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Lister prepares the Party for an early election ‘while Corbyn is still around’

‘Sources said that the party had been left in “dire financial straits” under Theresa May after donors abandoned it amid concerns over Brexit. Sir Edward Lister, who is charged with overseeing Mr Johnson’s first 100 days in power if he wins the leadership, is planning to ramp up recruitment and pump more money into Conservative headquarters to ensure that the party is on an “election footing”…Sir Edward’s team is said to be preparing for a general election either being forced on the party in a vote of no confidence or Mr Johnson having to call a snap election once Brexit was delivered. One senior member of Mr Johnson’s team told The Times: “There’s a desire to get this done while Corbyn is still around. Labour is utterly divided — Brexit is killing them. Labour is in no fit state to fight a general election.” There is concern among Mr Johnson’s team that the Labour leader could be forced to stand down after bruising rows within the party over Brexit and antisemitism.’ – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Johnson’s August 3) Delivering campaign pledges – in so far as he can without a durable majority

The Sun Says: Make Johnson Prime Minister (but give Hunt a top job in his government)

‘The Tory Party now has three immediate tasks. To deliver Brexit, with a better deal or none, to unite our divided country and to save our ­economy from the wrecking ball of ­Corbyn’s Marxism. After that it must capitalise on our new independence outside the EU by striking trade deals worldwide and ­lowering taxes to create a more dynamic economy. That will turbo-charge growth, raise our standard of living, attract huge amounts of foreign investment, create jobs and generate billions more for public services. Boris is best placed to do all of it. Better placed than Mr Hunt, a former Remainer and Theresa May loyalist who is unlikely to appeal much to Brexit voters.But it would be madness to demote or sideline Mr Hunt. His own ideas to benefit Sun readers — lower taxes, a huge house building programme and major investment in defence — were right on the money.’ – The Sun Says

>Yesterday: The Moggcast. The Foreign Secretary’s “personal attacks” on Johnson “make it harder” for him to continue serve in top Cabinet roles.

Von der Leyen is narrowly confirmed as EU Commission President

‘Ursula von der Leyen has been confirmed as Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor as president of the European Commission after scraping home by nine votes tonight. The German nominee won the vote by 383 to 327, needing the support of 374 MEPs for an absolute majority. There were 22 abstentions and one blank vote in the secret ballot, the speaker of the European Parliament said. Mrs von der Leyen, who has previously spoken of her desire to create a ‘United States of Europe’ and was heckled by the Brexit Party earlier today, will succeed Mr Juncker on November 1 – the day after Britain is currently due to leave the EU… She said: ‘The trust you placed in me is confidence you placed in Europe. Your confidence in a united and strong Europe, from east to west, from south to north.” – Daily Mail

Call for ‘Fat Controller’ to run the railways

‘Responsibility for running the railways should be given to a powerful ‘fat controller’ type figure rather than the government, a major review is set to conclude. Former British Airways boss Keith Williams, the man appointed to lead the review, has rejected Labour’s calls to renationalise the railways but said a new national body should be created to manage them. This, he said, should be largely independent from the government. The involvement of ministers and Whitehall officials should be restricted to overall policy and budget decisions – with the Department of Transport stripped from having any responsibility for the day-to-day running of the railways.’ – Daily Mail

Wages grow at fastest rate since 2008

‘Earnings in the three months to May rose by 3.6 per cent compared with the previous year, the highest growth rate in more than a decade and marginally beating the 3.5 per cent predicted. In real terms, wages rose by 1.7 per cent, the fastest rate since 2015. The Office for National Statistics data suggests a boost to spending power. The rate of inflation, due to be updated today, stands at 1.9 per cent. Alok Sharma, the employment minister, said: “Wages outpacing inflation for 16 months in a row, more people in work than ever before and joint-record female employment means better prospects for many thousands of UK families and shows the continued resilience of the UK labour market”…The number out of work fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million.’ – The Times

  • Lowest unemployment in 45 years – Daily Mail
  • Sterling falls to two-year low – The Times
  • Britain braces for economic shock of No Deal – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Reed warns the jobs miracle is in jeopardy – Daily Telegraph
  • Business bank raises start-up funding – FT
  • Generation Rent face homelessness when they retire – The Guardian
  • Fears over Hunt and Johnson’s refusal to promise a fuel duty freeze – The Sun

Gove promises tighter rules to ensure clean air

‘The battle for cleaner air was boosted today when Michael Gove vowed to slash in half the legal ceiling on dangerous emissions. The Environment Secretary pledged that levels of microscopic particulates will be limited by law to World Health Organisation recommendations – although he did not set a date for the clampdown to begin. Once in place, the new curb will strengthen the campaign to clear up London’s toxic air, which has been seen levels of particulates routinely exceed current European legal limits.’ – Evening Standard

  • A welcome pledge, but will it stick? – The Times Leader
  • Councils investigated over dump stealth tax – Daily Mail
  • Former anti-terror chief advises police to treat Extinction Rebellion as an extremist group – Daily Telegraph

Ministers are poised to launch a new index to track the nation’s health

‘Ministers are drawing up plans to create Europe’s first index to measure the state of the nation’s health and allow it to be used like economic growth as a driver of government policy. In an announcement expected this week, the government will commit itself to producing a national health index bringing together NHS and life expectancy data. The plan is part of a public health strategy designed to force Whitehall to prioritise improving health and wellbeing. An internal government paper says that the index will provide a “visible, top-level indicator” of the nation’s overall health that can be “tracked over time alongside GDP”. It adds that it is part of a “broader shift” towards “viewing health as one of the primary assets of the nation contributing both to the economy and the happiness of the population”. The move had been recommended by Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer.’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Eddie Hughes on Comment: Allow our doctors to decide who needs hospital treatment

Thousands of prolific criminals avoid jail despite scores of past convictions

‘Nearly 4,000 criminals with more than 50 previous convictions were spared jail last year, new figures have shown, prompting MP calls for tighter sentencing rules. The number of “super prolific offenders” who are convicted but not sent to prison has tripled over the past decade. Roughly half of all crimes are now being committed by just 10 per cent of offenders, Ministry of Justice figures have shown. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are under pressure to commit to supporting tougher sentences and boosting investment in prisons. Since 2007, the number of offenders with more than 50 previous convictions who were convicted but spared jail has risen from 1,299 to 3,916 last year, according to data obtained through a series of Parliamentary Questions by Tory MP Neil O’Brien. These included violent offenders – nearly a third of criminals convicted of violence against the person and had more than 25 previous convictions still escaped a jail sentence. Meanwhile, early release of prisoners has risen sharply – one in five are now released without serving even half their sentence, up from 13 per cent in 2017.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Khan spends millions on cultural events while teenagers die in the streets – The Sun
  • Whistleblower who warned of dangerous sex offender treatment programme was treated unfairly – The Times
  • Police routinely fail older victims of crime – Daily Mail
  • Hail to the heroes who fought the London Bridge attackers – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Buckland urges Official Secrets Act reform to protect press freedom – Daily Telegraph

Watson launches his own plan to tackle Labour anti-semitism

‘Labour’s deputy leader has openly challenged Jeremy Corbyn’s authority by putting forward his own plan for rooting out anti-Semitism in the party. Tom Watson is trying to circumvent Mr Corbyn’s office by proposing a “radical” change to party rules which he wants members to approve at September’s party conference. Mr Watson’s latest move against Mr Corbyn follows months of public criticism by him of the leader’s inability to get a grip on the anti-Semitism crisis. It came as Lord Harris of Haringey, chairman of the Labour Peers Group, said Mr Corbyn was “not cut out to be a party leader”. And on Wednesday, 64 Labour peers have taken out an advertisement in The Guardian accusing Mr Corbyn of having “failed the test of leadership” over anti-Semitism. The signatories tell Mr Corbyn the party is “no longer a safe place for all members”.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Things have got worse in the year since I challenged my leader over racism – Margaret Hodge, The Guardian
  • Independent schools warn Labour councillors of the massive cost of closing them down – The Times
  • Corbyn backs law which could give a pension to wounded IRA terrorists – The Sun
  • McDonnell pledges to end poverty with five-year plan – FT
  • Peer says Corbyn is ‘not cut out’ for leadership – Daily Mail

Third British warship sent to the Gulf

‘A third British warship and a military tanker are being sent to the Gulf — a move that comes after Iran’s supreme leader threatened retaliation against the UK over the seizure of a tanker. The Type 23 frigate HMS Kent is due to be dispatched in September and Wave Knight, a tanker from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, will arrive next month. A senior defence source said that both deployments had been long-planned as part of Operation Kipion, the UK’s maritime presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean, and insisted they were not related to Iran’s aggressive behaviour near the Strait of Hormuz. Operation Kipion aims to promote peace and stability in the region, and to ensure the safe flow of oil and trade.’ – The Times

News in Brief

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