May to counter Russia’s “unconventional warfare” against Britain

timesrussia“Russia is waging a “campaign” of propaganda and unconventional warfare against Britain, government officials have acknowledged for the first time. Moscow is behind a concerted drive to undermine the UK through espionage, misinformation, cyberattacks and fake news, senior Whitehall figures believe. Theresa May will chair a National Security Council session within weeks to examine Russian actions towards Britain and its allies and discuss possible responses. It is understood that intelligence officers and senior civil servants from across government expressed concern about the growing scale of the Russian threat during a high-level meeting at the Cabinet Office two months ago.” – The Times(£)

  • Britain must raise it’s game to beat war of disinformation – The Times(£)
  • Former spies quit Cambridge forum over concerns of Russian involvement – The Times(£)
  • Cold Cyberwar – Leader The Times(£)
  • We are entering an era of internet warfare – Max Hastings Daily Mail
  • Putin is dividing the West – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph
  • Obama warned Russia to “cut it out” – The Guardian

More Christmas transport strikes planned

“Families flying this Christmas face chaos after militant unions unleashed a wave of strikes at airports last night. Furious MPs described trade union bosses as the ‘Grinches who stole Christmas’ after ground staff across the country and Virgin pilots threatened to scupper festive travel plans. Last night it was also revealed that BA cabin crew will strike on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Post Office workers are set to walk out next week, and a rail union boss threatened to spread strike mayhem to the North-West.” – Daily Mail

  • Sadiq Khan promised zero strikes but his union friends are causing misery for commuters – Keith Prince Daily Telegraph
  • Third Unite official enters union contest – BBC
  • Memo to Ministers – Leader Daily Mail
  • Ban these strikes – Angela Epstein Daily Telegraph
  • May and Graylin in a tussle about getting tough – James Forsyth The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The Government must crack on with the unfinished business of trade union reform

>Yesterday: Columnist Graeme Archer: Criminalise the RMT – and give season ticket holders a say in deciding railway franchises

Grayling knocked cyclist off bike

GRAYLING Murnaghan“Transport Secretary Chris Grayling knocked a cyclist off his bike outside Parliament in what his spokesman said was an “unfortunate accident”. Footage published by the Guardian showed Jaiqi Liu falling off after Mr Grayling opened his ministerial car’s door as he passed by. A spokesman said Mr Grayling went to check the cyclist was fine and apologised for what had happened. The two are then seen to shake hands, following the incident on 12 October.” – BBC

Child abuse inquiry “will not be scaled back”

“The chair of the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has rejected calls for it to be scrapped or scaled back, saying its scope is “a virtue”. Prof Alexis Jay said the broad nature of the inquiry would allow it to recommend “fundamental changes”. None of its 13 separate investigations will be dropped, a report said, but it may stop short of examining whether the late peer Lord Janner abused children.” – BBC

  • Inquiry will hold just four hearings to cut costs – The Times(£)

Duncan championed £285 million unusable airport at St Helena

DUNCAN Alan Wikipedia“It was, perhaps, unsurprising that nobody wanted to take responsibility this week for the “staggering” £285 million project to build an unusable airport on the south Atlantic island of St Helena. Now, however, it has emerged that someone was ultimately responsible — and, in fact, boasted about his role in the project — albeit before it was revealed as a white elephant. Step forward Sir Alan Duncan, knight of the realm, and minister of state for Europe and the Americas. In remarks that may now come back to haunt him Sir Alan, who was a minister in the Department for International Development, boasted that he had been instrumental in the “amazing” and “brilliant” plan.” – The Times(£)

Nicky Morgan replaced by a handbag on Have I Got News For You

“Nicky Morgan was represented by a designer handbag on Have I Got News For You, after deciding to pull out days after it emerged she had fallen out with Downing Street over the cost of the prime minister’s trousers. The former education secretary had been scheduled to appear on the panel show on Friday, but friends said she had concluded it was best to keep “a low profile” after a “bruising” week in which her own fashion choices had been ridiculed.” – The Guardian

Brexit 1) May calls for deal on rights for British expats

MAY Theresa Women to Win“Theresa May told EU leaders “I think I’d better leave now” after they met a short speech about her Brexit ambitions with silence. Shortly before leaving the summit in Brussels, the Prime Minister made a brief presentation to the 27 leaders on the UK’s Brexit position, highlighting her desire to guarantee the rights of migrants.” – Daily Telegraph

  • No mates May is perfect for our puritan times – Janice Turner The Times(£)
  • The power behind Theresa’s throne – Andrew Pierce on the importance of Philip May Daily Mail
  • British victory as EU plan for military headquarters is thwarted – Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit will be a deal between nations not individuals – James Kirkup Daily Telegraph
  • Labour’s wrong to put single market ahead of immigration says Burnham – The Guardian
  • EU fishing access is vital – Financial Times

>Yesterday: Julian Brazier MP on Comment: We must not mistake the rule of law for the rule of lawyers

Brexit 2) Lidl to create 5,000 new jobs

“Lidl is to create 5,000 jobs in London and invest £70 million in a new UK headquarters in the latest victory for the post-Brexit economy. The German budget supermarket said the jobs are part of plans to open nearly 250 new stores in London as it pushes ahead with a three-year £1.5 billion UK investment plan. Lidl has also received planning permission for a new 240,000 square feet head office in Tolworth, Kingston, where it will move 450 staff from Wimbledon.” – Daily Mail

Brexit 3) Osborne says he should have listened more

Osborne“George Osborne has admitted that he did not listen enough to the British people while in office in his first major mea culpa over Brexit. The former chancellor concedes that he was too fixated on economic indicators and not enough on people’s day-to-day struggles. The challenge facing the Conservatives is that they need to evolve to show that they have a greater understanding about identity, he added.” – The Times(£)

  • “I’m not sitting here wishing I was back in Government” – Interview with George Osborne The Times(£)

Brexit 4) Argentina calls for a trade deal

“Argentina has signalled that it wants to strike a trade deal with Britain if there can be a resolution to the Falkland Islands dispute. The comment by Susana Malcorra, the Argentine foreign minister, is the latest sign of a thawing in relations more than 30 years after the conflict.” – The Times(£)

Brexit 5) Carswell: EU claims for £50 Billion exit bill are based on fantasy

Douglas Carswell 28-08-15“The idea that the UK might pay some sort of tribute towards the EU after we have left has more than an echo of pre-modern mercantilism about it. In pre-Enlightenment Europe, of course, kings and emperors demanded tribute as a precondition to trade. How odd that the EU project, which the true believers still insist is contemporary and modern, should retain such an antediluvian outlook. Perhaps if the Eurocrats behave and think like the Habsburgs or Bourbons, they will go the same way.” – Douglas Carswell Daily Telegraph

Cameron goes shooting again

“David Cameron is attempting to get back to his countryside roots now he has more time on his hands by shooting for the first time in a decade. The former prime minister has picked up his guns after a 10-year break while he was Tory leader. As Conservative leader, Mr Cameron had to watch as guests bid for a day’s pheasant-shooting at the party’s annual black-and-white ball in February. Now The Telegraph can reveal that he has been shooting twice in the past five months.” – Daily Telegraph

Corbyn linked to campaign group for Kurdish terrorists…

CORBYN Jeremy Marr June 2016“Jeremy Corbyn and some of his closest Labour allies are linked to a network of campaign groups lobbying for the Kurdish terrorist group that killed 44 people in Istanbul last weekend, The Times can reveal. Mr Corbyn and Kate Osamor, the shadow international development secretary, are patrons of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, part of a web of UK-based groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Unison, a Labour-affiliated union, is also linked to the campaigns.” – The Times(£)

…as he attends Stop the War’s Christmas party again

“Jeremy Corbyn is facing a backlash from Labour MPs after attending a Christmas fundraiser for a group criticised for its “anti-West” stance. The Telegraph has established that the Labour leader went to a three-course meal last week to raise funds for Stop the War. A photo of the event shows Mr Corbyn in attendance while his wife, Laura Alvarez, won a “goodie bag” in the raffle. During the fundraiser, which sold tickets for up to £50, a poem was read out that condemned those seeking to “smash Putin”.” – Daily Telegraph

Sinn Fein calls on Foster to resign

Sinn Fein logo“Stormont’s deputy first minister has called on Arlene Foster to “stand aside” as first minister while the ‘cash-for-ash’ scandal is investigated. Mrs Foster set up the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in 2012 but an overspend could cost taxpayers £400m. Martin McGuinness said he was concerned that “credibility of the political institutions is being undermined”. But Mrs Foster replied that she would not be stepping aside and “does not take her instructions from Sinn Féin”. – BBC

MPs criticise poor social work standards

“Children are being left “at risk of harm” because of the government’s failure to develop “credible” plans to improve child protection, MPs warn. “Urgent” action is needed to end the variations in the quality of help for vulnerable children in England, the Public Accounts Committee says. The MPs called for the publication of detailed plans to transform child protection services. The government says it has a relentless focus on keeping children safe.” – BBC

Oborne: Britain must cosy up to Trump

oborne“I have sympathy for Mrs May’s reluctance to do business with Donald Trump. He is a braggart, a bigot and a bully. If I were American, I would not have voted for him. Yet, the inconvenient fact remains that he will be inaugurated as the President of the United States in just under six weeks’ time. That means he is about to become the leader of the most powerful country in the world, and an ally which Britain desperately needs as we prepare to depart from the European Union.” – Peter Oborne Daily Mail

  • Trump will win electoral college despite faithless electors – Daily Telegraph

Parris: There is no LGBT community

PARRIS Mathhew“There’s one abbreviation, though, that to me brings neither excitement nor pleasure, nor anger nor dislike, but only a vague sinking of the heart. LGBT — or “the LGBT community”. This community does not exist. The bolting together of dissimilar groups distorts understanding. LGBT isn’t a club I’m in….Why this abbreviation, more joyless than any of its constituent capitals, lowering the spirits further with the addition of every latest capital letter, born in a crazy Oxford undergraduate debate, and growing up to live on in a dreary local government circular?” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

News in brief

  • Ofcom criticises poor rural broadband – The Times(£)
  • Keith Vaz police investigation closed – BBC
  • Lord Maginnis faces prison after buying wrong train ticket – Daily Telegraph
  • Harman becomes longest continuously serving woman MP – BBC
  • EDF put up energy bills – The Times(£)
  • Big Ben to fall silent for repairs – BBC
  • Hundreds of Calais children have UK asylum claims rejected – The Guardian
  • Home Office refuses to give figure for number of illegal immigrants – Daily Express