May launches £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund…

‘In my very first speech as Prime Minister I committed to serve the interests of ordinary working class families like yours for whom life is much harder than many politicians realise. You deserve to be rewarded for your hard work and you and your children should be able to go as far as you can in life. But to achieve this, we do need to do much more to spread opportunity more widely. That’s why today I am launching our new Stronger Towns Fund. It’s a £1.6billion investment in the future prosperity of our coastal, market and industrial towns – places that have not always benefitted from the changes in our economy over the last few decades. Local people know their areas best. So we want communities to come forward with their own proposals for how this money should be spent to achieve the best outcomes.’ – Theresa May, The Sun

  • £1 billion will be directly allocated, and £600 million is for towns to bid for – Daily Mail
  • She can’t just do Corbyn-style giveaways, we need to hear some Conservative policies – The Sun Says
  • The north needs and deserves more funding – Sam Gyimah, The Times
  • EU investment in the UK doubles in three years – Daily Telegraph
  • Kennedy won tea at the Ritz by getting the Prime Minister to say ‘simples’ – The Times


…and is accused of ‘bribery’ to try to secure votes for her deal

‘John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said: “This towns fund smacks of desperation from a government reduced to bribing MPs to vote for its damaging flagship Brexit legislation. The reason our towns are struggling is because of a decade of cuts, including to council funding, and a failure to invest in businesses and our communities.” Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP, told Westminster Hour on BBC Radio 4 that the fund was “an extraordinarily pathetic sum of money” and a waste of time. Mrs May also faces backbench Brexiteer anger at the move. Sheryll Murray, a Tory MP from the southwest, which would receive the second-lowest allocation at £33 million, said: “The fact this money appears to be directly routed to Labour-voting areas smacks of pork-barrel politics. It would be a crying shame if Conservative-voting communities were being disadvantaged because of the way they voted.”’ – The Times

>Today: Chloe Westley’s column: Why should MPs get a pay rise when they won’t keep their promises to the people?

>Yesterday: WATCH: Flint – “If it’s a choice between an improved deal and no deal I think we should seriously consider supporting an improved deal”

Cox ‘abandons’ hopes of a time limit or unilateral exit clause for the backstop

‘The Attorney General has abandoned attempts to secure a hard time-limit or unilateral exit mechanism from the Irish backstop… Ministers briefed on Geoffrey Cox’s approach said those aims, which represent the central demands of Eurosceptics, are considered too “blunt” and have been rejected by the European Union. Some Cabinet ministers are already resigned to the Prime Minister losing a second meaningful vote on her deal amid concerns that changes to the backstop secured by Mr Cox will not be sufficient to win round Brexiteers. The Attorney General is understood to be focusing on securing an enhanced “arbitration mechanism” that allows the UK or the EU to provide formal notice that the backstop should come to an end.’ – Daily Telegraph



The number of children treated for knife wounds has nearly doubled in five years

‘Shocking figures today reveal the scale of the youth knife crisis after another weekend of carnage on Britain’s blood-soaked streets. The families of two more murdered teenagers – a Girl Scout once invited to Downing Street and a pupil at a top private school – were in mourning last night. New statistics show the number of under-16s treated in hospital for stab wounds has nearly doubled in five years. Doctors are battling to save three children a day on average as knife crime rates soar to the highest level since the Second World War.’ – Daily Mail

  • The mayor of London has gone on holiday – The Sun
  • He and Javid need to get serious – The Sun Says
  • Knife crime is a national emergency, treat it like one – The Times Leader
  • The Home Office claims to have implement a ‘step change’ in policy – if so, it hasn’t worked – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Chesney was stabbed without a word – The Times
  • A-level student killed in Cheshire – The Times
  • Man arrested over stabbings in Soho and Camden – Daily Mail
  • No more families should suffer like mine has – Nazir Afzal, Daily Mail
  • One in five children under protection orders is harmed again within five years – The Guardian

Crown Dependencies protest against efforts to legislate on their affairs without their consent

‘Leaders of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man will on Monday warn of a major constitutional clash with the UK if Westminster backs a plan for increased financial transparency on the crown dependencies and an end to secret company ownership. The chief ministers of the three islands will travel to London to try to head off a cross-party legislative move by MPs to force them to introduce by 2020 public registers about the real owners of companies based there. Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man claimed that such legislation would be “inoperable”, adding that they already had “robust” arrangements for sharing information about the beneficial owners of companies with tax authorities and law enforcement agencies. But a group of MPs, led by former Tory minister Andrew Mitchell and Labour backbencher Margaret Hodge, will push a parliamentary amendment on Monday to require public registers containing details of anyone owning more than 25 per cent of a company based in one of the crown dependencies. The MPs say the move is necessary as part of efforts to tackle money laundering and tax evasion, and the amendment could succeed because it has the backing of at least 20 Conservative MPs.’ – FT

New limits on Non-Disclosure Agreements

‘Employers will not be able to use gagging orders to stop workers from reporting crimes to the police, ministers have said. Toughened-up laws will make it clear that staff will always be able to report harassment or discrimination even if they have signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Business minister Kelly Tolhurst said the aim is to clamp down on abuse, such as employers using confidentiality clauses to intimidate whistleblowers, hide harassment and discrimination incidents. The legal measures, described by Theresa May as a ‘clear message’ that changes in the law are needed to back under-pressure workers, come after a spotlight was shone on retail tycoon Sir Philip Green’s use of NDAs.’ – Daily Mail

Morgan: We must expose the thugs who threaten politicians and their staff

‘These protests aren’t the actions of a few people feeling a bit emotional about Brexit or politics. At their heart is a determined core of people engaged in something much more deliberately unpleasant — an attempt to subvert our democracy and silence our elected representatives through a campaign of harassment, intimidation and threats of violence or death. This is an issue that needs to be confronted, which is why I and other MPs have worked with ITV’s Exposure programme to find out who is really behind the most sinister messages and to establish what their motives are… I’ve always believed that sunlight is the best disinfectant. After tonight’s programme we are going to need a lot of disinfectant to return our politics to a state where disagreement isn’t always a betrayal and ensure that sane and talented people still want to enter public life.’ – Nicky Morgan, The Times

Plans for a 9pm watershed for junk food advertising

‘Junk food TV advertising will be banned before 9pm to tackle childhood obesity under Government plans, The Daily Telegraph has learned. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, is poised to announce a consultation on a new watershed amid concerns that adverts are “shaping” children’s preferences for junk food “from a young age”. Ministers have warned that despite restrictions on advertising around children’s TV programmes they are still being exposed to “significant amounts” of advertising for products that are high in fat, salt or sugar. The Government will also consult on whether radio stations and the internet should be subject to further restrictions “to ensure we are being proportionate”.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Health officials appeal to bereaved parents to donate their children’s organs – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Andrew Selous on Comment: Our children need a 9pm watershed for junk food adverts

Opening rail up to competition would cut fares, the ASI argues

‘Rail fares for British passengers could be slashed if the franchise system was dropped in favour of head-to-head competition, a leading thinktank has argued. The free market thinktank the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) said an “open access” system, which would allow different train companies to compete on the same route, would drive down fares and operating costs, while also boosted innovation. In its new paper, called ‘How to fix Britain’s railways: The case for long-distance rail competition’, the ASI claims the open access model was commonplace in Europe, but not in the UK, where only one per cent of routes conformed to the model. It said on the routes where open for access was in operation, fares were 55 per cent cheaper than on those where there was a single monopoly franchise.’ – City AM

  • Grayling is a joke at voters’ expense – The Guardian Leader
  • Warning that vehicle charging zones are producing multiple taxation for drivers – FT
  • Network Rail considers week-long closures – The Times
  • Private companies’ failings do not justify nationalisation – The Times Leader

Harris: Why do so many antisemites flock to Corbyn’s party? Labour still has no answer

‘The whole thing is a case study in how racism works, and the fact that if people constantly deny something, they can easily end up in dangerous moral proximity to it. Those in charge of the party continue to insist that the problem will somehow be “rooted out”, but the fact that they still seem to be dragging their feet rather undermines such talk, which also ignores two questions that still cry out for an answer. Why do people with antisemitic views think today’s Labour party is the right place for them? And why are so many people on the left still averting their eyes?’ – John Harris, The Guardian

  • Corbyn’s chance of power is ‘remote’ unless he addresses the crisis, Falconer warns – Daily Telegraph
  • Rudd demands Labour tackle jew-baiting activists in Hastings CLP – The Sun
  • Abbott said nothing at event on Saturday as Loach described anti-semitism incidents as ‘smears’ – Daily Mail
  • The conspiracist left is splitting Labour – Jade Frances Azim, FT
  • War over Watson – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Falconer says a lot of Labour peers are thinking about leaving the party – The Times
  • Blair feels ‘great sympathy’ for those MPs who have quit – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: WATCH: McDonnell claims that only 0.1 per cent of Labour members are involved in anti-semitism

One year on from Russia’s attack on Salisbury, grieving son demands justice

‘The son of Salisbury novichok attack victim Dawn Sturgess has urged Vladimir Putin to hand over the Russian hitmen suspected of killing her. On the eve of the first anniversary of the incident, Ewan Hope appealed directly to the Russian president ‘as a human being’ to afford his mother the justice she deserves and allow British investigators to speak to the suspects. His call for cooperation from Russia in the murder probe comes after Ms Sturgess’s partner, Charlie Rowley, said he wants ‘someone to pay for what they’ve done’.’ – Daily Mail

  • ‘Frantic comings and goings’ at Russian embassy before the attack – The Guardian
  • The government is reluctant to attack Russian financial interests in the UK – Andrew Foxall, The Times
  • Russian mercenaries accused of further destabilising Libya – The Times
  • The public in central and Eastern Europe are resistant to Kremlin propaganda – Edward Lucas, The Times
  • How can we put Northern Ireland veterans in the dock but let the IRA get away with what they did? – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Gapes compares leaving Labour to divorce – New Statesman
  • Storm Freya brings winter back – Huffington Post
  • Dylan Thomas, populist – Unherd
  • What happened to the great Brexit property crash? – The Spectator
  • Vested interests are killing off future prosperity – 1828