May: A budget, and an industrial strategy, aimed at building a better future

‘This week’s budget will take a balanced approach to public spending, but at the same time investing in our key public services and keeping taxes low. But we must also recognise that some parts of the country have struggled to keep pace with changes in the global economy and as a result not fully shared in the prosperity that growth has delivered. And we are not fulfilling Britain’s potential if, despite having scientists and universities renowned the world over, we cannot turn their ideas into the products and services on which the industries of the future will be built. So one of my first actions was to begin the development of a modern industrial strategy that will help businesses to create high-quality, well-paid jobs right across the country. The industrial strategy we are publishing next Monday aims to help young people to develop the skills to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future. It creates the conditions in which successful businesses can emerge and grow and identifies the industries that are of strategic value and works to create a partnership between government and industry. Our industrial strategy will propel Britain to global leadership of industries of the future, seizing the big opportunities of our time, from artificial intelligence and big data to clean energy and self-driving vehicles.’ – Theresa May, The Times

  • Billions more for new technology – The Times
  • The Chancellor urges the NHS to make savings – The Times
  • ‘No unemployed’ gaffe – FT
  • Housing row – The Sun
  • Downing Street kills off his plan to appear in a driverless car – Daily Telegraph
  • £250 million for West Midlands transport – Birmingham Mail




The Cabinet considers raising the cash offer to Brussels

‘Ministers are preparing to offer the EU up to £40billion in divorce payments, Philip Hammond has suggested – as ministers prepare for a crunch meeting on the issue today. The Chancellor said the Government would make a fresh offer to Brussels ahead of an EU summit next month when leaders are due to decide whether to begin post-Brexit trade talks with the UK. Mr Hammond put no figure on the new offer, but Brussels sources have suggested the EU will not consider a payment of less than £40billion. This is double the figure previously offered by Theresa May…Boris Johnson and David Davis have both warned the Prime Minister against making a significant new offer unless it is accompanied by guarantees on the type of trade deal the UK can expect from Brussels. But the Chancellor yesterday indicated he was backing a bigger payment, saying there was a ‘very high value’ in having a close trade relationship with the EU after Brexit.’ – Daily Mail

  • It could total £20 billion for financial liabilities as bills come due – The Times
  • The EU should take the offer seriously – The Times Leader
  • Halfon warns that voters “will go bananas” – Daily Telegraph
  • Grieve: “Some of my colleagues have become unhinged.” – Daily Mail
  • Fernandes and Penrose say the rebels have created a ‘synthetic’ row – Daily Mail
  • We defend Europe’s self-determination – why won’t Europe accept ours? – Gerald Howarth, Daily Telegraph
  • Bright Blue suggests means testing farmers who apply for subsidies – The Times
  • What of Ireland? – The Guardian Leader

>Today: Nicky Morgan’s column: Why I’m proud to be a mutineer – or, rather, to be striving to improve the EU Withdrawal Bill

>Yesterday: WATCH: Stephen Hammond on being called a ‘Brexit mutineer’

Twenty-one Conservative MPs write in opposition to further defence cuts

‘Any attempt to cut the Royal Marines to save money will provoke a backbench rebellion big enough to threaten the government’s slim majority, the defence secretary has been told. Twenty-one Conservative MPs have written to Gavin Williamson to warn him against reducing Britain’s 6,400-strong marines and scrapping the Royal Navy’s only two amphibious assault ships. “At some point you have to make a stand for what you believe in,” Johnny Mercer, a former army officer and member of the defence select committee and lead signatory on the letter, said. “I am simply not prepared to see the degradation of the UK’s armed forces any further in this national security review.” Mr Mercer was referring to a mini review that is regarded by many as more of a cuts exercise for the Ministry of Defence as it grapples with a hole in its budget of at least £20 billion over the next decade. Mr Williamson, who took over as defence secretary from Sir Michael Fallon less than three weeks ago, has signalled that he is ready to fight for more money.’ – The Times

  • Calls to crack down on gig economy – FT

Merkel’s coalition talks collapse

‘Germany could be facing a snap election as Angela Merkel’s Conservative union is yet to form a coalition with another two parties, clashing on migration and climate change. Chancellor Merkel had hoped for an agreement between her Christian Democrat and Christian Social Union, the Free Democratic Party and the Greens by 6pm tonight. But failing to agree on key issues like the refugee crisis, use of non-renewable energy and the economy, chances of a ruling coalition are fading fast. Fifteen hours of talks on Friday also ended in stalemate. If an agreement can’t be reached, the Germans face a snap election, after Merkel rejected going into opposition with her outgoing Parliamentary partners – the Social Democrats – when the election result was announced on September 24…Among several other things, the Bavarian-only Christian Social Union want an annual cap on refugees, while the Greens want to allow migrants to bring their closest relatives to Germany as well.’ – Daily Mail

  • The painful road to a tighter fiscal union – FT Leader
  • MPs seek to justify being paid by Russia Today – Daily Mail

McDonnell won’t give numbers for his ‘fully costed’ nationalisation plans

‘John McDonnell repeatedly refused to say how much Labour’s sweeping nationalisation plans will cost today. The shadow chancellor was accused of trying a ‘card trick’ on the British public as he ducked questions about proposals to bring huge swathes of the energy, water and transport sectors into public ownership. Asked for a figure of how much the proposals would cost, Mr McDonnell merely stated that it would ‘not be a burden’ on taxpayers. He again risked scaring off investors by raising the prospect of trying to purchase the industries for below market value – insisting parliament would dictate the price the government paid. The comments came as it emerged avowed Marxist Mr McDonnell has taken up sailing with his wife, on a boat named ‘Morning Star’ after the communist newspaper.’ – Daily Mail

  • They are in fantasy land – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Labour MP promotes Venezuelan dictatorship’s propaganda – The Sun
  • Leftist wins race to become Scottish Labour leader – FT
  • Farrelly investigated over alleged fracas with other Labour MPs – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: If Scottish Labour draws the SNP leftwards, the Tories will be the winners

Foges: The Left’s identity politics has become a form of bigotry

‘Many on the left have a remarkably rigid view of the world: a stubborn cleaving to stereotypes that allows them to see all of life as a great struggle for justice, a fight between the oppressors and the oppressed. All those living in poverty are then helpless victims of “the system”, whatever choices they’ve made. All Conservatives are cruel and selfish. All wealthy people are money-grubbers who deserve to be squeezed until the pips squeak. All women must be interested principally in “women’s issues” or they are betraying the sisterhood. All big businesses are capitalist predators conspiring to rinse the economy and our pockets. And, of course, all ethnic minorities must fall into line and vote Labour…Not content with calling Mr Bailey “boy”, Labour now tells this man that he simply doesn’t understand modern racism. Labour owns minority concerns, see?..Yet what some on the left fail to see is that by endlessly categorising people as minorities and catering to separate “communities”, you do not liberate them but leave them stuck in victim status. You cast them not as individuals but as needy cases who will only thrive through leg-ups, positive discrimination, quotas.’ – Clare Foges, The Times

Mugabe refuses to resign

‘Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe went off script when he refused to resign the presidency during a rambling speech on Sunday night, his opponents have claimed. Sitting alongside a cadre of generals who have been keeping him under house arrest since Wednesday, the 93-year-old boldly vowed to fix problems within the ruling Zanu PF party himself rather than hand power to ousted vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. The party, however, has sacked him and mass demonstrations on Saturday called for him to step down after the army seized power earlier in the week. Veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa told journalists that plans for the dictator’s impeachment would be moving ahead as planned on Monday.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief