MPs accuse CCHQ of ‘witch hunt’ against Johnson

“Number Ten was today accused of orchestrating a politically motivated ‘witch hunt’ against Boris Johnson after the Tories launched a formal probe into his burqa comments. The ex Foreign Secretary faces being punished by party bosses and could even be kicked out of the party  after comparing women in the head veils to letterboxes. Tory sources have insisted the party was left with no choice but to launch the probe because it was triggered automatically after they received a flurry of complaints. But the move has sparked a furious backlash from Mr Johnson’s allies who have accused No10 of trying to ‘destroy’ the ex minister because they see him as a threat… Under Tory Party rules, an investigating officer will now decide if Mr Johnson has flouted their code of conduct and if the probe should be referred on to a panel to grill him on. If they find him at fault then Mrs May can decide what punishment to give her former minister – and could even kick him out of the Tory Party.” – Daily Mail

  • Lewis accused of trying to ‘kneecap’ Johnson – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory revolt against May’s inquiry – The Times
  • What sanctions could the ex-Foreign Secretary face? – The Guardian
  • Crouch says comments left women feeling ‘threatened’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Met Commissioner asked officers to probe remarks – Daily Mail
  • Blackadder star supports Johnson… – The Times
  • …as does a senior imam – Daily Mail


  • Johnson broke rules taking up column so swiftly – The Sun
  • Downing St accused of trying to censor photos at halal butchers – The Sun


Fraser Nelson: Sweden shows the perils of closing down debate

“The debate about his latest column for this newspaper, it seems, has gone global. The Swedes have been asking the same questions as Brits: was his joke too much? Or a legitimate point for discussion? Such issues – of culture, identity and free speech – have turned Swedish politics upside down in recent years as its election next month will show. The unprecedented influx of immigrants over the past three years has raised huge concerns about the strain on schools, the police and society. And about people’s ability to talk plainly about such issues. The Sweden Democrats, a party routinely denounced as racist, neo-fascist and worse, now looks like it may finish in first place. Those who see an awful inevitability in the spread of what Victor Orban calls “illiberal democracy” – with populist successes in Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic – now fear that Sweden will be the next domino to fall.” – Daily Telegraph

  • How the Tories suicidally made a crisis from Johnson’s burqa drama – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail


  • Conservatives are truckling to the left with this pointless inquiry – Daily Telegraph


May warned that EU compromise may be a trap

EU leaders are considering a compromise over Brexit that would allow Britain access to the single market for goods while ending freedom of movement of people. In the first sign of divergence between EU member states and Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Barnier, leaders are expected to sound out Theresa May about a compromise at a summit in Salzburg next month. However, the deal would come at a price, as it would involve Britain accepting all future EU environmental and social protections – which Eurosceptics say is “not Brexit”. Downing Street is understood to be cautiously optimistic that leaders of the EU27 countries are finally engaging with Mrs May’s Chequers plan for Brexit after Mr Barnier had previously dismissed it as unworkable. The European Commission declined to comment on the plan, but did not deny that member states “may be discussing it.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK can harden Brexit after we leave, argues Cleverly – Daily Telegraph
  • Patel warns that Chequers could cost Tories northern seats – The Sun
  • Rees-Mogg warns that May risks ‘pitiable failure’ – Daily Express
  • We need EU workers, says businesses – The Times
  • CBI calls for EU workers to be kicked out if they don’t find work… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but wants immigration targets scrapped – FT
  • Tory rebels threaten to block ‘no deal’ – Daily Express


  • The price EU leaders want Britain to pay for a deal is becoming clear – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • We must chuck Chequers – Priti Patel MP, The Sun
  • No deal would be a very bad deal for the tech sector – Julian David, Times Red Box
  • Time is running short for a deal on financial contracts – Nils Pratley, The Guardian

Gauke piloting scheme which lets convicts with substance problems avoid prison

“Criminals with drug and alcohol problems are being offered the chance to avoid jail under a controversial scheme. Vulnerable offenders are handed community orders that involve medical treatment instead of ‘ineffective’ short-term prison sentences. Psychologists have been placed in courts to help assess those eligible under a pilot scheme launched by Justice Secretary David Gauke. However, it is likely to spark a soft justice row. It comes two months after Mr Gauke said prison sentences of less than 12 months should be a ‘last resort’ as they did little to rehabilitate offenders. However, ministers point at studies that claim drug and alcohol treatment could reduce re-offending by a third.” – Daily Mail

  • Judge rules that Justice Secretary was wrong to push Chair of Parole Board to quit – The Guardian

Morgan criticises banks which fail to pass on interest rates to savers

“Only one of 100 banks and building societies has passed on last week’s interest rate rise in full to all its savers, prompting anger from MPs and campaigners. The Bank of England raised the base rate for only the second time in a decade — by a quarter percentage point to 0.75 per cent. HSBC and Barclays, two of the five biggest banks, have already increased the cost of mortgages by the full rate rise but have left savers without any benefit. Lloyds is to follow suit on September 1. The banks’ approach is likely to make them tens of millions of pounds in profits. The Royal Bank of Scotland estimated that the base-rate rise would add £300 million to its income projections by 2020. Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, said: “It’s no wonder that our banks have such a lot of work to do to rebuild trust among customers when they ignore the first opportunity to give a little something back to savers, while moving speedily to increase costs for borrowers.”” – The Times

Northamptonshire Council backs ‘radical’ service cuts

“A Conservative-led council in England has voted in favour of “radical” cuts to services, as it battles a £70m funding shortfall. Northamptonshire county council backed a plan that will see redundancies and cuts to spending in such areas as children’s services in a crisis meeting on Thursday. The scale of the cuts will be decided over the coming weeks. The council first imposed emergency spending controls in February, after it emerged that it faced a projected overspend of £21m for the last financial year. In March, the government sent commissioners into the council to take direct control over the authority’s financial management and governance. The council imposed a second spending control order in July, after a report by its chief financial officer, Mark McLaughlin, predicted a budget shortfall of £60m-£70m for the current financial year.” – FT

>Today: Local Government: East Sussex and Northamptonshire – very different cases

Ministers accused of hypocrisy over electric cars

“Ministers have been accused of hypocrisy after it emerged that they had bought 14 petrol cars for themselves but not one electric or hybrid vehicle. Figures obtained by The Times show the number of petrol cars in the Government Car Service jumped from seven last year to 21. A freedom of information request to the Department for Transport revealed that the number of hybrid vehicles and electric cars remained unchanged at 21 and six respectively. In 2014 the government said it would spend £5 million to “lead by example” on funding to introduce plug-in cars and vans for all its fleets… In the past a government spokesman defended the lack of electric cars, saying: “These vehicles are being replaced as they become due for renewal with fit-for-purpose non-diesel alternatives that take into consideration operational requirements.”” – The Times

Corbyn’s allies urge him to end antisemitism row

“Jeremy Corbyn’s activist and trade union allies are lobbying him to back down in Labour’s antisemitism row. Labour has been engulfed by accusations of hostility to Jews after deciding to rewrite parts of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism before adopting it into the party’s code of conduct. The decision to modify the definition was approved by the national executive committee (NEC), which is controlled by allies of Mr Corbyn. However, Jon Lansman, a member of the NEC and the founder of Momentum, the pro-Corbyn activist group, is thought to be encouraging the leader to back down. Mr Lansman had described the party’s definition as the gold standard, but according to the Jewish News website he has been arguing for weeks that Mr Corbyn should back down.” – The Times

  • GMB boss tells Labour leader to resolve crisis – The Sun
  • Corbyn hopes to avert calls for public vote at conference – The Guardian
  • Tories take four-point poll lead over Labour – The Times

DUP accused of ‘betraying unionist voters’ with lack of Westminster staff

“The man who until a year ago was the DUP’s Westminster chief of staff has said that the party now doesn’t employ a single person – not even a secretary – in Westminster, despite hundreds of thousands of pounds which it could use to employ staff. In a full-frontal assault on the party’s top brass, Christopher Montgomery denounced senior DUP figures, accusing them of “irredeemable laziness” and of presiding over “a betrayal of unionist voters in Northern Ireland”. And he claimed that “the point of the DUP” is to pay chief executive Timothy Johnston – who was previously funded from Stormont as a Spad to the first minister – and his brother-in-law John Robinson, another former Spad who is now the party’s director of communications. Last night the DUP said that it lost London staff in May and “new arrangements” would be in place from next month, with Northern Ireland-based DUP staff flying to London to fill in during the “short gap”.” – News Letter

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: DUP leadership stands by Robinson as row over border poll deepens

SNP demand devolution of inheritance tax

“Chancellor Philip Hammond is facing calls transfer control over inheritance tax to Holyrood to enable Scottish politicians to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion. SNP Treasury spokeswoman Alison Thewliss yesterday described inheritance tax as “not fit for purpose” pointing to wealthy individuals, who are exploiting loopholes to avoid paying the full amount. Ms Thewliss’s plea came amid growing signs that more people are avoiding or evading paying the tax imposed on the estates of deceased people when they are passed on to loved ones. The tax, which is under Westminster control, is payable at a rate of 40 per cent on the value of an estate above £325,000 or £650,000 for someone who is married or widowed. Despite the most recent figures showing that HMRC collected a record £5.1 billion from inheritance tax in the year up to May 2017, there is evidence that the Treasury is not receiving the amount it is entitled to.” – The Scotsman

News in Brief:

  • A columnist with a deadline, not a sinister conspiracy – Alex Massie, CapX
  • Leadership runners and riders: What should the Tories be looking for? – James Cullimore, Reaction
  • Britain should spend more on diplomacy in Africa and less on aid – Xan Smiley, The Spectator
  • Sir Patrick Stewart has got it all wrong, Star Trek is Brexit to the core – Lucy Bostick, Brexit Central
  • ‘Nazi hunts’ are a sign of our hyperventilating times – Douglas Murray, UnHerd