”. It comes in the wake of last month’s leak to The Sunday Times of the “Operation Yellowhammer” planning assumptions, which stated that the UK faces fuel and food shortages, a meltdown at its ports and an expected hard border with Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The document was dated early August. A Westminster source said: “This document is currently being neutralised, with all emotive language being stripped out. It’s going to be an update of the leaked version, but it is being made bland.” A senior Whitehall source, who is familiar with the Yellowhammer file, added: “The public aren’t going to be fooled by a document that looks dramatically different from one compiled just over a month ago. How can things have changed so much in this short period?” Last night opposition MPs fired a warning shot at Michael Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who is responsible for no-deal planning, calling on him to be transparent with both parliament and the public.” – Sunday Times

Michael Gove: Parliament must give PM space to deliver Brexit deal

“At times in the last three years it has seemed that Parliament will do anything but the one thing it promised. To honour the democratic vote to leave the EU. Instead of coalescing behind a deal to get us out, Parliament has quibbled, prevaricated, delayed and disappointed. The Commons has repeatedly said what it won’t accept, but has never accepted that we are here to serve the people and respect their decision. The Labour Party, in particular, has been guilty of the most spectacular bad faith. They promised on page 24 of their 2017 election manifesto to honour the referendum result but then, with some honourable exceptions, have consistently voted not to. The Prime Minister has made clear that we will, at last, honour the referendum decision. We will leave on October 31, deal or no deal. And, already, that resolution is helping us secure a solution. EU leaders are now ready to talk about a different way forward. As of next week we will be in talks with the EU to try to find a new deal which can command the confidence of the Commons. The EU knows that a deal which has failed to pass the Commons three times cannot be brought back unamended. The only possible way forward that has ever commanded a majority in the Commons was the principle put forward by my colleague Sir Graham Brady – that the central issue with the Withdrawal Agreement has always been the backstop. Until now, the EU has refused to entertain that idea. Now they are shifting.” – Sunday Telegraph

Protests against suspension held across UK

“Thousands of protesters turned out at scores of demonstrations across the UK on Saturday aimed at forcing Boris Johnson to reverse his decision to suspend parliament for five weeks in the run-up to the October 31 departure from the EU. However, while Another Europe is Possible, the main organiser of the protests, expressed satisfaction at the scale of the turnout in Westminster, outside the prime minister’s official residence, participation appeared to fall well short of their predictions that hundreds of thousands would attend. Demonstrators outside the gates of Downing Street shouted, “Boris Johnson, shame on you.” Addressing a rally just over a mile away at Russell Square, Keir Starmer, the opposition Labour party’s Brexit spokesman, told a group of a few hundred demonstrators that it was necessary to defeat the “slide into Trumpian politics”. “Johnson wants to shut down parliament to silence us,” he told the crowd. “He is scared of scrutiny, of accountability.” The protests had been hastily organised — under the hashtag #StopTheCoup — in the wake of Mr Johnson’s announcement on Wednesday that he had asked the Queen to allow him to prorogue — or suspend — sittings of parliament from the week starting September 9 until October 14. The move has been widely interpreted as an effort to prevent MPs from legislating to prevent the UK from leaving the EU on October 31 without an exit agreement.” – FT

  • Tens of thousands march against ‘the coup’ – Sunday Times
  • How a secret plan sparked uproar – Observer
  • From Bodmin to Berlin crowds vent their fury – Observer

Cummings accused of using armed officer to humiliate Khan

“The Prime Minister’s all-powerful Brexit chief Dominic Cummings has been accused of using an armed officer to humiliate a female aide by marching her out of No 10 after he sacked her. Colleagues claimed that Mr Cummings had used the officer to escort Sonia Khan, 27, embarrassing her over a political feud. But Scotland Yard insisted that it was ‘standard practice’ for Downing Street visitors to be escorted off the premises after a meeting. Ms Khan, one of Sajid Javid’s top advisers, was fired by Cummings on Thursday evening for allegedly misleading him over the extent of her contact with Philip Hammond – her former boss at the Treasury and an avowed opponent of Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy. The sacking left Mr Javid ‘absolutely furious’ and he confronted an ‘apologetic’ Mr Johnson on Friday to demand an explanation about why Ms Khan had been escorted out of Downing Street by police. Attention was drawn to the armed officer who escorted Ms Khan from No10, with a former colleague saying that it was done to embarrass and upset a ‘young female aide’. One ex colleague said: ‘Dozens of visitors leave Downing Street through the front door without a pass every day without being escorted.’ – Mail on Sunday

  • Hammond calls spad sacking ‘implausible’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Cummings faces inquiry after aide is ‘marched’ out of Downing Street – Sunday Times
  • And he is a ‘Maoist’ say French – Sunday Times
  • PM urged to launch inquiry into ‘reign of terror’ – Observer
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