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Infrastructure 1) Johnson on Heathrow: It’s a fantasy that should be consigned to a dustbin. He is frozen out of the Cabinet committee considering the decision. Ministers set for a free vote.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-07-54-56“The study exposes in glaring detail the weaknesses and omissions in the Howard Davies Airports Commission report. As I’ve advocated for many years Heathrow expansion is the wrong choice, and if it is chosen it simply won’t get built.” The massive costs and enormous risks mean it’s undeliverable, and the taxpayer will be saddled with the bill for failure. While we are finding this out our international competitors will be further extending their competitive advantage over us. We need to consign this Heathrow fantasy to the dustbin. We need a better solution.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Foreign Secretary flies in as Ukraine crisis worsens… – The Independent
  • …and he says that migrant boats should be sent back to Libya – Daily Express
  • Why oh why does Johnson sit with his legs so wide apart? – Tom Utley, Daily Mail

Infrastructure 2) Hinkley Point decision – the day after

“The prime minister’s blessing for Hinkley following a surprise last-minute review removed the final obstacle to construction of Britain’s first new nuclear plant for a generation after almost a decade of planning, political disputes and delays. The project, expected to meet about 7 per cent of domestic electricity demand, will be led by French utility EDF, one-third financed by state-owned Chinese nuclear groups. They have an option to construct a further plant at Bradwell in eastern England that would involve the first Chinese reactor built in the developed world.” - Financial Times

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Bad policy, good politics. May had no choice.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-08-01-16“Theresa May inherited a poisoned chalice. The energy world has changed utterly over the last decade as climate policy drives a massive global push for renewable power, transforming the calculus of future costs. “It looks like a contract that was written five years ago on a business case that was probably pulled together 10 years ago,” says ScottishPower. Cancellation of the project would have led to a diplomatic rift with China and France at moment when Britain needs friends to manage the fall-out from Brexit. It would have fed a global perception that the UK was walking away from commitments, and left the Treasury open to very costly lawsuits. The Prime Minister’s hands were tied.” – Daily Telegraph

  • This behemoth helps only France and China – Matt Ridley, The Times (£)
  • Decision best taken by government, not the market – Martin Wolf, Financial Times
  • “The Prime Minister may have had no option but to approve the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point if only to make sure the lights stay on.” - Daily Mail Editorial
  • No more dithering – let Hinkley begin – Daily Telegraph Editorial

> Yesterday: James Heappey on Comment: May is right to give Hinkley the green light

At Women To Win event, Prime Minister urges fathers to talk to daughters about current affairs – as hers did

“The Prime Minister urged fathers to talk to their daughters about current affairs to ensure more women fulfil their potential and become MPs. Mrs May was speaking in a video for Women2Win, a Tory party campaign she helped found over a decade ago to get more Conservative female candidates elected to Parliament. She lost her father, Hubert Brasier, a village vicar, when she was 25, after he was killed in a car accident. Mrs May, an only child who lost her mother a year later, said: ‘My father encouraged me, whatever job I did, to just get on with it and to do my best. I enjoyed talking current affairs so I got an early interest in politics. ‘And he always encouraged me to see no boundaries, no barriers, just go out there and do the best that you can and aim high.’ Mrs May said as a founder of the group she had seen many women successfully elected as Tory MPs.” – Daily Mail

May and Grayling mull tougher sentences for texting drivers

GRAYLING Murnaghan“Number 10 and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling are considering how they can toughen the penalties to deter drivers from even thinking of checking their phones while driving. The Department for Transport this week published a consultation suggesting changes to the current rules. It suggested raising on-the-spot fines from £100 to £150 and handing drivers four points rather than three. Lorry drivers would get six points. However, the work on the consultation was done before Mr Grayling took office. It is now being reviewed to see if the Government needs to go further.” – Daily Mail

  • Tyrie says HS2 should be scrapped for cheaper trains – The Times (£)

Cherie Blair and Lord Tebbit: unlikely allies, but they both slam Orgreave inquiry

“While campaigners welcomed news that Amber Rudd, the home secretary, is preparing to agree to their request for an investigation into the most bitter clash of the 1984 miners’ strike, others urged her to reconsider. Lord Tebbit said that an official inquiry into the policing of the strike would “give credence” to “Arthur Scargill and his thugs”. Mrs Blair, wife of the former Labour prime minister, said that it would be a “waste of time and money”. “Longrunning inquiries are expensive, ineffective and rarely satisfy anybody, a bit like long-running strike action,” she said in a post on her LinkedIn page.” – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: Tory Diary: An Orgreave inquiry. “Better to throw open the archives and the files and leave it to the historians”

Osborne opens new think tank, “fights to save legacy”

OSBORNE of the north“The former chancellor will promise to devote his “political energies” to the new body, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, at its launch at Manchester town hall. The promotion of elected metro mayors to take back powers over investment in transport, infrastructure and skills from Whitehall was a key theme of Mr Osborne’s six years in Number 11. Launching the new think tank Mr Osborne will issue a coded warning that the momentum is faltering. “There’s a real excitement now in the north about what we can achieve if we work together. I don’t want us to lose that.” – The Times (£)

Is it missing the Cameroons? The Times declares that the Government is adrift

“Political honeymoons are earned through party or national election victories. So far Mrs May has won neither, unlike her predecessor. She seems intent even so on jettisoning some of his better policies while sticking to his worst. On obesity and prison reform she seems minded to apply the brakes when overdue progress was at last being made. On airport expansion there is growing concern that she will choose Heathrow when the right choice is Gatwick. She is busy enough with Brexit. A fondness for decision-making that ignores the evidence instead of paying close attention to it is only making matters worse.” – Times Editorial (£)

  • Welcome to the post-liberal age – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

> Today:

Fraser Nelson: If May was serious about helping those “just managing”, she’d focus on Btecs, not grammar schools

frasernelson“The lack of debate about Btec, or interest in the people who sit it, is the Conservative Party’s great blind spot. Building a “country that works for everyone” should mean caring as much for pupils pursuing vocational qualifications as much as the high-fliers who qualify for grammar schools. This is, of course, what the Cameron reforms had been doing – incubating an extraordinary new breed of all-ability schools, many of which now outperform both grammars and private schools. Mrs May has not yet explained her problem with all this, or why she felt such urgency to fix something that wasn’t really broken.” - Daily Telegraph

McDonnell, McDonnell, McDonnell…McDonnell!

“Labour MP Neil Coyle has threatened to sue Mr Corbyn for “defamation” for being named on the list, which Mr McDonnell described as a ‘factual report.’ Mr McDonnell said: “That release came from the campaign, it didn’t come from Jeremy. We’ve apologised. It was inappropriate.”It was one of our researchers, who saw a bit of incoming flak and then did a list of all the statements that had been made by other MPs, some of which were not particularly kind let’s put it that way.” – The Independent

  • McDonnell says that he “waited all my life” for the banking crisis… – Daily Mail
  • Labour MPs say they won’t appear with him at an anti-semitism rally… – The Times (£)
  • …And Soubry calls him a “nasty piece of work” on Question Time – Daily Express
  • Corbyn should learn from Attlee – Frank Field, The Times (£)
  • Corbyn dreams of post-Brexit Norway model – The Independent

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – The “Battle for Labour”? Smith’s challenge has barely made Corbyn break a sweat

Lies, half-lies, the British people are being deceived: Juncker lets rip

JUNCKER stars“If over 40 years you are explaining to your general public that the EU is stupid, that it’s worth nothing, that you have to leave, that EU membership is not bringing any advantages to your population, then you can’t be surprised [if they vote to leave],” he said. “On Europe there are so many lies, so many half-truths which are circulated around…“Never before have I seen such little common ground between our member states, so few areas where they agree to work together,” Mr Juncker warned on Wednesday.” – The Times (£)

  • He is fiddling while the EU economy burns – The Times (£)
  • Is he an alcoholic? ” Alcoholics also experience withdrawal symptoms, which they then feel they need to relieve with more alcohol. These symptoms include anxiety, shaking, sweating, irritability and tiredness. Other signs are depression, feeling and being sick, insomnia and loss of appetite. In extreme cases, withdrawal symptoms can even be seizures and hallucinations.” – The Sun
  • UK ‘ready to form trade deals outside EU while holding Brexit talks’ – Daily Express
  • Retailers “stay away from Davis meeting” – The Times (£)
  • Commission believes that Britain will give up on Brexit if it makes negotiations tough enough.  Hurt by Davis reference to Verhostadt as “Satan” – Daily Telegraph
  • Brussels spurns UK plea for Brexit guidance – Financial Times
  • Van Rompuy: no substantive Brexit talks for 18 months – The Independent
  • Now we’ve ditched Brussels and CAP, here’s how to make UK farming and fishing great again – Owen Paterson, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Columnist Daniel Hannan: Most Remainers are not Remoaners – we must work with the sensible, reasonable majority

Farron: Why I admire Blair

“Farron said he hoped to learn lessons from the former Labour prime minister as he seeks to rebuild the Liberal Democrats’ electability after they were all but wiped out in last year’s general election, leaving them with just eight MPs. The Lib Dems gather in Brighton for their annual conference this weekend, after an extraordinary political year in which Farron has been the only party leader who has not quit or been challenged. By contrast, he described Corbyn as “the worst opposition leader in living memory”, and accused the Labour leader of failing to hold Theresa May’s government to account.” – The Guardian

Sebastian Payne: Goodbye Farage, hello…Who?

FARAGE laughing headIts next probable leader may even exacerbate it. Diane James, a competent if uninspiring MEP, is a Farage loyalist who may struggle to push Ukip in its only viable growth area: the north of England. Just 10 Labour MPs campaigned for Brexit, while the party’s heartlands such as Gateshead and Sunderland backed Leave. These places should be rich pickings for Ukip at the next election, but Ms James’s home counties persona will struggle to connect. And we should never underestimate the party’s propensity to throw away an opportunity. In the contest to succeed Mr Farage, four of Ukip’s most well-known figures did not stand due to incompetence, reticence or squabbling.” – Financial Times

  • UKIP members want their new leader to be…Farage – Daily Express

Clinton’s poll lead has fallen, but she’s ahead in key states

“The former secretary of state, who partially collapsed on Sunday at an event in New York, arrived at a rally in North Carolina to the James Brown song “I feel good” and told the audience the time off had been “a gift”, allowing her to play with her dogs and “reconnect with what this whole campaign is about”. North Carolina is one of the closest swing states that will decide the election in 54 days on November 8.  The latest CBS News/NY Times national poll shows Mrs Clinton tied with Donald Trump, while a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows her lead has narrowed to 1.8 per cent. But the New York mogul has pulled ahead in Ohio and Florida, two delegate-rich swing states that will be critical on election day.” – Financial Times

News in Brief

  • Downing Street fashion reception: pictures – Daily Telegraph
  • Half of BBC stars paid more than £150,000 could escape being named due to royal charter loophole – Daily Telegraph
  • Select Committees divided over Saudi arms sales… – The Times (£)
  • …While Muslim convert British Saudi Ambassador completes Haj – The Independent
  • Wales moves into top ten on FIFA rankings – Wales Online
  • Scotland’s NHS “on brink of breakdown” - Scotsman
  • Exemptions to housing benefit cap - The Guardian
  • Tomlinson faces suspension over Wonga leak – The Times (£)
  • Are tiny devices in Manchester’s bins being used to spy on people? – Manchester Evening News
  • Italy’s Prime Minister: I did not kick a fish that leapt into a boat full of world leaders at the G20 - The Independent
  • Jake Berry calls for return of Royal Yacht Britannia – The Sun
  • The new amazing slimline Nicholas Soames… - Daily Mail
  • …Says we need more tanks – The Times (£)
  • Standards Commissioner opens Vaz inquiry - Daily Mail
  • Adams hints at stepping down… – Belfast Telegraph
  • …While Ivan Massow joins the Liberal Democrats, having defected from the Conservatives, having re-joined the Conservatives, having defected to Labour, having joined… Financial Times)

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