Published:

Security 1) British Voters will need proof of identity for first time

ballotbox‘Voters will have to bring proof of their identity to polling stations for the first time next year as part of the government’s efforts to tackle electoral fraud. Pilot schemes in various areas of the country will require voters to show a driving licence, passport or utility bill before they can cast a vote. The plan, to be announced in the new year, follows a report by the former communities secretary Sir Eric Pickles. He claimed that “politically correct over-sensitivities about ethnicity and religion” had led to the state turning a blind eye to fraud in elections. Sir Eric, now the government’s anti-corruption tsar, said that Britain’s “trust-based” voting system was no longer tenable and called for the introduction of identity checks on voters. Ministers have decided to test many of Sir Eric’s recommendations in a handful of local authority areas next year.’ –  The Times (£)

  • New rules to include nationality checks – Daily Telegraph
  • This is a response to Pickles’ anti-corruption inquiry – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Requiring ID to vote is sensible. But we also urgently need postal vote reform

Security 2) New measures to protect UK from terror attacks

Police‘A “ring of steel” will be enforced around Buckingham Palace — with extensive road closures and a major police deployment — during the Changing the Guard ceremony under security plans rushed forward by police in the aftermath of the Berlin atrocity. Scotland Yard said that the high- profile nature of the event, the presence of military personnel and the attraction of large crowds made the lockdown “a necessary precaution to continue protecting the public and those taking part in the event”. The security measures around the palace will be the most visible element of the security response to the attack in Germany and reflect growing concern in security circles about the challenge of stopping low-tech terrorism. Police across the country are reviewing security at Christmas markets and revising plans for the Boxing Day sales and New Year’s Eve celebrations.’ – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • There can never be enough bollards – Katie Hopkins, Daily Mail

Security 3) Johnson says British travellers will be given more details about likely threats abroad

Boris Johnson‘Holidaymakers will for the first time be given advice about how likely terror attacks are abroad, where they have previously happened and what foreign Governments have done to prevent them, Boris Johnson has said. The foreign secretary announced that travellers will be given more detail on how predictable attacks are in countries around the world in order to help them make “informed decisions” about where to go away. Information on which areas have been targeted and how the attack was carried out; who was responsible and whether states are taking specific counter-terror measures will all be included in new online guidance. Currently, holidaymakers are told simply that there is a “high threat” of terrorism but not given detail about how likely a new attack is.’ – Daily Telegraph

Berlin

  • May pledges solidarity with Germany – The Sun
  • International hunt for Berlin killer after suspect is released – The Times (£)
  • IS claim responsibility for attack – Daily Telegraph
  • German security services ‘had been warned’ – The Times (£)
  • Geert Wilders tweets photo of Merkel with blood on her hands – Daily Mail
  • Brussels lockdown – Daily Express
  • Hope Not Hate threatens legal action after Farage comments  – Independent

Editorial:

  • This attack shows why ‘proper immigration control’ is essential – Daily Telegraph
  • It was a blow to German values – FT
  • Germany is tolerant. Terrorism is sick – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Lorries have become the vehicle of terrorism – Harry de Quetteville, Daily Telegraph
  • This is a new generation of terrorists – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph
  • The attack means accepting I was wrong – Philip Maughan, Independent
  • Politics mustn’t surrender to fear and rage – Martin Wolf, FT
  • The German government failed – Anthony Glees, The Sun
  • This could be the end for Merkel – Daniel Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 1) May says there may be need for ‘implementation phase’

may‘Theresa May has said she wants an “implementation phase” to help smooth Britain’s exit from the EU after 2019, giving business time to adapt to a new trading and regulatory regime. It was the closest the prime minister has come to publicly conceding that business and governments on both sides of the Channel would need a transitional deal to avoid the Brexit “cliff-edge” feared by companies and the City of London. “It’s not our intention to extend the period of negotiation, I would expect us to be able to negotiate a deal in the two year period that has been set out. But it may be the case that there are some practical aspects that require a period of implementation thereafter,” she told MPs. “We will discuss whether we need an implementation phase.”’ – FT

  • She indicates she’d be prepared to agree to transitional deal – Guardian
  • But ‘refuses to say’ if MPs will get Brexit negotiations vote – The Times (£)
  • Officials have also been told to prepare for no EU deal – Daily Mail
  • May’s ‘tense exchange’ with Cooper – Independent

Comment:

  • We should learn from Nobel winner Schelling about how to negotiate – Daniel Finkelstein
  • Brexit is as soulless as the EU – Raphael Behr, Guardian

>Today:

Brexit 2) John Crace: Being interrogated is no fun. Particularly if ‘you don’t have the answers’

‘There may have been things the prime minister wanted to do less on the last day of parliamentary business before the Christmas recess than appear before the liaison committee, but none immediately came to mind. Being interrogated on Brexit by the chairs of all the select committees is no one’s idea of fun. Especially when you don’t have any of the answers. Andrew Tyrie, the committee chair, got things under way with a few well-aimed questions on the timing of Brexit and the possibility of extending the negotiation period. “Our intention is …” said the Maybot, before answering an entirely different question. It’s always so much easier to answer the questions you’ve thought up yourself, rather than the ones you’ve been asked. “I’m trying to get some clarity,” sighed an exasperated Tyrie. And the Maybot was trying not to provide any.’ – Guardian

  • She gave nothing away – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Why Theresa May is a waiter’s nightmare – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 3) Sturgeon’s blueprint

Sturgeon‘Nicola Sturgeon has been  accused of trying to exploit Brexit to achieve independence by the back door after demanding a vast array of new powers so Scotland can stay in the single market even if the UK comes out.  The First Minister unveiled a highly complex blueprint that involved the Scottish Parliament getting some control over everything ranging from immigration to business regulation to international trade negotiations. The document said this would allow Scotland to continue to mirror the business regime in the EU single market after Brexit and Ms Sturgeon claimed this represented a reasonable and “significant compromise”.’ –  Daily Telegraph

  • May and Davidson ‘dismiss’ the plans – Daily Express
  • Sturgeon says Scotland’s single-market membership should be ‘integral’ – Guardian
  • She says it could ‘unify the country’ – Daily Mail
  • This is the most detailed plan of any UK leader – FT

Editorial:

  • May needs to resist Sturgeon’s ‘underhand attempts’ – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

May ‘rules out’ new strike laws

theresa-may-21-11-16‘Sources yesterday claimed the PM told angry Tory MPs it would be “vindictive” to introduce new emergency powers to clamp down on trade union chiefs. She instead wants to put on replacement buses and open up Government and council buildings across the south-east so stricken commuters can “hot desk”. Tory backbencher Chris Philp yesterday called for new laws to force unions to obtain clearance from a High Court judge before strikes on essential services such as the railway can go ahead. The move came as academics claimed the crippling industrial action on Southern Rail has cost the country £300 million  – or £11 million a day for the 27 days of industrial action by RMT and Aslef.’ – The Sun

  • Soldiers stand by to drive rail replacement buses – Daily Express
  • Royal Mail staff ‘threaten wildcat stoppages’, while post office workers prepare for strike – Daily Telegraph
  • Baggage handlers’ strike called off – Daily Mail

Editorial:

Comment:

  • My new private member’s bill is the answer – Chris Philp, The Times (£)

>Today:

Deloitte agrees not to bid for government contracts after May’s anger over memo leak

‘Theresa May has forced one of the world’s biggest consultancy companies to withdraw from Whitehall contract bids for six months after one of its staff wrote a memo detailing Brexit strains at the heart of government. A two-page assessment, leaked to The Times last month, reported that civil servants were struggling to cope with more than 500 Brexit-related projects and that cabinet splits were delaying the agreement of a negotiating strategy. Publication of the memo, written by a Deloitte consultant working on Whitehall projects, infuriated Downing Street. The prime minister was said to have been personally affronted by the note, which criticised her for “drawing in decisions and details to settle matters herself”.’ – The Times (£)

May’s chief spokesman quits to work for Johnson

boris-johnson‘Theresa May suffered a blow to her No10 operation after her highly-respected chief spokeswoman walked out following weeks of internal feuding with the PM’s argumentative aides. Long-standing Downing Street civil servant Helen Bower quit Number 10 for the top communications job at Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office. It followed a strained trip with the PM to Bahrain and weeks of tension between Mrs May’s communications team and her trusted joint chiefs of staff. A source told how she had become frustrated working under the new Downing Street regime. Insiders said the awkward working relationship at the heart of the No10 machine was clear to see during the Middle East visit earlier this month.’ – The Sun

More Government 

  • New committee to consider how to reduce the Lords – Daily Telegraph 
  • Patel reinstates Palestinian aid money – The Times (£)
  • Work and Pensions committee calls for deterrent to prevent another BHS – FT
  • They want to give regulator new powers – The Sun
  • Hunt ‘frustrated’ by lack of discussion about EU nationals – Daily Express
  • Labour calls for investigation into Johnson book signing – Guardian
  • Osborne and Clegg spotted drinking together – Daily Express
  • Osborne is earning a lot from speaking – Daily Mail

Comment:

>Yesterday:

>Today: Henry Hill’s Column: Northern Ireland’s government is ‘on the brink of collapse’ again

Russia, Iran, and Syria to meet to ‘broker’ peace

Syria‘Russia, Iran and Turkey have agreed to try to broker peace talks between Syrian rebels and the Assad regime and to expand the fragile ceasefire in Aleppo to other parts of the country, Moscow said Tuesday. The three regional powers most deeply involved in Syria’s war met for an unprecedented summit in Moscow and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said they had reached significant agreements. “Iran, Russia and Turkey are ready to assist in preparing the agreement in the making between the Syrian government and the opposition and to become its guarantor,” Mr Lavrov said.’ – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • The marriage between Ankara and the Kremlin is one of convenience – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)

News in Brief

 

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