Ministers “reluctant” to provide rescue package for Carillion as talks break down

“Ministers are facing questions about why hundreds of millions of pounds of work was awarded to a public contractor even after it issued a string of profit warnings. Carillion, which has been handed part of the contract to build HS2 and also oversees hospitals, schools and prisons, has gone into liquidation. It had required a £300 million cash boost to keep operating. Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, had urged the government not to agree to a taxpayer-funded bailout. Ministers were said to be reluctant to provide a direct rescue package.” – The Times

  • Government discussion with the company “broke up” last night without plan – Independent
  • The meeting had been brought forward – FT
  • Lewis says the situation is a “going concern” – Daily Telegraph
  • Shadow cabinet office minister calls for explanation about checking measures – Guardian
  • Government to face questions in Commons – FT
  • Morgan says committees will “ask searching questions” – Daily Express


  • This represents another mistake from Grayling – The Times

Hammond tells German paper that UK wants to keep “European economic approach” after Brexit

“Philip Hammond has said that he wants the UK to maintain a “European approach” and a European-style market economy in a sign that he does not foresee big change after Brexit. Mr Hammond, the chancellor, told Welt Am Sonntag in Germany that “whatever people say”, the British public did not want to change their economic model. His comments are likely to anger Brexiteers, who presented the vote to leave the EU as a demand for big domestic change, and are a sign that he wants to minimise the areas of divergence.” – The Times

  • Meanwhile, Barnier to meet cross-party pro-European MPs today – Guardian
  • And is Johnson privately worried about certainty of Brexit? – The Sun

>Today: Gary Porter in Local Government: Leaving the EU will allow simpler and more flexible local government

MoJ seeking legal review of Parole Board’s Worboys decision

“John Worboys is still a danger to women, a senior prison source has told the Telegraph, amid growing pressure on the Ministry of Justice to prevent the release of the ‘black cab rapist’. Worboys, 60, is due to be freed from jail in the coming days after the Parole Board ruled that he no longer posed a risk. David Gauke, the new Justice Secretary, is considering a judicial review in an attempt to keep the serial sex attacker – possibly the worst in modern British legal history – in jail. …The Ministry of Justice announced on Sunday it is seeking a legal review of the decision made by Parole Board, an independent body which it finances.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Lewis confirms that Gauke is “seeking legal advice on preventing release” – Guardian


  • The decision to release Worboys is typical and the kind that leads to “brutal bereavements” – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

Mordaunt: My five pledges to address concerns about development spending

“Britain is a development superpower. The work we do – the breadth, depth and quality of it, the soft power we wield and the contribution we make to the health, wealth and prosperity of the UK and the world – should be a source of uncontroversial national pride. Many Brits feel that pride – but not all. Nagging doubts persist for many people, about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we go about it. It is not that people are ungenerous or uncaring. Quite the opposite. … To address their concerns we must show that their money cannot be better spent. So as we begin the New Year, I make five pledges to the British people on how we will do this.” – Daily Telegraph

Johnson calls for international unity in applying pressure to DPRK

“Boris Johnson has called on the international community to confront North Korea’s “illegal” nuclear weapons programme as he heads to Canada for an all-important summit to discuss the crisis, it has been reported. The Foreign Secretary made the statement before a two-day gathering in Vancouver which will be attended by counterparts from the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and other nations. While he said the sanctions are biting, he insisted that the international community must be “united” in applying even more pressure to The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).” He said: “North Korea’s illegal nuclear weapons programme is a threat to regional and global stability. “The international community must be united in its approach.” – Daily Express

Defra to give Environment Agency new powers to tackle waste crime

“Households could be fined up to £400 if they pay an unauthorised “man in a van” to take away rubbish under plans announced today to tackle fly-tipping. … Thérèse Coffey, the environment minister, said: “Waste crime and fly-tipping blight our communities and spoil our countryside, and we need determined action to tackle it. These new powers for the Environment Agency will curb the rise of waste sites that continue to operate outside the law. But we must all take responsibility for our waste to make sure it does not end up in the hands of criminals who will wilfully dump it.”” – The Times

  • Household fly-tippers could face fines from council – Daily Mail
  • Meanwhile, Gove “threatens” water companies over tax haven use – FT

Ridley: Gove’s environment plan is good – but how to put it into practice?

The government’s 25-year environment plan is more than a piece of virtue signalling, despite its chief purpose being to persuade the young to vote Conservati(ve)onist. It is full of sensible, apolitical goals and in places actually conveys a love of the natural world, which is not always the case with such documents. The difficulty will be putting its ambitions into practice. It is all very well to want cleaner air and water, more biodiversity, less plastic litter and richer soils. How are these to be achieved? Except in a few places, such as the discussion of “net environmental gains” in the construction industry, the plan is worryingly vague. The word that bothers me most, appearing often, is “we”.” – The Times

Hancock says BBC should consider pay cap

“The BBC should consider capping the pay of its top talent at £150,000 in line with the rest of the public sector, the new Culture Secretary has said. Matthew Hancock also said the BBC had a “special responsibility” to lead on equal pay issues and vowed to raise the issue with director general Tony Hall at a meeting in the coming weeks. The corporation was plunged into a fresh row over pay disparity among its most high-profile stars, when China editor Carrie Gracie resigned from her post after discovering she was earning up to £45,000 less than her male peers.” – Independent

  • He says most of its employees shouldn’t earn more than Prime Minister – The Sun

More Government 

  • Hinds to “scrap” faith school “different religion” quota – The Sun
  • Miller says new inquiry into sexual harassment will “push government for disclosure” – Guardian
  • Calls for Commons health committee to investigate English lung cancer patients’ data given to tobacco-linked American firm – Daily Telegraph
  • Commons clerk considers “tip-up benches” for the House – Independent
  • Commons home affairs committee report published today on illegal immigration… – The Times
  • …It calls for end to immigration target – FT
  • Lewis criticised for social media claim about credit card charge ban – The Times
  • Better the devil you know: Hunt should remain – Polly Toynbee, Guardian

>Today: Nicky Morgan’s column: The Prime Minister should set out her stall on health and social care – as well as Brexit

Pierce: Can Lewis fix membership decline?

“One of the most pressing tasks that new Tory chairman Brandon Lewis faces will be to halt the catastrophic decline in Party membership. Lewis has admitted, in the absence of a centralised membership list, that he doesn’t know the true figure, which is reputed to have fallen as low as 70,000. The Party is now talking, I hear, to businessman Richard Harpin to try to stop the rot. Worth more than £300 million, Harpin wants to turn the Tories into a mass membership party like Labour, who have more than 560,000 members.” – Daily Mail

  • May “should be admired” for tapping into Tory MP talent pool in reshuffle – Robert Colvile, The Times 



Corbyn “won’t rule out” backing second referendum

“Jeremy Corbyn has refused to rule out backing a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. The Labour leader said that his party was “not supporting or calling for” another vote, but sidestepped questions as to whether Labour would rule out changing its position in future. Asked whether he would not support a second ballot in any circumstances, Mr Corbyn said: “What we have called for is a meaningful vote in parliament [on the final Brexit deal].” When asked again to rule out Labour support for another referendum, he said: “We are not calling for one either.”” – The Times

More Labour

  • Leadsom calls McDonnell “truly evil” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: When Rayner called Labour’s economic strategy “s**t or bust”, she meant it would be “dramatic”, Corbyn claims

Other parties

  • Kingsmills survivor accuses SF MP of “depravity” – Belfast News Letter
  • Sturgeon will “decide in autumn” about second indyref – Independent
  • SNP Brexit minister claims UK government has “conceded” on Holyrood gaining EU powers – Daily Telegraph 
  • Ukip leader chooses party over girlfriend as fiasco worsens – Daily Telegraph
  • Bolton has had a “marathon stint” in charge – Matthew Norman, Independent

Trump tells reporters “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed”

“President Donald Trump defended himself Sunday in the wake of recent disparaging comments about Haiti and African nations, declaring “I am not a racist.” Trump addressed the issue briefly as he arrived for dinner at his private golf club with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. Asked what he thinks about people who think he is racist, Trump said, “No, No. I am not a racist.” He told reporters: “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • He defends himself against backlash following “shithole” comments – Guardian
  • Thornberry says he’s a racist – Independent
  • Corbyn talks of his “endless offensive remarks” – Herald


  • LBJ used “more directly racist expressions” than Trump – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph


  • It’s “too easy to grandstand” about him – Daily Express

News in Brief

  • Trump’s profanity – Jelani Cobb, New Yorker
  • Could we be where we are without fossil fuels? – Lewis Dartnell, Aeon
  • The far right’s online safe spaces – Amelia Tait, New Statesman
  • What should we expect from the Pope’s trip to South America? – Erasmus, Economist
  • Here are the key problems with “snowflakes” – Piers Benn, Quillette