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May: We will take on bad businesses

‘A minority of firms are falling short of the high standards we expect of them. Some have deliberately broken rules that are designed to protect their workers. Others have ignored the concerns of their shareholders by awarding pay rises to bosses that far outstrip the company’s performance. Most business leaders I speak to abhor this kind of behaviour. They know that when firms listen to their workers and are responsive to their shareholders, they can see the benefits on the bottom line. The problem comes when a small minority of executives narrowly put their own short-term interests first. Our future success as a nation, and the security and prosperity of every family in every part of the UK, depends on our economy thriving in the years ahead. That future success is undermined by the excesses and irresponsibility of a few. When big businesses are brought into disrepute, public trust in an open, free-enterprise economy is weakened. It is bad for individual workers and companies, but also damages the social fabric of our country. It emboldens those on the far Left who hate to see business succeed.’ – Theresa May, Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Conservatives must fight bad business – but this Government has limited power to do so

Brussels tells Davis to ‘dream on’ if he wants to strike a trade deal before agreeing the Brexit bill

‘David Davis has been told by EU negotiators to ‘dream on’ if he thinks he can strike a trade deal with Brussels before agreeing to fork out billions of pounds for the divorce. With tensions escalating between the Brexit Secretary and the EU ahead of the third round of talks tomorrow, the negotiators last night also warned Mr Davis to tone down his bellicose language or risk derailing the entire process. Responding to a bullish demand from Mr Davis for our future trading relationship to be put on the table now, a senior source close to the Brussels negotiations told The Mail on Sunday this weekend: ‘David Davis can dream on if he thinks EU negotiators will be bullied into discussing the outlines of a future relationship before divorce arrangements are in place.” – Mail on Sunday

War of the Whips

‘Jeremy Corbyn is plotting to use parliamentary guerrilla tactics to bring down the Government by ‘driving a wedge’ between No 10 and its DUP allies. Labour Chief Whip Nick Brown plans to spring a series of ambushes to exploit the loss of Mrs May’s majority in her June Election disaster, including mounting surprise votes on Wednesdays and Thursdays when the Ulster MPs like to be returning to Northern Ireland. But the plotting is being tracked by Brown’s Tory opposite number, Gavin Williamson, as MPs prepare to return to the Commons in a week’s time. The two Chief Whips – whose job is to win votes at all costs by bullying and cajoling MPs through the division lobbies – could not be more different. ‘Bruiser’ Brown entered Parliament in 1983, the year when Labour was buried under Margaret Thatcher’s landslide, and is now enjoying his third spell as Chief Whip. Aged 67, Brown is nearly three decades older – and about five stone heavier – than 41-year-old Williamson.’ – Mail on Sunday

Government accused of failing transparency pledge

‘Claims that this government would be the most transparent in history have been exposed as a sham after it emerged that nearly half the papers it was supposed to release for public scrutiny have been held back. Departments are expected to publish details of spending as well as information on the gifts, hospitality, meetings and travel of ministers and officials. But research shows that 92 out of the 202 “transparency” publications that ministers pledged to release are either late or missing. Only three departments have met a new requirement to publish the gender pay gap between male and female officials. Nine out of 22 departments are late publishing lists of civil service staff moving to business appointments or have never published them. These rules are designed to prevent abuse of the “revolving door” between Whitehall and business.’ – Sunday Times

  • Free childcare scheme still has problems days before its launch – The Observer

Security drill reveals Parliament’s vulnerabilities

‘A secret test conducted by police showed that terrorists could break into Parliament in under five minutes and stage a massacre of more than 100 MPs, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal. In a simulated attack, which took place in the middle of the night, officers posing as extremists used a boat to gain access from the river. They then navigated the corridors and stormed the House of Commons chamber in an exercise that could have caused mass casualties if replicated in real life. The drill took place when Parliament was in recess earlier this year, with the vast majority of MPs and peers being kept in the dark about the results. But three sources familiar with the incident have given accounts to this newspaper after being shocked by the security weaknesses it revealed. One said the public would be “horrified” if they knew what had happened, while another warned: “We are sitting ducks.”’ – Sunday Telegraph

‘Scoping exercise’ plans British special forces’ return to Afghanistan

‘The SAS has been readied to return to Afghanistan in significant numbers as part of Donald Trump’s planned military surge after British intelligence helped persuade the US to step up the fight against the Taliban. Senior sources in the military and Whitehall say Theresa May is prepared to approve a surge of special forces personnel to hunt down Taliban leaders and the Isis and al-Qaeda militants they are sheltering. The Sunday Times has learnt that SAS and Special Boat Service operatives have a key role in a “scoping exercise” to consider what military assets could be sent to Afghanistan. No formal request has been received from the Americans, but ministers expect the Pentagon to ask for the SAS to support a surge in US special forces personnel. A senior Whitehall official said: “The special forces are clearly a key element of our military capability in this kind of operation.”’ – Sunday Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Johnson is right to question our rush to democracy after overseas interventions

Labour confusion 1) The Opposition tries to change tack on Brexit yet again

‘Labour is to announce a dramatic policy shift by backing continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019, when Britain leaves the EU, establishing a clear dividing line with the Tories on Brexit for the first time. In a move that positions it decisively as the party of “soft Brexit”, Labour will support full participation in the single market and customs union during a lengthy “transitional period” that it believes could last between two and four years after the day of departure, it is to announce on Sunday. This will mean that under a Labour government the UK would continue to abide by the EU’s free movement rules, accept the jurisdiction of the European court of justice on trade and economic issues, and pay into the EU budget for a period of years after Brexit, in the hope of lessening the shock of leaving to the UK economy. In a further move that will delight many pro-EU Labour backers, Jeremy Corbyn’s party will also leave open the option of the UK remaining a member of the customs union and single market for good, beyond the end of the transitional period. Permanent long-term membership would only be considered if a Labour government could by then have persuaded the rest of the EU to agree to a special deal on immigration and changes to freedom of movement rules.’ – The Observer

Labour confusion 2) Corbyn throws welfare policy into chaos

‘Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has sparked confusion over his party’s benefit freeze on his tour of Scotland. The party leader, who said his party is ready and able to win an election, omitted to mention a freeze on social security. A briefing note handed to journalists ahead of his address at Coatbridge today said Mr Corbyn would say: ‘We will lift the freeze on social security, using part of the billions we set aside for reform in our costed manifesto. It has led to claims the Labour leader is attempting to distance himself from the controversial policy, Sky News reports, but the party has said it is still confident of delivering it. A Labour spokesman told Sky that the party would be able to bring in the freeze – which experts say will cost £3billion a year – if it is voted into government.’ – Mail on Sunday

McCain attacks Trump for Arpaio pardon

‘Republican congressional leaders openly castigated President Donald Trump over the weekend for his decision to pardon controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio who was found guilty of criminal contempt after illegally targeting Latinos. House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized him through an aide on Saturday. ‘The speaker does not agree with the decision,’ Ryan’s spokesperson, Doug Andres, told The Wall Street Journal. Earlier on Friday, Arizona Senator John McCain lashed out at the president accusing Trump of undermining the rule of law in his statement. ‘@POTUS’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, who illegally profiled Latinos, undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law,’ McCain posted to Twitter.’ – Mail on Sunday

News in Brief

13 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 27th August 2017

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