Carillion 1) May: We will fine abusive bosses who rip off workers’ pensions

“Irresponsible company bosses who “line their own pockets” while failing to protect workers’ pension schemes are to be hit with huge fines, under plans to be announced by Theresa May’s government within weeks. Writing in the Observer after a week which saw the collapse of Carillion, the construction and outsourcing giant, with a deficit in its pension scheme of up to £900m, the prime minister says her government will act urgently to stamp out “abuse”…Other measures being considered for inclusion in a white paper in March would give regulators new powers to block or place conditions on takeovers that are deemed to put pension schemes at risk. The regulator will also be given the power to request information about how companies run schemes.” – Observer

  • Prime Minister’s article in full – Observer

Carillion 2) Dominic Lawson: The firm is a monument not to making profits, but to virtue signalling

“Go to the company’s website (now a sort of accidental memorial) and you will find the greatest prominence is accorded to its virtuousness, not its profits. There is page after page of its “sustainability strategy”, under the main slogan “Making tomorrow a better place”, subheaded “Better communities”, “Better environment (tackling climate change)” and “Better business”. Underneath that divine triptych, Carillion boasts that it can make “specific contributions to at least nine of the UN sustainable development goals”. Among its countless declarations, one of the most prominent is about Carillion’s determination to be a force in the battle against “modern slavery”. – Sunday Times

Johnson makes the case for welcoming Trump to Britain

“Our partnership with America transcends economics, or foreign policy, or the invisible skein of shared intelligence that is so vital for our collective security. It is about shared values – and one would have thought those values, of freedom and democracy, were shared by Labour. Instead they rant and fume about “Trump’s America” – and maintain a contemptible silence about the real abuses of human rights in left-wing Venezuela. President Trump has had highly successful visits to France, Germany, Japan, China, and other countries. It is absolutely right that we should welcome him here, and it is time for Labour to end their Spartist agitations. Chuck it, Corbyn.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Trump’s anger with May puts trade deal at risk – Sunday Time
  • Anti-Trump protestors descend on new London embassy – Mail on Sunday
  • “Citizens of the world prepare to flock to Davos”. And May will be there with them – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • Trump’s Davos visit will be a breath of fresh air – Jeremy Warner, Sunday Telegraph
  • Africa is far from being a sh*thole – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

Andrew Roberts: “It is not fake news to say that, for all the vulgarity, aggression and offensiveness, what Trump has actually done this past year is by no means all bad, and some of it might turn out to be very good.”

“It is, therefore, not impossible that we have just seen the first of eight years of a Trump presidency, not least because Special Investigator Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian links seems to have gone nowhere. That is why it is profoundly irresponsible of Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan to be so hostile to a visit from the leader of our closest ally. Once again, Corbyn has shown how unfit he is to run British foreign policy.  Some things are more important than his next soundbite, and 70 years of the mutually beneficial Special Relationship with the USA is one of them. By contrast, Theresa May deserves credit for trying to patch up the Special Relationship in Davos, despite Trump’s totally unconscionable retweeting of a British neo-fascist group’s discredited video.” – Mail on Sunday

Marcon on Marr: A bespoke Brexit deal is possible. But there’s a catch…

“The French president said that while a special solution could be secured, full access to the single market without accepting its rules was “not feasible”. The comments were made during an interview recorded for BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. Macron has been in the UK for his first visit since taking office. On Thursday, at the end of a joint press conference with Theresa May at Sandhurst military training college, he rejected the idea of a tailored Brexit deal for Britain’s financial services sector. Macron said full access to EU markets would not be possible unless the UK paid into the EU budget and accepted all its rules.” – Observer

  • Eurotunnel interest in Johnson’s UK-France bridge – Mail on Sunday
  • Foreign Secretary accused of snubbing French diplomat – Mail on Sunday
  • “Number 10 staff bullied Macron’s staff” – Sunday Times
  • May breaks into German during Brexit interview – Mail on Sunday
  • Rees-Mogg wants transition to end in 2020 – The Sun on Sunday
  • We don’t need a bridge across the channel, there is unused capacity in the tunnel – Andrew Adonis, Mail on Sunday
  • The first signs of rust on Macron’s iron hand – Niall Ferguson, Sunday Times
  • Merkel was Macron’s secret audience – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Johnson presses on NHS. Gove flays civil service. Ministers claim Heywood now runs the Government.  And Boles returns to the attack: “We have a Government full of boiled rabbits”.

“I’ve just had it,” Boles told The Sunday Times. “Either she has wet ministers who won’t do anything or in the case of Sajid, she has a would-be radical who is desperate to get on and do something major and proper and she just blunts everything. There’s a wonderful George Orwell essay about Englishness. He talks about the boiled rabbits of the left. We have a government full of boiled rabbits. She needs to give her ministers their head and she needs to tell them to be brave. She needs to tell them to follow their convictions and ideally she needs to have a few convictions herself.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Claims of Gove plot against Gauke over Worboys, with Environment Secretary priming Boles – Mail on Sunday
  • Britain risks losing green protections after Brexit – Observer
  • Global warming experts can’t explain America’s cold winters – Sunday Telegraph

Other Tory news:

  • Brokenshire has undergone lung surgery – Mail on Sunday
  • Channel 4’s fake Chinese company attempt to entrap Mitchell – Mail on Sunday
  • Anti-Thatcher extracts from former diplomat’s memoir – Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The decision not to challenge the release of Worboys further erodes Tory credentials on law and order

Hancock “to slash maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals to £2”

“Ministers have announced plans to cut the £100 maximum bet to between £2 and £50. A public consultation ends on Tuesday. The Sunday Times understands that the “overwhelming” response has persuaded them to reduce the maximum stake to £2. Campaigners against problem gambling feared Hancock might resist moves to slash stakes. His West Suffolk seat includes Newmarket racecourse and the minister, who has trained as a jockey, is perceived to be close to the industry. But an ally said: “The analysis that he is pro-gambling because he is pro-horse racing is completely wrong. Matt wants the new stake to be at the bottom of the range.” – Sunday Times (£)

Lewis calls for defence premium as Williamson/Hammond row rumbles on

“Julian Lewis, the chairman of the Commons defence committee, warned the Government should be paying an “insurance premium” during peacetime in order to “call in the policy” in the event of a conflict. Speaking amid an ongoing row between Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, and Mr Hammond, over a shortfall in the defence budget, Mr Lewis urged the Chancellor to think of the “next generation” rather than the “next election”. His intervention came as a Whitehall source separately claimed that the scale of Mr Williamson’s challenge was particularly great because Sir Michael Fallon, his predecessor, had failed to stand up for the Ministry of Defence in talks with No 10 and the Treasury.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • The Defence Secretary, an SAS veteran – and a newspaper campaign – Sun on Sunday

Momentum “moves to deselect up to 50 Labour MPs”

“Moderate Labour MPs have been warned that Corbyn’s allies want centrist candidates replaced with more left-leaning ones. A Labour Party whip has been privately telling moderate MPs not to rock the boat or they could face deselection, amid fears that up to 50 will be targeted if rule changes are pushed through this autumn. Chris Leslie, the former shadow chancellor, and Hilary Benn, the former shadow foreign secretary, are believed to top the list. Angela Eagle, who challenged Corbyn for the leadership in 2016, and her sister Maria Eagle, the former shadow culture secretary, are also thought to be vulnerable.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Corbyn’s nationalisation plan would cost each household £6500 – Sun on Sunday
  • Momentum poised to take over Haringey – Sunday Times
  • Labour makes white people pay more than ethnic minorities to hear Corbyn speak – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour voter poll on Single Market… – Observer
  • …As CBI calls for UK to stay in the Customs Union – Observer
  • Jewish Labour group accuses party of failing to act on antisemitism complaints – Observer
  • Unite union General Secretary to sell Esher Place conference centre for £20million – Sun on Sunday
  • Let the Great Purge begin – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Labour’s new masters prepare to deselect the moderates – Sunday Times Editorial
  • Mary Lou McDonald will replace Adams as Sinn Fein leader – Mail on Sunday

Farage relaunch, episode 94

“Mr Farage’s allies believe that if Henry Bolton is forced out as Ukip leader, it will trigger a collapse of the party – leaving a gap for “Ukip 2.0”. Mr Bolton faces calls to resign as Ukip leader after revelations surfaced last week that his then lover, Jo Marney, had sent racist messages about Meghan Markle. The new ‘Ukip 2.0’ party would reportedly be chaired by former Ukip donor Arron Banks while Mr Farage could become president. The new party’s main policy would be to keep up pressure for a “hard Brexit”. Mr Farage, who stood down as Ukip leader in 2016, met Mr Banks ten days ago to discuss plans, a source has claimed.” – Sunday Express

  • Bolton mistress called Muslims “f*cking idiots” – Mail on Sunday

Is this the day that will end the Merkel era?

“The Chancellor is fighting to save her political career having failed to form a coalition after the inconclusive result of September’s election. And Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) will today decide whether or not to approve coalition talks with Angela Merkel. Around 600 SPD delegates will vote on whether the party should negotiate an alliance with Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). The two parties struck a preliminary deal last week, but an official agreement has yet to be approved. SPD leader and ex-European Parliament president Martin Schulz must have the backing of his party’s delegates to continue negotiations. He is facing a strong backlash from the SPD’s left and youth wings, who claim the blueprint does not bear enough of the party’s hallmarks.” – Sunday Express