MPs urge Javid to accept Royal Navy assistance in policing the Channel

‘Conservative MPs criticised Mr Javid for not deploying another cutter, the high-speed patrol boats used by the Border Force, in the Channel. At present one is in use, supported by two smaller patrol boats. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, offered Mr Javid the use of naval vessels. More than 220 people have tried to cross the Channel in small boats since the start of last month, according to official figures. Since Christmas Day at least 100 migrants have been detained after being found on beaches near Dover or being rescued from the sea, including 40 on Christmas Day. An average of 2,500 asylum seekers reached Britain each month last year…Tim Loughton, the longest-serving Conservative MP on the Commons home affairs committee, said that Mr Javid needed to do more. “It’s good that the home secretary is taking personal control of this but frankly he needs to show a much greater sense of urgency,” Mr Loughton said. “These journeys are being made now and clearly we do not have enough assets in the Channel to head them off. If the navy can provide that additional resource now, it needs to be brought in.”’ – The Times

  • The Home Secretary warns there are ‘no easy answers’ – Daily Telegraph
  • It would be more effective to just send people home who have no right to be here – The Times Leader
  • French interior minister pledges to continue to disrupt people-smuggling gangs – FT
  • More Iranian illegal immigrants land in the South East – The Sun
  • People will die if these journeys are allowed to continue – The Sun Says
  • ‘It is better to die than be sent back’ to Calais – The Times
  • Father and son launch their own coastal patrol – Daily Mail


Hammond accused by Cabinet colleagues of ‘not releasing the money’ for No Deal

‘James Brokenshire, the Housing Secretary, has written to the Treasury warning that a no-deal Brexit could put pressure on councils as they face a potential “influx” of elderly expats and the risk of civil unrest on the streets. His department was given £35million to help councils prepare for Brexit, less than half of the amount it requested. Mr Brokenshire warned that the failure to provide more funding would lead to a “significant risk of disruption”. The Daily Telegraph understands that at least one other department has complained about the Chancellor’s failure to release more money for no-deal preparations. A source said: “The Treasury is not releasing the money. It’s all very well Philip Hammond to tell Cabinet that he’s putting £2bn into no-deal preparations, but it’s no good if they won’t actually release the money.”‘ – Daily Telegraph

  • Concern as No Deal freight contract is awarded to firm with ‘no ships and no trading history’ – The Times
  • American banks struggle to persuade employees to move to Frankfurt and Paris from London – FT
  • Record numbers of Brits seek Irish passport – The Guardian
  • Mundell appeals to Sturgeon to pursue ‘spirit of compromise’ in 2019 – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Blitz spirit’ nostalgia is an insult – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Support for No Deal hardens as it becomes more likely.

US Ambassador warns that May’s deal would prevent the hoped-for ‘quick, massive’ trade deal

‘Donald Trump’s UK ambassador today warned a deep trade deal with the US could be impossible if Theresa May’s Brexit plan goes through. Woody Johnson said America is watching closely to see how the situation develops. He insisted the US President was eager to strike a ‘quick, massive’ agreement with Britain after it leaves the EU. But he added: ‘It doesn’t look like it would be possible.’ In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Johnson also said the UK was ‘in need of leadership’. And he said May of next year would be a ‘good time’ for Mr Trump to make his state visit to Britain – although he stressed nothing had been finalised.’ – Daily Mail

  • Five ways the deal went wrong – including that it ‘was written by Brussels’ – FT
  • We are about to enter a period of huge uncertainty – Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph
  • Juncker says the UK must ‘get its act together’ and make clear demands – FT
  • Pacific states launch bold trade pact – Daily Telegraph
  • There must be more to public policy than Brexit – FT Leader

>Today: Shanker A. Singham on Comment: Brexit – and a new strategy for a New Year

Shrimsley: Johnson is still in with a chance to win the leadership

‘He may deserve to be dismissed but, in a field of stolid political performers, Mr Johnson cannot be discounted. He seems simply more vivid than the monochrome alternatives. Through opportunism, wit and sheer refusal to be marginalised, he enters the new year still in contention for the top job in British politics. Indeed, if it is ever to happen for him, it will almost certainly have to be in the next 12 months. Most Tory MPs assume that Theresa May will be replaced as prime minister in the coming year, although this is not a given. The odds favour a change not least because 2019 is likely to bring the next stage of the Brexit negotiations — the one that will determine the future relationship with the EU — and there are too many MPs who do not wish to entrust this to Mrs May. This is Mr Johnson’s opportunity.’ – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Our survey. Next Tory leader. Johnson is top again. Javid second, Raab third. Hunt is now fourth.

The poor have worse access to GPs than the rich

‘Rich and poor people in England receive different standards of care from the UK’s universal free health service, with some poorer communities being “left behind” when accessing GP services, according to data analysed for the Financial Times. The findings raise questions about how well the 70-year-old National Health Service is meeting its founding principles of equity and intensifies pressure on the NHS to outline plans to reduce health inequalities when it publishes its long-awaited spending plan next month. Differences in health outcomes have long been a fact of life in the NHS and are generally ascribed to factors beyond the control of the health service, such as unhealthy lifestyles or poor living conditions. However, the disclosure that there is a difference in the level of service received by poorer communities casts new light on these contrasts. It is also unexpected, since the NHS’s funding formula is designed to funnel more money to the neediest areas.’ – FT

  • People in Sandwell find their health concerns are ignored – FT
  • Junior doctors are forced to plug gaps in unfamiliar hospital departments – The Sun
  • High levels of concern about the failings of youth mental health services – The Guardian
  • Nearly 70,000 operations cancelled due to lack of staff, beds or equipment – Daily Mail
  • The Prime Minister thanks NHS volunteers – Daily Mail
  • I’m stunned by the generosity of the public – Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, Daily Mail
  • Scientists hail possible ‘tipping point’ in Alzheimers prevention – The Sun

Loneliness minister considers compelling employers to give time off to care for elderly relations

‘Families should take grandparents on holiday, says the “loneliness” minister. Mims Davies wants Brits to be like the Europeans, who include OAPs more in their lives…She said communities had a “moral duty” to stop the elderly feeling abandoned, and urged employers to give staff more time off to care for them…This year a Gransnet survey found almost three-quarters of elderly respondents felt lonely. Ms Davies is considering plans for employers being required to allow staff time off to care for lonely relatives, much as Armed Forces reservists get time off to serve.’ – The Sun

  • In a trial, postmen are being deployed to check on elderly people – The Times

China is accused of ‘waging war’ on critical academics and think-tanks in the UK

‘President Xi’s regime donates up to £60,000 a year to British research organisations and a Chinese state-run scholarship programme has links with 22 British universities, according to a Henry Jackson Society (HJS) report. The British foreign policy think tank has raised concerns that such activity represented a “growing trend of Chinese influence operations in British public debate” that has grown since 2014…The HJS said that it was also alarmed by reports that the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, a Sino-British joint venture in China, had removed a British academic from its board this summer after he wrote an essay criticising Communist Party-supported programmes…Microsoft informed the HJS that the emails of its Asia expert, John Hemmings, a critic of President Xi’s regime, may have been compromised. Microsoft told the think tank in correspondence seen by The Times: “Elements of the activity we have detected give us reason to believe it is state-sponsored.” The HJS also claimed that officials from the Chinese embassy in London had turned up at its events in parliament and intimidated others attending by photographing those who asked questions critical of Beijing.’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Bob Seely on Comment: Williamson is right. China and Huawei are threats to our security.

Thirty-nine people arrested over stabbing in London

‘Police have arrested 39 people at a house party in London after a man was chased and stabbed by a gang following a row in a shop early this morning. The victim, believed to be in his mid thirties, was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries after cops were called to Fulham Palace Road, Hammersmith, at 1am…Officers say the man had been chased by a number of suspects – both men and women – following an altercation in a shop. Scotland Yard say the group were then seen entering a nearby house, which was hosting a party. Police attended the address in an attempt to speak with a number of people inside but were met with resistance. A Met Police spokesperson said: “As the occupants failed to co-operate with police, a total of 39 people were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.’ – The Sun

  • Scottish police hunt convicted killer – The Sun

Blair attacks the ‘false hope’ offered by the ‘finger-jabbing’ far Left

‘Blair was the star turn at the end-of-year fund-raiser for centrist think-tank Progress, where a copy of the 1998 Good Friday agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland, signed by Blair and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, went for £3,500. But it was Blair’s words that caused the stir. Urging his followers to fight Momentum, he attacked the ‘finger-jabbing, shouting’ party members trying to unseat Corbyn’s critics. ‘I remember the same faces from photos from the Eighties,’ he added. Without naming Corbyn, he went on: ‘These guys on the far Left are offering false hope. They’re trying to present people with easy solutions rooted in the past, as if some resolution passed at party conference is the same as governing sensibly. I know your backs are against the wall, but if Labour is to have any future and to win again, it will be because the politics, philosophy and values of Progress ultimately succeed.” – Daily Mail

Bolsonaro plans to extend gun rights in Brazil

‘Jair Bolsonaro, who will be sworn in as president of Brazil tomorrow, plans to guarantee the right to own a gun to people without a criminal record. Mr Bolsonaro, a former military officer who entered politics in 1988, has been campaigning to dismantle Brazil’s firearms legislation, which he says is expensive and overly strict. That message has appealed to many voters who want to use guns for self-defence, amid nearly 64,000 homicides last year. “By decree, we plan to guarantee the ownership of firearms by citizens without criminal records,” Mr Bolsonaro, who will become the country’s 38th president, wrote on Twitter at the weekend. It was not clear what mechanisms he would have at his disposal to carry out such a decree. Parliament is already discussing measures to loosen gun ownership laws that limit the sale of weapons to small calibre guns.’ – The Times

  • All about Brazil’s Bolsonomics – FT
  • Democratic institutions are the best restraint on authoritarian strongmen – The Times Leader
  • Trump freezes wages in budget battle – The Times
  • The President attacks Mueller again – Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Successful leadership rests not just on your actions but the stories you tell about them – The Army Leader
  • Why the centre left will never defeat populism until it understands it – Unherd
  • How to spend New Year’s Eve at home without feeling like a loser – Huffington Post
  • Shoes and the soul – The Spectator
  • Life on the tracks – The New Statesman