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Brexit 1) Talks resume after May’s ‘constructive’ speech

‘British negotiators will on Monday travel to Brussels aiming to translate Theresa May’s “constructive” speech in Florence last week, including the offer of €20bn towards the EU budget, into a breakthrough in Brexit talks. Mrs May’s emollient address effectively put Brexit on pause until 2021, leaving the pro-Brexit foreign secretary Boris Johnson controversially claiming he had prevented an even longer transition period. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, hailed Mrs May’s “constructive spirit” but his team will spend the week in talks with UK Brexit secretary David Davis to flesh out details of the Florence speech. Downing Street hopes that Mrs May’s intervention will unblock the talks and allow Mr Barnier to conclude by the EU summit in October that “sufficient progress” has been made to move on to negotiations on a UK-EU trade deal. However EU officials still view a breakthrough in October as unlikely and are looking for more details on Mrs May’s financial offer, which so far only covers €20bn of British commitments to the EU budget in 2019 and 2020.’ – FT

>Today:

Brexit 2) Davis denies Florence speech was influenced by Johnson’s article

‘The Brexit Secretary said the policies laid out in the PM’s speech in Italy were being drawn up months ago and Mr Johnson’s flounce had no impact whatsoever. He also mocked the Foreign Secretary’s claims the European Union can ‘go whistle’ for money. Quizzed about Mr Johnson’s tantrum on the BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Davis said: ‘I have to say, the policy in the Prime Minister’s speech had been coming for a long time. Some of the transition we were designing right at the beginning of the year. Some of it we have been designing months ago. I don’t think there has been any change in the last few weeks.’ – Daily Mail

Experts urge the Government to speed up Universal Credit payments

‘Ministers have been urged to rethink one of the government’s main welfare reforms amid widespread concerns that it will push low income households further into debt. Expert members of the social services advisory committee want to speed up the processes for claiming and receiving universal credit, the welfare system which combines six benefits into one payment. Anyone claiming universal credit, which has been tested in certain areas and is about to be extended across the country, must wait two to six weeks to get their money, which is paid in arrears. There is also a seven-day waiting period for new claims. Chris Goulden of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a social policy research group, said: “Of people in the poorest fifth of households, 70 per cent or so have no savings at all and others have a small amount to fall back on.”’ – The Times

12,000 non-doms leave the UK

‘The super-rich are abandoning Britain as the Brexit vote and threats of a tax crackdown prompt an exodus of “non-doms”. Up to 12,000 have left the UK over the past year and another 55,000 are considering leaving, according to research by a top-ten accountancy firm. The findings will alarm the Treasury because non-doms contribute almost £10 billion a year in tax despite their special status, an amount equivalent to about 2p on the basic rate of income tax. People living in the UK with non-domiciled status do not have to pay capital gains, or tax on their overseas earnings, unless they bring the money into the country, allowing the super wealthy such as Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea owner, to avoid paying large sums to HM Revenue & Customs. After seven years in Britain, non-doms have to start paying an annual levy to the taxman to retain this privileged status.’ – The Times

  • MPs urge Hammond to tax foreigners who buy homes – The Sun
  • It would help to reduce prices – The Sun Says
  • Public sector pension liabilities soar – Daily Mail
  • Brexit worries hit sales tracker – FT
  • Business has to get better at putting its views across – FT
  • Confusingly, the US and the UK have reported trade surpluses with each other – FT

Ridley: The Enlightenment is under attack by censorious students and online mobs

‘The statue-toppling mob has now turned its wrath on Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA. In a display of “virtue signalling . . . written with the sanctimonious purity of a Red Guard during China’s Cultural Revolution”, as the biologist Jerry Coyne puts it, a Harvard academic has written in The Guardian that Crick’s name should be removed from the Francis Crick Institute because of some things he once said about eugenics. The no-platforming, safe-space, trigger-warning culture is no longer confined to academia, or to America, but lies behind the judgmentalism of many social media campaigns. Every writer I know feels that he or she is one remark away from disgrace. A de facto blasphemy prohibition has re-emerged in western society and is being enforced not just by the Islamists who murder cartoonists, but, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the black, feminist victim of female genital mutilation has experienced, by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which called her an anti-Muslim extremist.’ – Matt Ridley, The Times

  • Girls as young as four must wear the hijab at Islamic state schools – The Sun
  • Transgender activists defend the decision to punch a feminist who disagreed with them – The Sun

Merkel’s vote slides as AfD surges

‘Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Germany following the country’s election on Sunday night, angry that a far-right party had gained seats in parliament for the first time since World War II. Angela Merkel won a fourth term as Chancellor after her party gained the largest share of the votes, but she was left seriously damaged as she hemorrhaged millions of votes to anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD). Damaged by her handling of the 2015 migrant crisis, Merkel’s conservative bloc took 33 per cent of the vote, down 8.5 points from the 2013 election and hitting its lowest level since 1949. The German establishment was shocked as conservative voters flocked to AfD, which took 12.6 percent of the vote.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Control migrant numbers – or extremists flourish. Germany’s election lesson for May and Corbyn.

>Yesterday: WATCH: Merkel – “We would like to win the voters of the AfD back”

Labour decides not to vote on Brexit policy at its conference

‘Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters have seen off an attempt to bind Labour to a policy of staying in the European single market after Brexit. Union delegates joined Momentum members to vote against a main debate over the party’s Brexit policy at this week’s conference. Writing in The Times, Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, suggests that Britain could remain a member of the single market in all but name, highlighting the risk of new divisions within the party leadership over the issue. Mr Corbyn had used an interview to renew his opposition to Britain remaining within the economic bloc, suggesting that it could prevent Labour from fulfilling its policy agenda. Hours later the conference in Brighton voted not to choose Brexit as subject for a motion, although the issue will still be discussed on the fringes of the conference.’ – The Times

  • Corbyn: the Single Market isn’t socialist enough, but we could stay in it for years – Daily Mail
  • He refuses to rule out keeping free movement – Daily Mail
  • And hints that he would back illegal strikes – The Sun
  • It’s dogmatic to reject the ECJ – Sir Keir Starmer, The Times
  • Clegg says a second referendum could keep us in the EU because Leavers are dying off – Daily Mail
  • Officials wanted Corbyn to ‘walk on water’ at the conference – The Sun

>Yesterday: WATCH: Flint speaks out on freedom of movement

McDonnell pledges to cap credit card bills

‘A Labour government would cap the credit card bills of more than three million customers, a move that would cost banks and other card providers at least £13 billion. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, will promise today that no card holder would be forced to repay in interest payments more than the sum they initially borrowed. The Financial Conduct Authority estimates that three million credit card holders are in “persistent debt”, defined as owing at least twice the original sum borrowed after 18 months. The watchdog wants lenders to do more to help, identifying those likely to be trapped in debt if they make only the minimum repayment on their cards for a year and a half and taking action if customers haven’t cleared their balances in another 18 months.’ – The Times

Uber passed ten TfL inspections before sudden ban

‘Uber was repeatedly given a clean bill of health by transport bosses before the sudden decision to ban it from London, The Times has learnt. Inspections carried out by Transport for London between 2013 and the middle of this year failed to find any major fault with the company, it emerged, leading to claims that the cancellation of its licence smacked of “political opportunism”. Data released under the Freedom of Information Act showed that TfL conducted ten inspections at Uber’s London headquarters and ruled that it “satisfied regulatory requirements”. In April Uber also successfully passed its annual compliance audit, which is thought to have involved 20 officials from TfL’s licensing department reviewing thousands of documents over two days…It has had only one previous meeting with senior management at TfL this year and bosses refused to discuss the licensing process. A series of other meetings, including some with Mr Khan, were cancelled.’ – The Times

>Today: Kevin Davis on Local Government: The Uber ban shows Khan is appeasing the Corbynistas

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: The Uber ban highlights the risks of a Labour government

NFL players hit back at Trump’s call for them to be sacked

‘American football stars took a knee in defiance of Donald Trump at Wembley Stadium after he said sportsmen who ‘disrespect America’ should be ‘fired’. Players from both Jacksonville Jaguars and the Baltimore Ravens dropped to their knees as the national anthem was played prior to the match in London. Now similar protests have erupted across the US with at least 100 players either kneeling or sitting during the national anthem. No players were kneeling during the playing of ‘God Save The Queen’ at Wembley, which followed the Star Spangled Banner. They did so after President Trump stoked tensions by saying NFL players who protested during the national anthem should be sacked by their team.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief

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