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Davis claims Britain won’t compromise on border control

IMMIGRATION mat“Britain will not negotiate with Europe over immigration, David Davis said yesterday, as he pledged that control of the country’s borders would be brought “back here” after Brexit. The Brexit secretary’s tough stance will reassure Conservatives who are worried the government may concede higher immigration levels in return for better access to European markets. Mr Davis said immigration levels would be set “in the national interest” and could not be subject to any guarantees or promises in return for a better economic deal. That included any promises for European citizens to get preferential access to UK markets, he said.” – The Times (£)

  • EU must do more to weed out economic migrants from refugees, says May – Daily Mail
  • British experts sent to Greece to help root out false refugees – The Independent

Brexit:

  • Think tank warns that May’s secrecy is hindering preparations for EU exit – The Sun
  • MEPs threaten to start their own talks with Britain – Daily Express
  • Turf war erupts between EU institutions over Brexit… – FT
  • …as member state leaders turn on each other over tactics – Daily Telegraph
  • Brussels prepares rules changes to target City Euro clearing – FT
  • Trade deal could take a decade, UK ambassador to EU warns – The Sun
  • Brexit is stoppable even after Article 50, MPs warn – The Independent

More migration:

  • Russia and Syria could try to destabilise Germany ahead of elections, think tank claims – Daily Mail
  • Moscow is undermining ‘rules-based’ western system, warns defence chief – The Times (£)

Mundell hints at separate deal for Scotland… if it can be justified

“David Mundell, a part-time Cabinet member working on a Brexit strategy, told the Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee that a “differential arrangement” for Scotland could be “workable and credible”. The Tory MP claimed the Scottish Government and Theresa May’s Government could agree “shared priorities and a shared plan” prior to when Article 50 is triggered, which is scheduled for the end of March… The MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale said: “I am open, and I’ve said it before, to a differential arrangement for Scotland if it can be factually shown that there is a benefit to Scotland from doing that, not just an ideological view that Scotland should somehow be different.”” – Daily Express

  • Experts say Brussels’ consumer privacy plans put future of the internet in doubt – The Times (£)
  • Lloyd’s of London to establish EU base in the new year – FT
  • Poorer pupils squeezed out of university as more EU students get taxpayer loans – The Sun

James Kirkup: Davis and Hammond are preparing for a transitional deal, but what about May?

EU Exit brexit“Would temporary involvement in the Customs Union come at the cost of temporary immigration freedoms for EU nationals?  A bridging deal that looked like it left Britain without full “control” of immigration would a remarkably hard thing to sell to British voters. And remember, this deal, if it happens, might well take effect in the middle of 2019, months before a general election where Ukip will run hard against the Conservatives on the accusation that Mrs May has failed to deliver a real Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • How Brexit may not mean Brexit – Philip Stephens, FT
  • The EU may never allow a deal with so few downsides for Britain – Anand Menon, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Cameron Penny in Comment: The City needs a post-Brexit vision, and it needs it now

>Yesterday:

May tells Corbyn to ‘get on the phone’ to unions and end strike misery

“Theresa May challenged Jeremy Corbyn to “get on the phone” to the Labour-funding leftie union trade union bosses and sort out the chaotic train strikes. As hundreds of thousands are stuck after a second day of madness due to strikes on Southern Rail, the PM called on the Labour leader to get his pals to call it off. Sussex MP Tim Loughton slammed the unions taking industrial action today and said it was preventing his constituents from reaching vital health care trials.” – The Sun

  • Rail strike talks adjourned – The Guardian
  • Union paying Southern Rail conductors to man picket lines – Daily Telegraph
  • Christmas misery as British Airways staff take strike action – Daily Mail

Johnson:

  • Ingham says Number 10 should stop mocking the Foreign Secretary – The Sun

Comment:

  • Strikes won’t fix Southern Rail, here are some new ideas for the unions – David Boyle, The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: PMQs sketch: May acclaims Johnson as a Fine Foreign Secretary

Ministers 1) Fallon lashes out at ‘witch hunt’ of British troops who served during the Troubles

Fallon“The Defence Secretary has sparked a bitter Cabinet battle by demanding major curbs on a “witch hunt” investigation into Northern Ireland vets. Sir Michael Fallon broke government ranks today to lash out in public at the fresh probe into all 302 Army killings during the 30 year-long Troubles – revealed by The Sun last week. He insisted cops’ inquiries must be “not random”, “proportionate”, have a strict time limit, and exempt very old former soldiers. Revealing his list of demand to MPs, Sir Michael declared: “I am certainly not going to let the Northern Ireland process descend into another witch hunt”.” – The Sun

  • Former officer to take legal action over treatment by historical allegations investigation – The Guardian

Ministers 2) Clark dismayed at failings of ‘Big Six’

“Business Secretary Greg Clark yesterday said he was “dismayed” at the failings of Britain’s fat-cat energy giants – and said he had a duty to act for households. The Cabinet Minister told MPs that millions of customers on pricey standard variable tariffs would have no idea they were being ripped-off by their company. And he demanded the Big Six change their behaviour – and start rewarding customers “loyalty”. He was speaking as Ofgem published the gap between the priciest and cheapest energy deals for the first time.” – The Sun

  • Millions robbed by the energy giants – Daily Mail

Cameron’s policy chief resigns Tory whip after just months in the Lords

Lords“David Cameron’s former policy chief has stepped down as a Tory just months after he gave her a seat in the House of Lords. Camilla Cavendish was elevated to the peerage by the former Prime Minister in his highly-controversial resignation honours in August. She was appointed to the lifetime position as a Conservative peer, meaning she owes her position to the party. But yesterday it emerged she had resigned the Tory whip in the Lords so she can take up a new job.” – The Times (£)

NHS chief calls for cuts to pensioner perks to fund health service

“Mr Stevens insisted that council tax rises were not “the final word” in plugging the hole in social care funding as he laid out his ideas for radical reforms of pensioner benefits. Budgets would be unified to create a guarantee that people could stay in their homes and get dignified care. “There is no point saying to our parents, ‘You’ve got a free bus pass’, if you’re not able to leave the house because you don’t have availability of a home help,” he told MPs on the local government committee. His ideas stray well beyond his NHS brief and represent an attempt to frame the political debate after Theresa May pledged yesterday to find a long-term solution to paying for social care.” – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: The NHS versus pensioner welfare – what happens when sacred cows compete?

David Aaronovitch: A free press must not be bullied by the state

Newspaper mastheads“It goes by the tedious name of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 and is something that can be invoked, or not, by the government. It is, in essence, the stick that could be used to get newspapers and publications to sign up to the new state-approved press regulator, Impress. What it says is that any publication not agreeing to be regulated by Impress will be subject to the costs of a legal action – even where it wins. Really. That’s what it says… There is lots that could be said about Impress. Space and patience forbid, however, except to point out the capriciousness of a decision that recognises a “self” regulator that no selves want to belong to, and not one – Ipso (the Independent Press Standards Organisation) – to which most do.” – The Times (£)

Labour dismay as Corbyn hires top Sinn Fein staffer

“Gerry Adams’ right-hand woman in London has been hired by Jeremy Corbyn and will join his team in the New Year in a move that has infuriated Labour moderates. Jayne Fisher, who was head of Sinn Fein’s London office, is due to start working in the Labour leader’s office in January, according to a Labour source. Mr Corbyn has gone on a hiring spree with the extra cash flowing in from the trade unions. But Labour insiders acted with dismay when they discovered he was using part of the funds to take on a former staff member of Mr Adams.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Pictured: How Corbyn’s new staffer (literally) cuddled up to Chavez

SNP press ahead with tax hike plan

SNP logo white background“Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has vowed to press ahead with plans to make Scotland the highest taxed part of the UK despite his plans suffering an embarrassing defeat at Holyrood. Mr Mackay is set to unveil a draft 2017/18 Scottish budget which will see higher earning taxpayers denied a tax break being offered elsewhere in the UK. Ahead of the first ever Scottish budget with the power to alter income tax bands and rates, Mr Mackay has indicated that the Scottish Government will not pass on a UK Government proposal to raise the tax threshold for earners in the higher rate tax band.” – The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: SNP MP Ahmed-Sheikh could lose seat over HMRC court action

News in Brief:

  • Degree requirement for police officers set to cost forces millions – Daily Mail
  • Clean-living generation of children snub cigarettes and alcohol – The Times (£)
  • UK infrastructure set for £1.3bn pension fund boost – FT
  • Volkswagen switches official language to English – Daily Express
  • SDLP table no-confidence motion against First Minister – Belfast Telegraph

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