Labour antisemitism: Watson besieged by angry Corbynites calling for his resignation

‘Labour’s difficulties over anti-Semitism deepened as deputy leader Tom Watson faced a campaign to oust him for speaking out over the party’s handling of the row. Thousands of Twitter users mounted a #ResignWatson campaign aimed at Mr Watson following his warning that Labour faced a “vortex of eternal shame” unless it got to grips with the issue…Mr Watson broke ranks with his leader by calling for an end to disciplinary action against Ian Austin and Dame Margaret Hodge – MPs who have criticised Mr Corbyn – and the adoption in full of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and examples of anti-Semitism. That provoked a furious and occasionally abusive online campaign aimed at Mr Watson but the senior MP received support from a number of parliamentary colleagues. Mr Watson said: “It sometimes feels like people have been calling for me to stand down from day one but I never, ever thought I’d be facing demands to #resignwatson for standing up for people who are facing prejudice and hate.”’ – The Herald

  • Are Jews meant to be grateful for Corbyn’s less than reassuring words? – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • The Labour leader might be preparing to compromise on some of the disputed definition – Daily Mail
  • He wants to continue to allow the description of Israel itself as a “racist endeavour” – The Times
  • But he promoted an event featuring expelled Marc Wadsworth on Saturday – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • And his new video is dismissed as a ‘bland statement devoid of an apology’ – Daily Mail
  • He must act against this poison – Daily Express Leader
  • McDonnell’s Universal Basic Income would put people off work – Esther McVey, Daily Telegraph
  • A purge begins in Venezuela after ‘drone attack’ – Daily Mail
  • The socialism Corbyn so admires has brought the country to its knees – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Joshua McMullan on Comment: To effectively fight antisemitism, the Conservative Party must address its own troubled history on race relations

Jackson: If Theresa Major – sorry, May – wants to survive then she must ditch Chequers

‘Given that the Conservative faithful are by tradition loyal and even deferential to sitting Tory Prime Ministers, Theresa May’s minus 48 per cent approval rating published on the Conservative Home blog is startling. The abject capitulation of Chequers has hugely rankled and its duplicitous gestation more so…Yes, it’s back to the John Major future, circa 1994. Both Mrs May and he rose without trace, had few diehard supporters hitherto and exemplify the Peter principle, a management concept outlined in 1969, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their level of incompetence. Her gracious inaugural speech as PM on the steps of 10 Downing Street in July 2016 feels like another world, airbrushed like Mansion House, Florence and Lancaster House…In short, the prime minister has limited space to reconsider her options but that window is closing…She is weak and obdurate but can be ruthless when she needs to be…A volte face is the only way to extend her Premiership and avoid defenestration.’ – Stewart Jackson, The Times

  • Brussels considers watering down its backstop demands – FT
  • Whitehall warns the EU that refusing to negotiate would breach their own treaties – Daily Telegraph
  • Insulting Leave voters simply hardens their resolve – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Britain has rejected racism and the far right – Christian May, City AM
  • A shortage of care workers could force women out of work and into care roles, civil servants warn – Daily Telegraph
  • Women have always been treated as commodities – Libby Purves, The Times

Exports rise to a record level

‘Britain’s exports around the world boomed to a record £616 billion last year, official figures have revealed. Ministers last night heralded the growth surge, which shows the trade deficit is narrowing, as a vote of confidence in the country ahead of Brexit. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Britain was continuing to defy expectations two years on from the referendum vote to leave the EU. The figures showed that 55 per cent of exports in 2017 were to countries outside the European Union, with the US representing almost a fifth of sales. Overall exports of goods rose by 13 per cent to £339billion, while services increased by 7 per cent to £277billion. The total trade deficit – the difference between UK exports and imports – narrowed by £5billion to £25.8billion.’ – Daily Mail

  • We have nothing to fear from a world trade Brexit – Matt Ridley, The Times
  • It is imperative to prepare for No Deal – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Downing Street slaps down Fox’s pessimism about prospects of a deal – The Sun
  • Hammond warns of French attempt to stifle the City – FT
  • Farage cools talk of another attempt at Parliament – Daily Telegraph

Despite rift with Cameron, Gove went on “lads'” Wagner holiday with Osborne

‘David Cameron is set to disown him in his forthcoming book. A former Tory party chairman, Lord Feldman of Elstree, harangued him over Brexit. But Michael Gove still has one friend from the top ranks of government before the referendum: George Osborne. The environment secretary and the former chancellor were spotted having their own “lads’ holiday” to Bayreuth in Germany two weeks ago. The pair saw four Wagner operas on four consecutive afternoons, escaping the day after parliament broke up for summer. The relationship has survived the bitter Tory civil war triggered by the Brexit referendum of 2016, which left Mr Gove and Mr Cameron barely on speaking terms. It was reported yesterday that the former prime minister has told friends Mr Gove is mad.’ – The Times

Russian ambassador complains his embassy is ‘suffocated’ by lack of visas after Salisbury attack

‘Britain is continuing to squeeze Russia by refusing to issue visas for new diplomats arriving in London. The Kremlin’s ambassador to the UK has complained that his embassy is being “suffocated” as he can’t bring in new staff to replace departing ones. The move is being seen as continued retaliation for the novichok assassination attempt on ex-MI6 agent Sergei Skripal, which killed Dawn Sturgess by mistake last month. A total of 23 Russian spies were expelled from Britain after the initial nerve agent attack in March when Theresa May blamed Moscow for it. Russia’s Ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko complained: “They cannot work here forever, but those people cannot be replaced. For example, an employee, who was heading the press office, has left without any replacement.”‘ – The Sun

Williamson secures £800 million extra for defence, but is still short of his multi-year demands

‘The government is set to boost defence spending by about £800 million this year but has ruled out a new multi-year settlement, The Times understands. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, began a review of defence capabilities in January and is fighting behind the scenes for more cash for his department. The Ministry of Defence faces a deficit of at least £2 billion a year over the next decade on plans to buy warplanes, satellites, ships and submarines. The Commons defence select committee has said that the defence budget should rise from just over 2 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent, up to £20 billion a year. Mr Williamson is asking for up to £4 billion more a year. An £800 million cash injection was given to the MoD in March and a similar amount is being proposed by No 11 for this financial year, falling far short of demands.’ – The Times

Ross Clark: Lowering house prices is the right thing to do

‘The Conservatives are not blind to the problem but for the past eight years they have been trying to square an impossible circle: helping first-time buyers while simultaneously trying to boost the returns enjoyed by existing homeowners. The result was the Help-to-Buy scheme, which subsidises buyers while doing little to boost supply. The result, inevitably, has been even more house price inflation. While a lucky few buyers benefit, it has come at the cost of making housing even less affordable for the next generation. If the Conservatives want to see off Corbyn they will have to stop trying to please everyone and shamelessly take the side of those who want house prices to fall – or at least remain stable. But house prices will only stabilise once their inflation is treated just like other forms of inflation: as a negative phenomenon which makes life more difficult for millions of ordinary people.’ – Ross Clark, Daily Telegraph

  • Stamp Duty increases have made the housing market work worse than before – The Times Leader
  • Warning over green belt being ‘gobbled up’ – Daily Mail
  • 28 per cent of homes built on such land are affordable – The Times

>Today: Nat Wei on Comment: Like Peel versus the Corn Laws, the Conservative Party must use Brexit to slash the cost of living

Energy companies ‘ripping off’ consumers by £4 billion

‘Families on standard variable energy tariffs are effectively overpaying by £4billion a year, a damning study found. The figure, far higher than previous official estimates, reveals the rip-off tariffs are around £350 a year more expensive than the cheapest deals. A 2016 investigation by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) suggested households and businesses were overpaying by £1.4billion annually because they were on the expensive SVTs. That finding triggered a promise by Theresa May to impose a cap on the SVT – which is expected to cut these bills by around £100 a year when it comes into effect later this year. However, a new study based on official figures compiled by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) suggests the scale of the annual over payment has climbed to £4billion.’ – Daily Mail

  • Homes of the future could use their walls to store renewable energy – The Times
  • The state spends more with Amazon than it receives in tax – The Times
  • Probation bailouts cast shadow over outsourcing – FT
  • Virgin reaps almost £2 billion in NHS contracts – The Guardian
  • Big Four accountants allowed profits to influence their audit verdicts – The Times
  • Universal credit struggles to deal with fluctuating pay days – The Times

Judge rules that Scottish nationalism is a belief akin to religious faith, and should be protected by law

‘Judge Frances Eccles said that believing in a separate Scottish state should be protected under equality laws. She was ruling on a case brought by Chris McEleny, the Scottish National Party group leader on Inverclyde council, who claims that the Ministry of Defence, his employer, unfairly targeted him because of his support for independence. Mr McEleny was working at the MoD munitions site in Beith, North Ayrshire, when he ran for the SNP’s deputy leadership in 2016. He claimed that at about the time of a hustings he was told that his security clearance had been revoked and he was suspended. He said that he was interviewed by national security officials on subjects including his pro-independence views. He then quit, claiming that he was being unfairly targeted. After a preliminary hearing Judge Eccles ruled that Mr McEleny’s support for independence “has a sufficiently similar cogency to a religious belief . . . to qualify as a philosophical belief” and could therefore be a “protected characteristic” for claiming discrimination.’ – The Times


Duncan calls for ban on dog meat

‘It is still legal to kill dogs and eat them in the UK, as long as they are killed in a way that does not cause suffering. Though the practice has been taboo across much of Europe for a century, there is also no specific ban on buying or selling dog meat either. Dog lover and Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan last night dubbed a full ban “absolutely right”. Sir Alan, who owns a prize-winning cockapoo called Noodle, said: “There is no need in the modern world for this disgusting habit. We should nip it in the bud now to make sure the practice never takes off here. A civilised country is decent to animals, so let’s be fully decent here.” The chair of the All-party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group Lisa Cameron MP added: “I very much support a ban on dog meat consumption in the UK, and urge the Government to look at this as a matter of urgency. We must be culturally sensitive, but I do not believe the general public would approve of the practice at all.”’ – The Sun

News in Brief

  • Watch a Louisiana cop taser Ed Balls in the backside – Daily Mail
  • How Love Island healed Twitter – New Statesman
  • Spain is the populists’ new battleground – The Spectator
  • Hysteria over ‘robots taking our jobs’ is nonsensical – 1828
  • Elitist Britain is a closed shop – Unherd