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By-election 1) Copeland. Conservatives power to victory in first Government by-election gain in 35 years

Trudy Harrison“Jeremy Corbyn was humiliated today as Labour lost Copeland to the Tories in the worst by-election defeat for an Opposition since 1945. MPs accused the veteran left winger of ‘insulting’ the public after he bizarrely blamed ‘the failed political consensus’ for the disastrous showing – which saw mother-of-four Trudy Harrison romp home with a 2,000 majority… Shadow cabinet member Cat Smith was ridiculed for trying to paint the dire result as a success, telling ITV that ‘to be 15-18 points behind in the polls and push the Tories within 2,000 votes is an incredible achievement’. Labour MP John Woodcock said the party could not make excuses and was on track for ‘an historic and catastrophic defeat’ at the next general election.” – Daily Mail

  • Copeland takes ‘nuclear option’ with first Tory MP since 1935 – Daily Telegraph

Labour:

  • Results show cracks in Corbyn’s leadership – The Times (£)
  • Labour loss piles pressure on the leadership – FT
  • McDonnell insists result is not about Corbyn – The Sun
  • Corbyn allies blame disunity for rout – The Guardian
  • Woodcock warns that Labour is heading for catastrophic defeat – The Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Ding, dong. Ding, dong. By-election bells toll for Corbyn in Copeland and Stoke.

By-election 2) Stoke. Labour hold on, UKIP and Tory vote up – but Nuttall fails his big test

“This was meant to be the night the Ukip leader Paul Nuttall trounced Labour and stormed triumphantly into Parliament on a wave of populist support. Instead, he found himself standing next to the leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party, Howling Lord Hope – who offered Nuttall the consolation that while he had now failed four times to become an MP, for the Loony man it was 22 and counting. As Nuttall pointed out afterwards, he had managed to cut the Labour majority in half… But merely narrowing the gap on Labour is scant consolation in the seat dubbed the “Brexit capital of Britain”, where 69.4 per cent of the city last year voted to leave the European Union.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Stoke defeat casts doubt on UKIP leader – FT
  • Nuttall refuses to quit as Labour hold ‘Brexit Central’ – Daily Express
  • UKIP chief ‘not going anywhere’ – The Guardian

Labour:

  • Still red: Labour cling on – The Sun
  • Dromey calls for ‘humility’ in victory – Daily Express

More:

  • Net migration falls below 300,000 as Poles go home – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Labour needs a ‘proper’ immigration policy: freedom of movement – Chi Onwurah, The Guardian

Daniel Finkelstein: Make no mistake, both these results are disasters for Labour

“FLABOUR dead roseor those who thought Ukip might sweep up Labour’s northern seats the result provides a degree of comfort (ignoring for a moment that Stoke isn’t in the North) I suppose. But for those who think the real issue is the Tories, the Tories, the Tories, then Labour winning a fairly strong Labour seat with a swing against you should be no comfort at all. Stoke is a disaster because Copeland is a disaster and Stoke may persuade enough of Mr Corbyn’s Labour fans that it isn’t.” – The Times (£)

  • By-elections make Labour leader’s survival unlikely – John Rentoul, The Independent
  • You broke it, Corbyn, now you must own it – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Stage is set for UKIP to disappear from view – Matt Chorley, Times Red Box
  • Copeland disaster shows just how big Labour’s problems are – John Harris, The Guardian

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Jon Snow makes a case for dictatorship by elites

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Weak opposition gives the Government the luxury of time

Ministers 1) Brokenshire says troops won’t be ‘hounded’ over Ulster deaths

“Police and prosecutors will be barred from re-investigating killings by British soldiers in Northern Ireland unless there is ‘new and credible evidence’, a Government minister has said. Ulster Secretary James Brokenshire spoke out as he faced growing calls to prevent retired troops facing a ‘witch-hunt’ some 40 years after they battled terrorism. He was urged to act after it emerged the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) taxpayer-funded Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB) was re-examining 302 deaths by UK troops during the Troubles.” – Daily Mail

  • DUP MP weeps as he tells Commons how his cousin was murdered by the IRA – Daily Mail

More:

  • Ministry of Defence accused of failing to enforce the Military Covenant – Daily Express
  • Ministers ‘must tell public’ about drone strikes on ISIS Britons, urges former commander – Daily Mail

Ministers 2) Hammond draws up £1 billion care u-turn

MANIFESTO money“Chancellor Philip Hammond is drawing up plans for a Budget social care funding lifeline to help crisis-hit services for the elderly and disabled. It would be the second Government Budget U-turn in a week after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid bowed to pressure, promising extra cash for small businesses facing huge business rate hikes. Sources said the cash injection could be as much as £1billion. But the shortfall in adult social care funding is predicted to be as much as £2.6billion by 2020.” – The Sun

  • Confused firms don’t know whether to pay rates bill or await relief – Daily Mail
  • Government intervention has led to higher energy bills, Lords report claims – The Guardian

Comment:

  • The Chancellor must harden his heart on tax – Ed Conway, The Times (£)

>Today:

>Yesterday:

Ministers 3) Truss confirms Bill of Rights is being shelved until after Brexit

“Theresa May has shelved plans for to introduce a new British Bill of Rights –because of Brexit. Justice Secretary Liz Truss yesterday said that despite the Tories’ manifesto commitment the Government could only do “one constitutional reform at a time”. It means the new Bill – designed to replace the Human Rights Act – will not now come into force until after the next General Election in 2020.” – The Sun

  • Welsh MP urges European Parliament to wield veto over Brexit deal – Wales Online

Ministers 4) Johnson orders crackdown on campus anti-Semitism

jo_johnson“Vice-chancellors must adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to anti-Semitism amid fears of spiralling abuse on campuses, the Government ordered yesterday. Universities Minister Jo Johnson said institutions have a responsibility to provide a ‘safe’ environment for all students to protect them from ‘discrimination, harassment or victimisation’. His intervention comes ahead of Israel Apartheid Week events, which have led to complaints from Jewish students of intimidation, threats and abuse during campus activities in previous years.” – Daily Mail

Jo Johnson: Two-year courses benefit both students and the economy

“The traditional three-year residential university degree course does not work for everyone and the lack of flexibility and choice in our system is putting off too many who would gain from higher education. That’s why the government is today tabling amendments to the Higher Education and Research Bill that will give us the chance to fulfil manifesto commitments to deliver new ways of flexible and lifelong learning. In our manifesto, we specifically promised to encourage universities to offer more two-year courses. These generally condense a three-year degree into two, by curtailing holidays and providing more intensive teaching.” – The Times (£)

  • Market-driven university system is a disaster waiting to happen – Martin Wolf, FT
  • Put VAT on school fees and soak the rich – Michael Gove, The Times (£)

Davidson urges Sturgeon to empower judges to let convicts die in prison

“Ruth Davidson has issued an ultimatum to Nicola Sturgeon to give judges the power to ensure Scotland’s worst killers die in jail after the murderer of schoolgirl Paige Doherty had his sentence cut by four years. The Scottish Tory leader warned that unless the First Minister tabled legislation allowing the imposition of “whole life tariffs” in the courts then her party would attempt to do so by introducing a private members’ Bill. She argued the law had to be changed after John Leatham, who murdered 15-year-old Paige in a frenzied knife attack at his Clydebank delicatessen, last week had his sentence reduced from 27 years to 23 years.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour:

  • Leader confronts Scotland’s lost love for Labour – FT
  • Corbyn dislikes term ‘Act of Union’, admits Dugdale – Daily Telegraph
  • Scottish Labour leader’s secret Brexit pledge to Sturgeon – Daily Express

Latham urges Commons to stop being ‘sentimental’ about refugees

“Critics of the government’s decision to close the door on refugee children from Calais have been urged to “stop being sentimental” by a Tory backbencher. Pauline Latham, the Conservative MP for mid-Derbyshire, said other governments across Europe should be looking after the children in their jurisdictions, not Britain. “They are not Nazi Germany,” she said in reference to the conditions in France. Czech-born Labour peer Alf Dubs, the champion of the child refugees, fled Germany as a child in 1939 and was given sanctuary in Britain.” – The Guardian

DUP reveal donor who bankrolled their mainland Brexit campaign

DUP logo“The DUP received more than £400,000 from a little-known group of business people to bankroll its pro-Brexit campaign. The Constitutional Research Council (CRC) can today be revealed as the mystery donor that funded the party’s drive for the UK to leave the European Union. It is chaired by Richard Cook, a former vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party. The group donated £425,622 to the DUP, which funded a series of pro-Leave adverts, including a high-profile wraparound ad in the Metro newspaper. DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the CRC was “a group which supports constitutional pro-Union causes”. He added: “They believed, as did we, that Brexit would be good for the Union and bad for those who oppose it.”” – Belfast Telegraph

  • Donaldson says party has proven its commitment to transparency – Belfast Telegraph

More:

  • Kenny calls for ‘united Ireland’ Brexit clause – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: How Brexit could end the golden age of British-Irish relations

Trump ‘keen’ on closer Commonwealth links

“The Royal Commonwealth Society plans to open a branch in New York or Washington to try to bring the US closer to the body’s member states. Donald Trump is “very positive” about the move, Brexiteers claimed yesterday, saying that it could boost trade co-operation with the US. The Brexiteers and the RCS, an independent charity that works alongside the 52 members of the Commonwealth, suggest that the ultimate aim could be for the US to be given “associate” membership of the Commonwealth.” – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • The Commonwealth is a perfect partner for post-Brexit Britain – Jake Berry MP, Times Red Box
  • Stockholm won’t admit that Trump is right about immigration in Sweden – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Garvan Walshe’s column: Trump threatens the security of the Nordic nations

News in Brief:

  • Chaos as Storm Doris closes Euston station – Daily Mail
  • NHS faces extra £1 billion bill in compensation shake-up – The Times (£)
  • Macron proposes Nordic economic model for France – FT
  • Claim MPs wrote ‘flawed’ report on bookies without saying it was funded by rivals – The Sun
  • Welsh councils banned from using the word ‘purdah’ – Daily Express
  • SNP in talks over public buyouts of North Sea platforms – The Scotsman
  • North Korean agents used highly toxic VX nerve agent in assassination – Daily Telegraph
  • Pyongyang mocks Beijing over sanctions – Daily Mail

8 comments for: Newslinks for Friday 24th February 2017

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