Brexit Plan 1) May to make major speech on her priorities – including demand for full border control

EU Exit brexit‘Theresa May will threaten to take Britain out of the single market unless the UK is given full control of its borders in a significant Brexit speech designed to counter claims she has no plan for leaving the EU. The Prime Minister will outline her “vision for Britain outside of the EU” in a major speech later this month that will focus on the economy and immigration…She will make clear that while Britain wants access to the single market, the Government is not afraid to walk away if Brussels attempts to resist Mrs May’s demands for full control of the UK’s borders. It will infuriate Remain campaigners who are demanding that Britain retains membership of the single market. However, it will be welcomed by Eurosceptic Tories pushing for a “hard Brexit” which gives Britain a clean break from the EU.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • How the talks will work – FT
  • Bitter Remainers are trying to undermine May’s work – The Sun Says
  • May gives her start of the year TV interview to Sky News – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: May must refuse to explain the details of her Brexit plan

Brexit Plan 2) Eustice and Leadsom give preview of how farm subsidies will be reformed

‘Farmers will be stripped of direct subsidies after Brexit and required to show clear public benefits for the taxpayers’ money they receive, the farming minister has said. Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, George Eustice signalled that the subsidy system on which farmers rely for more than half their income would be overhauled. The government has guaranteed the present level of subsidies until 2020. However, Mr Eustice has pledged an end to the EU system of paying farmers according to the amount of land they own — a system that resulted in “slipper farmers” receiving money for running grouse shoots and other activities without actually farming. Mr Eustice said his main target was the area-based direct subsidies that account for almost two thirds of the £3 billion paid annually to British farmers under the common agricultural policy (CAP).’ – The Times (£)

  • Leadsom says seasonal workers will continue to be welcome – The Sun
  • Cause for cautious optimism – The Times Leader (£)

>Yesterday: Dominic Raab on Comment: This new year. Turbulence in Europe, but progress worldwide – and golden opportunities for Britain

Sir Tim Barrow appointed ambassador to Brussels

fco‘A career diplomat was named as Britain’s ambassador to the European Union last night as Downing Street sought swiftly to curtail the fallout from Sir Ivan Rogers’s resignation. The appointment of Sir Tim Barrow, ambassador to Moscow from 2011 to 2015, is a rebuke to those within the Conservative Party who called for the post to be given to a Brexit supporter, possibly from outside the civil service. Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary who recommended Sir Tim, is understood to have advised against allowing the position to become politicised and called for a quick end to the controversy over Sir Ivan’s departure.’ – The Times (£)

  • Brexiteers welcome the appointment – FT
  • Burt warns that we should heed Rogers’ fears – The Times (£)
  • He couldn’t be trusted, says Duncan Smith – Daily Telegraph
  • His parting shot was a dereliction of duty – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • ‘Friends’ of Rogers blame Davis and Fox for his departure – The Times (£)
  • Sir Humphrey must stop playing politics – Daily Mail Leader



Leaving the EU will allow us to halve net migration, report finds

‘Brexit will allow the UK to halve net migration, a major study finds today. The cut will provide a long-term boost to wages and help ease the national housing crisis, say Cambridge University researchers. Any negative impact on growth will only be tiny and would probably have happened even without a vote to leave, their report reveals. The academics deliver a devastating verdict on the Treasury’s pre-referendum scare-mongering, accusing officials of ‘flawed and partisan’ forecasts about the country’s prospects outside the EU.’ – Daily Mail

  • Syrian refugee ‘waved through’ at airport using fake passport – Daily Mail
  • Why isn’t the Border Force doing its job? – The Sun Says
  • They also find Project Fear warnings were ‘flawed and partisan’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Economists got their Brexit forecasts wrong, but should still be trusted – Chris Giles, FT
  • Umunna says migrants must learn English – The Sun
  • MPs consider regional visa policy – The Guardian

Tory MPs fear Middle England could revolt agains Javid’s housing plan

HOMES Manifesto‘Sajid Javid is facing opposition to reforms to the planning system from MPs, including some senior ministers, because of fears there will be a “huge backlash in Middle England”. The communities secretary will publish a housing white paper later this month to try to accelerate homebuilding figures despite misgivings from Theresa May about a potential rebellion by Tory MPs over the issue. Despite positive housebuilding data, Mr Javid has warned that current levels of construction are “nowhere near good enough” after the failure of successive governments to take action. “I’m not talking about small tweaks, building 1,000 homes here or there,” he said recently. “I’m talking about major, long-lasting reform.” The most contentious issue is a plan to force councils to increase the number of homes in the local plans that they are required to produce.’ – FT

>Today: Local Government: Councils challenged on absurd planning delays

Montgomerie: My advice to Labour – focus on May’s retreat on business

‘I offer Labour one big thought from which specific consequences flow. Britain is a right-wing country but that conservative instinct is limited to questions of national identity, security and personal responsibility. Despite Thatcher’s best efforts it has never taken the free market to its heart. Although she changed the country’s policies, she did not overturn broad support for socialised healthcare, council housing and universal forms of welfare. Theresa May clearly thinks on similar lines. But it appears that those of her colleagues who appreciate economic liberalism’s potency more than they fear its post-crash unpopularity are preventing her from challenging Thatcherite orthodoxy. The PM’s plan to put workers on company boards to curb the worst excesses of big business has been all but dropped. This is Labour’s opportunity.’ – Tim Mongtomerie, The Times (£)

Blair’s multi-million pound war chest to oppose Brexit

BLAIR swivel-eyed‘Tony Blair yesterday announced he is ploughing almost £10million into his new crusade against ‘populists’. The former Prime Minister has vowed to use his riches and influence to fight Brexit and stop Britain quitting the European Union. He is winding up his secretive money-making empire and setting up the Tony Blair Institute, a not-for-profit organisation entirely owned by him. Yesterday, as his firms’ annual accounts were published, he revealed he is giving £9.3million from his companies to the new institute, whose purpose will be to tackle ‘the new populism’ which he said was driving the world apart on Brexit and other issues.’ – Daily Mail

  • Shami Chakrabarti launches fund to help girls into university – even though they already outperform boys – Daily Telegraph

Crawford: We’re already at war with Russia, whether we like it or not

‘By annexing Crimea he has pulled off an illegal territory-grab in Europe, defying basic international rules that Russia itself has accepted. By throwing Russian military might behind Assad in Syria he has made Western leaders look weak and indecisive. Russia’s cyber warfare capability works in creative unsettling ways, including by pouring poison on to Western websites…In short, Putin’s Russia is experimenting with “non-linear warfare”. This gives us grim questions: are we now in a new form of power-struggle with Russia? And what if we can’t accept that fact, or are too befuddled to respond?’ – Charles Crawford, Daily Telegraph

  • US deploys Special Forces to the Baltic – Daily Mail

Norfolk: Section 40 could have prevented us breaking the Rotherham story

Pile of newspapers‘Since early 2011, The Times has published a series of articles about a hidden pattern of child sexual exploitation involving groups of men and young teenage girls in English towns and cities. We also addressed the repeated failure of child protection authorities in Rotherham to tackle the targeted grooming and pimping of children in the town…The story triggered such outrage that it forced the council to order the independent inquiry by Professor Alexis Jay which found that 1,400 Rotherham girls were subjected to grotesque abuse from 1997 to 2013. It also prompted a criminal inquiry that led in early 2016 to Hussain’s conviction for multiple sex offences against under-age girls. He was jailed for 35 years but is seeking leave to appeal. In the brave new world of section 40, the August 2013 article might never have been published.’ – Andrew Norfolk, The Times (£)

  • How Impress tried to pressure PinkNews into submitting to its regulation – Daily Mail
  • Opponents of a free press are planning to harm newspapers – Rod Liddle, The Sun
  • Even Leveson doesn’t want to continue his inquiry, Whittingdale reveals – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Glasgow University gives theology students a trigger warning about the Bible’s account of the crucifixion – Daily Mail
  • Friends of the Earth made misleading claims about shale gas – The Times (£)
  • Iceland’s volcanoes could power the UK – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • UK has reached ‘peak car’, industry boss claims – FT
  • Netanyahu backs soldier guilty of killing Palestinian – The Times (£)