Fox to set out strategy to make Britain into a “21st-century exporting superpower”

“The international trade secretary will pledge today to transform Britain into a “21st-century exporting superpower” by persuading hundreds of thousands of new companies to start trading as it leaves the European Union. In a speech to business leaders in London, Liam Fox will announce aspirations to overtake the economies of France and Italy and challenge Germany by selling more British goods and services abroad after Brexit. The strategy is expected to highlight opportunities across Asia and the Middle East, including China’s $900 billion Belt and Road infrastructure plan and big projects in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.” – The Times 

  • He’ll call for country to “set its sights high” – Daily Mail
  • And raise target to 35 per cent of GDP – FT
  • He’ll say businesses have “nothing to fear” from Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • And promise help to businesses to export, and ask what barriers they face – Guardian
  • 400,000 more firms could be exporting, he will claim – Daily Express
  • There’ll be a new advertising campaign – The Sun


  • It’s a nice idea, but it won’t work – Larry Elliott, Guardian

>Today: Liam Fox in Comment: We must seize our exporting future in a changing world

Hammond was told to change fear-mongering “tone” of Treasury “no deal” plans

“Philip Hammond was forced to water down Treasury plans for a no-deal Brexit amid concerns that they bore similarities to “Project Fear”, Government sources have said. Ministers will on Thursday publish the first of 84 technical documents outlining contingency plans in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal next year.  However, two Government sources told The Telegraph that concerns were raised in Whitehall about the “tone” of several of the Treasury documents. The sections on the “current status” of arrangements with the EU were too “upbeat” while the implications of a no-deal Brexit were seen as “negative”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • They “were likened to Project Fear” – Daily Mail 
  • Meanwhile, NHS trusts fear drug shortages in case of “no deal” – The Times


  • Brexiters aren’t being honest about risks of WTO – George Peretz, Daily Telegraph

Rifkind: How come Leavers haven’t left Farage far behind?

“Nigel Farage is back! Don’t take it from me, take it from him. Pretty soon, he may be coming to your town on some manner of battle bus. …Will these people still be supporting Leave Means Leave once it has Nigel Farage on a battle bus? Once he is teaching the leader of their party a lesson she will not forget? It is their failure, not hers, that Farage is back in this debate. They have had two years to move the argument for a hard Brexit on from his tub-thumping simplicities about betrayal and elites and the will of the people. Two years to make their case about WTO this and Global Britain that, and to evolve something more than, “You lost, we won, get over it”. How come Farage still speaks their language? How come they haven’t left him far, far behind? Shame on them, if this is all they’ve got.” – The Times

  • May needs to focus on immigration – Stewart Jackson, The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Mass infiltration by UKIP activists? That’s not what Conservative MPs are telling us

McKie: A little rally in Edinburgh goes no way to “invalidating” the biggest popular vote ever

“Hundreds rally in Edinburgh, and a millionaire pledges money for a push for a second vote, in the hope that people will change their minds. Polling suggests that rising numbers (48 per cent at the last count) would like another referendum on the final deal. … Even if you calculate that the current Government is bound to mess things up, the solution would not be to reverse a democratic decision before it been implemented; it would be to get rid of the government. A rally of several hundreds of Remainers in Edinburgh at the height of the Festival, and even the 650,000-odd signatures on a petition calling for a “Right Kind of People’s Vote” should not invalidate the biggest popular vote for anything ever, and especially not before it has even happened.” – Herald


More from the devolved nations

  • Here’s what “gallant servicemen and police officers” should do – Tim Collins, Belfast News Letter 

New alliance of leave-supporting groups and organisations is launched

“A new Brexit-backing alliance of campaign groups and think tanks is being launched today in a fresh attempt to force Theresa May into changing course and delivering a full break with Brussels. The Brexit Advance Coalition will unite 10 organisations including several with close links to the Conservative Party. Get Britain Out, the Bow Group and the Campaign for Conservative Democracy are among those backing a joint declaration of principles. Supporters are planning a series of high-profile meetings and other campaign events over the coming months to raise the call for shift in Government policy towards a more decisive break with the EU than that promised by the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan agreed by ministers last month at her Chequers country retreat.” – Daily Express

Hunt in America calls for EU solidarity over sanctions for Russia

“The European Union should stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with America by imposing sanctions on Russia in the wake of Salisbury spy poisoning, the Foreign Secretary will say on Tuesday. Delivering a speech in Washington, Mr Hunt is expected to say Russia’s “aggressive and malign behaviour undermines the international order”. It comes as a new round of US sanctions on Russia comes into force on Wednesday. The US already has a more wide-ranging number of sanctions in place against Russia than the UK, including travel bans and asset freezes for hundreds of Russian oligarchs and companies.” – Daily Telegraph 

  • This is following Skripal attack – FT
  • He will ask for new US sanctions too, as well as more regulations for online political advertising – Guardian 
  • He will also tell EU negotiators to consider May’s deal offer with “an open mind” – Daily Express

Brummer: The EU’s strategy has been “catastrophic” for Greece — its tragedy is not over

“Yesterday’s BBC news bulletins carried the wonderfully uplifting story of how after eight years of political upheaval, riots on the streets and extraordinary economic privation, the dark clouds over Greece are finally lifting. After several years in which the country was kept afloat by the munificence of the eurozone countries, they trumpeted, Athens is at last free from an EU bailout programme of €61.9 billion (£55billion) in emergency loans. That was part on an eight-year rescue package worth £258billion.Greece is in an armlock it cannot escape because of a combination of its debt burden and the fact that its membership of the eurozone means it can no longer devalue its currency. And the EU and Germans are determined to keep it that way to save their precious euro. So despite the joyous news bulletins about the bailout yesterday morning, be in no doubt that this Greek tragedy is very far from over.” – Daily Mail 


  • The effects of austerity on Greece have been “punishing” – The Times
  • It’s a “sick joke” that EU is talking of “European solidarity” – The Sun

>Today: Henry Newman’s column: What will the EU look like after we have left it?

Stewart says HMP Birmingham is “worst”, but that 20 other jails face similar problems

“As many as 20 jails are suffering from serious problems like HMP Birmingham, the Prisons Minister admitted as it was revealed the Government knew 13 months ago that the facility’s staff had lost control to inmates. Rory Stewart said HMP Birmingham was the nation’s “worst” jail but the Government needed to be “realistic about the fact that there are challenges in many prisons”. His comments, likely to spark concerns about whether other jails could fail, came as a previously unpublished report into a 14-hour riot at HMP Birmingham in December 2016 revealed prison officers had “gradually relinquished authority to the prisoners”.” – Daily Telegraph 

  • MoJ speaks of “wider crisis” – Guardian
  • There are problems at public prisons, too – FT
  • Ministers ignored report for too long – The Sun


  • The crisis is driven by privatisation and austerity – Guardian


  • The whole system is flawed – Polly Toynbee, Guardian

No comment from May on likelihood of meeting apprenticeship goal

“Theresa May has backed away from her vow to create three million apprenticeships by April 2020 after The Times revealed there was little chance of hitting the target. Asked three times yesterday whether the government would meet its goal, the prime minister’s official spokeswoman declined to comment. Research by EEF, the manufacturers’ association, found there was scant prospect of the target being reached. The pledge was first made by David Cameron at the 2015 election and renewed by Mrs May in last year’s general election manifesto. Mrs May’s spokeswoman said there had been a 986 per cent increase in people starting apprenticeship schemes in the past year. “Our reforms are driving up the quality of apprenticeships and we are continuing to work on increasing them,” she said.” – The Times

Hague: The party should stick with the leadership rules I introduced

“… One grassroots organisation has written to the party board to call for a change in the rules, so that any candidate with the support of 20 other MPs could go forward to the decisive ballot of the membership, rather than only the top two having that privilege. Such a change would be seen as helping my fellow columnist Boris Johnson, who is currently thought to be more popular with the party members than with parliamentarians. I feel a special responsibility for all of this, because it was under my leadership of the party that today’s rules were put in place. … Twenty years on I can reflect on this with no axe to grind. I am no longer an MP and am not committed to any future aspirant to lead my party. Having reflected, I really and absolutely would not change the rules to reduce the role of MPs and enhance the power of the general membership.” – Daily Telegraph

More Conservatives 

>Today: Local Government: State land banking: The Ministry of Defence owns 553,000 acres


  • Umunna focuses on youth violence and populism – Guardian
  • Corbyn teased about omelette – The Sun
  • He is “saluted” by Hamas – Daily Mail 


  • Thoughts on Butler and “cultural appropriation” – Brendan O’Neill, The Sun

News in Brief

  • Prisons need money – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • China’s latest vaccine scandal – Cindy Yu, Spectator
  • A decade on from the crash – New Yorker
  • Using drugs for depression – Josh Raymond, TLS
  • Beauty is a public good – Radomir Tylecote, CapX