Brexit 1) May and Hammond reject Johnson’s proposal for extra NHS funding

‘Theresa May and Philip Hammond have rejected demands from Boris Johnson to set aside an extra £100m a week for the National Health Service after Britain leaves the EU. Allies of the foreign secretary have called for about £5bn a year extra for the NHS, which is facing the worst flu outbreak in years. During the EU referendum campaign, he and other leading Leavers claimed Britain would reap a £350m-a-week Brexit dividend, some of which could be used to fund the NHS. But at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the prime minister said any additional allocation of funds after Brexit would be discussed “at that time”. Mrs May also reminded her ministers that their discussions “should take place in private”, an implicit reference to newspaper stories about Mr Johnson’s intentions.’ – FT

  • His Cabinet colleagues delivered him ‘a proper bitch-slapping’ – The Sun
  • Eight ministers lined up to criticise him – The Times
  • MPs accuse him of a ‘transparent leadership bid’ – FT
  • He’s planning a speech about his liberal ‘Brexit vision’ next month – The Times



>Today: ToryDiary: More money for the NHS? Don’t forget another big spending pressure point. More money for defence.

Brexit 2) Strathclyde warns peers that trying to frustrate the will of the people would be ‘political suicide’

‘Lord Strathclyde warned: “It would be an act of political suicide for the House of Lords, it would be reminiscent of the debates we had just over 100 years ago in 1910 and 1911 and I’m not convinced that the House of Lords has the thirst for that right now.” He warned that the key EU Withdrawal Bill faces strong opposition from many “die-hard Europhiles” in his party – who “cling strongly to the view that Britain should remain part of the EU”. Urging Tory peers to back the Government over Brexit, the Tory grandee said: “When it comes to defeating the Bill, they should not do so. The House of Lords is at its strongest when it’s on the same side as the people, against an elected dictatorship in the House of Commons. On this occasion that would be completely reverse. It would be the House of Lords acting against the people, and against the express will of the House of Commons at the same time. This strikes me as bright, red flashing lights of danger.”’ – The Sun

  • Verhofstadt tries to veto a new immigration system coming in on Brexit Day – The Sun
  • Ministers assure backbenchers that new arrivals will not have full residency – The Times
  • Parliament should overrule May on foreign students – Michael Skapinker, FT

Brexit 3) Fox: 90 per cent of growth will be outside the EU – let’s get a share of it

‘In creating new high-quality goods for the global market, and being a place where people want to do business, we are responding to our changing world. The vote to leave the EU is a golden opportunity to build on this progress, and one that the newly created Department for International Trade will be at the forefront of realising. The world is currently facing another unprecedented period of rapid change. As the IMF predicts, 90 per cent of growth in the next decade or so will be outside the EU, and trade will be central to this shift in economic power. As an international economic department our goal is to put the UK in a position to benefit: re-defining our trading relationship with Europe and the rest of the world, and building a more prosperous country. The Brexit vote will not make us turn inwards, quite the opposite. Leaving the EU provides an opportunity for even greater openness with international partners, in Europe and beyond.’ – Liam Fox, The Times

>Today: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: The Conservatives can’t rely on Brexit to win them the next election. They need to do much more – and soon.

Williamson secures more time for the defence review, to fight against spending cuts

‘Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, has won his battle to persuade chancellor Philip Hammond to give him more time to fend off potential cuts to Britain’s military capability. A meeting of the national security council on Tuesday agreed to split a security capability review into two. While the security element will report in the spring, the more difficult defence review will not be finalised until the summer. Details of the defence review were not disclosed, but Mr Williamson is expected to tell MPs on Wednesday that it will completed in time to feed into Mr Hammond’s Budget in the autumn. Ministry of Defence officials said the exercise would be overseen by Mr Williamson, in stark contrast to the security review, which was led by Mark Sedwill, the national security adviser who reports to Theresa May. Julian Lewis, chair of the Commons defence select committee, said that while the splitting of the security capability review was a victory for Mr Williamson, it was unclear whether it would solve a £20bn funding gap in the MoD’s budget.’ – FT

The Mail and The Sun join forces to demand the Parole Board publish its reasons for releasing Worboys

‘The Daily Mail last night joined demands for the Parole Board to reveal its reasons for approving John Worboys for release. Media groups, including the Mail’s publisher Associated Newspapers, have sent a legal letter challenging officials to say why they ruled the black cab rapist can be freed. If the Parole Board refuses to disclose its reasons, the papers have warned they could bring a judicial review. Rule 25 of Parole Board Rules state that information about decisions made on the release of prisoners ‘must not be made public’. But the Mail and The Sun are arguing that such is the severity of the crimes for which he was convicted that the normal rules should be set aside.’ – Daily Mail

  • Britain has a right to know – and he must be kept inside – The Sun Says
  • Gauke’s sheepish retreat has not helped – Jane Moore, The Sun
  • Police are investigating a new allegation against the serial attacker – Daily Telegraph

Foges: We need a crusade against gambling

‘The Prime Minister likes to talk about fixing the ‘burning injustices’ in society, well, Mrs May, what about the injustice of a multi-billion-pound industry sucking the hope out of our worst-off communities? What about the kiddie-friendly offerings that get children hooked on the dopamine rush of winning? What about the way the data of punters is harvested in order to target the poorest and bombard them with ads? Yes, there are the tax revenues to consider, but there’s a huge cost to the state, too, in dealing with the fall-out of family breakdown and the crime and mental health issues associated with problem gambling.’ – Claire Foges, Daily Mail

Lansman: No Labour MPs who ‘listens to their members’ has anything to fear from Momentum or deselection

‘Mr Lansman said: “Momentum nationally is not going to campaign to deselect any MP and we will stick by that. We are not going to campaign to deselect any individual MP. We have made it clear that we are not going to campaign to deselect anyone, at all, anywhere.” But he stressed that Labour did operate a “trigger ballot” system which allowed local party members to deselect a sitting MP if they wish. Mr Lansman said: “No Labour MP that works hard and campaigns and listens to their members has anything to fear from the selection process. I would hope that at least all our MPs hope to perform well and if they don’t aim to perform well it wouldn’t be surprising if local members took some action.”‘ – PoliticsHome

  • Labour NEC dictates Haringey’s housing policy – The Times
  • The Archbishop of York proposes a mechanism to allow people to voluntarily pay more tax – The Guardian
  • Vandals deface Churchill cafe with graffiti calling him a ‘war-monger’ – Daily Mail
  • Oxfam loses donors after Corbyn-style criticism of ‘extreme capitalism’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Paul Bristow on Local Government: The Momentum threat in Peterborough

Whitehall launches unit to combat ‘fake news’ spread by ‘state actors and others’

‘Theresa May will set up a new unit to stop damaging fake news spreading online, Downing Street announced today. The National Security Council agreed to set up a “national security communications unit” which will fight false information spread by foreign powers. The creation of the team comes after Vladimir Putin’s regime has been accused of repeatedly meddling in elections abroad – including the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum. The Tories have also been the targets of fake news stories wrongly accusing them of enacting unpopular policies, spread by left-wing activists on social media. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the new unit will have the job of “combating disinformation by state actors and others.” Last week the head of the Government Communication Service said the proposed unit was intended to “reclaim a fact-based public debate”.’ – The Sun

  • Lewis invites Tory MPs to Instagram training – The Times

Please don’t sack me, pleads UKIP’s Bolton

‘What is Ukip for if it is to take itself off the field at this vital time for Brexit? We must get out there and campaign for a clear, quick and clean Brexit. A Brexit that allows our enterprises to plan and allows our traders to trade free from the stifling arms of the Customs Union and Internal market of the EU. We do not have the luxury of time to contemplate our navels when our country is being sold down the river. Outside a very small group of people in senior positions in Ukip , nobody cares about the make up of the NEC, nobody cares about tabloid tittletattle. What they care about is our country, its future and ensuring that an independent Britain is just that. Free of the ECJ, free of the strangling rules of Brussels, happy, united proud and effective. So let me get on with the job.’ – Henry Bolton, Daily Telegraph

Sturgeon accused of pandering to ‘extreme’ nationalists by removing the Union flag from view

‘Critics say the Union flag has been previously flown above many of Scotland’s best-known public buildings and visitor attractions – but the Scottish Government has denied there has been a change in policy since 2010. Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: “Nicola Sturgeon is always keen to stress that her civic nationalism is nothing to do with flags and banners. Yet here we have her trying to eradicate the Union flag from government buildings in Scotland. “This is another example of the SNP pushing its separatist agenda by stealth.” He added: “Refusing to fly the flag on the Queen’s birthday may well appeal to the extreme elements of the nationalist movement, but ordinary members of the public will be altogether less convinced.”’ – The Scotsman

  • Mogg: The SNP seems to have forgotten they lost the referendum – Daily Telegraph
  • The DUP want a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Hands: We want to negotiate, sign and implement trade deals during transition – BrexitCentral
  • ‘We need a stronger leader’, argues ex-donor Mullins – New Statesman
  • Can May survive all this indiscipline? – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • Undercover reporters expose mix of money, power and harassment at high-finance charity event – FT
  • Thatcher statue vetoed – The Sun