It’s Blue Up North 1) Treasury rules that block northern investment to be torn up

“Under proposals being drawn up before the spring budget, ministers will reassess how officials calculate the value for money of government investments in transport infrastructure, business development and initiatives such as free ports. Investment decisions would be less focused on overall national economic growth and, for the first time, Whitehall resources would be allocated on the basis of improving the wellbeing of people in the north, or narrowing the productivity gap with the south. The change is seen as key to fulfilling Boris Johnson’s election pledge to unlock an investment bonanza in communities that voted Conservative at the election for the first time.” – The Times

It’s Blue Up North 2) New Government bodies to stay out of South…

“The prime minister’s allies said the priority would be to locate new government bodies promised in the Conservative party election manifesto in other parts of the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The most prestigious is expected to be a new advanced science agency, inspired by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, to develop “high-risk, high-reward” projects promised in the manifesto. Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, hopes to fulfil his long-held ambition of putting the UK at the forefront of advanced scientific research. He lists “Get Brexit done, then ARPA” as priorities on his WhatsApp account.” – Financial Times

It’s Blue Up North 3) …As Tory staff prepare to move north

“With 109 new Tory MPs at Westminster — some from constituencies the party has never before held — management is working on plans to slim down Conservative central office by moving some “field operations” from London to the regions. The Tories need to step up their presence in “red wall” seats traditionally represented by Labour — including many spread across Wales, the Midlands and northern England — because the Conservatives had deployed very limited resources in these constituencies in the past.” – Financial Times

It’s Blue Up North 4) Failing Northern Rail to be split up

“Northern rail would be separated into two franchises – North West and North East – under plans prepared by Whitehall officials, senior industry sources said. It is understood that the troubled train network will be formally transferred into public ownership as early as March 31 under plans pulled together by Whitehall officials. It will be the first time for almost two decades that the sprawling network, which straddles the Pennines, is split up. Angry commuters – many of whom live in former “red wall” constituencies that belt northern England – have taken to the streets to vent their frustrations at a lack of action from Westminster during the past year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • London feels vulnerable for the first time in years – Financial Times
  • Government to give up to £1 million for South Yorkshire flooding victims – Yorkshire Post
  • Inside Johnson’s Mustique villa – The Sun
  • Spare Britain’s civil service from the rush to overthrow tested institutions – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary –  The limits of support for One Nation. Our Survey.

Morgan wants sporting events to promote the Union…

“The Culture Secretary told The Sun: “This new decade represents a new chapter for the UK: one full of fresh opportunities for everyone to succeed, come together and celebrate. From sporting events to nationwide arts festivals, the next few years will strengthen the union, bringing people together from across the country and around the world for unmissable moments. These events will enrich lives, unite communities and help unleash Britain’s potential and it would be incredible to then cap the next decade off with the UK and Ireland as hosts of the 2030 World Cup.” – The Sun

…And Hancock pledges no overnight NHS hospital car park charges for parents with sick children

“Parents of poorly kids who have to spend the night in hospital will get free NHS car parking from next April. Blue Badge holders, regular outpatients, and night-shift staff will also be exempt from fees. Health Secretary Matt Hancock today announces the move, a Conservative manifesto pledge. Macmillan Cancer Support hailed it as a “game-changer” — and said it would remove a worry for patients. The Department of Health said it would not set aside funds to reimburse NHS trusts, who set charges. But it said “they will be supported” to ensure the policy does not hit care. England’s 206 hospital trusts raked in a record £254million in the fees in 2018/19.” – The Sun

  • Lady Hale shifts position on political input into judge selection – The Times

Brexit, Part Two: the EU and the UK limber up for negotiations

“Boris Johnson should reconsider his refusal to extend the 11-month timeframe available for agreeing a deal on the future relationship with the EU after Brexit, Ursula von der Leyen has suggested. The European commission president said she had “serious concern” over the limited time available for the negotiations and emphasised the need to keep all options open. “It’s not only about negotiating a free trade deal but many other subjects,” Von der Leyen said in an interview with the French newspaper les Echos. “It seems to me that on both sides we must ask ourselves seriously if all these negotiations are feasible in such a short time.” – The Guardian

  • The talks: the dispositions – The Times
  • Eurozone economy to slow further in 2020 – Financial Times
  • Brussels threat to block City trade – The Times
  • Fishing gain post-Brexit – Daily Express
  • IPPR claims that Red Wall seats need common standards – The Times
  • Tight transition window for data deal – Financial Times
  • Eco-friendly cars for 30 British diplomats – The Sun
  • Brexit. Don’t go. Come back – Frans Timmermans, The Guardian
  • Our message to Tinnermans: Brits understand democracy – Sun Editorial

Sienna Rogers: What LabourList readers say about this leadership election

“But this contest is no foregone conclusion. LabourList conducted a self-selecting survey of our members after the election, and the results showed that almost identical proportions of our readers who answered the survey favoured Long-Bailey and Starmer. Although the poll is not a representative survey of Labour members, similar LabourList surveys in the past predicted Corbyn-mania in 2015, and Sadiq Khan’s selection as Labour’s candidate for London mayor in the same year. It would suggest that there is all to play for, particularly when those with lower profiles become better-known.” – The Guardian

  • Thornberry calls for posthumous honours for Martin Peters and Bobby Moore – Daily Mail
  • Turner Prize winner attacks Corbyn – Daily Mail
  • Orme “gave information to Moscow” – Daily Telegraph

There’s no current need for a border poll, says Varadkar

“Mr Varadkar said parties that supported a united Ireland did not have a majority, at around 40%, adding that was why he was opposed to holding a poll on Irish unity now. He added: “That is still well short of the 50% plus one that you would need to win a border poll. That is why I don’t think that a border poll is a good idea. I don’t see that we would gain from that sort of scenario.” He said recent elections had shown a change in political sentiment amongst the electorate. “If you look at the results of the recent Westminster elections in Ireland and you take them with European elections, local elections, the Assembly elections, then you do see that there has been a change,” he said.” – Newsletter

  • UK would pay for Johnson’s bridge to Northern Ireland – Daily Telegraph

Britain’s economy sees of France’s challenge…but both to be outpaced by India

“By 2034 the UK’s economy is now predicted to be a quarter larger than France’s, according to research by the annual World Economic Rankings from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). This is despite forecasts predicting Brexit would trigger an economic slowdown that would allow France to leapfrog Britain. France was due to overtake the UK economy in the 2016-19 period but failed to do so. India has decisively leapfrogged both France and the UK to become the world’s fifth largest economy in 2019. It is expected to overtake Germany to become the fourth largest in 2026 and Japan to become the third largest in 2034.” – The Sun

Iain Martin: This has been a good decade for Britain

“This has been a good decade for Britain. You might think that’s an odd view of a period commonly described as divisive — as though the 1970s and 1980s were wholly harmonious. Nonetheless, a positive verdict is justified on the decade in which we chose self-government by deciding to leave the European Union and rejected the sinister agenda of the far left that had infected the once-patriotic Labour Party. Considering how the decade started, too, the past ten years could have turned out far worse. ” – The Times

  • BBC Parliament: the runaway TV success of the year – The Guardian

Netanyahu sees off Likud rivals

“Bad weather across the country drove down voter turnout among the 116,000 registered Likud members, with only 49 per cent casting ballots. The Likud party said that the final results after tallying all 106 voting stations was 72.5 per cent to Mr Netanyahu and 27.5 per cent to Mr Sa’ar. “Thank you to the Likud members for their trust, support and love,” Mr Netanyahu wrote on social media. “With God’s help and your help, I will lead Likud to a great victory in the upcoming elections and will continue to lead the state of Israel to unprecedented achievements.” – Financial Times

And Finally 1) Prominent Remain-backing lawyer kills fox with baseball bat while dressed in wife’s kimono – The Guardian

And Finally 2) The Boxing Day Hunt shows the best of rural life – Daily Telegraph Editorial

P.S: Warburton frees mouse

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