Sixty years after the Beeching Cuts, Britain’s trains face another defining moment, and the Government must make some vital choices.
Andy Street: How thinking green, and levelling up, can insulate against future cost-of-living shocks
From new housebuilding techniques to green manufacturing, the West Midlands is leading the way towards greater security.
The cost of living is the number one issue facing families in Britain and one in five families with children say they are now struggling to put food on the table.
Calling Conservatives: New public appointments announced. Member of Natural Resources Wales – and more
Further details enclosed.
No volume of technical argument will matter if the debate remains framed entirely to the UK’s disadvantage.
The Cabinet Office Minister on the Baxdendale Report, whether Thatcherism is back, and why he was right to say Partygate is “disproportionate fluff”.
The second part of a ConHome series this week on housing and planning in the wake of the Queen’s Speech.
Gerard Lyons: Ministers have an opportunity to cut taxes, drive supply side reform – and help reduce the cost of living
The shock-absorber is a looser fiscal policy. Although the budget deficit is higher than one would like, the good news is that it is falling sharply.
Decades of careful financial management are now at risk from their spending pledges. We know from Croydon what can happen next.
The Levelling Up Secretary’s proposal is neither a serious attempt to reform the upper house, or improve life chances above Watford Gap.
Eamonn Butler: Consols are the answer to our Covid debt problem – but only if twinned with a pro-growth agenda
In response to William Atkinson’s scepticism last week, here the Director of the Adam Smith Institute makes the case for consols.
When numerous existing schemes are ill-publicised or difficult to sign up for, vulnerable people miss out on much-needed help.
John Redwood: The EU is failing to implement parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol and has damaged the Belfast Agreement
This must be explained to US Democrats who do not understand the unionist position or the legal background.
It’s best thought of as a contagion that spreads across the divide between parties and factions.
Alex Morton: Reform and supply and a shift to ownership. What the Government should do next on housing.
The first part of a ConHome series this week on housing and planning in the wake of the Queen’s Speech.
Anthony Browne: What is the point of the Liberal Democrats, other than to offer a refuge to protest voters?
We need our own local champions campaigning on local issues. As their campaign strategy says: you win where you work.
Securing Freeport status has meant thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of inward investment.
The Shadow Climate Secretary calls on the Prime Minister not to “go around making threats”.
The Business Secretary insists Northern Ireland must be able to act in a “sovereign” way, since it is as much a part of the United Kingdom as any other.
WATCH: “I very much hope” Johnson is the right leader for the next General Election, says former leadership rival Hunt
The last Foreign Secretary but one suggests we “do need to back the Prime Minister in the situation we’re in now”.
WATCH: Ukraine must host the next edition of Eurovision, despite the war, insists the Business Secretary
Kwarteng highlights that Britain has “supported Ukraine right from the start of this crisis”.
The Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee suggests “talking about personalities is not a helpful thing to do”.
Bailey issues ‘apocalyptic’ warning about food prices and claims he is ‘helpless’ to do anything about inflation
“The Governor of the Bank of England has warned of “apocalyptic” global food price rises and said he is “helpless” in the face of surging inflation as the economy is battered by the war in Ukraine. Andrew Bailey said he has “run out of horsemen” when counting the shocks facing Britain, with runaway energy and food costs driven by global market forces beyond his control. Prices are rising at the fastest rate in 30 years, creating a “very big income shock” that is expected to intensify in coming months with a risk of double-digit inflation before the end of the year.Mr Bailey told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that he is increasingly concerned about a further surge in food costs if Ukraine, a major crop grower, is unable to ship wheat and cooking oils from its warehouses because of a Russian blockade.” – The Daily Telegraph
Protocol 1) Johnson insists he wants to ‘fix’ and not ‘scrap’ post-Brexit rules for Northern Ireland – but that new legislation is ‘insurance’
“Boris Johnson tonight insisted he does not want to ‘scrap’ post-Brexit rules for Northern Ireland but said new legislation to set aside parts of an EU agreement was needed as ‘insurance’. After holding talks with all five of Northern Ireland’s main parties in Belfast, the Prime Minister appeared to back away from an immediate threat to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol. Mr Johnson said the Protocol could be ‘fixed’ and claimed none of the main Stormont parties he spoke to had been supportive of the current implementation of the post-Brexit trade rules. The PM added he would ‘love’ reform of the Protocol to be done in a ‘consensual way’ with the EU, but also confirmed plans for a ‘legislative solution’ should the UK fail to strike a deal with Brussels.” – The Daily Mail
- Sinn Fein accuse the Prime Minister of making “reckless” threats, whilst the DUP dismiss legislation as just “words” – The Times
- A law will be introduced ‘within weeks’ to override the Northern Ireland protocol – The I
- The DUP says the Prime Minister’s proposals ‘must be put into law’ – The Daily Telegraph
- Downing Street slaps down Klopp after he supports ‘wonderful’ Liverpool fans who jeered the national anthem – The Daily Mail
- The Northern Ireland Protocol is destroying the Good Friday Agreement – David Trimble, The Daily Telegraph
- John Redwood’s column: The EU is failing to implement parts of the Northern Ireland protocol and has damaged the Belfast Agreement
Protocol 2) Truss set to announce plans to over-ride parts of it to the Commons…
“Liz Truss will reveal plans to override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol on Tuesday. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to make a statement to the House of Commons on Tuesday regarding the government’s plans to act on the Northern Ireland protocol, with ministers reportedly poised to introduce legislation that could override parts of the Brexit deal. Ahead of the statement, a government source has stressed that negotiations with the EU would continue and no draft legislation is expected to be published… The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said on Monday that the UK “reserves the right” to trigger Article 16 of the protocol but stressed that was not the approach currently being taken by No 10.” – Daily Express
- The Northern Ireland Protocol needs urgent fixing – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
…as she ties aid to trade to take on ‘malign actors’ on the world stage
“Ministers have pledged to combine Britain’s trade and aid policies to tackle the influence of “malign actors” across strategically important parts of the world. In an attempt to align development policy with their strategic priorities ministers said that they wanted to give countries an “honest alternative” to doing business with countries such as China. An overseas development strategy launched today has a focus on so-called aid for trade, a tactic used by China to extend its global influence. The strategy attempts to both replicate and take on China’s aggressive approach to supporting developing countries by funding large infrastructure projects but requiring their governments to financially and politically tie themselves to Beijing.” – The Times
Sunak faces resistance from Tory MPs over National Insurance rise and a potential windfall tax
“Rishi Sunak is facing another tax rebellion from Tory backbenchers, who are furious over his suggestion he will push for a windfall tax on energy companies. The Chancellor is set to have meetings with backbench Conservative MPs already angry over his National Insurance rise in April to help pay for social care and a backlog in NHS operations. But he is now also facing fury over his revelation last week that he is considering a windfall tax on energy companies if they fail to invest in the UK… But Tory MPs are now queueing up to berate Mr Sunak over his threat of “nothing is off the table. The Scottish Conservatives are said to be furious because they had publicly supported the original UK Government line to oppose any new levy which had been pushed by Labour.” – Daily Express
- Labour try to force Commons vote on North Sea windfall tax – The Guardian
- Dr Gerard Lyons’ Column: Ministers have an opportunity to cut taxes, drive supply side reform – and help reduce the cost of living
Patel to announce that part-time special constables will be given access to stun guns
“Special constables will be given access to stun guns as part of a flurry of crime initiatives, the home secretary will tell the Police Federation on Tuesday. Speaking at their conference in Manchester, Priti Patel will announce that part-time special constables will be allowed to use electroshock weapons – if properly trained and with the authorisation of chief officers. But Amnesty International UK’s policing expert warned that arming volunteer officers is “dangerous” and will inevitably lead to “more instances of misuse, serious harm and death from Tasers”. It is part of a range of measures included in “Operation Sceptre” – the name given to the government’s crime-fighting week.” – The Guardian
- More than 600 migrants arrived in the UK over the weekend – The Daily Mail
Rail strikes would damage industry, warns Shapps
“Rail union leaders risk “damaging their own industry” if widespread strikes go ahead this summer, the transport secretary has warned. Grant Shapps said that the “last thing the country needs” emerging from the pandemic is a strike, as Whitehall sources warned that the fallout could be as significant as the junior doctors’ strikes of 2015. Shapps said: “We’ve supported a network that was carrying nobody. Taxpayers have generously supported it, pitching in £600 a family towards saving the railway. The idea that the thanks people then get is a strike will, I think, sit very badly with people.” The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), the biggest transport workers’ union, has balloted its 40,000 members.” – The Times
- HS2 protests set to cost high-speed UK rail line up to £200 million – The Financial Times
Javid told to overhaul NHS as number of ‘fat cat managers’ doubles since Covid
“Sajid Javid was last night told to attack the NHS blob after the number of fat cat managers doubled since Covid. The Health Secretary is being warned the Tories will be in big trouble if the £12billion a year National Insurance rise is gobbled up by managers. A senior Tory source said: “If Saj has a major plan to make sure we get value for money, then I haven’t seen it yet. “The Department of Health and the NHS are good at making their ministers go native. I worry that’s going to happen to Saj.” A Policy Exchange report suggests DoH and NHS England total pay doubled since February 2020. Staff numbers rocketed from 7,883 to 14,515, with senior official numbers soaring by 125 per cent.” – The Sun
- The cash-guzzling woke NHS blob is almost beyond saving – Sajid Javid must fix it now – Editorial, The Sun
Hague: Obesity U-turn is weak, shallow, and immoral
“It is at least possible to sympathise with the motive of the government changing its policy, if that is to obtain fresh compromises from all sides… No such generous view should be awarded, however, to a quite different change in government policy that has become apparent in recent days: the delay or abandonment of several of the measures designed to tackle the unrelenting rise of obesity in the UK. Under pressure from some Conservative MPs, some of whom have been threatening to write letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson unless they get their way, ministers have retreated from banning “Buy One Get One Free” deals and from imposing a watershed of 9pm on junk food advertising.” – The Times
Leaked Prevent review attacks ‘double standards’ on far right and Islamists
“The government’s counter-terrorism programme has been too focused on rightwing extremism and should now crack down on Islamist extremism, according to leaked draft extracts from a landmark review of the Prevent strategy.In one particularly provocative recommendation, seen by the Guardian, the review claims there has been a “double standard” approach to tackling different forms of extremism, with individuals targeted for expressing mainstream rightwing views because the definition of neo-nazism has expanded too widely, while the focus on Islamist extremism has been too narrow.The leaks, from the government-commissioned Prevent review being carried out by Sir William Shawcross, are likely to be deeply controversial.” – The Guardian
Halfon accuses petrol firms of ‘fleecing’ motorists
“Britain’s petrol retailers have been accused of profiteering from the energy crisis after research found they had failed to pass on nearly half of Rishi Sunak’s 5p fuel duty cut. As diesel prices hit record highs, the RAC said that retailers were taking, on average, 2p more in profit per litre of fuel sold than they did before the chancellor reduced duty in March… “These companies are fleecing motorists along with the major oil companies and seem to be the only people doing well out of the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis,” said Robert Halfon, who led the campaign for the March fuel duty cut. “It is high time that the government set up a pump-watch regulator to ensure fair prices.”” – The Times
- Free the energy market from red tape – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
Starmer forced to deny he is a Covid hypocrite, as he reveals he knew ‘in my heart’ he had to make a resignation pledge
“Sir Keir Starmer today denied being a Covid hypocrite over his Beergate row as the Labour leader appeared on daytime TV’s Loose Women. In a grilling over his boozy curry in Durham last year, Sir Keir again insisted he had not broken Coronavirus rules. Police are currently investigating allegations of a lockdown breach in relation to the Friday night gathering in April 2021. Sir Keir was pictured sipping a beer as he shared a takeaway with colleagues at what Labour have repeatedly insisted was a ‘work event’. The Labour leader has made a major gamble on his political future by promising to quit as head of his party, should he be fined by Durham Police for breaking Covid rules.” – The Daily Mail
NATO 1) Sturgeon: Ukraine war strengthens case for independent Scotland to join NATO…
“Nicola Sturgeon has told a US audience an independent Scotland would seek to join the European Union and Nato, with membership of the alliances “cornerstones” of the new country’s foreign policy. Her comments came after Sweden and Finland moved towards joining Nato, marking a major shift in the Scandinavian countries’ foreign policies following the Russian invasion of Ukraine… Addressing the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, the First Minister said the war in Ukraine had “strengthened my conviction” that the policy of joining Nato post-independence was the correct choice.” – The Scotsman
NATO 2) …but Turkey says it will vote against Finland and Sweden’s attempst to join as it accuses Stockholm of being a ‘hatchery’ for terrorism
“Turkey gave Vladimir Putin a boost last night by refusing to support Finland and Sweden’s bid to join Nato. It accused Sweden – which formally announced its intention to join the alliance yesterday – of being a ‘hatchery’ for terrorist organisations…His fierce resistance surprised allies and will be welcomed by Putin, who has claimed any expansion of Nato could be seen as a sign of Western aggression. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said yesterday that the nation hoped its membership bid would be accepted quickly, adding: ‘We are leaving one era behind us and entering a new one. ‘Nato will strengthen Sweden, Sweden will strengthen Nato.’” – The Daily Mail
- Bloodiest battle of the war ends as Ukrainian fighters are evacuated from Mariupol steel plant – The Guardian
- McDonald’s pulls out of Russia after 30 years because of the war in Ukraine – The Daily Mail
- The West must do all it can to help President Zelensky’s forces defeat Russia and not worry about humiliating Putin – Editorial, The Times
News in Brief:
- Should Thatcher fall? – Steven Fielding, The Spectator
- What’s wrong with being straight? – Gareth Roberts, UnHerd
- The Beatles: occasionally fab four – Paul Lay, The Critic
- How the monarchy can bridge our divides – Sunder Katwala, Cap X
- What rocks teach us about the human condition – Kathleen Jamie, The New Statesman
Bailey issues ‘apocalyptic’ warning about food prices and claims he is ‘helpless’ to do anything about inflation “The Governor of… Read more »
Ulster 1) Prime Minister defies warnings over Irish Protocol “Boris Johnson will defy EU and US warnings not to threaten… Read more »
Johnson 1) The Prime Minister is to ‘urge Northern Ireland’s politicians to get back to work’ in visit to Belfast… Read more »
Johnson 1) The Prime Minister aims to axe 91,000 civil servants to free up £3.5 billion for cost-of-living tax cuts…… Read more »
The EU threatens retaliation if the Northern Ireland Protocol is scrapped… “The EU has vowed to retaliate if the UK… Read more »