Hinkley Point, Day Two: May pulled the plug, officials questioned the deal…

CHINA flag“The Prime Minister told Francois Hollande, the French President, last week that she needed more time to make a final decision and reportedly questioned the role of Chinese companies involved in the deal…The new Prime Minister’s approach contrasts with that of David Cameron and George Osborne, who supported the Hinkley Point deal and hailed the start of a “golden decade” in which Britain would be China’s “best partner in the West”. Mrs May repeatedly raised concerns about the security implications of Chinese investment in Britain’s national infrastructure when she was Home Secretary, leading to tensions with Mr Osborne. The Telegraph understands that Downing Street officials have been questioning the plans for a new £18 billion plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset since Mrs May’s appointment a fortnight ago.” – Daily Telegraph

…And an article by our former columnist Nick Timothy – now her co-Chief of Staff – which criticised the deal is the talk of Fleet Street

“There are understood to be new concerns within the government about the involvement of the Chinese state-backed CGN in the project.  May’s joint chief of staff, Nick Timothy, criticised the project last year and warned the government was “selling our national security to China”. Timothy wrote on the ConservativeHome website in October 2015 that it was “baffling” that the government was allowing Chinese state firms to invest in sensitive infrastructure and that “rational concerns about national security are being swept to one side because of the desperate desire for Chinese trade and investment”. 
He claimed security experts were worried the Chinese could build weaknesses into computer systems that would allow them to “shut down Britain’s energy production at will”.” – The Guardian

  • Clark “stepped off an aircraft from a trade visit to Japan on Thursday apparently unaware of the full scale of the climbdown that he was about to announce”.  Hammond and Johnson seemingly “out of the loop” – The Times (£)
  • EDF’s directors learnt of the Government’s decision when they read it on the internet – The Independent
  • Cantonese-style pork crackling, Somerset brie and mackerel ceviche with creme fraiche on the menu for cancelled celebratory lunch – The Guardian
  • “Mr Timothy is not alone in his concerns over security. Last October, GCHQ, the government intelligence agency, began negotiating for special access to Chinese computer systems to allay such concerns.” – Financial Times
  • Chinese bemused, unions unhappy, British Chambers of Commerce bewail infrastructure delays – The Sun
  • May spurns Osborne legacy – Financial Times
  • UK nuclear agency ‘manipulated’ £7bn clean-up contract – Financial Times
  • Prime Minister shortens Cabinet table, and ditches Cameron’s sofa (and installs a desk) – Daily Mail
  • May has clocked up more than 7000 miles of travel already… – The Times (£)
  • …And cancels a holiday to work on Brexit – James Forsyth, The Sun (£)
  • So where will she go on holiday, when she eventually takes one? (P.S: Gove is in the south-west of France) – The Times (£)
  • Osborne feted in New York for Remain role – The Times (£)

> Today:

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Hinkley Point delay is May’s latest break with the age of Osborne

Matthew Parris: Are the Conservatives going soft on socialism?

parris“I detect among Tories a waning zest for the buccaneering economic liberalism that will safeguard — if anything can — our economic future outside the EU. I wouldn’t disagree with Theresa May about any one of her particular proposals for a more “on your side” kind of Conservatism. Tackling directors’ pay, tax-dodging tax havens, the soft cartelism of class and education . . . there are sound ideas here. Nor can one question Philip Collins’s suggestions (on this page yesterday) for giving a leg-up to the white working classes. But most of these plans cost money. We’ll be running out of money quite fast. We can borrow a bit more and maybe we should. But we must make more, too. I just don’t sense in the mood of thinking Tories this summer the old fire, the old enthusiasm, for the sharp-clawed capitalism, the sturdy defence of competition and choice, the unsqueamishness that has made our country rich and kept us flying as we often do fly: without much in the way of wings.” – The Times (£)

  • May must “end uncertainty over other projects such as HS2, the northern powerhouse and runway capacity in the South-East” – Daily Mail Editorial
  • The Prime Minister should pull the plug – Sun Editorial
  • “Whatever the truth, the important thing is that Mrs May now comes up with a coherent energy programme of her own – and fast.” – Daily Telegraph Editorial

> Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment – My latest focus groups discuss Brexit, Corbyn, Cameron and May – “the new Iron Maiden”

Those European Bank Tests. Version One. A disaster.

“Two Irish banks – Allied Irish and Bank of Ireland – as well as Spain’s Banco Popular, Austria’s Raiffeisen and Italy’s Monte dei Paschi all scored poorly on the test. The news was not much better for two key German banks and one major French lender, who only just scraped past what investors see as the minimum benchmark for financial stability. Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, Germany’s biggest banks, were among the top 12 weakest lenders in Europe. The worrying results will raise fears that the Eurozone’s financial system is teetering on collapse, with the liquidity of Italian banks causing increasing alarm worldwide.” – Daily Express

  • Oldest bank in the world would go bust if tests are right – The Independent
  • Exports to the EU are 12 per cent of British economy – Daily Mail
  • A post-Brexit Northern Ireland could follow the Hong Kong model – Martin Craigs, Newsletter
  • The people of my Valleys hometown didn’t vote for Brexit because they’re racist but because they wanted someone to finally listen – Oruj Defoite, Wales Online

Those European Bank Tests. Version Two. Not a disaster.

“Italy’s Monte dei Paschi, the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland, and Ireland’s Allied Irish Banks emerged as the biggest losers in the EU’s banking stress tests, which largely found that the region’s top 51 banks had enough capital to withstand another financial crisis. While the tests abandoned their previous pass or fail marks, Italy’s embattled Monte dei Paschi was the clear failure – its key capital ratio turned negative by the end of the three-year adverse scenario of the test, indicating the bank would be insolvent.” – Financial Times

Labour moderates plot split

Jeremy Corbyn 16-11-15“Leading moderates have told The Telegraph they are looking at plans to set up their own “alternative Labour” in a “semi-split” of the party if Mr Corbyn remains in post. The move would see them create their own shadow cabinet and even elect a leader within Parliament to rival Mr Corbyn’s front bench and take on the Tories. They are considering going through the courts to get the right to use Labour’s name and assets including property owned by the party across the country.They would also approach John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, and argue that having more MPs than Mr Corbyn means they should be named the official opposition.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Iain Dale’s Friday Diary – Someone should have asked Owen Smith if he was really ready for leadership

Will Woolfe be disqualified from UKIP’s leadership contest?

“Under party rules, any candidate in the contest to succeed Nigel Farage must have been a party member for at least two years. Mr Woolfe was a Ukip MEP and party spokesman on immigration during all that period, but documents – also leaked – show  that he allowed his individual party membership to lapse in December 2014, and renewed it only in March. A panel that is due to meet on Sunday, when nominations close, will have to decide whether that disqualifies him.” – The Independent

  • Farage changed history – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Charles Moore: Islamism is an attack on our civilisation

moorenew“As a post-Vatican II ecumenical Christian, I have no difficulty in recognising and respecting Islam as a shared monotheism; but, as a beneficiary of Western civilisation, I feel deeply grateful that Charles Martel won the battle of Tours against the invading Islamic army in 732. Our way of life is partly founded on the fact that we repelled Islamic incursions for many centuries. And although I may accept that Saladin was a chivalrous prince and Muslim Spain was a lot more tolerant than the Catholic reconquista, I am entitled not to want my early-morning sleep disturbed by the muezzin and our children made to learn the Koran.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scottish teachers against Prevent – Scotsman
  • Police dragnet targets terrorist suspects near RAF Marham – The Sun

Democrats: Russia is hacking us

“A data program used by the campaign of the Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, was “accessed” as a part of hack on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that intelligence officials believe was carried out by Russia’s intelligence services, Clinton’s campaign said on Friday…Hacks against the Democratic party, revealed in the past week, have been blamed on Russian intelligence services. The Clinton campaign has accused the Trump campaign of involvement. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said that despite the breach of the campaign network, “no evidence” had been found to suggest that the “internal systems have been compromised”. Reuters, citing people familiar with the matter, first reported that the Clinton computer network had been hacked.” – The Guardian

  • Putin’s British propaganda push (based in Edinburgh) – The Times (£)
  • As President, Clinton “would re-set Syria policy against Assad” – Daily Telegraph
  • The Republican and Democrat conventions were aimed at their respective core votes – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

News in Brief

  • Five-pence charge has saved six billion plastic bags – The Sun
  • Turkey builds ‘graveyard for traitors’ for coup plotters – Daily Express
  • Honeysuckle Weeks found ‘safe and sound’ – The Guardian
  • Garden Bridge pushes back accounting year to avoid embarrassment – Financial Times
  • Bowie Proms tribute – The Times (£)
  • Oldest cancer ever found discovered in South Africa – The Independent
  • 50th anniversary of England’s 1966 World Cup win – Daily Telegraph
  • Sunny weekend but rain coming – Daily Mail

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