Johnson sets face against sin taxes in blow to Hancock…

“Boris Johnson undermined one of his cabinet supporters last night by pledging to drop an obesity policy being championed by Matt Hancock, the health secretary. In a sign of confusion at the heart of the campaign, the Tory leadership contender announced that he would order a review into the government’s sugar tax and veto proposals to extend it to milkshakes. The former foreign secretary’s announcement came days after Mr Hancock circulated plans to the cabinet that suggested extending the tax to sugary milk products… Mr Johnson said that if he became prime minister he would stop the introduction of such measures “until it can be clearly demonstrated that such taxes don’t unduly penalise the lowest paid”.” – The Times

  • He ‘aims to put an end to the nanny state’ – Daily Telegraph
  • A victory for our ‘Hands off our Grub’ campaign – The Sun
  • Plan may run into health green paper – FT
  • Johnson faces backlash as he claims people should ‘do more exercise’ – Daily Mail
  • Obesity tops smoking as cause of cancers – The Times


  • The sugar tax needs to be increased – The Times

>Today: Robert Halfon MP’s column: Old Etonian Johnson now drives a white van

…as he plans tax-free zones across the UK…

Half a dozen Singapore-style tax-free zones could be established around Britain to drive forward the economy after Brexit under proposals being considered by Boris Johnson. The Conservative leadership favourite confirmed that creating tax-free zones in ports – where goods can be landed in the UK but not be subject to any duties – was part of his vision for the country after Britain leaves in October. Mr Johnson also reiterated his support for a £15billion bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland to boost economic links between the two countries.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Candidates pledge to create free ports and stop backstop – The Times
  • Rudd criticises rumoured plan to scrap Cabinet roles – Daily Express

…and woos the DUP in visit to Belfast

“Boris Johnson used a Conservative party leadership hustings in Belfast to court the Democratic Unionists and play down concerns that he might be prepared to cut Northern Ireland loose in a bid to break the Brexit impasse. The idea that Mr Johnson could resolve the row over the Irish border backstop — the arrangements to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland — by reverting to the EU’s original plan: carving off Northern Ireland temporarily from the rest of the UK until it agreed a trade deal with the bloc has circulated in Westminister for some time. Mr Johnson’s senior advisers insisted it was never considered, but one colleague said the Tory leadership contender had toyed with the idea.” – FT

  • Johnson says he’d ‘love’ a bridge to Northern Ireland – Daily Mail
  • Both candidates rule out abortion reform in Ulster – The Guardian
  • Scottish Tories warn against Johnson premiership – FT

Aditya Chakrabortty: Mock Johnson’s policies if you like, but they would win him an election

“Look at the tools with which journalists are covering his leadership campaign. Dollops of scepticism about his Brexit plans, a few questions about that dodgy past – and a vast yawning incuriosity about any of his other policies… It also hugely underestimates the former foreign secretary and the seriousness of the threat he now poses to our way of life. The area that has given me most pause over the past few days is the one that many of my colleagues have greeted with the greatest derision: Johnson’s outlining of his economic plans. I see their absurdity, yet they do not make me laugh. Are they ridiculous? No doubt. Reckless? Of course. But could they help him secure power and forever alter Britain? Sadly, I believe they could.” – The Guardian

  • We can leave and thrive, but need a true Brexiteer at the helm – Priti Patel MP, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Ten questions about entryism in the Conservative Party

Hunt’s Hong Kong threat sours Sino-British relations

“British and Chinese relations were under growing strain over Hong Kong last night after Jeremy Hunt threatened “serious consequences” should Beijing crack down on protests in the former British colony. Mr Hunt, the foreign secretary and prime ministerial candidate, said that he expected China to honour a treaty signed with Margaret Thatcher in 1984 that guaranteed Hong Kong citizens’ rights and freedoms under a “one country, two systems” arrangement after its handover in 1997. “There will be serious consequences if that internationally binding legal agreement were not to be honoured,” Mr Hunt said, without specifying what those sanctions could be.” – The Times

  • Beijing stages full-scale military drill in the city – Daily Mail


  • Is the dragon about to kill its golden goose? – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • Bravery of the city shames the West – Richard Lloyd Parry, The Times

No Deal 1) Foreign Secretary says no-deal exit could cause as much damage as credit crisis

“Jeremy Hunt yesterday warned a No Deal Brexit could cause almost as much damage to the economy as the 2008 credit crisis. Just a day after saying he was ready to trigger a cliff-edge exit, the Tory leadership contender said the fallout from one might be “very serious if we get this wrong”. Earlier, Chancellor Philip Hammond threw a grenade into the contest by signalling he would almost certainly vote with Labour to block a No Deal. And he told the Commons it would blow a £90billion hole in the public finances — over three times the £26billion “buffer” built up so far to protect the economy.” – The Sun

  • Soames ‘accused Johnson of lying to people’ about Brexit… – The Times
  • …as frontrunner says doom-mongering is overdone… – The Sun
  • …and May intervenes to warn him against no deal – Daily Mail
  • Senior source says preparations ‘more advanced than people think’ – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Jason Aldiss in Comment: Conservatives can only win from the centre ground. Which means Hunt as leader – not a lurch to the right under Johnson.

No Deal 2) Hammond hints that he could vote against the Government to block it

“Philip Hammond has suggested he would vote against the government in a confidence vote to stop no deal as he said it would cost £90billion… John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor, asked Mr Hammond if he would join Labour in “committing himself to doing everything he possibly can to oppose the prorogation of Parliament to try to sneak a no deal through, and also voting against a no deal”. Mr Hammond said: “It would be wrong for the British government to seek to pursue no deal as a policy, and I believe that it will be for the House of Commons, of which I will continue proudly to be a member, to ensure that that doesn’t happen.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Chancellor says such a departure could cost £90 billion – The Times
  • It would ‘likely’ trigger recession, Moody’s warns – FT


  • Stewart says he could still be Prime Minister in ten years – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Would Hammond vote No Confidence in a Tory government to prevent No Deal? “I won’t speculate…”

No Deal 3) Labour MPs might avoid no-confidence vote to support move

“Jeremy Corbyn could be prepared to table a no-confidence vote to bring down the Government if the new Tory leader pushes forward with a no deal exit from the European Union, insiders have long speculated. But one Labour MP has made the sensational claim that several colleagues may abstain to support the move by the next Prime Minister. The MP told The Sun, several of his colleagues might end up being “locked in the toilet” so they could dodge voting in the motion. On Monday night, Nicholas Watt told Newsnight that 12 Labour MPs were “prepared to countenance no deal” meaning Remainer MPs fear they lack the numbers to block no deal.” – Daily Express

  • Many Labour MPs now ready to vote ‘for any deal’ – The Sun


  • Johnson must reach parts of the Commons others cannot – Leo McKinstry, The Sun
  • No Deal will never happen – Jonathan Lis, The Guardian
  • Jobs crisis will hit Leave areas hardest – Will Tanner, Times Red Box

EU reaches deal on leadership posts

“European leaders have agreed a deal to fill the EU’s most important jobs, backing Christine Lagarde to lead the European Central Bank and Ursula von der Leyen to be president of the European Commission. On the third day of a gruelling summit in Brussels, EU leaders gave near-unanimous support for a package based around Ms Lagarde, France’s former finance minister who is now head of the IMF, and Ms von der Leyen, Germany’s defence minister. But the proposed deal remains unconfirmed because it is facing resistance from parts of the European Parliament, which must back Ms von der Leyen’s appointment.” – FT

  • Brussels chooses first female president – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The farcical horse-trading of the EU’s top job is a stark reminder of why we must leave

May to launch devolution review as part of legacy push

“Theresa May is to launch a review of devolution and how the UK Government can strengthen the Union when she makes what is expected to be her final visit to Scotland as Prime Minister on Thursday.  Mrs May is to announce Lord Dunlop, a former Scotland Office Minister, is to lead the review but it will not start until her successor is in place… Senior Tory sources said she will use the wide-ranging “legacy” speech on the Union’s future to argue that more must be done to ensure Scots realise they have two governments working for them, and not just the SNP administration at Holyrood.” – Daily Telegraph

  • She will warn of no deal’s threat to the Union – FT

Mordaunt calls for Brits to get paid care time

Shield“Brits could be given new rights to take paid time off work to care for a relative. Women and Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt will today announce a consultation into proposals to let carers take unpaid time off work. But The Sun understands she has written to Business Secretary Greg Clark urging him to make the leave paid. It means taxpayers could foot the bill for people who take time off to care for a sick or elderly relative. Ms Mordaunt will also reveal a £2million bid to encourage girls to study maths and science and launch a review into equal pay legislation amid concerns men are raking in more through plumb job offers and bumper bonuses.” – The Sun

  • As Commons leader, I’m determined to restore faith in politics – Mel Stride MP, Times Red Box

>Today: Jacob Rees-Mogg MP in Comment: Why I believe that the NHS should cover social care

>Yesterday: Mark Harper MP in Comment: Social care. It’s not all about the elderly. Let’s meet the needs of disabled people of working age too.

Pregnant MP faces deselection threat over Williamson letter

“A pregnant Labour MP is facing the threat of deselection after she signed a statement criticising her party’s decision to readmit Chris Williamson. Ellie Reeves was one of 121 MPs and peers who backed calls for the Labourleader, Jeremy Corbyn, to immediately remove the whip from the backbencher, who had been suspended in February for suggesting the party was “too apologetic” about antisemitism. Williamson was readmitted last Wednesday by a national executive panel that ruled he should only be reprimanded, although on Friday he was suspended again following a backlash that included the letter signed by Reeves and the deputy leader, Tom Watson, among others.” – The Guardian

McDonnell tells civil service to prepare for Labour

“Labour is to demand that the civil service prepares for the party entering government and for a second referendum, John McDonnell has said. The shadow chancellor said that Jeremy Corbyn would request formal talks about plans for a Labour government when he meets Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, to discuss leaked claims about his health…. Mr McDonnell said he had asked Mr Corbyn also to raise the issue of planning for a Labour government at the meeting, because he believes a snap general election is likely this year and wants to be allowed to instruct Whitehall of his plans for the Treasury.” – The Times

  • Labour leader demands independent probe over health leak – FT


  • Corbyn has Whitehall in his sights – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • He is now Corbynism’s greatest liability – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Farage has found Boris’s weak spot – Freddie Sayers, UnHerd
  • What’s the point of the Lib Dems after Brexit? – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • MPs of fifty years ago were more representative of the country they led – Walter Ellis, Reaction
  • Von der Leyen will be a pragmatist on Brexit – Luca Siepmann, Brexit Central
  • Why have Hong Kong demonstrators adopted an old British colonial flag? – Michael Sheridan, The Spectator