Housing 1) May speech tomorrow. Carrots and sticks for councils to build more – and more growth upwards

“The Prime Minister will pile pressure on councils to approve vital home-building schemes by vowing to change planning rules in favour of new developments. But she is also set to urge developers to deliver new homes with the prospect of new ‘use it or lose it’ contracts where planning permissions could lapse if builders sit on their hands. Ministers have already announced plans to make it easier for people to extend their homes upwards by adding up to two storeys.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Boles, Penrose and Prisk converge on Downing Street over upward development – Sunday Telegraph
  • Key workers to be given special priority for affordable homes – Sun on Sunday
  • We must build upwards – Dominic Raab, Mail on Sunday

Javid says new towns will be built in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor

“In an interview with The Sunday Times, the housing secretary, Sajid Javid, said councils would be given higher targets for homes to be built and those that failed would have their planning powers removed and handed to an independent inspector. Javid said he would approve at least two new towns between Oxford and Cambridge, with up to three more to follow. Tomorrow he will unveil a new National Planning Policy Framework to pressure councils to build affordable homes for public-sector “key workers” including nurses, teachers and police officers.” – Sunday Times

> Today: ToryDiary – May the builder?

Letwin leads cross-party plan to abolish 50 EU rules post-transition

“The proposed changes, likely to be welcomed by senior Brexiteers who cited the “stifling” effects of red tape during the referendum campaign, are being drawn up by a cross-party group chaired by Sir Oliver Letwin, David Cameron’s former policy chief. “There are problems that we can easily cure, and we are recommending changes that would cure them after Brexit,” he said. “One could imagine all 50 coming into effect the day after the end of the transition period. The group, whose advisory panel includes Archie Norman, the chairman of Marks & Spencer, Sir Paul Tucker, the former deputy governor of the Bank of England, and Theresa Villiers, the ­former  Northern Ireland  Secretary, is drawing up recommendations to cut red tape in 10 sectors. The proposals are due to be handed over to Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, in ­September.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • May tells Sturgeon Brexit speech would strengthen Britain – Scotsman
  • Attack attack attack 1): Heseltine assails May’s speech – Observer
  • Attack attack attack 2) Rees Mogg assaults Varadkar’s stance – Observer
  • Attack attack attack 3) Dearlove says Blair doesn’t understand how anti-terrorism policy works in practice – Sunday Express
  • Attack attack attack attack attack attack 4) Bannon says the EU’s negotiating stance is “vicious and dismissive” – Sunday Telegraph
  • Barwell denies claims that he leaked Johnson’s UK/Ireland border letter – Sunday Times
  • Remainers complain about the Queen’s Brexit Commonwealth trade deal role – Sunday Express
  • Cable “builds youth army to fight Brexit” – Sunday Times (Footnote: Vince Cable is 74.)

Rawnsley: Has May left it too late?

“There was a sniffy response from Brussels and European capitals that there was still too much “cakeism” and “cherry-picking”. That was to be expected. The underlying issue is whether she has left it too late to become the advocate of pragmatic compromise. The passage of time since the referendum has not softened the poisons within her party; it has intensified their toxicity. The fudgier elements of the speech were designed to hold together a temporary truce in the cabinet, which will start to break down when the EU pushes back on some of the proposals.” – Observer

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Brexit. Compare and contrast. On divergence, real Cabinet debate. On immigration, a stance quietly shelved.


CCHQ hires social media managers in London May elections fightback

Mrs May has told party officials the units must be mobilised quickly – in time for the crucial local elections in May. She has written to activists urging them to help build a strong group of dedicated volunteers in every seat to back up the paid campaigners. In her letter, she says: “We are recruiting a new army of foot soldiers to take the fight to Labour. “It is clear from the results of the general election that we are more likely to win seats in which our organisation is strong. And it is an unfortunate fact that Labour’s organisation was better in many seats than ours.” – Sun on Sunday

Mordaunt widens aid workers sex abuse inquiry

“The Department for International Development (DfID) has written to all its contracted private-sector firms, as well as UK and non-UK-based charities, insisting they immediately report any abuse allegations. Last night two big DfID contractors said they were aware of allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment involving their staff over the past three years. A DfID source said the widening of the scope of inquiries reflected the determination of Penny Mordaunt, secretary of state for international development, to “ensure everything is being done to protect people from harm, including sexual exploitation and abuse”.” – Observer

Hunt will appoint Minister to “have responsibility for policy relating to children of alcoholics”

“A source close to Mr Hunt confirmed that the name of the minister who would “have responsibility for policy relating to children of alcoholics” would be announced in due course. The move follows a “constructive” meeting with Labour MPs Liam Byrne, Caroline Flint and Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, who are all children of alcoholics. Together with the National Association for Children of Alcoholics charity and the Sunday Express they have been campaigning for the Government to adopt a manifesto for change to help Britain’s innocent victims of drink.” – Sunday Express

Penning claims police are scared to stop and search

“Searches fell by 21 per cent in the last year while recorded knife crime went up 20 per cent. Police also challenged a million fewer people on the streets during 2016-17 than in 2010-11. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said she backs the increased use of stop and search powers but Sir Mike believes cops are put off by political correctness. The Tory MP for Hemel Hempstead said: “Feral youngsters are rampaging around our streets because they know they are not going to be stopped and searched.” – The Sun on Sunday

Whittingdale: Beware these threats to a free press

“An even more damaging amendment introduced by the Lords would force news publishers who are not members of a regulator approved by the Government’s recognition body to pay the costs of data protection actions even if the claim is unjustified and dismissed by the courts. This clause mimics Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, which proposed the same penalties in libel and privacy actions. No national or major local newspaper has been willing to join such a regulator and so almost every publisher would be at risk. It would have a massive and chilling effect on investigative journalism and would make investigations such as those into the Paradise Papers or the Oxfam scandal impossible to publish.” – Sunday Telegraph

“I sat there with Amber. We sat there, we two. And I said, how I wish we’d stay in the EU…”

But when the chancellor was asked to name his favourite book as a child, Downing Street officials were startled when he picked Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell’s dystopian vision of dictatorship. However, Big Brother in No 10 intervened and asked Hammond to think again. “No wonder he’s so miserable all the time, if that’s what he was reading as a boy,” one official remarked. After consulting his wife Susan, Hammond picked Dr Seuss’s rhyming classics, The Cat in the Hat books.  In a video recorded to mark World Book Day last Thursday, the chancellor explained: “I used to love reading them to my children, and the children loved hearing them. They are incredible tongue twisters and incredibly difficult to read out loud, but great fun.”” – Sunday Times

Lansman flees to Cornwall as Formby drums up women

“Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies were at loggerheads last night after the Momentum founder, Jon Lansman, refused to step aside in the race to become Labour’s next general secretary. Lansman is “taking cover” in Cornwall this weekend after Corbyn, John McDonnell and Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s gatekeeper, failed to persuade him not to stand. It is understood that officials at Unite, the UK’s biggest union, approached “several” women to block them from standing so that Jennie Formby, its preferred candidate, could have a clear run. It is widely believed the next general secretary should be a woman.” – Sunday Times

  • Labour MPs seeks general secretary hustings – Observer
  • RMT member plotting Labour moderates purge – Sun on Sunday
  • Party infighting over gender recognition – Observer
  • Corbyn aide 1) adviser in new anti-semitism row – Mail on Sunday
  • Corbyn aide 2) “Hairy lesbian” “gay bash” “all whites are racist” LGBT adviser imbroglio – Mail on Sunday
  • Frank Field: Carillion’s “gross failures” – Observer
  • Corbyn plans Red Brexit. Run for the hills, everyone! – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

Bercow the Bully? Small man syndrome?

“Julian Smith, the Tory chief whip, has been urged to intervene. A minister said Bercow’s behaviour was “pretty rude” adding: “It’s the most ludicrous I have seen him.” A senior back-bench MP said: “The chief whip should speak to him. You can’t behave like this to senior politicians.” The Speaker is accused of hypocrisy having previously called for “zero tolerance” of bullying in parliament. “How can you say you want there to be zero tolerance of bullying and then go around calling people names and belittling them?” an MP said. “It’s classic small man syndrome.” – Sunday Times