Johnson pledges ‘do or die, come what may’ Brexit on 31st October

‘Boris Johnson has issued a “do or die” pledge to leave the EU with or without a deal on October 31, prompting warnings that his strategy would plunge Britain into a general election and hand the keys of Number 10 to Jeremy Corbyn. Mr Johnson, attempting to relaunch his flagging Conservative leadership bid, doubled down on his hard Brexit strategy, announcing that his campaign would be chaired by leading Eurosceptic Iain Duncan Smith. The frontrunner to become the British prime minister made a series of proposals for a new Brexit deal — all of which have previously been categorically rejected by the EU — and warned that he would execute a no-deal exit if he failed to get his way. In one of a series of interviews, he told Talk Radio that Britain would leave the EU on October 31 “do or die, come what may” and vowed to rip up the EU withdrawal treaty, including the Irish backstop. The former foreign secretary also predicted that with the assistance of some “positive energy” the EU would agree to a standstill trade agreement while Britain negotiated a trade deal that resolved the Irish border issue.’ – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Meanwhile, the Conservative poll rating is at under a quarter of the vote


Hunt criticises ‘fake deadline’, and implies his rival is not sufficiently trusted to secure a deal

‘Speaking after a war of words with his Conservative leadership rival, whom Hunt branded a coward for turning down a debate with him on Sky News on Tuesday night, Hunt said 31 October was a “fake deadline” and could lead to a snap general election… He made the comments after Johnson wrote to him asking him to commit to taking the UK out of the EU on 31 October come what may. Hunt said he believed that would be “more likely to trip us into a general election before we’ve delivered Brexit, and that would hand the keys to Jeremy Corbyn and then we’d have no Brexit at all”. Hunt said he believed a new prime minister would know soon whether a new deal was possible. “If there isn’t and if no deal is still on the table I’ve been very clear. I will leave the European Union without a deal,” he said. “But I’m not going to do that if there’s a prospect of a better deal and if I did it, it would be with a heavy heart, because businesses up and down the country would face a lot of destruction.”…“Who is the person that we trust to send to Brussels on behalf of the British people and come back with a deal, and that has to be someone that they trust, that they’re prepared to talk to, because in the end you don’t do a deal with someone you don’t trust,” he said. Hunt said he was not trying to paint his rival as untrustworthy.’ – The Guardian

  • At last, there is a clear dividing line between the candidates – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • ‘I have been waiting for this moment for 30 years of my life’ – The Times
  • The Foreign Secretary is emphasising his seriousness, but is that a virtue his party values? – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • To be in with a chance, Hunt must create Jeremania – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • He backs an auto-enrolment scheme to fund social care for the elderly – The Sun
  • And now ‘cannot envisage any situation’ in which the UK joins the US in war against Iran – Daily Mail
  • Hunt bans the sale of tear gas to Hong Kong – The Times

>Today: Benedict Rogers on Comment: Character, values and dignity. Why I am voting for Hunt.

>Yesterday: WATCH: Hunt suggests that only he can deliver Brexit – not Johnson

Leaving the EU would allow the Government to cut the price of beer in pubs, Norman notes

‘Brexit could make pub beer cheaper by giving the UK more freedom over alcohol taxes, a minister has claimed. Jesse Norman said EU law did not currently allow the Government to levy different rates in pubs to those in supermarkets. Speaking during a Commons debate he said Brexit would provide ‘much greater opportunity to explore creative proposals to redress the balance’. ‘Beer and breweries are an important part of our national life, and the same is of course true for that essential accompaniment, the great British pub,’ he told MPs.’ – Daily Mail

  • Fox urges businesses to invest in ‘golden opportunity’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Irish finance minister believes No Deal would cost the Republic 85,000 jobs – FT
  • Article 24 of GATT is a fantasy – FT Leader
  • Everybody needs to be honest about No Deal – The Times Leader
  • Raab calls Stewart’s bluff over threat to vote down the government – Daily Telegraph
  • Writer calls for Dad’s Army to be ‘retired’ because it makes people pro-Brexit – The Sun
  • The trouble is, she’s serious – Christopher Hart, Daily Mail
  • The green targets that have just been waved through make No Deal look cheap – Christopher Snowdon, Daily Telegraph

May’s latest legacy project is new restrictions on ‘tiny’ homes

‘Theresa May will today promise a ban on building ‘tiny’ new homes. The Prime Minister will propose mandatory design regulations with minimum sizes to end ‘rabbit hutch’ homes being pumped out with ‘inadequate storage’. She will also say she wants to ban developers from hoodwinking buyers by filling show homes with ‘deceptively small furniture’ – a trick used to make rooms look bigger. In a speech addressing the Chartered Institute Of Housing, Mrs May will say: ‘I cannot defend a system in which owners and tenants are forced to accept tiny homes with inadequate storage. Where developers feel the need to fill show homes with deceptively small furniture, and where the lack of universal standards encourages a race to the bottom.’ – Daily Mail

  • She will leave office on Wednesday 24th July – The Sun
  • The deadline to No Confidence a new government would be 3rd September – The Times

>Yesterday: Eddie Hughes on Comment: Why I am fighting for fairness for leaseholders

Doctors’ union votes against ‘fundamentally racist’ policy of charging foreign patients for NHS services

‘Doctors have voted to stop billing foreign patients for NHS care. Medics backing the motion said charging made health staff ‘complicit in racism’ and ‘racial profiling’. Up to 500 delegates voted overwhelmingly in favour of abandoning the fees at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Belfast. ‘We are doctors not border guards,’ said Dr Omar Risk in Monday’s debate. ‘Charging migrants for accessing NHS services is a fundamentally racist endeavour – we are complicit in the oppressive regime.’’ – Daily Mail

  • Doctors opposing the motion were booed – The Sun
  • The Department of Health reminds the union that the health service rests on British taxpayers – The Guardian
  • Police smash people-smuggling ring – The Sun
  • Hundreds of villages lose GP surgeries – Daily Telegraph
  • The GP shortage is a national crisis – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • NHS Property Services is in chaos – FT
  • Ethnic minority doctors in the NHS are discriminated against by their colleagues – Saleyha Ahsan, The Guardian
  • Prince Charles becomes patron of pro-homeopathy group – The Guardian
  • San Francisco bans the sale of e-cigarettes – Daily Mail

Government faces court case over children’s special needs funding

‘The Government is being dragged to the High Court today by three families who hope to win a landmark case over the withdrawal of funds for special educational needs. The families — from North Yorkshire, Birmingham and East Sussex — say the cuts mean councils across the country cannot fulfil their legal obligation of providing education to children with special educational needs or disabilities. They are calling on Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Chancellor Philip Hammond to increase funding to local authorities…Yesterday’s announcement made no mention of the issue, even though Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd claimed: “We intend to support disabled people in all phases of their life.”’ – The Sun

Gauke acknowledges no-fault divorce will raise the rate of couples splitting up

‘New no-fault divorces will lead to an increase in the number of couples ending their marriages, Justice Secretary David Gauke has admitted. He said those waiting for a legal split under the current system will be ‘brought forward’ when the new process – dubbed divorce-on-demand – starts. ‘The likelihood is there will be an increase because of, if you like, that waiting list,’ he told MPs yesterday. He is the first minister to acknowledge the reform will lead to a rise in divorces, which are at an historic low point. The 101,669 divorces in England and Wales in 2017 – the latest figures published – were the fewest since 1971, when the last set of reforms to liberalise divorces laws went into effect. Divorce numbers tripled after the laws passed through Parliament in 1960 which introduced the ‘quickie’ divorce system.’ – Daily Mail

Southern Water fined for concealing sewage pollution

‘One of Britain’s biggest water companies is to pay £126m in penalties for breaching its statutory duties on sewage treatment, including the “deliberate misreporting” of data, and the dumping of untreated effluent into beaches, rivers and streams. A two-year investigation by regulator Ofwat found that Southern Water, which supplies 4.2m customers in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with water and sewage services, had manipulated water samples for seven years until 2017 so that the “true performance” of its sewage treatment works was hidden. This, together with poor management and a failure to make the necessary investment in sewage treatment works, meant that waste water had “not gone through all of the processes it is supposed to before being released into the environment”, Ofwat said in a statement on Tuesday.’ – FT

Corbyn infuriates Shadow Cabinet with further delay to proposed u-turn to back Remain

‘Senior Labour figures had expected a meeting of Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet to be the final stage in agreeing to pursue a new Brexit policy, favouring a second referendum in all circumstances and backing a Remain vote. The Labour leader instead told those present that he wanted to delay a decision for a fortnight to hold more talks with trade union general secretaries, some of whom have doubts about changing tack… On Monday Mr McDonnell had predicted “white smoke” from the shadow cabinet meeting, telling an event in the City of London: “I am expecting some decision-making to take place. I am in favour of going back to the people. If there is a referendum I would campaign for Remain.” In the meeting a frustrated Mr McDonnell said that he had been given the impression that a decision would be made and demanded to know if he had been wrong to think that was the case… Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary who since the European elections has taken a strikingly pro-Remain line, insisted that the meeting had to come to a decision, telling Mr Corbyn: “This is about leadership.”’ – The Times

  • McDonnell attacked his leader’s policy as a ‘slow-moving car crash’ – The Sun
  • Labour cannot afford to abandon its heartlands by backing Remain – Jon Cruddas, The Guardian
  • Corbynites use cut and paste Holocaust backstories to defend against antisemitism criticism – The Times
  • Niche unions prosper amid wider stagnation – FT
  • Fabians fear march of the robots – The Guardian

Trump’s war of words with Tehran intensifies

‘Donald Trump says he’s not going to ‘need an exit strategy’ if the U.S. goes to war with Iran. He told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wasn’t attempting to send Tehran a message with a tweet he sent earlier in the day and admitted he had no plan to get the country out of a messy military conflict if the situation escalates. ‘You’re not going to need an exit strategy. I don’t do exit strategies,’ he told a reporter, who asked him about him the possibility of war. Trump threatened Iran with ‘obliteration’ if it attacks ‘anything American’ earlier in the day, after the country’s president branded the White House ‘mentally retarded’ after Trump issued fresh sanctions against the leadership in Tehran.’ – Daily Mail

  • He wants a deal – Jonathan Shaw, Daily Telegraph
  • The President’s Chief of Protocol resigns amid allegations about misconduct – Daily Mail
  • Nike pulls shoes from sale in China after designer backs Hong Kong protest – FT
  • US ambassador warns against Huawei – The Times
  • Kushner dismisses two-state solution – The Times
  • The President says rape allegation is a lie – The Times
  • Google executive filmed talking about ‘stopping the next Trump situation’ – Daily Mail
  • A rising number of people in the Arab world say they have no religion – Daily Mail
  • Russian social media plot to reignite the Troubles – The Times
  • The G20 cannot control the US and China – Roger Boyes, The Times

News in Brief