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Brexit 1) Backlash over proposed £36 billion “divorce bill”

“Brexit negotiators have been accused of trying to “ram through” a £36bn divorce bill while most of the Cabinet is on holiday amid a furious backlash from ministers and senior eurosceptic Conservatives. The Sunday Telegraph yesterday disclosed that senior Whitehall officials have concluded that the offer is the only way to break the deadlock in negotiations and push ahead with discussions on a future trade deal. The  scale of the divorce bill has infuriated eurosceptic Cabinet ministers and Tory MPs, many of whom believe that Britain is under no legal obligation to pay anything it leaves the EU and should in fact get some money back.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Figure is “inaccurate speculation” says Downing Street – The Guardian
  • The figure is “nonsense” says Redwood – Daily Mail
  • We owe them nothing says Rees-Mogg – The Sun
  • Cabinet rift widens – The Times(£)
  • Opportunities of Brexit appeal to all ages – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Vince Cable is like Victor Meldrew – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Westminster and Whitehall should spend less time talking about Brexit and more time preparing for it

Brexit 2) Negotiations “have not begun well” says former top diplomat

“The UK’s Brexit negotiations have not begun well amid “differences” inside the cabinet, a former head of the diplomatic service has said. Sir Simon Fraser, chief mandarin at the Foreign Office until 2015, said the UK side had been “a bit absent” from formal negotiations in Brussels. Sir Simon, who now advises businesses on Brexit, said he was concerned the UK had not put forward a clear position. The government is expected to publish “position papers” on key issues soon.” – BBC

  • We must rid ourselves of our delusions about Germany – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Charles Elphicke on Comment: Ready on Day One to meet the Brexit Borders Challenge

>Yesterday: Marcus Fysh on Comment: Keep the transition simple, and focus Brexit negotiators’ efforts on the eventual, permanent deal

Brexit 3) Garnier to boost Asian trade

“Trade Minister Mark Garnier will reach out to counterparts in Asia this week in a bid to secure a “wealth of opportunities” for the UK post-Brexit. Mr Garnier is set to travel to Malaysia and South Korea this week where he will discuss boosting trade and investment links with the two countries. The minister, who works in Liam Fox’s international trade department, will start his tour in Malaysia, where he will speaking with leaders in the technology and education sectors before heading to South Korea where talks are expected to include co-operation in the motor industry. ” – Daily Express

Brexit 4) Spain will not attempt to recover Gibraltar

“Spain will not make its recovery of Gibraltar a condition in the Brexit talks, its foreign minister said in an interview Sunday that could ease tensions over the disputed British territory. Nestled on Spain’s southern tip, Gibraltar has been under British control since 1713 but Madrid has long wanted it back. Authorities in the tiny rocky outcrop fear Spain will influence the complex negotiations between the EU and Britain in order to try to gain authority over Gibraltar.” – Daily Telegraph

  • US trade deal “could see milk and baby formula with cancer-causing toxins flood UK market” – Independent

Brexit 5) Bridgen call on Hammond to go

“Andrew Bridgen became the first Tory MP to demand Mr Hammond be removed for his attempt to delay Brexit with a three-year transition deal. While Mr Bridgen is the first MP to go public at his disgust in the Chancellor, several of his colleagues have let it be known that they also want to see him turfed out of the Treasury. A fellow senior minister said that the Chancellor was “living in cloud cuckoo land” and that patience was running out with him in the cabinet.” – Daily Express

Four in ten care homes fail inspections

“Social care is in such crisis that four in ten homes fail inspections. Watchdogs have reported on 5,300 care homes this year and 2,000 were found inadequate or in need of improvement. It means 70,000 vulnerable residents and patients are at risk. Inspectors found elderly who were left filthy and starving. Others were locked in their bedrooms with no natural light….Responding to the findings, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said last night: ‘Any instance of care falling short is one too many. We expect significant improvements where care is below expectations.’ Since October 2014, the CQC has inspected adult social care services using an Ofsted-style system. Homes are rated as outstanding, good, requiring improvement or inadequate.” – Daily Mail

“Endemic” abuse of mental patients within the NHS

“Record levels of violence and abuse against vulnerable patients at mental health trusts were reported last year amid accusations of “endemic” use of force in the NHS. More than 5,000 serious incidents involving both children and adults were investigated, including hundreds of suicides, dozens of killings, more than 2,000 cases of self-harm and even deaths of children. The figures, obtained by The Times through freedom of information requests, have shocked a sector reeling from accusations of flawed care after the High Court judge Sir James Munby lambasted the “disgraceful lack of provision” last week for a teenage girl at acute risk of taking her own life.” – The Times(£)

New data protection law strengthens right to be forgotten

“Social media firms like Facebook will be forced to delete information or face fines under new laws. The new Data Protection Bill will see extra powers given to the information watchdog and allow them to issue fines of up to £17 million…Digital Minister Matt Hancock said: “Our measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.” – The Sun

Tory MSP Annie Wells talks about being bullied at school

“A good education can open your mind and lift the soul, but a bad experience at school can leave scars. Just ask Annie Wells. Of all the MSPs who won last year, the election of Wells as a Tory member in Glasgow was the most remarkable, given the anguish she has endured. Wells had been a typical 13-year-old growing up in the east end of Glasgow in the mid-1980s. As a pupil at an all-girls Catholic school, she listened to Adam and the Ants, enjoyed gymnastics, played the cello and was good at maths. She then came out as gay…. After confiding in a teacher and telling her classmates, she was bullied and ostracised.” – The Herald

Criticism of Prevent “based on ignorance”

“One of Scotland Yard’s most senior police officers says criticism of the government’s Prevent programme is based on “ignorance”. It was set up to stop people being drawn into terrorist activities, but has been labelled “toxic” by critics. “They don’t understand properly how Prevent works,” Commander Dean Haydon told the BBC’s Asian Network. He added that some criticism came from parts of the community that “don’t want Prevent to work in the first place”.” – BBC

Allow the police to chase moped thugs says Khan

“Police should be allowed to chase violent moped gangs without fear of prosecution, London’s mayor said yesterday. Sadiq Khan’s intervention came after it emerged that some thieves remove their helmets to discourage officers from following them in case there is an accident – and the police themselves end up in the dock. He insisted the police must be granted greater freedom to pursue the perpetrators of the ‘reckless’ and ‘frightening’ snatch crimes that can involve the throwing of acid. In the 12 months to June, Scotland Yard recorded 16,158 such thefts – three times as many as the previous year.” – Daily Mail

  • New tagging spray to help identify offenders – The Sun

Former Labour MP Kevin McNamara has died

“Former Labour MP Kevin McNamara, who served his Hull constituency for nearly 40 years, has died aged 82. The former shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer after falling ill while on holiday in Spain. Mr McNamara, who represented Hull North from 1966 to 2005, had no previous symptoms and died at his home in Formby, Merseyside, his family said.” – BBC

Corbyn backed votes for every prisoner

“Jeremy Corbyn has backed the right of all prisoners to vote in elections, the Mail can reveal. The Labour leader told a conference he believes ‘very strongly’ that all inmates should be able to participate in elections. He also endorsed a ruling in favour of prisoner voting by the European Court of Human Rights.” – Daily Mail

Alliance Party Leader to undergo surgery

“The Alliance party leader has announced that she is due to undergo surgery for endometriosis. Writing on social media, Naomi Long revealed that she has suffered from the condition for most of her adult life. She expects to be off work for up to 10 weeks to recover. In the post she said the operation had originally been scheduled for January but was postponed due to the collapse of the Assembly and the general election.” – BBC

Spot mollycoddling pupils says Ofsted chief

“Schools must stop wrapping children in cotton wool and allow them to take risks, according to the head of Ofsted. Amanda Spielman has criticised schools for forcing children to wear high-visibility jackets on school trips, popping and throwing away balloons because they are “dangerous” or cancelling sports days in damp weather. She said that inspectors would no longer commend schools that had overbearing health and safety policies and that teachers had to do more to distinguish between “real and imagined risk”, and help children to develop resilience and grit.” – The Times(£)

Challenge to Google’s diversity policies prompts debate

“A Google employee’s opinion criticising the firm’s diversity initiatives is causing a furore at the firm. In an internal memo, a male software engineer argued the lack of women in top tech jobs was due to biological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he wrote in the piece which was widely criticised. But the author said he had received “many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude”.” BBC

UK’s Bangladeshi and Pakistani families see fast real income growth

“Ethnically Bangladeshi and Pakistani households in the UK have experienced the fastest income growth this century after an improvement in their pay and employment rates. An analysis of household incomes by the Resolution Foundation think-tank shows the gaps between different ethnicities have narrowed since the turn of the millennium. The catch-up growth by Bangladeshi and Pakistani households has been particularly strong: the median Bangladeshi household experienced real terms income growth of 38 per cent between 2001-03 and 2014-16, compared with 13 per cent for white British households. Pakistani households saw growth of 28 per cent.” – Financial Times(£)

Rebels attack army base in Venezuela

“A search is under way in Venezuela for 10 men who escaped with weapons after an attack on a military base, President Nicolás Maduro says. The assault in the north-western city of Valencia was carried out by 20 people, he said. Two were killed, one was injured and seven were arrested. Earlier, a video posted on social media showed uniformed men saying they were rising against a “murderous tyranny”.” – BBC

  • A very socialist paradise – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
  • Corbyn quiet as Marxist utopia becomes hell on Earth – The Sun Says
  • Venezuela polls cleaner than UK’s says Abbott – The Times(£)
  • Corbyn must speak out says Field – Daily Express

Billions spent on anti drugs strategy “failed”

“Illegal drugs remain widely available despite the billions of pounds spent trying to enforce laws prohibiting them, according to an official evaluation of a government anti-drug strategy. An estimated £1.6 billion was spent on enforcement in 2014-15 but the study said that actions by the police and other arms of the state had little impact on availability. “It appears that drugs are still widely available to those who want them,” the cross-government audit of the effects in England of the five-year 2010 drug strategy concluded.” – The Times(£)

Trump welcomes China’s backing over North Korea

“President Trump has praised China and Russia for agreeing to the toughest sanctions yet imposed on North Korea, but divisions remain over how to thwart Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions. In a rare show of unity, Beijing and Moscow backed a push at the UN security council in New York for a total ban on North Korean coal exports. The ban will cut the regime’s annual export revenue of $3 billion by a third, but fell short of a blockade of oil imports. Mr Trump tweeted: “China and Russia voted with us. Very big financial impact!” – The Times(£)

  • Republican big names wait for President to fail – The Times(£)

>Today: Columnist Nadhim Zahawi: Meanwhile, as we fix our gaze on Kim Jong Un and Maduro, China makes veiled threats of war against India

The Tories must embrace change says d’Ancona

“I wonder if the promise of stability and steadiness will ever again be sufficient to win an election. Why did so many who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 go on to vote for Donald Trump last year? Because both presidential candidates – in radically different ways – promised change. So did Jeremy Corbyn. Unless the Tories absorb this lesson, they are in for a shock that will make the last election seem like a mild irritant.” – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian

Ridley: Britain can lead the world in gene editing

“Gene editing so that crops are insect-resistant, and thus need no sprays, or are capable of fixing their own nitrogen from the air, and thus need no fertiliser, or for enhanced nutrition (more omega-3 fatty acids, say), are all possibilities. The European Union is deliberately trying to delay deciding how to regulate this technology. The Americans, despite permitting two traits already, are starting to promulgate stricter rules through the Food and Drug Administration. The Chinese are gung-ho but lack the depth of scientific expertise we have here. Britain could be the world leader in plant gene editing. Scientifically, legally, reputationally and pragmatically, we are in a great position.” Matt Ridley, The Times(£)

News in brief

  • Former SNP MP demands apology from Sturgeon – Daily Telegraph
  • Fear of violence in Kenyan elections – BBC
  • National Trust abandons requirement to wear gay badges – Daily Mail
  • Councillor allowances increased in Cardiff – Wales Online
  • Half of promised road upgrades “yet to start” – The Sun
  • Luxury accommodation for University Vice Chancellors – The Times(£)
  • Scotland faces housing crisis – The Scotsman

And finally…Cameron at UK’s “poshest music festival”

“David Cameron is used to having his photograph taken…And despite having been largely out of the public eye since his resignation last year, it seems Mr Cameron has not lost his instincts for a good picture after he photobombed a selfie at a music festival. The former PM was pictured in the background of a photo taken at the Wilderness Festival at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire this weekend and it is now going viral on social media.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Freeman’s definitely non-Glastonbury-style Conservative ideas festival

14 comments for: Newslinks for Monday 7th August 2017

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