Tory whips prepare for the possibility that Johnson might resign

‘Downing Street has been preparing the ground in case Boris Johnson suddenly resigns. Tory MPs have been receiving calls from the whips’ office, which has been assessing support for the foreign secretary while canvassing views on the prime minister’s speech in Florence. No 10 has been told that Mr Johnson has minimal support among MPs. Tories who backed Remain are generally unimpressed by his interventions but Leave supporters are among the angriest. Many of them have never seen Mr Johnson as a soulmate and worry that he is destabilising the government to the point that he could smooth Jeremy Corbyn’s path to power, putting Brexit in jeopardy.’ – The Times

  • Barnier praises the Florence speech – The Sun
  • EU citizens living in the UK will not have to get ID cards – The Sun
  • Thornberry says the Foreign Secretary should take a paternity test to prove he is the ‘father of Brexit’ – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: WATCH: Thornberry’s Labour conference stand-up routine

German election result could delay Brexit talks

‘Political deadlock in Germany is likely to delay the start of Brexit trade talks for several months, senior ministers fear. Downing Street had hoped for Theresa May’s concessions last week to “unlock” negotiations in Brussels and allow talks on a transition deal and a future relationship to begin after a meeting of European leaders next month. However, after Sunday’s divisive German election result, Whitehall now believes that it will be difficult for the EU to quickly agree a joint position. The unexpectedly poor showing for Angela Merkel and her Bavarian allies means she will be mired in talks for months and only able to focus on international issues of the highest priority — which the Brexit talks are not.’ – The Times


>Today: Iain Duncan Smith’s column: Brexit. Why the Government must prepare for no deal now.

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

Wallace: Both Leavers and Remainers are still struggling to adapt to the outcome of the referendum

‘For a vocal minority of Remain supporters, who got their way on this and other issues for many years, the reality of defeat has proved simply impossible to accept. Rather than adapt to the result, or scrutinise their errors, they’ve jetted off into a twilight zone of EU-themed fancy dress, conspiracy theories, and increasingly unpleasant dismissal of Leave voters as ignorant racists who could help everyone out by simply dying off…The history of Euroscepticism – 40 years of defeat, except for staving off British membership of the Euro – means that Leavers learned long ago to be somewhat suspicious of politicians. That breeds a fatalistic, even paranoid, assumption that Westminster is always about to sell out to Brussels: even having won the war, perhaps we might still lose the peace. Over a year on, Remainers and Leavers are both in some disarray, still struggling to adjust to the referendum result.’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

>Yesterday: WATCH: Davis opens the new round of Brexit talks – “There are no excuses for standing in the way of progress”

Mercer accuses the MoD of ‘cooking the books’ to meet the NATO two per cent target

‘Britain was accused last night of “cooking the books” on defence spending to meet a Nato target even as the cash-strapped armed forces was being over-stretched. Johnny Mercer, a Tory member of the defence select committee, said it was only within the MoD that people believed that a 2 per cent minimum of GDP was being spent on defence. Woody Johnson, the new US ambassador to London, had raised questions about the amount of money committed to UK military power. “You are spending the minimum, and you have to decide whether it is enough,” Mr Johnson told The Daily Telegraph. “We spend twice that much and we could still spend more.” Mr Mercer, a former army officer, said he did not believe that Britain was even meeting the 2 per cent minimum. “We have cooked the books,” he said. “The only people we are kidding are ourselves. I do not think people within the military think [we are meeting it].”’ – The Times

Hammond refuses to discuss who should lead the Conservatives into the next election

‘Mr Hammond was in Scotland today to meet with business leaders and the oil and gas sector, before holding talks with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. During a meeting with journalists, he dodged a series of questions about Mrs May’s leadership and when asked who the ‘optimum person’ to lead the Conservatives into the next election would be – he refused to endorse the Prime Minister. Speaking to journalists in Dundee, Mr Hammond was pressed four times on whether Mrs May was the best person to lead the party at the next election. “I’m not going to get into a conversation about the future Conservative Party leadership,” he said. “I’m completely behind her, she’s making an excellent job of managing the Brexit negotiations. All of us need to focus on delivering a Brexit that works for Britain.’ – Daily Mail

Greenest summer ever

‘Britain had its greenest summer yet this year. More than half of its electricity was produced by low-carbon sources for the first time, according to National Grid. Almost 52 per cent of electricity was generated by either nuclear or renewable forms of power between June 21 and September 22, the astronomical summer. That was up from almost 48 per cent in the same period last year and made for four years of consecutive increases since summer 2013, when low-carbon generation stood at only 35 per cent of the mix. The shift towards a greener power mix primarily reflects the construction of more renewable plants, backed by subsidies funded by consumers’ energy bills. Renewables, comprising wind and solar farms, biomass and hydro-electric plants, accounted for 24 per cent of the mix this summer, up from 9 per cent in summer 2013.’ – The Times

  • The first subsidy-free solar farm opens – The Times

McDonnell threatens mass nationalisations at below market value

‘John McDonnell vowed to take Britain into a ‘new era’ of hard-Left government today as he set out plans to nationalise utilities at below the market rate. The shadow chancellor fleshed out his goal of bringing rail, energy and water back into public ownership, insisting that parliament – not the market – would decide how much shareholders would be paid. Mr McDonnell also signalled that Labour could borrow tens of billions to end PFI contracts to provide public services, reiterated Labour’s determination to enforce caps on high pay, and vowed to strengthen unions.’ – Daily Mail

  • PFI policy could cost £200 billion – The Times
  • How PFI fell out of favour – FT
  • They’re exploring a new gambling tax – The Sun
  • Rayner accuses Tories of dismissing northerners as “weird and inbred” – The Sun
  • Momentum upstages the main conference – FT
  • Uber’s appeal could last a year – Daily Mail
  • Tech giants must be restrained – Hugo Rifkind, The Times




Sylvester: A generational divide threatens Corbyn’s revolution

‘There’s a generational divide between the students who chanted Mr Corbyn’s name at Glastonbury and the sixty-something class warriors who have spent decades trying to push the Labour Party to the left. Underlying that are cultural differences between those who learnt their politics from the Occupy protest movement, which rejects hierarchy, and those who came out of the trade unions and Labour committees system, who see organisation as the route to power. In policy terms, disagreements are emerging between a younger generation that supported Remain in the referendum and an older one that sees the EU as part of a capitalist neo-liberal plot. Although both groups are on the left of politics they are on opposite sides of the “open-closed” divide identified by Tony Blair and others as the defining split in politics. “Well-meaning middle-class people are being manipulated by the Trots,” says one former special adviser.’ – Rachel Sylvester, The Times

  • Umunna is courting powerful donors – Daily Mail
  • Corbyn ally claims Labour is being ‘demonised’ over claims of abusive activists – Daily Mail
  • Speaker calls for Jewish and pro-Israel groups to be expelled – The Times
  • Anti-semitic material circulated at Brighton conference – Daily Mail
  • Labour is in denial about anti-semitism – Joe Glasman, The Times
  • Streeting urges Corbyn to act – The Sun

>Today: LeftWatch: Corbyn is mounting a coup d’état against parliamentary democracy

Nurses from the Philippines fail language test

‘A plan to bring 200 nurses from the Philippines to work in a hospital in Kent has stalled after nearly 90 per cent of the first cohort failed a language test. The nurses were offered jobs at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham after a recruitment drive in Manila. Of the first 59 that were due to start work this autumn, 52 failed the test. Managers visited the Philippines in April after a report found that the hospital was relying too much on costly agency staff. In August, the hospital had vacancies for 394 nurses. Applicants from non-European Union countries have to take an English language test set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.’ – The Times

  • GPs’ receptionists encouraged to weed out patients who don’t need a doctor – The Times
  • Patients abandoned after developing addictions to prescription drugs – Daily Mail
  • New prostate cancer treatment for men who previously had no hope of survival – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour calls for winter emergency health fund – The Guardian

News in Brief