Brexit 1) Prime Minister to “take back control” of British trade

MAY Theresa BBC Scotland“Theresa May will show EU leaders that Britain is ready to slap tariffs on their exports here by including a new law to take back control of trade policy in this year’s Queen’s Speech, The Sun can reveal. The trade bill will coincide with the start of Brexit negotiations with Brussels early this summer. And it will send a firm message to European leaders that the Prime Minister is not bluffing with her threat to walk away from talks without a new UK-EU trade deal. Brussels currently negotiates trade deals and collects tariffs on behalf of Britain but the new law will transfer that power back to Westminster.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Marcus Fysh in Comment: The prospects are good for post-Brexit trade

Brexit 2) Rudd, Davis, and Green to work on migration white paper

“Landlords and employers will face sanctions for knowingly taking on those without permission to live and work in the UK after Brexit under plans to be revealed this summer. Theresa May has asked Amber Rudd, the home secretary, Damian Green, the work and pensions secretary, and David Davis, the Brexit secretary, to prepare a migration white paper for publication in the coming months. Businesses have been reassured that they will not face a “cliff edge”, with any changes brought in gradually and allowances made for low-skilled migration such as seasonal agricultural work.” – The Times (£)

Brexit 3) Conservative MPs tell May to stick up for Britain over EU “divorce bill”

REDWOOD May 2016“Furious Conservative MPs have urged Theresa May to stand firm against an EU threat to take Britain to the International Court of Justice to enforce a £50bn Brexit “divorce bill”. A draft plan – obtained by a Dutch newspaper – revealed the EU is readying for a long legal battle at The Hague if Britain tries to walk away without meeting its huge liabilities. “In that case it is: see you in The Hague!” it quoted an EU official – in response to the Prime Minister’s vow to leave with “no deal” if necessary, perhaps seeking to avoid any exit bill.” – Independent

  • She talks of “brave new chapter” – Daily Mail
  • Draft copy of EU negotiating strategy shows court action plan – Daily Telegraph
  • Hammond “under pressure to cap bill” – Daily Express

>Today: Edward Bickham in Comment: To please Brexit zealots, the Government is getting its negotiation plan seriously wrong

More Brexit

  • Whittingdale’s concerns about BBC “Brexit bias” – Daily Telegraph
  • Select committee calls for post-Brexit links with ECJ – Guardian
  • And a focus on security issues – Independent
  • While Lords worry about aviation – Independent


  • May needs to alleviate worries of EU nationals – Ryan Shorthouse and Sunder Katwala, Daily Telegraph
  • Don’t forget about Turkey – Roger Boyes, The Times (£)

Hammond “rules out” tax raid on middle-class pension savers

“Phillip Hammond has ruled out the biggest pension tax raid in nearly a century after the Treasury has privately admitted that “now is not the right time”. The Daily Telegraph can reveal the department has privately reassured businesses in correspondence sent out this month that a proposed raid on wealthy pension savers will not take place for the foreseeable future… In a recent letter seen by this newspaper, Jane Ellison MP reassured the chief executive of one of Britain’s biggest pension firms, AJ Bell, that the Government would not be making any further changes to pension tax relief.” – Daily Telegraph

Government introduces laptop ban on certain airlines

wing-221526__340“Passengers flying to Britain from the Middle East and north Africa will be banned from carrying laptops and tablets amid fears that terrorists linked to al-Qaeda are plotting to put a bomb on an airliner. The government announced that travellers from six countries, including Turkey and Egypt, would be barred from taking any electronic device bigger than a mobile phone into the cabin of UK-bound flights within days. The indefinite ban — similar to one imposed by the United States on Monday night — will affect 230 flights over the next week and at least 12,000 over a year, hitting up to 2.4 million people.” – The Times (£)


Truss to announce plans for new prisons

“Plans for four new prisons will be unveiled by Justice Secretary Liz Truss on Wednesday as the Government steps up its drive to reform the crisis-hit jail system. Sites in Full Sutton in Yorkshire, Hindley in Wigan, Rochester in Kent and Port Talbot in South Wales have been earmarked for development as part of a pledge to create up to 10,000 modern prison places by 2020. The announcement is the latest step in a £1.3 billion revamp of the estate first launched under Ms Truss’s predecessor, Michael Gove, amid concerns a number of facilities were overcrowded and run-down.” – Daily Telegraph

Johnson meets with Trump adviser McMaster

Boris Johnson 30-01-17“Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, is attending a major Washington DC conference aimed at countering the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant terror group as Britain seeks to play down controversies over alleged spying. Mr Johnson was not intending to use his US trip to revisit transatlantic tensions over accusations that British intelligence was asked by the Obama administration to monitor Donald Trump when he was running for president, sources suggested… On Tuesday, he said he had met Lt General H. R. McMaster, Mr Trump’s national security adviser.” – Daily Telegraph

  • While Cameron makes jokes about the President – The Sun


Morgan: May “must fulfil” schools promise

“The 2015 Conservative Party manifesto states “We will make schools funding fairer”. This commitment recognised that the current situation, where we have 152 different local school funding formulae across England, has led to some inexplicable anomalies. Why should a pupil with lower prior attainment in Birmingham attract £2,248 of additional funding compared with £36 for a pupil with the same characteristics in Darlington? As the consultation on a new national schools funding formula closes today I want to encourage ministers to fulfil the promise we made and put right the inconsistencies which now bedevil the system.” –  The Times (£)

Other Westminster

  • Cameron’s “rushed” Road Investment Strategy is over budget and facing cancellation – Daily Telegraph
  • Osborne constituency’s “plea” – The Sun
  • New laws no longer to be printed on vellum – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour membership continues to fall – Guardian
  • Galloway denounces Gorton “all-Asian” Labour shortlist – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: How the school funding formula got bogged down

>Today: ToryDiary: Don’t blame Generation Snowflake for censoring free speech

“Missing posters” for Sturgeon spotted in her constituency

nicola-sturgeon-08-01-17“Disgruntled residents living in Govanhill, Glasgow, have plastered their community with pictures of the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader pleading for her to get back to her local duties. The tongue-in-cheek missing posters are emblazoned with the message: “Missing from Glasgow Southside since 5 May 2011. “If found please return to her to the day job.” – Daily Express

  • Meanwhile at Holyrood, she’s criticised for SNP “games” – Herald

High security for McGuinness funeral

“Huge crowds and high security are expected at the funeral… of Martin McGuinness, the IRA commander who became an architect of peace in Northern Ireland and whose death yesterday led to more controversy about his life and legacy. The service is expected to be the biggest republican funeral in Northern Ireland since 100,000 people turned out for Bobby Sands, the hunger striker who died in the Maze Prison in 1981. It is unlikely to have the same paramilitary overtones, however.” – The Times (£)




  • What will this mean for peace? – Jonathan Powell, Guardian
  • He’ll be mythologised – Kevin Toolis, FT
  • He was a coward – Norman Tebbit, The Sun

While America focuses on Gorsuch, Trump says he’ll keep on “criticising judges”

Donald Trump Jan 2017“Donald Trump was adamant that he’d keep on criticising judges hours after his supreme court nominee told the senate that he was “disheartened” and “demoralised” by attacks on the judiciary branch, including by the US president, on Tuesday. “The courts are not helping us, I have to be honest with you,” Mr Trump said in a speech before the National Republican Congressional Committee. “It’s ridiculous. Somebody said I should not criticise judges. Okay, I’ll criticise judges.”” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Tillerson to visit Russia – Daily Telegraph
  • McCluskey accuses Watson of plotting – FT
  • Renault diesels produce highest levels of nitrogen oxides – The Times (£)
  • Alzheimer’s prediction test developed – Guardian
  • Pill protects against cancers – Independent
  • Princess Anne likes GM – Daily Mail