Johnson to “demand” £5bn extra NHS “dividend” each year

“Boris Johnson will seize the floor at a meeting of the cabinet today and demand a £5 billion annual cash injection for the health service beginning next year. Allies of the foreign secretary say that he has a “track record of winning” and will not relent on demands for a £100-million-a-week Brexit dividend until it is secured. Britain is expected to keep making contributions to the EU during a two-year transition period until 2021, but Mr Johnson believes that the extra NHS cash should be spent from March next year, when Britain formally leaves the bloc. There is no indication of how the money could be counted as a “dividend” from contributions yet to return.” – The Times

  • He will push for this in cabinet meeting today – Guardian
  • His allies are “confident” he has the backing of Gove and others… – The Times 
  • …Allegedly including Hunt, Grayling, and Mordaunt – Daily Mail


  • I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the discussion today – Chris Hopson, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary:Education, housing, the environment: May’s campaigning priorities. And there is an NHS row. But what about the economy?

Brexit 1) Gove says clean break is essential for UK to avoid becoming “VHS economy”

“Michael Gove has warned Theresa May that Britain risks becoming an outdated “VHS economy” if it accepts calls by big business for the UK to be closely aligned with the EU after Brexit. The Environment Secretary told Cabinet that the big companies of today may be eclipsed by businesses that don’t even exist yet as he made the case for a clean Brexit. It comes after the CBI, Britain’s biggest lobby group, called for Britain to remain in a Customs Union with the European Union after Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The customs union issue is “top of the list of conflicts” – Daily Telegraph 

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: The Brexit regulation debate pits short-term disruption against future prosperity

Brexit 2) Duncan Smith: Its customs union call isn’t the first wrong decision the CBI has made

“Why is the CBI so intent on demanding that the Government ignore the clearly expressed will of the British people? After all, in the referendum campaign all the leaders of Remain made it clear that voting to Leave would mean we would exit the customs union and the single market. The public then voted overwhelmingly in the election for parties whose policy was to leave both. I suppose I shouldn’t be so puzzled. When one reflects on the EU-funded CBI’s record over the years, it seem to have got an enormous number of decisions wrong.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 3) European Parliament Brexit team member says UK has “agreed in principle” to “Norway-style transition period”

“The UK has already “agreed in principle” to a Norway-style Brexit transition period in which it accepts all EU rules with no power to shape them, a senior figure in Brussels has told The Independent. A key member of the European Parliament’s Brexit team said British negotiators raised no objections to the plans, which would mean accepting free movement and customs union rules, and falling under the European Court’s jurisdiction. The suggestion that Theresa May’s team has all but swallowed the transition proposal from Brussels will anger Conservative MPs, who believe it leaves Britain a “vassal state” for some two years after Brexit.” – Independent

Brexit 4) City angry at May after government “admits” paper on financial services “may never be published”

“Theresa May has been accused of leaving the City of London “in the dark” after the government admitted a long-expected paper setting out its trade goals for financial services after Brexit may never be published. Last autumn, senior City figures say they were promised a detailed position paper in a matter of weeks setting out Britain’s negotiating priorities for a sector that employs more than 1m people across the country. But delivery of the paper was delayed repeatedly and now ministers are considering not publishing it at all, according to business executives and government officials involved in the discussions.” – FT


  • The government needs to be clear about its priorities – FT

>Yesterday: Guy Opperman in Comment: Our new Financial Guidance Bill will help savers and ban pensions cold calling

More Brexit

  • Is the government planning “backdoor payments”? – Daily Express
  • Three routes to a trade deal – FT
  • Macron clearly wants to negotiate – John Rentoul, Independent

>Yesterday: Bob Seely in Comment: Post-Brexit, we need to be the world’s smart power nation. Let’s make it happen.

Vaizey: Boles is right. And so are Soames and Timothy. Their “call for action should be heeded”

“Nick Boles thinks the prime minister needs to raise her game. Nick Soames thinks the government is #dulldulldull. Nick Timothy thinks the government has lost its confidence.You may wonder whether it’s the government that has a problem or simply people called Nick. But the three Nicks are serious people, who have the best interests of the country, the Conservatives and the government at heart. They are also intelligent people who understand the constraints on the government imposed by no majority, lots of Brexit and the legacy of austerity. Nevertheless, their call for action should be heeded. Nick wants a narrative. As do many others.” – The Times

Army head uses speech to “increase pressure on ministers to rethink” cuts to forces

“The head of the British army General Sir Nick Carter said he was “actively examining” reversing a plan to wind down a UK base in north-west Germany in response to the growing threat from Russia. In a public intervention timed to increase the pressure on ministers to rethink proposed cuts to the UK’s military forces, the chief of the general staff laid out a wide-ranging and stark assessment of Russia’s growing military capabilities. Russia, he said, could use a mix of “onventional, unconventional and nuclear domains” creating the “most complex and capable security challenge we have faced since the Cold War”.” – FT

  • And says Britain will keep presence in Germany over Russia fears – The Times
  • He speaks of Russia as a “hostile state” – Guardian
  • That poses a “clear danger” to Britain – Daily Mail
  • Meanwhile Fallon speaks out, calling for increased spending – Guardian


  • We must mean our talk of “global Britain” – William Hague, Daily Telegraph


  • May should look to the aid budget – The Sun 

Grayling says DfT will take “more sensible approach” to rail franchises after Virgin failure

“The Virgin East Coast rail franchise failed because the government accepted an “overambitious” bid, the transport secretary admitted yesterday. Chris Grayling said that the Department for Transport would take a “more sensible approach” to future rail franchises after the financial failure of the intercity operator. Addressing MPs on the commons transport committee, he also appeared to acknowledge that the Treasury would ultimately fail to receive the full amount originally promised because the line was not “making as much operating profit as was forecast”.” – The Times 

May to announce “national Centre for Data ethics” to oversee AI

“Theresa May will this week announce plans for the ethical oversight of artificial intelligence as it is increasingly used to drive cars, diagnose patients and even to help determine prison sentences. The Prime Minister is expected to use her keynote speech at a summit of World leaders in Davos on Thursday to discuss the opportunities and ethical challenges presented by the rise of artificial intelligence. Ministers believe that Britain has the chance to become a World leader in artificial intelligence, just as it currently is in other cutting-edge technologies such as genomics.” – Daily Telegraph

More Government 

  • Tory MP to urge stamp tax reform – Daily Telegraph
  • Halfon calls for cheaper degrees for those training to work in “areas of demand” – The Times
  • Scotland’s new rules about police custody – Herald

>Yesterday: MPsEtc: List of PPS’s

Labour being investigated by Equality Commission over discounted conference tickets for non-white members

“Labour is facing an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into its decision to charge non-white attendants at a conference less than white ones. Next month Labour will hold an event in Loughborough with Jeremy Corbyn speaking that will charge £40 for white members and £30 for non-white members. Andrew Bridgen, the North West Leicestershire Tory MP, said the charges showed that Labour was abandoning white working-class people. He claims that it contradicts decades of anti-racial discrimination laws, specifically the Equality Act 2010. Labour says it was subsidising non-white members to improve representation.” – The Times

Bolton refuses to quit. Farage backs him

“Nigel Farage has backed Henry Bolton’s decision not to resign as leader of of the UK Indpendence Party despite two thirds of his spokesmen quitting in protest. That came a day after the party’s ruling National Executive Committee overwhelmingly voted to pass a motion of no confidence in him. Writing on the Telegraph’s website, Mr Farage, the former Ukip leader, said Mr Bolton should copy Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and win the backing of rank and file members despite the lack of support from Ukip’s leadership team and its NEC.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Less than half of his team is left – The Times
  • He wants to “drain the swamp” – Guardian
  • Ukip is refusing to pay him – The Sun 


  • He can be our Corbyn – Nigel Farage, Daily Telegraph 
  • “All he had left was his defiance” – Patrick Kidd, The Times
  • It’s time for the party to disappear – Alan Sked, Guardian

>Yesterday: UKIPWatch: UKIP’s leadership troubles are Farage’s lasting legacy to his Party

Other parties 

US government shutdown ended by passing of short-term spending bill

“The US House of Representatives has passed a short-term spending bill to end the government shutdown. The measure will now head to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed, allowing the government to be reopened on Tuesday morning. The bill funds the government for three weeks. In the meantime, negotiations will continue on the issue of immigration and a larger budget bill.” – Independent

News in Brief

  • What can be recovered from the Carillion mess? – Bernard Jenkin, City A.M.
  • The two questions we need to ask about it – James Jarvis, CapX
  • Could Norway-Sweden border arrangements provides a model for Ireland? – Henrik Wenander, Reaction
  • The downfall of Ukip – Anoosh Chakelian, New Statesman
  • My memories of Bocuse – Bill Buford, New Yorker