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Raab climbs down from hints at Brexit agreement…

“Dominic Raab has been forced into an embarrassing climbdown after appearing to suggest that the UK’s increasingly fraught Brexit negotiations with the EU could be completed in three weeks’ time. The Brexit secretary admitted there was “no set date for the negotiations to conclude” three hours after a letter he had sent to a select committee was released in which he said he was happy to appear before it on 21 November after “a deal is finalised”. Once thought a safe pair of hands to take over the negotiations after the resignation of David Davis, Raab’s personally signed correspondence briefly caused the pound to rise and raised questions in Brussels. The subsequent retreat prompted his shadow, Sir Keir Starmer, to conclude that he had been forced to execute “one of the quickest U-turns in political history”.” – The Guardian

  • Barnier ‘under mounting pressure to compromise’, sources claim… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but Ireland says UK must blink ‘by next week’ – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Commons will back deal as MPs are ‘terrified’ of crashing out, admits Davis – Daily Mail
  • MPs ‘can be ignored’ if they vote for new poll – The Times
  • Senior SNP MP criticises Sturgeon’s support for second referendum – Daily Telegraph
  • Ministers hold regular meetings with the DUP – Daily Mail

>Today: George Trefgarne in Comment: Why Norway-to-Canada is practical and legal – and offers the UK and EU a way out of a Brexit crash

…as May ‘seals deal’ on financial services

“Theresa May has struck a deal with Brussels that would give UK financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit. British and European negotiators have reached tentative agreement on all aspects of a future partnership on services, as well as the exchange of data, government sources said. In a sign that a wider deal is close to being finalised, Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, said in a letter to the Commons Brexit committee published yesterday that the government expected to have it completed within three weeks. The Northern Irish backstop was still a matter of “concern”, he wrote, but added: “Despite our difference we are not that far from an agreement on this issue. The end is firmly in sight.” He said he would be happy to give evidence “when a deal is finalised”, probably by November 21. The pound rose sharply against the dollar on the news and was up nearly a cent at $1.2860 this morning.” – The Times

  • Pound jumps on reports of deal for sector – FT

More:

  • Lobby MPs to back Brexit, Prime Minister urges businesses – FT
  • Former chief of staff urges ‘radical rethink’ – Daily Express
  • Paris and Rome offer best tax breaks for Brexit bankers – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Brexit preferences. One in ten respondents go for Norway to Canada. Almost half want Canada Plus Plus Plus.

Nick Timothy: The radical Brexit speech May could still make

“The silence is deafening. It is beyond time the Prime Minister explained how the Government will exploit Brexit, and articulate a positive vision for Britain after we leave the EU. She could begin by announcing that, when the transition period ends, seven strategic locations across the North of England will immediately become combined free ports and enterprise zones. The chosen sites would remain within the UK’s sovereign territory but outside its customs rules, exempting firms operating there from certain taxes, rules and regulations, and attracting investment from all around the world. This is no wacky proposition. According to a report by Rishi Sunak, a Tory MP and rising star, there are 3,500 such places in 135 countries, employing 66 million people… Mace, a consultancy, has recommended seven combined free ports and enterprise zones in Teesside and Tyneside, Grimsby, Hull and Humberside, Liverpool and Manchester Airport.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Greece shows how the UK can recover from disorder – Tony Barber, FT
  • Government has persuaded MPs that it isn’t competent to deliver no-deal – Alan Wager, Times Red Box
  • A clean Brexit would give us billions with which to cut taxes – Owen Paterson MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Banks’ bullyboy tactics won’t stop me pursuing the truth – Damian Collins MP, The Guardian

Budget 1) ‘Cabinet war looms’ as Gove fights for green targets

“A Cabinet war is looming after it emerged Treasury ministers will try to block a series of new green targets from being enshrined in law. Environment Secretary Michael Gove is drawing up tough new rules to clean up Britain by 2043. He is said to want much of his 25 year plan Environment Plan – unveiled in January – to be made legally binding. The blueprint sets a series of bold aspirations, from the use of plastics to air and water quality, beach clean ups and landfill waste. But Philip Hammond and his ministers want to keep any new laws down to a minimum to ease hefty costs on business. The fresh tensions follow the Chancellor’s refusal in the Budget on Monday to create a ‘latte levy’ on disposable coffee cups… There has also been tension between Mr Gove and Mr Hammond on how much power to give the new environmental watchdog.” – The Sun

  • Chancellor can’t rely on ‘deal dividend’, warns OBR – The Times
  • Boost for Hammond as poll finds Budget is seen as fair – Daily Mail
  • Tax overhaul will be needed to fund NHS, warns think tank – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Just throwing money at the NHS won’t fix it – Madeline Grant, The Times
  • Even if Hammond doubled health spending, it wouldn’t be enough – Rod Liddle, The Sun

>Today: Alex Morton’s column: This week, Hammond’s Budget. Next year, the Spending Review. It must focus on gaining more growth.

>Yesterday: Joel Charles in Comment: After May’s conference speech and Hammond’s Budget, opportunity must be our core objective

Budget 2) Javid ‘declares war’ over police cash

“Sajid Javid declared war on the Chancellor yesterday by saying more cash for cops would be his “priority” in next year’s Spending Review. Speaking just two days after the Budget, the Home Secretary told police chiefs he would personally insist on more money for policing after a near 20 per cent surge in violent crime over the past year. It came as the Prime Minister was directly challenged by Jeremy Corbyn over the failure to find any money for neighbourhood policing in the Budget… It came as police chiefs warned they may take legal action against the Chancellor after he declared an extra £160 million for counter-terror policing in the Budget – but nothing for bobbies on the beat. Mr Corbyn yesterday panned the PM and asked why the Government had failed to find “a single penny for neighbourhood policing in the Budget”.” – The Sun

  • Home Office letter contradicts counter-terrorism policing spending claims – The Guardian
  • Javid vows to make it easier for police to use stop-and-search – Daily Mail
  • PC brigade wasting police time, top officer warns – The Times

Comment:

  • It’s criminal that the Met has 900 ‘anti-hate experts’ but is giving up on burglars – Philip Flower, Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • Government needs to take a long, hard look at its policing priorities – Daily Telegraph
  • Javid right to push for cash boost for cops – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: ConHome’s survey. Next Tory leader. Johnson leads Javid by less than a point – after Davis tears a chunk off his support.

Crouch ‘on brink of resignation’ over gambling machines

minister is on the brink of quitting after the Government delayed to plans to slash the maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals from £100 to £2, The Telegraph has learned. Tracey Crouch, a culture minister, is understood to be furious after the Treasury announced in the Budget that the reduction in the stakes will be delayed by six months until October 2019. On Wednesday evening Ms Crouch, the Sports & Civil Society Minister, refused to rule out quitting when contacted by The Telegraph during a visit to the US. She was due to return to the UK on Thursday morning. Two friends of Ms Crouch confirmed to The Telegraph that she is considering her position. Her resignation would be a significant blow to Theresa May, who used her conference speech to renew her pledge to tackle the “burning injustices” of society.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Wollaston to abstain on the Budget in gambling protest – Daily Mail
  • Downing Street faces rebellion over delay – The Times

Comment:

  • Finally the Tories are learning that the state can do good – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

Wallace unveils new crackdown on money laundering

“Estate agents, high street solicitors and accountants who facilitate about £100bn of money-laundering in the UK but are failing to report suspicious activity face a crackdown under a government drive against economic crime. Security minister Ben Wallace has warned public schools, football clubs and luxury car garages they must report irregularities, pledging to “go after the status” of the worst culprits by focusing on where they spend their illegal cash. In an interview with the Guardian, he set out plans for the new multi-agency national economic crime centre launching on Thursday, which will prioritise the most serious offenders, boosted by a £48m cash injection and a more intelligence-led approach… The government is also expected to toughen up its approach to Scottish limited partnerships, a business loophole that it believes has been used by foreign criminals to launder dirty money in the UK.” – The Guardian

  • Ministers announce £48 million fund to target gangsters – Daily Mail

Comment:

Change to aid rules in ‘big win for Mordaunt’

“Britain will be able to spend some of its £14billion foreign aid budget on rich countries that suffer a big economic blow from crises – in a victory for Penny Mordaunt. It means the £200 million the UK spent on the Overseas Territories in the wake of last year’s Hurricane Irma could in future come from the overseas aid budget rather than asking taxpayers for extra. It is a big win for Ms Mordaunt after a lengthy campaign to change international rules that govern what counts as foreign aid spending. But the International Development Secretary wants to loosen the strict rules further by allowing countries who are just above the threshold to qualify too. Currently Britain can only spend aid money on countries that have an average income per head of below £9,400. And we can’t send aid money to those countries even when they dip below the target again.” – The Sun

  • British aid being ‘taken for granted’, claims Foreign Secretary – Daily Telegraph
  • Departments working together on new approach – Daily Express

Mandarins attack Hunt’s ambassadors plan

“Jeremy Hunt has defended opening up ambassadorships to industry leaders, denying that he is sidelining the Foreign Office in favour of an American–style patronage system. The foreign secretary announced that he was seeking candidates from outside the civil service and would invite successful chief executives to take up the jobs to focus on trade. He denied that it represented a move towards cronyism of the kind in which US presidents reward their top campaign fundraisers with plum posts in London and Paris. “There will be absolutely no conflict of interest allowed and anyone applying for these jobs will apply through normal Foreign Office processes so we can make sure that proper independence is protected,” Mr Hunt told the BBC… In a speech at the Policy Exchange think tank last night he insisted that he did not want to move away from a professional diplomatic service and praised their expertise.” – The Times

  • Johnson took ‘junket to Saudi Arabia’ days before killing – The Sun

Editorial:

  • Reheated plan to appoint business leaders is not the answer – The Times
  • British diplomacy needs more than soundbites – FT

US warns of retaliation over Hammond’s ‘Amazon tax’

“Britain will face “retaliatory” action from the United States over its new “Amazon tax”, a senior Republican has warned as he called the policy a “blatant revenue grab”. Kevin Brady, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, which handles tax policy in the House of Representatives, said the UK’s move to tax digital giants is “troubling”. On Monday Philip Hammond unveiled the plans amid concerns tech giants  pay less than bricks and mortar stores despite huge revenues. The Chancellor said a 2 per cent tax on will come into force in April 2020 for companies which generate at least £500 million a year in global revenues. The tax will apply to the UK-generated revenues of search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces… The Congressman warned against not waiting for an international change in the rules. ” – Daily Telegraph

  • Eight in ten eligible couples taking marriage tax break – Daily Telegraph

Tax row ‘exposes split between Corbyn and McDonnell’

“Divisions between Labour’s two most senior figures over tax were laid bare yesterday amid reports of rising tension between Jeremy Corbyn’s office and John McDonnell. Mr Corbyn criticised a tax cut for 32 million people in the budget the day after Mr McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, endorsed the move, allowing Theresa May to mock the Labour leader at prime minister’s questions. The dispute was caused by Philip Hammond’s plan to raise the threshold for personal allowances to £12,500 and the higher-rate level of income tax to £50,000, a measure that the Resolution Foundation think tank predicts will benefit the wealthiest 10 per cent the most. A Labour source said that the economic approaches taken by Mr McDonnell and Mr Corbyn’s team were sometimes at odds… Labour insiders said that there was a growing disconnect between Mr McDonnell and Mr Corbyn’s office — which is led by his chief of staff Karie Murphy and policy chief Andrew Fisher.” – The Times

  • Corbyn ‘plunges Labour into chaos’ with Budget u-turns – The Sun
  • Leader says he will ‘claw back’ tax from the better off – Daily Telegraph
  • Umunna ‘adds his voice to the disarray’ – Daily Express
  • May mocks Labour for division over Budget tax cuts – The Sun
  • Opposition want to get tough on top five per cent – The Guardian

Sketch:

  • Taxing task for leader of divided Opposition – Patrick Kidd, The Times

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Is the Marxist Shadow Chancellor really backing tax cuts for the rich?

Labour MP refuses to sack son with drug dealing conviction

“A Labour frontbencher who has campaigned against drugs has refused to sack her son as a staffer – despite him being convicted for possessing a stash of drugs with intent to supply. Kate Osamor is still employing her son Ishmael Osamor, 29, as her Communications Officer despite him pleading guilty to the drugs charge at Bestival music festival in Dorset last year. And yesterday Commons Speaker John Bercow said he would consider stripping his Parliamentary pass from him after he failed to inform Parliamentary authorities of the drug conviction – as is required for all House of Commons pass holders. The Sun can also reveal that Ms Osamor, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, nominated Ishmael as a council candidate last year – after he was charged… Ms Osamor refused to take action against her son despite previously campaigning on an anti-drugs stance.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Budgets matter to voters – but not as much as you might think – Matt Singh, CapX
  • McDonnell, implausible low tax Marxist – Gavin Rice, Reaction
  • Merkel is on her way out – and so is her vision for the EU – Douglas Murray, The Spectator
  • Today’s voguish communists should remember Budapest – James Bloodworth, UnHerd
  • Why the UK economy should grow faster in the short term if there is no Brexit deal – Andrew Lilico, Brexit Central

And finally… Lord Ashcroft: Why can’t Rhodesians join our Cenotaph ceremony?

“On Remembrance Sunday, which this year marks the centenary of the end of the Great War, more than 100 people, including war veterans and their supporters, are due to gather on the north side of Westminster Abbey for a military parade. With the former servicemen standing ramrod straight and their Rhodesian regimental colours hoisted proudly into the air, they will hold a discreet service to commemorate their country’s war dead. Little more than a stone’s throw away, the Queen and senior members of the Royal family, along with the Prime Minister and leading politicians, will at the same time be at the Cenotaph, similarly paying their respects to the war dead, but this time in front of the whole nation. The small gathering of people from what was once known as Rhodesia – their country was renamed Zimbabwe in 1980 – would welcome the chance to join the throng at the main service, but – barring a sudden U-turn – this will not happen.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: If Momentum wants more war memorials, why won’t its members crowd-fund them?

6 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 1st November 2018

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