Crunch time for Heathrow expansion plans

‘The Transport Secretary said, ahead of Monday’s crucial Commons vote, Britain had defied the expansion for “nearly half a century.” Despite admitting there is “never an easy answer, the perfect place or option that leaves local communities unaffected”, he warned MPs the UK needs new airport capacity in order to compete after leaving the EU. The Secretary of State for Transport said: “We need to demonstrate clearly that our future lies very much at the heart of the world stage. “There is no better way of doing that than by finally taking the decision to equip our hub airport with the capacity it needs for that future. It really is time for the big decision on Heathrow. We have prevaricated as a nation about this for nearly half a century.”‘ – Daily Express

  • Hands targets a thinly-veiled barb at Johnson – Daily Mail
  • Momentum and Unite split over how Labour should approach the vote – The Guardian
  • About 70 Labour MPs are expected to rebel and vote with the Government – The Times
  • Wollaston suggests the Foreign Secretary ought to quit over the issue – Daily Mail
  • It’s cruel to keep him in post – Alex Massie, The Times
  • Grayling forced to miss North West transport summit to attend key vote – The Guardian
  • Key environment report won’t be published until after the decision is made – The Sun
  • Councils prepare legal attempt to block expansion – FT


>Today: Chris Grayling on Comment: After so long a wait, let’s get on with it – and vote emphatically today for expansion at Heathrow

>Yesterday: Justine Greening and Zac Goldsmith on Comment: Wrong scheme, wrong place – Heathrow’s third runway should never take off

Abolish tax relief for landlords, Onward proposes

‘Ministers should end tax breaks for buy-to-let landlords, a group of Tory modernisers has urged. Onward, a think tank set up by former advisers to Theresa May and George Osborne, the former chancellor, calls for the government to shift the tax system away from landlords and overseas buyers and towards young homeowners. “The growth of the private rented sector in part reflects its strongly tax-advantaged status,” it says. “Advantages like mortgage interest relief for landlords and the ability of landlords to avoid paying capital gains tax on residential property (by shifting their primary residence) favour buy-to-let over other investments which might have more positive impacts on productivity.”’ – The Times

Hunt orders urgent investigation into syringe drivers in the wake of Gosport scandal

‘Jeremy Hunt has ordered an urgent probe into the use of faulty syringe pumps across the NHS amid concerns their role in the Gosport deaths scandal was suppressed. A whistleblower has alleged thousands of elderly patients may have been killed by the opioid-delivering devices and that the official Gosport inquiry deliberately overlooked their use to avoid a national scandal. The Graseby MS 16A and MS 26 pumps, which had a “booster” switch but no “stop” button, were banned in the NHS from 2015, two decades after a safety watchdog first raised concerns. But yesterday the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) admitted officials have been told to “urgently look into this matter to ensure no unsafe devices of this kind are being used”.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Gosport horror. There must be prosecutions.

Allies of Hammond claim he and May have stitched up a soft Brexit ‘agreement’

‘Many Brexiters have a nagging fear that Mrs May is about to betray them and their beloved project…Mrs May’s willingness to indulge Eurosceptics over the NHS “Brexit dividend” left some smelling a rat. “When you hear her say something like that, you have to look over your shoulder to see if a juggernaut is about to run you over,” says one well-connected Tory Brexiter. Their suspicions are well founded. Close colleagues of Philip Hammond, the chancellor, say he only went along with the “fiction” of the “Brexit dividend” as part of a broader pact with the prime minister that the Chequers summit would see a decisive push towards a softer form of Brexit. “That was part of the agreement,” says one minister.b Mr Hammond, confronted with a stubborn deficit in spite of almost a decade of growth and near full employment, will tell cabinet colleagues at Chequers that the NHS funding boost has left his coffers empty: if they want more money for other public services, Britain’s economy will have to grow faster — and that means a smooth Brexit. The chancellor is weaponising Britain’s fiscal weakness.’ – FT

  • Leadsom attacks ‘unwiedly’ Customs Partnership – Daily Telegraph
  • Fox says he would accept an extended transition – CityAM
  • Anonymous ‘senior MPs’ mull tactics to try to block a No Deal outcome – FT
  • Ministers urge business lobbyists to pressure Brussels for a deal rather than scaremonger at home – Daily Mail
  • Bebb says Hunt and Johnson’s comments are ‘unworthy and inflammatory’ – The Times
  • Singham quits DIT panel over lobbyist role – The Times
  • Splitters: Corbynites launch separate campaign for a second referendum – The Guardian
  • EU brand protections could risk US trade deal – Daily Telegraph
  • London is the world’s most appealing city for workers – CityAM



Merkel’s efforts to save herself founder amid Franco-Italian migrant row

‘Before President Macron of France arrived at yesterday’s meeting in Brussels he said that countries refusing to accept migrants should face financial penalties. “A country like Italy has not at all the same migratory pressure as last year. The crisis we are experiencing today in Europe is a political crisis,” said Mr Macron, who has described the brand of populism in power in Italy as “leprosy”. Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, hit back and said that there had been “650,000 landings in four years, 430,000 applications . . . 170,000 apparent refugees currently housed in hotels, buildings and apartments at a cost exceeding €5 billion.” He added: “If for the arrogant President Macron this is not a problem we invite him to stop the insults and to demonstrate generosity by opening the many French ports…”‘ – The Times

‘Dozens’ of Tory MPs might oppose the Budget to press for more defence spending, Williamson allies claim

‘Dozens of Tory MPs could vote to block the Budget unless Theresa May increases military spending, allies of the Defence Secretary warned last night. Gavin Williamson came under fire yesterday following reports he had told military chiefs he could bring down the Prime Minister if she refuses to back him in his fight to get an extra £2billion a year from the Treasury. Mr Williamson, who ran Mrs May’s leadership campaign in 2016, is said to have told service chiefs: ‘I made her – and I can break her.’ One Cabinet source said last night that Mr Williamson had ‘over-reached himself’ in his efforts to burnish his credentials as a future leadership contender…One senior Tory said that as many as 50 Tory MPs were so exercised over the issue that they could vote to block the Budget this autumn unless Mrs May and Chancellor Philip Hammond open the purse strings. ‘There are 50 MPs who are willing to throw themselves under a bus over this,’ the source said.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “I can break her” – Williamson’s war for defence spending intensifies, and targets the Prime Minister

British passports for sale on the black market for £2,500

‘A disturbing trade in stolen British passports is exposed today by the Daily Mail. Swiped by criminal gangs in Western Europe, they are flown to Istanbul or Athens for sale by people smugglers. Security experts said owning a genuine British passport was like ‘winning the lottery’ for jihadis and criminals – allowing them to slip across borders undetected. In response to the Mail’s findings, MPs called for action to address Britain’s ‘shocking vulnerability’ to potentially dangerous illegals.’ – Daily Mail

  • Syrian people smuggler turned passport fence – Daily Mail
  • More than 30,000 British teenagers identify as being part of a gang – The Times
  • We must protect them, says the Children’s Commissioner – The Times
  • Police condemn middle-class ‘hypocrites’ who take drugs – The Times
  • We cannot afford to abandon an endangered generation – The Times Leader
  • Grayling should be held to account for his probation reforms – The Guardian Leader

>Today: Andrew Boff on Local Government: Cannabis should be legalised to help defeat violent crime in London

Ministers try to balance trans rights with feminists’ concerns about women-only spaces

‘Women will continue to have the right to exclude transgender people from female-only changing rooms, lavatories and swimming sessions, ministers have pledged. In an apparent change of direction, they said the rights of those who ‘identify as women’ would not be put ahead of those who are biologically female…a statement from the Government Equalities Office yesterday promised that ‘advancing the rights of trans people does not have to compromise women’s rights’…Yesterday’s Government statement said: ‘We are clear we have no intention of amending the Equality Act 2010, the legislation that allows for single-sex spaces. Any Gender Recognition Act reform will not change the protected characteristics in the Equality Act.’ It added: ‘Providers of women-only services [can choose not to] provide services to trans individuals, provided it is objectively justified on a case-by-case basis.” – Daily Mail

  • There will be no change to the age at which hormone therapy or surgery is available – The Times
  • Wolf-whistling should not be criminalised, says CPS chief – Daily Mail

Deport every illegal arrival without trial, says Trump

‘President Trump stiffened his hardline position on immigration by calling for the immediate deportation, without recourse to a legal defence, of every illegal immigrant arriving at the border. “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our country,” he tweeted yesterday. “When somebody comes in we must immediately, with no judges or court cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and law and order.” Mr Trump’s tweet drew no distinction between asylum seekers and other migrants. Under existing US immigration law most undocumented immigrants are allowed a full hearing in front of a judge before being deported. His declaration came before a key immigration vote this week. It was a further indication that Mr Trump intends to put border security at the heart of his pitch to the American people for midterm Congressional elections in November.’ – The Times

  • Despite Trump’s u-turn, it’s still Democrats who are in trouble over the border issue – Justin Webb, The Times
  • Policing his visit to the UK will cost £5 million – The Times
  • Meet the Brexiteers who run the US Embassy – Daily Telegraph
  • US tariffs threaten the global economy – FT Leader

News in Brief

  • Cumberbatch loses hair for role as Cummings – The Times
  • Why don’t we talk about television anymore? – Unherd
  • Thatcher aides dispute Major’s comments about her dementia – Daily Telegraph
  • Fixing the NHS requires us to quell fears of innovation – Joe Oakes, 1828
  • Soaring numbers of young people saving into pensions – The Sun