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Johnson says UK can ‘easily’ cope with No Deal…

“Britain can “easily cope” with a no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson said yesterday, as Donald Trump pledged that a free-trade agreement with the US would follow within a year. Speaking at the G7 summit in Biarritz, the prime minister said that the prospect of a Brexit deal was “improving” but remained “touch and go” as he warned that the European Union would be to blame if Britain crashed out. Talks with Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, failed to yield a significant breakthrough yesterday. Brussels officials said afterwards that it was “squarely and firmly” up to Britain to find a solution to the Irish border issue, adding that the “brutal fact is there is nothing” in terms of a workable alternative.” – The Times

  • He adds that chances of such an outcome are ‘touch and go’ – Daily Mail
  • It may still cost £39 billion, lawyers claim – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Mr No Deal versus Mr No Brexit

…as Hammond demands apology over Yellowhammer leak…

“Philip Hammond has demanded a public apology from Boris Johnson after Downing Street tried to blame former ministers for leaking secret no-deal planning documents.The former chancellor said that the Operation Yellowhammer dossier, which laid out the potential consequences of Britain leaving the EU without a deal, was dated this month, after Mr Johnson became prime minister. The documents, obtained by The Sunday Times, suggested that there could be a three-month “meltdown” at British ports, a hard Irish border and shortages of food and medicine in the event of a no-deal Brexit. A No 10 source, Mr Hammond said, had briefed the media that it had been “deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders”.” – The Times

  • Ex-Chancellor ordered to ‘get behind country’ – Daily Express

…Archbishop considers heading up effort to avoid ‘crashing out’…

“The Archbishop of Canterbury is in talks to chair a series of public meetings intended to stop a no-deal Brexit. The Most Rev Justin Welby is liaising with a cross-party group of senior MPs over holding a citizen’s assembly to make recommendations on Britain’s exit from the European Union. The assembly would be convened next month and be asked to put proposals to parliament aimed at giving the country direction over Brexit and seeking national reconciliation. The initiative is backed by senior MPs on both sides of the debate who hope that it will yield an alternative to no-deal. Frank Field, chairman of the work and pensions select committee who campaigned for Brexit in 2016, told The Times that he supported the assembly as a way of stopping Britain from crashing out.” – The Times

  • Opposition parties ‘in disarray’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Swinson ‘begs’ Corbyn to drop insistence on leading alternative regime – The Sun
  • Lib Dem leader’s refusal to back Corbyn ‘petulant’, says Gardiner – The Guardian
  • Brown denounces Labour leader’s ‘self-indulgent madness’ – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Gardiner – Liberal Democrats ‘petulant’ for not making Corbyn caretaker Prime Minister

…and Downing Street draws up ‘secret plan’ for deadlock-breaking election

“Secret plans to break the Brexit deadlock by holding a General Election during a critical EU summit have been drawn up by advisers to Boris Johnson. Under the scenario, the PM would go to the country on October 17, win and then head to Brussels to demand 11th-hour Brexit concessions. However the plan – to stop MPs from blocking No Deal – involves first deliberately ‘losing’ a Commons no-confidence vote that the Tories engineer themselves. It would represent an extraordinary gamble that the Labour leader can’t repeat his surprise 2017 Election performance and slash the Tory lead – or even emerge as the winner. The ‘lose-to-win’ strategy – one of several scenarios now being plotted by advisers in No 10 – emerged as Mr Johnson prepares for a possible Labour no-confidence motion next month when MPs return from their summer break.” – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • A bumpy No Deal could turn panicking MPs against Johnson – Isabel Hardman, The Guardian
  • I was wrong to think Downing Street wouldn’t contemplate such measures – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Johnson can’t risk getting side-tracked by Brussels bullies – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • He’s delivered a miraculous change in the political weather – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • Remainers have no right to complain now the tables are turned – The Sun

Prime Minister tells BBC to ‘cough up’ for over-75s

“Boris Johnson has said that the BBC must “cough up” and meet the cost of paying for TV licences for over-75s. Up to 3.75 million older viewers will be stripped of their TV licences from next year under a means test. The broadcaster was forced to accept responsibility for funding and running the concession by George Osborne, who was chancellor during the last charter renewal negotiations in 2015. Mr Johnson said: “The BBC received a settlement that was conditional upon their paying for TV licences for the over-75s. They should cough up.” Maintaining the subsidy in its present form would have cost £745 million a year and risked the closure of BBC Two, BBC Four and several radio stations, the corporation said.” – The Times

  • Move comes amidst anger over pay for stars – Daily Mail

More:

  • Aides block Channel 4 interview after ‘liar’ speech – The Times

>Yesterday: Gareth Lyon in Comment: Post-Boris. The Prime Minister is more Lyndon Johnson than his jokey former self.

Ministers ‘wary’ of fuel duty cut

“Boris Johnson’s plans to cut fuel duty for the first time in almost a decade have not been signed off by key ministers amid cost concerns. Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s most senior aide, has been pushing for the government to slash the tax, The Times has been told. It was reported at the weekend that Mr Johnson wants to go ahead with a cut. The policy would form part of an emergency budget by Sajid Javid, which could take place in the fortnight before Britain leaves the European Union. But the cabinet, including the chancellor and Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, have yet to sign off on the plans and ministers are understood to have significant concerns about the cost of the policy.” – The Times

  • Shapps ‘at odds’ with policy as he talks up electric cars – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Jenrick announces new cash for high streets

“More struggling high streets will be turned into modern community hubs or redeveloped as 50 more towns have been given the right to bid for a share of a £1 billion Government fund. The 50 towns – from Dudley to Dover and Scarborough to Stockport – will join 50 successful areas already shortlisted to develop plans to reinvent their high streets… The funding could also be used by the towns to improve transport and access into town centres, convert empty retail units into new homes and workplaces, and invest in vital infrastructure. Robert Jenrick, Communities Secretary, said: “High streets have a crucial role to play as we work to grow the economy of all parts of the country. Our £1 billion Future High Streets Fund is key to delivering this.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • More than 50 struggling towns to benefit – The Sun

More:

Patel accused of ‘conflict of interest’ over defence contract

“The home secretary, Priti Patel, has been urged to withdraw from cabinet discussions about a lucrative £6bn defence contract, after it emerged that the US company that paid her £1,000 an hour to advise it plans to bid for the work. Christine Jardine, the Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesperson, said the fact that Patel had worked for Viasat in the period running up to her appointment as home secretary created the risk of a conflict of interest now she was in government… Home Office sources said Patel had been “through a full process” of examination by the advisory committee on business appointments (Acoba), the body that monitors private sector employment by ministers and ex-ministers, and that “no issues were raised”.” – The Guardian

Lord Caine: We can offer justice to Troubles victims without hounding our troops

“Of course mistakes were made, and where this occurred it is right that the state apologises. It is also the case that some members of the security forces at times acted unlawfully. There is no excuse for this; it should always be investigated and the law should take its course. From my long experience in Northern Ireland, however, including working there during the Troubles, I am in no doubt that the vast majority who served did so with tremendous courage and professionalism… I do not believe in drawing a line in the sand, still less a general amnesty. It would not receive widespread acceptance in Northern Ireland, particularly from the victims and survivors of terrorism who still seek justice for what happened. It would be a brave politician indeed who said to families that, despite new evidence, which does sometimes turn up, no more prosecutions could take place.”- – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Northern Ireland Office deserves Johnson’s serious attention

News in Brief:

  • A no-confidence vote might help Johnson – Andrew Marr, The Spectator
  • Sturgeon and the illusion of ‘progressive’ Scottish nationalism – James Bickerton, Reaction
  • Why should Boris trust Channel 4? – Douglas Murray, UnHerd
  • High speed fail? – John Ashmore, CapX
  • The ASA shouldn’t be able to play god with social norms – Andrew Lilico, 1828

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