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No surrender: PM says he will stick to his guns

“Boris Johnson has said he is a “model of restraint” in his use of language as Downing Street faced renewed claims that it incited violence against MPs who backed Remain. The prime minister defended having described a female Labour MP’s criticism of his language, which was cited in death threats, as “humbug” but said his intention had been misunderstood. Mr Johnson caused outrage last week when he responded to complaints that his language was being cited in death threats to MPs by telling them that they would be “properly safe” if they delivered Brexit. He also said that the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox, the Labour MP murdered by a far-right zealot at the height of the EU referendum in 2016, was to deliver Brexit. The issue of language dominated Mr Johnson’s interview with Andrew Marr on BBC One yesterday as he was asked to respond to claims by Amber Rudd, the former home secretary who has had the Conservative whip removed, that his apparent disregard for MPs’ safety was “immoral”. Mr Johnson insisted that he was entitled to use “martial” language in relation to Brexit, including his description of the Benn act — the EU Withdrawal (No 2) Act — as the “surrender act”. He issued an apology with caveats, insisting that it was a misunderstanding to claim that he was dismissive of the abuse MPs’ faced. Pressed to say whether he had a responsibility as prime minister to calm the rhetoric, he said: “I certainly think everybody should calm down.” Asked if that included him, he replied: “I think I’ve been a model of restraint.” – The Times

>Today:
>Yesterday:

The attack on Johnson 1) He denies favours for an American businesswoman when London’s Mayor…

“After allegations that Jennifer Arcuri received favourable treatment because of their friendship, the prime minister said on Sunday that everything was done with “full propriety”. Arcuri joined trade missions led by Johnson when he was mayor and her technology company received thousands of pounds in sponsorship grants. On Friday, the prime minister was referred to the police complaints body to assess whether he should face a criminal investigation over his links. The Sunday Times reported this weekend that Arcuri confided to four friends that they had been engaged in an affair during his time in City Hall. In an appearance on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Johnson insisted “everything was done with full propriety”. Pressed on whether he declared an interest relating to his links with Arcuri, he said: “There was no interest to declare.” Marr did not ask about the Sunday newspaper allegations that Johnson had a physical relationship with Arcuri. The Sunday Times said that David Enrich, now the finance editor of the New York Times, had said he had been told of the alleged relationship in 2013 by two of Arcuri’s friends when he was working for another newspaper. He said: “Two friends from her business class said they had been told by Ms Arcuri that she was sleeping with Boris. They told me that before and after that story ran.” – The Guardian

Comment

  • PM must come clean about murky business with Arcuri, Stephen Glover – Daily Mail

The attack on Johnson 2) …And squeezing a journalist’s thigh

“Liz Truss, minister for Women and Equalities, said she would “look at” an allegation by Charlotte Edwardes that Mr Johnson touched her upper leg during a lunch in the late 1990s. Ms Edwardes claimed she was not the only woman to have her thigh grabbed during the meal, which took place when Mr Johnson was editor of The Spectator magazine. In a rare comment on his private life, a Downing Street spokesman said: “This allegation is untrue.” Ms Edwardes responded to the denial by tweeting: “If the prime minister doesn’t recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does.” The Sunday Times’ columnist’s claims were given credence by Health Secretary Matthew Hancock, who told Channel 4 News: “I know Charlotte well and I entirely trust what she has to say.” Asked for her views on the allegation at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Ms Truss said that while she had not read the Sunday Times story, she would investigate.” – Daily Telegraph

Conference 1) Javid to announce plans for broadband, buses and roads

“Sajid Javid will promise today that no community would be left behind in a £25 billion “infrastructure revolution” to include nationwide 5G broadband, revitalised bus services and upgrades to major roads. The chancellor will set out the first projects in a road investment strategy, £5 billion to extend high-speed broadband and a £220 million fund for buses. The announcements, before an expected general election, include measures designed to appeal to rural voters, such as the revival of bus services. Speaking before his speech at the Conservative Party conference, Mr Javid said: “Investment in our infrastructure will be key to making the next decade one of renewal — boosting our economy and making life easier for people all across the country. That’s why I am announcing new investment in roads, bus services and broadband today, the first step in our plans to deliver an infrastructure revolution.” He added: “This investment to deliver gigabit-capable broadband for all the UK and investment in roads and buses will help people to get around and businesses to grow, ensuring no community is left behind. This will make the UK a better place to live and work, extending opportunity and raising living standards for all.” – The Times

  • ‘Super-bus network’ to help rural communities – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory spending pledges come under scrutiny – FT
  • Labour says spending plans are rehashed – The Guardian
>Today:

Conference 2) Rees-Mogg accuses Bercow of sinking reputation of Commons to ‘lowest point in modern history’

“In a speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Mr Rees-Mogg criticised the Speaker of the House of Common over his handling of Brexit. He was greeted by cheers and a standing ovation as he walked on stage, but Tory activists started murmuring in discontent as he spoke about Mr Bercow. Mr Rees-Mogg said: “As a parliamentarian, no listen, listen, because I’m actually going to be nice about him. As a parliamentarian, I have been in many ways and remain a great admirer of the Speaker. “He has helped MPs hold the Government to account and to seek redress of grievance. But in my view, he has now flown too close to the sun and I hope that as he comes to his retirement he will not allow the good he has done in his earlier years to be forgotten. “But his recent mistakes have to my deepest regret as Leader of the House of Commons damaged the standing of the House in the eyes of the British public to the lowest point in modern history.” Earlier on Sunday, during a panel discussion on Brexit, Mr Rees-Mogg dismissed the idea of a government of national unity as being a “Remainer coup”. – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Conference 3) Hancock says child vaccinations may be compulsory

“The Health Secretary is “looking very seriously” at the measure, adding that unvaccinated children were “putting other children at risk”. He said there is a “very strong argument” for schools requiring children to be vaccinated to avoid the re-emergence of diseases such as polio and measles. Speaking at an event at Tory Party Conference in Manchester, Mr Hancock said he has taken advice this week on how to go about it. Experts have suggested the measure may be necessary to address falling rates of immunisation. The number of children being vaccinated in England has continued to fall, a report by the NHS showed last week. Rates for the six-in-one jab, which protects against illness such as polio and tetanus, fell to 92.1 per cent among one-year-olds, the lowest in a decade. Anti-vaccine advocates have used social media to gain support for their message. In March, the head of NHS England warned “vaccination deniers” were gaining traction online. Speaking at a Huffington Post event on Sunday, Mr Hancock said: “I’m very worried about falling rates of vaccinations – especially measles.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hancock’s rift with PM widens as he wants to widen sugar tax – The Sun
>Yesterday:

Remain alliance want to force Brexit extension request earlier

“The Remain coalition will meet in Jeremy Corbyn’s office to discuss changing the law to bring forward the date when the Prime Minister legally has to ask Brussels to extend Article 50. They believe the current deadline of Oct 19 does not leave enough time for a court challenge to stop a no-deal Brexit on Oct 31 if Mr Johnson defies the law and refuses to ask for an extension. The Liberal Democrats want the deadline brought forward by two weeks to this Saturday, Oct 5. The opposition parties hope to seize control of parliamentary business while the Conservatives are in Manchester for their party conference. Even if the plot was unsuccessful it would mean maximum disruption was caused to the conference, as MPs and ministers would have to dash back to Westminster to vote. The plan emerged on Sunday as the opposition parties’ preferred line of attack after they failed to agree on holding a confidence vote in the Prime Minister. The Lib Dems said they would only back a confidence vote if a compromise candidate such as Dame Margaret Beckett became caretaker prime minister, but Mr Corbyn refused to accept that anyone other than himself could take on the role. It also emerged that Boris Johnson plans to prorogue Parliament for a second time next week in order to press ahead with plans for a Queen’s Speech on Oct 14.” – Daily Telegraph

  • EU will deliver verdict on new Brexit plan by next week – The Times
  • Johnson defiant on EU departure date – FT
  • Former Chancellor ‘right to query No Deal backers’ – The Guardian
  • DUP delivers blow to backstop plan – FT
  • Allies accuse PM of shutting them out – The Sun
Comment
>Yesterday:

Isis bride can never come home, says Patel

“The home secretary vowed to block Shamima Begum, who has been stripped of her citizenship, from coming back to the UK, claiming she “would do us harm”. She spoke out as a fellow British Isis bride said to have recruited Begum also begged to come home. While adult British Isis fighters are being left to their fate abroad, the prime minister is said to want the SAS to help repatriate up to 30 children. Begum left the UK for Syria at the age of 15 with two friends from Bethnal Green, east London, in 2015. In the final days of the self-proclaimed caliphate, she was tracked down by The Times to a refugee camp in Syria. She had been married off to a Dutch-born fighter soon after she arrived and spent more than three years living under the group’s rule. She had three children but all have died. In an interview last week, Ms Begum, now 19, renewed her plea to be allowed to return home, saying her only role in the so-called caliphate was to “make babies”. However, when her request was put to Ms Patel, the home secretary replied: “No way, no way”. “Our job is to keep our country safe,” she told The Sun. “We don’t need people who have done harm and left our country to be part of a death cult and to perpetrate that ideology.” – The Times

  • Families of British Jihadis planning to smuggle them back to Britain – Daily Mail
  • Isis matchmaker wants to face justice – Daily Mail
Comment

Thatcher biography: How she inspired Blair

“Margaret Thatcher proved an inspiration to the Left, and Tony Blair’s New Labour project studied her electoral success with immense interest Margaret Thatcher may have been hated by the Left but she inspired one of its favourite sons – Tony Blair, who, along with the other modernisers of the New Labour project, sought to learn lessons from her dominance of the political landscape in the wake of her third general election triumph in 1987. Tony Blair, then a young Labour frontbencher, felt in awe of her achievement as “a moderniser against outdated collectivism”. He also noticed her election-winning “uncluttered mind”, saying: “She goes right to the heart of something. I liked the simplicity of her intellect. It’s the biggest thing I learnt from her.” To Peter Mandelson, the organiser of Labour’s well-regarded though unsuccessful 1987 election campaign, Mrs Thatcher’s third victory forced further modernisation upon the party. Until then, reformers such as he had concentrated on fighting Labour’s internal problems of extremism and combating the SDP-Liberal Alliance. They had given less time to the wider picture. Now, “we had to concentrate on her”. – Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Public Appointments: Calling Conservatives: New public appointments announced. CEO of UK Government Investments – and more

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  • Labour activists shared image of ‘dead Tories’ banner on social media – Daily Telegraph
  • Kurz declares victory in Austrian election – Daily Express
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