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Raab casts doubt on Treasury Brexit forecasts

‘No 10 has ordered cabinet ministers to clear their diaries for September 13 to work on a plan to pump fresh cash into critical areas not yet covered by disaster plans. The instruction was sent on Friday morning after Philip Hammond reignited the cabinet’s Brexit civil war by warning that Britain would be £80bn worse off if the UK crashed out without a deal. The row escalated last night as Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, questioned the Treasury’s estimates. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Raab dismissed warnings of economic disaster, declaring: “I’m always chary of any forecast because most of them have been proved to be wrong.” Raab did not criticise Hammond personally, but said: “We need to treat some of the forecasts with a measure of caution”, before pointing out that estimates of UK GDP next year “have been revised up”.’ – Sunday Times

>Today: Simon Clarke on Comment: Let’s make Brexit bold, inspiring and green – not timid and apologetic

Survey of Tory associations finds membership rising in more than half

‘More than half of grassroots Tory parties have been flooded with new members — many to oppose Theresa May’s plans for Brexit — according to a survey of constituency bosses by The Sunday Times. A clear majority of seats held by cabinet ministers have seen an influx of Eurosceptic members, with the biggest rises in areas represented by “remain” supporters or those backing the prime minister’s Chequers plan, which hard-liners believe is a sell-out to Brussels. This newspaper approached 275 constituency parties. Of the 75 that responded, 42 said they had seen recent increases in membership, with many noting a change since the Chequers agreement, in which May secured cabinet support for a plan that meant Britain would continue to accept EU rules on goods. Membership had been in decline, roughly halving since 2002.’ – Sunday Times

>Yesterday: Suzy Davies on Comment: The Welsh Conservatives need to make much better use to our members

Hitchens: A prison crisis is almost upon us, and we have no-one to blame but ourselves

‘Thousands of people who would have been doing proper porridge in 1961 roam free, frightening you and me, and not fearing authority. And because they don’t fear authority, nobody else does either, and the number of criminals grows far faster than we can build new jails. In 1961, criminals were quite likely to end up in jail for a second offence, a fact which frightened many away from crime. Now, most criminals (except homicides, and a few other very violent offenders) do not even meet authority until they have committed dozens of unrecorded, undetected crimes in areas where the police rarely bother to go. Even when they are detected, it can take years of empty cautions, unpaid fines, laughable community punishments, and suspended sentences that are never activated, before they are actually locked up. By the time they get to prison, they have such total contempt for authority that the safest thing to do is to leave them alone, and turn a blind eye to their use of drugs, and let them out as fast as possible. So this is what we do.’ – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

  • Loss of managers blamed for problems – The Observer
  • Number of bobbies on the beat falls by a third in three years – Sunday Times
  • West End landlords consider funding a private police force – Sunday Times
  • Another fatal stabbing in London – The Observer

Downing Street housing adviser backs forcing landowners to give huge discounts on their property

‘Toby Lloyd, who was hired by Mrs May in April, called for an overhaul of compulsory purchase laws months before his appointment to Downing Street. Writing on the website of Shelter, Mr Lloyd, then head of policy at the housing and homelessness charity, said the government should be able to buy up land at its “true market value”, rather than current rates, which generally include a speculative uplift based on planning permission the site could gain for future development. “The current value of land is inflated – because its value is dictated by the wildest dreams of the landowner and enforced through legal processes … We need to reset the price of land to its true market value,” he wrote in November. “That means reforming the compulsory purchase laws … which ultimately determine the market price of land.”‘ – Sunday Telegraph

Hancock wants to replace ‘archaic’ paper prescriptions

‘A fresh attempt to consign NHS paper prescriptions to history was launched last night amid claims that the notoriously bad writing of doctors can cost lives. Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to phase out ‘archaic’ handwritten ‘scripts’ in favour of digital versions, and claims that the move could save the NHS £300 million by 2021. But there are also suggestions that the switch will save lives because going digital will halve the number of errors. About one in 12 prescriptions is thought to contain a mistake and the World Health Organisation has said that such errors are a leading cause of death during treatment. Mr Hancock said that more and more GP surgeries had switched to electronic prescribing, with over 60 per cent of prescriptions now done digitally compared to one per cent in 2010.’ – Mail on Sunday

Javid warns Interpol of ‘abuse’ of its rules by hostile states

‘Sajid Javid has urged Interpol to prevent the “abuse” of its network by states targeting dissidents, following the arrest a prominent British critic of Vladimir Putin at the behest of Moscow. The Home Secretary intervened after Bill Browder, a campaigner against Russian human rights abuses, was arrested by Spanish police in response to a Russian order distributed using the policing body’s databases. The Sunday Telegraph has learned that Mr Javid’s officials raised formal concerns with the body earlier this summer after Mr Browder’s detention in Madrid while preparing to give evidence about corrupt money flowing into the country. His intervention follows similar concerns raised publicly by Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, last year after Turkey used an Interpol arrest warrant to detain a German writer in Spain.’ – Sunday Telegraph

  • Dutch-registered ship accused of plundering British Jutland war graves – Mail on Sunday
  • German politician proposes national service for refugees – Mail on Sunday
  • The Tebbit test isn’t relevant now, says Tebbit – The Indian Express

Corbyn is subject to an official complaint over anti-semitism scandal

‘The Labour Against Anti-Semitism group has lodged an official complaint against Jeremy Corbyn after footage of him emerged saying British Zionists ‘do not understand English irony’. Speaking in 2013 at a London conference promoted by Hamas’s propaganda website, the now Labour leader said British ‘Zionists’ did not want to study history or understand irony ‘despite having lived in this country all their lives’, MailOnline exclusively revealed last week. It has triggered a formal complaint from the anti-Semitism campaign group, that claims the video clip is anti-Semitic and ‘brings the party into disrepute’…The complaint comes as the blogger Mr Corbyn claimed ‘didn’t understand British irony’, Richard Millett, told MailOnline he knew him at the time and was aware he was Jewish.’ – Mail on Sunday

Cable plans to retire – and might change rules to allow his successor to be a non-MP

‘Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, will signal next month that he plans to stand down before the next general election — clearing the way for a successor who is not an MP. The veteran politician, 75, will announce on September 7 that he wants to change party rules in an attempt to create a mass membership movement and allow a non-MP to take charge. Cable will say that if there is a snap general election in 2019 as a result of Brexit he will fight it as leader but senior party sources say he will resign before the next scheduled vote in June 2022. The Sunday Times has seen messages between two senior Lib Dems about how Cable intends to retire, with one predicting that he will be gone by spring.’ – Sunday Times

  • The Lib Dems’ twin problems of relevance and credibility are not going away – Sunday Times Leader
  • ‘Rising star’ of the Green Party used her father as agent even while he was facing child abuse charges – Sunday Times
  • Salmond threatens to take Scottish government to court as harassment allegation details leak – Sunday Times

McCain dies

‘U.S. Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who ran unsuccessfully for president as a self-styled maverick Republican in 2008 and became a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, died on Saturday, his office said. He was 81…His family had announced on Friday that McCain was discontinuing further cancer treatment. A statement from his office on Saturday said: ‘Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28 p.m. on August 25, 2018. With the senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years’…’My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years,’ Cindy McCain wrote.’ – Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: John McCain, hero of the free world

10 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 26th August 2018

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