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Catalan independence declaration means further pressure on the EU…

“The EU’s most senior official warned that “more cracks” were emerging in the bloc on Friday after the Catalan parliament declared independence from Spain, plunging the country into political and economic turmoil. Madrid swiftly responded to the vote by dissolving the Catalan parliament and dismissing Carles Puigdemont as president of Catalonia and his entire government. Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, announced that regional elections would be held in December and said the unprecedented act of imposing direct rule on the regional was needed to “recover normality”. The national police may be deployed to bring Catalonia under Madrid’s control.” – Daily Telegraph

Comment

  • Catalans race to create a new currency and economic fortress as independence counter-attack builds – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • Spanish Inferno – Leader, The Times
  • It will not end well – Daniel Capurro, Daily Telegraph

…while Downing Street says the UK will not recognise Catalonia

“Theresa May’s official spokesman said the declaration was based on a vote that had been declared illegal. The Scottish government said it understood and respected Catalonia’s position. The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region. The UK prime minister’s spokesman said in a statement: “The UK does not and will not recognise the unilateral declaration of independence made by the Catalan regional parliament. “It is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts. We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish constitution respected, and Spanish unity preserved.” – BBC

Brexit 1): Anelay resigns due to helicopter injury

“Baroness Anelay resigned from David Davis’ Brexit team, blaming a worsening injury she picked up falling from a Black Hawk helicopter. The veteran minister resigned just four months after she was appointed in June, making her the third minister to go in 18 months. Mr Davis also saw his top civil servant transferred to No 10 last month and the latest departure will fuel concerns his department is in turmoil.  In a letter to Theresa May, Baroness Anelay, 70, said she was standing down after just four months because of the ‘worsening of an injury’ she sustained in 2015. In a blog for the Conservative Home website, Baroness Anelay – who voted Remain – revealed an ‘ill judged leap’ from the chopper in 2015 caused an ‘uncomfortable injury that has called time on my ministerial career after two decades on the Front Bench’. Baroness Anelay was serving as a Foreign Office Minister at the time of the injury and had been meeting victims of oppression in Bosnia and Herzegovina.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Brexit 2) The EU bank could take 30 years to pay back the UK

“Billions of euros of British taxpayers’ money could remain locked into an EU bank for more than thirty years after Brexit, the UK has been warned. Alexander Stubb, vice president of the European Investment Bank – in which the UK is a 16% shareholder – said it would not be fully repaid until 2054. He described Brexit as a “travesty” but denied the move was a punishment. “The EIB has leveraged the economy of the UK many, many fold over the years,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.” – BBC

Brexit 3) UK seeking to leave the CAP in March 2019 says Duncan

“The UK is seeking to leave the EU Common Agricultural Policy in March 2019, Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan has said. Speaking at a National Farmers Union Scotland conference, he said the UK was pushing to split subsidy payments from any transitional Brexit deal. Lord Duncan said this would mean farmers being paid from a UK pot. Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell said the move could restrict the sale of farm produce to the EU. UK ministers have said the level of funding to farmers after the UK formally leaves the EU would be guaranteed until 2022. Lord Duncan said: “The secretary of state (Michael Gove) has been very clear that he believes farming and fishing should not be part of any transitional deal.” – BBC

Brexit 4) The planes will still fly

“The boss of the company that owns British Airways has dismissed claims that flights could be grounded after Brexit. In an apparent rebuke to the Chancellor yesterday, International Airlines Group chief executive Willie Walsh said BA will continue to fly after Britain quits the EU in March 2019. His comments came after Philip Hammond said it was ‘theoretically conceivable’ there could be no air traffic between the UK and Europe if there is no Brexit deal.” – Daily Mail

Brexit 5) It can still be stopped, says Parris

“There has never really been a majority for Brexit in this Commons or Lords. Whatever MPs may tell you about “respecting the decision of the British people”, most think that decision was against the national interest. Few care to put their heads above the parapet and most quietly squirm. But with Christmas 2018 in sight, it would be a brave chief whip who assured his party leader that a combination of “we shouldn’t leave, full stop” and “yes we should leave but not on these terms” won’t command a Commons majority once the likely terms become clearer. As for the Lords, their loathing for Brexit is constrained only by their sense of the limitations to their democratic mandate. Show them an uneasy Commons plus an electorate that has turned decisively against the terms on offer and there will be no stopping them.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

Brexit 6) Forsyth – The Government needs to explain why it is such a priority

“They need is a positive vision, to show the public what they are for. They must show voters how they want the country to be different after Brexit. But the problem is, as one influential Cabinet minister puts it: “You’ve got to feel it to communicate it.” So Theresa May — who voted Remain — finds it hard to argue with passion that Brexit will lead to a happier, more prosperous Britain…But the Government must explain what Brexit is for. If it doesn’t, the voters simply won’t understand why they are spending so much time on it, rather than bread-and-butter domestic issues.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: One of the main dangers for Brexit is the German preference for going on talking indefinitely

“Zero tolerance” for abusive MPs insists Corbyn

“MPs who abuse or sexually harass women must be “held to account”, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will say later. Mr Corbyn will speak out against “a culture where the abuse of women has often been accepted and normalised,” including at Westminster. It comes as Downing Street described allegations of sexual harassment in politics as “deeply concerning”. Mr Corbyn will also reject claims he was too slow to suspend a Labour MP for misogynistic and homophobic comments.” – BBC

  • Minister and three MPs accused – The Times
  • MPs resisted rules to protect staff – Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn’s radio crawl-in – Patrick Kidd, The Times
  • Khan dodges question about Uber – The Sun

Civil service increases in size

“The number of civil servants has risen substantially for the first time since 2010, with the bloated foreign aid ministry leading the way. Despite all the promises of cuts, four departments are larger than when the Tories took office. The surge in bureaucrats is led by the Department for International Development (DfID) which has almost 39 per cent more staff than seven years ago. While there were 1,600 civil servants at the ministry in the summer of 2010, there are now 2,220. This is the largest increase across all departments. In a sign that austerity is coming to an end, latest figures show that across Whitehall there are more than 390,000 officials, up 2 per cent over the past year.” – Daily Mail

>Today:ToryDiary:As the civil service starts to grow again Conservatives must remember our mission to reduce bureaucracy

Patel to push for change in aid rules

“British overseas territories damaged by hurricanes could access aid in future under new plans, the BBC has learned. Some small Caribbean islands that were hit by Hurricane Irma last month were deemed too wealthy to qualify for aid. But on Monday the body that sets international aid rules will consider allowing countries to return to the list of poorer, eligible recipients…International Development Secretary Priti Patel, who will attend Monday’s meeting, has been pushing for the international rules to be changed to reflect the vulnerabilities of small island states.” – BBC

Heywood treated for cancer

“The UK’s top civil servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has been receiving treatment for cancer. The Cabinet Office said Sir Jeremy, who has been cabinet secretary since 2012, was diagnosed in June. In a statement, it said the 55-year old had received treatment over the summer and the early autumn which “went well”. Sir Jeremy, it added, had continued his “normal duties” during this period with the full support of his doctors and remained “totally focused” on doing so.” – BBC

Blackman accused of “anti Muslim” retweet

“A Conservative MP who hosted an anti-Muslim extremist in parliament last week has been accused of “condoning extremism” after it emerged he previously flagged up a Twitter message by the far-right leader Tommy Robinson. Bob Blackman retweeted a message sent by the founder of the English Defence League in February 2016 that contained a link to a story about Muslim violence against Hindus. Mr Blackman said: “This was retweeted in error. I condemn the views of Tommy Robinson and the English Defence League.” – The Times

  • Labour MPs Stephen Kinnock and Wes Streeting set to speak at rally staged by a ‘toxic’ Islamic group in Parliament – The Sun

Ross to give up refereeing

“A Tory MP who was lambasted for missing a Commons vote on benefits cuts while he officiated at a Champions League football tie has announced he will no longer help referee matches that occur while Westminster is sitting. Douglas Ross, the Moray MP, said the decision meant he could no longer officiate at the majority of international matches and his “dream” of representing Scotland as a linesman at next year’s World Cup is over.” – Daily Telegraph

Scottish Labour leadership rivals promise tax rises

“Richard Leonard, the Corbynite challenger for the Scottish Labour leadership, has been accused by his rival Anas Sarwar of “shouting about being radical” but offering too little detail in his policy manifesto. In what appeared to be a direct response to Sarwar’s own more detailed and costed tax policies, released earlier this week, Leonard called for a “once-in-a-generation discussion” about taxation in Scotland as he launched his proposals on Friday afternoon. Borrowing the language of Jeremy Corbyn, the “manifesto for real change” proposes two additional tax bands for those earning over £70,000 and over £100,000, but did not suggest how they would be weighted.” – The Guardian

Call for further investigation into Labour Party chairman

“The chairman of the Labour Party is facing calls for a fresh investigation into claims that he received £90,000 in redundancy payments from a trade union despite it filling his old position. Ian Lavery, the MP for Wansbeck and a senior ally of Jeremy Corbyn, was investigated this year by the certification officer, who regulates trade unions, and the parliamentary watchdog over his financial dealings with the National Union of Mineworkers, Northumberland Area, which he used to run. The parliamentary commissioner for standards found that Mr Lavery had failed to declare that the NUM owned a 15 per cent share in his home, a registrable benefit…a Liberal Democrat politician submitted documents this week to both watchdogs and asked them to re-open their investigations.” – The Times

Oborne: Universal Credit must be rescued

“To blame for the current problems is one man: George Osborne. They are yet another malign legacy of his time as Chancellor, when Universal Credit was announced. For the admirable Mr Duncan Smith, who set up the Centre for Social Justice think-tank to ‘put social justice at the heart of politics and tackle the root causes of poverty’, the reform would help people move out of welfare dependency. But for Mr Osborne, who’s had a long-running feud with the former Tory leader (or to put it bluntly, Mr Osborne hates Mr Duncan Smith), Universal Credit was simply an opportunity for the Treasury to save money by paying less welfare. It was Mr Osborne’s insistence on a six-week waiting period before claimants got the new payments. What is crazy is that there is, of course, a short-term solution to this mess. Mrs May must urgently intervene to cut the waiting period to four weeks — at the very most.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Sandbrook: Why remembering the Russian Revolution offers a chilling warning

“It is true that the Russian Revolution was provoked by repression, corruption and gross inequality. But what followed was not, as Mr Corbyn and his allies seem to think, a noble experiment that unfortunately went wrong. Like so many utopian visions, it was poisoned from the start by fantasies of violence and slaughter. Lenin, Stalin and their fellow Marxists saw themselves as an educated elite, dragging the people kicking and screaming into a new world. They saw them as guinea-pigs in a grotesque experiment. They believed the ends justified the means; worse, they gloried their own cruelty, which they saw as proof of revolutionary faith. As the death-toll mounted, they dismissed criticism as fake news and stifled dissent. And when all else failed, they turned, as utopians always do, to the gun.” – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

Moore: Our culture of denunciation makes dissent harder

“The culture of denunciation spreads wider than attacks on individuals’ behaviour. It tries to determine what side you must take on entire subjects. Look at the current argument about transgender issues. If you were a Martian – or perhaps even a citizen of the developing world – you could be forgiven for finding our approach confusing. Our society fiercely condemns female genital mutilation, but looks kindly on “gender reassignment”. Obviously there is a fundamental difference about consent. But how much is that distinction maintained when we learn that nowadays some young children are being encouraged to change sex?” Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • British fishing’s Brexit revival – Alexander Fiuza, CapX
  • Social conservatism under fire from Left and Right – Thomas Pascoe, The Conservative Woman
  • Alexei Navalny interview: Don’t be fooled, I’m still Russia’s best hope of ousting Putin – Independent
  • Will Britain back Madrid for the sake of Brexit? – James Forsyth, Coffee House
  • Catalan separatist behaviour is buffoonery and deserves to be ridiculed – Gerald Warner, Reaction

28 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 28th October 2017

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