Liberal Democrats win in Brecon and Radnorshire as Tories push back Farage…

“The Liberal Democrats have clinched victory in the Brecon by-election cutting Boris Johnson’s working majority in the Commons to just one. The result will raise questions about the electoral hopes of the new prime minister, days after he received a Boris “bounce” in the polls. The Tories did push Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party into third just weeks after winning the European elections, however. But the loss halved Mr Johnson’s already wafer-thin majority, a week after becoming the Tory leader and prime minister. The Lib Dems took the seat with 13,826 votes to the Conservatives 12,401 with the Brexit Party on 3,331.” – The Times

  • So much for the ‘Boris bounce’? – Daily Mail
  • Government’s majority cut to one – The Guardian
  • Swinson says her party is ‘open’ to future deals – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour ‘humiliated’ as pressure builds on Corbyn – Daily Express
  • Disappointment for Farage with low share of the vote – Daily Mail


  • Tories may have lost, but by-election bodes well for Johnson – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph


…and Lee threatens to wipe out the Government’s majority

“A Tory MP is threatening to wipe out Boris Johnson’s majority altogether by defecting to the Liberal Democrats. Dr Phillip Lee, who supports a second EU referendum, suggested he will ‘spend the summer’ deciding whether to cross the floor. Mr Johnson suffered a hammer blow last night when the Conservatives lost the Brecon & Radnorshire by-election, slashing his effective majority to just one. But Dr Lee switching sides would reverse the numbers – meaning that Opposition parties have one more MP than the government. Speaking on a podcast with fellow Tory Remainer Sam Gyimah, Dr Lee was asked whether he could defect to the Lib Dems under new leader Jo Swinson.” – Daily Mail

  • Poll suggests leaving by October 31 is Johnson’s only route to a majority – Daily Telegraph
  • Tories start countdown clock to do-or-die day – The Times

Iain Martin: Johnson must not become a prisoner of parliamentary Remainers

“Lacking an effective majority, with several dozen rebellious Remainer Tories on the backbenches, the prime minister needs to take on the Commons and bring this crisis to a head as soon as possible. He should use the government’s control of the parliamentary timetable to hold a vote that would force MPs to chose between revoking Brexit and leaving the EU, deal or no deal. One Tory MP says: “The first week back he could make the Commons choose between a hard stop and allowing Brexit to proceed. It cuts out weeks of the Remainers building up strength to destroy him in October.” If he wins that vote, he boosts his authority. If he loses, he can go to the country and seek a fresh mandate. Victory is not guaranteed. But destruction is all but guaranteed if he doesn’t try.” – The Times

  • No Brexit will ever be pure enough for the Faragists – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Audio: The Moggcast. “Can we trust Boris?…Yes, he’s deeply trustworthy.”

Truss announces plans for ten free ports

“Plans to open as many as ten low-tax “freeports” have been disclosed by Liz Truss, the trade secretary, who claims they will boost economic growth and create “thousands of jobs” after Brexit. Boris Johnson has placed freeports – small areas within seaports and airports where standard tariffs and checks do not apply – at the heart of his economic vision for Britain. Companies are required to pay the relevant tax only if goods are moved deeper inside a country. This allows them to store products within the zone on a duty-free basis, exporting them elsewhere or using them to manufacture other goods.” – The Times


  • Time to finally get this policy right – Eamonn Butler, Daily Telegraph
  • The truth behind the myth of ‘left-behind areas’ – Philip Collins, The Times

>Today: Iain Dale in Comment: There are good ministers left behind by the Government’s drastic shuffle

Javid orders HMRC to ‘ramp up’ Brexit preparation

“Sajid Javid, the UK chancellor, has ordered HM Revenue & Customs to make preparations for a no-deal Brexit on October 31 its “absolute top priority”, amid fears that foot-dragging by officials could leave exporters facing chaos in less than three months’ time. Mr Javid is worried that HMRC, which has been severely criticised over its arrangements for Brexit, is a weak link in the government’s no-deal preparations, and raises the prospect of severe problems at the border in the event of a no-deal exit. In a letter to Jon Thompson, the soon-to-depart permanent secretary at HMRC, Mr Javid says he will expect weekly “delivery focused updates” from now on to check that preparations are being put in place to ensure exports are not held up at the border after October 31.” – FT

  • UK ‘less able to cope’ with hard exit than it was in the Spring – The Guardian
  • No-deal exit would be lose-lose, insists BMW policy chief – Daily Telegraph
  • Varadkar: Ireland should be ‘afraid’ of No Deal – The Sun

Bank of England:

  • Growth forecasts cut as no-deal fears rise – The Times
  • Bank ‘under pressure’ over Brexit predictions – FT
  • Shock prediction of economist tipped to replace Carney – Daily Express


  • Exclusion of no deal undermines Bank’s analysis – Larry Elliott, The Guardian


Buckland criticised over anonymity call

“The new justice secretary Robert Buckland faced criticism yesterday over his call for suspects with unblemished reputations to remain anonymous if accused of serious crimes. Downing Street distanced itself from the lord chancellor’s remarks with officials insisting that Mr Buckland’s views were “not government policy”. The QC and former solicitor-general, triggered reaction from victims’ groups, senior lawyers and bodies representing publishers. His most controversial suggestion, made in an exclusive interview with The Times, was that the law could be beefed up to allow judges the discretion to grant anonymity until charge to those suspected of serious crimes, including sexual offences and fraud, depending on their existing reputations.” – The Times

  • Downing Street shoots down Justice Secretary’s proposal – Daily Telegraph

Northern Irish Office forced to u-turn on royal portraits

“Portraits of the Queen that were taken down to avoid offending republicans will be put back on display in government buildings in Belfast after the new Northern Ireland secretary ordered a review into their removal. The Times understands that Julian Smith wants to ensure that images of the monarch are restored within weeks. He has also ordered a review into how they came to be taken down. The pictures were removed after a senior civil servant in the Northern Ireland Office was paid £10,000 in compensation for having to walk past portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.” – The Times

Is Johnson about to nominate Osborne to run the IMF?

“Boris Johnson is poised to nominate George Osborne to be the British candidate to run the International Monetary Fund. Sources claimed the former Chancellor – the architect of ‘Project Fear’ in the EU Referendum – has already been selected and a public announcement could come imminently. Downing Street refused to comment amid frenzied speculation yesterday. But one senior insider told The Sun: “It’s definitely going to be George.” Mr Osborne- now editor of the London Evening Standard – backed Boris Johnson in the Tory leadership race.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Why the Left prefers condemning the Prime Minister to understanding him

Scottish Tories criticise SNP prisoner voting move

Prisoners are to be allowed to vote in a Scottish election this month despite MSPs having yet to approve the controversial law change, SNP ministers have announced. Mike Russell, the Constitutional Relations Minister, unveiled plans giving inmates ordinarily resident in Shetland the right to vote in a Holyrood by-election on August 29. MSPs are yet to consider a Scottish Government Bill extending the franchise to prisoners serving sentences of less than a year in Scottish Parliament and council elections… Although the change is expected to affect fewer than five prisoners, the Scottish Tories warned it “opens the door” for the franchise to be extended to criminals more widely.” – Daily Telegraph

Hong Kong activists appeal to Johnson for help

Pro democracy activists have called on Boris Johnson to end the “reign of terror” in Hong Kong after launching a hard-hitting campaign calling on Britain to “keep its promises” to the former colony. A group of anonymous campaigners named Stand With Hong Kong has crowdfunded more than £320,000 in just 24 hours to put pressure on the new Prime Minister with a blitz of newspaper adverts, social media posts and a petition aimed at MPs. Last month, Mr Johnson showed solidarity with the protesters, saying:  “I do support them and I will happily speak up for them and back them every inch of the way.”” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Andrew Lewer MP in Comment: We must break with the EU’s failed policy towards Cuba and Venezuela

News in Brief:

  • How the Left lost Wales – James Bloodworth, UnHerd
  • The UK must remain a global destination for skilled talent – Ivan Jimenez, CapX
  • ERG divided over Johnson’s Brexit tactics – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • The Governor is changing, so why not the Bank of England too? – Joey Simnett, Reaction