Gauke plans to scrap fault-based divorce

“Fault-based divorce is set to be scrapped as the biggest shake-up of family laws in 50 years seeks to end the “blame game” between couples. Spouses would also lose the right to contest the breakdown of a marriage under plans being drawn up by David Gauke, the justice secretary. The proposal fulfils a key demand of Family Matters, a campaign begun last year by The Times and the Marriage Foundation urging reform of divorce and other family laws. At present a spouse who wants to file for divorce must either provide evidence that their partner has committed adultery, behaved unreasonably or deserted, or wait two years if both sides agree or five if they do not.” – The Times

    • Objective is to reduce antagonism – BBC
  • Only first step to reforming family law – Sir Paul Coleridge, The Times

Johnson 1) Statement confirms he has separated from his wife

“Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and his wife Marina Wheeler have confirmed they have separated. In a joint statement, they said they are now in the process of divorcing, after the Sun newspaper broke the news of their split…He and Ms Wheeler said: “Several months ago, after 25 years of marriage, we decided it was in our best interests to separate. “We have subsequently agreed to divorce and that process is under way. As friends we will continue to support our four children in the years ahead. We will not be commenting further.” – BBC

Johnson 2)  A showman in the tradition of Disraeli, declares Gimson

“History tells us that every so often, the Conservative Party finds itself enthused by a showman who can raise people’s spirits in a way which sober, solemn leaders cannot. The greatest of these showmen was Benjamin Disraeli. In his youth, Disraeli seemed, and in many ways was, a ridiculous and disreputable figure. He encumbered himself with enormous debts by setting up a newspaper which immediately failed and by promoting South America mining shares which turned out to be worthless. Then, adding insult to injury, he wrote a satirical novel in which he mocked the investors whose money he had just lost. Yet he became one of our great Prime Ministers, and the only person who could charm Queen Victoria out of her mourning for Prince Albert…This is the Tory tradition in which Boris Johnson now takes his place. His career may well end in failure: Lord Randolph’s certainly did. But it will take a lot more than a divorce to Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.” – Andrew Gimson, Daily Mail

Johnson 3) Allies fight back as activists shrug off the news

“Conservative Party activists have shrugged off news that Boris Johnson’s wife is seeking a divorce as his allies denied claims that it was leaked to clear the way for a leadership run…Paul Goodman, editor of the website Conservative Home, said that Mr Johnson’s latest marital turbulence would have limited consequences. “As far as the activists are concerned most of them have already discounted this in his share price,” he said. “The Conservative Party isn’t the model of tongue-clicking finger-wagging say it was at the time of [John] Profumo in [the early Sixties]. It could dent his ratings a bit but I doubt it could break them.” – The Times

Johnson 4) The Burka probe should be dropped says Forsyth

“Boris Johnson has received multiple ­communications from the Tory inquiry into his newspaper column on the burka. I understand that the former Foreign Secretary received an initial letter asking him if he wished to say anything in his defence. Those with knowledge of the inquiry say that he responded to that with a vigorous defence of free speech and the need for politicians to be able to take part in these debates….In truth, this absurd exercise should be dropped. The Tories having an inquiry into the newspaper column of a backbench MP is ridiculous. If it is still dragging on by conference, it could become yet another thing that causes trouble there.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

Bradley retains the confidence of the PM

“Theresa May has given her backing to Karen Bradley despite her comments about a lack of knowledge of Northern Ireland politics when she took the job. The Northern Ireland Secretary said initially she did not know nationalists did not vote for unionist parties or vice-versa in elections. Mrs Bradley also said she did not fathom some deep-rooted NI issues. Downing Street refused to be drawn on the criteria used by the Prime Minister to appoint ministers.” – BBC

  • Ireland confirms there will be no border checks – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: Bradley’s Northern Ireland problem is in the present – not her past

Hancock claims pharmaceutical companies are charging the NHS extortionate sums

“Matt Hancock insists that he is “not going to let big pharmaceutical companies hold the NHS to ransom” as he negotiates over a new deal on drug prices for the health services. In an interview with The Times, Mr Hancock uses some of the most aggressive language ever directed by a health secretary towards drug companies as he condemns “profiteering” on products that rely on government-funded research and NHS patient data. Mr Hancock also makes a broader criticism of corporate behaviour in the decade since the financial crisis, saying that voters are “sick of big companies trying to rip off taxpayers” and that such behaviour makes it harder to defend a market economy.” – The Times

Truss looks for £4 billion in savings to pay for extra pension costs

“The Chancellor is threatening a £4 billion cut to frontline services to pay for a rise in pension costs for public sector workers. Government departments face a mammoth bill as people live longer. In a Commons document, Treasury Minister Liz Truss said: “The early indications are that the amount employers pay towards the schemes will need to increase.” She says the Treasury will support departments with any unforeseen costs for 2019-2020. But she notes: “Further discussions will be taken forward as part of the Spending Review.” – The Sun

  • No help for ‘White Van Man’ as dismal Chancellor Hammond plans to take cash at every turn – The Sun Says

Enough funding for free childcare Hinds insists

“The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has insisted nursery schools have enough funds to deliver 30 hours of free childcare even though many are struggling – and some have been forced to close – as a result of the flagship policy. The minister said his officials would keep the costs that nurseries faced under review but that for now the funding levels were fixed. The government’s offer of 30 hours for three- and four-year-olds has been a boost for many working parents but has been criticised by providers who argue that the allotted funding does not cover the full cost.” – Damian Hinds, The Guardian

Brexit 1) Rees-Mogg proposes calling in a Dutch customs guru to help

“Brexiteer Tory MPs led by Jacob Rees-Mogg have hired a Dutch customs guru to solve the Irish border headache. Hans Maessen, the ex-president of the Dutch customs association, is drawing up the alternative solution to the Prime Minister’s troubled Chequers blueprint. The border-expert has been secretly advising the Brexit hardline ERG group of MPs led by Jacob Rees Mogg. They plan to declare an all-out assault on Theresa May’s plans for Britain to carry on collecting customs taxes on behalf of Brussels ahead of the Conservative Party conference next month.” – The Sun

  • May is tied to Chequers. If she can’t be flexible, she will go down with it – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Ignore Rees-Mogg says EU Commissioner – The Guardian
  • Canada plus Brexit? We can do so much better than that – Ben Kelly, Daily Telegraph


Brexit 2) Don’t vote Labour if you want to leave the EU says Adonis

“Labour’s Lord Adonis says Brexit supporters should vote Tory as Labour will back a second referendum. Speaking on LBC he said he was “confident” Labour will change its stance on Brexitand back remaining in the European Union.He responded to a question from Thomas in Worthing who asked the panel which party should he vote for as “a liberal-minded, disabled Brexiteer”. He replied: “If you are a Brexiteer, I hope you won’t vote for the Labour Party because the Labour Party is moving increasingly against Brexit.” – The Sun

Brexit 3) Barnier agrees to link trade to divorce bill

“The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has softened his stance on a key Brussels red line, it emerged last night, and is willing to link the UK’s £39 billion ‘divorce’ bill with a trade deal. The significant concession by Michel Barnier, who had previously insisted there should be no link between the two major issues, came after a series of one-on-one meetings with new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. Mr Raab has been demanding a link between the payment of the Brexit bill, which has been set at £39 billion, and a commitment from the EU to a future trading relationship. Privately, ministers believe it would be almost impossible to persuade MPs to sign off on the divorce bill this autumn without any trade guarantees or clear detail about what the UK would receive from the EU in return.” – Daily Mail

Brexit 4) We must get a deal warns Freeman

“To make Brexit a moment of renewal, we must harness and unleash the millennial spirit of empowerment and innovation and drag our nation from the twentieth century into the twenty-first. And if we fail to grasp this opportunity? To allow the fifth largest economy on earth to crash out of the largest trading bloc on earth without a deal would be one of the worst leadership failures in modern political history…The burden of proof for showing how we can leave the EU without damaging the prospects of those who were promised greater prosperity lies with the advocates of Brexit.” – George Freeman, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Penny Mordaunt on Comment: The twelve new rules of politics

Brexit 5) Oborne predicts the timiing will help May

“The timetable for Brexit works against a change of prime minister. Let me explain. First, there will be a Cabinet meeting next Thursday to discuss Brexit strategy. Mrs May will demand ironclad loyalty from her ministers. I predict she will get it. For ministers realise what is at stake — particularly as the PM is due to meet fellow European leaders in Salzburg on September 20. This Austrian summit offers her a vital opportunity to appeal over the heads of Brussels’ chief Brexit negotiator, the intransigent Michel Barnier and his recalcitrant colleagues. I have been told that Mrs May calculates her proposals will meet with a far warmer reception from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other national leaders. I believe she will be proved right.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Umunna tells Corbyn to ‘call off the dogs’

“Labour MP Chuka Umunna has accused leader Jeremy Corbyn of driving centre-left MPs like himself out of the party. The MP – a leading member of the cross-party People’s Vote for a second EU referendum – urged Mr Corbyn to “call off the dogs”. In a speech, the MP will say so-called moderates face a “clear and present danger” of being run out of the party by hardline factions. A Labour Party source called the speech “incoherent and inaccurate”.” – BBC

  • The price of criticising Momentum activists – The Times
  • McDonnell starts a speaking tour – The Guardian

Iranian regime has “infiltrated” Labour Party

“Iran has “infiltrated” Labour, one of the party’s pro-Israel MPs has warned after journalists from its state broadcaster joined the party and then filmed a members-only meeting in her constituency. Press TV, which is banned from broadcasting in Britain, was able to film the moment a no confidence vote was passed against Joan Ryan because its journalists were permitted to join the Labour Party as a member several months ago, The Telegraph understands. On Friday Ms Ryan, chairman of Labour Friends of Israel, demanded that Iranian propagandists from the news channel be ousted from the Party, describing their actions as “appalling” and “greatly concerning”.” – Daily Telegraph

Roberts: Churchill would realise the irony and horror of Labour’s anti-Semitism

“Churchill understood the many ironies and paradoxes of Zionism, principally that the most vicious self-hating anti-Zionists are often Jewish (step forward the “Jewish Voice for Labour” group), and that Israel is always expected to defend itself using a far more elevated and self-denying set of rules of engagement than any of its enemies, despite their openly calling for its destruction. It was part of the glory of the Greatest Englishman that he was brave and eccentric enough to ignore the mores of his class and background and actually liked Jews. Perhaps it was partly because – clearly unbeknownst to Mr Corbyn – Jews virtually invented the concept of irony.” – Andrew Roberts, Daily Telegraph

Parris: Cable should go straight away

“So farewell, then, Sir Vincent? Not so fast, my Lib Dem friends. Vince Cable has knee-capped his own leaving party, and the Lib Dem leader’s announcement yesterday was by no means a route map to the exit. Old men like Sir Vince are in no hurry. “No need to push me, I’m on my way and won’t be around to trouble you for much longer” is a time-honoured ruse for hanging on. This was more of an indefinite postponement. Everyone knows it’s time for Vince Cable to go. He is 75. It hasn’t worked. He could be almost 80 at the next general election. Cable’s stock-in-trade, an appearance of mildly tetchy rationality, fails to rise to the moment in our history. We’re in the deep, swift-flowing stream before the rapids begin, and the white water boiling with new Brexit action is just around the river’s bend. Sir Vince lacks the quickfire ingenuity needed.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

  • A new Leader won’t solve the Lib Dems problems – Sebastian Payne, Financial Times

News in brief

  • Brexit denial in Cardiff Bay is reducing Wales’ soft power – Matt Smith, Brexit Central
  • Johnson’s gloating critics should be ashamed of themselves – Harry Mount, The Spectator
  • Sky News challenged over its hostile coverage to Brexit – Buzzfeed
  • No wonder the Government’s Northern Ireland strategy isn’t working – Owen Polley, CapX
  • Time’s up for the Big Four auditors – Liam Halligan, Unherd