Lidington to give right to vote to some day-release prisoners

“Prisoners are to be granted the vote in a move that will raise fresh questions about the government’s approach to law and order. Those sentenced to less than a year behind bars who are let out on day release will be allowed to go home to vote after the justice secretary, David Lidington, decided to tear up the existing ban. Plans were circulated to other ministers last week, after a 12-year dispute with the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 2005 that it was a breach of prisoners’ human rights to deny them the chance to vote. The former prime minister David Cameron once said the thought of prisoners voting made him feel “physically ill”.” – The Sunday Times

  • It will only apply to those with a sentence of less than a year – Sunday Telegraph

May “gets weekly updates about Conservative MPs’ sexual indiscretions”…

“Theresa May was embroiled in the Westminster sexual harassment scandal last night as Downing Street officials revealed that the prime minister gets weekly updates about the sexual indiscretions of Conservative MPs — but has allowed ministers accused of wrongdoing to serve in her cabinet. Conservative whips faced the charge that they have turned a blind eye to serial sex pests and failed to report them to the police because sexual harassment has been treated as if an MP is having an affair with another consenting adult. May is given a regular briefing by the Tory chief whip Gavin Williamson on misdemeanours by Tory MPs after the 8.30am planning meeting in No 10.” – The Sunday Times

…She “fears” the scandal “may force her into reshuffle”

“Theresa May fears the Westminster sex pest scandal may force her into an emergency reshuffle. The PM has been shown a dossier on MPs accused of hounding, propositioning or groping young women.It is claimed they include several senior Tories — some in her ministerial team. International Trade Minister Mark Garnier has not denied calling his secretary “sugar t*ts” and asking her to buy him sex toys. And ex-Cabinet minister Stephen Crabb sent sexually explicit messages to a woman aged 19 who applied to work in his Commons office.” – The Sun on Sunday

  • Garner allegedly went shopping with secretary for sex toys – The Sunday Times
  • He says “I’m not going to deny it” – Independent on Sunday
  • Crabb admits “outrageous” text messages to woman he didn’t give parliamentary office role – Sunday Telegraph
  • European parliament bringing in external investigators “in response to revelations” – The Sunday Times
  • Commons Authority allegedly “fear date rape drugs could be in use on parliamentary estate” – Mail on Sunday
  • Claim that woman was attacked by MP wasn’t investigated because it happened overseas and didn’t come under “Commons respect policy” – Mail on Sunday


  • My experiences of the “louses of parliament” – Sarah Baxter, The Sunday Times
  • My experiences of sexual harassment in the work place – Constance Knox, Sunday Express
  • Age is no excuse for O’Mara, is it? – Catherine Bennett, Observer
  • We need an independent watchdog – John Mann, Mail on Sunday


>Today: ToryDiary: A scandal about alleged harassment and bullying of MPs’ staff has been a long time coming

After criticism, Gove apologises unreservedly for “clumsy” Weinstein “joke”

“Michael Gove has apologised “unreservedly” after making a quip about the Harvey Weinstein abuse scandal on national radio, after his comments provoked a furious backlash. During an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Environment Secretary compared being interviewed by presenter John Humphrys with “going into Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom”, adding: “You just pray that you emerged with your dignity intact.” Neil Kinnock, former leader of the Labour Party, who was also being interviewed on the programme, then quipped in to say: “John goes way past groping.”” – Independent on Sunday


Brexit 1) Home Office letter tells EU nationals in detention centres to consider leaving UK to avoid “becoming destitute”

“…A government letter, written on behalf of home secretary Amber Rudd and seen by the Observer, also advises EU nationals that they should consider leaving because they have the “right to travel freely across the EU and can visit, live, study and in most cases work in any other EU member state” – an observation that appears to preempt the UK’s departure from the union. The letter, dated 18 October and written by officials from the Home Office’s immigration section, tells a Romanian national in an immigration detention centre that his request for emergency accommodation has been rejected and he should consider another country. It states: “You could avoid becoming destitute by returning to Romania or another EU member state where you could enjoy access to all your ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights] without interference.”” – Observer

Brexit 2) Ministers “worried” that legally binding “deal or no deal” vote could be “hijacked by hardline Brexiteers”

“Ministers are holding back from offering pro-European rebels a legally binding vote on the future Brexit deal amid fears it could be hijacked by hardline Brexiteers seeking a “clean break” from Brussels. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is to offer MPs a “deal or no deal” vote giving them the option of accepting the outcome of negotiations or sending the UK out of the EU without any trade deal in place. But a Government source admitted that one of the “unintended consequences” of the legislation could be a revolt by Eurosceptic Tory MPs determined to leave the EU without a deal.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Conservative donors call for “no deal over bad deal” – Observer

More Brexit 

  • EU makes plans for its own chancellor – Mail on Sunday
  • New OfS to monitor higher education “Brexit bias issue” – Sunday Telegraph
  • Meanwhile university libraries are under pressure to limit access to texts including some by leading feminists – The Times


  • My academic colleagues’ tolerance of my Brexit views ended after the vote – Chris Bickerton, The Sunday Times
  • Brexit shows our loss of tolerance – Nick Cohen, Observer
  • Brexit shouldn’t be this government’s only legacy – Grant Shapps, The Sun on Sunday
  • Brexit is a tame revolution – Dia Chakravarty, Sunday Telegraph
  • It may seem ridiculous to me, but what if leaving is successful? – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday

May: We must transform how we think about mental health

As a society we have seen mental illness as secondary to physical health needs and failed to grasp the toll it can take not just on those we love but the nation as a whole. I believe that to truly demonstrate the values of compassion and progress that we as a society share, we must transform the way we think about and treat mental illness. As Prime Minister I am determined to employ the power of Government to change the way we deal with mental health problems across the country and at every stage of life. And driving changes in the workplace is a vital part of that transformation. – Sunday Express

MPs “expectant” that Hammond will announce cut to Universal Credit waiting period in budget…

“Ministers are preparing to use next month’s budget to announce a climbdown on the roll-out of the Government’s Universal Credit scheme, the Telegraph can disclose. Conservative MPs pressing for reforms to the new benefits system are now “expectant” that the Chancellor will announce a reduction in six-week initial waiting period for pay-outs, in his address next month. The Government is understood to have already resolved to reduce the waiting period by seven days, reversing an additional delay put into the scheme by George Osborne as part of cost-saving measures during his time at the Treasury.” – Sunday Telegraph

…As he “faces rebellion” over “non-dom loophole”

Philip Hammond is facing a backbench rebellion over a £6billion tax loophole for foreign non-dom property owners. They must pay tax on residential property sales but the government is not including profits made on commercial buildings. It means that foreign owners can declare their flats and houses in Britain are for commercial use before they sell them- meaning they don’t have to pay a levy, reports The Sun. The omission has created a loophole worth approximately £6billion that is set to spark a Commons showdown, according to campaigners. – Mail on Sunday

DIT only listed one “impressive” trade negotiator

Liam Fox has been ridiculed for being a “man of solitude” over claims his International Trade Department has an alarming lack of seasoned trade negotiators. Casting doubt on the International Trade Secretary’s repeated assertion that securing a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union should be the “easiest in human history”, the Department for International Trade (DIT) only managed to list one impressive resume when asked how many experienced trade professionals the 15-month old department employs.” – The Independent on Sunday

  • Meanwhile there are criticisms of DExEU high pay rates – Sunday Express

Gove accused of “backtracking” on Brexit animal welfare pledges

“Michael Gove is accused today of backtracking on high-profile pledges to protect animals from suffering, in climbdowns linked to Brexit. The Environment Secretary has dumped a cast-iron guarantee that animals will still be regarded as “sentient” – responsive beings, capable of feelings – say animal rights groups. Similarly, a heavy hint that exports of live animals will be banned after Britain leaves the EU has also been watered down in recent weeks, they are protesting.” – Independent on Sunday

More government

  • Proposed bill to introduce “expiry date” for military prosecutions – Sunday Telegraph
  • Will Royal Marines be cut by 1000? – Sunday Telegraph

More Conservatives 

  • May accused of “wrecking” Northern Powerhouse to get at Osborne – The Sun on Sunday
  • Rudd friends say she’d back Johnson for leader if she could be chancellor – Mail on Sunday
  • Two thirds of Conservative candidates were harassed during election campaign – Sunday Telegraph
  • Leadsom wants “replica Commons” – Mail on Sunday
  • Johnson-Tugendhat “feud” continues – Black Dog, Mail on Sunday 
  • The truth about public sector pay – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: MPs Etc: It’s been another good week for Rees-Mogg

And Labour

  • Labour amendment to Data Protection Act would “create absolute right to privacy” – The Sunday Times 
  • Corbyn talks of “Labour rebirth” in Scotland – Mail on Sunday

Sturgeon to apologise to “men convicted of now-abolished sexual offences”

“First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will apologise on behalf of the Scottish Government to all men convicted of now-abolished sexual offences. Nicola Sturgeon will make the apology at Holyrood on Tuesday to coincide with the publication of new legislation to provide an automatic pardon to all those homosexual men affected. The legislation was promised by Sturgeon when she presented her programme for government in September. It will enable people to apply to have convictions removed from central criminal conviction records.” – Herald

Catalonia: Rajoy appoints de Santamaria as president. Will Puigdemont step down?

“Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime mini­s­ter, appointed his steely deputy as Cat­­alonia’s president yesterday. Soraya Saenz de Santamaria is charged with bringing the region to heel after its decla­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence, raising the pros­pect of two rival Catalan presidents turning up for work in Barce­lona if ­Carles Puigdemont, the separatist leader, refuses to step down. Yesterday, he showed no signs of bowing to Spain. “We’ll continue working to create a free country,” he said in a brief statement on Catalan television, and called for “non-violent” opposition to Madrid’s rule.” – The Sunday Times



News in Brief

  • Brexit marks the end of Keynes – Jonathan Clark, BrexitCentral
  • The labour market isn’t simple – Robert Colvile, CapX
  • The questions about Mueller – John Cassidy, New Yorker
  • What next for the Turnbull government? – Economist
  • Catalonia: and now what? – Jose Miguel Calatayud, New Statesman