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The search begins for the person who leaked the Washington ambassador’s telegrams…

‘A formal investigation is to be launched into leaked memos describing Donald Trump as “uniquely dysfunctional” and “inept”. Britain’s Ambassador to Washington Sir Kim Darroch is facing calls to be sacked over the disclosure issue. He reportedly impugned the US president’s character in a series of cables and briefing notes. Sir Kim warned that under Mr Trump, the White House has become “uniquely dysfunctional” and dogged by internal conflict, according to the Mail on Sunday, who claim to have seen the leaked memos. Sir Kim is also reported to have said that the US leader could have become indebted to “dodgy Russians” during his presidency… A Foreign Office spokesman said a formal leak investigation will now be initiated. A spokeswoman added: “The British public would expect our ambassadors to provide ministers with an honest, unvarnished assessment of the politics in their country. Their views are not necessarily the views of ministers or indeed the government. But we pay them to be candid.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The civil service isn’t neutral. It shouldn’t be, it can’t be.

…as Trump retorts that ‘We are not big fans of that man’

‘Donald Trump said Britain’s ambassador to Washington who branded him “inept” has “not served the UK well”. The US President broke his silence just a day after a series of damning indictments were leaked from secret cables back to Whitehall over a two year period… in a blistering come-back, Trump said on Sunday: “We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well. So I can understand it, and I can say things about him but I won’t bother.” Hunt had tried to smooth over the Transatlantic rift yesterday by emphasising Sir Darroch’s words were “not the view of the British government” and “not my view”. “We continue to think that under President Trump the US administration is not just highly effective but the best possible friend of the United Kingdom on the international stage,” he said.’ – The Sun

Hunt promises to stand up for persecuted Christians

‘Jeremy Hunt has pledged if he wins the leadership election to develop a term for anti-Christian hatred equivalent to Islamophobia and antisemitism and impose sanctions on countries that persecute Christians. He said that “misguided political correctness” had prevented Britain from providing support for Christians facing violence and discrimination around the globe. He said that if elected he would implement all the recommendations of an independent report into their plight, published today by the Bishop of Truro. All Foreign Office staff should be given “religious literacy” training to ensure that they understand the role that religious persecution plays in conflict zones, the report states, and the UK must use its seat on the UN security council to secure pledges from Middle Eastern and North African nations to protect their Christian minorities.’ – The Times

>Today: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: What my latest poll of more than eight thousand people says about Hunt and Johnson

Grieve and fellow Remainers seek to use the Northern Ireland Bill to obstruct No Deal…

‘A group of Conservative MPs are determined to block a no-deal exit from the European Union, and, yesterday, senior figures spoke publicly about how they could attempt to do so. Sam Gyimah, a former minister and one of the original leadership contenders, said that “30-plus” Tory MPs were looking both at legislative options to prevent a no-deal exit and ways to stop the next prime minister from suspending parliament. MPs were trying to stave off “economic mayhem”, he said. Today, some Remain-supporting MPs are expected to launch a new attempt to prevent a potential no-deal during a debate on Northern Irish power-sharing talks. The move, led by Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, could involve an amendment to legislation that would require a statement to be made to the Commons in October. This use of parliamentary procedure would in effect stop any government attempt to prorogue, or suspend, parliament as it would be legally required to be sitting. Mr Grieve told Pienaar’s Politics on BBC Radio 5 Live that a no-deal Brexit would be the “end of Northern Ireland’s union with the United Kingdom” and that the bill was a “perfectly legitimate place to start looking at how one might make sure no-deal Brexits are fully debated before they take place”.’ – The Times

>Yesterday: WATCH: Gyimah claims that “30 plus” Conservative MPs will block No Deal

…while Labour backbenchers hope to amend it to change the law on abortion and equal marriage

‘The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has voiced concerns over amendments by Labour MP Stella Creasy seeking to extend abortion provision. Up to 60 MPs from across the House are expected to support her. Archbishop Eamon Martin said it was “tragic… that some legislators would ‘fast track’ the ending of the lives of the most defenceless in our society”. Also, in a statement read out at Masses in the Diocese of Down and Connor at the weekend, Bishop Noel Treanor said the Bill is “being used to introduce amendments aiming to liberalise provision of abortion in Northern Ireland without the say-so of either the citizens of Northern Ireland or their elected representatives”. He urged people to contact their MP “to register their objection to this undemocratic process”. Ms Creasy’s Labour colleague, Co Armagh native Conor McGinn, is planning to target the same Bill with an amendment aimed at changing the law here on same-sex marriage.’ – Belfast Telegraph

Plan to rebrand school leaver qualifications

‘The Department for Education is rebranding school leaver qualifications equivalent to diplomas and foundation degrees in an effort to boost take up of these qualifications. The hope is that by rebranding qualifications such as foundation degrees and diplomas as Higher Technical Qualifications employers will be able to fill key skills gaps. People with higher level vocational qualifications in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects can earn up to £5,000 more a year than people with degrees, according to a study published in April by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. More than 4,000 qualifications are available in these subjects through the apprenticeship levy programme.’ – FT

  • Banned ‘Trojan horse’ school governor has relaunched Muslim Parents Association – The Times

Labour civil war intensifies with ‘stupid’ attempt to silence whistleblowers

‘In a sign of panic, officials are taking legal action to stop former staff blowing the whistle before the BBC broadcast on Wednesday. The tactics were condemned as ‘stupid’ by deputy leader Tom Watson, while backbencher Wes Streeting warned he would use parliamentary privilege to defeat any gagging orders. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is heaping further pressure on Mr Corbyn by pushing him to back a second referendum and continued EU membership. In other developments: Mr McDonnell was forced to deny claims that he has also been trying to force Mr Corbyn to sack his two closest aides; John Cryer, who chairs the Parliamentary Labour Party, warned Mr Corbyn’s allies against mass attempts to deselect MPs; [and] Trade union leaders prepared to meet today to decide whether the party should change its Brexit stance.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: McDonnell insists reports of a split with Corbyn are “rubbish”

NHS waiting lists grow as consultants work to rule due to new tax policy

‘Hospital waiting lists have doubled in the last three months in some areas due to pension reforms affecting senior surgeons and consultants, NHS managers have warned. Top doctors are refusing overtime due to the hefty new treasury tax bills, it was claimed last night, which is having a knock-on effect on waiting times. New Treasury rules mean high earners face tax rates of up to 90 per cent on earnings of more than £110,000 a year, including the value of their pensions… As a result, medics are turning down more hours because they will not financially benefit from their hard work.’ – Daily Mail

  • Operations are being cancelled – The Guardian
  • There are ‘only weeks’ to solve the crisis – FT
  • Stewart calls for Ebola outbreak to be declared an emergency – The Guardian
  • Mother sues the health service for not testing for Down’s Syndrome – The Sun

Riot police deployed as Hong Kong protests spread

‘Hong Kong riot police used batons against democracy activists last night after the campaign of protest spread to new areas of the territory. Officers brandishing batons scuffled with demonstrators holding folding umbrellas, making several arrests in the Mong Kok area of Kowloon, the site of previous skirmishes between demonstrators and the authorities. In a statement issued early this morning, police said the group were taking part in an “unlawful assembly” and had been warned that officers would take action. “Some protesters resisted and police arrested five persons for assaulting a police officer and obstructing a police officer in the execution of duties,” said police. The confrontations came at the end of an otherwise peaceful day in which protesters took their campaign off Hong Kong island in an effort to reach some of the many citizens of mainland China who visit the territory.’ – The Times

  • Fight back by opening up travel and citizenship rights to Hong Kongers – Edward Lucas, The Times
  • We must honour our obligations – Chris Patten, FT
  • Chinese ambassador warns the UK it will ‘miss opportunities’ if it obstructs Huawei – The Sun
  • He accused Hunt of a ‘Cold War mentality’ – The Guardian

Greek centre right unseat the radical left

‘Greece’s conservative New Democracy party was on course to form a government with an outright majority last night after an election dominated by discontent with a populist left-wing administration that had promised to end austerity but made it worse. Voters turned to the conservatives, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 51, a mild-mannered former banker, hoping that he can revive Greece’s faded fortunes without reverting to the cronyism and corruption that sullied the party’s reputation and was partly responsible for pushing the country to the verge of bankruptcy in late 2009. In his victory speech in Athens Mitsotakis said the “weight of responsibility is heavy” and he assumes “the burden with complete awareness of the situation the country is in”. Last night the interior ministry reported preliminary results showing that Mr Mitsotakis had secured 39.8 per cent of the vote, which should secure his party 158 seats in the 300-seat parliament.’ – The Times

News in Brief

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