May ‘opens dialogue’ with Putin…

Vladimir Putin‘Vladimir Putin and Theresa May have spoken for the first time since she took office and both expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of Russian-British relations. The announcement by the Kremlin could herald the start of improved relations between the two countries that have been strained since the 2006 poisoning death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko and the Ukraine crisis, among other issues. In the phone call, which Moscow said was initiated by Britain, both leaders “expressed dissatisfaction with the current parameters of cooperation in both the political and economic sphere”. The Kremlin said Mr Putin and Mrs May agreed to develop a dialogue between security agencies on issues related to aviation security, and made plans for a face-to-face meeting in the “near future”.’ – Daily Telegraph

…as does Erdogan

  • The new Russian-Turkish ‘axis of friendship’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Putin and Erdogan reunited – FT


  • Russia’s ‘naive’ hopes for Turkey – Lilia Shevtsova, FT
  • We should keep an eye on the ‘Tsar-Sultan’ reset – Robert Fisk, Independent
  • Russia ‘still has options’ in Syrian conflict – Sarah Lain, Daily Telegraph

Daniel Finkelstein: What will May’s relationship with Hammond be like?

HAMMOND Philip white background‘Theresa May’s arrival in 10 Downing Street has, naturally, been accompanied by all sorts of speculation about what sort of prime minister she will be and what she will stand for. We have a reasonable amount to go on. There’s her political record, of course, and there is the situation she inherits, which inevitably will help to determine and circumscribe her actions. She has set out in a series of speeches what she thinks about many topics — industrial strategy, financial services, corporate takeovers, executive pay and, above all, the primacy she accords to helping those who work but still struggle to get by. Yet one very big piece of the jigsaw is missing. We don’t really know what her new chancellor, Philip Hammond, thinks of all this. Or what their relationship will be. And history teaches that both of these things are crucial in establishing the character of a government. It is wrong simply to regard Mr Hammond as “safe”. He is indeed that, but he is a tough and successful political operator with considerable experience. He will make himself felt.’ – The Times (£)

More May

  • May is right about pay – Michael White, Guardian
  • She asks Truss to reassess British Bill of Rights – The Times (£)
  • May is distancing herself from Cameron’s policies – FT

More Cameron

  • Inquiry into Cameron aide’s potential Paris appointment – The Times (£)
  • Bernard Jenkin wants enquiry into Cameron’s honours – The Times (£)
  • Proof that European cronyism is so much worse – Harry de Quetteville, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Overwhelming rejection of an early General Election in our Tory members poll

British gilts and bonds at ‘all-time low’

‘UK gilt yields and bond benchmarks in Spain and Ireland plumbed all-time lows on Tuesday, as the tailwind from the Bank of England’s restoration of quantitative easing gathered pace. Global equity and bond markets have been buoyed by the UK’s decision last week to cut interest rates to 0.25 per cent, the lowest level in the BoE’s history, and launch a £70bn quantitative easing programme that includes both government and corporate bond purchases. With the BoE joining central banks in Japan and the eurozone in buying large amounts of sovereign bonds, global benchmark yields continue to descend to new lows, exacerbating the matching of future long-term liabilities for pension plans and insurance companies.’ – FT

  • Investors ‘reject’ Carney’s bond-buying programme – FT
  • ‘Low uptake’ on Bank’s ‘buyback offer’ – Guardian
  • Savings are in ‘freefall’ following cut – Daily Telegraph
  • Think tank says economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in July – Independent
  • Sterling falls to $1.29 – FT
  • Government points up positives about China links – Guardian
  • Groups claim banks’ improvement measures ‘don’t go far enough’ – The Times (£)


  • Watchdog too lenient on ‘abominable’ banks – Daily Mail


  • The weaker pound is helping – Larry Elliott, Guardian
  • Watchdog should call for more than transparency – Andrew Ellson, The Times (£)
  • An Uber economy could bring more ‘benign’ capitalism – Rana Foroohar, FT
  • My expectations for the economy, post intervention – David Blanchflower, Guardian

IFS says single market membership adds ’4 per cent of GDP to the economy’

EU Exit brexit‘The challenge facing UK trade negotiators following the EU referendum has been spelled out by a report from one of the country’s leading thinktanks, showing that membership of the European single market is worth an additional 4% of GDP to the economy. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that Britain could enjoy the same sort of access to the world’s biggest market on the same World Trade Organisation terms as other non-EU member states such as the US, China or India. But it said membership of the single market provided additional benefits that might be lost depending on the deal struck by ministers in Theresa May’s government. Ian Mitchell, research associate at the IFS and an author of the report, said: “From an economic point of view we still face some very big choices indeed in terms of our future relationship with the EU. There is all the difference in the world between ‘access to’ and ‘membership of’ the single market.’  – Guardian

More Brexit

  • Dutch Prime Minister reassures May of ‘close bond’ – Daily Express
  • Call for EU bureaucrat haul – Daily Express 
  • Scientists react to Brexit – FT
  • Survey shows EU countries’ red lines over Brexit – Daily Express
  • Vince Cable says Freedom of Movement is no longer ‘defensible’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Charlie Elphicke’s ‘war’ on migrant traffikers – Daily Express
  • Deutsche Bank’s ‘precarious position’ – Daily Express


  • Norway could block UK’s EFTA reentry – Patrick Wintour, Guardian
  • Brexit mercantilism could lead to ‘moral compromise’ – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)
  • Remainers’ anger is helpful for Brexiteers – Ben Wright, The Times (£)

Grayling says there’s ‘no excuse’ for Southern strike

Chris Grayling‘The transport secretary has said there is “absolutely no excuse” for the strike that is disrupting services on the Southern commuter rail service, in the clearest sign yet of the government’s determination to resist union pressure. Chris Grayling was speaking on the second of five days of strike action over plans to switch the responsibility for closing doors at stations from conductors to drivers. Passengers were being made to suffer unnecessary inconvenience and disruption to their journeys because the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union was “holding them to ransom”, he said.’ – FT

Anna Bawden: The troubled families scheme was always flawed

‘The government’s £1.3bn troubled families programme was always a dubious enterprise. Launched after the 2011 riots, the scheme aimed to “turn around” the lives of nearly 120,000 families. The first wave paid all 152 local authorities in England to identify and then turn around families deemed “troubled”, at a cost of about £400m. Councils received up to £4,000 per family if an adult got a job, children were truanting less or if antisocial behaviour and youth crime were reduced. The programme is being rolled out to a further 400,000 families with a wider range of problems by the end of 2020, at a further cost of £900m. Of course, there is nothing wrong with experimenting with different ways to intervene early and help families. But this programme was built on several flawed premises.’ – Guardian

More Government

  • Patel’s new SpAd is aid-target critic – Guardian
  • Inquests may have been ‘denied’ into mental health deaths  – Daily Telegraph
  • NHS focus on urgent treatment will leave patients ‘in pain’ – Daily Telegraph
  • NUS says tuition fee rises would ‘entrench inequality’ – Guardian
  • Coal industry calls for Carbon Capture and Storage rethink – FT
  • Conservative Voice group says grammar entrance should be at various ages – Daily Telegraph
  • The cost of MPs’ foreign fact-finding – Daily Telegraph
  • Commons’ data shows rural broadband isn’t up to the task – Daily Telegraph


Bursaries for doctors in ‘hard-to-fill’ Scottish areas

‘The Scottish Government hopes to entice them to become family doctors with grants for taking up posts in less popular areas. Some 100 training places have been advertised, with the bursaries available in 37 “hard-to-fill locations” such as remote and rural communities. A combination of an ageing population with complex medical needs, fewer junior doctors opting to become GPs and an exodus among those still in the sector has caused a crisis in general practice, doctors’ leaders have warned.’ – Daily Express

More Scotland

>Today: Red, White and Blue: May and Sturgeon both dismiss 2017 referendum rematch

Watson accuses ‘Trotskyists’ of pro-Corbyn arm twisting…

Tom Watson‘Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has said his party is at risk of being taken over by hard-left “Trotsky entryists”, who are “twisting the arms” of young members, sparking a furious response from backers of Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn’s campaign team accused Watson of “peddling baseless conspiracy theories,” after the MP for West Bromwich East used an interview with the Guardian to claim that “Trots” are infiltrating Labour. Watson said many members of the grassroots Momentum movement, set up to support Corbyn’s leadership, are “deeply interested in political change, in building a more equal society, and are just on a journey in politics that they’re new to”. But he suggested some are being manipulated by seasoned hard-left operators.’ – Guardian


  • Watson: it’s hard when people accuse me of ‘scowling at Jeremy’ – Decca Aitkenhead, Guardian

More Labour

  • Report shows Corbyn’s 0 per cent chance of power – The Sun (£)
  • Ed Miliband emails members in support of Smith – Guardian
  • Bookies teaser Corbynites – The Sun (£)
  • ‘Mandatory selection’ on its way – Daily Telegraph 
  • Conference uncertainty after Party boycots G4S – The Times (£)
  • Burnham nominated as Labour’s Manchester mayoral candidate – Daily Telegraph
  • Burnham wants ‘a better deal’ for his native North – FT



Trump talks of Hillary ‘assassination’

TRUMP Live‘Donald J. Trump on Tuesday appeared to raise the possibility that gun rights supporters could take matters into their own hands if Hillary Clinton is elected president and appoints judges who favor stricter gun control measures. Repeating his contention that Mrs. Clinton wanted to abolish the right to bear arms, Mr. Trump warned at a rally here that it would be “a horrible day” if Mrs. Clinton were elected and got to appoint a tiebreaking Supreme Court justice. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”’ – New York Times

  • The text of his speech – Independent
  • Trump’s angry mercantilism ‘threatens’ the US economy – Ben Chu, Independent
  • Ex-congressman says ‘crazy’ is a mental health term, not an apt slur against Trump – Daily Mail

More America

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