Blue army’s new recruits help change face of Commons…

“They came from Mansfield, Wolverhampton, Bassetlaw and Bolsover. They have been teachers, personal protection officers and dolphin trainers. The one thing they have in common is that before last Thursday most were not expecting to exchange their previous lives for jobs as Conservative MPs. “I feel a bit like Paddington,” said Dehenna Davison, 26, the member for Bishop Auckland who arrived in London by train along with four of her now “blue wall” Tory colleagues. “Please look after this bear.” Last night Boris Johnson told the intake that they represented a “new party” and had been elected to “get things done”. Flick Drummond, the MP for Meon Valley who represented Portsmouth South between 2015 and 2017, said that the prime minister was “very inspiring”, adding: “He talked about how excited he was to see so many of us here. He said we are here to get things done. We are here to get Brexit done.” Caroline Ansell, who defeated the Liberal Democrats to win back the Eastbourne seat that she had held between 2015 and 2017, said: “There is a real energy, a real buzz. Everybody is very keen to move forward.” Paul Howell, who took Tony Blair’s old Sedgefield seat, said: “It is a fabulous occasion. It is a new profile for the Conservative Party. We have got to deliver across the country.” – The Times

  • Ten new Tory MPs to watch – Daily Telegraph
  • Conservatives criticised over lack of ethnic minority faces in picture of Tory HQ staffers – Daily Mail

…As PM scraps concessions to Remainers…

“Boris Johnson will redraw his Brexit bill this week to make it illegal for Parliament to extend the transition period — a move that will put him in direct conflict with Brussels. In one of his first acts since the election, the emboldened prime minister will also drop concessions that he made to Remainers in the last parliament on areas including workers’ rights. But it is the new clause in the withdrawal agreement bill to outlaw an extension of the transition period beyond the end of next year that will be most eye-catching. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has warned that striking a “comprehensive” free-trade deal between Britain and the EU 11 months after Brexit will not be possible. The concerns are shared by some senior figures in Mr Johnson’s cabinet, who fear that a “bare bones” trade deal could damage the economy. The prime minister has insisted that he will be able to strike a “fantastic” free-trade deal by December next year. The move dispels speculation that with his majority of 80 Mr Johnson would tack to a softer Brexit and extend the transition period because he would not be so beholden to Eurosceptic Tory MPs. He will also scrap the concessions he had made to keep the support of MPs on the other side of the debate.” – The Times

  • And he plans to enshrine Brexit date in law – Daily Telegraph
  • Shares enjoy best day for three years – The Times
  • Senior Tories back plan to overhaul defence spending – The Times
  • Tories to appoint Brexit-supporting experts as peers – Daily Telegraph
  • Brussels believes Johnson’s victory could boost electoral chances of anti-EU parties – Daily Telegraph
  • PM’s plans could face squeeze as finances tighten – The Guardian
  • North and Midlands call in a favour on spending – FT

…And Morgan given peerage to keep job as Culture Secretary…

“In a surprise move Boris Johnson rushed through the peerage in less than a day to avoid losing one of the faces of One Nation conservatism. It is thought that she will hold the job until a reshuffle in February, having left the Commons citing strain on her family. The decision to keep her temporarily will fuel speculation that Mr Johnson intends to break up the department as part of an overhaul of Whitehall, with responsibility for broadband becoming part of a beefed-up business and trade ministry. Ms Morgan will be the first secretary of state in the Lords since Lord Mandelson and Lord Adonis, the business and transport secretaries under Gordon Brown. She can claim £305 for each day she attends the upper house. Ms Morgan, 47, is understood to have been informed of the decision yesterday morning, having handed in the key to her ministerial box and planned a leaving party. She had to submit paperwork for vetting yesterday confirming financial interests and tax status, after which her application was approved by Buckingham Palace in record time. However, the parliamentary calendar means that she will not be formally ennobled until the new year.” – The Times


…While he is to spend £100bn on cementing his red wall

“The Prime Minister is planning to invest £100bn over five years on roads, rail and other infrastructure projects, notably in so-called red wall constituencies that once voted Labour but supported the Tories at the election. Chancellor Sajid Javid allocated £22bn of the £100bn in the Conservative election manifesto, notably on government spending on research and development, meaning that there are billions left for infrastructure projects across the UK. Mr Johnson is far more willing to borrow to finance investment than his predecessors, including Theresa May and David Cameron. When George Osborne was chancellor in 2015, he was pursuing a target of eliminating the total deficit — the amount by which all government spending exceeds annual tax receipts and other revenues — by 2019-20. This was subsequently relaxed by his successor Philip Hammond to an objective of eradicating the deficit by the mid-2020s. Mr Javid, in new fiscal rules outlined last month, abandoned the target of eliminating the deficit altogether. Instead, the Conservative manifesto said: “We will not borrow to fund day-to-day spending, but will invest thoughtfully and responsibly in infrastructure right across our country.” The target of a balanced budget, which the government was set to miss, has turned into an acceptance by ministers that they will run up a deficit of about 3 per cent of national income.” – FT

Workington Man ‘won the election for Tories’

“Workington Man has been credited for Boris Johnson’s General Election landslide as it emerges almost eight out of ten from the voting group backed him. The key swing demographic for last Thursday’s nationwide poll was identified as older white men who back Leave, used to support Labour and live in smaller towns across the North and the Midlands. Coining the phrase, the think tank Onward gave the group their name after the Cumbrian coastal town of Workington, which contained the largest proportion of them. Onward has carried out in-depth analysis of last Thursday’s vote to find a jumbo 77 per cent of the group voted Tory. In contrast, just 11 per cent voted Labour, and 93 per cent of it also thought Boris would make the best PM. In 2015, just 42 per cent of ‘Workington Man’ backed the Tories, and the figure in 2017 was 62 per cent. There are estimated to be almost 2.5 million voters who are over-45, white, male, without a university degree, and who backed Leave in the North and Midlands. The mass defection of the former Labour voters allowed the PM to seize 50 seats from Jeremy Corbyn across the Midlands and the ‘Red Wall’ of the north.” – The Sun

  • Working class switched to Tories – The Times

Also, Johnson considers overhaul of Lords to counter Scot nationalism

“Boris Johnson’s government is considering radical plans to reform the House of Lords as part of a constitutional overhaul aimed at strengthening the UK and countering the rise of Scottish nationalism. Aides to the prime minister are considering the membership and role of the upper chamber, which is home to almost 800 appointed peers and focuses on scrutinising legislation. Discussions among government insiders include whether the Lords should have directly or indirectly elected members, so as to give the UK’s constituent nations a greater stake at Westminster. Any Lords reform could be part of a broader constitutional overhaul trailed in the Conservatives’ general election manifesto, and the idea of sweeping reform is being driven by Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser. Government insiders said the prime minister was focused on ideas about how to combat the threat of the Scottish National party. Mr Johnson is due to set up a “commission on the constitution” to look at issues including the role of the upper house, and it is expected to report within a year. One person briefed about the discussions on Lords reform among Mr Johnson’s inner circle said: “One of the questions is how do you cement the union and make it more relevant for everyone.” Lord Strathclyde, a former Conservative leader in the Lords, said: “We need a stronger, more responsible second chamber, more directly accountable to people. There are many ideas as to how that could happen.” – FT

  • Government draws up plans for new department for union – The Sun

Scots ‘can force U-turn on indyref2’

“Nicola Sturgeon will today call on Scotland to “come together” to force Boris Johnson to give Holyrood the power to hold a second referendum on independence as the SNP insisted it was now the “real opposition to an extreme Tory Government” at Westminster given Labour’s disarray. The First Minister will make a statement to MSPs, urging them to unite against the “threats posed by a majority Tory Government and impending Brexit”. It will be followed by a letter to the Prime Minister, urging him – in light of the Nationalist landslide – to agree to transfer power from Westminster to Holyrood so that Edinburgh can hold indyref2 in 2020 to “escape Brexit”; a request he will flatly refuse. Days before the election, Mr Johnson told The Herald that while he remained in Downing St he would never facilitate indyref2, and the 2014 vote was “for good”. Speaking ahead of her statement in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Sturgeon argued that the call for a second poll was winning increasing support, pointing out how over the weekend senior Scottish Labour figures said they now accepted the argument in light of the SNP’s election landslide.” – Glasgow Herald

  • Petition calling for Scottish independence nears half a million signatures – The Scotsman
  • Scots ‘don’t need approval for indyref2’ – The Times

Flatmates set to run together on leadership ticket

“Two of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest allies are preparing to stand on a joint ticket for Labour’s leadership positions. Rebecca Long Bailey, the shadow business secretary, and Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, are understood to have teamed up to run for the Labour leadership and deputy leadership respectively. Ms Long Bailey has the backing of John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, and will run for leader with her friend and flatmate as her deputy. The two have shared a flat in London since becoming MPs in 2015 and their friendship is thought to be behind their reluctance to compete for the same position. Both represent Greater Manchester constituencies and joined the shadow cabinet to fill vacancies caused by resignations after the 2016 EU referendum. Ms Long Bailey, 40, was shadow chief secretary to the Treasury for seven months and has been shadow business secretary since February 2017. Ms Rayner, 39, has been in post since July 2016. Ms Long Bailey is seen as more firmly of the party’s left wing. She campaigned for Mr Corbyn to become leader in 2015. Ms Rayner backed Andy Burnham, who finished a distant second.” – The Times

  • Party staff consider strike if Corbyn aides stay – The Times
  • Thornberry threatens to sue over claim she called voters stupid – The Times
  • Could ‘no nonsense northerner’ Nandy be next Labour leader? – Daily Telegraph
  • Leader to face angry MPs – The Guardian
  • Losing MPs face brutal exit from Westminster – The Guardian
News in Brief

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