Brexit and Conference 1) Hunt compares the EU to the Soviet Union

“The Foreign Secretary has warned the EU that it will stir Britain’s “Dunkirk spirit” if it tries to force a bad Brexit deal on Prime Minister Theresa May. Jeremy Hunt’s warning at the Conservative Party Conference came after he compared the EU to the Soviet Union. He said that if the bloc becomes a “prison” and punishes Britain for Brexit other countries will “want to escape.” Mr Hunt also invoked Margaret Thatcher as he told EU leaders that if they want to break up the UK by putting a border in the Irish Sea the answer is “No, no, no.” In an interview with The Telegraph after his speech, Mr Hunt said the EU was “over-confident” about Britain’s willingness to compromise.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Conservatives need a vision beyond Brexit – Leader, Daily Telegraph



Brexit and Conference 2) Raab warns of limits to further compromises

“The UK’s willingness to compromise is “not without limits”, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab will warn the EU in a speech to the Conservative conference. Mr Raab will vow to take a “pragmatic, not dogmatic” approach to the final phase of talks with Brussels. But if the EU tries to force the UK into accepting a customs union then it will leave without a deal, he will say….Neither will the government agree to anything that divides Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK or makes the country a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) like Norway.” – BBC

  • Don’t fear leaving on WTO terms says Rees-Mogg – Daily Express

Brexit and Conference 3) Hammond mocks Johnson for lack of detail

“Philip Hammond last night launched a blistering personal attack on Boris Johnson. He said the former foreign secretary was incapable of ‘grown-up’ politics and did not have a clue how his own proposal for a Brexit deal would work. On the eve of his speech to the Tory Party conference, the Chancellor also said Mr Johnson was doomed to fail in his bid to be the next Conservative prime minister. ‘I don’t expect it to happen,’ he told the Daily Mail in a candid and wide-ranging interview.” – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Our Next Tory Leader survey. Javid is up and Johnson down slightly – but the latter retains a double-figure lead.

Brexit and Conference 4) Eurosceptics risk forgetting about the Union that really “matters”, claims Davidson

“Ruth Davidson is to warn Tory Eurosceptics they risk forgetting about the Union that really “matters” in their drive for a hard Brexit. The Scottish Tory leader told the Telegraph she will use her speech to the UK conference in Birmingham to be the “pro-Union conscience of the party”. Ms Davidson believes some of her colleagues must be reminded that Brexit cannot be a success if it leads to the break-up of the UK…She said she wanted to remind the party’s pro-Brexit wing that in Scotland the Nationalists “spend every waking hour” trying to use Brexit to get independence.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Ideological puritan” approach attacked – The Herald

“I will retain Navy’s amphibious assault ships,” promises Williamson

“Gavin Williamson has made an unfunded commitment to retain the Royal Navy’s amphibious assault ships, ending speculation that the capability was about to be cut. The landing craft HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion, which are used to transport Royal Marines ashore by air and sea, were singled out last year as being at risk due to pressure to cut budgets. However, cutting an entire military capability is a more efficient way to make savings than retaining but paring down several. The two ships have been responsible during their service for helping secure Iraqi oil platforms, tackling piracy off the Horn of Africa, participating in migrant search-and-rescue missions and evacuating British citizens from Libya during the civil war.” – The Times

Tories have “lost their way”, says business donor

“A major Conservative donor has told the BBC the Tories have “lost their way” and the prime minister has “let herself down” by failing to champion business. City grandee Michael Spencer said the party had been “foolish on occasion to adopt some of the language of the socialists” in order to “buy” votes. He told BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg the gamble had not paid off. In the interview, Mr Spencer also refused to endorse Theresa May to continue as party leader after Brexit. Mr Spencer, 63, is chief executive of investment organisation NEX Group and spent almost four years as party treasurer under David Cameron, from January 2007 to October 2010.” – BBC

Lewis refuses to resign over data blunder

“Tory Party boss, Brandon Lewis, has refused to quit after the a humiliating data blunder saw mobile numbers of Cabinet Ministers and party members published online. Instead the Conservative Party Chairman heaped blame on a private tech firm drafted in by the party to build their controversial Conference App…He was mocked by his colleagues over the glitch – with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson joking that Mr Lewis should send some of his own staff on a new cyber security course he was launching for cadets.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: WATCH: “We are taking this breach of data seriously,” promises Lewis

Chancellor to promise changes to Apprenticeship Levy

“Philip Hammond is set to promise reforms to the unpopular apprenticeship levy, the vocational training policy that has been beset by problems since its introduction last year, as the government seeks to repair damage to its relationship with industry. The chancellor will announce a consultation today on improving the levy, the new funding system that was supposed to improve the training of young workers and to help the nation to tackle skills shortages.” – The Times

Clark orders review of companies using “big data” to exploit customers…

“Companies using big data to rip off vulnerable consumers are being targeted by the competition watchdog after Greg Clark, the business secretary, said he would trigger a far-reaching review into Britain’s business practices. Mr Clark has asked Andrew Tyrie, head of the Competition and Markets Authority, to advise him on an overhaul of business regulation, for which he said he was ready to legislate. The business secretary said there were warning signs in the way companies had used personal data to exploit customers, such as energy groups imposing higher charges on loyal customers — especially the elderly — who failed to shop around. Last week UK regulators said they were investigating a “loyalty penalty” charged to faithful customers, which amounted to £4bn a year according to Citizens Advice.” – Financial Times

  • Restaurant bosses will be banned from taking their staff’s tips – The Sun

…and he backs reform of Business Rates to save the high street

“Business rates could be reformed to recognise the contribution made by ailing High Streets, ministers have signalled. Business Secretary Greg Clark said he believed the benefits to communities from High Streets should be recognised. Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference, he said changes to the tax on business properties was ‘one way of doing that’.” – Daily Mail

Brokenshire to ban Grenfell-style cladding

“Combustible materials will be banned from the outside of all new tower blocks, schools, hospitals, care homes and student accommodation, the government will announce today. The ban has been welcomed by survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster as the “first signal we are being heard”. Combustible cladding has been blamed for the rapid spread of the fire at the west London block, which claimed 72 lives in June 2017. James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, said that the change to building regulations resulted from a lengthy consultation after the fire.” – The Times

Gove launches initiative to cut supermarket food waste…

“Michael Gove will today launch a pioneering initiative to end the scandal of supermarket food waste. The Environment Secretary will announce plans to use food destined to be dumped by the major retailers to provide 250 million meals to those in need. The collaboration, involving the supermarkets, charities and the Government, will prevent food with a retail value of close to £1 billion being thrown away…The £15 million pilot project will help establish a national scheme to distribute food that is going out of date to local charities and voluntary groups who will send out meals.” – Daily Mail

…as Foges decides he is the bold revolutionary the Tories need

“Deliver Gove would. Sure, all Tory candidates will promise sweeping change, but too often big promises dissolve into endless consultations and inquiries. One takeaway from the Brexit and Corbyn phenomena is that this kind of managerial, tinkering politics won’t cut it any more. As many have observed, two things hang in the air over swathes of Britain: anger that this does not feel like “a country that works for everyone” and hunger for change. Whoever leads next, they face the formidable task of post-Brexit national renewal, a task requiring urgency, imagination, a revolutionary spirit. To meet this moment, our best hope is Michael Gove.” – Clare Foges, The Times

Truss calls for speed limit on motorways to be raised to 80mph

“The speed limit on motorways should be lifted to 80 miles per hour to increase national productivity by helping car and van drivers get to meetings more quickly, a Government minister has said. Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said increasing the speed limit from 70mph to 80mph would mean that drivers wasted less time in their cars. Ms Truss told a fringe meeting organised by the Centre for Policy Studies at the Conservative Party Conference that raising the speed limit could be part of the Government’s growth agenda.” – Daily Telegraph

Prime Minister refuses to apologise for “hostile environment” immigration policy

“Theresa May has refused to apologise for her “hostile environment” immigration policy, although she conceded that members of the Windrush generation had become wrongly entangled, sometimes at the cost of their own lives. The prime minister said the policy was intended to identify illegal immigrants and said it would remain, even though thousands of people who were British citizens had their right to remain in the country and use healthcare, housing and other public services questioned.” – The Guardian

Johnson: Use aid spending to save the elephants

“With a magnificent disdain for anything so grubby as a national priority, we shove the money out of the door and into the arms of the big corporate charitable organisations that are only too happy to spend it on our behalf, no questions asked…If we are going to spend so much on aid – and there is no doubt that it wins Britain friends and admirers around the world – then let’s get value for this country as well. Saving elephants and protecting nature is one of the priorities of the British people. All the polls show it. Time is running out. We can support elephant corridors, and support the people of Africa as well.” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Harris: Higher Stamp Duty for foreigners won’t increase housing supply

“Numerous studies, including the one cited this weekend by Downing Street, rubbish the “buy to leave” theory. Some also find that foreign demand has enabled developers to build faster, increasing supply and helping weigh down rental costs in the capital. The PM’s new policy could, therefore, have the unintended consequence of pushing up rental costs. Meanwhile she and too many of her cabinet ministers continue to stand in the way of any meaningful planning reform. It is a sorry situation, but one that has become typical of today’s Conservative Party.” – Julian Harris, City AM

D’Ancona: The Conservatives are a Party in crisis

“Since Labour’s landslide in 1997, the Conservatives have brooded, with varying degrees of intensity, upon their failure to reach out, to win the support of new voters, to speak to the heart as well as the wallet. But the embalming of the May government and the crazed cacophony of Brexit have stalled that necessary process of reflection – perhaps indefinitely. Behold, in Birmingham, a party in crisis, blithely dragging the country towards the cliff’s edge: stultified and baffled, it resorts to its oldest tunes, barely convincing itself that anyone is really listening.” – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian

Moore: May doesn’t seem to enjoy Party Conference speeches

“Her audience – though sceptical after the debacle of her Chequers proposals – will not be hostile. They will be willing her to succeed.One must be doubtful that she will do so, however. This is partly because of Mrs May’s dislike – most unusual in a leader – of talking in public about what she is doing. Margaret Thatcher was a passionate preacher, especially to the converted. John Major was a low-key but seductive persuader. David Cameron might not have had great natural rapport with his party conference audience, but he could always deliver first-rate, rousing oratory. Mrs May gives the impression she would prefer to be at the dentist.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

US and Canada agree new trade deal

“The US and Canada have reached a new trade deal, along with Mexico, to replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is said to involve more US access to Canada’s dairy market and a cap on its car exports to the US. However, the joint US-Canada statement did not give details of the agreement. US President Donald Trump has long sought to change Nafta, which governed more than $1tn (£767bn) in trade.” – BBC

News in brief

  • Conservatives warned of need to win youth vote – Independent
  • Lewis pledges funding to make the candidates list more diverse – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • Project Cheer 3: Even more reasons to be upbeat about Brexit – BrexitCentral
  • LBC radio presenter who used to work for Theresa May says he told a cabinet minister the questions he was going to ask in an interview – Buzzfeed
  • To change the political narrative, the Conservatives must defy nostalgia – and pick a new leader – Graeme Archer, Unherd