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May refuses to say how she’d vote if EU referendum were re-run…

“Theresa May today refused to say if she would vote leave or remain if the Brexit referendum was re-run. The Prime Minister also warned that EU nationals living in Britain could lose some of their rights if the UK ends up leaving the bloc without a deal, and vice versa. Mrs May backed Remain in last year’s vote but has hung her premiership off the promise to deliver on the historic referendum. But appearing on a live radio phone in this afternoon, the PM dried up when she was repeatedly asked if she would change her vote if the referendum was re-run.” – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Gove and Johnson are the ravens in the Brexit tower – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

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

…as Barnier breaks ranks to call for trade talks…

“Michel Barnier is pushing European governments to give him permission to begin exploring transition and trade talks with Britain next week in the face of opposition from Germany. Behind closed doors the EU’s lead negotiator has unexpectedly become Britain’s best hope for moving on to discussions on how to prevent a cliff edge for businesses after March 2019. But the German government is pressing hard for Britain to give further guarantees on the financial settlement it will make when it leaves, before a European council meeting next week. “Germany wants more and it wants it more or less in writing,” said one diplomat. “That is toxic for the British.”” – The Times

  • UK could join trans-Atlantic trade alliance ‘bigger than the EU’ if no deal reached – Daily Telegraph
  • Shipping chief praises May’s Brexit plan – Daily Express
  • MPs urge Davis to publish Brexit impact assessments – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Joining NAFTA could be one of the biggest trade deals we do – Andrew Lilico, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

…and Hammond ‘refuses to budget’ for hard Brexit

“It would be irresponsible to spend taxpayers’ money now in preparation for a “no-deal” exit from the European Union, the chancellor believes. In a move likely to anger staunch Brexiteers, Philip Hammond uses an article in The Times today to make clear that he will not commit billions of pounds in next month’s budget to planning for a hard breakaway. It comes after the prime minister refused to say if she would back Brexit were there to be another referendum. Theresa May said in a radio programme yesterday that she refused to answer “hypothetical questions”. The chancellor has faced pressure from ministers who want the government to show more of its planning for a hard Brexit.” – The Times

  • The Chancellor’s article in full – The Times
  • Britain’s ‘heroic’ timeline for new customs regime – FT
  • Government could scrap import taxes – The Sun
  • Home Office ‘cannot cope’ with Brexit, claim former officials – FT

More:

  • Budget watchdog to slash forecast on public finances in blow to Chancellor – The Sun

Comment:

  • If the EU doesn’t want to play ball, we must be ready for a clean Brexit – Julian Jessop, Daily Telegraph
  • For hardline Brexiteers, the lure of the cliff-edge is irresistible – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Brexit impact studies should be published for all to see – David Lammy and Seema Malhotra, Times Red Box
  • No deal could be the best deal – John Longworth, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • We must start preparing for a no-deal Brexit – The Sun

>Yesterday:

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

>Yesterday: Peter Marshall in Comment: We have to ask the question. Does the EU really want a deal?

Daniel Finkelstein: The disgraceful police chief behind the Heath investigations must quit

“It’s not surprising that the police didn’t find “undermining evidence” if they weren’t looking for it. Lord Sherbourne, who ran Sir Edward’s private office for several years and kept his diary, is right to be “astonished” that they didn’t interview him. They spent two years on this. What on earth were they doing? I’ll tell you what they were doing. They started with the very dangerous view, still standard police policy, that the accusations against the former prime minister had to be believed. And then they held to this come what may. Each mistake they appear to have made — the case building, the ignoring of possibly contrary evidence, the attempt to hint at Heath’s guilt, the defence of their own interests at all costs — is a potential threat to every citizen.” – The Times

May says race audit findings may result in new laws

“Theresa May brushed aside criticism of her decision to publish data on racial divides in Britain yesterday and said she would consider legislation to stamp out discrimination by employers. The prime minister said that the findings of the first race disparity audit were not “entirely bleak” and that there had been improvements in some areas. She told LBC radio: “This is not just about publishing a set of data and saying, ‘That’s it, job done.’ Absolutely not. This is the starting point of what we have to do.” Asked whether she would go further with changes such as name-blind applications for jobs or forms of positive discrimination, Mrs May said she was “not sure at this stage” what legislation may be needed.” – The Times

  • Poor white children do worst of all in school – The Sun
  • BBC should adopt target for older female presenters, says Ofcom – Daily Telegraph
  • Scotland has ‘whitest’ civil service in the UK – The Scotsman

Comment:

  • May’s report is wrong, and labels like ‘racial injustice’ do more harm than good – Dr Tony Sewell, The Sun
  • Audit shows inequality is not black and white – Sunder Katwala, Daily Telegraph
  • The Government should lead by example in tackling race inequality – Matthew Ryder, Times Red Box
  • May won’t heal Britain’s divisions whilst the elite remain too powerful – David Goodhart, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • Britain is one of the best countries in the world to be an immigrant or minority – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Only one backbencher championed the problems of poor white children

BBC News chief quits to start ‘new media venture’

“The BBC’s director of news and current affairs James Harding is to stand down from the role after five years to start a new media firm. The former Times editor – appointed in April 2013 – will leave the corporation in the new year to set up his own media venture with a ‘distinct approach to the news’. Harding, 48, called working at the broadcaster ‘rewarding and worthwhile’ and said his new company would focus on journalism that the BBC ‘for all its brilliance, can’t, and probably shouldn’t, do’. He added: ‘And that’s what I want to explore: I am going to start a new media company with a distinct approach to the news and a clear point of view.'” – Daily Mail

Ministers 1) Johnson warns Trump not to rip up deal with Iran

“Boris Johnson intervened last night to try to prevent President Trump ripping up the historic nuclear deal with Iran, declaring that Tehran had fulfilled its commitments and warning Washington against revisiting the agreement. The foreign secretary stepped in as Mr Trump prepared to harden his line against Iran and the nuclear deal, with threats to decertify the multilateral agreement which lifted sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. Mr Trump is expected to refuse to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement and send the decision to the US Congress next week. The wrangling over the deal has taken on fresh significance as the United States grapples with how to stop North Korea progressing its nuclear programme.” – The Times

  • May’s final plea to the President over Iran – The Sun
  • Special relationship a ‘joke’ under Obama, claims former US aide – The Times

Comment:

  • What Boris is really like in the tearoom – Ben Bradley MP, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Five stumbling blocks that stand between Johnson and Downing Street

Ministers 2) Hunt lifts NHS pay cap

“Jeremy Hunt yesterday signalled a three per cent pay rise for all doctors and nurses as he declared the seven year NHS pay cap has finally been ditched. Questioned by Labour MPs the Health Secretary told the Commons: “I can give you good news – the pay cap has been scrapped.” He said ministers had accepted the one per cent cap was no longer “sustainable”, hinting at above inflation pay rises next year. He added: “We recognise it wasn’t sustainable to carry on with the one per cent going forward and that’s why next year we’ve been given the leeway to have more flexible negotiations.” But he was unable to rule out cuts to NHS services elsewhere to pay for the rise.” – The Sun

  • Health Secretary gives no details on funding – The Guardian
  • Ministers told to make it easier for foreign doctors to work in Britain – The Guardian

Ministers 3) Gove criticises Labour MPs who appear on Russia Today

“Concerns are growing about Russia’s influence at Westminster as a Kremlin-controlled television channel regularly promotes Labour frontbenchers while Tory grandees accept thousands of pounds to appear on its shows. Shadow ministers have featured at least 26 times on the station RT, formerly called Russia Today, since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015. Conservatives have been paid up to £1,000 to make appearances. Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has queried why frontbenchers are appearing on a “literal Kremlin propaganda channel”.” – The Times

  • Momentum founder heads for spot at Labour’s top table – The Times

Ministers 4) Whips dispatch MPs to campaign for Rudd

“The Conservative chief whip is sending MPs to campaign in Amber Rudd’s seat in a move that has surprised colleagues. Gavin Williamson sent a “Dear colleague” email to Tory MPs on Monday to ask them to attend a “campaign action day” in the home secretary’s constituency of Hastings & Rye a week on Saturday. Mr Williamson wrote: “Please do your best to attend if possible. Best wishes and thank you in advance for your support, Gavin.” Ms Rudd had a majority in the June election of 346, only 0.6 per cent more than Labour. The move is part of a Tory drive to combat Labour’s decision to continue campaigning after the election.” – The Times

Ministers 5) Bradley outlines new rules to protect children online amidst talk of social media crackdown

Facebook and Google could be forced to uphold the same standards as newspapers and other publications as part of a Government crackdown, it has emerged. Ministers are looking at whether to classify social media giants as publications instead of communication platforms, which would bind them to strict rules and make them responsible for everything they host. It came as the culture secretary announced new rules to protect children online, including an industry-wide levy – potentially millions of pounds per company – to be spent on education. New plans revealed by Karen Bradley also include compulsory internet safety lessons to teach children about the dangers of posting naked photos or sending them to people they meet online.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Web giants face clampdown – The Sun

More ministers:

  • Greening announces new T-Levels – The Times

Editorial:

  • Regulating Facebook and Google means an end to extremist propaganda – The Sun

Sturgeon tells SNP faithful she will hold another independence referendum before 2021

“Nicola Sturgeon today mocked Theresa May’s calamitous conference speech as she used her own party address to vow to hold a second referendum. The SNP leader brandished a pack of strepsils and told her activists ‘I’ve come prepared’ in a jibe at the PM’s speech which was ruined after by a persistent cough. The Scottish First Minister defied a hammering at the ballot box to promise SNP delegates she will press ahead with a second independence referendum over Brexit. The SNP leader said she regretted the defeat of MPs at the general election but refused to apologise for June’s heavy loss of 21 seats as she promised to press ahead with a re-run before the next Scottish elections in 2021.” – Daily Mail

  • Leadership pleads for patience but activists cheer promise of imminent vote – Daily Telegraph
  • First Minister pledges state energy firm to see off Corbyn – The Times

More:

  • Labour leadership contenders clash over benefits – The Scotsman

Comment:

  • The SNP has badly misjudged the Scots: we don’t love the EU more than Britain – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • Scottish independence slips into hibernation – FT
  • Sturgeon risks leading a party without a purpose – The Times

Lib Dem MP admits to smoking marijuana at legalisation protest

“An MP has admitted taking drugs at a ‘cannabis tea party’ protest outside Parliament today with the aim of legalising medicinal marijuana. Liberal Democrat Layla Moran joined two Labour MPs and dozens of patients as they launched their formal bid to legalise the Class B drug for medicinal purposes. The protesters, backed by the Multiple Sclerosis Society, ate cannabis-infused scones with their tea on the lawns of Parliament Square. When asked if she had dabbled in drugs the MP for Oxford West and Abingdon said: ‘Yes I went to university! I did inhale, yes I did.'” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • The Treasury must not send global trade to the back of the queue – Hugh Bennett, Brexit Central
  • Take a look inside Davis’ office, and weep – Matthew Norman, The Independent
  • Why nudges are nothing to fear – Christopher Snowdon, CapX
  • Grandstanding Rees-Mogg was at it over the ECJ – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Brexit could ensure badly-needed reform to social care – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator

19 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 11th October 2017

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