New agencies will be based in the North…

“Ministers are preparing to develop two cutting-edge scientific research bodies in the Midlands and north of England after Boris Johnson’s promise to “level up” investment outside the southeast. Downing Street is said to be determined that an £800 million “advanced research projects agency” will be based outside the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge. It also wants to set up a centre of scientific excellence, modelled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the north. Mr Johnson has promised to double research and development spending to £18 billion within five years in a “new wave of economic growth” after Brexit.” – The Times

  • UK head of cyber security to step down – FT
  • Loss of its secret plans may force MI6 revamp – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Our Survey. Johnson – doing very well. But way to go before he levels with…you know who

…amidst broader plans to overhaul spending and boost the regions

“Boris Johnson’s government is drawing up new public spending rules that would tip investment away from the affluent south-east of England and towards less prosperous parts of the UK. Under the plans, which are being considered ahead of the spring Budget, government investment decisions – in areas such as infrastructure and research and development – would be less focused on boosting overall national economic growth. Ministers would instead have the ability to allocate funding on other criteria, such as improving the wellbeing of people living in poorer areas, or narrowing the productivity gap between regions.” – FT

  • Treasury spending rules could be torn up to boost investment in the North – Daily Telegraph
  • Civil servants to be moved out of London – FT


  • Johnson will stop the Civil Service getting its own way – Mark Wallace, The Sun
  • How Brexit has battered Britain’s reputation for good government – Jill Rutter, The Guardian


  • Will Johnson be first in years to honour commitments to the North? – The Sun

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

Johnson warned that EU negotiation timetable may not be feasible

“A new trading relationship with the European Union may not be “feasible” by the end of next year, Ursula von der Leyen has warned. The European Commission President said she had “serious concern” over Boris Johnson’s 11-month time frame in which to reach a new trade deal with the EU. “It’s not only about negotiating a free trade deal but many other subjects,” Ms 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.” Negotiations between the remaining members and the British government on future trade, fisheries, education and transport relations can only begin after the UK has ratified the Withdrawal Agreement and must conclude by the end of 2020.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Schedule for talks ‘could hamper deal’ – The Times
  • City thinks the Prime Minister will need to extend them – Daily Telegraph
  • EU could push for extension until 2022 – Daily Express


  • Varadkar dismisses Johnson’s suggestion EU could pay for NI bridge – The Guardian

Cox ‘could be axed’ in reshuffle

“Attorney General Geoffrey Cox is in line for the sack when Boris Johnson conducts his post-Brexit reshuffle, it is understood. The Prime Minister is expected to fire around a third of the Cabinet after Britain leaves the UK on January 31. Mr Cox was the Government’s chief law officer under Theresa May and stayed in the post when Mr Johnson took over. But sources have said he is at the top of the list of senior ministers expected to be axed. One said Mr Cox – who deploys his mellifluous baritone voice to great effect in the Commons – was ‘not a team player’ and added: ‘It’s all very well being able to recite Keats but the Government needs to come together if we’re going to deliver on this election.'” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Gove is Minister of the Year.

Honours 1) ‘May’s fingerprints’ on gong for Saunders

“Bob Neill, the Tory MP and chairman of the justice committee in the last parliament and himself the recipient of a knighthood, said that the honour for Dame Alison, who retired with a taxpayer-funded pension worth an estimated £1.8 million, “will raise eyebrows in legal and parliamentary circles”… The timing of the damehood for Alison Saunders will lead to suspicion that it bears the fingerprints of Theresa May. The former director of public prosecutions bowed out in October last year under a cloud in the midst of a disclosure scandal on rape cases. She was passed over in the two honours lists to have been compiled since.” – The Times

  • Ex-DPP made ‘raft of errors’ in post – The Sun


  • An insult to those on the honours list – The Times

Honours 2) Duncan Smith is most senior political appointment

“Most prominent among politicians being honoured is Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative leader and leading Eurosceptic, who becomes a knight. The architect of the controversial universal credit system of welfare payments, Mr Duncan Smith twice voted against the Brexit deal of former prime minister Theresa May before eventually backing it in March. He was chair of Boris Johnson’s campaign team when he ran successfully for Tory party leader. Other politicians in the list were Bob Neill, Tory MP for Bromley & Chislehurst, who becomes a knight while Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Hull North, is now a dame.” – FT

  • Three MPs awarded – The Guardian
  • Honour for former RBS chief leaves a bitter taste for small business – The Times

>Today: MPs Etc.: Duncan Smith and Neill knighted

Jenkyns pushes for bullying APPG as young Tories tell of ‘racial abuse and death threats’

“Young Tories have revealed how they face vile racial abuse and even death threats for backing Boris Johnson. The activists, as young as 18, are targeted by hate-filled far-left trolls – with one teen told her mum would be drenched in petrol and set on fire… Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns said it is time to “reinstate respect in politics”… Ms Jenkyns, who represents Morley and Outwood in Yorkshire, plans to launch a parliamentary group to discuss ways to tackle cyber bullying. She said: “This has been a very nasty election, with constant episodes of vandalism and threats. I want to set up an APPG on cyberbulling, to see how we can take action to stop the abuse of young people, in and outside politics.”” – The Sun

Charles Moore: Johnson should oversee the restoration of British traditions

“Custom and tradition are posh words for what people have done and intend to go on doing. When they are jettisoned, nine times out of ten it is not by popular demand, but because of the whim of those who fancy themselves as radical reformers… Absolutely typical was the decision of John Bercow to discard the traditional wig once he became Speaker. He seemed to believe that if the public could see all of him, we would love him more. It turned out that we much preferred the office to its holder. When Mr Bercow’s successor, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, recently announced he would be wigging up, there was almost universal rejoicing.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Are we ready for democracy by smartphone? – Matthew Parris, The Times

Watson left Labour over ‘brutality and hostility’

“Tom Watson, Labour’s former deputy leader, has revealed for the first time that he was driven out of Parliament due to the “brutality and hostility” he was subjected to by the hard-Left. Speaking in the wake of Labour’s crushing election defeat, Mr Watson admitted that the “day to day” abuse he was subjected to had contributed to his decision to quit as an MP. Highlighting the extent of the abuse faced by MPs, he claimed that at one point police had informed him that a Labour supporter had been arrested for making a death threat against him, but that party officials had failed to inform him. He also dismissed as “political idiocy” and “collective self-harm” the botched attempt by several of Jeremy Corbyn’s allies to oust him as deputy leader on the eve of this year’s Labour annual conference.” – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘Scathing’ list of reasons for departing the party – Daily Express
  • Next generation must address whether they ‘actually want power’ – Daily Mail
  • Corbyn ‘almost quit’ after losing MPs’ support – The Times
  • Leader was ‘reason why a third of Labour voters abandoned the party’ – The Sun


  • Labour’s patriotism problem predates their leader – Douglas Murray, Daily Telegraph
  • Leadership contest is wide open – Sienna Rodgers, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Susan Hall in Local Government: In 2020, we must offer a positive and progressive alternative to Labour-run London

News in Brief:

  • The bridges the Democratic Unionists didn’t build – Henry Hill, News Letter
  • Why Britain’s Jews love Boris – William Shawcross, The Spectator
  • The Huawei dilemma – Sir Malcolm Rifkind, CapX
  • How does Labour come back from this toxic mess? – Douglas Murray, UnHerd
  • Jenkins and Powell are our most influential post-war politicians – Richard Cockett, The Critic

And finally… hundreds sign petition calling for Maugham prosecution

“Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for the barrister who battered a fox to death to be prosecuted. The RSPCA has launched an investigation after prominent QC Jolyon Maugham revealed he used a baseball bat to kill the fox trapped in netting protecting chickens in his London garden on Boxing Day. Despite apologising later for causing ‘upset’, the furore over his attack grew yesterday with thousands of comments on social media and publicity spreading across the world… Under the Animal Welfare Act, it is against the law to cause an animal ‘unnecessary suffering’, and according to a fox control group ‘clubbing’ is among the methods of killing deemed illegal.” – Daily Mail

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