Johnson’s distraction gambit. As more claims about his private life swell the Sunday papers, he compares the Chequers proposals to a suicide vest…

“It is a humiliation. We look like a seven-stone weakling being comically bent out of shape by a 500 lb gorilla. And the reason is simple: Northern Ireland, and the insanity of the so-called ‘backstop’. We have opened ourselves to perpetual political blackmail. We have wrapped a suicide vest around the British constitution – and handed the detonator to Michel Barnier. We have given him a jemmy with which Brussels can choose – at any time – to crack apart the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” – Mail on Sunday

More news:

  • Former CCHQ official linked to Johnson – Sun on Sunday
  • May leadership campaign election aide drew up anti-Johnson attack file. It is still kept on “Tory computer system” as “WarBook2” – Sunday Times
  • WarBook2 extracts – Sunday Times
  • Johnson could lose his seat in the boundary review – Sunday Times
  • He is is “booed at the Oval” – Mail on Sunday
  • Goodman: “I think Boris’s standing among party members is quite high and his standing among Tory MPs is quite low and I don’t think this will make any difference.” – Observer
  • Give Johnson his shot at leading the Tories – Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times
  • He will remain box office among the blue rinse brigade – Quentin Letts, Sunday Telegraph
  • His private life doesn’t matter – Sunday Times Editorial
  • (Davidson and partner call baby bump “Fionnuala”) – Sunday Times

> Today: ToryDiary – Private or public, everything Johnson does is viewed through the prism of Brexit

…As Hunt hits back on the Prime Minister’s behalf

“Nobody else has a detailed plan that both delivers on the instruction of the British people and has a chance of succeeding in the negotiations. No country has ever left the EU before, so this is a journey without signposts. No negotiation is ever easy: I know that only too well having recently negotiated the NHS’s long-term funding settlement with a Chancellor who rightly guards the purse-strings of the British taxpayer with great care…As it happens, I voted to ‘Remain’ in the referendum in 2016 but I have found my views changing since then.” – Jeremy Hunt, Mail on Sunday

More news:

  • ERG Canada Plus Plus Plus paper shelved: “one chapter calls for Britain to set up a permanent “expeditionary force” to defend the Falkland Islands and suggests billions should be invested in a “Star Wars” missile defence programme” – Sunday Times
  • May aims Chequers charm offensive at Brexiteer MPs… – Sunday Express
  • …But is gambling on disaffected Labour moderates to get Brexit through – Sunday Telegraph
  • Coveney on UK-Ireland border “reckless shouting” – Observer
  • Police draw up plans to call in army in event of No Deal – Sunday Times
  • Northern Ireland police chief wants “information and clarity” on border – Sunday Times
  • No scallop wars settlement yet – Mail on Sunday
  • Remainers “flood last night of the Proms with EU flags” – Sunday Express


  • Trefgarne’s EEA ConHome piece was wrong about the free movement of workers – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • Why de Gaulle was right about Britain and Europe – Christopher Meyer, Sun on Sunday
  • Brexiteers risk disaster by tying themselves to Trump – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Think about next March, Prime Minister, not 2022 – Sun on Sunday Editorial

Will there be a visa clampdown on Putin’s pals?

“Home Office sources have told the Observer that ministers believe there may need to be further restrictions on the issuing of visas to overseas investors. This follows a decade when hundreds of well-connected Russians, many of whom are allies of Vladimir Putin and include several prominent oligarchs, have been allowed to make the UK their home in return for investing as little as £1m. Kremlin critics and anti-corruption groups, who have long complained that the UK has made it too easy for Putin’s allies to reside in the UK, welcomed confirmation of the crackdown.” – Observer

  • Delay in naming Novichok assassins until after World Cup “to protect the lives of England football fans” – Mail on Sunday
  • UK on alert for Russian cyber-strike – Sunday TimesGRU network targeted Salisbury’s power stations – Sunday Telegraph

The Sun on Sunday picks up Mordaunt’s ConHome piece of yesterday, and says it’s the opening move in a leadership bid

“The International Development Secretary outlined a 12-point plan for politics, insisting: “How we govern needs to change.” Ms Mordaunt said leaders had to be optimists and “inspire participation and courage”. The minister added: “Ideas and vision are necessary. But people need to see results and to achieve them they need to take part. People have lost trust in politics because politics has lost trust in people.”Many at Westminster will see her remarks as a possible first push for leadership if PM Theresa May falls over Brexit. She is a reluctant backer of the PM’s Chequers plan for Brexit. Her appeal comes as Home Secretary Sajid Javid prepares to speak at the Tory conference on how to “broaden the reach” of the party.” – Sun on Sunday

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

Gauke: Give prisoners legal phones, stop them using illegal ones

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Gauke, who took over the Ministry of Justice in January, states: “All the evidence is pointing towards in-cell telephony helping, so its wider use, I think, makes a lot of sense.” The phones, which are partly designed to curtail the use of illicit mobile devices, would be limited to set, pre-approved numbers, with prisoners still required to pay for their own calls. But Mr Gauke’s comments are likely to draw a sharp reaction from prison officers, whose representative body insists prisoners already enjoy a “first-class” array of benefits. They may also be opposed by some victims.” – Sunday Telegraph

Williamson delays army’s exit from Germany

“The defence secretary has decided to tear up plans to withdraw all forces from Germany by 2020, and will keep forward bases on the central European plain. Williamson will issue a stark warning to Vladimir Putin at the Conservative Party conference this month after intelligence chiefs and military commanders told him Russia was at its most dangerous since the end of the Cold War. More than 200 servicemen and 400 family members will not be coming home as planned in the next year. Those due to remain in Germany include an engineering regiment that is Nato’s leading unit for river crossings, enabling tanks to go into battle where bridges have been destroyed.” – Sunday Times

Green number plates plan for environment-friendly cars – Grayling consultation

“Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, who today announced a public consultation on the plan, said the plates would be a ‘badge of honour’ for car owners. He added: ‘The UK has a proud history of leading the world in technological advances and that is no different for ultra-low emission vehicles, where we are at the forefront of innovation. This new cleaner, greener transport has the potential to bring with it cleaner air, a better environment and stronger economies for countries around the world. Adding a green badge of honour to these new clean vehicles is a brilliant way of helping increase awareness of their growing popularity in the UK.” – Mail on Sunday

Conservative MPs threaten Hammond’s budget over Equitable Life

“At least 60 Tory MPs have threatened to derail his Budget unless he agrees to help those hit by the near-collapse of the insurance giant in 2000. Nearly a million people lost up to half their pensions and savings as a result of mismanagement. In the run-up to the 2010 election the Tories promised to ­reimburse them. But eight years on 945,000 victims have received barely a fifth of their losses. The MPs, including 15 ex-ministers, have written to Mr Hammond urging him to find cash in his Budget to settle the “debt of honour”.” – Sun on Sunday

Simon Clarke to May: drop your opposition to building on the Green Belt

“The paper, published by Freer, a new Conservative think tank, proposes relaxing rules on building homes within half a mile of railway stations – areas that are likely to be in “high demand” and are already well served by transport links. Mr Clarke says his plan would free up land for at least 1.5 million new homes. The proposal is understood to have the backing of several senior ministers. Mr Clarke’s paper comes after Sajid Javid, now the Home Secretary, privately lobbied Philip Hammond to include a similar proposal in last year’s Budget.” – Sunday Telegraph

Freeman’s annual Big Tent day – attendance up

“Freeman is certainly trying to improve things. He dreamed up his festival after seeing Corbyn cheered at the Glastonbury musical festival. Around 300 people turned out for his inaugural riposte staged in three marquee tents last year; he was expecting 2,000 people yesterday in the grounds of Babraham Hall, a Jacobean-style mansion that is now part of a scientific research park. This year there were eight tents devoted to themes such as “Hopes and Fears” and “Global Britain”. There were discussions on everything from “The age of incivility” to “Punch and Judy politics” and “Should we legalise cannabis?”.” – Sunday Times

Telegraph: The time has come to scrap HS2

“It is estimated that just to compete with Japan or Korea, we need to spend £30 billion upgrading Britain’s telecommunications network to full fibre. Indeed, with so many more people working from home – it is generally agreed that flexible patterns are the future – why obsess about improving what is essentially a commuter route to the capital? The time has come to pull HS2. If nothing else, the money is better earmarked for the challenges and opportunities of Brexit – not this white elephant on wheels.” – Sunday Telegraph Editorial

Labour anti-semitism and deselection latest

“The party leader will attend what is expected to be a stormy meeting in the House of Commons, at which several MPs will call on him to guarantee that he and his office are not behind moves to deselect MPs who have criticised him….A party spokesman insisted last night that the leadership was not in any way involved in encouraging or co-ordinating votes of no confidence in MPs. On Saturday, the former shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, said Corbyn should “call off the dogs”. He said Labour’s tradition of fighting discrimination was under threat. “There is now a clear and present danger that this tradition is driven out of our party.” – Observer

  • McDonnell denies purge (surprise surprise) – Observer
  • Official probe of Press TV Joan Ryan no-confidence vote claims – Mail on Sunday
  • Corbyn hits back at Blair – Sunday Express
  • Labour leadership interfered in anti-semitism complaint cases – Sunday Times
  • Labour member Trevor Phillips says party is “led by anti-semites” – Mail on Sunday
  • McDonnell handed out Israel boycott flyers – Mail on Sunday
  • Who is Umanna? – Sun on Sunday
  • Cable: I’ll build a home for Labour rebels – Sunday Times
  • Labour is now possessed by the Hard Left – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • The cowards who will sell their souls to Corbyn for a second Brexit referendum – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Corbyn would be the real crisis of capitalism – Sunday Times Editorial

> Today: Joel Charles on Comment: The hard left must not be allowed to win the ground war

Stop and searches fall again under Khan

“Immediately after his remarks encouraging more action, stop and searches increased to 13,000. But in the subsequent month, the figures started to dramatically drop. In July, figures showed the use of the powers was at the lowest of 2018, with just 9,690 searches. Former police officer, Rory Geoghegan, of the Centre for Social Justice think tank, said: “Instead of responding to spates of stabbings or murders we need to be getting on the front foot about this. Stop and search is a preventative power.” – Sunday Express

Sweden’s day of decison

“Polling stations have opened in Sweden on the final day of an election where immigration and crime have dominated. Polls suggest the right-wing, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats will emerge as the second-biggest party with as much as 20% of the vote. Prime Minister Stevan Lofven said a vote for Sweden Democrats would be dangerous and that “dark forces are mobilising in Sweden”. His own Social Democrats look set to be the biggest party but with no majority to form a government on its own. He has ruled out cooperating with the Sweden Democrats.” – Sky News

And finally…