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Britain must be ready for French ‘go slow’ on trade, warns Raab…

“Britain must be ready for a French ‘go slow’ designed to cripple trade if negotiations with the EU fail, Dominic Raab warned today. The Brexit Secretary raised the prospect as he complained that the bloc was being ‘deliberately intransigent’ in the talks. He also delivered a stark message to MPs against trying to ‘wreck’ any package Theresa May does manage to bring home, and said the Irish authorities should be ‘well aware’ of the consequences of refusing to compromise. The combative stance came as Mr Raab took questions in the Commons with the Brexit situation on a knife edge. The PM managed to quell restive Conservative MPs by delivering an emotional plea for support at what had been billed as a ‘show trial’ meeting last night… Meanwhile, the Cabinet is said to have signed off on triggering no-deal Brexit plans in three weeks’ time as negotiations with the EU remain deadlocked.” – Daily Mail

  • Brexit Secretary says UK will leave without deal if Brussels is ‘intransigent’ – The Times
  • May delays plans to pitch ‘Plan B’ to bitterly divided Cabinet – The Sun
  • Hannan says EU citizens will be given full voting rights – The Guardian
  • Fox’s job becoming ‘increasingly difficult’ due to uncertainty – Daily Express

More:

  • Khan accused of ignoring London as he lobbies over Brexit – The Sun
  • Pro-EU MPs tell Barnier to prepare for u-turn – The Scotsman
  • Researcher claims Brexit could kill thousands by hiking cost of fruit and veg – Daily Mail
  • Unionists hold firm on Brexit in DUP’s stronghold – FT
  • Argentina’s plan to use ‘no deal’ to pry Falklands from Britain – Daily Mail
  • Lords demand second referendum – Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: Hammond has one task only in next week’s Budget. To show that the Government is preparing for No Deal.

…as Morgan warns that May will be gone in months

A former Tory Cabinet minister said Theresa May only has months left in power, despite receiving a warm reception from backbench MPs last night. Nicky Morgan said: “I think we’ll probably, in the course of the next 12 months, be looking for a new leader”. Asked if Mrs May still had her backing, Ms Morgan told ITV’s Peston: “She has, absolutely, for now.” It came as the Prime Minister faced down what was expected to be a “show trial” at the 1922 committee on Tory MPs on Wednesday. MPs said the event was more like a “petting zoo” than entering the “lion’s den”. Amber Rudd, the former Home Secretary, said she had “won the room” as MPs greeted her arrival by thumping desks and doors. However, some MPs demanded “cast iron” guarantees that Britain will leave the European Union and pressed Mrs May on what concessions she had secured from Brussels.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Dual role for Prime Minister’s appointee questioned – FT

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: What was hung around May’s neck in this week’s 1922 meeting was…a garland

Nick Boles: Norway offers a way out of the Brexit maze

“A bandwagon has started rolling in Westminster and it is picking up speed. In recent days figures as significant as William Hague and Nicky Morgan have given it an almighty shove, and MPs as various as Tory Leaver Andrew Murrison and Labour Leaver Frank Field have joined Tory Remainer George Freeman and Labour Remainer Ivan Lewis on board. The bandwagon is called Norway for Now. It proposes that Britain should start its staged withdrawal from the European Union as a member of the common market binding Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein with the EU — the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (Efta). This new transition would replace the prime minister’s never-ending implementation period and see Britain maintaining continuity in its customs arrangements while we finalise the details of our future relationship with Brussels.” – The Times

  • The Cabinet are waking up to the disastrous implications of May’s deal – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit risks the integrity of the United Kingdom – Guto Bebb, Times Red Box
  • Why Labour should back May’s deal – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Protectionist car lobby should not be dictating the terms of Brexit – Edgar Miller, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: It’s time to study the map that leads from Norway to Canada

Ministers 1) Williamson says all military roles are now open to women

“All roles in the military are now open to women, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced. The historic day was marked at a land power demonstration on Salisbury Plain, involving some of the first women to join the Royal Armoured Corps. Mr Williamson announced that, as of today, women already serving in the Army are able to transfer into infantry roles, including the Special Forces. Those not currently serving will be able to apply for infantry roles in December of this year, with new recruits starting basic training in April 2019. The Defence Secretary also confirmed that women are now able to apply to join the Royal Marines, with selection starting before the end of this year… Tory MP Bob Stewart, 69, a former British Army officer who served in Northern Ireland and rose to become United Nations Commander during the Bosnian war, said the announcement is a ‘great idea’.” – Daily Mail

  • Defence chiefs win £500 million from the Chancellor to stave off cuts – The Sun

Comment:

  • Is this just a case of PC meddling? – Tim Collins, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Scores of Tory MPs and peers urge May to protect Ulster veterans

Ministers 2) McVey accused of ‘dismissing evidence’ of pain caused by Universal Credit

“Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, is today accused by MPs of presiding over a “culture of indifference” to the “desperate hardship” being caused by the universal credit policy. In a highly critical report the public accounts committee (PAC) will say Ms McVey and the Department of Work and Pensions “persistently dismissed evidence” of the “unacceptable difficulties” that the new benefits system was creating. It accuses the DWP of operating under a “fortress mentality”, dismissing the concerns of charities and local authorities who have had to deal with the consequences of the policy. The findings, from a cross-party group of MPs, will increase pressure on Ms McVey and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, in the run up to the budget next week. Labour and a growing number of Tory MPs have called for the Treasury to find up to £2 billion in additional funding to protect millions of families who will be up to £200 a month worse off when they move on to the new system.” – The Times

  • Reform causing ‘unacceptable hardship’, MPs warn – FT
  • Forty per cent of claimants ‘unable to pay bills’ – The Sun

Comment:

  • The fortress mentality over Universal Credit needs to stop – Bridget Phillipson, Times Red Box

Ministers 3) Javid apologises for Home Office demanding DNA from gurkhas

“Sajid Javid today publicly apologised after the Home Office illegally demanded Afghan interpreters and the children of Gurkhas hand over their DNA to settle in Britain. The Home Secretary said many hundreds of people were caught up in the scandal after officials issued ‘unclear or wrong’ guidance. Some 51 children of Gurkhas – Nepalese natives who had served in the military and had been given the right to stay in the UK after a high-profile campaign led by Joanna Lumley – were told to give their DNA. And the border authorities also demanded that every single Afghan interpreter – and their families – who wanted to move to the UK hand over their DNA. It remains unclear how many people were affected from Afghanistan, but it is thought to be at least a few hundred. Four siblings from the same Gurkha family were all denied the right to stay in Britain because they refused to hand over their DNA, Mr Javid admitted.” – Daily Mail

  • Crime rise as stop-and-search falls – The Times

Editorial:

Ministers 4) Hammond faces revolt over delays to betting machine curbs

“Philip Hammond is facing a rebellion next week if he presses ahead in the budget with plans to delay a cut to the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The Treasury has resisted the cut to £2 from the present £100 on the ground that it would cost about £400 million in lost revenue. It relented this spring after a cross-party campaign led by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative Party leader, and Carolyn Harris, the Labour MP for Swansea East. The decision led to drops in the share price of bookmakers, who said that the move would lead to the closure of betting shops and the loss of up to 200,000 jobs. It later emerged that there was continuing uncertainty over when the measure would be introduced, with the industry lobbying for a delay to allow it to adjust. Ministers at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport privately insisted that the reduction should come into force no later than April. They were backed by Matt Hancock, the culture secretary at the time.” – The Times

  • Baker fears Treasury projections for Brexit are ‘too gloomy’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Are high taxes killing the British High Street? – FT

Comment:

  • Ministers must keep their promises on FOBTs – Iain Duncan Smith and Carolyn Harris, The Times

>Today: Joel Davidson and Amir Sadjady in Local Government: Bold measures are needed from Hammond next week to save our high streets

>Yesterday: Will Tanner in Comment: The Budget choice on ending austerity. Raise taxes – or ease up on deficit reduction.

Ministers 5) Brokenshire defends Oxford-Cambridge homes plan

“A million new homes between Oxford and Cambridge would destroy an area of countryside larger than Birmingham, campaigners have warned. That is the number of homes the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has recommended by 2050 to boost economic growth in an area known as the “Oxford-Cambridge Arc”. The Campaign to Protect Rural England said this would result in the loss of 67,000 acres of greenfield farmland and woodland. It found that there was capacity for only 50,000 houses on previously developed land within the arc… James Brokenshire, the communities secretary, said: “Building the homes our country needs does not mean tearing up vast tracts of our countryside. The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is an opportunity to further strengthen rural economies, enhance the environment and benefit local communities.”” – The Times

  • Ministers under pressure over gap between planning permits and construction – The Sun
  • Rising sea levels threaten 1.5 million properties – FT
  • McDonnell claims landlord rules aren’t fit for purpose – The Guardian

Ministers 6) Hancock urges social media companies to enforce minimum age rules

“Social media use has contributed to the rise in self-harm among teenage girls, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has said, accusing big tech firms of doing nothing to enforce minimum age rules. Hancock, a keen user of social media who created his own app for constituents, has repeatedly warned of the dangers posed to teenagers by the influence of some sites and has said he does not let his own young children use them. His department is set to produce the first official guidelines on the maximum amount of time young people should spend on social media, as well as probing the links between excessive use of social media and child mental health problems. The health secretary said he believed social media “has got a part to play” in rising mental health problems for children and young people.” – The Guardian

  • Northern Irish medical chief warns of 12-hour waits on trolleys – Belfast Telegraph

MPs call for Green to be stripped of knighthood

“Sir Philip Green faced new calls to be stripped of his knighthood yesterday as he was outed as the businessman alleged to have gagged staff from speaking out about bullying and sexual harassment. The retail magnate was named in the House of Lords by the former Labour cabinet minister Lord Hain, despite a court order preventing details of the case from being made public. The collapse of the privacy injunction, which cost Sir Philip about £500,000 to secure, will renew controversy about how the law is being used by the wealthy to mask allegations of wrongdoing. It will also pile pressure on parliament to act against non-disclosure agreements, which critics fear have been used to cover up widespread misconduct. The House of Commons has spent more than £2.4 million since 2013 on staff settlements containing gagging clauses.” – The Times

  • Hain defends his use of parliamentary privilege – Daily Mail

McDonnell faces backlash over multi-billion spending plans

“John McDonnell faced a backlash today over his demand for a ‘huge’ £108billion a year spending splurge to ‘end austerity’. The shadow chancellor was warned his plans would reverse eight years of work trying to balance the books, and allow the deficit to spiral once again. And he refused five times to rule out increasing fuel duty as part of efforts to drum up cash for a left-wing government’s programme. The respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) think-tank said the spending platform set out by the Opposition at the election last year had been ‘huge’. But it pointed out that those proposals – totalling £40billion a year in day-to-day outlay plus many times more in capital spend – actually meant giving less to the NHS than the Tory government and did not cover the bill for reversing benefit cuts. In a speech ahead of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget due on Monday, Mr McDonnell suggested making good on Theresa May’s promise to end austerity meant reversing the cuts introduced since the coalition came to power in 2010.” – Daily Mail

  • Opposition attack fall in spending on school buildings – The Times

Labour drops complaint over wreath-laying coverage

“Labour has dropped its complaint against the Daily Mail over its coverage of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to the cemetery where terror leaders linked to the Munich massacre are buried. The party complained to the Press regulator in August about several papers’ coverage of the 2014 event. Last night it emerged it had told the Independent Press Standards Organisation that it did not wish to take the case against the Mail any further. The decision will be seen as a vindication for the Mail’s original story, which concerned a photo, obtained by this paper, of Mr Corbyn holding a wreath only feet away from the graves of terror leaders linked to the 1972 killings. The picture was among a number taken during a service to honour Palestinian ‘martyrs’… One picture placed Mr Corbyn close to the grave of another terrorist, Atef Bseiso, intelligence chief of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. Bseiso has also been linked to the Munich atrocity and was assassinated in Paris in 1992.” – Daily Mail

Bercow could face inquiry

“John Bercow could finally face an inquiry into bullying claims against him for the first time after Parliament backed a damning report into harassment. Last night the House of Commons Commission said it was adopting all the main recommendations made by Dame Laura Cox’s report. It means historic allegations can now be probed. Previous commitments to reform would only have covered new allegations of bad behaviour. The Commons Speaker has been accused of several cases of bullying and former official David Leakey, who was Parliament’s Black Rod, has accused him of creating a climate of ‘fear and intimidation’. Mr Bercow denies the allegations against him. He insisted today he and other senior figures in Parliament had ‘heard and are willing to change’. The Speaker, who has been in post since 2009, struck a defiant tone in the Commons as he told MPs he wanted to see Parliament become ‘a safe place, a haven for staff’.” – Daily Mail

Irish party sparks confusion over whether it is standing candidates in Northern Ireland

“Fianna Fail announced its first ever candidate to stand in an election in Northern Ireland – and then promptly sparked confusion by claiming no decision had been made. Sorcha McAnespy is expected to stand in next May’s local election. Fianna Fail, currently the main opposition party in the Republic, is due to unveil a number of other candidates in the future. Ms McAnespy, a member of the party’s national executive, is already an independent councillor for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. She left Sinn Fein in 2016 after accusing the party of “nepotism and misogyny”. Party leader Micheal Martin, who has long pledged to contest elections north of the border, has informed her she will be a candidate next May. The move comes amid ongoing speculation that Fianna Fail might ultimately merge with the SDLP to run in future elections here.” – Belfast Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • More homes, lower prices: the case for Simplified Planning Zones – Charles Shaw and Daniel Pycock, CapX
  • Leavers would be mad to sell out Northern Ireland – Owen Polley, Reaction
  • #MeToo must choose female empowerment over victimhood – Madeline Grant, 1828
  • When Donald Trump goes low, the Democrats go lower – Freddy Gray, The Spectator
  • Introducing my Full English Brexit – James Gray MP, Brexit Central

6 comments for: Newslinks for Friday 26th October 2018

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