May’s Speech 1) The Prime Minister pledges an ‘end to austerity’

‘Theresa May has declared that Britain’s decade of austerity is over with a pledge to increase public spending after Brexit. The prime minister used her conference speech to make a series of costly commitments that will limit the options of Philip Hammond, the chancellor, in this month’s budget. They also led to immediate demands for more money by other cabinet ministers. The hour-long speech appeared to soothe Tory jitters, with colleagues declaring it to be the best of her three as party leader. The address began after one backbencher, James Duddridge, submitted a letter of no confidence.’ – The Times

  • Now Hammond must find £20 billion to fulfil the promise – Daily Telegraph
  • Fuel duty freeze will continue – The Sun
  • 3,000 shops close in four years – Daily Mail
  • How the different players performed – The Times
  • Verhofstadt says Abba oppose Brexit – Daily Mail

Comment and Editorials

>Today: Alex Morton’s column: As she prepares to shape her own spending review, May’s influence could last much longer than you expect


May’s Speech 2) The cap on councils borrowing to build will be lifted

‘The cap on the amount local authorities can borrow to build council housing will be scrapped, Theresa May announced. Councils’ borrowing against their housing stock was capped as part of an agreement struck in 2012 and its abolition will allow them to take on between £10 billion and £15 billion more debt to build up to 100,000 more homes, according to research by Savills, the estate agent. Councils have not been significant housebuilders since the 1980s. The prime minister said: “More new homes were added to our stock last year than in all but one of the last 30 years. But we need to do better still. The last time Britain was building enough homes — half a century ago — local councils made a big contribution.”’ – The Times

>Today: Emily Barley on Comment: What does the Conservative Party stand for?

May’s Speech 3) She threatens no Brexit, in an effort to shore up Chequers

‘In a confident finale to the Tory conference in Birmingham, the prime minister warned Conservative Eurosceptics that they risked creating political chaos and a reversal of Brexit unless they fell into line. She insisted a brighter future lay ahead if she were able to secure in Brussels her Brexit plan for a “free trade deal that provides for frictionless trade in goods”, adding: “Even if we do not all agree on every part of the proposal, we need to come together.” Mrs May declined to refer to her compromise Brexit proposal as the “Chequers plan” — a phrase which has become toxic in Tory circles — but she remains wedded to her strategy that would see Britain trading with the EU under the bloc’s rules for goods.’ – FT

Foster: The line against a border in the Irish Sea is ‘blood red’

‘Arlene Foster has warned Theresa May that she has a ‘blood red’ line against any Brexit deal which threatens the unity of the United Kingdom. The leader of the DUP – whose MPs are propping the PM up in Number Ten – said that Northern Ireland must not be treated differently to the rest of the UK in any deal. It comes after the party threw the PM’s bid to unblock Brexit talks into turmoil by warning they would vote against any deal involving checks in the Irish Sea. It is thought the Prime Minister could suggest a compromise that involves checks on goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.’ – Daily Mail

  • It doesn’t seem like anyone is keen on May’s approach – FT
  • No deal is better for France than a compromise, Macron minister suggests – Daily Mail
  • Italian Foreign Minister calls Juncker a ‘drunk’ – The Sun

Cox, the ‘Tory Gandalf’, goes viral

‘The Government’s attorney general Geoffrey Cox became the break-out star of the Tory Party conference today – as his booming Shakespearean voice and flamboyant manner sent Twitter into meltdown. The Tory MP was sent on stage to be the warm-up act for Theresa May ahead of her crunch speech to party activists. And he won over the audience as he used his booming voice to extol the possibilities that lie ahead for Brexit Britain. The little-known politician was trending on Twitter where he was compared to actors Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Cox, future Justice Secretary?

Foreign Office exposes Russian’s state cyber-attackers

‘Britain has publicly accused Russia’s military intelligence service of carrying out a campaign of reckless and destabilising cyber-attacks across the world. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said last night the Kremlin had been working in secret to wage indiscriminate and illegal cyber-attacks on democratic institutions and businesses. In a damning charge sheet, the Government has firmly pinned the blame for a string of cyber-attacks on the GRU, the organisation also accused of poisoning double agent Sergei Skripal. The Foreign Office said the National Cyber Security Centre had assessed with ‘high confidence’ that the GRU was ‘almost certainly’ responsible for multiple attacks which have cost economies millions of pounds. It added: ‘Given the high confidence assessment and the broader context, the UK Government has made the judgment that the Russian government – the Kremlin – was responsible.’ Hacks included those on the governing body of the Democratic Party in the US, the World Anti-Doping Agency, metro systems and airports in Ukraine, Russia’s central bank and two Russian media outlets. GRU agents are also accused of hacking a small UK-based TV station.’ – Daily Mail

  • Putin dismisses murdered Dawn Sturgess as “some homeless person” – Daily Mail
  • Expert says Russia has likely placed nuclear weapons in Crimea – Daily Mail
  • Chinese state journalist allegedly slaps Tory activist in rage over Hong Kong – Daily Mail
  • Beware the dodgy funding of political parties – Neil Barnett, The Times
  • SFO seeks recovery of Uzbek-linked properties – FT

Jones: Young activists are acquiring a taste for union power and strike action

‘It was the young who helped deprive the Tories of their majority and plunge the government into crisis. It is that spirit that is shifting from the ballot box to the workplace. Thatcherism sought to break a sense of collective solidarity. The individual would only better their conditions through their own efforts, went the mantra: those who failed could only blame themselves. But this dogma is rapidly colliding with lived experience. “I knew workers had never won better living standards and better conditions and power by relying on the generosity of any government or these companies,” Wetherspoons worker Chris Hepple, 29, tells me. “But until I actually saw it in practice, I didn’t realise it was something we could actually do.” That sense of collective strength is being relearned by a new generation who lack secure, properly paid jobs and affordable decent homes, while being punished with debt if they aspire to a university education.’ – Owen Jones, The Guardian

  • Left-wing faction accused of trying to infiltrate the Royal College of Nursing – The Times
  • We need democratic reform – Nancy Platts, The Times 
  • Rail operator comms chief called for Grayling to lose his job – Daily Mail

Academic hoax tricks journals into publishing absurd ‘grievance studies’ articles

‘The paper, an elaborate fake, sailed into the journal Gender, Place and Culture…its real authors — who did not actually spend a year observing the “rape-condoning spaces of hegemonic masculinity” that are public dog-walking parks — said that it helped to highlight the serious academic malaise affecting a branch of the humanities that they termed “grievance studies”. The paper, which lamented the political unfeasibility of leashing men to prevent sexual aggression, was one of seven that James Lindsay, Peter Boghossian and Helen Pluckrose, US academics, got published in peer-reviewed journals in an 18-month project. Others included an investigation into how “transhysteria” means that men rarely insert objects into their bottoms, another into “fat bodybuilding” and one titled Our Struggle is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism. The latter rewrote chapter 12 of Mein Kampf “with buzzwords switched in”. They were shocked by the ease with which papers were accepted.’ – The Times

Trump’s attack on Kavanaugh accuser inspires rebuke from wavering Senators

‘Three senators whose swing votes will be pivotal to the confirmation of the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh rebuked President Trump yesterday after he mocked one of the women who has accused the judge of sexual assault. Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are the only Republicans in the chamber known to be wavering in their support for Mr Trump’s candidate. After the president taunted Christine Blasey Ford at a campaign rally in Mississippi on Tuesday night they decried his behaviour as “appalling” and “plain wrong”, but stopped short of saying that it would influence their vote.’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan: Kavanaugh may be guilty. But justice demands that his confirmation should take place.