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Crucial votes on Brexit amendments scheduled for next Tuesday

‘Theresa May has a week to forge a compromise with Tory rebels over Brexit after she tabled votes on key legislation for next Tuesday. The 12 backbenchers are threatening to inflict a defeat in a vote on future customs arrangements. They believe that the government will put forward its own compromise agreement within days but claim it is unlikely to be enough to buy them off. The Tories could team up with opposition MPs to inflict the defeat next week. The government has still failed to come up with its own customs plan because of divisions in the cabinet. The rebels believe there will be other opportunities to defeat the government in the coming weeks when the trade bill and the customs bill come to the Commons. The rebellion focuses on up to seven amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill that were forced through by peers in a series of defeats for the government in the House of Lords last month.’ – The Times

May’s flagging performance and ratings usher in a summer of plotting

‘Speculation over Theresa May’s leadership has been on a rolling boil since the disastrous 2017 election, but a Conservative Home survey of party members published on Monday shows the desire for change could be about to spill over. Some 69% of members want May to either quit now or before the 2022 election. That rating is the third worst for the PM since last year’s vote, and is no doubt allied to the Government’s perceived stagnation over Brexit. As Conservative Home’s Paul Goodman notes: “Her best rating came in February in the aftermath of her impressive handling of the Salisbury attack. “The only other time it has dipped below 60 per cent was in December, in the wake of that month’s draft agreement with the EU (the ‘joint report’).” Against this backdrop, this year’s summer parties will see more plotting and planning than usual.’ – Huffington Post

  • Failing to deliver Brexit would mean disaster for the Conservative Party – The Sun Says
  • Patel says May and Hammond have become part of the problem – Daily Mail
  • She tells Trump his tariffs are ‘deeply disappointing’ – The Times
  • Spend, spend, spend – Rachel Sylvester, The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Almost one in four Tory members want May to resign now. And over two in three want her gone before the next election.

Grayling 1) Regional papers across the north pile on pressure over rail chaos

‘Theresa May is coming under pressure over the rail chaos in northern England as some of the area’s largest newspapers join together to demand that she “get a grip” on the government’s response. The news came after the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, faced calls to resign as he was questioned by MPs and announced an inquiry into the botched timetabling changes that have caused delays and cancellations for hundreds of thousands of people. As he came under increasing pressure in the Commons, titles that collectively sell an average of more than 300,000 copies per edition said Grayling “should take accountability”, while the prime minister should “should take a personal grip of resolving the crisis”. The 25 titles, which are owned by various groups and include the Manchester Evening News, the Liverpool Echo and the Yorkshire Post, called on May to lead an emergency summit in Downing Street this week to find a solution to the crisis, and urged a review of rail franchising.’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Iain Stewart on Comment: The railways have moved on. Now fares and ticketing must do so too.

Grayling 2) The Cabinet is expected to back Heathrow plans today

‘The UK cabinet is expected to rubber stamp plans for a third runway at Heathrow on Tuesday in a decision that will expose deep divisions in the Conservative and Labour parties. Chris Grayling, transport secretary, is set to put forward the Airports National Policy Statement, paving the way for a Commons vote on the Heathrow third runway within three weeks. The proposal will be discussed by a cabinet sub-committee on Tuesday morning before going to full cabinet for approval shortly afterwards. Boris Johnson, the former London mayor, is the only cabinet minister expected to oppose the plan. He will be given dispensation to vote against the third runway along with other Tories who have constituencies near the airport or who have expressed long-held opposition to the plan.’ – FT

  • It must be approved – and then we must plan another new runway – The Sun Says
  • There’ll be a vote next month – The Sun
  • The Foreign Secretary plans to be abroad on business at the time – Daily Mail

>Today: The Moggcast. “We’ve got to build a lot of houses”, including on “poor quality scrub land” in the Green Belt.

Javid 1) New counter-terrorism plans to clamp down on online extremism

‘The UK government is planning to introduce a new “three strikes” law for people streaming extremist terror content in a new counter terror bill to be unveiled in the coming days. The move is part of a broader strategy to combat terrorism in the wake of last year’s Islamist-inspired terror attacks in London and Manchester, which led to the deaths of 36 people. The government wants to tighten the laws around the way terrorists access content online, making it harder for extremists to radicalise people through the web and for terrorists to communicate and plan attacks. Under the proposed changes, the offence of possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist would be strengthened to apply to material viewed online three or more times, the Home Office said.’ – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Javid gives Gove a run for first place in our Cabinet League Table. May is back in negative territory.

>Yesterday: “Globally, Muslims are by far the biggest victims of Islamist terrorism.” Javid’s counter-terrorism strategy speech – full text

Javid 2) Wallace: The prospect of taking back control has made voters more relaxed about immigration

‘Since the referendum, in fact, voters have become more positive about immigration. Crucially, that is true of Leave voters as well as Remainers. What appears to be happening is that the prospect of regaining democratic control of our borders is itself bringing people to a more nuanced and practical position. While people were denied a choice, they took a hardline view; now they believe they will get a say on how things are run, they are moderating. That is an essential lesson. Politicians who interpret the softening of public opinion as a sign it would be safe to continue free movement are wrong – but so are those who imagine a post-Brexit immigration policy will have to be brutally restrictive. Sajid Javid is already pushing a more relaxed immigration line as Home Secretary.’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

>Today: Andrew Mitchell on Comment: A 28-day time limit on immigration detention would save money and make the system more just

Clark opens the door to taxpayer funding for new nuclear plant

‘Ministers are considering investing billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in a new nuclear power plant on Anglesey, which they say would deliver cheaper electricity than Hinkley Point. In a policy shift, Greg Clark, the business secretary, confirmed last night that state investment was on the cards for the proposed Wylfa plant, which could power five million homes and is estimated to cost £15 billion. The announcement marks a rejection of the widely criticised private sector funding model used for Hinkley Point in Somerset, and a return to state investment in major power plants for the first time since the electricity industry was privatised. Sources suggested the government could invest between £1 billion and £2 billion in Wylfa, alongside equal investments by Hitachi, the Japanese conglomerate developing the plant, and the Japanese government.’ – The Times

  • Green energy could trigger economic and political crises – The Times
  • The taxpayer suffers a £2.1 billion loss with RBS sale – FT

The Prime Minister rejects colleagues’ proposal to impose abortion reform on Northern Ireland

‘In Downing Street, May met the former home secretary Amber Rudd, former education secretary Justine Greening and Maria Miller, chair of the women and equalities committee. Also present was international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, who also holds the women and equalities brief. Mordaunt backs a move to liberalise the law…The Guardian understands May told MPs at the meeting she was not prepared to overrule Stormont, and said the issue of abortion was a sensitive one in Northern Ireland and in the Conservative party. May is understood to have told the Tory MPs that disquiet over the Northern Ireland abortion laws would come at an extremely sensitive time for the government, including potentially during crucial Brexit votes and may hamper efforts to restore power-sharing at Stormont. In turn, the prime minister was warned there was a growing appetite among Tory MPs for a referendum.’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Fiona Bruce on Comment: Let’s recognise this move for what it is – a push to make abortion up to birth legal throughout the UK

Corbyn backs Warsi’s call for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative Party

‘The Tories have been under pressure since the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for an investigation, highlighting a range of claims including candidates and other representatives allegedly having far-right connections or sending offensive tweets. The Labour leader backed calls for an investigation on Monday night after home secretary Sajid Javid rejected the proposition of an inquiry, which gained support from Conservative peer Sayeeda Warsi. “I think if there are allegations made then an inquiry should be held and it should be addressed and it should be dealt with,” Corbyn told the Press Association at a west London mosque. Islamophobia, as with antisemitism, as with any other form of racism, has no place whatsoever in our society.”‘ – The Guardian

Commons watchdog declines to investigate Bercow’s comments about Leadsom

‘John Bercow will not be investigated by the Commons ethics watchdog over claims that he called Andrea Leadsom a “stupid woman” and “f***ing useless”. Kathryn Stone, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, said that a complaint against the Speaker over the incident was outside her remit because only he had the power to rule on conduct in the Commons chamber. It is the second time in recent weeks that a complaint about Mr Bercow has not resulted in an investigation. Last month Ms Stone was refused permission by a committee of MPs to investigate allegations that Mr Bercow bullied staff members, which he denies.’ – The Times

Inquiry explores why Grenfell residents were told to ‘stay put’ for so long

‘Grenfell Tower victims had more than half an hour to escape the high-rise block before the stairs filled with toxic smoke, but were told to stay put by the fire service, the official inquiry was told on Monday. The failure to evacuate the building immediately by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) may have “made all the difference between life and death”. An official report revealed that the controversial “stay put” strategy had “substantially failed” by 1.26am when flames could be seen to have reached the top of the 23-storey tower block. It said the building remained “tenable for escape” while the stairwells stayed smoke-free, which was until at least 1.30am. But it would take the fire service until 2.47am – 41 minutes after it had declared the disaster a “major incident” – to abandon the advice and instead encourage residents to evacuate.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • A series of design flaws made a disastrous fire almost inevitable – The Times
  • We need a forensic search for truth, not a politicised rush to judgment – Daily Telegraph Leader

News in Brief

  • Britain is as corrupt as Russia, Lineker claims – The Times
  • Shakespeare illuminates Trump – The New Statesman
  • The moon is moving further away – The Sun
  • The financial crisis and austerity have had no lasting health impact, research finds – Daily Mail
  • Why my new party doesn’t deserve your vote – Graeme Archer, Unherd

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