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May says money will be set aside for ‘no deal’…

“Relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond were plunged into the deep freeze last night. The Prime Minister dramatically slapped her Chancellor down after he undermined her Brexit strategy. Mr Hammond had said he was not ready to release the billions of pounds needed to prepare for leaving the EU without a deal. He also insisted any spending should be delayed until the last possible moment. His stance contradicts Mrs May’s attempt to convince Brussels that Britain is ready to walk away if trade talks are dragged out. Mr Hammond also risked angering Eurosceptic MPs who have rallied round the Prime Minister after a difficult fortnight. In the Commons Mrs May directly contradicted her Chancellor, saying: ‘Where money needs to be spent, it will be spent.’” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister pledges £250 million to ease Cabinet irritation at Hammond – The Times
  • Chancellor wants ‘rapid’ EU response to May’s transition offer – The Guardian
  • Brexit talks are ‘at a standstill’, warn diplomats – FT
  • Flights could be suspended without a deal, Hammond claims – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • MPs could ignore the referendum and halt Brexit, Bercow says – Daily Mail
  • European Court of Justice ‘can veto deal’ – The Times
  • UK trade team ‘light on numbers and nous’ – FT
  • German region facing turmoil over UK car sales – Daily Express

Editorial:

  • The Government must disprove the impression that it’s plans are in disarray – Daily Telegraph
  • Everybody should be able to agree that a transitional deal is needed – The Times

>Today:

>Yesterday: James Arnell in Comment: Hammond must spend by December at the latest if we are to be ready for No Deal.

…as Truss says she would now vote for Brexit…

“A senior Treasury minister yesterday revealed she has changed her mind about Brexit after her department’s ‘dire’ predictions failed to materialise. Treasury chief secretary Elizabeth Truss said it was clear that Britain’s economy had ‘done well’ since the Brexit vote, despite Treasury warnings it would be plunged into an immediate recession. Miss Truss, who was not at the Treasury when it ran it’s ‘Project Fear’ campaign on Brexit, said she was now focusing on seizing the opportunities made available by leaving the EU. ’The facts have changed and I’ve changed my mind,’ she said. ‘What we have seen since the Brexit vote is our economy has done well, we haven’t seen the dire predictions come to pass.’” – Daily Mail

  • How May’s top team really feel about Brexit – The Sun
  • Britain will rejoin the EU as leave voters are dying off, claims Branson – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: James Elles in Comment: Oblivious to detail. Arrogant. Rash. Fearful of conflict. How Cameron wrecked Britain’s European dream.

…and Rees-Mogg attacks the BBC for being biased against Brexiteers

“Jacob Reese-Mogg has accused the BBC of having a “deep-seated bias” amid claims the broadcaster gives Remain backers more airtime than Brexiteers. Two of the BBC’s influential shows, The Andrew Marr Show and Sunday Politics, have reportedly featured three times as many Remain supporting voices than they have Brexit backing ones since the referendum. According to figures obtained by the Sun, the Andrew Marr show has featured 129 Remainers since the referendum – and only 33 leavers. And the Sunday Politics show has reportedly had 78 remain backing guests compared to only 37 Brexiteers. Monmouth MP David TC Davies has since hit out at the broadcaster’s supposed anti-Brexit bent.” – Daily Express

  • Remainers outnumber Leavers four-to-one in BBC programming – The Sun

>Yesterday: Rebecca Lowe Coulson’s column: Scruton’s European ideal poses unsettling questions

Liam Fox: Our new Board of Trade will ensure everybody benefits from Brexit

“Free trade reduces poverty and generates wealth across the globe, which in turn underpins political stability and security, especially in developing countries. Here in the UK it will create jobs, increase our prosperity and help drive down prices of everyday goods. I am determined that these benefits are enjoyed by everyone, wherever they live. So today I’m launching a new board of trade to ensure every part of the UK can prosper as we increase our trade with the world. The board will bring together leading figures from business and politics from all four nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will meet four times a year, rotating around the UK to guarantee businesses in every region have the chance to raise the issues that matter most to them.” – Liam Fox, Times Red Box

  • How can May manage Brexit after telling everyone her heart isn’t in it? – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexiteers’ trade fantasies are crashing down around their ears – Molly Scott Cato, The Guardian
  • Be warned, Brexiteers, I know better than most the price of breaking a promise – Nick Clegg, Times Red Box
  • Please, a rest from referendums – Bill Jamieson, The Scotsman
  • May must shatter the EU elite’s delusion that she will take any deal – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

May defends Universal Credit as 0800 helpline attacked

“Theresa May was blasted for the 55p a minute cost of the Universal Credit helpline in the first PMQs face-off with Jeremy Corbyn since her conference speech disaster. The Prime Minister was urged to “show some humanity” by the Labour leader and make it free in a feisty exchange in the House of Commons this lunchtime. Mr Corbyn says it has been swamped by people contacting them with problems related to the change in the welfare system. He attacked Mrs May, saying: “The PM talks about helping the poorest but the reality is a very, very different story – absurdly the Universal Credit helpline costs claimants 55p per minute for the privilege of trying to get someone to help them claim what they believe they’re entitled to. “Will the PM intervene today, show some humanity and at least make the helpline free?”” – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: The rebels are right – Universal Credit is a good reform, endangered by a poor decision on its implementation

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: May at PMQs – “For too many people under Labour, they were better off on benefits”

Energy price cap will cover two-thirds of households

“The energy bill of about two-thirds of households will be capped under draft legislation to be set out by the government on Thursday, as Theresa May vowed to fix what she called a “broken” market. The government revealed on Thursday that the cap will be an absolute rather than relative one, where the gap between a supplier’s cheapest and most expensive tariff is restricted. It will apply to anyone on a standard variable tariff, the expensive plans that customers are moved to when cheaper, fixed deals end. Officials said that the ceiling on electricity and gas bills would last until the end of 2020, which is also the government’s deadline for when all homes should have been offered a smart meter, which enable new types of tariffs.” – The Guardian

  • Sturgeon ignored warnings from ‘Big Six’ over energy company plan – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • The First Minister’s failures are an omen for the Tories – Iain Martin, The Times
  • So who’s right on ‘indyref 2’: Black, Robertson, or Sturgeon? – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: SNP conference shows party’s divisions over independence strategy

Ministers 1) Hunt announces ‘golden hello’ for junior doctors

“Jeremy Hunt will today offer trainee GPs a £20,000 ‘golden hello’ in a desperate bid to get them to work in understaffed practices. The Health Secretary is to announce a one-off payment for junior doctors who move to rural and coastal areas. The bonuses – on top of starting salaries of up to £45,000 – are part of an attempt to stem the growing GP crisis.Mr Hunt will tell the Royal College of GPs conference in Liverpool that the workforce ‘is under considerable pressure’. The £20,000 payments – given to those who do their three-year training in ‘priority areas’ – are almost as much as a nurse’s £22,000 starting salary.” – Daily Mail

  • Doctors’ assistants will assess patients – The Times

Ministers 2) Hammond points towards ‘staircase tax’ climbdown

“The so-called staircase tax could be cut by the end of the year, Philip Hammond indicated yesterday. The chancellor has been under pressure to act after the Supreme Court ruled that businesses operating on more than one floor should face higher tax bills. Businesses leaders said that the increased rates, which can be charged retrospectively back to 2015, could hit up to 90,000 commercial properties, potentially forcing companies to make staff redundant. Mr Hammond told the Treasury select committee yesterday that a change to the law was “certainly something we’re looking at”. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which has campaigned against the measure, urged the chancellor to ensure relief measures were in place for next month’s budget.” – The Times

  • Number of UK startups rises to new record – FT

Comment:

  • Only real leadership will end this economic malaise and save liberal democracy – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph
  • Tax rises in Scotland are now inevitable – Kenny MacAskill, The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Robert Halfon MP’s Workers’ Party column: A new political movement is slowly emerging in our Party

Ministers 3) Doyle-Price says older people should not view homes as assets to pass on

“Older people should be discouraged from treating their homes as an asset to pass on to their children, a minister has said. Jackie Doyle-Price, the social care minister, said that younger workers who paid for their university tuition and who do not own property should not have to pay for the rising social care costs of a more “fortunate” generation though their taxes. Her comments have led to accusations that the government is preparing to reintroduce the “dementia tax”. Theresa May was forced to shelve plans to force older people to spend all but their last £100,000 meeting care costs after the proposals caused an outcry during the election campaign.” – The Times

  • Is the ‘dementia tax’ back? – The Sun

Ministers 4) Bradley forced to deny backing down in face of web giants

“The Culture Secretary was today forced to deny “backing away” from plans to introduce tough new laws cracking down on social media abuse. Karen Bradley revealed that firms such as Facebook and Twitter could be asked to pay out a levy to meet the cost of tackling online bullying. But she admitted that a new code of conduct will be voluntary – even though the Tories promised to pass new legislation targeting web giants in their election manifesto… Today’s announcement includes a levy on firms and regular reports from companies detailing what they have done to tackle abuse on their websites. Ms Bradley said she wants the new rules to come in “on a voluntary basis” – despite the Conservatives’ pledge to write it into law.” – The Sun

  • Culture Secretary says parents should read kids’ texts and emails – The Sun

Police chief accused of ‘assuring’ MPs of Heath’s guilt

“The police chief in charge of the Sir Edward Heath inquiry told MPs he thought the former Prime Minister was ‘eight out of 10 guilty’ before publishing a report on abuse claims, it was claimed last night. One of Sir Edward Heath’s closest advisers, Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, claimed Wiltshire Police chief constable Mike Veale had privately assured MPs that he thought Sir Edward was guilty of sexual abuse allegations. In a meeting with MPs and Heath supporters called by Mr Veale in December last year while the £1.5million two-year probe was still ongoing, the chief was asked whether he thought the late Tory was a child abuser ‘on a scale of one to 10’. Mr Veale is said to have replied: ‘Eight out of 10 guilty’. But a Wiltshire Police spokesman said Mr Veale categorically denied making the comment.” – Daily Mail

Benedict Rogers: Britain must wake up to the Chinese threat to freedom in Hong Kong

“One country, two systems is supposed to mean Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong. Yet it is overwhelmingly clear that the decision to deny me entry was not taken in Hong Kong, but by the Chinese regime. One country, two systems is supposed to mean the rule of law, yet a solicitor, Albert Ho,was not allowed to help me. One country, two systems is supposed to mean basic rights in Hong Kong – freedom of expression and association – yet my own freedom of expression and more importantly the freedom of expression and association of those I had hoped to meet has been curtailed.” – The Guardian

Trump to meet Queen next year

“President Trump is set to meet the Queen next year despite moves to downgrade his first trip to Britain as US leader from a full-blown state visit. Diplomats are working on a “political” programme to ensure that Mr Trump does not snub London when he tours European capitals early in 2018. Under plans for the stripped-down “working visit” arranged at relatively short notice, it is understood that he could be mollified with an audience with the Queen. Theresa May offered Mr Trump a full state visit during his first month in the White House. Mr Trump said that Britain would be at the front of the queue for a trade deal with the US after Brexit as he accepted the invitation in Washington in January.” – The Times

  • I banned the phrase ‘special relationship’ when I was ambassador – Christopher Meyer, Daily Telegraph

Labour 1) Adonis calls for the restoration of polytechnics

“New universities should be turned back into polytechnics to boost vocational education, says a former Labour education minister. Lord Adonis branded the decision to ‘rebadge’ the institutions as universities a ‘very serious mistake’ and said it led to a loss of ‘edge and focus’. Thirty polytechnics were opened in the 1960s to serve local communities and provide vocational-oriented qualifications, accredited by professional bodies. But the Conservatives gave them university status in 1992 in a bid to end the ‘binary system’ – and the institutions tried to replicate their more prestigious counterparts.” – Daily Mail

  • Vice-chancellors must fight pay cuts, says Cambridge boss – The Times

Labour 2) MPs to push for anti-abortion activists to be barred from protesting outside clinics

“Anti-abortion campaigners could be banned from protesting outside clinics across the country after Labour MPs pledged to follow a landmark decision in Ealing. On Tuesday evening Ealing council voted to look at measures to stop anti-abortion campaigners protesting outside a Marie Stopes clinic in the borough following a campaign by local MP Rupa Huq. The vote could lead to a “buffer zone” enforced by a Public Spaces Protection order [PSPO] being created around the clinic to stop protesters coming too close. Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, said: “No matter how strongly protesters feel about abortion themselves, they don’t have the right to harass, intimidate or distress women who need to make their own very personal decision with their doctors.”” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Why free trade doesn’t require regulatory harmonisation – Simon Gordon, CapX
  • Plotters who want May out think time is on their side – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • We are shocked that this has been going on in Hollywood… – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Britain won’t Brexit in 2019 – Peter Divey, Comment Central
  • When should we stop blaming Labour? – That’s Rich

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