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Brexit 1) May “downgrades” DExEU and “formalises” her control over negotiations, with Raab becoming her “deputy” just before committee showdown with Robbins

“Theresa May has downgraded the Brexit department and moved senior officials to a unit reporting to her in a move that formalised the prime minister’s control over EU negotiations. … Mrs May announced that overall responsibility for the “preparation and conduct” of negotiations would move from the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) to the Cabinet Office. About 50 staff will transfer to the unit, which is under the day-to-day control of Oliver Robbins, the prime minister’s chief Brexit adviser.Mr Raab will become Mrs May’s formal deputy in the negotiations, attending all meetings and conducting talks on her behalf in Brussels. Mr Davis had no such formalised role, despite Dexeu being notionally in charge of the negotiations, and he was often excluded from key discussions on strategy.” – The Times

  • Raab has been “sidelined” – Guardian
  • There are claims of a “remainer coup” – The Sun
  • Raab appeared before the Brexit committee with Robbins – FT
  • Whittingdale says move is “extraordinary” – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Does Raab “see himself as a second Moses”? – Patrick Kidd – The Times
  • He’s a “natural middle manager” – John Crace, Guardian
  • Robbins is a “21st-century Sir Humphrey Appleby” – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph 
  • He’s Whitehall’s “most controversial fixer” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail 

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Whittingdale to Robbins. You shafted Davis’ White Paper, didn’t you?

Brexit 2) Raab and Hancock both address talk of “stockpiling” in case of “no deal”

“Stockpiles of food, medicine and blood will be built up if a no deal Brexit becomes the likely outcome of divorce negotiations with Brussels, ministers said as Theresa May took personal charge of talks. Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary, said ministers would ensure Britain had “adequate food supplies” in the event no agreement could be reached. Meanwhile, Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, said he had asked officials to “work up options for stockpiling” medical supplies. It came as Mrs May announced she was formally taking charge of talks with the EU as she effectively demoted Mr Raab just two weeks after his appointment.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Raab “dismisses claims” about stockpiling but says government will work with food industry to ensure supply – Guardian
  • He “hinted” at stockpiling with talk about “adequate food supply” – Daily Mail
  • Meanwhile Hancock is criticised by ERG for his comments – Daily Express

Brexit 3) “No deal planning” to include Treasury guarantee of support for projects dependent on EU funding

“Philip Hammond is offering billions of pounds of government guarantees for projects dependent on EU funding after Brexit day as part of “no deal” planning. The move means farmers, scientific research projects and new roads will not see their funding suddenly halt next April if Brexit negotiations break down. The chancellor’s decision was slipped out on the last day of the parliamentary term. The Treasury is not able to put a precise estimate on the amount of money involved. … “The government is continuing to work towards a deal with the EU and under the terms of the implementation period the UK will continue to participate in the programmes financed by the current EU budget until their closure.”” – The Times

  • It will fund organisations supported by streams including European Regional Development Fund and projects such as Horizon 2020  – Daily Express

>Today: Nick Hargrave in Comment: The economic consequences of No Deal might only be temporary. But the political ones would dwarf Black Wednesday

Brexit 4) Villiers and Paterson: The Commission has lost its pragmatism. It needs to listen to Northern Ireland

“Even at the height of the Troubles with 27,000 armed security personnel, a “hard” border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland was a practical impossibility. It is now completely undesirable, which is why no one is arguing in its favour. Despite this, headlines predicting checkpoints and unmanageable delays have been allowed to set the tone of the debate. But it must be remembered that a border already exists – in currency, VAT, excise duties and security. … The Commission has made a major error in only taking advice on Irish matters from Dublin. It must seek to learn from voices in Northern Ireland. It must return to the approach which Karlsson set out. It must listen to senior figures, including the architect of the Belfast Agreement, David Trimble. A sensible technological solution is in the best interests of the whole British Isles.” – Daily Telegraph

  • If the EU continues to “treat Brexit as a hostile act” then we need to turn to the rest of the world – Daniel Hannan, The Sun

More Brexit

  • Brussels to “invoice” Britain twice a year for divorce payments – The Sun
  • Banks denies bribe allegations – Guardian

>Today: Daniel Hannan’s column: Even the blockade of Qatar hasn’t produced the calamity that hysterical Remainers now predict from Brexit

Brokenshire says new NPPF planning rules will speed up house building

“Fat-cat developers were last night told they have “no more excuses” to delay building new homes by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire. The Cabinet Minister said new planning guidelines would speed up the building of new homes at the same time as putting minimum standards for quality and environment requirements in place. But furious campaigners said the Government guidelines were a “developers’ charter” and incentivised housebuilders to delay construction. They claimed that under the new National Policy Planning Framework a council’s housing plan would be invalid if they fail to build enough within two years – meaning developers could then sidestep the system and build on more lucrative plots or even the Green Belt.” – The Sun

  • Councils to lose powers if house numbers aren’t sufficiently high – Daily Telegraph

Hinds announces teachers’ pay increase, but “for majority it will be below inflation”

““The majority of teachers in England are to receive a below-inflation pay increase next year, despite the government’s claims that “classroom teachers” will get pay rises of up to 3.5% after years of austerity. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, told parliament that teachers on the main national pay range would receive a 3.5% pay increase, worth up to £1,366, from September while more experienced teachers on the upper scale would receive 2% and those in leadership positions would get 1.5%. … The Institute for Fiscal Studies said only 40% of teachers in England would be eligible for the higher 3.5% pay rise, while the remainder would receive increases below the current rate of inflation of 2.4%. “The announcement of a 3.5% pay rise for teachers on the main pay range will help with recruitment and retention for teachers early in their career, which has emerged as a serious problem in recent years,” said Luke Sibieta, an IFS research fellow. “However, about 60% of teachers will receive below-inflation awards of 2% or, in the case of school leaders, 1.5%.” – Guardian

  • Junior teachers to get rise of up to 3.5 per cent – The Times
  • Public workers will get “biggest rise in 10 years” – FT
  • Soldiers will receive 2.9 per cent increase – The Sun

Rudd backs suggestion that treason laws need updating, following Javid’s “Beatles” decision

“Britain’s archaic treason laws should be updated and used to prosecute jihadis who have fought in Syria, a former Home Secretary, head of MI5, Lord Chief Justice and head of counter-terror policing have said. The Treason Act of 1351 has not been used since 1946 but should now be revised to prosecute terrorists amid growing fears that British laws are currently not tough enough to deal with returning jihadis. The recommendation, in a report by the Policy Exchange think tank, has been backed by some of the country’s leading experts including Amber Rudd, the former Home Secretary, and Lord Evans, the former head of MI5. It comes after The Telegraph disclosed that Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, abandoned blanket opposition to the death penalty to allow two members of the notorious “Beatles” group of Isil terrorists to be sent to US.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Javid’s action to be “challenged in court” – Guardian

Comment:

  • We need to return to 1351 to solve this – Tom Tugendhat, The Times
  • For the government “effectively” to support the death penalty  is a “genuinely shocking moment” – Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian
  • It’s an insult to the Beatles to call these men by the band’s name – Stephen Pollard, Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: Treason trials

Corbyn says government should “use more of its money to buy in Britain”

“Britain has relied too heavily on “cheap labour from abroad” and the government should invest more in its industry, Jeremy Corbyn has said. The Labour party leader yesterday made a sweeping pitch to blue-collar Leave voters as he pledged to use state-aid powers “to the full” to support the manufacturing industry after Brexit. Launching a “Build it in Britain” campaign in Birmingham at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, he criticised Theresa May for allowing billions of pounds’ worth of work on passports, ships and health supplies to go abroad. “We want to make sure the government uses more of its money to buy in Britain,” he said. … Pledging to “reprogramme the economy”, he signalled that Labour would pivot away from the approach of recent governments, which focused more on the financial sector. He also said that the falling pound would bolster domestic industries.” – The Times

  • He sets out a “protectionist scheme” – Daily Telegraph
  • And talks of a manufacturing “revolution” – The Sun

Editorial:

  • This is a “conscious retreat from economic globalisation” – The Times

Comment:

  • It’s not a radical plan – Larry Elliott, Guardian
  • What a surprise. Corbyn is pro-Brexit – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

More parliament 

  • 21 written ministerial statements were released on “final day of term” – The Sun 
  • Javid considering “ending indefinite immigration detention” – Guardian
  • Grayling says he’s “not a specialist in rail matters” – The Sun
  • Ministers consider “retirement levy” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Budget frigate” may be on permanent hold after funding crisis – The Times
  • MPs call for end to sexual harassment gagging orders – Daily Telegraph
  • Perry gives “green light” to first fracking since temporary ban – The Times
  • Education committee says excluded pupils being failed by system – The Sun
  • Paisley suspended from Parliament and DUP – Daily Telegraph 
  • Government needs to address pension freedom – Paul Masterton, The Times

Khan to introduce 20mph limit on all TfL-managed central roads

“For drivers clocking up an average speed of just 8mph in central London it may sound like a joke at their expense. But a 20mph speed limit will be introduced on every road managed by Transport for London in the centre of the capital by 2020 under new road safety plans unveiled today. The measure was unveiled by London Mayor Sadiq Khan as part of the Vision Zero initiative aimed at eliminating deaths and serious injuries from the capital’s transport network. But the plans were labelled ‘ludicrous’ and indicative of a ‘nanny state’ on social media, with one Twitter user saying: ‘Maybe just stop cars altogether and just go back to horse and cart’. The proposals have been put forward by Mr Khan, Transport for London, and the Metropolitan Police. It is proposed that vehicles travelling on all of London’s red routes – roads managed by TfL – which are inside the congestion charge zone will be subjected to a 20mph limit.” – Daily Mail

More Labour

  • Champion given extra security – The Times 
  • Corbyn sees Israel as “ultimate racist endeavour” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

News in Brief

  • It’s no secret Robbins is in charge – Patrick Maguire, New Statesman
  • We’re campaigning for referendum on final deal – Editorial, Independent
  • The truth about the public sector pay rise – Isabel Hardman, Spectator
  • On Sarkar and Stalin – Kristian Niemietz, CapX
  • Questions for Kavanaugh – Amy Davidson Sorkin, New Yorker 
  • Why insectivorous birds are enjoying this summer – Paul Ashton, Reaction

7 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 25th July 2018

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