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William Hague: Johnson’s biggest challenge is to deliver Brexit without breaking Union

“I will never forget campaigning for Boris Johnson when he first stood for parliament in North Wales in 1997, our designated photo opportunity being in the cab of the steam locomotive on the Llangollen Railway. Left alone by the train drivers to give photographers a clear shot, he and I suddenly realised we were in charge of an accelerating train with no idea of how to stop it. Thankfully, he has shown a clearer command of the levers of government in his first few days as Prime Minister than either of us had of the controls of a locomotive, and there is much for Conservatives to welcome irrespective of who we preferred as leader. First and foremost is his communication of a vision for the future of the country, and his identification of science, technology and environmental progress as fundamental aspects of that vision. For his opening sentences in the Commons to be about the country’s trajectory to 2050 was unusual, but it was also uplifting and correct. Second, the combative performance with which he followed this up demonstrated that he will be a force to be reckoned with at the despatch box. Theresa May was effective at putting Jeremy Corbyn in his place. Boris will go on to make him hate sitting in it.” Daily Telegraph

  • Johnson refuses to meet EU leaders unless they scrap backstop – The Guardian
  • He turns up pressure on EU over backstop – Daily Express
  • EU will threaten no trade until 2025 under No Deal – Daily Express
  • Troops assemble for first Brexit war cabinet – Daily Mail
  • Secret plot to thwart No Deal unravels – Daily Express
  • Johnson not bluffing, says Soubry – Daily Express
  • Labour warns of No Deal inquiry – The Times
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>Today:
ToryDiary:

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Sterling slumps as No Deal Brexit looms

“Sterling fell to its lowest level for more than two years yesterday as financial traders began to price in the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit to the value of the pound. In a hardline stance that spooked the markets, Downing Street ruled out any new Brexit talks until the European Union had publicly committed itself to scrapping the Irish backstop. Sterling dropped as much as 1.3 per cent against the dollar to $1.2230, a level not touched since Theresa May triggered Article 50 in March 2017. The pound has been the worst-performing major currency since Boris Johnson entered Downing Street last week, with traders predicting further falls in the coming weeks. Yesterday’s sell-off was prompted by a briefing in Westminster by Mr Johnson’s spokeswoman while the prime minister was on his first official engagement in Scotland. She warned that although he was ready to meet EU leaders, he was not prepared to open new talks until they accepted that the Irish backstop would be scrapped.” – The Times

  • Pound drops to lowest level in two years – The Guardian
  • Brit tourists face holiday squeeze – The Sun
  • Pound at two-year low as No Deal fears grow – FT
  • And pound slumps again over No Deal fears – Daily Mail

Daily Telegraph: Johnson’s strong No Deal strategy sends a clear message to EU

“Early on in the Brexit process, the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis offered some advice to the UK government: do not negotiate with the EU. Greece did over the financial bail-out in 2015 and soon wished they hadn’t, he said. In his book Adults in the Room, published here not long after the 2017 general election, Varoufakis set out the anti-democratic, underhand and downright mendacious tactics used by the EU’s “deep establishment” to make the Greeks grovel. He predicted that, if the UK entered negotiations over Brexit, Brussels would seek to browbeat us in the same way and that we would do better just to walk away. Theresa May decided to stay at the table with the consequences we have all seen. Boris Johnson may or may not have read Mr Varoufakis’s book, but he has taken his message on board. The Prime Minister is letting it be known that he has no intention of engaging in talks with the EU ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline unless they agree to negotiate an entirely new Withdrawal Agreement. So far, Brussels has been clear that any changes to what they agreed with Mrs May will be mere tweaks to the political declaration about future arrangements. But this will not be enough for Mr Johnson, who has bet the farm on getting the Irish backstop removed in its entirety.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ministerial churn is new norm – The Times
  • Sacked ministers enjoy life after leaving – The Times
  • MPs claim ministers have no policy to attract foreign investors after Brexit – The Times
  • Johnson promises farmers better deal after Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • Gove excluded from National Security Council as Johnson purges committees – Daily Telegraph
  • Gove barred from high level security meetings – Daily Express
  • Symonds takes keys to No 10 flat – The Times
  • Symonds will not cost taxpayer anything – Daily Telegraph
  • Samantha Cameron gives Carrie Symonds advice on life at No 10 – Daily Mail
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And Johnson gives strong hint he will work with Brexit Party

“Boris Johnson has hinted he is open to working with Nigel Farage by calling the success of the Brexit Party ‘an incentive’ for the EU to reopen talks with the UK. Britain’s new Prime Minister praised the Brexit Party for their efforts to attack the core of the EU on a visit to Scotland today. Mr Johnson said the fact that so many Brexit Party representatives had been elected as MEPs would put extra pressure on Brussels to renegotiate a deal before the October deadline. ‘They have now got 29 members of the Brexit Party sitting in Strasbourg, not exactly full of the Ode To Joy,’ he said on Monday. ‘They are not going to want that situation to continue. There is big incentive on both sides to get this thing done, and we are going to come out, deal or no-deal, on October 31.’ Mr Johnson said a new free trade deal that ‘allows us to take back control of our tariffs and our regulations’ should be at the core of the UK’s negotiations.” – Daily Mail

Fearful Johnson tells EU to get deal done as Brexit Party power grows – Daily Express

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>Today:
Local Government:

Richard Littlejohn: Doesn’t project fear ever take a day off?

“Seems like I’m not the only one who doesn’t do honeymoon periods. Project Fear hasn’t missed a beat since Boris got the job. Yesterday’s World At One on Radio 4 was a collector’s item, a veritable cornucopia of Scare Stories ‘R’ Us. Not since miserablist Leonard Cohen’s first album has there been a more depressing 40-odd minutes of music to slash your wrists by. No turn was unstoned in the producers’ efforts to put the fear of God into us. They even managed to track down a professor in Australia, of all places, to warn that No Deal Boris was passing a death sentence on what remains of the British car industry. This was predicated upon Vauxhall saying it might have to reconsider plans to build a new model at Ellesmere Port. Now there’s a surprise. Multinational motor manufacturers never miss a trick when it comes to putting the squeeze on governments for tax-breaks, regional development grants and so forth. Given that Boris is already planning to bribe the North with a tsunami of public money, it wasn’t necessary.” – Daily Mail

‘Boris bounce’ spreads to Wales as poll gives Tories lead over Labour

“The ‘Boris bounce’ has spread to Wales with a poll finding the Tories have leapfrogged Labour. A survey found the Conservatives had jumped seven points since May on voting intention for a general election. They now enjoy a slender two-point advantage over Jeremy Corbyn’s party – which was down three on 22 per cent, the lowest level ever recorded. However, the YouGov research for Cardiff University and ITV underlines the fragmentation in party support in Wales. Despite being down five points since the last poll just before the European elections, the Brexit Party was on 18 per cent, while the Lib Dems were up four on 16 per cent. Plaid Cymru is also riding high on 15 per cent. The findings are the latest indication that Mr Johnson’s arrival in Downing Street has boosted the Tories. Polls at the weekend suggested the party’s backing had risen by between three and 10 percentage points since he became PM last week.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbyn under pressure as pool shows Tory surge – Daily Express
  • Labour election support now at ‘lowest ever level’ – walesonline
  • Johnson to visit Wales for first time since becoming PM – walesonline

Downing Street demands billions for NHS are fast-tracked

“Downing Street is demanding the Treasury fast-tracks billions of pounds to the NHS as part of a summer-long blitz against Jeremy Corbyn. The Sun can reveal, Tory high-command has called on Chancellor Sajid Javid to do “everything he can” to ensure the extra money promised by Theresa May is getting to the front line. Some £4 billion more is due to be pumped into the NHS over the course of 2019-2020. It follows claims that ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond was slow to release the funds. New chief of staff Dominic Cummings is understood to have spoken to NHS England chief Simon Stevens about the delays. An insider said: “We need to make sure the stuff we’ve promised is being delivered. We promised more to the NHS and they need to see it. We promised money for the police, they need to see it.” Another source told The Sun: “No.10 is aware the NHS is the only thing sustaining Labour and Jeremy Corbyn right now.” The move comes amid growing concern in the NHS about the mammoth backlog of repair work needed on Britain’s crumbling hospitals. Capital spending was excluded from the £20 billion bonanza announced by Theresa May last year.” The Sun

  • Treasury told to adopt policy of ‘Boosterism’ – Daily Mail
  • How Brexit uncertainty is weighing on UK manufacturing – FT
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Nicola Sturgeon says Johnson is putting UK on ‘dangerous path’

“Boris Johnson kicked off a Brexit row with Remainer Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon by defiantly telling her it was happening on October 31 whether she likes it or not. On his first visit to Scotland, Mr Johnson told the SNP leader the UK would leave the EU on Halloween ‘come what may’. But his comments during a head-to-head in Edinburgh sparked a furious response, with the First Minister accusing him of secretly wanting a No Deal Brexit instead of a deal with Brussels. The Tory leader was booed by protesters as he arrived for the frosty talks in Edinburgh and jeered as he shook hands with the First Minister at her Bute House HQ. The less-than warm reception came after the premier promised to renew ‘the ties that bind our United Kingdom’ and unveiled plans to release £300million for ‘growth deals’. Downing Street also suggested he dismissed her demand for a second Scottish independence referendum.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Dangerous’ UK government intent on No Deal, says Sturgeon – The Guardian
  • Sturgeon says Johnson is ‘pursuing No Deal’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson avoids protest after meeting Sturgeon – The Times
  • Furious Sturgeon lashes out after meeting Johnson – Daily Express
  • Sturgeon challenges Johnson to live TV debate – The Scotsman
  • An inconvenient Ruth: how Davidson could be a problem for Johnson – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson and Davidson strike fragile truce – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson offers olive branch to Davidson – Daily Telegraph
  • Frayed Union greets Johnson on Scotland visit – FT
  • Government refuses to rule out direct rule over Northern Ireland – FT
Comment

Johnson’s spin doctor used to dress up as chicken

“The new head of communications to the prime minister of the United Kingdom used to dress up as a chicken and heckle Tory politicians, his former employer has said. Lee Cain, who has been appointed as Boris Johnson’s chief spin doctor after serving as his press aide in the Foreign Office and during his successful Conservative party leadership campaign, was previously a Fleet Street journalist. The Daily Mirror reported that it had deployed him in 2010 as the notorious Mirror Chicken, who was known for turning up at public appearances by Tory MPs and ridiculing them. It said Cain “taunted David Cameron and his Tory chums as they ducked questions in the run-up to the 2010 general election”. The paper said Cain was inside the costume in a picture it published from 2010 showing someone wearing a chicken outfit and Daily Mirror T-shirt outside a polling station with Cameron and his wife Samantha. Cameron went on to form a coalition government in a hung parliament. The Daily Mirror quoted a former colleague as saying: “Lee was a great Mirror Chicken. He attacked the role with real zeal and great passion. The news desk were so impressed with his work he was used on a number of occasions.” – The Guardian

Campbell no longer wants to be Labour member

“Alastair Campbell, the former No 10 director of communications under Tony Blair, has said he no longer wishes to be a Labour member, warning that Jeremy Corbyn is poised to lose the next election against Boris Johnson and destroy the party “as a political force capable of winning power”. Campbell had planned to fight his expulsion from Labour for revealing that he voted Liberal Democrat in the European elections, but he has now written to Corbyn informing him: “With some sadness but absolute certainty, I have reached the conclusion that I no longer wish to stay in the party, even if I should be successful in my appeal or legal challenge.” The former Labour adviser and campaigner for a “people’s vote” has written a lengthy missive to Corbyn, part-published in the Guardian and in full in the New European, setting out his view that the party will not win a majority against Johnson, who he says is “embarked on a crash and burn strategy” designed to win a mandate for hard Brexit at the ballot box. “The culture you have helped to create has made the party one that I feel no longer truly represents my values, or the hopes I have for Britain,” Campbell wrote. “I see no strategy in place that remotely meets the electoral or policy challenges ahead. On the contrary, in so far as I ascertain a strategy at all, it is one that looks more designed to lose. I fear the country may already have decided that it does not intend to make you prime minister.” – The Guardian

  • ‘Dear Jeremy, I no longer want to be a member of your party’ – The Guardian
  • Campbell drops fight with Labour over expulsion – The Times
  • Campbell tells Labour Party he will not fight expulsion – Daily Mail
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  • Raab rules out ‘barter’ over Iranian tanker – FT
  • No action against Field for seizing protestor – The Times
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5 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 30th July 2019

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