Johnson is in charge of the country

BORIS union flag‘Barely six weeks ago Boris Johnson’s political career lay in tatters, his move for the party leadership abandoned after he was ditched by his closest allies. Yesterday he emerged victorious: not only politically rehabilitated but running the country. Downing Street said that Mr Johnson, who was installed last month as foreign secretary, would be the “senior minister in charge” this week while Theresa May continued her holiday in the Swiss mountains. Mr Johnson is the first port of call to handle a crisis or lead unexpected meetings, replacing Philip Hammond, the chancellor, who took the role last week.’ – The Times (£)

  • His turf war with Fox apparently continues – FT
  • May should fear what she finds on holiday in Switzerland – Ian Birrell, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: How Boris Johnson can run the country

Brexit 1) ‘Every pound’ of EU spending will face a national interest test

‘Every pound of European Union funding will undergo a “national interest” test to see whether it should continue in the wake of Brexit, a Cabinet minister has said in a letter. David Gauke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said that Britain will only match EU funding after the country leaves the bloc if it can be proved to benefit the nation. It comes after Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, pledged that farmers, universities and some of the nation’s poorest regions will continue to receive billions of pounds worth of subsidies after Britain leaves the EU.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Chris Whitehouse on Comment: Leaving the EU will mean more lobbying here, and more problems with our crazy lobbying laws

Brexit 2) EU immigration has cost workers hundreds of pounds a year

Border‘Sky-high immigration has cost blue collar Brits nearly £450 in wages since the credit crisis – a think tank claimed today. And it revealed that slashing the number of foreigners allowed into the UK could hand home grown workers from plumbers to welders a £150 a year pay rise. The left leaning Resolution Foundation claimed there WAS a direct link between the startling increase in cheap eastern European labour and low pay for millions of blue collar Brits. It revealed that the migrant population in towns such as Mansfield, Corby and Barnsley had exploded by up to 400 per cent since 2004 when Labour threw open our borders.’ – The Sun (£)

  • But the same report argues the economic benefits of the EU are greater – The Times (£)
  • May has got to cut immigration – The Sun Says (£)
  • Farewell, Lithuanian car valets – The Guardian Leader

>Today: J.Meirion Thomas on Comment: The Immigration Health Surcharge – a rotten deal for the NHS, patients and taxpayers

Ministers intensify charm offensive to reassure Scots

‘British ministers are stepping up efforts to reassure Scotland that its interests will be defended during Brexit negotiations and to damp calls for Scottish independence. Andrew Dunlop, Scotland minister, arrived in Inverness on Monday to discuss Brexit with sectors including tourism, energy and food and drink, while David Mundell, Scotland secretary, met local governments last week and will visit Borders farmers on Wednesday…“What we need to do is get the best deal possible for Scotland and for the UK,” Lord Dunlop said, calling on the Scottish government to join in a “Team UK” approach to the Brexit process.’ – FT

The Government clamps down on lawyers who take troops to court

Armed Forces‘The government is toughening up on law firms that pursue bogus claims against military personnel who served in conflicts such as Iraq. Downing Street said that it would press ahead with changes after legal aid funding was withdrawn from Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), the Birmingham law firm that made hundreds of claims of unlawful killings and misconduct against British troops. After an 18-month investigation, the Legal Aid Agency, which oversees funding for criminal and civil cases, said it was “clear that breaches with [the firm’s] contract are proven and warrant investigations”. The company, run by Phil Shiner, is to close at the end of the month. He faces allegations that he accepted illegal payments for cases brought against British troops, which he has denied.’ – The Times (£)

  • Many cases will be thrown out – The Sun (£)
  • £180 million deal for new missiles – The Sun (£)

Anger over ‘patchy’ NHS dementia care

‘Dementia patients are being left in healthcare ‘black spots’, an official report will say today. In a postcode lottery, standards vary hugely from area to area. Elderly sufferers can go a year without their needs being assessed. Emergency admission rates are three times higher in some regions than in others – suggesting problems are spotted too late.’ – Daily Mail

  • Over 100,000 operations are cancelled on the day – Daily Mail
  • NHS officials failed to challenge exorbitant drug price rises – The Times (£)
  • The health service should throw its weight around a bit more – The Times Leader (£)
  • GPs’ rude receptionists are pushing people to A&E – The Times (£)

Councils fail to punish planners for huge backlogs

HOMES Manifesto‘Only one planning official out of an estimated workforce of 12,000 has been disciplined for poor performance in the past five years despite a huge backlog of applications, The Times has learnt. St Albans is the only council out of 336 to take action against an incompetent member of staff, freedom of information requests show. Almost a quarter of a million planning decisions have been delayed during the same period, with some councils failing to process two thirds of major applications on time. Critics said the figures highlighted an attitude at some town halls in which poor performance was tolerated.’ – The Times (£)

  • We need a new approach, a new system and new people to build the future – Clive Aslet, The Times (£)
  • Whitehall redundancy payments top £500 million in two years – Daily Telegraph
  • HMRC accused of plotting stealth tax charges on small businesses – Daily Mail

Rail fares set to rise again

‘Commuters whose lives have been blighted by strikes and overcrowded trains face hikes of up to £75 on their annual season ticket. Prices are expected to rise by 1.5 per cent next year, based on inflation figures due to be released today. The increase will add £40 to the cost of an average season ticket, while travellers paying almost £5,000 will see the cost jump by £75. The prospect of another rise will prompt a backlash from hundreds of thousands of furious passengers.’ – Daily Mail

  • Since 2010 they’ve risen twice as fast as wages – FT

Sugar tax will cut five calories a day but cost 4,000 jobs, industry warns

Tax Take‘The Government’s planned sugar tax will reduce consumption by just five calories a day, the soft drinks industry has claimed. A report commissioned by the industry calculates the health benefit to consumers will be the equivalent of a mere bite of an apple a day. The economic impact, meanwhile, could result in 4,000 job losses, it claims.’ – Daily Mail

  • The new levy is expected to be launched this week – The Sun (£)
  • Ugly, unfair, nanny-state nonsense – The Sun Says (£)

May will govern for as long as Thatcher unless Labour get their act together, warns Beckett

‘Theresa May will run Britain with “unfettered power” for as long as Maggie Thatcher unless Labour gets a grip, a former Labour foreign secretary declared yesterday. Dame Margaret Beckett said Jeremy Corbyn had turned Labour into a cult fan club with “vast numbers” only joining the party to support the radical leftie. The former acting leader’s claim came as Mr Corbyn was given the backing of the majority of constituency Labour parties yesterday.’ – The Sun (£)

Kamm: On economic policy, Labour has become irrelevant

Woolfie Corbyn‘Amid Labour’s ructions over the leadership, it’s easy to lose sight of the dismal state of its economic thinking. There is much that a left-wing party could constructively contribute to debate. Average real wages fell by about 10 per cent between 2007 and 2015, whereas asset prices have surged on the back of near-zero interest rates. Such disparities, across regions and generations, go a long way to explaining the discontent that prompted voters to opt for Brexit and the prominence of immigration in political debate. Most economists believe that Brexit will have a long-term negative effect on growth and that immigration is not the reason for the squeeze on real wages. Labour should be proposing ways to cope with the damage. Its answers are variously non-existent, irrelevant, fanciful or destructive.’ – Oliver Kamm, The Times (£)

Obama wants to water down the nuclear deterrent to burnish his legacy

‘A proposal favoured by President Obama for the US to pledge never to use nuclear weapons first has alarmed allies, amid fears it might further embolden a belligerent Russia. British officials are believed to have made it known to the White House that they are “deeply opposed” to any move by Mr Obama to make a no-first-use declaration as part of his legacy. He leaves office in January. Critics say that it would be a radical and risky shift that would erode trust in the US even as Nato confronts a newly aggressive Russia.’ – The Times (£)

  • His final folly – The Times Leader (£)
  • Putin is building a new generation of nuclear bunkers – Daily Mail
  • Trump proposes ideological screening of immigrants – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • The Great British Bake Off returns – Daily Mail
  • Greece’s chief statistician faces prosecution for telling the truth – FT Leader
  • Oxford City Council wants to abolish Mr and Mrs – The Times (£)
  • Iraq faces crystal meth epidemic – The Guardian
  • Former footballer dies after being tasered – Daily Mail
  • Former ballerina wins Britain’s first hammer medal in 90 years – The Times (£)
  • Thank Major for our Olympic success – Janan Ganesh, FT
  • Arnott withdraws from UKIP leadership race – Daily Telegraph