May works with Macron to ‘conceal Brexit fallout’…

“Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May will strive to mask the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU on Anglo-French relations by announcing a flurry of joint defence, economic and cultural initiatives when they meet on Thursday. Spy chiefs from the two countries will discuss efforts to tackle terrorism; Britain will send three helicopters to help French operations against Islamist extremists in north Africa; and France will send troops to a UK-led battle group in Estonia. The British prime minister is also expected to announce an additional £44.5m for tightening security against illegal immigration on France’s northern coast. The funding will go towards security fencing, CCTV and detection technology in Calais and other ports along the Channel, adding to security measures that have helped reduce illegal attempts to enter the UK.” – FT

  • Britain will pay France £44 million to police border at Calais – Daily Telegraph


  • May ‘loses patience’ when quizzed over second referendum – The Sun
  • Evans explains why Tusk cannot accept Brexit – Daily Express
  • Greening warns that Brexit will be reversed – The Guardian


  • Bank of England’s anti-Brexit bias endangers its credibility – Paul Marshall, FT
  • Through humility and understanding, we can stop Brexit – Andrew Adonis, The Guardian

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: No matter how much Tusk might wish it, there will be no second referendum, and no cancellation of Brexit

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft’s column: Where the parties stand – and more on that second EU referendum

…as she ‘refuses Osborne a seat in the Lords’…

“Prime Minister Theresa May has snubbed her nemesis George Osborne and will refuse to offer him a seat in the House of Lords, it emerged last night. Every former Cabinet member is given the opportunity to become lords but the Prime Minister is set to ignore that tradition. Her decision means Mr Osborne will become the first ex-Chancellor in the last 50 years not to be offered a peerage. It comes after Mrs May famously sacked Mr Osborne from her Cabinet when she became Prime Minister in July 2016. And the move is likely to reignite the feud between the pair after he launched daily attacks on the PM since taking the helm of the Evening Standard in March.” – Daily Mail

…rebuffs DUP demands for direct rule…

“Theresa May was for the first time publicly challenged by the DUP to return Northern Ireland to direct rule from Westminster yesterday as tensions grow over the future of the province. David Simpson, the DUP MP, called for UK ministers to be appointed to take over the “urgent decisions” required to keep Northern Ireland running. Since last year’s collapse of the power-sharing agreement, civil servants have been making key decisions in the province. However, the civil service has warned that a budget needs to be tabled by the beginning of February for the forthcoming financial year… Mrs May made her hostility towards the move clear, however. She said it was “imperative” that talks between the DUP and Sinn Fein resume.” – The Times

  • Bradley to begin fresh talks on restoring devolution – The Guardian
  • Boost for Tories as leak suggests Unionists will back boundary overhaul – Daily Telegraph


  • Prime Minister attacks SNP record after sluggish growth – Daily Telegraph
  • Varadkar suggests he ‘pities’ British ex-servicemen over Brexit – The Sun

>Today: Cllr Meghan Gallacher in Local Government: How the Conservatives changed the political landscape in North Lanarkshire

…and offers MPs a chance to delay Westminster renovation

“Theresa May will give MPs the opportunity to effectively delay the decision over the Commons refurbishment after senior government figures raised concerns that the public will revolt over the cost. The government will outline two options in an unexpected move which will anger those involved in the restoration project to date. One plan, which is backed by Andrea Leadsom, the Commons leader, involves the establisment of a delivery company to examine the options with a view to proceeding with the work soon. The other new option will be presented as the “prudence” choice. This will mandate only essential work now, and will hold a review at the end of the parliament.” – The Times

  • Thatcher statue gets another handbagging – The Times

Ministers 1) Gauke ‘mends fences’ with the judiciary

“The new lord chancellor is on a charm offensive, soothing strained relations with judges after the damage caused by his recent predecessor Liz Truss. David Gauke, appointed in the reshuffle last week, has already met the lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, and senior judges and said he hoped that “they would find him approachable”. He also signalled his sympathy to concerns over the “crisis” in judicial morale and recruitment stemming from cuts to pay and pensions and poor working conditions. In his first interview, Mr Gauke, 46, told The Times: “I am not going to promise something that I can’t deliver and I am very conscious of the pressures on the public finances. But I am keen to engage and listen to what the judiciary have to say.”” – The Times

  • Fears of consultant bonzanza over court modernisation – The Times


  • The Justice Secretary should reinvigorate prison reform – The Times

Ministers 2) Williamson reveals that RAF will defend the World Cup in Qatar

“The RAF will patrol the skies above Qatar during the World Cup to protect tourists from terrorists, the country’s deputy prime minister announced yesterday. British airmen operating with Qataris will fly Typhoon fighter jets during the 2022 tournament, said Dr Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, who is also defence minister. The mission would be carried out by a new joint operational squadron which will see the UK and Qatar combat terrorism together in the strongest co-operation in decades… His comments were made in a briefing in London following crunch talks with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.” – Daily Mail

Ministers 3) Sam Gyimah: I’m making our case on campus, whatever students throw at me

“It is no secret that the Conservative Party struggled with this demographic at the last election and it is only through positive and persistent engagement and responding to their needs that we can win their trust. As part of this, I wanted to understand more deeply and speak to young people more widely. So, last year I set out to meet and listen to young people at universities, youth groups and schools. I wanted to hear what their priorities were, what they hoped for and what they demand of their politicians… So many young people feel disengaged from politics and, although some students and I might not always agree, I want them to have a voice and be heard in the corridors of power. I’d like to be thought of as minister for students as much as minister for universities.” – Times Red Box

  • Universities leading millenials to communism, warns don – The Times
  • Ministers kept funding education provider slammed by Ofsted – The Times

Bradley ‘backed police brutality’ in 2011 blog

“A vice-chairman of the Conservative Party said that “police brutality should be encouraged” after the London riots, The Times can reveal. Ben Bradley, 28, who was appointed by Theresa May as Tory vice-chairman for youth last week, wrote in a blog during the unrest in 2011: “We need to come down hard on these morons before somebody gets killed! If we have any sense as a nation we’ll stay home tonight and make it easy for the police to find the ones hanging around town centres with their faces covered. For once I think police brutality should be encouraged!” Mr Bradley, MP for Mansfield since last June, apologised last night for the “inappropriate” language, saying that his outlook on life had changed since marriage and fatherhood.” – The Times

Allister Heath: Carillion is big news, but the public sector gets away with failure

If Carillion and other outsourcers didn’t exist, and the Government ran all of its own hospitals and schools, there would doubtless be even more episodes of horrendous mismanagement. The difference is that most of them would be hushed up. The Treasury would simply be called upon to inject more money, as it used to do with loss-making nationalised industries and still does with the NHS, and it would be spun as a triumphant increase in budgets from a caring government. There would be no scandal, and no real retribution. The civil servants responsible would, in time, be awarded gongs, unlike the bosses of Carillion, who are quite properly being pilloried by MPs and the media. There are few error-correcting mechanisms in the public sector, and even fewer penalties for failure.” – Daily Telegraph

  • National Audit Office says taxpayers will foot £200 million bill – The Guardian
  • Bonus payments to executives halted – The Sun

More comment:

  • Outsourcing remains a powerful public good – John McTernan, The Guardian
  • The remedy for capitalism is… more capitalism – Liam Halligan, The Sun
  • Interserve will find the ‘next Carillion’ label hard to shake – Ben Marlow, Daily Telegraph
  • Social enterprises must take charge of public services – Asheem Singh, The Guardian


  • Corbyn despises job-creating private firms – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Carillion. Don’t say that Jesse Norman didn’t warn us (in a manner of speaking)


Labour 1) Fresh revolt by the PLP over the Withdrawal Bill

“Jeremy Corbyn has suffered another Labour revolt over Brexit as nearly 50 of his MPs backed calls for the UK to stay in the single market and customs union. While the party’s frontbench abstained on the amendment, 48 Labour MPs voted for the proposals tabled by the SNP. They were joined by one Conservative MP, the Europhile ex-chancellor Ken Clarke… MPs approved the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill by 324 votes to 295 – majority 29 – at third reading, with the Government also seeing off a series of proposed amendments during a marathon two-hour voting period. Brexit Secretary David Davis said the Bill, which transfers European law into UK law, is essential for ‘preparing the country for the historic milestone’ of withdrawing from the EU.” – Daily Mail

  • Hopes of early deal in doubt as France ‘drives home its advantage’ – Daily Telegraph


  • O’Mara ‘returning to work’ as press pressure mounts – The Sun


  • Bold thinking will secure the best Brexit deal – Iain Martin, The Times

Labour 2) Row over trans candidates escalates

“A row has erupted in Labour over a campaign to prevent trans women who have not legally changed gender from appearing on all-women shortlists for party nominations. Almost 20 female activists from local branches across the country have started a crowdfunding campaign to fund legal battles over the issue. They say on their page, which by last night had raised nearly £16,000, that “the election of self-identifying trans women as women’s officers, and their inclusion on all-women shortlists, is reducing and undermining female representation in the Labour Party”. They are “committed to trans people, as a marginalised group, living free from discrimination and violence”, they say, and support trans representation, but add that it “must not happen at the expense of female candidates”.” – The Times

  • Momentum fail to make much impact in parliamentary selections – FT
  • Campaign chief is member of anti-Semitic Facebook groups – The Sun
  • Party bosses debate whether ‘yid’ is offensive – The Sun


  • It’s shameful that deselection threats have already silenced Corbyn’s critics – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

Outgoing Cox struggled with ‘profound loneliness’ which inspired new campaign

“The public image projected by the late Labour MP Jo Cox was of a cheerfully confident and outgoing professional, so it is startling to hear her sister describe her as someone who struggled at times with profound loneliness. She experienced it first when she went to university. “When she went to Cambridge she found herself in a new world, which for a working class northern girl was very intimidating and she found it very difficult,” her younger sister Kim Leadbeater said. “We used to talk on the phone late at night. She missed the safety and the comfort of her family and friends.” Cox felt very isolated again shortly after the birth of her first child.” – The Guardian

  • We’re determined to help the lonely – Tracey Crouch, Times Red Box

News in Brief:

  • You can’t beat Corbyn with Miliband, but the Tories are trying anyway – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Cometh the hour, cometh the Mogg – Hugh Bennett, Brexit Central
  • What to expect from Brexit in 2018 – Pieter Cleppe, CapX
  • Three cheers for Macron – Alastair Benn, Reaction