Johnson urges MPs to get rid of Chequers, not May…

“Boris Johnson has urged MPs to focus on ‘chucking Chequers’ rather than Theresa May, days after Brexiteers met to war-game ways to oust the Prime Minister. Fevered speculation continues to mount over the former foreign secretary’s leadership ambitions and Tory peer Lord Heseltine has predicted Mr Johnson will take the top job. But Guto Harri, a key former adviser to Mr Johnson, said his former boss was ‘digging his political grave’ and would be a ‘hugely divisive figure’ if he succeeded Mrs May. He said the ex-London mayor was ‘dragging us into a place where we think that we can joke about suicide vests and that we can be sexually incontinent’. Around 50 Tory MPs spent nearly an hour plotting ways to replace Mrs May on Tuesday evening amid continued anger over the Chequers plan for Brexit.” – Daily Mail

  • Former mayor clashes with ex-spin doctor – Daily Mail


  • Carney predicts £16 billion bounce from Prime Minister’s proposals – FT
  • Downing Street aide hit out at ‘nightmare’ Raab – The Sun


  • Johnson’s Maggie-style vision for Brexit Britain – John Stevens, Daily Mail

>Today: Nick Hargrave’s column: Yes, I compiled an attack dossier on Johnson. But at best, there’s a real purpose to opposition research.


…as Hammond calls for delay to properly prepare for no-deal departure

“Philip Hammond has angered Theresa May by suggesting Britain may have to delay Brexit to fully prepare for no deal. The Chancellor told the Cabinet that we may need to remain an EU member beyond March 29 next year under the emergency scenario so the Government has time to pass a morass of new laws. His idea was immediately slapped down by the PM, who told him that it was not going to happen. The revelation is made by James Forsyth in his column in The Sun today. The clash came during a marathon three and a half hour Cabinet meeting on Thursday to review the government’s emergency plans for a no-deal Brexit. If endgame talks do fail, an intensive programme of new laws would have to be rushed through Parliament to create an immediate new legal framework.” – The Sun

  • EU diplomats reject Raab’s claim that both sides are ‘closing in’ on a deal – The Guardian
  • Claims that Brexit threatens peace in Ulster ‘reckless’, claims Empey – Belfast Telegraph


  • We’re closer to crashing out than anyone will admit – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • May must walk tall and sell her plan to the EU – James Forsyth, The Sun
  • The Prime Minister is on the cusp of triumph – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

>Today: Robert Goodwill MP in Comment: The Commons Bill this week which prepares the way for a Green Brexit

Labour pledges to vote against any deal the Prime Minister secures

“Labour was accused of putting politics above the national interest tonight after Emily Thornberry said the party would vote against any Brexit deal Theresa May secures. The shadow foreign secretary said defeat for Mrs May’s deal would force the PM to resign and call a general election – possibly before Christmas. Tories on the Brexit Delivery Group, which includes MPs from Leave and Remain and who want to deliver a smooth exit in March 2019, accused Labour of ‘dangerous game playing’. Business also reacted with fury, with the CBI warning the Opposition was close to ‘putting power above principle’ and forcing a chaotic Brexit to try and win No 10. Ms Thornberry’s warning makes explicit a threat from Labour to vote down the deal and narrows further the PM’s hopes of getting a deal through Parliament.” – Daily Mail

  • Hoey fears Labour will lose as many voters as the Tories if they don’t deliver Brexit – Daily Telegraph


  • A people’s vote is getting closer by the day – Matthew Parris, The Times

Court rules that Electoral Commission got law wrong in crucial advice to Vote Leave

“The Electoral Commission misinterpreted election law in the run-up to the Brexit vote, the High Court ruled yesterday, raising questions about the judgment of the watchdog… Electoral law prohibited Be-Leave, which was run by Darren Grimes, a university student, from co-operating with Vote Leave over how the money was spent. Vote Leave could not have spent the money itself because it was coming close to its £7 million campaign spending limit. During the referendum the Electoral Commission advised that such donations were permissible but later changed its mind, fining Vote Leave and referring the episode to the policeThe Good Law Project (GLP) brought a judicial review against the commission over its initial advice, arguing it failed in its duty to regulate the referendum process ahead of the June 2016 vote. Mr Justice Leggatt said that the commission had “misinterpreted” the definition of referendum expenses.” – The Times

  • Regulator faces calls for abolition – The Sun


  • Judges agree – the Brexit vote was tainted – Jolyon Maugham, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Yesterday’s court defeat shows that the Electoral Commission is not fit for purpose

Ministers 1) Grayling proposed that voters receive cash bonus for Brexit

“Every adult should be given a cash handout to mark Britain’s exit from the EU, Chris Grayling suggested at a special cabinet meeting. The transport secretary’s proposal for a “Brexit bonus” came as ministers discussed this week how to respond to the possible economic shock of crashing out of the EU without an agreement. The suggestion was met with astonishment by some colleagues, according to a witness. “Liz Truss’s face was a picture,” they said of the Treasury chief secretary. Sajid Javid, the home secretary, laid out a series of pro-business emergency measures that he said would be necessary to keep the economy afloat. A source said that these included suspending environmental regulations, workers’ rights and auto-enrolment in workplace pensions. “This was very much Saj auditioning to be no-deal chancellor” said a colleague.” – The Times

Ministers 2) Gauke pledges to end divorce ‘blame game’

“David Gauke, the justice secretary, has pledged to “end the blame game” for divorcing couples as he unveiled plans for the largest shake-up of marital law in England and Wales for more than 40 years. He said the “archaic” divorce process, which has remained unchanged since the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, needed to be “less acrimonious”. The current law forces at least one member of a divorcing couple to blame the other for the marriage breakdown. “We think the ‘blame game’ that currently exists helps no one,” said Mr Gauke. “It creates unnecessary antagonism and anxiety at an already trying time for couples and in particular where there are children.” Currently, divorces are granted only if it can be proved that the marriage has broken down for reasons of adultery, desertion, “unreasonable behaviour” or because both spouses agree and they have lived apart for more than two years. If one party contests the divorce, the couple must live apart for five years.” – FT

Ministers 3) Stewart reaches agreement with union to end ‘unlawful’ prison strike

“Prison staff have called off their “unlawful” strike action over the “unprecedented” violence in jails after the Government dropped its threat of legal action. The protest over safety concerns ended when the POA, the trade union for prison staff, told members to return to work by 1pm following an agreement with prisons minister Rory Stewart. Its general Secretary Steve Gillan said he was “confident a deal is a deal” after the prison service “backed down” over seeking a court injunction against the walk-out. He said: “I’m pleased with the outcome. Well, in actual fact I’m saddened we had to do it in the first place. “But now we hope for meaningful, constructive dialogue commencing on Monday.” Thousands of prison staff took part in the demonstrations, the POA said, which Mr Stewart called “unlawful” and “irresponsible” earlier today.” – The Sun

Ministers 4) Philip Hammond: Corbyn’s ‘Marxist manifesto’ puts all our economic gains at risk

Because of our balanced approach to the economy, we have also been able to invest more in key frontline public services such as schools and the NHS, and raise the level of investment in our public infrastructure to its highest for 40 years, along with making progress on repairing the nation’s finances. But all this progress is at risk if Corbyn’s Marxist manifesto is allowed to gain traction. At the core of Labour’s economic philosophy is endless spending, increased centralisation and mounting debt. The mask slipped on the charm offensive by Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell this week when it was revealed he had called his own plan for a £500 billion spending spree “mediocre” and just “a first step”. The only step he would be taking is to bankrupt Britain. Labour have learnt nothing and their current leadership are planning a spending, borrowing and taxing splurge that makes Gordon Brown look like Scrooge.” – Daily Telegraph

Johnson says engaging with Putin was a mistake

“Engaging with Russian President Vladimir Putin is a ‘fool’s errand’, Boris Johnson has warned in an admission he was mistaken to try. The ex-Foreign Secretary said he held the Kremlin in ‘absolute contempt’ after he tried and failed to reset UK-Russian relations. Mr Johnson controversially met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov while he ran the Foreign Office. It was the first warming of ties since the Litvenko assassination in London. But Mr Johnson said Britain was rewarded with the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. He hit out at the Kremlin at the American Enterprise Institute after collecting the Irving Kristol Award overnight. Mr Johnson said: ‘When I became foreign secretary I thought there was no objective reason why we should be quite so hostile to Russia.” – Daily Mail

  • Phrase ‘special relationship’ was banned from the Foreign Office – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Mark Wallace in Comment: The pantomime excuse given by the men wanted for the Salisbury attack isn’t aimed at us, but at Putin’s domestic audience

May’s alternative election address revealed

“Extraordinary details have emerged of a speech Theresa May planned for the start of last year’s ill-fated election campaign – but never actually made. The Prime Minister was set to issue a rallying cry on the steps of Downing Street about ‘changing Britain’ by helping workers, the NHS and schools and curbing executive pay and the ‘privileged few’. The idea was to mirror the words she used when entering No 10 in July 2016. On that occasion, Mrs May spoke of fighting ‘burning injustice’ and on behalf of millions of families who were ‘just about managing’. But after calling the snap election last April, she was over-ruled by election guru Sir Lynton Crosby, who tore up her first campaign speech and told her to stick to the twin mantras of Brexit and ‘strong and stable’, according to a new book.” – Daily Mail

Shapps hits out at suggestions of new ‘flight tax’

“Millions of travellers could be hit with a new tax to pay for more Border Force staff at airports. Cuts to the number of officers and a surge in passengers have been blamed for delays of up to two-and-a-half hours at some passport controls this summer. The Government is considering how to beef up security at the borders and reduce queues without relying on public funds. One option is a new tax raid on those flying in and out of the country, on top of the unpopular air passenger duty, according to senior aviation industry insiders. Last night Grant Shapps, Tory MP and chairman of the cross-party Big Infrastructure Group, said: ‘It would beggar belief if passengers already hit with one of the highest rates of tax in the world have a new tax slapped on them just for using airports. The Government needs to think twice before creating new taxes which make it more expensive for families to go on holiday.’” – Daily Mail

Politician’s wife says families received death threats on day Rees-Moggs were hounded

“The wife of an MP has claimed several politicians received death threats against their families on the same day as the Jacob Rees-Mogg attack. The woman, who has not been identified, made the claim in an anonymous post on parenting forum Mumsnet on Wednesday. She did not name her husband but described him as a ‘low profile’ politician of whom most users have ‘probably never heard’. Using the username ‘LongWeek’, she wrote how ‘an email threatening to kill MPs and their children was sent to lots of MPs’ on the same day Rees-Mogg and his children were subject to a foul-mouthed tirade on the steps of their Westminster home. There is no suggestion that the people involved with the Rees Mogg protest had anything to do with the threatening emails or intimidating behaviour described.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Your son has been killed’, MP told by trolls – The Times
  • Almost 200 MPs and peers taking mindfulness classes – Daily Mail


  • Sorry, Sixtus, the sneering will only get worse – Giles Coren, The Times

Blair warns that new centrist party ‘may be impossible’

“Tony Blair has urged Labour MPs to stay and fight, saying that creating a successful new centrist political party “may be impossible”. The former Labour prime minister has redoubled his attack on Jeremy Corbyn after the persistent allegations of antisemitism. In an article for The Times today, Mr Blair says that the “nature of a large and growing part of today’s Labour Party has been unmasked”. He says that the party has been invaded by outcasts who are the left-wing equivalent of the alt-right. He says that party conferences will show the soul of the main parties. Mr Blair’s call to Labour MPs such as Joan Ryan, the Enfield North MP and chairwoman of Labour Friends of Israel, who is being targeted by Corbyn supporters, will be taken by them as an admission of failure. Jonathan Powell, Mr Blair’s former chief of staff, has been among those trying to co-ordinate efforts to launch a new party.” – The Times

  • Clegg leads anti-Brexit grandees on ‘diplomatic mission’ to block departure – The Guardian
  • Miller launches new anti-Brexit campaign ‘End the Chaos’ – FT
  • ‘Best for Britain’ leaders barred from Tory conference – The Guardian


  • Both Labour and the Tories need to change course – Tony Blair, The Times


  • The Party with No Name isn’t coming to save us – The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Jessica Studdert in Local Government: Our national politics is broken. Renewal after Brexit needs to be built from the ground up.

Corbyn ally calls for ‘luxury communist revolution’…

“The left-wing politician leading Jeremy Corbyn’s drive to sack moderate MPs has called on Labour supporters to ‘rise up’ and start a ‘luxury Communism revolution’ in Britain. Labour MP Chris Williamson said it was time to reward the ‘bloody hard work of ordinary working people’ by helping them grab more of the nation’s wealth. He urged them to make Mr Corbyn prime minister to achieve what he called ‘luxury Communism’ where robots do all the work. Mr Williamson was addressing activists in Croydon, South London, on the latest stage of his self-styled Democracy Roadshow nationwide tour… He said Labour should take a lead from the 1988 pop song, Talkin’ Bout A Revolution, by British singer Tracy Chapman. Reciting the words, Mr Williamson said: ‘Yes, we are talking about a revolution. Poor people are going to rise up and get their share, take what’s theirs.’” – Daily Mail

  • Labour MP considering quitting after Corbynite bullying – Daily Express
  • Momentum video supports deselection – The Times

…as MI6 officers reveal they thought Foot was a paid Soviet asset

“MI6 believed that Michael Foot had been a paid informant of the Soviet Union and was prepared to warn the Queen of his “KGB history” when he stood to become prime minister, its officers have revealed in a new book. The British intelligence apparatus concluded that the evidence presented by a Soviet defector about the Labour leader’s links with the KGB was strong enough to warrant the unprecedented constitutional action. The book, The Spy and the Traitor, presents the first corroboration by MI6 officers of the allegations made by the Soviet defector Oleg Gordievsky that Foot had received a series of clandestine payments from the KGB, which classed him as an “agent” and “confidential contact”. They concluded that while Foot had not been a “spy or conscious agent” he had been used for disinformation purposes by the Soviet Union and received in return the equivalent of £37,000 in today’s money.” – The Times

  • Leader of the Opposition was known as ‘Agent Boot’ – The Times


Liberal Democrats vow to ease migration laws and scrap targets

“Immigration laws should be relaxed and targets scrapped, senior Liberal Democrats will say tomorrow. Delegates to the party’s conference will also debate plans to close detention centres, end indefinite detention, and allow asylum seekers to work after three months. The controversial motion is likely to split the party, with some members regarding the proposals as too liberal while others say they do not go far enough. But Conservative MPs said the Lib Dems were taking Labour’s stance and ignoring the lessons of the Brexit vote… Lib Dem plans to debate the decriminalisation of sex work are also likely to trigger protests. Feminists are set to demonstrate outside the party’s Brighton venue today. The Liberal Democrats are holding their annual conference in Brighton from September 15-18.” – Daily Mail

  • Lib Dem donor facing jail (again) – Daily Mail

Police step up inquiry into Salmond sexual misconduct allegations

Police have launched a full-blown investigation into the Alex Salmond sexual misconduct claims after completing their initial assessment of the evidence presented by the SNP government. Officers have been examining the complaints made by two women, dating from his time as First Minister, since receiving them last month. At the time, Police Scotland said it was “carrying out an assessment of information which we have received” and “enquiries are at an early stage”. However, the force issued an updated statement yesterday saying: “Our enquiries continue, we will not be commenting further.” The comment made no reference to the “assessment of information” and it is understood Police Scotland has now moved beyond this stage. It is believed that a full enquiry is underway, in which witnesses are expected to be contacted.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Former First Minister rejects claims as ‘malicious’ – The Guardian

SNP warned that tax grab on private schools will threaten jobs and investment

“Education Secretary John Swinney has been warned the Scottish Government’s £5 million tax grab on private schools would “jeopardise” employment and investment at a “precarious” time for the economy. The warning was contained in a letter obtained by the Scotsman under Freedom of Information legislation, which gives details of the financial impact of the government’s plan to increase the amount of business rates paid by private schools. The letter, from a governor of the Kilgraston all-girls boarding school in Bridge of Earn, was sent to Mr Swinney in his role as a constituency MSP and Education Secretary. Written by Thomas Steuart Fothringham, the letter cites research by the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) that suggests the rates rise on private schools will punish the state sector. According to the letter, SCIS has calculated that fee increases caused by the rates rise will cost state schools £30m a year as pupils move from the private to state sector.” – The Scotsman

  • Swinney offers MSPs demonstration of controversial tests in bid to avoid defeat – Daily Telegraph

Carney warns that ‘fourth industrial revolution’ may spell the end of retirement

“Longer lives and rapid advances in technology could mean that some workers never have the option of retiring, Mark Carney has warned. The governor of the Bank of England said yesterday that Britain was on the verge of entering a Fourth Industrial Revolution that would be dominated by artificial intelligence, automation, biotechnology and 3D printing. He said the nature of work was shifting so rapidly that there was a risk that many workers would not be able to move seamlessly to new jobs, yet many may not be able to afford to retire either. Speaking in Dublin at the Republic of Ireland’s Central Bank yesterday, Mr Carney said: “Unlike in the previous industrial revolutions, the more rapid pace of adjustment and longer working lives means workers may not have the option of retiring.”” – The Times

  • Governor warns that robots will take ten per cent of British jobs – Daily Mail
  • Carney accused of spreading ‘gloom’ – Daily Telegraph

Welby to spearhead bid to bail out Wonga debtors

“The Church of England is set to lead a rescue effort to pay off £400million of loans at collapsed lender Wonga. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will bring investors and charities together at Lambeth Palace next week in a bid to support more than 200,000 borrowers who face hardship if forced to pay back their debts. It comes on the advice of MP Frank Field, who wrote to the Archbishop urging the Church to buy the collapsed lender’s loan book, using some of its £7billion assets. The move could be an attempt to save face after questionable CofE investments were exposed by the Daily Mail. On Thursday, Archbishop Welby faced charges of hypocrisy after the Church was found to have heavily invested in Amazon despite the prelate accusing the firm of ‘leeching off the taxpayer’. The Church was yesterday forced to defend its controversial investment, thought to total more than £10million, by claiming it gave it a voice to lobby for change as a shareholder.” – Daily Mail

  • Problem with Archbishop is not his hypocrisy but his intellectual laziness – Ross Clark, Daily Telegraph


  • The Church is failing to practice what it preaches – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Welby’s next stop should be a small business conference

News in Brief:

  • Why the Electoral Commission’s defeat in the High Court matters – Matthew Elliott, Brexit Central
  • Archbishop Welby’s intervention is in the spirit of the age – John Ashmore, CapX
  • If MPs can’t debate a rapist in a woman’s jail, politics has failed – James Kirkup, The Spectator
  • Want a Brexit deal referendum? A major voting problem is being overlooked – Adam Rieger, Reaction
  • Insincere politicians are cheapening public debate – Douglas Murray, UnHerd