Brexit 1) Davis seeks to reassure the EU that Britain will not engage in a ‘race to the bottom’

‘A European Commission briefing paper claims the UK could dilute health and safety laws in an attempt to “lower production costs”, which would result in “higher exposure to chemicals and carcinogens”. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is irritated by the false claims and will on Tuesday hit back at them by rubbishing the idea that post-Brexit Britain will be a “dystopian” world akin to the Mad Max films. Instead, he will say, Britain wants to create a “race to the top” in quality and standards that will create “trust” in a future trading relationship and ensure that trade is “as frictionless as possible”. Mr Davis will make the second of six “road to Brexit” speeches by members of the Cabinet which began with Theresa May’s address to a security conference in Munich last week.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • He will criticise Barnier’s scaremongering about deregulation – Daily Mail
  • Ministers must decide the policy this week – FT
  • They should take up the IoD proposal – William Hague, Daily Telegraph
  • Australia is ‘very keen’ to do a trade deal, and open to us joining TPP – but only if we leave the Customs Union – Daily Mail
  • A Pacific pivot would be a wise strategy – Dex Torricke-Barton, The Times
  • Contingency plan to withhold billions from Brussels – Daily Express
  • Yet another anti-Brexit party launches…but hardly anyone turns up – The Sun
  • Pro-EU campaigners plan advertising splurge – FT

>Today: Stephen Booth’s column: A possible Cabinet Brexit compromise is brewing. It would mean mirroring parts of the Customs Union.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: ‘Partial’ customs union means paying a high price to be stuck in EU limbo

Brexit 2) Westminster offered Holyrood devolution of all regained EU powers

‘Theresa May offered to hand all EU powers over devolved areas to Holyrood to break the Brexit deadlock with the Scottish government. The move has been rejected by SNP ministers, who were angry that UK ministers would keep control over powers under their remit. Under the deal all 111 powers over devolved areas exercised by the EU would go to Holyrood after Brexit, including fishing, agriculture, environmental standards, food labelling and rail franchises. Ministers at Westminster hoped that it would end SNP claims of a power grab. However, UK ministers were adamant that they would need a veto over some powers until “common frameworks” were agreed to ensure that in areas such as agriculture the Scottish government did not disrupt the internal British market. This upset Scottish ministers, who are angry that Conservative ministers would retain control over powers under the Scottish government’s remit and made it clear they could not accept that.’ – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The Belfast Agreement is the best agreement we’ve got

Brexit 3) Gove plans to use farming subsidies in support of animal welfare standards

‘Farmers will be given bigger public subsidies for taking better care of their livestock under Government plans for a “green Brexit”, Michael Gove will say today. The Environment secretary will say that improved animal welfare standards will be one of the “public goods” which will attract more Government funding. Landowners who encouraged people to be more “connected” to the countryside and increased understanding of farming would also benefit from more funds. Mr Gove’s department has been waging a policy war with Labour over areas of environmental policy like fox hunting and animal sentience for several months. Last week Labour published a wide-ranging strategy for boosting animal welfare in the UK, including enshrining animal sentience in law, reviewing animal testing and banning foie gras. Mr Gove is now drawing up plans to set out how the Government will spend the £3billion which farmers currently receive annually from the EU in subsidies after Brexit. A command paper on agriculture will be published by the end of next month.’ – Daily Telegraph

May urges Corbyn to be ‘open and transparent’ about any contact with communist spies

‘Theresa May today demanded Jeremy Corbyn be ‘open and transparent’ in response to allegations he and other Labour MPs met with Soviet-backed spies 30 years ago. The Prime Minister said each MP had to be accountable for their actions when claims were levelled against them. Labour has furiously denied the claims levelled against Mr Corbyn and other senior MPs since his name was found on archive files held by the Czech civil service. Ex-spy Jan Sarkocy has made a series of lurid allegations since the records first emerged publicly last week. Labour sources have insisted Sarkocy has no credibility and nothing to back up his incendiary claims, branding them ‘absurd’ and a ’tissue of lies’. Despite the denials Tory MPs have called for a full inquiry by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee into the allegations made.’ – Daily Mail

  • Livingstone admits he kept contact with someone he ‘suspected was a spy’ – who organised a trip to Russia for him – Daily Mail
  • Czechoslovak report from the time say Corbyn was ‘well informed about…’anti-communist agencies’ – Daily Mail
  • The records do not say he was paid – The Times
  • Ellwood questions Corbyn’s patriotism – Daily Telegraph
  • The KGB and their allies were engaged in a desperate hunt for allies on the British left – The Times
  • Conservative MP deletes ‘libellous’ post about the Labour leader – Daily Mail
  • Lewis calls for newspapers to be prevented from publishing such stories – The Sun
  • Russia is exploiting our broken politics – Hugo Rifkind, The Times


>Yesterday: WATCH: Wallace: “In the best case scenario, Corbyn turned a blind eye to a whole series of very nasty people”

Hastings: Bravo to the Prime Minister for exposing the university scam

‘Acquiring a degree has become an almost religious rite, heedless of how silly is the course pursued, or how pathetic the ‘learning institution’ where it takes place. What are we thinking of to provide any kind of public support for students to secure a degree in Surf Science and Technology at the University of Plymouth, or to study Design and Delivery of Sex and Relationship Education at the University of Central Lancashire. These are not satirical figments of my imagination, but as real as Bath Spa’s degree in Contemporary Circus and Physical Performance, and Liverpool Hope’s Masters in The Beatles, Popular Music and Society. There are 109 universities and colleges in England, 130 in the UK, offering more than 30,000 courses. Many are a waste of the students’ time, and their own and the nation’s money. They benefit no one save the universities’ own employees and especially vice-chancellors, many of whom are paid insanely inflated salaries, because none of these institutions is subjected to rigorous independent supervision and scrutiny, such as they assuredly need. In the scrabble to sustain toe-holds in league tables, almost all pursue degree inflation.’ – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

  • Labour leap on the speech as an admission that the Government ‘got it wrong’ – Daily Mail
  • Halfon: the review will need ‘rocket boosters’ to help in time – The Sun
  • Blame the market – The Guardian Leader
  • EU students owe £529 million – and some are told they won’t have to pay – The Sun
  • University exams could be cancelled due to pension strikes – Daily Mail
  • Ofsted fears some schools are suspending low-performing pupils to skew their grade statistics – Daily Mail



British aid risks making poor countries ‘dependent’, watchdog warns

‘Britain’s aid department risks making poorer nations dependent on handouts, a watchdog has found. Officials prioritise ‘short-term and immediate results’ rather than helping third-world countries to ‘finance and lead their own development’. There was a failure to monitor value for money in a third of projects, the study into the aid budget of the Department for International Development (DfID) found. The report was compiled by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), which scrutinises the £13billion spent each year. It comes as the aid sector reels over revelations that Oxfam staff used prostitutes in Haiti in 2011.’ – Daily Mail

  • Spending is too short-termist – The Times
  • May criticises ‘horrific’ Oxfam scandal – Daily Mail
  • The charity’s chief executive is under investigation for his handling of a sexual assault case – The Times
  • Save the Children did not report Cox’s behaviour to DfiD – The Times
  • The Left’s sanctimony and double standards plumb new depths – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph
  • Senior aid figures face a mauling at the Foreign Affairs select committee – The Sun

Street: London and the South East are hogging housing funding

‘The West Midlands today is seeing an economic renaissance, with wages growing faster than any other region. House prices in Ladywood, the area around Icknield, rose 17 per cent last year, faster than any other post code in the country, according to Barclays…But with this renaissance well underway, why is it still so difficult to get these 1,150 new homes built in a prime canalside location like Icknield?…Where the market fails, government must step in. Indeed the Conservative Party manifesto committed to “not just concentrating housing development in the South East, but rebalancing housing growth across the country”. Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid have made a great start, amassing a £44 billion war chest to help meet the UK’s housing needs. But here again, we can come up against the numbers. Developments find it difficult to be considered “value for money” compared to sites in London and the South East.’ – Andy Street, The Times

  • Delivering more homes is what really matters – The Sun Says
  • Biggest housebuilders increase land holdings – FT
  • Councils hit by 100 million cyber attacks – Daily Mail
  • 24 smart meters a minute needed to hit official target – The Times

Millionaire donor is a ‘big fan’ of Williamson

‘MPs close to the powerful money man say he is now a big fan of the rising star defence boss. The multi-millionaire energy businessman — who successfully fought a Kremlin-ordered extradition to Russia in 2005 — has given the Conservatives more than a million pounds. Yesterday he publicly backed Mr Williamson in his battle with Chancellor Philip Hammond over cuts to the defence budget, comparing him to Britain’s greatest ever leader. Writing on the party faithful Conservative Home website, he added: “After years of defence cuts, with even more to come according to recent reports, there is a legitimate need to question the ability of the Armed Forces to keep Britain safe in this dangerous era. Are we prepared?” He added: “Just as Churchill recognised before the second world war, Gavin Williamson knows the UK needs to increase spending.”’ – The Sun

  • May says she is enjoying the job and intends to carry on – The Sun

>Yesterday: Alexander Temerko on Comment: Why Williamson is right to seek higher defence spending

McDonnell branded a ‘tinpot Cromwell’ as he raises the prospect of nationalisation without any compensation

‘Labour’s Shadow Chancellor was branded a tinpot “Oliver Cromwell” last night after saying the party may not compensate investors in some companies in industries they plan to re-nationalise. John McDonnell told activists MPs would decide if there would be any cash for shareholders when a future Labour government brings Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts back in house. Speaking in east London he said: “Parliament will determine whether or not we provide compensation and on what scale.” The vow by the self-styled Marxist echoes a similar threat to shareholders in the water industry.’ – The Sun

  • MP protests ‘unacceptable’ and ‘intimidatory’ behaviour of Corbynite official – The Times
  • Corbyn will ‘make finance the servant’ of ‘us all’ – Daily Mail
  • His nationalisation plans threaten prosperity and liberty alike – The Times Leader
  • The Shadow Chancellor endangers business confidence – FT Leader
  • Economic pessimists are demonstrably wrong, but a lot of people still believe them – Janan Ganesh, FT
  • In-fighting over Brexit continues… – Daily Mail
  • …but Corbyn accuses the Conservatives of a lack of clarity – The Guardian

Iraq hero: the BBC’s First World War coverage neglects to mention that we won

‘Britain has allowed grief over the horrors of the First World War to overshadow the fact it was a great military victory, according to a celebrated Iraq War commander. Colonel Tim Collins, famous for his stirring eve of battle speech before the 2003 invasion, said younger generations could be forgiven for thinking Britain lost the war. The “brilliance” of leadership in the Great War has been ignored in favour of the “Blackadder version” of the conflict, in which men were sent over the top to certain death by incompetent and cowardly generals. Television viewers “endure a diet of woe and horror” and nowhere more so than the BBC, Col Collins said, as he called on the corporation to add a note of triumph to its commemorative broadcasts this year. “With the centenary of the end of the First World War looming, one might not realise from the TV series recalling those momentous times that Britain and her Allies won the war.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

  • The War involved huge sacrifice, but it was far from pointless – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Computer glitches and red tape deter Army applicants – The Times
  • 88-year-old veteran fights off knife-wielding muggers with karate skills – Daily Telegraph
  • Rudd won’t rule out bringing ISIS terrorists back to the UK for trial – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief