Open talk of rebellion at ERG meeting

‘Theresa May is facing a potential leadership challenge within days after 50 Tory MPs met on Tuesday night to discuss how to get rid of her. Brexiteers plotted to force a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister, which could come before the Conservative Party conference at the end of this month. Leave supporters are so determined to kill off Mrs May’s controversial Chequers plan for Brexit that they are now prepared to oust her if she refuses to change tack. The meeting prompted Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, to attack Brexiteers for “loose talk” and to urge the Conservative Party to unite behind Mrs May’s Brexit strategy. But the Tories now appear to be more split than ever over Brexit with Eurosceptics now openly discussing how to oust the Prime Minister. One MP who was at the meeting on Tuesday said: “If she won’t chuck Chequers then I’m afraid the Party will chuck her.”’ – Daily Telegraph

  • The inside account – Robert Peston
  • Johnson savages Chequers plan – Daily Mail
  • Downing Street points to Eurosceptics’ lack of an alternative… – Daily Mail
  • …while secretly planning a way to chuck Chequers if they have to – The Sun
  • Some backbench Brexiteers have doubts about the ERG’s approach – The Times
  • Jaguar Land Rover chief warns of costs of No Deal – Daily Mail
  • The NAO says there would be problems with animal exports – FT
  • Pragmatism battles purity – The Times Leader

>Today: ToryDiary: Flying frogs

>Yesterday: Interview: Mercer says he opposes Chequers because his voters do – and that May can’t lead the Conservatives into the next election

Carney will stay on at the Bank of England

‘Announcing the extension of the term in Parliament, the UK chancellor on Tuesday made it clear he was worried that the months around Brexit could be difficult for the UK economy. In an exchange of letters, Mr Carney pledged to work for “a successful Brexit” while Mr Hammond said the move was necessary “to ensure continuity during what could be quite a turbulent period for our economy in the early summer of 2019”. The chancellor said Mr Carney would “support a smooth exit from the European Union and an effective transition to the next governor”.’ – FT

Hammond hints he might raise fuel duty

‘The Chancellor said he would be ‘looking again’ at findings by officials that the benefits of the policy outweighed the costs. Duty on petrol and diesel has been kept at a rate of 57.95p per litre for the past seven years, despite several proposed hikes throughout George Osborne’s tenure as chancellor…Answering questions in the Commons today, Mr Hammond said: ‘To support British households, the Government has frozen fuel duty for eight successive years. By April 2019 these freezes will have saved the average car driver £850 compared to the pre-2010 escalator and the average van driver over £2,100. But it is important that we remember the other side of this coin, the fuel duty freezes since 2011 have meant the Exchequer has foregone around £46billion in revenues through to 2018/19 – and a further £38billion will be foregone over the budget forecast period as a result of these previously announced freezes.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Robert Halfon’s column: Grab the wheel, Hancock – and pull the brake on these hospital car parking charges

Gove: My post-Brexit subsidy plan will be good for farmers and for the countryside

‘While we have been subject to the rules of the CAP our environment has suffered. Valuable habitats have been lost, the number of farmland birds has dropped and the health of the soil on which future food production depends has been eroded. Outside the EU, we can ensure we devote public money to enriching wildlife habitats, preventing flooding, improving the quality of air, soil and peat, and planting trees to help manage and mitigate the effects of climate change. We will also ensure support is there to ensure high animal welfare standards and make it easier for everyone to enjoy the countryside…Our Bill will also help farm businesses become more resilient, productive and internationally competitive. It will support farmers in getting a decent price for the food they produce, clamping down on unfair trading practices along the supply chain.’ – Michael Gove, Daily Telegraph

  • He will publish the Agriculture Bill today – The Times
  • SNP leave farmers ‘in the dark’ by failing to include Scotland in the legislation – Daily Telegraph
  • Hammond has refused to fund patrols to protect British fisheries – The Sun
  • Westminster is the graveyard of many a marriage – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail

Metropolitan Police Commissioner publicly attacks pay settlement

‘The Government’s decision to award a 2 per cent pay increase to police was a “punch on the nose” for officers, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has said. Earlier this year the independent Police Renumeration Review Body recommended that police officers be given a three per cent hike in pay. But the Government controversially rejected the proposal in a move that Ms Dick said had left the independent pay review process in “tatters”. Speaking at the Police Superintendents’ Association annual conference in Leicester, Ms Dick said the move had damaged morale and would have a detrimental impact on police recruitment and retention.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Shaun Bailey on Local Government: Mayor Khan has failed on crime, I will show the leadership London deserves

Rudd: Let’s have a new ID database

‘Conservatives have always had good reason to be distrustful of the state and stand up for privacy rights. But we’ve also always championed reform of the state to empower citizens, improve public services and keep people safe. With the sheer ubiquitousness of data collections of our own personal information, which we hand over so willingly, and with the tremendous gains now available to individuals and society at large if we can have an effective ID system I think that balance needs to be reassessed. The time has come to think again and embrace a single government-backed ID system. The new version of ID cards would not even need to be an actual card. Very few people carry a card with their insurance number, but they know quickly how to find it. Nor could a nationwide ID system be built on an existing National Insurance list, suggested by some, as they contain too many people who have had temporary or time limited access to an NI number. A new ID system could however be built on existing NHS numbers.’ – Amber Rudd, The Times

  • She is accused of recycling rejected Labour ideas – The Times
  • Business urged to upgrade cyber-security – FT

Jobs boom fuels rise in wages

‘Fears of a squeeze on living standards were eased yesterday when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that pay packets, excluding bonuses, had grown by 2.9 per cent in the three months to July. It also announced that the jobless rate had stayed at 4 per cent, the lowest level for 43 years. In real terms, earnings grew by 0.5 per cent, the biggest rise in post-inflation incomes since the start of last year. It was only the second time since July 2015 that earnings growth had hit that level. The growth will strengthen the case for further increases in interest rates and reassure the Bank of England that it was right to raise the base rate last month. Economists warned, however, that a skills shortage was looming. Employment increased by 3,000 to 32.4 million in the three months to July, an amount so small that the ONS described it as “little changed” on the preceding quarter. At the same time job vacancies rose by 3,000 to 833,000, the highest on record.’ – The Times

  • But low productivity still holds pay back – FT
  • Graduates’ career prospects suffer from a lack of basic literacy and numeracy – Daily Mail
  • May urged to give overseas students more time after graduation to find work in the UK – The Times

>Yesterday: Festus Akinbusoye on Comment: Ministers must clamp down on schools which misuse exclusion as a tool to raise exam pass rates

McDonnell woos unions with promise of more powers and a clampdown on the gig economy

‘John McDonnell has outlined Labour’s proposed employment measures to bolster the strength of unions and transform the gig economy in a speech to the Trades Union Congress. The shadow chancellor said the measures would produce a new workplace environment which would boost the UK’s economy if the party formed the next government. “Our programme of workplace reform will restore the balance between employer and worker, and it will do so by installing basic trade union rights in law again, modernising corporate governance structures and extending the opportunity for employees to share collectively in the benefits of ownership of their company,” he said in Manchester on Tuesday. A Labour government would ban zero-hours contracts, repeal the Trade Union Act, clamp down on bogus self-employment, end private finance initiatives and set up a department for employment to implement the policies, he said.’ – The Guardian

  • His cynicism is breathtaking – Leo McKinstry, Daily Mail
  • The Shadow Chancellor is warned his gig economy plans would kill job creation – Daily Mail
  • Finally Labour is back in the real world – Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian
  • Corbyn described activist who vandalised Warsaw ghetto and called for Israeli MPs to be assassinated his “good friend” – Daily Mail
  • His Private Secretary is working in Parliament despite the Security Services refusing her clearance – Huffington Post
  • Press TV journalist suspended from Labour Party – Daily Telegraph
  • Students defending the gulag is a new low – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Afghan refugee quits the party, saying it has become like the Taliban – The Sun
  • Police investigate ‘menacing’ cards left at MPs’ offices – The Times
  • Union leader says Labour’s failure to challenge Islamist extremism is driving people to the far right – The Sun

Russia launches giant war games, with Chinese involvement

‘Russia kicked off the biggest war games in its history yesterday, mobilising 300,000 troops joined by more than 3,000 Chinese soldiers in a show of military might intended to counter what it called the “aggressive and unfriendly” attitudes towards it. The ministry of defence said that almost a third of its active military personnel was taking part in the week-long exercises in Siberia and the Russian far east, although independent analysts suggested that the numbers may have been overstated. About 36,000 Russian tanks and armoured vehicles, 1,000 warplanes, helicopters and drones, and 80 warships will be joined by 900 Chinese combat vehicles and 30 aircraft, underscoring a growing partnership between Beijing and Moscow to challenge American global hegemony. A Mongolian unit will also be involved, although the size and composition of the country’s contribution was not disclosed.’ – The Times