Zac Goldsmith loses Richmond Park by-election to the Lib Dems

zacg“The Liberal Democrats have caused a major upset in the Richmond Park by-election, overturning a 23,015 majority to oust ex-Tory MP Zac Goldsmith. Mr Goldsmith stood as an Independent after leaving the Conservative Party in protest at the government’s decision to back a third Heathrow runway. But Lib Dem Sarah Olney, who is also opposed to Heathrow expansion, fought the campaign on the issue of Brexit. She polled 20,510 votes to Mr Goldsmith’s 18,638. The remaining six candidates, including Labour’s Christian Wolmar, all lost their £500 deposits as they did not receive a big enough share of the vote.” – BBC

  • Goldsmith said he was “up against an entire national campaign” – The Times(£)
  • Resignation stunt backfires – Daily Mail
  • Dead parrot of politics rises from the ashes – Philip Collins The Times(£)
  • Result will “terrify the Tories” says Farron – The Guardian
  • I will vote against Brexit says new Lib Dem MP – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: The moral of Richmond Park. Don’t call unnecessary by-elections

EU 1) Davis “backs soft Brexit”

“Britain is leaning towards a softer Brexit after ministers admitted that they were considering plans to allow low-skilled migration and could pay to access the single market after leaving the European Union. The government does not want to end up with damaging labour shortages, David Davis, the Brexit secretary, said last night amid growing signs that ministers were moderating their stance. Mr Davis told a CBI dinner in Wales that the government would be “ending free movement as it has operated before”, adding: “We won’t do so in a way that it is contrary to the national and economic interest . . . Britain must win the global battle for talent. No one wants to see labour shortages in key sectors.” – The Times(£)

  • Yikes! Old knuckles Davis says he’s going to be nice to people – Quentin Letts Daily Mail
  • Pro EU MPs should stop trying to influence Brexit – Michael Deacon Daily Telegraph
  • EFTA could be the best option says judge – The Guardian
  • Here are four ways to stop Brexit – Martin Kettle The Guardian
  • Abandon tactical politics says Jarvis – Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: What kind of Brexit do you want? Tkae our monthly survey here

EU 2) May “extremely confident” of triggering Article 50 by end of March

may“Theresa May is “extremely confident” she can trigger the Article 50 process to leave the EU by the end of March even if she loses a Supreme Court appeal next week, with signs that MPs and Lords are losing the nerve to oppose her. Former members of the Remain campaign have told the Financial Times that if the government loses the case and is forced to consult parliament before invoking Article 50, a feared full-blown parliamentary revolt will not materialise, and that a tactical retreat is under way. “They are bottling it,” said one Liberal Democrat MP.” – Financial Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Supreme Court can not be allowed to negate the referendum result

EU 3) May banned from dinner

“Theresa May has not been invited to a traditional annual end of year dinner with other European Union leaders at a major Brussels summit next week because Britain is leaving the EU. The regular summit of European Union leaders will last only one day and will end with a dinner where Mrs May is not invited, the indicative programme of the meeting showed on Thursday.” – Daily Telegraph

EU 4) Wilshaw says school standards gap pushed working poor to vote for Brexit

Michael Wilshaw“The Brexit vote was fuelled by ‘resentment’ in poorer communities over a north-south divide in education, the Ofsted chief has said. Sir Michael Wilshaw said many people in the more economically deprived areas of northern England felt ‘alienated’. Launching his fifth and final annual Ofsted report into education across the country, Sir Michael said the gulf in standards was particularly felt at secondary school level.” – Daily Mail

EU 5) Pollard: It could collapse long before Brexit

“Three of the core nations on which the EU has been built – Germany, France and Italy – could all soon have radically different stances. The political establishment here has carried on the battle against Brexit by maintaining that the referendum vote was some sort of irrational aberration. It was nothing of the sort: it was a vote by ordinary voters who were fed up with being told they had no choice but to go along with the EU elite. Now across Europe millions of voters are saying they’ve had enough.” Stephen Pollard Daily Express

>Yesterday: International: How Sunday’s vote in Italy could plunge the Euro into crisis

EU 6) Record migration from the EU to the UK

IMMIGRATION mat“Record numbers of EU migrants came to the UK in the run-up to the referendum. An unprecedented 284,000 arrived in the 12 months to July – 82,000 of them looking for work, another record. The influx included 70,000 from Romania and Bulgaria – also an all-time high. Net EU migration – the difference between the numbers arriving and leaving – reached 189,000, a further peak.” – Daily Mail

  • It’s not racist to have doubts about immigration – Leader Daily Mail
  • Shocking stats show we have no control – The Sun Says
  • We need to restore faith in the immigration system – Leader Daily Telegraph
  • Draconian regime could harm economy says CBI – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: There are plenty of problems with a “transitional” EU arrangement – but immigration is by far the greatest

Freud to stand down

“The architect of welfare reforms announced yesterday that he was retiring from the government. Lord Freud, who oversaw the universal credit system from 2010, will retire from his post at the end of the month. Despite reassurances from within government, his departure casts doubt on the future of the credit system.” – The Times(£)

Boris backs Trump on defence spending

boris-johnson“Britain will support US President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign to get Nato countries to spend more on defence, Boris Johnson will say in a speech. He will say it cannot be justified that the US pays for 70% of Nato spending. But the foreign secretary will say that the UK’s resolve to fulfil its Nato obligations is “unbreakable” in a world where democracy is “in retreat”.” – BBC

  • Democracy in retreat – The Times(£)
  • General James Mattis named as new US defence secretary – BBC
  • Britain must fight the cult of the strong man – Daily Telegraph
  • EU budget could be spent on arms for Saudi Arabia – Independent
  • Unlike Obama, Trump believes in Britain – Nile Gardiner Daily Telegraph

Patel warns Commonwealth over funding

“The international development secretary has warned that she will withdraw funding from the Commonwealth after a row over the lavish refurbishment of its boss’s grace-and-favour home in Mayfair. Priti Patel put the body’s London headquarters on notice after concluding yesterday that it needed “urgent organisational reform” in the latest blow to its head, Baroness Scotland of Asthal. The Commonwealth secretary-general is already under pressure after details of £338,602 expenditure on a makeover of her residence, including more than £300 for a lavatory seat, were revealed.” – The Times(£)

Truss agrees pay rise for prison officers

TRUSS Chancellor“Justice Secretary Liz Truss is slashing prison officers’ retirement age by up to three years and raising  their pay in a bumper peace deal. Thousands of prison guards will also offered a ‘retention and recognition package’ of £1,000 in a bid to avoid another strike by unions. Some officers at jails plagued by a recruitment crisis such as HMP High Down and HMP Downview in Surrey will get as much as £4,000 to stay on.” – The Sun

Call for all foreigners in the UK to learn English

“Anyone living in Britain who doesn’t speak English must be found and put into language classes, a hard hitting report will demand next week. A year-long study on integration will name language problems as one of the biggest causes of alienation, which leads to extremist views. Senior civil servant Dame Louise Casey will call on the government to devise a fresh strategy to enforce “an expectation” that all foreign-born UK residents speak English as a condition of living here.” – The Sun

Morgan threatened to quit over school migrant checks

MORGAN Nicky officiall version“Nicky Morgan threatened to quit as education secretary to block Theresa May’s plans to force schools to check the immigration status of children. The former education secretary put her job on the line and appealed directly to David Cameron to head off the move by the Home Office, which was then run by Mrs May. Mrs May had suggested that schools could withdraw pupils’ places if their families were found to be living in the UK illegally, and that schools could carry out immigration checks themselves. Mrs Morgan received only “curt replies” from the Home Office, suggesting that she did not understand the policy.” – The Times(£)

Government aims to collect half the extra tax revenue from the top 1.5 per cent

“Half of all additional income tax collected by the Government by 2021 will be paid by the top 1.5 per cent of earners as hundreds of thousands of people are dragged into paying the top rate, figures have shown. Just 469,000 people earning more than £150,000 a year will account for almost £20 billion of additional income tax paid to the Treasury, a record high according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).” – Daily Telegraph

  • Expecting high earners to take so much of he burden is unwise – Leader Daily Telegraph

Davidson attacks SNP’s education failure

Ruth Davidson“Ruth Davidson, the Scottish conservative leader, took the SNP took to task at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday. Ms Davidson said  Scottish education was broken and required a root and branch review. She began her examination by asking Ms Sturgeon whether she had “complete confidence” in Scotland’s education agencies. …“The First Minister says fundamental questions need to be asked of those agencies and I think it is hard to disagree with that. But she might want to reflect on who has actually been in charge for the last 10 years.” – Daily Express

Blair to launch anti-populist think tank

“Tony Blair announced plans yesterday for an institute to develop centre-ground policy to combat “the new populism” across the globe. The former Labour prime minister said that the organisation, to start work in the new year, would focus in part on Brexit. It would comprise a networking forum and a policy unit, in partnership with the public and private sector. He said that it would not be a think tank because there were enough of those and described the venture as a “platform for engagement to inform and support the practising politician”. ” – The Times(£)

Hollande quits French Presidential race

francois_hollande_2015-jpeg“François Hollande, the deeply unpopular French president, has become the first in the country’s modern era to quit after one term. He stunned France by announcing in a televised address that he would step down after his five-year stint ends in May. By refusing to contest the election he avoids the humiliation of a near- certain defeat in the first round.” – The Times(£)

Gove: The West’s appeasement in Syria has empowered Tehran

“Our biggest failure has been our inability to check the advance of the Iranian regime — Assad’s puppet masters. The Khomeinist rulers of the Islamic Republic have been identified by the US state department as the world’s principal state sponsors of terrorism. Driven by eliminationist antisemitism and hatred of western values, they are intent on bringing yet more bloodshed to the Middle East — and beyond. Iran’s rulers describe Israel as a “cancerous tumour” and their Revolutionary Guards have promised to export violence to Europe and the US.” – Michael Gove The Times(£)

Heath: Trump is planning a Reaganite revolution

HEATH Allister“Whatever one thinks of Trump, he has been able to sign up some very big names to his administration; and by and large they look as if they will, if confirmed, unleash a neo-Reaganite revolution on America. For those of us who thought that supply-side economics was on the way out, this is a remarkable comeback for the ideas of low tax and deregulation.” – Allister Heath Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Train fares to rise by 2.3 per cent – City AM
  • MPs to be surveyed regarding their mental health – BBC
  • Lord Howard fined for speeding – The Times(£)
  • MPs warning over moving HMRC services online – BBC
  • Khan issues pollution warnings – The Guardian
  • New panel to vet grants after Kids Company scandal – Daily Telegraph
  • Channel 4 fights Ministers over its future – Financial Times