Johnson pledges £2 billion for “regional renaissance”

“Boris Johnson will promise to spend more than £2 billion on deprived towns as he targets Labour’s Leave-voting heartlands. The prime minister wants to “rebalance power, growth and productivity” as he gears up for an early election. He will revive proposals for a “stronger towns fund”, announced this year by Theresa May. However, whereas her scheme was intended to bribe Labour MPs to back her EU withdrawal deal, Mr Johnson’s cash injection is intended to lure voters disaffected with Jeremy Corbyn’s weakening support for Brexit. Mr Johnson will use a speech in Manchester today to announce a towns fund that will look for “creative” ways to boost areas, including investments in infrastructure, local culture and other regeneration projects. He will also announce plans for a trans-Pennine railway between Leeds and Manchester as he calls for a “regional renaissance”.” – The Times

  • New PM mobbed by supporters in Birmingham – Daily Mail

PM rules out calling an election before October 31st

“Boris Johnson has ruled out calling an election before October 31, as he continued his UK-wide tour. The Prime Minister will promise to fund a new rail route between Manchester and Leeds, fuelling speculation he is in campaign-mode. One Tory MP who backed Mr Johnson’s leadership bid told the Daily Telegraph “two thirds” of his colleagues expect an election before spring. However Mr Johnson said he would “absolutely not” call for another vote. During a visit to a police training centre in Birmingham, he said: “The British people voted in 2015, in 2016, in 2017. What they want us to do is deliver on their mandate, come out of the EU on October 31. “They don’t want another electoral event, they don’t want a referendum, they don’t want a general election. They want us to deliver.” – Daily Telegraph

Gibb: Cabinet leaks helped the EU

“There was a chronic lack of discipline from certain ministers who abused the position and privilege of being in Cabinet to leak, brief and undermine at every turn. It became so bad the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox once refused to discuss his advice in front of Cabinet colleagues whom he simply couldn’t trust not to spew out their gobbets of information to Twitter-hungry journalists five minutes after the meeting broke up. Well-informed debate increasingly became punctuated by well-crafted soundbites designed for an audience outside the room. We joked rather bitterly that we should cut out the middle men and start broadcasting Cabinet. This behaviour was far more damaging than simply eroding party discipline — though that would have been bad enough. Ministers were putting information out that was being consumed by the other side, so while the EU team maintained its discipline and focus, speaking with one voice, we presented disharmony, conflict and a range of different voices.” – Robbie Gibb, Daily Mail

  • “No more weakness. The EU must know we’re serious” – Interview with Dominic Raab, The Times

Ben Elliot made Conservative Co-Chairman

“As Boris tours the country promoting these ideas, he is also sorting out Conservative Campaign Headquarters. Ben Elliot, a multi-millionaire businessman, is going in as co-chair alongside James Cleverly. Elliot, Camilla Parker Bowles’ nephew, will bring some much- needed energy to the Tory operation. He will also, with his deep network of wealthy friends, be able to sort out the party’s money woes. This will mean Boris could fight an election if he had to. Boris has long believed that the best way to avoid No Deal is to show you are prepared for it. His strategy now is that the best way to avoid an election is to show that you would win one.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: MPsETC: Johnson’s reshuffle. Live blog. Day Three: Businessman appointed Party co-chair alongside Cleverly.

Rees-Mogg: The only way to stop Brexit is to revoke Article 50 – and the Remainers don’t have the votes to do it…

“Jacob Rees-Mogg has faced down Conservative rebels threatening to block no deal, saying the only way they can stop Brexit is to revoke Article 50. In an interview with The Telegraph, the new Leader of the House of Commons attacks Remainer colleagues “wittering on about no deal”, saying they “wouldn’t dare” overturn the law…In the first interview by a member of Mr Johnson’s government, Mr Rees-Mogg told The Telegraph the Prime Minister was “trying very hard for a deal but he is not frightened of no deal”. He said: “A lot of this is in the hands of the EU rather than the UK Government. The initial suggestion has been made that the backstop needs to be removed. That has been preliminarily rebuffed. We’ll have to see what happens next … If they do [keep on rebuffing], then we leave without a deal, we keep £39 billion and the Sun will still rise on Nov 1.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Why I gave my new staff a grammar lesson and etiquette guide – Interview with Jacob Rees-Mogg, Daily Telegraph
  • Shapps also demands brevity – The Times

…Cox agrees that a “no confidence” motion would not prevent us leaving

“Boris Johnson is legally entitled to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 without a deal even if he loses a vote of confidence and his government falls, the attorney-general has suggested. Geoffrey Cox is understood to believe that there is no legal basis to prevent the prime minister from taking Britain out of the EU, even if October 31 arrives amid a general election campaign triggered by a no-confidence vote in the government over no-deal. There is concern in government that Mr Johnson’s majority of two means he could be defeated in a vote of confidence and be forced to go to the polls.” – The Times

  • “It is beyond comprehension that the official opposition has not called a vote of confidence, something that only they can do.It was all the more urgent this week; the clock has now run down.” – Luciana Berger, Financial Times

Smith fails to back PM’s promise to end “unfair” prosecutions of Northern Ireland veterans

“The new Northern Ireland Secretary has failed to commit to Boris Johnson’s promise to stop “unfair” prosecutions of veterans. After visiting Belfast and Londonderry on Friday in his first official visit, Julian Smith told reporters that “we are in the process of looking at that issue…there are some specific issues in Northern Ireland and I’ll be looking at that issue over the coming days and weeks.” This comes just days after the Prime Minister told Tory MPs that the prosecution of veterans facing historical allegations over their conduct in Northern Ireland has “got to stop” and that repeated investigation should be prevented unless there was “compelling evidence” that offences had been committed. Several Northern Ireland veterans are expected to face trial, including Soldier F, a former paratrooper in his 70s, who has been charged with two murders and four attempted murders during Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Claims that a ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland – Daily Telegraph
  • Ireland warns that hard Brexit threatens UK unity – Financial Times
  • Brussels may give Ireland “a few months” to set up border checks in “No Deal” Brexit – The Sun

Trump working on “very substantial” UK trade deal

“US President Donald Trump has said talks about a “very substantial” trade deal with the UK are under way. He said a bilateral post-Brexit deal could lead to a “three to four, five times” increase in current trade. There are no details about how this would be achieved. After a phone call with Boris Johnson on Friday, Mr Trump said the new prime minister would be “great”. He added US-UK trade had previously been “impeded” by Britain’s membership of the EU. Once the UK leaves, he said, the UK can expect to do “much more” trade with the US, he said.” – BBC

Finding locker space for new police officers will be a challenge warns Malthouse

“New policing minister Kit Malthouse admitted one of the key practical challenges in boosting police numbers by 20,000 in three years would be providing lockers for officers’ equipment. Amid the loss of 600 police stations nationwide, he acknowledged the target and timescale of 36 months to deliver on Boris Johnson’s pledge was “ambitious.” Mr Malthouse, who was deputy mayor responsible for policing in London under Mr Johnson, said: “I know from my own history that what might seem a surprising logistical issue that constrains the number of officers is access to lockers. “Modern police officers carry a lot of equipment and that all has to be stored somewhere overnight as they travel to and from their home so finding locker space is going to be the key,” he said.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Counting coppers – Leader, The Times
  • Recruitment to begin “within weeks” – BBC

Davidson “livid” at Mundell’s sacking

“Ruth Davidson believes that Boris Johnson has committed a “real error” by sacking David Mundell as Scottish secretary in a move that threatens the Conservative revival in Scotland. Party sources have revealed for the first time the extent of the profound bond between Ms Davidson and Mr Mundell. She has asked him to officiate when she marries her partner, Jen Wilson, with whom she has a child. The Scottish Tory leader is understood to be livid that her “work husband” has been dumped from the cabinet after nine years and friends say she does not believe there would be a Conservative government for Mr Johnson to lead without Mr Mundell’s work north of the border.” – The Times

Stamp Duty cuts planned to boost home ownership

“A major overhaul of stamp duty to boost home ownership and reinvigorate the property market is being planned by Boris Johnson. The new Prime Minister is considering dramatic changes including abolishing the levy on homes worth less than £500,000 and making sellers pay, not buyers. He has also promised to help ‘cheated’ leaseholders so they are no longer trapped in properties that are unsellable or unmortgageable because of spiralling charges. The shake-up could come as soon as September when the new Chancellor is expected to hold an early emergency Budget, instead of waiting until October or November.” – Daily Mail

New rescue dog for Downing Street

“Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds are planning to adopt a rescue dog to live with them in their new Downing Street home. The dog, whose breed has not been specified, will have to get along with Larry, the rescue cat, who currently lives at Number 10, Downing Street sources have confirmed. It will also have to contend with Sajid Javid’s dog, a Cavapoo called Bailey, when the Chancellor moves into his official residence. An insider said: “It wouldn’t be a puppy. It would probably be a rescue dog. It would have to be a cat and dog that got along.” Mr Johnson is not the only Prime Minister to have had a dog in Downing Street. Winston Churchill had a poodle called Rufus, while Clement Attlee had a dog called Ting.” – Daily Telegraph

Shadow Minister says black Conservatives “sell their souls”

“A Labour shadow minister sparked uproar by telling “black” Tories they had “sold their soul” to be in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet. Clive Lewis — whose father is from Grenada — said they had also ditched their “self-respect” to serve a “racist” PM.Stunned Tories demanded he apologise, saying the comments were “outrageous”. Mr Johnson made Sajid Javid the country’s first Chancellor of Asian descent in his mammoth reshuffle. A total of six Cabinet Ministers come from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, including Tory party chairman James Cleverly. Commenting on Twitter, Mr Lewis congratulated Mr Cleverly. But he said: “I’m just sorry you and the other black members of that Cabinet had to sell your souls and your self-respect to get there.” – The Sun

McTernan: Cummings is passionate about civil service reform

“He has a passionate belief in the need for civil service reform. This is partly due to a powerful — and correct — sense that if politicians pay the price for what is achieved, and not achieved, in their departments, they should pick personnel. Mainly, though, he believes strongly that the arts and humanities educational backgrounds of senior government figures — both political and bureaucratic — is wrong for a world transformed in recent decades by science and technology, expanding the frontiers of both knowledge and effective management…..Mr Cummings used his credit card to make a deposit on a shop rental when he started his 2004 campaign against proposals for a regional assembly in the north-east of England. He managed to turn strong initial support for the idea into a nearly four-to-one defeat. Mr Cummings is a restless risk-taker. He is frustrated by government not because he is an ideological opponent of the state, but because he is a believer in how much better things could be done. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.” – John McTernan, Financial Times

  • Sedwill and Cummings are getting on fine – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

>Today: Henry Newman on Comment: Cummings understands the need to drastically reform Whitehall

Baker: Why I rejected a Ministerial post

“As a junior minister in the Brexit Department, I could deliver on legislation, including the EU (Withdrawal) Act. And across government, we made great strides on preparedness for exit under all circumstances. But we were often held back by Number 10 refusing to allow us to communicate our plans externally. Infamously, the Cabinet Office’s Europe Unit bypassed my department on negotiations, which eventually triggered my resignation, along with David Davis and Boris Johnson. Today, with preparedness handed to Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings in the Cabinet Office, it is far from obvious what purpose Brexit ministers would serve, beyond window dressing on top of window dressing. That is why I could not take up what ought to have been a wonderful offer of minister of state there. I simply could not be a Potemkin minister in a Potemkin department. Again.” – Steve Baker, Daily Telegraph

Parris: The new PM is trying to hide his lonely despair

“This week Boris put his foot down. He is anything but confident that Brussels will blink first. He is not confident parliament will let him crash out of the EU with a no-deal in October; he is not confident he could win a snap general election; and he has no idea what the consequences of a no-deal Brexit would be. But he does know that he has been so vehement in his “do-or-die” promise that to back away now could be fatal. All he can do is double down on the bet. Where Theresa May’s homily would be “don’t throw good money after bad”, Johnson would prefer “in for a penny, in for a pound” — or in Macbeth’s words: I am in blood/ Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more/ Returning were as tedious as go o’er. Read the play. These are not the words of a truly confident leader; they betray a shaft of lonely despair.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

Moore: At last we have a Brexit Government

“Boris is still Boris the card; but he is also Mr Johnson the serious Prime Minister. His Cabinet choices are not highly ideological, but they are firm. It doesn’t always matter whether a person voted Remain in 2016; it does matter if, like the defeatists’ patron ghoul, Philip Hammond, that person is invested in failure. It shows how low cabinet government sank in the past three years that many in the media see the new Cabinet’s agreement over the Government’s most urgent aim as a mark of servile uniformity. It is not: it is simply a return to collective cabinet responsibility, without which no successful cabinet is possible.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The shuffle doesn’t just mould the Government, it also shapes the Select Committees which scrutinise it

Supreme Court approves funding by Trump for wall

“The US Supreme Court has said that President Donald Trump can use $2.5bn (£2bn) of Pentagon funds for a section of wall on the southern border. The court ruled by five votes to four to block a ruling by a federal judge in California that barred the president from spending the money on the wall. The wall, dividing the US and Mexico, was Mr Trump’s major campaign promise during the 2016 election. It is fiercely opposed by Democrats.” – BBC

News in brief

  • It’s a mistake to assume Boris Johnson will crash and burn – Bruce Anderson, The Spectator
  • The Left-wing Twitterati have got Theresa Villiers all wrong – Sarah Johnson, The Article
  • More borrowing, lower taxes? A plan for Rishi Sunak at the Treasury – Julian Jessop, CapX
  • Leo Varadkar to reset the Irish Government’s Brexit stance – Adam MacCarthaigh, Brexit Central
  • These climate ‘rebels’ aren’t against the system, they’re part of it – Ben Pile, Conservative Woman