So much for Project Fear: ONS and OECD find the economy is doing well

EU monsters project fear‘A government watchdog has delivered a damning verdict on the Project Fear campaign waged by David Cameron and George Osborne – saying dire warnings have failed to materialise and the economy looks strong. The assessment found there is ‘no sign’ of a collapse in consumer confidence after the historic EU referendum result. Fears of a house price slump, job losses and soaring inflation have also yet to appear. The humiliating conclusions – in a report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – emerged as the OECD upgraded growth for this year by 0.1 per cent and said the UK would not go into recession. Although the think-tank said the economy would slow down in 2017, it is still expected to grow by 1 per cent. By contrast, the Treasury predicted in the run-up to the referendum that there would be a 0.8 per cent reduction in GDP next year.’ – Daily Mail


>Today: ToryDiary: Johnson can be as silent as a Trappist monk

>Yesterday: WATCH: Ici Londres – Leaving the EU is not an end in itself, it’s the means to an end, argues Daniel Hannan

Ashcroft and Oakeshott reveal the inside story of Cameron’s resignation

‘In Downing Street, there was disbelief at the catastrophic turn of events. It was an outcome few in his inner circle had seriously contemplated: they had grown used to defying the odds. Now they embarked on the most painful discussion of their political lives. Huddled together, they debated whether Cameron could survive. His communications chief, Craig Oliver, knew he could not. ‘It will be death by a thousand cuts if you try to stay,’ he warned. Cameron’s political adviser, Liz Sugg, suggested he could wait until the morning to assess the national mood. She was a lone voice. His chief of staff Ed Llewellyn and Llewellyn’s deputy, Kate Fall, agreed he had to go. A shell-shocked Cameron did not need convincing…‘Why should I have to deal with the hard s*** for someone else, just to hand it over to them on a plate?’ he exclaimed.’ – Daily Mail

Witney selection sparks accusations of one last act of cronyism

Cameron on Marr‘David Cameron sparked a fresh cronyism row after his former aide was hotly tipped to replace him as the MP for his safe Oxfordshire seat of Witney. Natasha Whitmill, 32, worked for the former PM for more than a decade and was awarded an OBE in his controversial resignation honours list…The West Oxfordshire Conservative Association will select their candidate tomorrow from a small list of “local candidates” approved by Tory HQ. But an insider last night revealed Mrs Whitmill “is the hot favourite” and had made the final cut. After leaving Nottingham University in 2005, she worked for nine years as Mr Cameron’s “Senior Constituency Researcher” and another two years as his local Press Officer.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Local party wants someone who will legalise fox hunting – Daily Telegraph
  • Osborne’s campaign to recruit May to the Northern Powerhouse – The Sun (£)
  • May’s executive pay plans hit a snag – FT

>Today: MPsETC: The full PPS list. One third Leavers. One third women. And ninety per cent May supporters.

Aaronovitch: We should thank Merkel for taking in so many migrants

‘So that’s it, huh? Even Merkel says she was wrong. And this week our prime minister went to the UN and talked about cutting the numbers by reapplying the “first country” principle, tightening borders and somehow distinguishing better between economic migrants and refugees. Argument over. Sorry, but no… We borrowed the word Schadenfreude to describe situations like the one in which we feel vindicated and happy to see Merkel apparently fail. But in fact the Merkel critics are exhibiting what I call Nacktarschzudeckenwunsch: the desire to cover their own naked backsides. For when Angela Merkel agreed to take a million refugees she did the rest of us a favour and one day she — and her country — will get the credit they deserve for their courage.’ – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Is a strong Merkel really good for Britain?

Hundreds of Iraq veterans take the Government to court after ‘hounding’ by investigators

Army‘Soldiers hounded over incidents in the Iraq War are threatening to take the Ministry of Defence to court. A law firm backed by 200 of them is planning to seek a judicial review over the Government’s failure to support its troops. Hilary Meredith, who is taking the case, said soldiers had been left helpless before the aggressive investigators of the taxpayer-funded Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat)…A Downing Street spokesman this week said that Ihat was independent, insisting anyone under investigation would receive support and legal advice. But Tory MP Johnny Mercer, who has been leading an inquiry into the agency, said: ‘This is definitely not the case.’ Describing the feelings of the persecuted troops, he added: ‘They feel very let down, very betrayed. These are good men and women who have signed up and given the best years of their life to the service of this country.’ – Daily Mail

MI6 goes on a hiring spree

‘MI6 is recruiting almost a thousand spies to fight global terrorism and exploit the potential of the digital age. The recruits will increase the size of the force from 2,500 intelligence officers and analysts to nearly 3,500 by the end of the decade…Spy chiefs are keen to hire women and ethnic minorities as MI6 seeks to shed its white, male image to reflect the British population. It will also better mirror the countries and communities it is trying to penetrate, including Islamic State supporters operating in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Details of the recruitment drive emerged as Alex Younger, head of MI6, described the digital age as an “existential threat and a golden opportunity”.’ – The Times (£)

Hundreds of women die because the NHS fails to provide cheap breast cancer

NHS_Logo‘More than 1,000 women die from breast cancer each year because doctors cannot prescribe a drug that costs an average of 19p a day and could significantly extend their lives. Squabbling over which NHS body will pay has left the life-saving drug “sitting on the shelf”, experts warn. Health chiefs have been urged to step in to make clear how the drugs will be funded to prevent women dying as a result of red tape…A survey of the UK’s leading breast oncologists found that three quarters said they could not prescribe the drugs routinely, mainly because they did not know which NHS body was responsible for funding the pill.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: J. Meirion Thomas on Comment: We must ensure the NHS gains from Brexit

May is more trusted than Corbyn on public services, immigration and Brexit

‘Theresa May is more trusted than Jeremy Corbyn to tackle the most urgent problems in post-Brexit Britain, including safeguarding the NHS, according to a new poll seen exclusively by the Guardian. Asked what politicians’ priorities should be, the top three choices in the Britain Thinks poll were safeguarding the health service, significantly reducing immigration and striking new trade deals as Britain leaves the European Union. Theresa May was more trusted on all three issues, outpacing Corbyn on protecting the NHS by 38% to 30%. On reducing immigration, 46% of voters trusted May; just 12% said Corbyn.’ – The Guardian

  • Gove allies team up against grammars – The Times (£)
  • Universities must not rest on their laurels – Jo Johnson, The Times (£)
  • Oxford is declared the world’s best university – FT

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: Grammar Schools: May’s Miners’ strike or her poll tax?

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Protests over May’s grammar school plans, quiet about her independent school ones. The latter are losing support on the Right.

Corbyn promises more of the same as voting closes

Jeremy Corbyn‘Jeremy Corbyn has said that Labour MPs will not force him to change his style of leadership, as his rival for the job all but conceded defeat. Mr Corbyn is on course to be re-elected on Saturday following a bitter leadership battle that began after more than 60 Labour MPs resigned from the front bench over his performance. As voting closed yesterday, Owen Smith, the former shadow work and pensions secretary who challenged him for the leadership, said he would not serve on Mr Corbyn’s team, preferring to “loyally serve this party — from the back benches”…Asked what Labour MPs could expect should he win, [Corbyn] told the BBC: “Sadly for everyone, it’s the same Jeremy Corbyn.’ – The Times (£)

  • He plans a Minister for Peace – Daily Mail
  • Corbyn’s ex-wife voted for Smith – Daily Mail
  • Balls says some Labour members are disconnected from the wider electorate – Daily Telegraph
  • David Miliband speaks out – The Scotsman
  • Labour’s donor dinner struggles to sell tickets – The Times (£)


Clampdown on winter fuel payments for expats saves millions

‘The number of elderly British expats receiving the winter fuel payment fell by more than two thirds after a crackdown on ‘sunshine benefits’. Iain Duncan Smith, the former work and pensions secretary, acted to end the scandal of pensioners receiving the handout – worth up to £300 a year – despite living in hot countries. His success has saved the taxpayer more than £16million a year. Figures show that in 2015/16, a total of 42,015 people living in the EU received the payment from the British taxpayer. This was down from 137,845 the year before. The amount spent on the payments fell from £24.5million to £8.1million.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • State of emergency declared in Charlotte, North Carolina, as protests continue – Daily Mail
  • Rudd ‘was director’ of offshore firms before entering Parliament – The Times (£)
  • Diane James heads to Wales to try to calm UKIP civil war – WalesOnline
  • Newmark hires Carter-Ruck to get his infamous selfie removed from the internet – Daily Mail
  • Zuckerberg commits billions to end all disease – The Times (£)
  • Britain can help save the elephants – Owen Paterson, Daily Telegraph
  • Hodge to investigate Garden Bridge – FT