Perry calls Brexiteer Tory MPs ‘elderly men’ who ‘represent the swivel-eyed few’

‘The Telegraph has obtained a WhatsApp mobile phone message sent by Claire Perry, the energy minister who attends Cabinet, in which she berates those accusing MPs of being “traitors” using pejorative language…Ben Bradley, a Tory MP who was recently promoted to vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, says he is “getting some s*** from the usual suspects about sell-outs and traitors”. Ms Perry, who previously acted as an adviser to David Cameron, replied: “The ‘sell out traitor mob’ should be ignored. Listening to them means wrecking the economy in the short term and via a Corbyn Government delivering a long steady slow decline for the country we love. “And I would hypothesise that they are mostly elderly retired men who do not have mortgages, school-aged children or caring responsibilities so they represent the swivel-eyed few not the many we represent.”…Ms Perry said on Sunday night: “Passions were running high as we all worked to get the Brexit bill through and mine regrettably spilled over.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Nicky Morgan’ column: Perhaps the Prime Minister should have gone. But she didn’t. The Cabinet must now take a lead.

Calls for Hammond to be sacked as instability grows

‘Theresa May is facing growing Tory demands to sack chancellor Philip Hammond over his push for a “very modest” Brexit, as signs grow that party discipline from the cabinet downwards is beginning to disintegrate. The prime minister’s failure to set out her vision of a Brexit “end state” has created a vacuum at the top, with ministers openly vying to impose their own stamp on the debate or manoeuvring to succeed her in Number 10. Nadine Dorries became the fourth Eurosceptic Tory MP in recent days to demand the disciplining or sacking of Mr Hammond, after the chancellor called for only “very modest” changes to Britain’s relationship with the EU after Brexit. “He needs to go,” Ms Dorries told ITV’s Peston on Sunday, in response to the chancellor’s inflammatory remarks in Davos. “He’s not being loyal to the prime minister.”’ – FT

  • The ERG is accused of ‘a strategy to undermine’ the Chancellor – The Times
  • MPs question May’s ‘tortoise’ approach to government – Daily Telegraph
  • Shapps tells her to set a departure date – Daily Mail
  • She is failing to keep a lid on roiling pressures on her own benches – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
  • The Cabinet must calm the waters by settling on a firm Brexit position – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Business frets about its lack of access to May – FT
  • Investors rebel over excessive corporate pay – FT


Brussels issues a reminder that details of the divorce settlement are yet to be agreed

‘The Irish border issue is the most difficult hurdle, but negotiators must also resolve a host of technical matters, including Euratom, police cooperation and the role of the European court of justice. European affairs ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday will issue a “gentle reminder” not to lose sight of these issues, one senior official told the Guardian. “The feeling here in Brussels is that the UK is pushing these on to the back burner and is now focusing more attention on the transition and the future,” the official said. “The message is don’t lose this out of sight, because we want to have it settled as well. And if we don’t have it settled this thing could go to the wire.” British and EU negotiators held low-key talks in Brussels this month to discuss the issues, but progress was slow, according to several sources.’ – The Guardian

  • Starmer is in Northern Ireland – Belfast Telegraph
  • The EU expects the UK to ask for a secret longer transition – The Times
  • There is an opportunity to seize – but Westminster is squandering it – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • Divergence is the big Brexit prize – Matt Ridley, The Times
  • The Prime Minister is reported to have scaled back her planned speech in Munich – The Guardian
  • The question of new EU laws during transition is the next battle – FT
  • Miller threatens new court case over the DUP deal – Daily Mail

>Today: J.P.Floru on Comment: Let’s be Singapore – and prosperous, post-Brexit, beyond our wildest dreams


The Attorney General warns of ‘substantial problem’ with police disclosure errors

‘Police and prosecutors are not carrying out basic procedures when it comes to disclosure and there is no excuse for recent failures to uncover key evidence that exonerated or supported the case of defendants, according to the attorney-general. Jeremy Wright, QC, said there was a “substantial problem” with the disclosure regime but he did not believe that there was evidence of widespread malpractice or dishonesty. Mr Wright’s criticism came after the Crown Prosecution Service announced emergency measures related to disclosure after a string of collapsed cases. Every rape and serious sexual assault case in England and Wales is being reviewed and Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, said that some sexual cases were likely to be stopped as a result of the inquiries.’ – The Times

The Army is struggling to recruit

‘Britain’s Armed Forces have thousands of unfilled vacancies despite splashing more than £1billion on recruitment drives in recent years. The spending includes an overspent £752million contract with private firm Capita, which has so far failed to deliver £100million in planned savings. Army numbers fell to 77,440 in October against an 82,000 target while the RAF and Royal Navy were 5.8 per cent and 3½ per cent adrift. Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith said it was all “deeply worrying”. The MoD said the jobs market was tough and all spending was scrutinised. Tory MP and former Army officer Johnny Mercer said: “It is clear that the military is currently experiencing a manpower crisis and with the amounts of public money being spent on recruitment, I would expect to see much improved results.”‘ – The Sun

  • Williamson reportedly left fireplace firm after a meeting about his relationship – The Guardian
  • Anonymous MP suggests the row will harm his leadership chances – The Sun
  • His allies allege a ‘smear’ campaign – The Times
  • He furiously denies claims he leaked intelligence to distract from the story – Daily Mail

Moore: Beware vacating Parliament – MPs might never return

‘Two lobbies would combine to prevent them. The first, based on a false idea of heritage, would argue that the wonderful fabric is too precious for daily working use and should become a great museum, like, say, Hampton Court. The second, more dangerous still, would declare that the present Parliament is not “fit for purpose”. It can accommodate too few of its members at any one time, such people would argue, and the adversarial construction of the chambers, with government and opposition facing each other, does not produce consensus. Wouldn’t it be so much more grown-up, they would go on, to build a continental-style parliament in a circle with desks for everyone? In May 1941, the Commons was bombed. The solution (after a short, secret stay in Church House) was for the Commons to take over the chamber of the Lords and the Lords to move to the Robing Room. If it was business more or less as usual in such adverse times, it can surely be so now.’ – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Corbyn refuses to name a single benefit of capitalism, and praises the Chinese state

‘He suggested the only benefit of capitalism is that it can be challenged by left-wing activists and refused to deny that he wants to see capitalism overthrown completely. Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Corbyn was challenged on figures which show free markets have lifted 1.2billion people out of poverty. He replied: “1.2billion have been taken to a slightly higher level than before, ‘taken out of poverty’ is perhaps slightly generous.” When Mr Marr suggested that China’s population had been helped by the country’s turn towards capitalism, Mr Corbyn said: “I’m not sure what you define the Chinese economy is – it is very state driven, it is very state organised.”‘ – The Sun

  • Labour’s sinister clowns are dangerous – The Sun Says
  • May’s weakness threatens to let them in – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • The Labour leader promises to buy every homeless person a house – Daily Mail
  • That would be unfair to those made to pay for it – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Corbyn allows ‘free debate’ on trans women and all-women shortlists – The Times
  • The Party’s new discipline chief backed Lutfur Rahman – The Times
  • Unite paid no tax in 2016 on its £50 million share portfolio – Daily Mail

>Today: Local Government: London Labour councils are punishing the poor

The Pensions Regulator is under fire for its handling of Carillion

‘The House of Commons work and pensions committee, which is investigating Carillion’s collapse into compulsory liquidation two weeks ago, criticised the Pensions Regulator for allowing Carillion’s pension trustee to defer pension deficit contributions in September in a bid to keep it afloat by enabling more borrowing…Carillion collapsed with debts of £1.3bn and a host of unfinished public contracts. There are varying estimates of Carillion’s pension deficit. Ellison’s letter says the trustee valued it at £990m at the end of 2016, while the Pension Protection Fund’s valuation is £800m and the pension liability on a buy-out basis – the estimated cost for an insurance company to buy out the accrued benefits – is “nearer £2bn”…Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions committee, said: “It’s clear that Carillion has been trying to wriggle out of its obligations to its pensioners for the last 10 years. The purported cashflow problems did of course not prevent them shelling out dividends and handsome pay packets for those at the top.’ – The Guardian

  • Financial regulator investigates KPMG’s auditor role – Daily Mail

Trump: I’m very popular in Britain – I get so much fan-mail

‘“I think I’m very popular in your country.” Morgan interjects: “Let’s not be too hasty Mr President.” Trump continued: “I know but I believe that, I really do. I get so much fan mail from people in your country. They love my sense of security, they love what I’m saying about many different things. We get tremendous support from people in the UK.” Trump, whose mother was born on the Hebridean island of Lewis, added that: “The real me is somebody that loves Britain, loves the UK. I love Scotland. One of the biggest problems I have in winning, I won’t be able to get back there so often. I would love to go there.”’ – The Guardian