Plan to drop Human Rights Act delayed, but improved

Britain shield“Plans to scrap the Human Rights Act have been kicked into the long grass until after the next general election in more than three years’ time. The Government has abandoned David Cameron’s idea of a British Bill of Rights on the grounds that it would cause a parliamentary battle but still leave the UK in the grip of the European Court of Human Rights. Instead, the Conservatives will campaign on a manifesto promise to leave the jurisdiction of the court, which is separate from the EU.” – Daily Mail


  • Ditching Strasbourg will be worth the wait – Daily Mail

May urged to reconsider ‘penal’ rise in business rates

“Theresa May is being urged to reconsider “penal and unfair” rises in business rates amid warnings that some firms face being hit with a huge rise in their bills. The new rates, which take effect in April and represent the first change in almost a decade, will see businesses paying the price for increases in property prices since 2008. For the first time the Government will be able to charge some businesses an extra 42 per cent per year after a cap, which set the maximum amount bills could increase by at 12.5 per cent, was lifted.” – Daily Telegraph

Prime Minister lacks ‘courage’ to admit scale of Brexit, claims civil service trade union chief

EU Brexit“Theresa May is failing to summon the courage to acknowledge the “complexity” of leaving the EU, the head of the senior civil servants’ union has claimed. Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA, has warned that the Prime Minister’s refusal to openly discuss the difficulties posed by Brexit with ministers could bring Whitehall to breaking point. In an interview with the Guardian he warned that the “politics around Brexit are the biggest risk to Brexit”. Mr Penman, who represents 19,000 senior civil servants, called on Mrs May to give government departments more resources to cope with the Brexit preparations.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexit team accused of taking too many lobbyists’ freebies – The Times (£)
  • Gove defends blast at ‘experts’ – The Sun
  • Brexit campaigner stands by NHS funding pledge – The Guardian
  • Brexit fires starting gun on ‘decade of disruption’ – The Independent
  • Leading City figure says London will remain world’s financial centre – Daily Telegraph
  • UK corporate finance chiefs shrug off Brexit fears – FT
  • Claim hard Brexit will save £24 billion is ‘total junk’, says economist – The Independent
  • Report predicts UK in 2030 is ‘blighted’ by Brexit – The Guardian
  • Nationalist French Mayor pays tribute with ‘Rue de Brexit’ – The Times (£)
  • More than a third of SNP supporters backed Brexit – Daily Express


  • Mass EU immigration inevitable if UK remains in single market, warns think tank – Daily Mail
  • Child migrants sue Britain for not letting them in – Daily Express


  • Councillors tell Labour to take a tougher line on immigration – FT
  • Corbyn accuses May of acting like Henry VIII – The Guardian
  • MP criticises the Prime Minister for ‘beating up on bookies’ – The Sun

>Today: Andrew Green in Comment: Single market membership means more mass immigration

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: The important difference between Obama and Corbyn

Tom Harris: 2016 was the year democracy didn’t do as it was told

“Yes, it has been a dreadful year. And while the apparently high (though statistically insignificant) number of celebrity deaths has caused us all personal upset and dominated the headlines, and while a couple of elections and referendums turned out differently from what was expected (damn you, democracy!), some rather more important and life-changing events tarnished the year far more: the terrorist attacks in mainland Europe (Nice, Brussels, Berlin), the various mass-shootings in the United States and the continuing Russia-sponsored bloodbath in Syria. Against this backdrop, voters behaving badly is small beer. Nevertheless, that seems to be what obsesses our commentariat as the year draws to a close.” – Daily Telegraph

  • It’s been a brilliant year for politics – Paul Nuttall, FT
  • Cameron, Blair and other flawed leaders made Brexit possible – Ros Coward, The Guardian
  • Farage is our Man of the Year – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • The lesson of Brexit: a society too complex for its people risks everything – John Harris, The Guardian


  • Brexit should not lead to yet another bout of constitutional tinkering – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Gove is Leave campaigner of the year.


Cameron being ‘lined up’ for next NATO chief

Cameron1“David Cameron is being lined up as a contender to be the next secretary general of Nato. Officials believe the former prime minister is the most likely candidate to be successful if Theresa May wants to get a Briton appointed to Europe’s top defence job. It comes with a tax-free salary of 260,624 euros (£222,019), although Mr Cameron is thought to be earning up to £2,000 a minute on the lucrative speaking tour circuit after stepping down as an MP after 15 years in September.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbyn’s Christmas message to the troops gets a chilly reception – Daily Mail

More Cameron:

  • Abuse of Downing Street ‘normal’ under old regime, claims business chief – The Times (£)
  • Tory peer nominations may need to prove ‘record of achievement’ after ‘Cameron’s cronies’ – Daily Telegraph


  • Cameron and Obama must reinvent themselves to avoid the fates of Clinton and Thatcher – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Defence 2) Armed Forces warned they face further cuts

“The Armed Forces could face more defence cuts unless the government boosts its spending on the military, it was warned last night. Britain last year pledged to meet its Nato commitment to spend two per cent of national income on defence. But moves to include expenditure such as pensions in this figure and the rising cost of equipment because of the weaker pound could result in a real terms cut.” – Daily Mail

  • Why 2017 is the most dangerous year for Britain since the Cold War – Daily Mail

MPs 1) Hall accuses Liberal Democrat peers of subsidising their party

Lib Dem Logo“Some Lib Dem peers use their taxpayer-funded allowances to boost party coffers, a Tory MP has claimed. Luke Hall accused them of taking from the taxpayer with one hand and giving to their party with the other. Records show 16 Lib Dem peers have given the equivalent of more than 10 per cent of their claimed allowances from May 2015 to July this year to the party, equating to more than £100,000 in financial support. Peers can claim £300 a day for turning up at the Lords. Mr Hall said the Lib Dems were being hypocritical, adding: ‘They claim to want to reform the House of Lords, but quietly line their pockets with taxpayers’ cash funnelled through their unelected members.’” – Daily Mail

  • Adams urges May to crack down on ticket touts – The Sun

MPs 2) Tax chief urged to ‘come clean’ over benefits fiasco

“Britain’s most senior taxman is facing accusations of misleading parliament over a scandal that led to thousands of vulnerable families having their tax credits wrongly cut. In October Revenue & Customs stripped Concentrix, an American outsourcing company, of its contract to root out tax credit fraud and errors, blaming it for “a collapse in basic customer service” that led to the fiasco… However, it has emerged that it was the Revenue, not Concentrix, that helped to precipitate the crisis — despite claims to the contrary by Jon Thompson, chief executive of HMRC.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief:

  • Crisis talks to prevent ‘chaos’ of New Year walkout on the Underground – Daily Mail
  • Fears of ‘secret justice’ as Ministry of Justice proposes lifetime anonymity for child criminals – The Times (£)
  • Sexism row engulfs the Royal British Legion as female membership halves – Daily Telegraph
  • Kerry accuses Israel of jeopardising two-state solution – FT
  • Poor white kids least likely to reach university, says report – The Sun
  • Rising youth unemployment deals blow to SNP’s flagship policy – The Scotsman
  • Russia and Turkey agree ceasefire plan for Syria – Daily Mail
  • Patients ‘must wait weeks’ to see a GP – The Times (£)