Raab eliminated, as Johnson and Stewart gain ground in second ballot

‘Mr Johnson cemented his place as the overwhelming leadership favourite by winning 126 votes in a second ballot of Tory MPs. When just two candidates remain they will go forward for selection by party members. Dominic Raab, 45, was eliminated after failing to win the backing of the party’s most hardcore Brexiteers, despite saying that he would consider suspending parliament to drive through a no-deal exit. Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid all received marginal increases in support, while Mr Stewart almost doubled the number of MPs backing him to 37.’ – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Our latest Next Tory Leader survey. Johnson hits 60 per cent. Three in five activists want him.

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Conservative leadership election result, Parliamentary stage, second round. Johnson top, Raab out – Stewart through to next stage.

‘Shambolic’ TV debate generates heat but little light

‘The former foreign secretary came under fire from all sides as he lined up alongside Rory Stewart, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid for the hour-long session at the BBC studios in London. But no clear winner emerged, with viewers enraged at the way the candidates dodged questions, as well as the bizarre format set by the corporation. Buoyed by topping the ballot of MPs earlier, Mr Johnson kicked off proceedings by setting out his stall on Brexit, insisting the UK must leave the EU by the end of October… The exchanges quickly descended into furious squabbling, with presenter Emily Maitlis struggling to keep control as Mr Hunt and Mr Gove insisted they were ready to push the schedule back if a ‘few more days’ were needed to finalise a deal with the EU… The format set by the corporation has caused dismay. There is no live studio audience, and questions are being be posed by ‘ordinary’ voters from other studios around the country. The candidates were also seated on stools instead of behind podiums, with jibes that they resemble a boy band. The debate last night was decried as shambolic on social media, with many viewers suggesting Maitlis had lost control as the candidates talked over each other. At one point she desperately hissed ‘ssshhh’ at them as they vied for airtime.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: MPsETC: Which MP is backing which candidate. Our named estimates. Johnson 112, Hunt 44, Gove 34, Javid 21, Stewart 14

>Yesterday: MPsETC: The False Friend, The Stitch-Up, The Spoiler…our guide to all the cunning tactical voting options available to Tory MPs

Tees Valley’s Houchen backs the former London mayor

‘As the only directly-elected Conservative mayor in the north of England, I know that Mr Johnson is a true ally in the fight to devolve powers and responsibility to cities and regions. In his heart he knows that the best answers for local people will come from local people. Not content with burgeoning Whitehall centralisation, Mr Johnson is living, breathing proof that locally-elected mayors can do a good job when we are given the freedom, money and powers to deliver our promises — just as he did in City Hall. He sees the need to transform and rebalance our economy to make it work in the interests of everyone. Connecting our great towns and cities with Northern Powerhouse Rail, rolling out full-fibre broadband, and recognising the importance of clean, green energy to our future prosperity. This is what we need in the north. Someone who will not only listen to us and deliver what we voted for in June 2016, but address the injustices that led to the Brexit vote in the first place.’ – Ben Houchen, The Times

>Yesterday: Andrew Gimson’s leadership sketch: the Stewart rebellion takes off

All candidates seem to agree to an inquiry into the Party’s handling of anti-Muslim racism after Javid challenge

‘The home secretary challenged his rivals to oversee an inquiry into Islamophobic hate speech among Conservative activists after allegations of a social media campaign to prevent Mr Javid being elected. The Conservatives have come under fire from the party’s former chairwoman Baroness Warsi for not taking the issue seriously and failing to be transparent in its investigations despite criticising Labour for its handling of antisemitism. Mr Javid raised concerns that sentiment towards Muslims was worsening in the UK and said it “must be absolutely rooted out” even in his own party. Michael Gove said Islamophobia was “repugnant” while all the candidates backed a formal investigation in the party’s handling of complaints. “It’s great that we all agree on that,” Mr Javid said.’ – The Times

  • ‘I’m less Homer’s Iliad than Homer Simpson’ – The Times
  • In the debate he backed up Johnson about the importance of a hard Brexit deadline – FT
  • It’s arrogant for Stewart supporters to tell Javid backers that their Etonian embodies ‘something different’ – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph
  • Tory members preferring Brexit to keeping Scotland in the Union causes alarm – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Javid’s supporters may now hold the key

Hunt seeks to put pressure on the frontrunner

‘Jeremy Hunt has stepped up his attacks on Boris Johnson in advance of the latest round of Conservative leadership voting, questioning whether his predecessor as foreign secretary has the necessary grasp of detail, and declining to say he can be trusted. Wednesday afternoon’s voting will see another candidate ejected, with Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid looking most in danger… During a BBC TV debate on Tuesday between Hunt, Johnson, Stewart, Javid and the fifth hopeful, Michael Gove, Hunt had challenged Johnson on whether or not he would force a no-deal Brexit on 31 October even if a deal looked imminent. Hunt used the example of a sheep farmer he had met, who warned his family business would be wiped out by tariffs in the event of no deal. “The reason I asked that very direct question to Boris is because the job of prime minister is not actually about broadbrush statements,” Hunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. We all want to leave by 31 October, we all want to have an orderly Brexit. That’s the easy bit. It’s actually about making finely balanced judgments on the basis of the facts in front of you.”’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Next Tory Leader run-offs. Johnson tops them, Javid improves his position – and Stewart is bottom.

Farage: A pact with the Brexit Party, and a clean Brexit platform, would see Johnson win a ‘massive majority’

‘The Brexit Party could form an election pact with Boris Johnson aimed at delivering a “massive” Commons majority for a clean exit from the EU, Nigel Farage has signalled. The former Ukip leader said if Mr Johnson became Prime Minister and had the “guts” to fight an election on a no-deal ticket, then there “is a deal that could be done” with his burgeoning party… However, Mr Farage, who quit the Conservatives in 1992, insisted that none of the candidates to become Tory leader understood that their party would be “finished” if it failed to deliver a clean exit by October 31 – the current deadline agreed with the EU. Asked about the prospect of forming a pact with the Tories under Mr Johnson, Mr Farage, whose party topped the polls in last month’s European Parliament elections, said: “If he has the guts to be prepared to be voted down by Parliament, to call an election on a clean Brexit, then I would suggest that … logically there is a deal that could be done, and in those circumstances Boris would come back with a massive, massive majority.”’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Electoral Commission tells the Brexit Party to review donations – FT
  • Man convicted of throwing milkshake on Farage – The Times
  • MPs take police to court to try to force faster investigation of Leave allegations – The Guardian

Barnier refuses to guarantee citizens’ rights in a No Deal scenario

‘The EU and UK are embroiled in a fresh row over how best to protect the rights of citizens in the event of a No Deal Brexit after Michel Barnier rejected an appeal from the British government. Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, urged Brussels to agree to ‘ring-fence’ part of the Withdrawal Agreement which protects the rights so that the measures are implemented even if the UK leaves the bloc without an overall deal. But it has emerged the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator poured cold water on the proposal. He told the UK it would be ‘far from straightforward’ and warned ministers not to be ‘distracted’ from the main goal of securing support for the Withdrawal Agreement.’ – Daily Mail

  • Brussels threatens to punish Switzerland in order to intimidate the UK – The Times
  • Juncker is warned that his plan to ban summertime clocks change may be illegal – The Sun

Corbyn is expected ‘to back a second referendum’ today

‘Jeremy Corbyn will back a move today for Labour to change its Brexit policy and support a second referendum in all circumstances. The shadow cabinet is due to discuss the plan to make Labour’s stance decisively pro-Remain. A paper drawn up by Andrew Fisher, Mr Corbyn’s head of policy, recommends that Labour support a second referendum on any deal negotiated with Brussels. A senior Labour source confirmed that Mr Corbyn was endorsing the shift in policy, adding: “It is a moment.” Labour’s policy at present is to demand changes to Theresa May’s deal to include a customs union or push for a general election. A second referendum is merely an “option” should those plans fail…Most shadow cabinet ministers have yet to see the Fisher paper that they will discuss today.’ – The Times

Debtors to be given breathing space as part of May’s last policy gasp

‘New laws will offer temporary relief to those struggling to make repayments and give them time to seek advice on how to manage their repayments. The Treasury will confirm today that people with problem debts will be able to have a breathing space of 60 days during which bailiffs or creditors must allow them to reschedule payments. People seeking help for a mental illness will have a longer period of protection for the duration of their treatment under the plans, which will be introduced in 2021. The announcement is part of a flurry of government announcements as Theresa May seeks to salvage elements of her agenda to tackle “burning injustices” she had promised in her final weeks as prime minister… The Treasury will confirm that regulations to give the scheme legal force will be put before parliament this year. Debtors who agree will have their interest payments temporarily frozen and will be protected from enforcement action by creditors provided they agree to seek help from a professional debt adviser and accept a plan to resume repayments.’ – The Times

  • Her attempts to buy a legacy using taxpayers’ money are reckless and doomed – The Sun Says
  • Kerslake urges the Prime Minister to reduce the Universal Credit waiting time – The Sun
  • DEFRA agrees to pay long-disputed debts to farmers – FT
  • The BBC blames the Government for its decision to means-test pensioners’ licenses – The Times
  • May’s internet ID check system is a ‘privacy time bomb’ – Daily Mail
  • Facebook is launching its own digital currency – The Times
  • They’re hoping to capitalise on banks’ failures – FT Leader
  • Young adults’ living standards are at long last bouncing back – FT

Heathrow ‘masterplan’ unveiled

‘The £14billion expansion of Heathrow to build the controversial third runway will cause ’30 years of misery’, campaigners warned last night. The sheer scale of the project was revealed yesterday as Britain’s biggest airport laid out its ‘preferred masterplan’ for a vast revamp. It insisted it was on course to open the runway by 2026, but revealed that the entire project would not be finished until ‘around 2050′. When the scheme is completed, the area covered by the airport will expand by more than half – from 4.5 square miles to seven square miles.’ – Daily Mail

  • If Johnson wins, he should block the expansion plan – The Times Leader
  • The airport will feature the biggest carparks in the world – The Times
  • And costs are rising – The Times

Creasy calls for MPs to be given proper support for maternity leave

‘A pregnant MP has called for a change to maternity rules for MPs – after complaining the system meant she would be ‘forced to choose between being an MP and being a mum’. Labour’s Stella Creasy, who is expecting her first child, said the lack of maternity support meant she would struggle to help constituents while caring for her baby. She said the expenses watchdog, which regulates MPs’ pay, does not recognise that members go on maternity leave and refuses to pay for any cover for work carried out outside Parliament. The Walthamstow MP added: ‘I never thought Parliament would tell me to choose between being an MP and being a mum.’ Last night Theresa May signalled her support for rule changes.’ – Daily Mail

Investigators are set to name suspects in the shooting down of MH-17 – including Russian army officers

‘International investigators are poised to name four suspects they believe are responsible for shooting down MH17 and level charges for the first time. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team will hold a press conference at midday today to give an update into their findings, after informing the victim’s families. Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister Olena Zerkal has said the team will name four people including senior Russian army officers. The development comes a year after the same team concluded that the missile which shot down the plane came from a Russian military brigade based in Kursk.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief