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MPs claim £450 million windfall for hard Brexit

EU Brexit“Leaving the EU’s single market and customs union will give the UK a £450 million a week windfall, MPs claimed last night. New research by the Change Britain campaign showed that a huge £24 billion a year prize is up for grabs if Theresa May rejects a so called “soft Brexit”. Their option – which it describes as “clean Brexit” – could see annual savings of almost £10.4 billion from contributions to the EU budget and £1.2 billion from scrapping “burdensome” regulations, while also allowing the UK to forge new trade deals worth at least £12.3 billion.” – The Sun

  • Britain’s £1.1 trillion liability to the EU revealed – Daily Express
  • Scottish economy secretary slams single market ‘uncertainty’ – The Scotsman
  • Former Bank of England governor urges optimism over Brexit – FT
  • BBC political editor re-opens royal row over EU views – The Times (£)
  • Grillo savages EU over Berlin attack and open borders – Daily Express

Tom Tugendhat: The UK must boost its defence role after Brexit

“We knew Pax Britannica was long dead; now Pax Occidentala looks to be under threat. The consequences for the UK and our allies of such a decline of the western order would be severe, but they do not have to happen. The history of Britain has been written by us, not for us. If we recognise the threat and invest in the tools to determine our future, we can chart a different path. Our navy needs the focus first. The Royal Navy is too small to effect change.” – FT

>Today:

Patel to force charities to reveal bosses’ salaries

aidgraphic“The paper reports that Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, has written to her department’s suppliers, asking them to ‘deliver value for money’ for taxpayers. That will include revealing details of employees’ salaries and information about profit they make from the contract. The minister has come under pressure following revelations of wasted spending in her department.” – Daily Mail

  • Britain stockpiles £5.5 billion ‘aid mountain’ as it struggles to hit 0.7 per cent target – Daily Telegraph
  • Aid helps to stem migration, says International Development minister – Daily Mail

More ministers:

  • Baldwin reveals scale of MoD allegations of bribery and corruption – Daily Mail
  • Ministers are permitting house building in beauty spots – The Times (£)
  • Higher prison population has lowered crime rates, claims Howard – The Times (£)

Netanyahu ‘refuses to meet May’ after UN vote

“The Israeli prime minister has cancelled a meeting with Theresa May in protest over Britain’s support for a security council resolution that condemned illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories. “It is a disappointment that the Israeli government has announced that prime minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu does not want to have a conversation with Theresa May,” said Tony Kay, the deputy chief of the British mission in Tel Aviv. The two were due to meet in Davos next month on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. However, a spokesman for Mr Netanyahu denied that any official meeting had been scheduled.” – The Times (£)

  • Israeli envoy accuses White House of orchestrating resolution – FT

Activists to be barred from handling postal ballots

ballot_box“Political campaigners could be banned from handling completed ballots under a government crackdown on postal vote fraud. People could also be required to re-apply for a postal vote every three years in an attempt to stop ballots being intercepted by unscrupulous activists, the government said. This would cut the number of voter mail-outs being sent to old addresses. In addition, ministers plan to extend offences protecting the secrecy of ballots to cover postal votes and require legal proof for requests of a waiver from giving a signature on a postal ballot. The measures will be unveiled today in the government’s response to a report on electoral fraud produced by Sir Eric Pickles, the anti-corruption tsar, in August.” – The Times (£)

Chris Skidmore: Fraud must not be allowed to undermine our democracy

“This Government is committed to building a democracy that works for everyone – which is why the measures we are announcing today will protect everyone’s democratic right to vote. The publication earlier this year of Sir Eric Pickles’ report into electoral fraud is an important step towards improving the integrity of our electoral system, and I am pleased that we are able to respond positively to the majority of its recommendations. The Government is delivering on its manifesto pledge to tackle election fraud.” – Daily Telegraph

Corbyn hits back at Obama’s claim that Labour is ‘disintegrating’

Corbyn Union“A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn has hit back after Barack Obama appeared to suggest that the Labour party has moved away from “fact and reality” and is disintegrating. The spokesman said the Labour leader “stands for what most people want” and suggested that the outgoing president’s Democratic party needed to “challenge power if they are going to speak for working people”. Obama had earlier said he was not worried when asked if the US Democrats could undergo “Corbynisation” and “disintegrate” like Labour in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s election defeat by Donald Trump.” – The Guardian

  • Smith ‘still receiving death threats’ after challenging leader – The Independent
  • Labour try to put pressure on Tories over railways – The Times (£)

Farage joins hundreds of thousands at traditional Boxing Day hunts

“Nigel Farage appeared to be in good spirits as joined hundreds of thousands in attending Boxing Day hunts across the UK. The former Ukip leader posed for the cameras in a wax jacket and Wellington boots ahead of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt at Chiddingstone Castle, one of about 300 meets scheduled for today. The MEP is a regular at the mass hunting event, one of the biggest in the fox hunting calendar, having attended last year’s hunt in the same yellow corduroy trousers. The Countryside Alliance said it expected as many as 250,000 people to attend this year’s meets, as it reiterated its call for the Hunting Act to be scrapped.” – Daily Mail

  • Hunts out in force as row grows over power to prosecute – The Times (£)
  • Call for anti-hunting legislation to be strengthened – The Scotsman

>Today: Tim Bonner in Comment: The Hunting Act has to go

Trump’s trade chief wants to exploit Brexit

US flag“Donald Trump’s new trade chief has urged Britain’s rivals to take advantage of the ‘God-given opportunity’ of Brexit to take business away from the UK. Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary designate, said Britain was facing a ‘period of confusion’ and that it was ‘inevitable’ there would be ‘relocations’. Mr Ross will be responsible for negotiating a free trade deal with the UK, with fears the US could seek to exploit Britain’s seclusion following the vote to leave the EU. The billionaire businessman’s comments, reported in The Times, raises concerns over the so-called Special Relationship between the UK and the US.” – Daily Mail

  • UK and Germany to be only European economies in world’s top eight by 2030 – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Boredom is driving the populist revolution – Clare Foges, The Times (£)
  • How to liberals halt the march of the right? Stand our ground and toughen up – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian
  • Hidden fees are chipping away at your pension and undermining capitalism – Tom Tugendhat, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Plans for pleading guilty online raise fears of ‘secret justice’ – The Times (£)
  • Police uncover ISIS plot to set off phone bomb on UK streets – Daily Mail
  • Modern Britons ‘so lazy’ they don’t need the same calorie intake as their parents – Daily Telegraph
  • India tests nuclear weapon which could strike Britain – Daily Express
  • Sixty children referred to counter-terrorism programme every week – The Independent
  • Four ways the Welsh Assembly is a hotbed of radicalism – Wales Online
  • Dozens of nuclear blunders ‘ignored’ by regulator – The Times (£)

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