Prime Minister unveils plan to liberalise visas for scientists

“More of the world’s top scientists will be encouraged to move to the UK under a shake-up of immigration rules. A new fast-tracked visa system will be launched later this year which could see the 2,000 cap on Tier 1 ‘exceptional talent’ visas abolished in a bid to attract the “brightest and best” to Britain. It comes after the Prime Minister announced that he plans to introduce an Australian-style points system to control low skilled immigration post Brexit… It follows warnings that global talent was being put off applying for the specialist visas for “highly skilled individuals” working in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology because they felt they needed to be ‘Nobel Prize winning level’.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Proposals may include abolishing permit cap for high-skill workers – FT
  • Don’t take us for fools, says top researcher – The Times


  • Points-based immigration system is not one for Britain – Simon Walters, Daily Mail


  • Commitment to global Britain is one in the eye to Remainers – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Johnson – “We are changing immigration rules to make the UK even more open to scientists from around the world”

Is the Government preparing for a November 1 general election?

Boris Johnson is preparing the ground for a November general election after ministers announced a fast-track spending review to fulfill his multibillion-pound pledges. As the Prime Minister repeatedly refused to rule out going to the country as soon as Nov 1, Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, announced the Treasury would accelerate the Government’s budgeting by bringing forward spending plans. The unexpected announcement led to speculation that Mr Johnson was preparing for an election within days of Britain leaving the EU on Oct 31 by  immediately freeing up funds for 20,000 extra police officers and more money for schools and the NHS.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Spending settlement ‘in sight’ – FT
  • Ministers instructed to ‘rush through budgets’ – The Sun


  • Johnson ‘surges’ in new poll – Daily Express
  • Soames says that Cummings should be put ‘back in his box’ – Daily Mail
  • Fear that Corbyn could ‘drive away richest’ – The Times


  • If anyone is unfit to run the economy, it’s McDonnell – Ian Austin, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Johnson bypasses the broadcasters to talk directly to voters

Gove floats ‘Brexit bank holiday’ to stabilise markets

“Michael Gove raised the prospect of holding a bank holiday on November 1 amid concerns that a no-deal Brexit would cause turmoil on the financial markets. Mr Gove, who is in charge of no-deal preparations, said that the government would consider the idea during a meeting with business leaders yesterday. After details of his comments were leaked to The Times, No 10 made it clear that a November 1 bank holiday was not government policy and would not happen. Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, met business leaders in Downing Street where they raised concerns about the immediate aftermath of a no-deal Brexit on October 31 when the financial markets opened.” – The Times

  • Top banks shift tone over ‘horror’ of no-deal exit – FT


  • Labour leader appeals to Cabinet Secretary to stop Johnson – Daily Mail
  • Sedwill pressed over a no-deal Brexit – The Times
  • Corbyn accuses Johnson of planning an ‘abuse of power’ – The Guardian
  • ‘Too late’ to leave on October 31 with a deal, says Curtice – Daily Express


  • How the Commons could thwart a no-deal exit – Vernon Bogdanor, The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: A Government of national unity is a non-starter – even if its seven prospective leaders take one day of the week each

Raab in North American ‘trade blitz’

“Dominic Raab has travelled 11,309 miles in just three days for a mammoth Brexit blitz. The Foreign Secretary was sent across the world by Boris Johnson to broker new trade deals with the US, Canada and Mexico on a three-day whistle-stop tour. On Tuesday, Raab flew into Toronto to meet foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland, before jetting off for a crucial summit with President Donald Trump in Washington and finally arriving in Mexico City later today. Boris has ramped up efforts to strike new “ambitious” relationships with global partners as the UK prepares for its divorce from EU on October 31.” – The Sun

  • Pound sinks to two-year low against Euro – FT
  • French fishermen threaten to blockade Calais over access to British waters – The Times


  • Free ports are no panacea – FT

Scotland 1) Mundell says separatist majority in 2021 would make referendum hard to resist

David Mundell has admitted it would be “hard to push back” against a second independence referendum if the nationalist parties “explicitly” fight the 2021 Holyrood election on the pledge and they win a majority. The former Scottish Secretary rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s claim she already has a “cast-iron” mandate for another separation vote, arguing the issue was a “subset” of a 2016 SNP manifesto with “ambiguous” wording. But he said the Prime Minister would “have to listen” if the SNP and pro-separation Greens stood on a specific pro-referendum platform in 2021 and they won most of Holyrood’s 129 seats. Speaking at an Edinburgh Fringe-by-the-Sea event in North Berwick, he suggested the pro-Union parties may have to consider cooperating to try and prevent this happening.” – Daily Telegraph

Scotland 2) Labour MSPs call for revolt against McDonnell’s shift on the Union

Labour MSPs have issued an unprecedented joint attack on John McDonnell over his disclosure the party will not block a second independence referendum and vowed to ignore the about-turn. A majority of the party’s 23-strong Holyrood group published a joint statement saying they “deplore any attempts to undermine” Labour’s official stance of opposing another separation vote. They said they had “serious concerns” about the Shadow Chancellor’s volte-face and insisted it was a matter for Scottish Labour to decide, “which the UK Party must accept.” In a direct challenge to Jeremy Corbyn and Mr McDonnell, they said they expected all Scottish Labour MPs and MSPs to vote in line with the previously agreed position to block a vote.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbyn condemned by Scottish comrades – Daily Express
  • Labour and the SNP are enemies, but for now they need each other – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: McDonnell reminds us wherein lies the real threat to the Union

Scotland 3) Jeremy Warner: Why a no-deal Brexit makes Scottish independence harder

“As things stand, the vast majority of Scotland’s external trade is with the rest of the UK. It relies much more heavily on Britain’s internal market than it does on Europe’s. As long as these two things remain one and the same thing, they act as little impediment to an independent Scotland. But if they separate, then independence immediately becomes a lot more difficult. From an economic perspective, the condition most suited to an independent Scotland would be either no Brexit at all, or something along the lines of Theresa May’s deal – one that kept Britain substantially in the EU’s single market and customs union. Paradoxically, then, May’s deal made break-up of the Union more likely, not less. Boris’s clean break makes it much harder, forcing Scotland to choose between Britain’s internal market and that of the EU.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories will have to fight to save the Union – Iain Martin, The Times
  • Scottish independence is inevitable, we need to plan for it – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • Even by Labour’s standards, this battle is breathtaking – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

Opposition ‘losing members at rate of over 100 a day’

“Labour lost members at a rate of more than 100 a day last year as claims of antisemitism and mixed messages on Brexit eroded the party’s support. The party’s membership fell by 45,784, its annual accounts published yesterday revealed. The exodus is believed to have intensified further this year as the party fell to its lowest level of support in polling history and nine Labour MPs resigned to form breakaway groups or to sit as independents. Labour had 564,443 members at the end of 2017 but the number fell to 518,659 at the end of last year. Party insiders believe that the real membership is about 450,000 at present once lapsed members — those who have simply not paid their subscription — are taken into account.” – The Times

  • Membership ‘falls slightly but remains over 500,000’ – The Guardian

Ex-Plaid Cymru leader criticised over knife comments

“A leading politician has sparked outrage by claiming women carry knives to protect themselves from rapists. Leanne Wood said it was no “surprise” some take a blade with them when the number of men convicted of sex attacks was so low. The ex-Plaid Cymru chief spoke out after figures showed that police recorded 1,509 offences of women carrying blades last year. She wrote online: “Do these figures show that the numbers of women carrying knives is rising, or that more are being apprehended/searched? Women have always carried knives. With the rape and sexual assault conviction rate so low, is it really a surprise?” … Labour MP Chris Bryant was “appalled” at her stance.” – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Modern voters value security over freedom – Will Tanner and James O’Shaughnessy, Reaction
  • We’re heading for a 1 November election – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Will the government waive competition law if there’s no deal? – John Schmidt, CapX
  • How to end Westminster’s tribal warfare – Polly Mackenzie, UnHerd