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May ‘lashes out’ at suggestion she questioned Britain’s status as a front-rank military power

“Theresa May today furiously denied reports she questioned Britain’s role as a top tier military power in private talks with her Defence Secretary and military chiefs. The PM challenged Gavin Williamson to justify why Britain needed to stay a ‘tier one’ power – holding nuclear weapons and with Army, Navy and Air Force assets it can deploy anywhere in the world, it was claimed. She is said to have told Mr Williamson he needed to rethink the capabilities needed to be a modern military force and focus more on Britain’s ability to tackle any cyber warfare threats, including from Russia.  But Mrs May lashed out at the reports – describing them as ‘not correct’ at a press conference in London alongside NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.” – Daily Mail

  • Williamson ‘losing fight with Treasury’ for rise in spending – The Guardian
  • Poorly-protected ships ‘at severe risk of cyberattack’ – The Times

Editorial:

  • Brexit UK learns some home truths on defence – FT
  • Britain should equip itself for the wars of the future – The Times
  • Now is certainly no time to downgrade defence – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Bradley criticised for ‘legal assault’ on ex-servicemen and dithering on MLA pay cuts

Pressure on Johnson as Hands resigns over Heathrow

“International trade minister Greg Hands quit yesterday to vote against controversial plans for a third runway at Heathrow. His resignation put pressure on Boris Johnson and other airport rebels to follow suit. The move follows Theresa May’s decision to impose a three-line whip on the vote, meaning ministers must resign if they wish to oppose it. Sources said Mr Hands, the Tory MP for Chelsea and Fulham, was offered the opportunity to skip the Commons debate by arranging an overseas trip. By contrast, Mr Johnson will fly out of the country, avoiding the need to resign. The Foreign Secretary is a long-standing opponent of Heathrow’s expansion and said in 2015 he would ‘lie in front of bulldozers’ to prevent the construction work.” – Daily Mail

  • Who will pay for the third runway? – FT

>Yesterday:

Javid sets out plans for EU nationals…

“EU citizens living in Britain will be allowed to stay after Brexit if they can answer three simple questions and pay £65, Sajid Javid confirmed today. The Home Secretary said the estimated 3.3million EU nationals living in Britain, plus thousands of their close family, would be eligible for permanent ‘settled status’. The Home Office has developed a smart phone app that will ask them to prove their ID, whether they have criminal convictions and whether they live in the UK. Each application will be checked against Government databases and are supposed to be concluded in as little as two weeks. Today’s announcement confirms EU migrants will not undergo checks on whether they have committed crimes abroad. The details were revealed after Mr Javid tore into the EU for failing to say how it will protect British expats.” – Daily Mail

  • UK creates new ‘settled status’ for European citizens – FT
  • Brussels could force Britons to pay £50 for visas – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • The Home Office is changing how it thinks about immigration – Ian Robinson, Times Red Box
  • Britain is the best place to live for people for people of colour – Trevor Phillips, The Sun

Editorial:

  • The EU can learn from Britain on the treatment of immigrants – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Shaun Bailey in Local Government: Windrush Day celebrates the best of British

…as the Cabinet ‘unites to reject’ Brussels’ border proposals…

Britain’s divided Cabinet is united in its rejection of the European Commission’s plan for a backstop clause to prevent a hard border in Ireland, The Telegraph has learned, as Jean-Claude Juncker warned that a no deal Brexit was still a possibility. “I know of no member of the Cabinet in London who would be prepared to sign up to the Commission text. And I include the most ardent of Remainers in that,” a senior Cabinet source said. “Unionism is fundamental to how the Conservative party sees itself,” the source said of the EU plan which would create border checks between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain rather than on the Irish border. The clause was rejected by Theresa May, who offered Brussels the alternative of aligning the whole of the UK with EU customs rules if the preferred solutions of a free trade agreement or technological solutions fail.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Juncker and Varadkar demand progress – Daily Mail
  • Ireland may introduce passport checks despite common travel area – Daily Express

More:

  • May risks row with Leavers over plan for single market for goods – The Guardian
  • Rees-Mogg warns that Brexiteers may vote down poor deal – Daily Express
  • Gove promises Scottish farmers ‘special treatment’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Airbus ‘prepares to take flight’ over no deal – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Brexit. What May should do next. Replace Robbins with Davis – and prepare for No Deal.

…and Hammond denies being an ‘enemy of Brexit’

“Philip Hammond hit back at Boris Johnson last night, declaring he was not ‘the enemy of Brexit’. Delivering his annual Mansion House speech, the Chancellor denied claims from Eurosceptic ministers that he is trying to block Brexit. He acknowledged that he was trying to maintain existing trade patterns with the EU, adding: ‘As we leave the EU we need to forge a new relationship with European neighbours that protects those patterns of trade. ‘That does not make the Treasury, on my watch, “the enemy of Brexit”; rather, it makes it the champion of prosperity for the British people outside the EU.’ Mr Hammond’s remarks are a direct riposte to the Foreign Secretary who accused him of spearheading Whitehall efforts to frustrate an EU clean break.” – Daily Mail

  • Chancellor and Governor close ranks on post-Brexit City – FT
  • May plans ‘grand tour’ to kick off trade talks – The Sun

More:

  • Hammond’s advisor in ‘secret deal for MCC membership’ – The Times

Hunt says NHS ‘blame culture’ must end to avoid tragedies such as Gosport

“The “blame culture” in the NHS has to change to avoid more scandals like the Gosport War Memorial Hospital deaths, the Health Secretary has said. Jeremy Hunt said it was still too difficult for whistleblowers to raise concerns about mistakes being made. He was responding to claims similar situations to Gosport were “likely” to be replicated elsewhere in the NHS. An inquiry has found more than 450 patients died after doctors gave them “dangerous” amounts of painkillers. Prof Sir Brian Jarman, an expert on hospital mortality at the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London, told the Today programme the Gosport situation may be repeated because information on death rates was not properly assessed by health officials.” – BBC

  • Fall in borrowing aids Chancellor in bid to boost health spending – The Sun

Comment:

  • The Tories have stolen Labour’s clothes on the NHS – Philip Collins, The Times
  • NHS boost is a start to breaking with Thatcher’s legacy – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

>Today:

Hancock says its ‘about time’ a woman fronted Question Time

“Culture Secretary Matt Hancock says it is ‘about time’ a woman was at the helm of Question Time. After David Dimbleby announced he is standing down after 25 years of presenting the BBC show, Mr Hancock was asked in the Commons yesterday if he agreed his replacement should be a woman. Conservative MP Vicky Ford said: ‘Will the secretary of state join me in thanking David Dimbleby for his role – 25 years at the helm of Question Time. And does he agree with me that in this year – 100 years of women’s suffrage – this baton should be passed to a woman?’ Mr Hancock replied: ‘I think the whole House will want to congratulate David Dimbleby on his achievement. And while, of course, the job must go according to merit, I think it’s about time we had a woman at the helm of Question Time.’” – Daily Mail

MPs 1) Grayling’s probation reforms will ‘never work’

“A £3.7 billion semi-privatisation of the probation service aimed at cutting reoffending is unlikely ever to work, according to a parliamentary report published today. It describes the probation system in England and Wales as a “mess” after a shake-up failed to meet its aims and left staff morale at an all-time low. Chris Grayling, then justice secretary, reformed arrangements for monitoring offenders by splitting the service into 21 privately run community rehabilitation companies and a state-run national probation service in 2014. Today’s report by the Commons justice select committee follows criticism by Dame Glenys Stacey, chief inspector of probation, who found offenders being supervised with one telephone call every six weeks and being credited with an hour of paid work when they had been stood down for factors outside their control.” – The Times

MPs 2) Government under pressure to legislate for gay marriage in Ulster

“Theresa May will come under renewed pressure today to legislate for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. A backbench bill by the Labour MP Conor McGinn to legalise gay weddings is waiting to return to the Commons, having previously been blocked by a single objection. The tactic was used last week by Sir Christopher Chope, a Conservative MP, to block a bill to criminalise upskirting, leading to uproar among Tories who said he was a “dinosaur”. Mrs May agreed to bring forward a government bill to outlaw the taking of photos up a skirt without the woman’s knowledge or consent. The bill was formally introduced in parliament yesterday.” – The Times

Labour’s new General Secretary alleged to be ex-Militant…

“Labour’s new general secretary was a member of the hard-Left Militant Tendency, a former colleague claimed last night. Jennie Formby, 58, was part of the movement which infiltrated the party during the 1980s, according to an ex-party organiser. The allegations will further ignite fears of a hard-Left takeover of Labour under leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Militant faction was kicked out of the party by then leader Neil Kinnock more than 30 years ago in a purge of Trotskyite radicals… As she arrived at her detached home in Southampton yesterday, Mrs Formby declined to answer when asked if the claims were true. When questioned a third time, she laughed. Earlier this year, there was controversy over her appointment as general secretary with the backing of Mr Corbyn.” – Daily Mail

…as Thornberry tears into europhile colleagues…

“Labour plunged deeper into a Brexit civil war as Emily Thornberry attacked pro-EU colleagues of “dishonesty”. The Shadow Foreign Secretary tore into backbenchers such as Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie – amid claims they are hatching plans for a new party called “Back Together”. She said the pair and other Labour MPs pushing for Britain to adopt a Norway-style EU membership should be honest and say they just want to stop Brexit altogether. And she compared them to hardline Tory Eurosceptics – who she claimed should be honest and admit they want to “crash out” of the EU altogether.” – The Sun

  • Ousting May could jeopardise thwarting Brexit, Labour MP warns – Daily Express
  • Survey finds 48 per cent of Brits back second vote – FT
  • Jones and Sturgeon mount new bid for single market membership – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Time for shy Remainers to join the fight for a people’s vote – Caroline Lucas and Vince Cable, Times Red Box

…and Khan is accused of ‘cooking the books’ on housebuilding

“Sadiq Khan lashed out today after he was accused of “cooking the books” by pretending to build more homes than he really is. The London Mayor angrily insisted the claim was a “smear” – and shifted the blame onto his civil servants. Mr Khan’s outburst came as he was grilled by members of the London Assembly. Tory Andrew Boff asked about revelations that two developments – totalling 500 new affordable homes – had been counted as “new starts” in two different years, inflating the figures for the Mayor’s housebuilding programme. But Mr Khan claimed the fiddle was legitimate – because the plans were so badly delayed that they had to be stopped completely and then restarted.” – The Sun

>Yesterday:

Bercow under pressure over Commons’ gag clauses

John Bercow has been accused of presiding over a system which has seen millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money used to silence House of Commons employees during his tenure as Speaker. The House of Commons has routinely used non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements totalling more than £2.4 million to prevent staff from speaking out after they leave. The figures, obtained through freedom of information requests, show that the so-called “hush money” had been paid to 53 former members of staff since 2013, an average of £45,000 per person. In 2013 alone, 11 agreements were signed totalling £916,000, with every settlement containing specific confidentiality clauses.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Does anybody notice ministerial resignations anymore? – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • If you’re going to rebel, do it properly – Alex Massie, CapX
  • My vision for a global-facing, outward-looking post-Brexit Britain – Jacob Rees-Mogg, Brexit Central
  • Introducing the all new ultra-soft, slow to hard Brexit – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Ten times the state got it catastrophically wrong – Peter Franklin, UnHerd

4 comments for: Newslinks for Friday 22nd June 2018

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