Next stage of Brexit talks delayed, as Brussels anticipates May will give more ground

‘The EU’s lead negotiator is expected to delay publishing the union’s blueprint for a post-Brexit relationship with Britain after signals of new concessions from Downing Street. Michel Barnier had intended to publish an “annotated” draft political declaration tomorrow setting out red lines on a future trade deal. However, amid concerns in London that the document could lead to fresh demands from Brexiteers for Theresa May to abandon her plan for a Chequers-style deal, the paper is being redrafted. EU sources said it was now intended to be a “sort of joint text” that will indicate areas of mutual agreement and disagreement over the outlines of a future trading and security partnership. Officials said the changes were being made to take into account a changed British negotiating position but it will be seen in London as an important concession to buy the prime minister the domestic political space to reach a final “grand bargain” with EU leaders.’ – The Times

  • Raab will update the Commons – The Guardian
  • Downing Street’s analysis of any deal will not test it against an alternative Canada outcome – The Times
  • No £39 billion unless you resolve trade issues, May warns the EU – Daily Mail
  • She must hold her nerve and secure a legally binding, detailed agreement – The Sun Says
  • Hammond refuses to increase No Deal spending – The Sun
  • SNP plans disruption – The Sun
  • IMF urges spending increase – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: How the Monster of the Berlaymont could become the Monster of No Deal

Chequers will never get through Parliament, former Chief Whip warns

‘Theresa May will never get her Chequers deal through Parliament and needs to “chuck” it in favour of a Canada-style deal, the former chief whip has claimed. May loyalist Mark Harper, a former immigration minister who served under the Prime Minister at the Home Office, urged her to “evolve” her Brexit proposals, saying she needed to “unite the party around a comprehensive free trade deal that she can actually get through Parliament”. The MP for the Forest of Dean, who voted Remain in the EU Referendum and backed Mrs May as leader in 2016, said the idea of getting Labour MPs to back Chequers had “no prospect of success”, adding: “We are going to have to carry this deal on our own benches. If you’re the Prime Minister you do have to listen to colleagues.”’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Interview: David Owen’s Brexit plan. Move from transition through the EEA into Canada Plus Plus Plus – before the next election.

Wallace: The Tory policy debate is held back by uncertainty over the Prime Minister’s future

‘The Prime Minister is in government, but not fully in power – hamstrung by her snap election, robbed of authority, but still battling on…Downing Street persists in asserting she has a future beyond the day Britain leaves the EU, but I could find nobody at the party’s conference in Birmingham last week who was really keen for her to stay on. There is a general assumption that she will depart in the spring, although some MPs fear those around her might be tempted at times to try their luck at pushing that deadline back. This is unhealthy for her party’s internal culture, in that the Prime Minister risks bed-blocking the future policy debate. Should new ideas be pitched to her, in case she wants to implement them herself after Brexit? Those generating them are wary of linking their proposals to an administration which they fear might swiftly be consigned to history. Should they instead pitch them to her would-be successors? That carries the risk that policy innovation, particularly pushed beyond a minister’s departmental brief or by someone on the backbenches, might be interpreted as disloyalty.’ – Mark Wallace, the i paper

>Today: The Moggcast. Universal Credit – “You would save money if you funded it properly”.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Osborne raided Universal Credit budgets, but it’s Hammond who is suffering the hangover

Second Salisbury suspect named as Russian military doctor

‘The second suspect in the Salisbury poisoning was unmasked last night as a military doctor working for Russian intelligence. Alexander Yevgenyevich Mishkin, 39, allegedly travelled to Britain in March under the pseudonym Alexander Petrov to carry out the nerve agent attack on the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal. Mishkin was revealed as an operative for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, less than a fortnight after the unmasking of the senior member of the two-man team accused of smearing novichok on Mr Skripal’s front door…The investigative website Bellingcat revealed last night that Mishkin graduated from one of Russia’s elite military medical academies and was trained as a doctor for the country’s navy before he was recruited by the GRU.’ – The Times

Mordaunt presses for private investment to be counted in the 0.7 per cent aid target

‘Penny Mordaunt will today reveal a ground-breaking plan to slash billions in taxpayers’ contributions from the bloated aid budget. In a radical shake up of DFID spending, the new Cabinet minister wants private investors such as pension funds to prop up Britain’s generous overseas programmes instead. The nation will still meet the controversial target of 0.7% of its annual income on foreign aid. But the Government wants to enforce a major change to international rules to allow non-government cash also to be used to meet the target, under Ms Mordaunt’s blueprint…A source close to the Development Secretary said: “How we do aid is changing. It’s now much more about projects that help a country’s economy, which means there is an opportunity there for private money to make a return.’ – The Sun

  • She is right – and should go further – The Sun Says
  • Government to consider raising energy prices – The Times
  • A global climate emergency – The Guardian Leader
  • MPs mull compulsory water meters – Daily Mail
  • Ofwat accused of putting investors before consumers – FT

>Today: Amber Rudd on Comment: Our responsibility to the next generation requires us to tackle climate change

Hancock: We have much to do before mental and physical illness are treated equally

‘For too long, we have failed to put the mental health needs of millions of our citizens around the world at the forefront of our minds. We can’t go on like this. Mental ill health is the leading cause of lost economic output, with an estimated cost of nearly $2.5 trillion annually, which is expected to increase to $6 trillion by 2030. The impact isn’t just economic — people with severe mental illness are 60 per cent more likely to die prematurely because of their underlying condition and related conditions such as dementia and epilepsy… Britain has taken an international lead and made tackling mental health a priority. We are now spending record amounts on mental health services, nearly £12 billion this year. We plan to increase the NHS’ mental health workforce by 21,000 by 2021 and expand mental health provision to a million more people within the next two years. We have made great strides in this country, but are in no doubt that we have work to do. I agree with those who say that when it comes to mental health: we are all developing countries.’ – Matt Hancock, The Times

  • 999 calls for children in mental health crisis are on the rise – The Times
  • NHS funding squeeze is not driving efficiency – FT
  • Vapers to pay the same insurance rates as smokers for the first time – The Sun
  • Australian tobacco warnings planned under No Deal, because the EU won’t let us use the current images – Daily Mail
  • Statistics authority criticises Department for Education – The Times
  • Court officials refuse to publish case details, citing GDPR – The Times
  • Prison guards to get pepper spray – The Times
  • You can’t trust the police any longer – Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph

Cuts hit English councils twice as hard as those in Scotland or Wales

‘Austerity cuts hit councils in England twice as hard as those in Scotland or Wales, a study has found. The average reduction in spending on services was almost 24 per cent in England compared to just 12 per cent in Wales and 11.5 per cent in Scotland. The findings come from the first detailed analysis of local authority budgets across Britain since 2010 by Cambridge University researchers. During her speech at the Tory party conference Theresa May declared the Government’s eight-year austerity programme was ‘over’ and said ‘there are better days ahead’. The study found all 46 councils that had cut spending by 30 per cent or more were located in England.’ – Daily Mail

  • Hammond urged to act over Facebook’s ‘paltry’ tax bill – The Times
  • The Chancellor might raid pension tax relief – Daily Mail
  • Google ‘covered up’ exposed user data – Daily Mail
  • If austerity is over, let’s make Britain competitive – Matthew Lynn, Daily Telegraph
  • Tax hikes squeeze disposable income – The Sun
  • Field campaigns to ditch VAT on school uniforms – The Sun
  • IPPR proposes replacement for council tax – Daily Mail
  • And for stamp duty – The Sun

Allegations of vote-rigging inside Birmingham Labour Party

‘Senior party members have been urged to send an independent observer to the Yardley constituency for a key vote this month after it was alleged that Asian women who do not speak English had been shown how to vote. Julia Larden, the local party’s vice-chairwoman, has written to Jim Kennedy, a member of Labour’s national executive committee, Katy Clark, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, and other party officials warning of the “very obvious and visible practice” that she says has taken place at the party’s past two general meetings… In an email seen by The Times, Ms Larden explained why she was asking for an observer to oversee this month’s meeting. “I am concerned about a very obvious and visible practice which has taken place over the last two Yardley AGMS,” she wrote. “This consists in about 12-15 Asian women being led individually to the ballot table by the Chair’s wife (who is also vice-chair, membership). We are told that the women do not speak English. The chair’s wife then points a finger on the ballot paper to indicate to these women how they should vote.”’ – The Times

  • Their four-day week pledge is a blast from the past – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • Ofcom warns LBC over show in which Khan was allowed to interview his own party leader – The Times
  • Tristram Hunt demands tourism tax to fund museums – The Times

>Yesterday: Howard Flight’s column: If the Conservatives can’t kill off Corbyn, let’s hire a PR agency to do it.

The UK refuses to accept captured ISIS terrorists from Syria

‘The UK has refused to repatriate nine ISIL-linked Britons who are being detained in Syria due to crown prosecutors saying they may not be able to prosecute them. The jihadists being refused repatriation are two members of the “Beatles”, an Islamic State execution squad, as well as two women who have yet to be identified, as well as their children. The British Government wants El-Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, members of Jihadi John’s notorious gang, to be deported to the US where they can be executed should they be found guilty. British authorities are also trying to prevent another seven detained fighters and supporters from being brought back to the UK over fears they would present a public danger.’ – Daily Express

  • Javid softened line on death penalty to appease Trump, court told – The Times
  • Update treason laws – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Acting Met Commissioner gives eye-witness evidence of attack that killed Keith Palmer – The Times
  • Amazon criticised for supporting ‘Salafist’ organisation – The Times
  • Chinese security threat is alarming – John Hemmings, The Times
  • Anti-hunting group accused of attempting to hack rivals – The Times

Brazil joins global populist surge

‘Brazil’s presidential election is proving to be its most significant since the transition to democracy three decades ago. It is certainly the most unpredictable. Jair Bolsonaro emerged from the far-right fringe to come close to a knockout first-round victory on Sunday. The congressman and ex-army captain, who has praised Brazil’s military dictatorship, won 46 per cent of the vote — just 4 percentage points short of an outright win, showing the clear support for his strongman message. Mr Bolsonaro’s total was also well ahead of his main rival, Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ party, or PT, with 29 per cent. The two politicians, from opposite sides of the spectrum, will now face each other in a run-off on October 28. On current form, the presidency is Mr Bolsonaro’s to lose. His surge in support mirrors in many ways the ascendancy of the political right across the world, from the US presidential election to Europe’s populist surge.’ – FT

News in Brief

  • Banning single use plastics would hurt consumers – 1828
  • Gene genie – Unherd
  • The death of white liberalism – The Spectator
  • Arlene goes to Brussels – New Statesman
  • Google’s ambitions in China threaten US national security – Quillette