Pressure to tighten law on sale of acid after attacks

“Ministers are coming under pressure to tighten the laws on the sale and possession of acid and other corrosive substances amid growing fears they have become the “weapon of choice” of teenagers. Calls for changes to the law followed a spate of five acid attacks in the space of a little over an hour that left one victim with “life-changing” injuries. Another victim told how he felt his “face was burning”. Two boys, aged 15 and 16, were arrested on Friday in connection with the attacks on moped riders on Thursday night.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Conservatives must rediscover a sense of purpose

Plotters against May “to pounce in October”…

“Theresa May’s enemies have identified the week after the Tory party conference in October as her moment of maximum vulnerability as the prospects of an immediate challenge recede…Attention is now turning to the Conservatives’ conference in Manchester, from October 1-4, with No 10 plotting how best to placate activists and stage a show of unity that will entrench her position. The plan includes convincing Tory members that the party has learnt the lessons of the disastrous election campaign. Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee and Sir Eric Pickles, the former party chairman, are preparing an official report to be presented initially to the Conservative Party board before the conference.” – The Times(£)

…as Tory MPs say McLoughlin must go

“Conservative MPs are demanding the party’s chairman step down amid growing anger that no one has taken responsibility for the “terrible” general election result which saw the Tories lose seats. Ministers and backbenchers are calling for Patrick McLoughlin to step aside by the party’s annual conference in October after claims that he was “completely invisible” during the campaign. One frustrated MP told The Telegraph Mr McLoughlin had been prepared to resign immediately after the shock result but that Mrs May had asked him to stay in post before the topic could be discussed.” – Daily Telegraph


Raab proposes tougher penalties for terrorists

“Terrorists face seeing their jail terms extended by years if their victims complain they have been let off. Ministers announced last night that the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme will be extended to a raft of terror offences. Under it, crime victims as well ordinary members of the public can query sentences handed down by judges within 28 days and force a rethink. Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “We want the most robust sentences for any terrorist crimes and for victims to have every opportunity to see justice delivered. “Our action will reinforce our focus on deterring people who help radicalise terrorists, and punishing those who wilfully turn a blind eye to terrorist activity.” – The Sun

“Even a woman” can drive a train says Hammond

“Chancellor Philip Hammond has sparked a sexism storm by saying driving trains is now so easy “even” a woman can do it. He made the remark in front of the whole Cabinet — shocking female colleagues, including the PM. It led to a withering slap-down from Theresa May…Moaning about the stranglehold unions have on picking train staff, the Chancellor, 61, asked why it is so rare to see female train drivers.  He argued that driving a modern locomotive was so simple now that “even they can do it”. His remark caused fury around the table. And when he tried to dig himself out of the embarrassing hole, he was interrupted by Mrs May, who said: “Chancellor, I am going to take your shovel away from you.” – The Sun

Brexit 1) PM plans cross-party commission

“Theresa May is considering setting up a cross-party Brexit commission and ask senior Labour MPs to join it as part of her attempts to reach a consensus on the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Downing Street sources said the Prime Minister was looking at asking senior Labour MPs like Hilary Benn or Yvette Cooper to sit on the commission. The new commission would “shadow the work of the Brexit department”, Number 10 sources said.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 2) Blair says the EU could be flexible over freedom of movement

“EU leaders would be prepared to be flexible on freedom of movement of people to accommodate the UK after Brexit, Tony Blair has said. The ex-PM said senior figures had told him they were willing to consider changes to one of the key principles of membership of the single market. EU leaders have previously said the UK cannot stay in the single market, while limiting the free movement of people. The government insists Brexit will give the UK greater control of its borders.” – BBC

Brexit 3) Clegg calls for second referendum – with the young allowed to vote twice

“Nick Clegg says there should be a second referendum on Brexit – and under-30s’ votes should count twice. Despite admitting his ‘time is up’ in politics, the former Liberal Democrat leader also criticised Theresa May as a ‘rather small politician’ for ‘disenfranchising the losing side’ in the EU referendum…He added: ‘We should give every youngster under 30 a weighted vote of twice the value of everybody else, because it’s their future.” – Daily Mail

Brexit 4) Farmers will have to show green benefit to get subsidies says Gove

“Farmers will be stripped of subsidies simply for owning land and be required to prove environmental benefits in return for future payments, under plans to replace the EU’s common agricultural policy after Brexit. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has pledged to “put the environment first” when allocating future farming subsidies, with payments for planting trees, protecting birds and other environmental benefits.” – The Times(£)

Brexit 5) May urged to sack Adonis

“Theresa May was last night under growing pressure to sack a Government adviser who caused fury by comparing Brexit to the appeasement of Hitler. Labour peer Lord Adonis, who is chairman of the national infrastructure commission, yesterday refused to apologise for claiming the country’s decision to leave the EU could be as bad as Britain’s foreign policy in the 1930s. Tories called on the Prime Minister to get rid of the Remain-supporting former transport secretary, but Downing Street said that while Mrs May disagreed with his comments, he would cling on to his job.” – Daily Mail

  • Remoaners need to accept that Brexit must happen – The Sun Says

Brexit 6) We will overcome the wreckers says Moore

“If you think about the consequences of wrecking the Great Repeal Bill, you have to conclude that its opponents are either bluffing or mad. I see little sign of the latter although, as I say, a few people like Lord Adonis are over-excited. The difficulties of leaving the EU are formidable. As Lord Adonis says, it is “a very big step”. But it is little compared to the great secessions and decolonisations of history. If we want it done – and the public have shown by their votes that they do – it will happen. It is a matter of will. The details are not the issue. The problem, to use another word which echoes to us from the 1930s, is defeatism.” Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

  • There’s still a real chance for a second referendum – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • Britain concedes it will have to pay EU exit bill – Financial Times(£)

Skidmore urges police to use their powers to stop online threats to candidates

“Police forces must be more aggressive in pursuing online trolls who target MPs with vicious abuse and ensure that all complaints are taken “very seriously”, the Government has said ahead of a major debate on politicians’ safety. Labour and the Conservatives have both accused the other of failing to act to stamp out abuse by their members and activists after reports of racism, anti-Semitism and sexism. Cabinet Office Minister Chris Skidmore said that the legal tools to crackdown on abuse aimed at politicians and parliamentary candidates were already in place and that the legislation “now needs to be used”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour turns a blind eye to its vile trolls – Janice Turner, The Times(£)

Morgan wants wider scope for Treasury Select Committee

“Nicky Morgan, the new chair of the influential Treasury Committee, has said she wants the body to extend its scope beyond banks and Brexit. Ms Morgan, a former education secretary, told the BBC she wants to look “at the wider Treasury remit”. She said: “We want to look at the management of the economy, public spending decisions. We’ve got a Budget coming up, with issues like household debt, tax policy, investment in infrastructure.” – BBC

Pupils being “brainwashed” to hate Tories warns teacher

“Pupils are being ‘brainwashed’ in Britain’s classrooms to believe that Tories are ‘evil’, a high profile teacher has claimed. Calvin Robinson played a major role in the Department of Education’s ‘I Chose to Teach campaign, appearing on posters, adverts and online. But the IT teacher has now come out said pupils were being ‘indoctrinated to a left wing mentality’ and encouraged to see the Conservative party as ‘evil’. Mr Robinson is head of computer science at St Mary’s and St John’s Church of England School in Hendon, north west London. Writing on the Conservatives for Liberty website, he said that schools were training kids ‘into a lefty way of thinking’. He wrote: ‘Our young people are being indoctrinated to a left-wing mentality from a very young age.” – Daily Mail

Farron decided to quit before the General Election

“Outgoing Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has revealed he decided to quit several weeks before the general election but did not announce his decision publicly. Mr Farron said he had put the decision “to bed” about two weeks into the campaign, and denied deceiving voters by continuing to fight the election. “I absolutely threw everything at it,” he said. He announced his departure six days after polling day, saying he was “torn” between the leadership and his faith.” – BBC

  • Sir Vince Cable considers plan to pay students to go to university – Daily Telegraph

King’s College must replace busts and portraits of founders in interests of diversity says dean

“King’s College London must replace busts and portraits of some of its founding fathers with ethnic minorities amid pressure from students, a dean says. The plans to move portraits of former faculty staff from the main entrance wall and replace them with more BME scholars are being implemented by the world famous Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, following concern among academics that current teaching is too “intimidating” for ethnic minorities.” – Daily Telegraph

Home Office fined for breaking senior salary pay cap rules

“The Home Office has been fined £366,900 for breaching the government’s senior salary pay cap when it appointed the head of a child sex abuse inquiry. It was penalised by the Treasury for failing to get clearance in advance before agreeing to pay Professor Alexis Jay £185,000 a year. Since 2010, all jobs with salaries of more than £142,500 agreed by ministers have had to be signed off in advance. The Home Office said it had reviewed procedures to avoid future breaches.” – BBC

Review of building regulations planned

“Officials have begun preparations for a major review of building regulations in England, Newsnight has learned. The decision reflects official alarm at the state of building safety in the wake of last month’s Grenfell Tower fire, in which at least 80 people died. As results of checks on tall buildings have come in, civil servants have expressed shock at how the official rulebooks have been interpreted. They remain unclear whether the problem is the rules or their enforcement. Over the past month, officials in the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have sought both to explain how the catastrophe at the Grenfell Tower in west London came about, and why so many other buildings have been found to have problems with fire safety.” – BBC

Trump and Macron shake hands for 25 seconds

“A 25-second handshake sealed US president Donald Trump’s Bastille Day visit to Paris, widely seen as a diplomatic coup for the host Emmanuel Macron and which ended with smiles and few protests. The shadow of last year’s Bastille day Nice attack, which killed 86 and injured 450, hung over celebrations, however. A visibly chuffed Mr Trump clapped continuously as guest of honour at France’s traditional military parade, which this year commemorated the 100th anniversary of the US entry into the First World War.” – Daily Telegraph

Forsyth: Barwell’s plan to avoid a zombie Government

“One of Downing Street’s great fears is that the ­public ends up seeing this as a “zombie ­government” – in office but not actually alive….On Tuesday, May’s new chief of staff, the former Tory minister Gavin Barwell, set out to the Political Cabinet how he thought they could avoid looking like zombies. He argued that they should be ­prepared to bring forward ideas and dare their opponents to knock them back. So, for example, the Government will ask ­Parliament to back a third runway at Heathrow despite the fact there is no guarantee it will get through the Commons.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

  • Corbyn attacks “Zombie Government” – Independent

Oborne: The PM is not finished

“Unlike many Westminster watchers, I do not believe that the Prime Minister is finished. True, the gloss has come off her premiership, but never ignore the fact that Mrs May retains a granite-strong integrity and sense of public duty. Above all, she won the election, is ensconced in Downing Street and no rival Tory has dared to come forward to challenge her for her crown. Despite much loose talk, I can’t see any immediate candidates. That said, there are Tories who wish that Mrs May would leave No 10 as soon as possible. Principal among these is the malevolent ex-Chancellor George Osborne who makes no secret of his hatred.” Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Head of IS in Afghanistan killed in raid – BBC
  • £1.6 billion in tax credits paid by mistake – Daily Mail
  • Recycling “often a waste of time” – Daily Telegraph
  • Russian backed hackers tried to hijack UK power supply – The Times(£)

And finally…PM never wanted to wear leather trousers in the first place

“It was the bitter row over £995 chocolate-coloured trousers that plunged Theresa May into a bizarre war of words with Nicky Morgan. Yet the prime minister wanted to wear her own trousers to the magazine shoot that triggered the dispute but she was overruled by her joint chief of staff, who ordered her to wear the designer pair instead. In an article for The Times Magazine laying bare the “dysfunctional” nature of the “asylum” that was the prime minister’s pre-election top team, Katie Perrior, then Mrs May’s director of communications, blames Fiona Hill for the row.” – The Times(£)