Johnson’s standing with grassroots members soars after row

“Johnson’s relationship with the grassroots, many of whom have long regarded him as their future leader of choice, took a hammering when he became foreign secretary and, for the most part, fell into line behind Theresa May on Brexit. But after he resigned over the Chequers deal his popularity has apparently soared. A ConservativeHome survey of party members last week put him top, with almost a third of respondents backing him as their preferred choice. He last led the table in March 2016, just after he came out for Leave. Mark Wallace, executive editor of ConservativeHome, told the Guardian: “The old love affair between Boris Johnson and the Tory grassroots dwindled over time – the battle with Gove after the referendum, and the tribulations of the Foreign Office, took their toll. Tory members learned to be somewhat sceptical of him. So his rising support among the grassroots comes despite that scepticism, which is a measure of quite how unpopular the Chequers fudge is.” – The Guardian

  • Tory chiefs accused of bottling out by not disciplining MP – The Sun
  • Former mayor ‘right about burqa’, says leading imam – The Times
  • Warsi accuses Johnson of ‘making hate crime more likely’ – The Guardian
  • Davidson compares religious dress to crucifixes – Daily Telegraph
  • Tories ‘at war’ over ex-Foreign Secretary’s remarks – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Where bungling the burka row has got the Conservative Party. Damned if it investigates Johnson. And damned if it doesn’t.

Iain Martin: Downing Street must kill Johnson off now if May is to survive

“She may win that confidence vote, just, but it is unclear how many votes would count as a decisive win or a moral defeat leading to a demand from the party establishment for her resignation. “It’s a secret ballot,” says more than one anti-May minister, when asked how they would vote. In that scenario, Johnson will have his moment and others such as Sajid Javid, the home secretary, must decide whether to run or join forces with him. That is why the Tory high command is battling like mad to put out fires. Right now, the firefighting centres on stopping Johnson because he is the biggest threat. They know that even if he did not win he could, in losing a leadership challenge, precipitate a change of prime minister mid-Brexit.” – The Times

  • No, these comments were not a plot to topple the Prime Minister – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Johnson is auditioning to lead a grim, insular Britain – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • The burqa’s defenders do Muslim women like me no favours – Suad Farah, Daily Telegraph
  • Angry at Boris? I just rage for the women trapped by the burqa – Ruth Dudley Edwards, Daily Mail
  • It’s a fiction to suggest there was no Islamist schools plot – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph


  • Boris-bashing politicians are ducking questions which need asking – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “Difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations”

Conservatives aim for half their candidates to be female

“Conservatives have set out an ambition for women to make up half of its list of approved candidates for Westminster elections. The 50 per cent figure was announced by party chairman Brandon Lewis, who said that the party needed to ‘do more’ to make sure its gender balance better reflects the society it seeks to represent. Women currently make up 21 per cent of Conservative MPs, compared to 45 per cent for Labour. A proposal last year by the Commons Women and Equalities Committee to set a 45 per cent female representation target for Parliament and local councils was rejected by the Government. Mr Lewis made clear he was not imposing a quota or target or the introduction of all-female shortlists, and said that local Conservative Associations would continue to have the final say in selections.” – Daily Mail

  • Party faces ‘cash-for-access’ charge over conference – The Times

May’s public sector wage hike criticised

“Theresa May’s public sector wage hikes have left tens of thousands of public sector workers with LESS take home pay. Experts last night said nurses and teachers were among those facing huge disappointment despite increases billed as the “biggest for a decade” by the Government just weeks ago. The pay hikes have moved certain workers into a higher pension contribution band – meaning the state takes more towards their retirement. Insurer Royal London said an employee on £26,500 who gets a 2 per cent pay hike could have as much as £146 a year less in their pocket to spend because their pension contributions move from 7.1 per cent to 9.3 per cent. One NHS source said a number of young nurses were shocked to see their most recent pay packet go DOWN. Others had seen an increase of as little as 60p a month.” – The Sun

  • Civil service unions take legal action over pay – The Guardian

Javid declines to fly the flag at border posts

“Sajid Javid has refused a request to have the Union Jack flown at all border posts as people leave and arrive in Britain. The Home Secretary was asked to make it mandatory for the flag to be displayed at ports and airports, demonstrating national pride as the country leaves the EU. Janice Atkinson, an independent MEP for the South East, said it would ‘provide a warm and welcome sign of national embrace for returning and departing UK citizens and act as a reminder that they belong to a patriotic, decent and proud country’. In a letter to Mr Javid, she wrote that the UK should follow other countries that fly their national flags at ports of entry as a matter of routine.” – Daily Mail

Mordaunt orders officials to spend aid on Overseas Territories in future

“Foreign aid cash will be used to help overseas territories rebuild after devastating hurricanes. The Government is prepared to defy international rules that stop development budgets being directed at countries deemed too wealthy. It meant the Treasury had to find cash from outside the £13 billion aid budget when UK territories were wrecked last autumn by hurricanes Irma and Maria. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has ordered her officials to fund disaster relief from her budget for such countries in future. She said: ‘The public support the tremendous work our armed forces and UK aid do to help people in dire need, especially in countries which have a close connection to the UK. It is ridiculous that a country which had been flattened by natural disaster shouldn’t qualify for aid as the day before it was doing quite well.'” – Daily Mail

Zahawi calls for boarding schools to admit more children in care

“Private schools should provide boarding places for thousands of children from the care system to boost their life chances, an education minister has urged. Nadhim Zahawi called for more independent schools to give places to vulnerable youngsters in children’s homes and with foster carers. It follows a pilot which saw Norfolk County Council place 52 vulnerable or ‘at risk’ children in boarding schools over a ten-year period. The council found that nearly two-thirds came off the ‘at risk’ register after three years, while GCSE grades improved substantially when compared with the wider cohort of ‘at risk’ children. Leading private schools such as Eton and Rugby have already signed up to offer places. But Mr Zahawi said more should do so to prove they help society and were worthy of their charitable status, which gives them tax breaks.” – Daily Mail

  • Ministers must not backtrack on their promise to children – Peter Wanless, The Times

>Today: James Hockney in Local Government: Too often it’s not the bullies being excluded from school – but the victims

Ministers investigate ‘failure’ of Clegg’s parental leave scheme…

“Ministers have launched an inquiry into the failure of a shared parental leave scheme aimed at encouraging new fathers to stay at home with their children. It follows new evidence that only a tiny minority of couples who qualify for the initiative have taken it up. Shared parental leave, introduced at the urging of Nick Clegg three years ago, means that new mothers can share their maternity leave with fathers. Couples can share 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of state-subsidised pay of at least £145.18 a week after they have a baby. Earlier this year Whitehall admitted that only one in 50 couples entitled to take shared parental leave had done so. A fresh ‘share the joy’ campaign – costing £1.5million – was launched by the Department for Business to highlight the scheme.” – Daily Mail

  • Whitehall urged to put leave policy online – FT

…and mull introducing ‘direct democracy’ into local government

“Residents are to be offered radical powers to veto or approve plans that affect their communities in an attempt by ministers to reconnect with voters who have lost faith in conventional politics. Decisions to approve housing developments, sell public assets such as community centres and swimming pools, or spend more on fixing potholes could be made using new forms of direct democracy. Ministers are proposing that local authorities use online polls and “citizen juries” to give residents a direct say in their communities, particularly in poor or remote areas. Local authorities in six areas will take part in a trial over the next 12 months. It is part of a government strategy announced today with the aim of strengthening communities. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that the issues at stake and the precise decision-making methods would be up to individual authorities, which will submit applications to take part in the trial.” – The Times

  • Brits set to get first ‘citizen juries’ – The Sun


  • New bid to boost charities’ role in public services – The Guardian

Corbyn faces ‘fresh antisemitism storm’ over BBC protest…

“Jeremy Corbyn is facing a fresh anti-Semitism storm after it emerged that activists from his local branch attended a protest where activists cast doubt over the scale of the scandal. Activists from the Islington Labour party, in Mr Corbyn’s constituency, joined a demonstration to protest against ‘BBC bias’ in the reporting of the leader and the crisis rocking the party. Far-left activists reportedly made speeches reportedly calling Israel a ‘racist state’ and calling for members who had been ousted over the row to be reinstated. The demonstration happened yesterday – just days after Mr Corbyn scrambled to try to quell the growing row by releasing a video admitting the party has a problem and pledging to tackle it. But despite the leader’s public words, his local branch were encouraged to head down to the picket in a move which risked fuelling the bitter controversy.” – Daily Mail

  • McDonnell criticised over claims of Israeli genocide – The Times
  • Hodge brands leader a ‘blip in Labour history’ – Daily Express

…as he faces ‘ambush’ over Brexit

“Jeremy Corbyn faces an ambush by 300 regional Labour parties to force him into backing a second Brexit Referendum. A nationwide campaign will be launched next week urging activists to sign a motion to be put to the vote at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Liverpool next month. A vote in favour at conference would compel the Labour leadership to accept a so-called “People’s Vote”. Sources told The Sun the motion may also demand Labour then campaign “to remain in the EU”. Some 130 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) are already though to be supporting the move. But a draft memo seen by The Sun shows campaigners want 300 to sign up to boost the chances of having the motion selected at conference.” – The Sun

  • Accept the ECJ or criminals will walk our streets – Sir Ed Davey MP, Times Red Box

>Today: Andrew Robathan in Comment: New evidence of corruption in Romania casts doubt on the European Arrest Warrant

Khan criticised for misrepresenting crime statistics

“Sadiq Khan has been blasted by the head of the UK statistics agency for misusing figures on violent crime. The London Mayor was rebuked and was forced to delete a tweet which claimed violent crime had doubled in several areas of England. But actually the statistic, which claimed that crime had doubled in Hampshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Warwickshire and Norfolk, specifically referred to knife crime. Sir David Norgrove, head of the UK Statistics Authority, said violent offences were on the up, but his tweet on July 17 was wrong… A spokesman for the London Mayor said the tweet was a mistake, but that crime problems required national solutions.” – The Sun

Paisley opponents complain of barriers to ousting him

“Ian Paisley’s political opponents have complained that the authorities are making the process for unseating the suspended DUP MP too difficult. A petition has been set up to recall the North Antrim MP after he failed to declare tens of thousands of pounds worth of hospitality from the Sri Lankan government. It is the first petition of its kind since the law was changed to allow recall and Mr Paisley would face a by-election if 10 per cent of the electorate signed it. However, Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) say there are too few sites where people can fill in a ballot paper to indicate they want to oust him. Under electoral law, up to ten petition centres could be opened but the chief electoral officer for Northern Ireland has decided to open only three. Local politicians say this is not enough in the largely rural constituency.” – The Times

  • Ulster MP could be the first to be recalled from Parliament – Daily Telegraph

US to sanction Russia over Salisbury poisoning

“The United States is to impose new sanctions on Russia after concluding that it was responsible for the Salisbury nerve agent attack. The surprise measures were announced by the State Department, which said that the Kremlin “has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals”. The British government welcomed the move, which is a boost for its diplomatic efforts to win support for its assertion that Russia was behind the attack in March on Sergei Skripal, 67, a former double agent, and his daughter Yulia, 33. The Skripals survived being targeted with a Russian-created novichok nerve agent. Three months later a British woman, Dawn Sturgess, died after being poisoned by novichok in a town close to Salisbury.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Why won’t more government ministers stick up for capitalism? – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • Why is it that so many leading Brexiteers studied history? – Greg Hall, The Spectator
  • Boris should not apologise over his burka comments – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Chequers plan could be illegal under WTO rules – Professor David Collins, Brexit Central
  • What makes for a truly liberal State? – Rupert Shortt, UnHerd