Judgment Day for Article 50

Supreme Court‘Theresa May will discover at 9.30am…exactly what she will have to do to officially start her Brexit negotiations as an historic court case finally ends. The Supreme Court will rule whether she has the power to do so at a time of her choosing or whether she must ask Parliament to vote first. Her powers were called into question by Remain campaigner and former model Gina Miller – who won an extraordinary victory in the High Court that caused explosive political rows about the role of judges intervening on the will of the people. The Government appealed and a landmark four day case was heard by all 11 of Britain’s most senior judges for four days in December. Ministers expect to lose their appeal – a decision that will likely trigger a scramble to legislate in Parliament and officially hand Mrs May the powers she needs.’ – Daily Mail

  • Downing Street prepares for the possibility of defeat – The Sun
  • What to look for in the Supreme Court’s ruling – David Allen Green, FT
  • Clerks tell Corbyn amendments intended to hobble the talks will be ruled out of order – The Times (£)
  • Lawyers warn against short Brexit Bill – The Guardian
  • May’s plan has popular support – Daily Telegraph
  • Stormont hopes to block Brexit – The Sun
  • Verhofstadt sees the UK’s departure as a chance to tighten EU integration – Daily Telegraph



>Today: Christopher Howarth’s Guide to Brexit: Don’t panic, Leavers. Britain’s going Out – however the Supreme Court rules today

Industrial Strategy 1) Green taxes and subsidies will be cut to reduce energy bills

‘Household energy bills are set to fall after ministers unveiled plans to slash green subsidies, it emerged yesterday. Billions of pounds are handed out by the Government to wind farm and solar energy firms every year, with families and manufacturers picking up the cost. These climate change subsidies add around £110 a year to a household’s average bill. Theresa May’s industrial strategy, published yesterday, suggested that these levies should be dramatically reduced to help steel plants, which pay for emissions, compete overseas. This help for industry would have the knock-on effect of bringing down household bills, Government sources said.’ – Daily Mail

  • Lukewarm business response – FT
  • We need a productivity policy, not an industrial strategy – FT Leader
  • Hot air, not lift-off – The Guardian Leader

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The industrial strategy has a welcome focus on education. But will it live up to its claim of modernity?

Industrial Strategy 2) British firms will be at the front of the queue for public contracts

growth flag‘British businesses will be helped to the front of the queue when bidding for government contracts as part of Theresa May’s industrial strategy. The shift in government procurement rules will allow UK companies to take advantage of Brexit. At present EU rules mean that companies in all 28 countries must have equal opportunities to bid for UK government work. Successive governments have tried to tweak procurement rules to give British companies a greater advantage but this is the first time that ministers can suggest there will be meaningful change. In a second shift, infrastructure decisions will be evaluated to see which of them help to reduce regional inequality.’ – The Times (£)

  • The Government hopes to avoid ‘picking winners’ – FT

Hague: We need the special relationship, and the special relationship needs us

‘Her first priority has to be to persuade and influence the President on those subjects on which he and his embryonic cabinet have not expressed a settled view. It is not at all clear, from their comments in recent weeks, what price they are prepared to pay for improved relations with Russia, or if they will ditch the nuclear deal with Iran. As they get to grips with these issues, forceful arguments from the British Prime Minister can make a difference, before major mistakes are made. For if Trump gives Putin the cover to divide and intimidate Europe, or provokes a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the security of all Western nations will be seriously damaged. The trickiest task of all, however, is to exercise that influence – and push for a US-UK bilateral trade agreement – while creating the space for public differences on other issues.’ – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

  • Cato Institute warns a quick deal would be worth less than a slow one – The Times (£)
  • The President has withdrawn the US from the trans-Pacific trade deal – Daily Mail
  • May plans a trip to China – FT
  • The EU threatens to punish Britain for talking about trade deals – The Sun
  • Trump could wipe out the left – Melanie Phillips, The Times (£)
  • Lefties need to learn from their mistakes – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Mercer blasts the White House for its loose relationship with the truth – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The canting, self-righteous, liberal enemies of Trump who shouted “liar” at him – and failed

May and Fallon refuse to detail Trident test problems

Michael Fallon 02-07-15‘Speaking after a cabinet awayday in Cheshire, Mrs May said: “I’m regularly briefed on national security issues, I was briefed on successful certification of HMS Vengeance and her crew. We don’t comment on operational details for national security reasons.”…In the Commons Sir Michael refused to answer any questions about the malfunction. “It has never been the practice of governments to give parliament details of the demonstration and shakedown operations. It may well be that earlier governments in different situations, indeed in more benevolent times, might have taken different decisions about how much information they were prepared to reveal about these particular demonstration and shakedown operations. But these are not, of course, as benevolent times.”’ – The Times (£)

  • The Americans asked Cameron to keep the news a secret – Daily Mail
  • US sources contradict Fallon – Daily Telegraph
  • The Government should be more open – The Times Leader (£)
  • She should have come clean – The Guardian Leader
  • Gove mocks disarmers as ‘eunuchs complaining about the cost of Viagra’ – Daily Mail
  • Top US general warns that Russia could invade Europe – The Sun
  • GCHQ chief quits – FT

MPs fear rural “uprising” over business rates revaluation

‘Ministers face mounting opposition over changes to business rates that could push thousands of rural companies to breaking point. MPs and town halls called for a rethink of the overhaul. Riding schools, kennels, stud farms and vineyards are expected to be among those facing the steepest rises. Labour MPs will hold private talks with ministers this week to press for concessions. Local councils raised concerns that independent traders will struggle to stay afloat when the new rates come into effect in April. One Tory MP warned that the increases could prompt an “uprising” of rural anger.’ – The Times (£)

Anti-nuclear energy firm are bankrolling Labour’s Copeland campaign

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logo‘Labour’s by-election fight to hold a constituency dominated by Sellafield nuclear power station is being bankrolled by an anti-nuclear energy firm, it emerged last night. Greeny company Ecotricity donate £50 to Labour for every party member that signs up as a customer — and have a declared aim to make Britain nuclear free within a decade. Nuclear power is at the heart of the Copeland by-election as 10,000 people around the seat are employed at the Sellafield Nuclear Complex. And the creation of Moorside Nuclear Power Plant, which is being planned nearby, would also bring 21,000 new jobs to the area. The Tories have plastered the seat with leaflets pointing out that hapless Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn used a 2011 speech to call for British nuclear power plants to be shut down.’ – The Sun

Whitehall wastes £500 million a year rehashing failed ideas

‘Civil servants waste up to half a billion pounds a year rehashing policy plans that their predecessors had dismissed as unworkable, a government analysis has found. A report by the Cabinet Office said that Whitehall’s outdated and fragmented IT systems meant that it was impossible for civil servants to find out whether policy proposals had been investigated and rejected. Some departments hold more than 100 terabytes of information — equivalent to about a billion emails — but much is inaccessible to staff. As a result nearly £500 million was being spent on “wasted effort recreating old work” each year.’ – The Times (£)

Hackers seek to hold the NHS to ransom

NHS_Logo‘Having your operation cancelled because of a bed shortage or an infection on the ward is something patients dread but, these days, have learned to expect. However, patients in three North Lincolnshire hospitals were recently offered a very different excuse: hackers had brought down the trust’s computer system, forcing the cancellation of all appointments for two days. Even car park barriers were affected, and the hospitals had to resort to pen and paper. The network had been taken over by a malicious virus which encrypted files: the hackers demanded a ransom to unlock them.’ – Daily Mail

  • Hospital assaults rise – and they’re blaming Brexit – The Times (£)

Holland’s Rutte makes bid for Wilders’ voters

‘Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte sought to lure voters away from far-right politician Geert Wilders, as campaigning for the March 15 national elections heated up on Monday. In a full-page newspaper message, Rutte said ‘we have to actively defend our values’ against people who refuse to integrate or act antisocially. ‘Behave normally or go away.’ While Rutte’s message did not mention Wilders or his Party for Freedom, it was clearly aimed at winning over voters who would likely back Wilders’ hard-line platform. Rutte, leader of the center-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, said he understands calls for people who don’t integrate to leave the Netherlands. ‘I have that feeling, too,’ he said.’ – Daily Mail

Pubs could be fined for serving particular types of chips

Potatoes‘Pubs and restaurants could soon be fined for serving well-done items such as triple-cooked chips or thin and crispy pizza under a second phase of the Government’s crackdown on burnt food. Following the launch of a major public awareness campaign yesterday to help people reduce “cancer-causing” acrylamide in food, the Telegraph can reveal that food safety watchdogs are planning to extend the warning to every food-serving business in Britain. Under a new European Union food hygiene directive, due to be adopted in the UK by the the end of 2017, pubs and restaurants will be told to take reasonable steps to reduce acrylamide in food or face enforcement measures.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • You’d need to eat 320 slices of burnt toast a day to be at any risk – Daily Mail
  • Despite lack of evidence, the agency names more ‘danger foods’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Mark Tovey on Comment: The true cost of obesity is less than half the £6 billion that the Government claims

News in Brief

  • Worst speeders to be fined one and a half times weekly salary – Daily Mail
  • Reduced penalties for not paying the TV licence – Daily Telegraph
  • GCSE maths guides pulped because they contain wrong answers – The Times (£)
  • ASLEF threatens to extend rail strikes to other regions – FT
  • Eccleston forced out as F1 boss – Daily Telegraph
  • Gordon Kaye, star of ‘Allo! ‘Allo!, has died – Daily Mail
  • New Sinn Fein leader appointed – Daily Telegraph
  • Anti-Rhodes activist takes up Rhodes scholarship – The Times (£)
  • BT’s Italian writedown balloons – FT