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Hammond accused of ‘undermining Brexit strategy’…

“Philip Hammond has been accused of undermining Theresa May’s Brexit strategy after warning on Thursday that leaving the European Union without a deal will have “large fiscal consequences” for Britain. Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary, had attempted to play down the risk of a no-deal Brexit as part of a choreographed Government strategy, saying that the “vast majority” of consumers will not even notice the impact. However within hours of Mr Raab’s speech Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, published a letter to the Treasury select committee warning that a no-deal Brexit could increase borrowing by £80 billion a year by 2033. The Telegraph understands that Mr Hammond published the letter without clearance from Downing Street, who were infuriated by his intervention.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Raab raises spectre of shortages and expense – The Times
  • Brussels claims UK will ‘fall apart’ without deal – Daily Express
  • Have no fear of ‘no deal’, Rees-Mogg tells Tories – The Times
  • DUP MP backs Raab’s advice to Ulster businesses – News Letter

More:

  • Lorry drivers warn of ‘complete and utter chaos’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Companies face ‘red tape storm’ without a deal – FT
  • Business chiefs give plans a lukewarm welcome – The Times
  • Online shoppers and holidaymakers face higher credit card charges – Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

>Today: ToryDiary: The Treasury donkey

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: “Not what we want. Not what we expect. But we must be ready.” Raab’s speech on No Deal. Full Text.

…as Lidington dismisses talk of delaying Brexit

“There is unlikely to be a Brexit deal until the end of the year, a Cabinet minister suggested today. Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said he was not surprised by Michel Barnier playing down the prospects of agreement before November. He said: ‘I was Europe minister for six years, I have seen enough of these negotiations to know that these deadlines slip. ‘I think there definitely will need to be an agreement by the end of 2018.’ However, speaking during a briefing with reporters in Edinburgh, Mr Lidington added that he did not believe the March date for Britain’s exit from Europe would be pushed back. ‘Article 50 is a matter of EU law, it is not a matter of political judgment,’ he said.” – Daily Mail

  • Don’t hoard medicines, urges Hancock – The Guardian
  • Leading Brexiteers blocked from Tory membership – The Times
  • Brussels says UK will need to pay for access to security databases – The Sun

Comment:

  • We can make WTO terms work to Britain’s advantage – Lee Rotherham, Daily Telegraph
  • Eurosceptics lie low as no-deal pressure mounts – Francis Elliott, The Times
  • Beware a scare-mongering frenzy over no-deal Brexit – Bill Jamieson, The Scotsman

>Today: Steve Bell in Comment: I’m a former President of the National Convention. And I oppose Chequers. It’s Brexit in name only.

Fox lands new trade deal with China

“Britain’s dairy industry gained a multimillion pound boost yesterday when a landmark deal was signed with China to accept more UK products. The superpower has approved imports including cream, yogurt and milk powder which are made in the UK but use milk from other countries. The agreement, which is worth an estimated £240million over five years for the UK dairy industry, was formally sealed by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox at a meeting of the UKChina Joint Economic and Trade Commission in Beijing. Dr Fox, whose department works to boost UK global trade in the run-up to Brexit and beyond, said: “This is my fourth visit to China this year and I’m delighted to see the completion of this deal, bringing significant benefits to dairy producers across the UK at a time when British food and drink exports are at a record high.”” – Daily Express

Gibb suffers ‘car crash’ interview trying to explain new GCSE grading system

“Sweeping GCSE reforms in England have seen traditional A* to G grades replaced with a 9 to 1 system, with 9 the highest mark. But not everyone understands them yet, with MP Nick Gibb struggling to explain the new system to LBC radio host Nick Ferrari today. Mr Ferrari spent an awkward two minutes of his show trying to understand what has changed, with a grade 7-9 now being roughly equivalent to the old A-A*. Mr Gibb also told him later on in the show that ‘9 is the top’, leading Mr Ferrari to reply: ‘Well, respectfully, I’d worked that out, thank you.’ But Mr Ferrari struggled to understand some of the other grades, asking Mr Gibb: ‘If 6 is a B, and 4 is a C, then what the hell’s 5?'” – Daily Mail

  • Critics condemn ‘harder exams’ after grades rise – The Times

Campaigners press Gauke and Stewart over forecast rise in prison population

“Campaigners have called on the Ministry of Justice to promote alternatives to custody after official projections predicted the prison population in England and Wales would grow by 3.8 per cent, to 86,500, within five years. The prison population in England and Wales has gradually declined this year, as efforts to divert offenders to other forms of punishment and rehabilitation achieved some success. But new forecasts published on Thursday predicted that 3,400 more people would be in prison by March 2023 compared with the 83,165 in custody as of this week. The MoJ attributed the expected increase in part to new sentencing guidelines for the possession of knives and other blades. The forecasts also predicted an increase in the numbers of people recalled to prison for breaking the terms of their early release… Both David Gauke, justice secretary, and Rory Stewart, prisons minister, have vowed action to cut the number of short-sentence prisoners and improve conditions.” – FT

Hunt rejects calls for inquiry into UK’s non-intervention in Syria

“Jeremy Hunt has rejected a call from the foreign affairs select committee to set up an independent inquiry into the consequences and reasons for the British government’s refusal to intervene in the Syrian war. In a letter to the committee, the foreign secretary – who voted for UK military intervention in 2013 – said no purpose could be served by holding an inquiry, adding that the circumstances that led MPs to vote to reject military actionwere well understood. But he said “we may have emboldened the regime and encouraged other countries to intervene more forcefully on the side of the Syrian regime” by not intervening. Hunt said he also agreed that decisions not to intervene militarily warranted discussion, since they can have as serious consequences as a decision to become involved.” – The Guardian

Jenrick attacks Bank’s call to scrap copper coins

“The Treasury launched a withering slap down of the Bank of England, telling Sun readers the penny is “going nowhere”. After the BofE launched a fresh bid to see beloved coppers scrapped from circulation, the Exchequer Minister blasted them as of touch with Brits. Robert Jenrick told The Sun: “Our coins are more than units of currency, they are symbols of our identity and links to our past and we appreciate the attachment many feel to the penny.” He spoke out during a visit to the Royal Mint in a Llantrisant, Wales after the Bank – who are meant to only advise Ministers on notes – said any economic hit from scrapping 1p and 2p coins would be minimal. The Bank of England issued a blog post on Wednesday claiming there are very few products priced at ending in 99p.” – The Sun

Katy Balls: The ageing Tories are a zombie party, but have bigger problems

“Where the Tories once looked at Momentum and Corbyn and laughed, now they look at them with a mix of envy and fear. On the one hand, the party would love to have the energy of a mass movement behind it. But with that comes risk – as we saw this week when William Hague touched on fears that the Tory party could be vulnerable to a sudden influx of new recruits – “the very thing that happened to Labour in 2015” – at the Ukip end of the spectrum, recruits who would try to change the party’s direction of travel. If the Tories want to keep their membership flourishing in the decades to come on their terms, they need to work out what their message is. Is their party the party of Brexit? Are they the party of personal freedom? Do they want to be the party of fiscal responsibility or the party of home ownership? Right now, no one seems sure what they’re about.” – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Who does the Conservative Party belong to?

Berger attacks Corbyn over antisemitic remarks

“A Jewish Labour MP has attacked Jeremy Corbyn after he accused British Zionists of having ‘no sense of irony’ despite having ‘lived in Britain all of their lives’. The former shadow minister for public health Luciana Berger lashed out over the 2013 clip, filmed at a London conference which was promoted by the propaganda website of terror group Hamas. Making her most outspoken attack on the Labour leader to date, she said she felt ‘unwelcome’ in her own party after his ‘inexcusable comments’. Two Labour MPs also broke ranks to show their support for the MP Liverpool Wavertree, who is a fierce critic of anti-Semitism. MP for Newcastle North Catherine McKinnell said she was ‘standing right with’ Berger and MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson tweeted ‘Right beside you’.” – Daily Mail

  • British Zionists don’t grasp irony, claimed Labour leader – The Times
  • Corbyn accused Israel of genocide at rally – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • I was willing to give him a chance… then I saw him in the flesh – William Sutcliffe, Daily Telegraph

Tech experts criticise Labour’s plans for ‘BBC tax’

“Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to fund journalism with a windfall tax on the likes of Facebook, Google and Netflix has been blasted by technology experts. The Labour leader wants the tech giants to fund public interest journalism – and also subsidise the license fee to help fund the BBC. But experts said he needed ‘better ideas, saying they are already contributing to the Cairncross Review of press sustainability in the UK. During a speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival, he said the fund could be paid for through a content sharing and advertising revenue agreement with Google, similar to that agreed in France and Belgium in 2013. He said that if that is not possible, the option of a windfall tax on the companies should be looked at, he added.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbyn vows to end ‘elite control’ of the media – The Times
  • Labour leader wants newspaper editors to be elected – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Momentum begin press training for activists – The Guardian
  • Proposal for state-owned rival to Facebook mocked – The Sun
  • Opposition accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over call for BBC to publish ‘social class’ of employees – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour’s well-heeled class warriors – The Times

Comment:

  • Plans show the Labour leader’s warped sense of social mobility – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn has no right to judge my background – Ed Conway, The Times
  • Labour would force the news to push their left-wing agenda – Mick Hume, The Sun
  • Proposals to ‘save’ the press reveal true scale of Corbyn’s vision – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: Where is the cutting edge to the BBC’s business coverage?

Salmond to sue Scottish Government over sexual assault allegations

“Alex Salmond is at the centre of extraordinary allegations that he sexually assaulted two staff members while he was First Minister. Mr Salmond is accused of carrying out the assaults at his official residence in 2013 while he was still in office. It was reported last night that the allegations, which arose from an internal Scottish Government inquiry, had been passed on to Police Scotland. However, the force said it was ‘not going to comment on whether an inquiry is ongoing’. Mr Salmond said he now plans to take the Scottish Government to court over the allegations, which he described last night as ‘patently ridiculous’… The 63-year-old last night issued a statement denying the accusations, adding he had launched a judicial review challenging the legality of the Scottish Government’s investigation.” – Daily Mail

Turnbull to leave Australian parliament after being ousted

“Malcolm Turnbull has left a ticking time bomb for Australia’s new prime minister Scott Morrison that will explode when he leaves Parliament. Mr Turnbull confirmed he would soon be quitting Parliament for good, forcing a crucial by-election in his wealthy Sydney eastern suburbs seat of Wentworth and putting at risk the government’s wafer-thin majority. Mr Morrison became Australia’s fifth prime minister in five years on Friday afternoon, after a week of bitter factional infighting within the Liberals which saw Malcolm Turnbull overthrown after less than three years in the job. In his first speech as Australia’s 30th prime minister shortly after 4.20pm Mr Morrison, the former treasurer, declared he would be a leader for workers.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Terry Barnes in International: So you think May has problems? They’re nothing compared to the knifings and plots that engulf Malcolm Turnbull

News in Brief:

  • The UN’s idea of UK poverty is all wrong – Tim Worstall, CapX
  • This autumn could be a turning point in Macron’s presidency – Walter Ellis, Reaction
  • Salmond denies sexual assault allegations – Stephen Daisley, The Spectator
  • May’s Chequers plan will prove fatal to British fishing – Owen Paterson MP, Brexit Central
  • Is Ireland falling out of love with the Pope? – Catherine Pepinster, UnHerd

6 comments for: Newslinks for Friday 24th August 2018

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