Brexit 1) Davis still optimistic over EU trade deal

“David Davis says he remains optimistic that a “seamless” trade deal can be struck with the EU, despite tension over issues like the UK’s divorce bill. The UK Brexit secretary used a speech in the US to champion free trade and said, on Brexit, he wants “an outcome which is in everyone’s interests”. This week’s talks had been “a bit tense” but it was “only early stages”. His EU counterpart Michel Barnier said on Thursday “no decisive progress” had been made on key issues in talks.” – BBC

  • The focus should be on immigration says Adair Turner – The Sun
  • Attack on Trump’s isolationist rhetoric – The Guardian
  • EU is “playing with fire” – Daily Express

>Today: Richard Graham on Comment: Four ways in which the media distorts our negotiations

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Whatever happens in the Brexit talks, we must be Ready on Day One – deal or no deal

Brexit 2) We back the Single Market says Watson

“Labour deputy leader has boasted they are now the party of ‘soft Brexit’ and could keep Britain permanently subject to EU rules. The party tried to end months of chaos over its Brexit position last week by saying it would keep the UK in the single market and customs union for a transitional phase of up to four years. And now Tom Watson said the party could go even further and try to keep Britain in the trade organisations forever.” – Daily Mail

  • Big changes demanded to Great Repeal Bill – The Times
  • Great Repeal Bill is Great Continuity Bill – Independent

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: How big a Brexit bill would Labour pay?

Brexit 3) Free movement could be backed at Labour Conference

“Labour members could force a rethink of party policy on free movement and permanent membership of the single market, with Brexit set to overtake internal reform as the key topic dominating the autumn conference, according to senior sources. Pro-EU MPs and activists are organising to get new commitments to the single market and the continuation of free movement on the agenda for the conference, which takes place in Brighton from 24-27 September. Local constituency parties now have a fortnight to submit so-called contemporary resolutions for the party to debate, which must be on recently relevant topics.” – The Guardian

Brexit 4) German press attacks “clueless” May

“The German press has poured scorn on Theresa May and her ministers over their “clueless” handling of Brexit. Süddeutsche Zeitung, a broadsheet that leans to the left, said that the prime minister and her team were a laughing stock. Bild, a conservative tabloid, reported that “the dawdling British are blocking the Brexit talks”. German press coverage of the week’s events in Brussels has reflected the bewilderment felt over the British government’s approach to leaving the European Union, at least among the political class and media.” – The Times

Brexit 5) Portuguese politician attacks “unreasonable” EU

“A leading European politician says the EU is being “unreasonable” by refusing to offer Britain free trade outside the single market. Bruno Macaes, Portugal’s former Europe minister, pointed out that Eurocrats have already offered other countries “frictionless trade”. He suggested it was a “contradiction” for EU bosses to tell Britain we cannot enjoy close links with Europe unless we sign up to Brussels laws.” – The Sun

Brexit 6) Proposal for Northern Ireland to have a special deal

“The EU believes that there will have to be a “standalone” deal on Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic of Ireland, paving the way for a special status for the province after Brexit. Senior sources at the European commission said a tailor-made solution that works for Ireland must be found. When the third round of Brexit talks ended on Wednesday, officials made it clear that the British proposal for a customs waiver on the border was a non-starter.” – The Guardian

Brexit 7) The plotting against Boris is shameful, says Oborne

“Leading Tories who campaigned for Remain, led by Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, are trying to sabotage Brexit by striking a shabby compromise deal with Brussels. Only one major political figure has behaved nobly and should be saluted for the way he has upheld the interests of Britain ever since the start of the referendum debate. Who is he? The much-maligned Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. But, tragically, despite such integrity and principle, he has become the object of a vicious and orchestrated Westminster whispering campaign. Its aim is to get him driven from office in the Cabinet reshuffle expected later this year.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Brexit 8) Boost to manufacturing

“Growth in the UK’s manufacturing sector accelerated last month, according to a closely watched survey, with output, orders and employment all picking up. The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for manufacturing rose to 56.9 in August from 55.3 in July. A figure above 50 indicates expansion. The PMI reading was the second highest for more than three years. Rob Dobson from Markit said the sector continued to show signs of “solid progress”.” – BBC

Hands welcomes new solar panels investment

“Solar panels are to be installed in 800,000 low-income homes across England and Wales over the next five years, as part of a new government scheme. The Dutch firm, Maas Capital is investing £160m in the project. The panels, which will be free to tenants, are expected to cut hundreds of pounds from energy bills, according to the firm Solarplicity. The first people to benefit from the scheme include residents of a sheltered retirement home in Ealing, west London. Speaking at the site, International Trade minister Greg Hands said: “This initial £160m capital expenditure programme will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK’s poorest households.” – BBC

Ladbrokes tops list of of donors to MPs

“Sports and betting companies top the list of donors treating MPs to gifts and hospitality. The Ladbrokes Coral group appeared 15 times in the register of members’ interests, more than any other donor. Out of 187 donations from UK sources registered by MPs, 58 were from the world of sport. A further 19 were from betting companies. Ladbrokes Coral said it wanted MPs to take decisions “from a position of knowledge”.” – BBC

Grayling to let councils charge utility firms for road disruption

“Councils in England would be allowed to charge utility companies by the hour for roadworks which cause significant disruption, if government proposals are approved. The plan aims to halve the delays motorists endure due to utility works. Roadworks cost the economy £4bn a year due to delayed deliveries and people being unable to get to work on time. ..Councils currently issue permits for roadworks, but the government believes the new scheme would give them greater control and monitoring powers. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Delays caused by roadworks can be the bane of drivers’ lives – especially when they take place at rush hour on busy routes.” – BBC

Forsyth: Why May says she won’t quit

“May did want to knock back the idea that she had already settled on a date for her departure. There are three reasons for this. Firstly, Number 10 fears that if everyone knows when the Prime Minister is going, she will be a lame duck. Secondly, May doesn’t like the idea that she’ll go straight after the Brexit deal is done, as that suggests her premiership is only about Brexit — and she wants the public to focus on her domestic agenda too. Finally, May wants ministers to think she might do a reshuffle — so they ought to behave.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

  • Theresa May is a caretaker PM – James Kirkup, Independent

Davidson calls for a housing revolution

“Ruth Davidson has warned that capitalism could be defeated if governments do not act to build more homes. The Scottish Tories leader called for tens of thousands of new houses to be built in a desperate bid to prevent the public turning against free markets. She added that without a revolution in housing, Britain’s economy will become dominated by a small group of wealthy older people. And she claimed that prospect risks delivering the country into the hands of anti-trade “populists” like Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn.” – The Sun

Prendergast: The Tories need to revive their mass membership

“The party then needs to define what it stands for, because right now, it’s not clear. At the last election, Theresa May barely talked about this, instead focusing solely on keeping Corbyn out of power. But if the past few years have taught us anything about political campaigns, it’s that voters are willing to rally behind a creed, no matter how utopian. From Trump to Macron, we have seen a return to popular idealism. Tory principles don’t necessarily go against the grain of the modern world, but the party is terrible at communicating this. They need to focus on the messaging.” – Lara Prendergast, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: We warned CCHQ that something like ‘Activate’ would happen

The Left is failing to protect children for fear of racism says Labour MP

“The “floppy left” is failing vulnerable children because it will not confront the race factor in sex crimes involving street-grooming, according to a Labour frontbencher sacked for speaking out on the issue. Sarah Champion attributed her party’s squeamishness to a liberal fear of being falsely branded racist. The MP for Rotherham was dismissed from the shadow cabinet by Jeremy Corbyn last month after she wrote in an article for The Sun that Britain “has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.” – The Times

Fall in number of disabled people in work

“Theresa May’s pledge to get one million more disabled people into work has been called into question after figures showed more people with disabilities are leaving jobs than starting them. At the general election the prime minister vowed to narrow the disability employment gap and help one million more people with disabilities find employment over the next ten years. But the current rates of retention make clear the scale of the government’s task. Between October last year and this March, 123,000 disabled people left work, according to the Office for National Statistics. During the same period only 108,000 disabled people found jobs.” – The Times

DUP calls for an immediate return to Stormont

“The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, proposed an immediate restoration of the assembly in Northern Ireland along with a parallel, time-limited process to deal with culture and language. Mrs Foster described it as a “common-sense solution” to the ongoing political deadlock. Sinn Féin rejected the plan and said the DUP have not addressed the cause of the assembly’s collapse.” – BBC

Decline in “benefit tourism”

“EU migrants have been applying in smaller numbers for out-of-work welfare benefits in the UK following a tightening of entitlement tests, according to a new report that also highlights how claims by these people are a small proportion of the total. So-called benefit tourism was a controversial topic in the run-up to the UK referendum on EU membership last year, with those concerned about immigration asserting that significant numbers of Europeans were drawn to Britain by its generous welfare system.” – Financial Times

Trump asks Congress for £6 billion Hurricane Harvey down-payment

“US President Donald Trump has asked Congress for $7.8bn (£6bn) as an initial payment to help with recovery efforts following flooding in Texas and Louisiana. Officials say there will be further requests for funds when the full impact of Hurricane Harvey becomes known. Some residents have been allowed to return to their homes but flood waters are still rising in other areas. Mr Trump is to visit Texas for a second time on Saturday.” – BBC

  • Hurricane Harvey could push up petrol price – BBC

South Korea to boost missile capacity

“Donald Trump agreed with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to revise a joint treaty capping the development of the South’s ballistic missiles, Moon’s office said on Saturday, amid a standoff over North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests. Mr Trump also gave “conceptual” approval to the purchase by the South of billions of dollars of  US military hardware, the White House said. The South wants to raise the missile cap to boost its defences against the reclusive North, which is pursuing missile and nuclear weapons programmes in defiance of international warnings and UN sanctions.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Why I long for the days of the Cold War – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

Schulz struggles as Merkel retains big poll lead

“Angela Merkel’s struggling election rival sharpened his personal attack on her yesterday before the only head-to-head television debate of the German campaign. The showdown is being billed as the last chance for Martin Schulz to reverse Mrs Merkel’s big lead in the polls and convince voters that he would make a better chancellor than the woman often hailed as the most powerful in the world.” – The Times

Nation Trust assists hunt saboteurs

“The National Trust was plunged into a bitter row with countryside campaigners tonight over its decision to publish details of hunting meetings ahead of a vote to ban the sport. The trust was accused of effectively ‘painting targets’ on huntsmen by posting on its website the times and locations of legal hunts on its land. The field sports lobby said such information would be invaluable to saboteurs and animal rights activists, increasing the risk of violent disruption. The decision to publicise the hunts comes ahead of the charity’s annual general meeting next month when it will vote on a motion tabled by the League Against Cruel Sports for an outright ban of all hunting on National Trust land.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Fishermen threaten SNP with legal action – Daily Telegraph
  • Dustmen using CCTV to catch recycling offenders – Daily Mail
  • Kenyatta accepts poll rerun – BBC
  • Independent schools shunning new GCSEs – The Times
  • Civil servant’s £3 million pension pot – The Sun
  • Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has died – The Times
  • Home Office makes a profit on some visa applications – The Guardian
  • Backlog over Business Rates appeals – The Sun
  • Lib Dem candidate sent bizarre sex image to rival – The Times