May’s New Year message pledges to “get on and deliver a good Brexit”

‘She used her NYE message to deliver a rally cry vowing to lead Britain out of the EU. The Prime Minister crowned 2017 as a “year of progress” for the United Kingdom, saying: “In January I set out our objectives for the Brexit negotiations and in the months since we have pursued them with steady purpose.” She added: “Next year, we will move onto the vital issues of trade and security and I am determined that we will keep up our progress into 2018. “Because whichever way you voted in the referendum, most people just want the government to get on and deliver a good Brexit, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”‘ – The Sun on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Brexit has busted the myth of the fragile Union

Names start to circulate of who might be vulnerable in a reshuffle

‘Theresa May is set to fire up to a quarter of her cabinet and wants to offer Boris Johnson a new role as she prepares to launch 2018 with a domestic policy blitz designed to convince voters she can do more than Brexit. May has decided to hold a reshuffle in January to bring in younger MPs after concluding her government needs a new year reboot. Patrick McLoughlin, the party chairman; Justine Greening, the education secretary; Greg Clark, the business secretary; Chris Grayling, the transport secretary; and Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, have all been tipped for the chop by May’s aides. Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, is also vulnerable, but May’s determination to put housing at the heart of her domestic agenda could save him.’ – Sunday Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Honours for Tory MPs but not Tory donors

Aid spending will now be targeted at supporting Britain’s interests

‘Boris Johnson has told The Sunday Times that, under a shakeup of development spending in 2018, aid money will be co-ordinated to support UK foreign policy rather than only help the world’s poor. The foreign secretary said cash would be diverted to places where it would support British efforts to deny safe havens to Islamist terrorists in Africa, Yemen and in the refugee camps for Rohingya Muslims across the Burmese border in Bangladesh. “The old jam jars are being smashed,” Johnson said. “The cash will be more sensibly distributed with a view to supporting British foreign policy. You are going to see a lot of progress there on ODA [official development assistance] funding, supporting diplomatic activity in Africa, which is entirely sensible.” He said Brexit would also give Britain the ability to determine where the £1.5bn of UK aid money handed to the European Union is spent.’ – Sunday Times

Security minister threatens social media giants with a new tax if they won’t step up counter-terror efforts

‘Ben Wallace accused internet firms of being “ruthless profiteers” that cost government a fortune by failing to assist the security ­ser­vices in identifying terrorists and stamping out extremism online…The minister complained that the likes of Facebook, Google and YouTube have made life too easy for terrorists by ­refusing to take down material that can radical­ise Islamists and other far-right extremists and by carrying guides to bomb making. The refusal of encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp — owned by Facebook and used by terrorists to co-ordinate attacks — to give the security services access to message data is “turning the internet into an anarchic violent space” and means more human surveillance is necessary, he said. “Because of encryption and because of radicalisation, the cost of that is heaped on law enforcement agencies,” Wallace said. “I have to have more human surveil­lance. It’s costing hundreds of millions of pounds. If they [internet firms] continue to be less than co-operative, we should look at things like tax as a way of incentivis­ing them or compen­sating for their inaction.’ – Sunday Times

‘Dad’s Army’ plan to bolster Border Force with volunteers

‘In a trial run, around 50 volunteers – who will report to the full-time Border Force – will patrol England’s East Coast with plans for the scheme to be expanded later to cover Britain’s 7,000 miles of coastline. It is understood volunteers will also be used to man border checks at airfields used by light aircraft flying to and from Europe…Last night, Charlie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, said: ‘Small ports and airfields are a known security weakness in our border security. So it’s important to ensure that security is stepped up, particularly to stop illegal immigrants and returning ISIS fighters. Border security is a skilled job, which takes many years of training. I would urge great caution before seeking to adopt a model like that used by the police, with special constables. We can’t have a Dad’s Army-type of set-up.’’ – Mail on Sunday

Soames proposes ring-fenced care tax on the over-40s

‘A leading Tory has called for a ring-fenced tax on the over-40s to pay for elderly care. Sir Nicholas Soames believes everybody over 40 should have to pay into a national insurance scheme, with the funds raised being used solely to meet the costs of care for the elderly. Many Britons end up paying tens of thousands of pounds for home help and care home places, some spending over £100,000. Sir Nicholas said: ‘Every day I see families who are desperately anxious about the provision of care for their elderly relatives. It isn’t good enough for this to go on and on.’’ – Mail on Sunday

  • 50 per cent surge in Scottish patients being referred to NHS services elsewhere in the UK – Sunday Telegraph

Hannan: Left-wing academia’s witch hunts defy historical facts

‘The signatories ought to be familiar with what Herbert Butterfield wrote in 1931, in perhaps the most influential work of historiography ever published. “The study of the past with one eye upon the present is the source of all the sins and sophistries in history. It is the essence of what we mean by the word ‘unhistorical’”. A chunk of the Left – I don’t think many of the signatory historians would take issue with being described that way – have a blinding obsession with race. Anti-racism is the highest card in their deck, trumping women’s rights, free speech and everything else. Once you press the story of Britain’s imperial episode into their racial paradigm, everything the Empire did must, by definition, be wrong.’ – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

Adonis demands Grayling’s head as rail passengers brace for fare rises

‘Lord Adonis is calling for the resignation of transport secretary Chris Grayling for using hundreds of millions in taxpayers’ money to bail out private rail companies – a decision which the former government infrastructure tsar says is symptomatic of a government that has “broken down” under the strain of Brexit. Adonis, who resigned as head of the government-backed National Infrastructure Commission on Friday, says in an interview with the Observer that the decision has landed taxpayers with a potential bill running into billions and will lead to higher fares and less investment in the network. His intervention comes as rail passengers brace themselves for the biggest fare rises in five years, which come into effect on Tuesday. Commuter groups and opposition politicians are planning protests across the country. With the price of season tickets set to increase by up to 3.6% Labour, unions and transport groups warned that commuters were starting to turn their back on rail travel.’ – The Observer

Corbyn claims Labour represents ‘the new centre ground’

‘Jeremy Corbyn has declared Labour is ‘staking out the new centre ground’ in British politics and he is leading a ‘government in waiting’. In his New Year’s message, the Labour leader said the prospect of a ‘new Britain’ was ‘closer than ever before’. After a dramatic 2017 which saw Labour defy predictions of a landslide defeat at a general election which instead resulted in Theresa May losing her Commons majority, Mr Corbyn vowed to use 2018 to help people ‘fulfil their hopes’.’ – Mail on Sunday

  • Momentum take revenge for the ousting of Dave Nellist – Mail on Sunday
  • Corbyn cites ‘moral imperative’ to justify further tax rises – Mail on Sunday
  • ‘Lazy’ Starmer comes bottom of shadow cabinet work rate table – Mail on Sunday
  • The BCC warns of divisions over Brexit – The Observer

Mothers’ names to appear on marriage certificates

‘Mothers’ names will finally be included on marriage certificates under plans expected to be approved by the Home Office in the new year. At present, the official documents record only the names and occupations of the fathers of the bride and groom. A Home Office source told The Sunday Times the proposal had been “signed off”, and a spokeswoman confirmed that it wanted to include mothers’ details. These will also appear on civil partnership certificates. It follows a cross-party campaign led by Dame Caroline Spelman, the Church of England’s official representative in the Commons, and the Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, who sits in the House of Lords. They have introduced identical bills in both chambers.’ – Sunday Times

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