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Corbyn allies take aim at Watson…

“Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet allies have turned on Tom Watson as the Labour Party struggles to cope with deep divisions over the allegations of antisemitism within its ranks. Mr Watson, the Labour deputy leader, was attacked by John McDonnell and Diane Abbott after he criticised the party’s top official after Wednesday’s BBC Panorama documentary on the controversy. Mr Watson accused the party of “smearing” eight former members of staff interviewed for the documentary, four of whom had defied non-disclosure agreements (NDA) to do so. He demanded that Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary, give the equality and human rights commission (EHRC) full access to all her email addresses and show him the party’s submission to the EHRC investigation into antisemitism in Labour.” – The Times

  • Front bench descends into civil war – Daily Telegraph
  • Party’s unsease with leader’s cadre grows – The Guardian
  • Labour MPs must force out leader’s aides, says whistleblower – The Times
  • Equality body contacts 100 people in antisemitism inquiry – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Labour’s inaction on antisemitism is shameful – Trevor Phillips, FT
  • Its roots lie deep in the populist left – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian

…as Momentum launches deselection drive

“Momentum is to launch a nationwide campaign to encourage members to begin deselection processes for Labour MPs, arguing it can open the door for more diverse, younger, working-class MPs. The grassroots group said it would support rank-and-file members across the country to begin the process of challenging their sitting MP under Labour’s trigger ballot system. The system, which was changed last September to make it easier for local party members to challenge MPs, allows members to vote on whether they would like their sitting MP to face a full selection process or be automatically reselected.” – The Guardian

Editorial:

MPs warn of ‘police state’ as Met threaten publishers of leaked cables

Scotland Yard is threatening to prosecute anyone who publishes leaked diplomatic cables in a move that MPs said risked turning Britain into a “police state”. Counter-terrorism police began an investigation into the leak of diplomatic cables and warned newspapers and social media users that they would be committing a criminal offence by publishing further secrets. Scotland Yard said it was probing alleged “criminal breaches of the Official Secrets Act” following the leak which led to the resignation of Britain’s ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, this week. In a highly unusual move, the Metropolitan Police warned publishers to hand over any other leaked cables in their possession or risk prosecution if they published them in print or online.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Criminal probe launched to catch leaker – FT
  • Diplomatic row dominates TV debate – The Times
  • Johnson tries to extricate himself from Darroch furore… – FT
  • …as Neil ‘skewers’ him on ambassador’s resignation – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Affair exposes a deeper threat to the Civil Service – Camilla Cavendish, FT

Hunt won’t promise Brexit by Christmas…

“Jeremy Hunt has refused to pledge to take Britain out of the European Union before Christmas and said that prime ministers should “only make promises they know they can deliver”. The foreign secretary said Theresa May made a mistake in promising to leave the EU by March 29 only to fail to deliver. “I’m not going to make that mistake,” he told the BBC last night. Mr Hunt criticised Boris Johnson’s “do or die” pledge to leave on October 31 but denied a claim by Andrew Neil, the presenter, that he was “Theresa May in trousers”. He also rejected suggestions that his background as an entrepreneur did not qualify him to negotiate a complex deal with the EU, accusing Mr Neil of “belittling” small businesses.” – The Times

  • Rival blasts him as ‘insane’ – The Sun

Comment:

  • Tory members must look beyond Brexit, and choose Hunt – Lord Ashcroft, The Guardian
  • Neil’s bludgeon fails to hurt Tory rivals – Leo McKinstry, Daily Telegraph

>Today:

>Yesterday:

…as Johnson attacks BBC for ‘conditioning’ people to be gloomy

“Boris Johnson has attacked the BBC for “conditioning” the public with “gloom and negativity” about the chances of a successful no-deal Brexit. The Tory leadership front-runner was accused by the BBC’s Andrew Neil of pursuing “mission impossible” in saying the UK could still trade tariff-free with the EU if it left without a deal on October 31. He responded by accusing the BBC of bias in controlling the “mindset of people in this country” as he clashed repeatedly with the corporation’s most feared political interviewer… Mr Johnson and his leadership rival Jeremy Hunt were both questioned by Mr Neil in an hour-long programme broadcast on Friday night, in which Mr Johnson was tackled over his claims about leaving the EU at the end of October “do or die”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He opens talks with pro-Leave Labour MPs – The Times
  • The road to a deal? – FT

More:

  • Favourite promises to fix NHS pensions crisis – FT
  • Rudd says Johnson is part of a ‘cult of the strong man’ – Interview, The Times

>Today: Video: WATCH: The Andrew Neil Conservative leadership interviews – Johnson and Hunt

>Yesterday:

Hammond backs legal action against prorogation

“Philip Hammond has set himself on a collision course with Boris Johnson as he announced he would back legal action against the leadership frontrunner if he tried to suspend Parliament. The Chancellor said there would “certainly” be a move to resort to the courts if the next Prime Minister tried to push through no deal by “proroguing”Parliament. Mr Hammond said he “strongly supports” Sir John Major’s proposal to seek a judicial review. Mr Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out suspending Parliament if he becomes Prime Minister, arguing it would weaken the UK’s negotiating position to take any option off the table. His rival Jeremy Hunt has ruled it out.” – Daily Telegraph

  • He also supports staging a sit-in protest – Daily Express
  • Stewart wants to set up ‘Momentum-style movement’ – Daily Mail

More:

  • Chancellor tried to block Children’s Funeral Fund – Daily Mail

Matthew Parris: As a fellow columnist, I recognise the tricks of Johnson’s trade

“There is communism; there is capitalism, Conservatism, Catholicism — and there is columnism. It’s a cast of mind. Its practitioners are a type. First, foremost and for ever, Boris will be a columnist. The reflections on his and my trade which follow should be read also as thoughts on Johnson himself. Columnism is striking poses which (as any method actor will tell you) will only convince others if you yourself can temporarily inhabit the belief. You are counsel for the prosecution or defence of an idea, or dream, or fear, hatred, party or politician… What columnism is not is making absolutely sure first that you’re right. To be frank, you sometimes rather doubt it.” – The Times

  • A huge amount rides on his first 72 hours – James Forsyth, The Sun
  • Favourite will have just 100 days to do or die – Jack Doyle, Daily Mail
  • Johnson really is a modern-day Charles II – David Starkey, Daily Telegraph
  • Do we need a manager, or a leader? – Stefan Stern, The Guardian

Ministers 1) Hancock to publish ‘sleep guidelines’

“Official guidance on how many hours people should sleep each night is set to be introduced by ministers. The suggested minimum amount will vary according to age group and will come with advice on “sleep hygiene”, according to government-backed proposals to improve public health. The move will resemble recommendations on weekly alcohol consumption… Matt Hancock, the health secretary, is due to publish a public health green paper as part of efforts to improve disease prevention. Much of the document deals with action to curb smoking and obesity but it also calls for official action to help people to get more sleep. “There’s growing evidence on the health impacts of lack of sleep,” a leaked draft seen by The Times says.” – The Times

Ministers 2) Gauke wants to offer some prisoners ‘clean slate’

“Criminals including some killers, sex offenders and drug dealers will have their records wiped under plans to stop the stigma of a conviction from “hanging over the rest of their lives”. David Gauke, the justice secretary, wants to scrap a rule that means people sentenced to prison terms of more than four years have to disclose their conviction to a prospective employer for the rest of their life. The plan means people who have served long sentences for offences including manslaughter, violent assault, robbery and some sex offences will effectively have their criminal records wiped clean. The reform will not apply to the most “dangerous” sexual or violent offenders, those who have served life sentences and those who have been given “indeterminate” sentences.” – The Times

May still rules out protecting troops who served in Northern Ireland

“Theresa May doubled down on her refusal to change the law to protect Northern Ireland veterans — despite both men vying to replace her backing The Sun’s Veterans Pledge. Downing Street defended her decision to personally block proposals for an amnesty for Northern Ireland veterans. It defies The Sun’s campaign to end unfair prosecutions of troops who served in Northern Ireland, which has now been backed by both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. A spokesman for the PM warned her successor that dealing with the legacy of the Troubles must be done with care because the issue is “complex and very emotive”.” – The Sun

Sandbach faces deselection push

“Antoinette Sandbach is the latest rebel Tory MP to be facing deselection by her local party. The Conservative association in Eddisbury, Cheshire, has triggered the first step in the process to deselect Ms Sandbach, 50. Its executive has written to her twice in recent months, asking her to declare whether she intends to stand again at the next general election. She has not responded to the letters and is not obliged to unless an election is called. “Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act the next election will be in 2022, and it is too soon for me to decide now,” she told The Times. Ms Sandbach, who voted for Remain, has rebelled against the government to support measures to prevent a no-deal Brexit. She backed Rory Stewart in the Tory leadership contest.” – The Times

UK steps up military presence in the Gulf

“The UK is stepping up its military presence in the Gulf by sending a second warship to the region to protect British commercial oil tankers, the Ministry of Defence has said. The HMS Duncan, a Type 45 destroyer, will be deployed within days after it completed a course of Nato exercises in the Baltic Sea with the aim to be in the Gulf region by next week. The ship will work alongside the Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Montrose and US Gulf allies, but will not participate in Washington’s proposed global maritime coalition to protect shipping in the area. HMS Duncan was due to have taken over from HMS Montrose, but for a fixed period the two ships will instead work alongside one another.” – The Guardian

  • US-UK relationship under strain – Big Read, FT

Editorial:

  • Tackling Iranian aggression is absolutely right – The Sun

>Yesterday: Sir John Jenkins in Comment: Too many excuses are made for Iran – especially by the EU. We must get real, stand with America, and take decisive action.

News in Brief:

  • Johnson struggled through his interview with Neil – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • The next Prime Minister must spend more on schools – Bim Afolami, Reaction
  • Beyond the blame game, the special relationship endures – John Ashmore, CapX
  • Could homophobia be on the rise? – Douglas Murray, UnHerd
  • If we had never joined the EU, there would be no case for membership – Dorothy Wilson, Brexit Central

6 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 13th July 2019

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