Corbyn ‘shared platform’ with leader of group which murdered British rabbi

“Jeremy Corbyn shared a platform with a senior official from a terrorist group that murdered a British rabbi in a Synagogue attack a month later. Mr Corbyn stood alongside Maher al-Taher, the leader-in-exile of the proscribed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at the wreath-laying ceremony in Tunisia in 2014. He and Mr Corbyn, who became Labour leader the following year, were invited to attend the event with the official Palestinian Authority delegation. A month later Mr Taher’s group claimed responsibility for an axe attack at a Jerusalem synagogue in which four rabbis were killed during morning prayers. A statement on the group’s website said it was “a natural response to the ongoing racist policies and crimes of the occupation”.” – The Times

  • Brown refuses to say Labour leader is fit to be Prime Minister – Daily Mail
  • Corbyn says he was ‘standing up for democracy’ with Muslim Brotherhood hand gesture – Daily Mail
  • Opposition prepare for compromise on antisemitism code – The Guardian
  • MP suggests leader could be ousted next month – The Sun
  • Lavish Tunisian hotel raises fresh doubts over failure to declare it – FT

Lord Sheikh face Tory probe after Halfon complaint

“Senior Tories are demanding an investigation into Lord Sheikh for attending the controversial conference in Tunisia at the heart of the Jeremy Corbyn wreath laying scandal. MPs Robert Halfon and Zac Goldsmith have lodged a formal complaint with the party saying the event in 2014 was ‘disgraceful’. In a letter to Conservative HQ, the politicians wrote: ‘We cannot, as a Party, rightly and robustly criticise the Leader of the Opposition for his attendance at this conference while allowing the attendance of a Conservative Peer at the same event to pass without comment or complaint. ‘To do so would be to indulge in hypocrisy and double standards. In our opinion, Lord Sheikh’s attendance at this conference was hugely disappointing and raises significant questions that need to be answered.'” – Daily Mail

  • Tories ‘want peer expelled’ – The Times

‘Nightmare’ for May as Johnson plans conference comeback speech

“Boris Johnson will make his comeback at Tory party conference next month – just as Brexit negotiations reach their climax. The former Foreign Secretary has agreed to give a keynote speech at a fringe event during the four-day gathering in Birmingham, the Daily Mail has learnt. His decision to speak comes after party chiefs last week launched disciplinary proceedings against him over his comments on the burka. The intervention will prove a nightmare for Theresa May as she attempts to unite the party faithful around her Chequers plan… Mr Johnson’s comeback will snatch attention from Mrs May at the critical moment. Downing Street had hoped the Prime Minister and her Cabinet would be able to use the conference to sell her Brexit plan directly to party members. So far many rank-and-file Tories have shown reluctance to get behind the proposals.” – Daily Mail

  • Bookmakers slash odds on former mayor becoming next Tory leader – Daily Express
  • Call for ex-Foreign Secretary to repay cost of Afghanistan trip – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: The gathering wait for a Johnson burka inquiry decision

Javid attacks May for blocking police pay rise

Sajid Javid accused Theresa May of making the “wrong decision” after she blocked a 3 per cent pay rise for the police, The Telegraph has learned. In a letter to Downing Street, the Home Secretary criticised the Prime Minister for rejecting an official recommendation on increasing pay for officers of all ranks. He said that he had been “strongly in favour” of the recommendation and warned the failure to accept it means officers will receive “only a small 1 per cent pay rise in reality”. On Tuesday Mrs May hailed the “formidable courage” and professionalism of the police and other emergency services who “ran towards” danger in the Westminster attack. Since his appointment earlier this year Mr Javid has repeatedly clashed with the Prime Minister over policing and her migration policy, including calling for more front-line officers.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Police Federation accuse the Prime Minister of ‘stabbing officers in the back’ – The Times

Brokenshire backs calls for mandatory longer-term tenancies

“Millions of Brits who rent will be given a right by law to three-year tenancies under a radical shake-up approved by Ministers. The Sun can reveal that Communities Secretary James Brokenshire is backing calls to make three-year terms mandatory across England and Wales despite fierce opposition from private landlords. A formal decision is due to be announced by the Government next week. Scotland implemented ‘indefinite’ tenancies last year… Ministers proposed three-year tenancies in July but said one option was to allow landlords a “voluntary” opt-out. Another was to offer tax breaks to encourage landlords to adopt them. A move to mandatory three-year deals – while allowing tenants a break-clause if they want a shorter deal – will delight campaigners.” – The Sun

  • As a social landlord, I want a proper plan to tackle homelessness – Alan Fraser, The Guardian
  • Party’s actions on behalf of working people need to be louder – Robert Halfon MP, The Sun


Experts warn that May’s opt-out donation policy may not boost organ transplants

“Theresa May’s plan to make organ donations automatic by 2020 is doomed to failure, according to new research. The “opt-out” register is unlikely to increase the number of organs donated for lifesaving transplants and could possibly even lead to a reduction. Instead, donors should be encouraged to actively choose to “opt-in” to ensure they genuinely wish to donate their organs, say scientists. Three studies involving almost 1,300 US and European men and women aged 18 to 72 showed that a donor’s underlying wish to donate was perceived to be stronger if they had opted in. Organ donation will be made automatic under plans backed by the government. Ministers believe that the move could save 200 extra lives every year. People will have to opt out of having their organs donated when they die under the terms of a presumed consent scheme.” – The Times

Brexit: Brussels claims British spies are bugging talks…

“Brexit negotiations took a bizarre turn last night after claims British security services are bugging Brussels officials. EU officials raised concerns after the UK obtained the contents of an unpublished slide show presentation within hours of a meeting, the Daily Telegraph reported. A senior member of Michel Barnier’s negotiating team raised the issue at a meeting on July 13, it was claimed. Sabine Weyand reportedly told the European Council’s Article 50 Working Party that ‘it could not be excluded’ that British intelligence had penetrated their meetings. The claims are likely to be seen as a bid to undermine Britain’s attempts to present itself as an honest broker as talks intensify. Last night a senior Government source denied the ‘crazy’ claims outright.” – Daily Mail

  • EU rebuffs idea of escalating talks to leaders’ summit – The Guardian
  • Details of EU meeting which blew away UK strategy were ‘suppressed’ before Chequers – Daily Telegraph
  • May told to come clean about post-Brexit immigration plans – The Sun
  • Daily Mail prepares for softer Brexit tone under pro-EU editor – FT

>Yesterday: Peter Lilley in Comment: Dear Agony Aunt – our friend Theresa has a problem with Michel. Can you help?

…as Hunt urges other countries not to leave the EU…

“Brexit is “challenging, divisive and difficult” and Britain does not want other countries to quit the EU, Jeremy Hunt has admitted. On a visit to Denmark yesterday the new foreign secretary struck a notably different tone from his predecessor, Boris Johnson. “I would not seek to tell Denmark what they should do,” he told the country’s TV2 network. However, he added: “You can see from the kind of debates that we have had in the UK that this is a very challenging and divisive and difficult process … The UK wants the EU to be successful. We want stability and prosperity next door to us. We want to find an outcome that works for the EU and keeps the EU together. We have no strategic desire for ‘Dexit’ or for any outcome that sees other countries leave the EU.” Mr Hunt is on a three-day trip to Finland, Latvia, Denmark and the Netherlands to try to sell Theresa May’s Chequers plan. Negotiations resume in Brussels today on the Irish border.” – The Times

  • Foreign Secretary warns that no deal risks a sharp fall in the pound – FT
  • Fury at Hunt’s ‘fear talk’ – The Sun


  • Burt faces backlash over bid for second referendum – Daily Express
  • Grayling has no credible plan for no deal, warn hauliers – Daily Telegraph

…and RBS faces backlash from MPs for threatening to pull millions out of the UK

“The boss of RBS faced a furious backlash last night after he suggested the bank could begin moving ‘tens of billions of pounds’ of business out of the UK because of fears over Brexit. Chief executive Ross McEwan said the bank – which was bailed out with £45billion of taxpayer money during the financial crisis – could not afford to wait much longer to see what deal Theresa May agreed with the EU. He said the Edinburgh-based firm would step up moves to transfer corporate clients to its Amsterdam office because a ‘hard Brexit’ now appeared more likely. MPs condemned the comments as ‘disgraceful’, given that the bank remains almost two-thirds state-owned following its bail-out. Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘We ought to be taking tens of billions of pounds out of RBS, shouldn’t we?'” – Daily Mail

  • Bank must put up posters showing it ranks worst for customer service – The Times


  • Brown claims a million Labour Leave voters have changed their minds – Daily Telegraph

Iain Duncan Smith: Ignore Project Fear, we do not face a ‘cliff edge’

“The Project Fear claim that the EU will carry out hostile non-cooperation with the UK is ridiculous, too. First, the EU’s constitution requires it “to establish an area of good neighbourliness” with bordering countries. Secondly, the WTO treaty forbids discrimination against trading partners. And thirdly, the new Trade Facilitation Treaty commits members to facilitating trade, not obstructing it. After all, it’s not as if the UK wants to do something no other country in the world is doing. An informed and impartial look would show that there is in reality no such thing as a “no deal”, “cliff edge” or “crashing out”. It does not mean shortages of products, still less some kind of national failure. If the EU rejects a free-trade deal with the UK, what is described as no deal is a process where we move to a different deal: trading under WTO rules.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Don’t worry, we can get a no-deal Brexit deal – Iain Martin, The Times
  • To get the best deal, prepare for no deal – David Paton, Daily Telegraph
  • Will a second referendum be just another Brexit fantasy? – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

University applications fall to lowest level since 2012

Shield“Teenagers receiving their A-level results this morning will have places on more than 30,000 university courses to choose from as the number of applicants fell to its lowest level since tuition fees trebled in 2012. Just over half a million school leavers have sought places, presenting universities with a challenge to fill their courses. A watchdog has already warned them against offering places to those who lack the academic ability to cope. If students miss their target by one or even two grades, the chances are high that they will still be offered a place. Universities are heavily dependent on tuition fees for funding. Most British students pay £27,750 over three years, leading to significant commercial pressures to fill courses and maximise numbers. Clearing is also expected to be frenetic, both for those who have failed to get into their university of choice and for those seeking to trade up to go somewhere better.” – The Times

  • University isn’t the only option for A Level students – Esther McVey, The Sun
  • Obsession with sending people to university is holding us back – John Caudwell, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Sir Graham Brady in Comment: Let technical and vocational schools fulfil their potential by allowing them to select

>Yesterday: John Bald in Local Government: It’s time to boost the Further Education sector

Proxy voting to be allowed in the Commons

“Proxy voting is to be allowed in the Commons after the pre-summer outcry over a new mum being unable to have her say during a crunch Brexit debate. Under a paternal leave motion, parliamentarians not physically able to vote will be able to nominate a colleague on their behalf. Ministers are drawing up a motion to be put forward in September when MPs return from recess. It followed a row earlier in the summer when Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis broke a pairing arrangement with Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson who was away on maternity leave. Instead of abstain as agreed, Mr Lewis voted with the Government although he later apologised claiming it was an error. The proxy voting plans are likely to be supported across the board by most parties.” – The Sun

Khan wants power to cap Uber drivers

“London mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the Transport Secretary to give him the power to limit the number of Uber drivers in London following a similar move in New York. Mr Khan wrote to Chris Grayling stating that the ‘huge increase’ in mini cabs in the English capital was causing increased congestion, pollution and leaving many drivers struggling to earn enough money to support themselves and their families. He stated that the number of private hire drivers in London had almost doubled from 60,000 in 2011 to 110,000. Last week, New York approved a cap on the number of licences for ride-hailing cars, which will impact app-based services such as Uber and Lyft. Mr Khan described this as a ‘necessary step’.” – Daily Mail

  • Tory mayoral shortlist lacks big-name candidates – FT


  • Labour councillor who voted twice receives police caution – Daily Mail

Swinney faces threat of boycott over controversial exams

“John Swinney has been presented with an ultimatum of scrapping the SNP’s controversial primary one tests or facing a mass boycott. Upstart Scotland, a literacy charity, is distributing 30,000 postcards urging parents with children starting P1 this week to sign up to withdrawing from the literacy and numeracy assessments. Parents whose children are starting primary school this month are being urged to sign the postcards, fill in their child’s name and send them to the head teacher. The initiative is part of a joint campaign by children’s charities, parents’ groups and teaching unions to force the Education Minister to dump the scheme. It won support from the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, which have united in demanding that the tests be scrapped.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Mackay accused of ‘passing the buck’ on private school tax changes – The Scotsman
  • Majority of Scottish voters ‘feel ignored by UK ministers’ – The Guardian

Source close to Paisley denies claims he intends to resign

“A source close to Ian Paisley camp has firmly denied speculation that he may resign to halt a formal petition which could unseat him as MP for North Antrim. According to one media report Mr Paisley may stand down when Parliament resumes in three weeks. The move would halt the ongoing petition of recall, in which his electorate can force a by-election for the seat if 10%, or 7,543, of them sign it. Such a move could bring forward any by-election by two weeks and could allow the MP to participate in some critical knife-edge Brexit votes he might otherwise miss. Mr Paisley is favourite to retain the seat in light of his 20,500 majority in 2017. The recall petition was triggered after he failed to declare luxury family holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government and was banned from Westminster for 30 days. However, a well-placed source close to the Paisley camp rubbished speculation he would resign. “That story is a bum steer,” they said.” – News Letter

News in Brief:

  • Genoa bridge disaster shows tragic Italy is falling apart – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Britain’s technical education system needs a radical reboot – Ben Ramanauskas, CapX
  • How Britain ended up being run by eloquent chancers – James Ball and Andrew Greenway, The Spectator
  • Trade expert: We can’t ‘harden’ Brexit later if we agree to Chequers – David Scullion, Brexit Central
  • The inhuman politics of artificial intelligence – Jon Cruddas, UnHerd