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Prime Minister ‘splits Cabinet’ with policy on EU law

“Boris Johnson has split the cabinet with a plan to give British judges new powers to overturn rulings by the European Court of Justice, The Times has learnt. Theresa May’s government agreed to transfer all existing European Union case law into British law after Brexit, a decision opposed by Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party. The commitment meant that only the Supreme Court in England and the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland would be allowed to “depart” from EU case law. A new clause in Mr Johnson’s withdrawal agreement bill will let lower courts overturn ECJ rulings. MPs will vote on the bill on Friday. Mr Johnson has argued that Britain should “take back control of our laws” and the change will be celebrated by his party as restoring the sovereignty of the justice system.” – The Times

  • Pound plunges as Johnson sets hard deadline for talks – FT
  • Brussels draws up plans for ‘quick-fire’ agreement – The Sun
  • Gove ‘fails to rule out’ a no-deal exit – The Guardian
  • Tories ‘vow to stand up for workers’ rights’ – The Times

More:

  • Farage fears Barnier has laid ‘trap’ for Johnson – Daily Express
  • Plunge in number of EU migrants seeking to stay in the UK – The Times
  • Corbyn to whip Labour MPs against the deal – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Johnson – “Parliament is not going to waste the time of the public in deadlock, division and delay”

Policy 1) Bursaries for nursing students to help tackle shortages

“Nursing students have been promised at least £5,000 a year from September as Boris Johnson seeks to highlight the priority he is giving to the NHS. The prime minister pledged in the Conservative manifesto to restore the bursaries removed by his party, to boost the falling number of applicants to study nursing. He has now said that the funding will return in the next academic year. The new system will be significantly less generous than that abolished in 2016, however, as it will not pay students’ tuition fees. All nursing students will be given a grant of £5,000, rising to £8,000 for those who need help with childcare or who are training in parts of the country or in disciplines, such as mental health, where there are severe shortages.” – The Times

  • Burnham presses for ‘here and now’ investment in the North – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Ben Bradley MP in Comment: Voters tore down the Red Wall because they were sick of Labour talking down to them and holding them back

Policy 2) Government mulls plan for elected Lords

“Boris Johnson’s government is eyeing 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 examining the membership and role of parliament’s 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 changes is being driven by Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser.” – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The non-reshuffle shuffle

William Hague: How to convert this majority into decades of dominance

“Throughout the miners’ strike and its aftermath, and closures of steel works in the 1980s, the hatred and mistrust of the Conservatives became even more ingrained. I never thought it possible that in my lifetime the people of Rother Valley would elect a Conservative MP, but last Thursday they did – and not even narrowly. This is what makes the outcome of this election so special. Landslides can come and go, but it is not often you witness the deepest bedrock of a party’s support being shattered. Like an army that captures territory deep behind enemy lines, the Tories have won a victory that is both more far-reaching and more fragile than any of recent decades. It has taken 30 years for these most loyal of voters to turn against Labour, slowly disconnected from it by discontent with immigration, and pushed over the edge by the combination of failure to accept Brexit and a drift to extremism.” – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘Teesside Tories’ come to Westminster with promises to keep – Sebastian Payne, FT
  • Party’s strength lies in never standing still – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • How long will it take Johnson to betray his new friends in the north? – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Prime Minister is more powerful than Blair was in 1997 – Liam Halligan, Daily Telegraph

>Today:

>Yesterday: Andy Street’s column: My ten-point West Midlands plan for the new Government

Johnson bars ministers from Davos

“Boris Johnson has banned ministers from attending the Davos summit next month, in a nod to the former Labour voters who propelled him to office. The prime minister, a frequent guest at the summit, described it in 2013 as “a great big constellation of egos involved in massive mutual orgies of adulation”. He will not be at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort this year, however, and has told other ministers to stay away. “Our focus is on delivering for the people, not champagne with billionaires,” a government source said, underlining the effort to distance Mr Johnson from the global business and political elite. Mr Johnson attended Davos every year when he was the mayor of London, from 2009 to 2014 and was known to enjoy its hospitality. His policies now are different to those he promoted then.” – The Times

  • Cabinet told to ‘work even harder’ – The Sun
  • Archbishop of York ‘backs the Prime Minister’s vision’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Robert Halfon MP’s column: For years, I’ve urged that the Conservatives become a Workers Party. Now it is one.

Conservatives launch Islamophia review

“The Conservative party has launched an independent review into its handling of all forms of discrimination, including Islamophobia. Professor Swaran Singh, a commissioner at Britain’s human rights watchdog, will lead the probe and examine how the party can improve its processes to ensure “any instances are isolated, and that there are robust processes in place to stamp them out as and when they occur”. The Tories’ record on Islamophobia was questioned during the general election campaign after the Muslim Council of Britain accusing the party of “denial, dismissal and deceit” over the problem. It said the party had a “blind spot” for Islamophobia within its own ranks and allowed it to “fester in society.”” – FT

Labour MPs ‘savage’ Corbyn for election defeat…

“Jeremy Corbyn was savaged by Labour MPs and accused of incompetence and misjudgments last night during a brutal inquest into the party’s worst defeat in more than 80 years. In a two-hour meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party, MPs also said that the leadership contest should focus on who could win over the country, as opposed to party members. Hours earlier Mr Corbyn was subjected to a 20-minute public tirade by a defeated Labour candidate who accused him of betraying working-class voters. Mary Creagh, the former MP for Wakefield, said she had given Mr Corbyn the “hairdryer” treatment after she saw him at Westminster while clearing out her Commons office.” – The Times

  • Showdown between leadership and parliamentary party – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs ‘bleak, angry, and distraught’ – FT
  • ‘Economically illiterate’ policies are shredded – Daily Mail
  • Blair urges Labour to abandon hard left’s ‘fantasy island’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “The PM made many, many promises…he’ll be judged on whether he keeps those promises,” says Corbyn

…as Rayner ‘clears way’ for Long-Bailey leadership run

“The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, has cleared the way for her friend Rebecca Long-Bailey to run as the leftwing successor to Jeremy Corbyn, deciding instead to focus on becoming deputy leader. After Labour’s catastrophic performance in last week’s general election, Corbyn said he would remain in place until March, while a leadership contest takes place. Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, had long been regarded as the leadership’s pick for the top job. She is expected to win the backing of the party’s largest donor, Unite, and of key Corbyn allies including elections chief Karie Murphy. Long-Bailey, who is the MP for Salford, was given a prominent role during the election campaign, including as Labour’s spokeswoman in TV debates, and has stood in for Corbyn at PMQs. But Rayner has built up a significant public profile, and was regarded as a strong potential leadership contender.” – The Guardian

  • Starmer sets out vision for ‘bold and radical’ party – The Times

Comment:

  • Corbynism, not just Corbyn, is Labour’s problem – Owen Smith MP, FT
  • Labour must rebuild in the South too – Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: Was it really ‘Brexit wot lost it’ for Labour?

Brexit Party cost Tories up to 20 seats, experts suggest

“Nigel Farage cost Boris Johnson a majority in excess of 100, initial analysis suggests. Internal Conservative estimates show that the party would have taken about 20 seats where Labour held on if the Brexit Party had not been standing. Other pollsters have backed these figures, concluding that more of Labour’s “Red Wall” would have gone blue but for Mr Farage’s decision to contest seats held by the opposition. Mr Farage’s decision to pull out of Tory-held seats and effectively endorse Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal was one of the decisive moments of the campaign, allowing the Tories to unite the Leave vote while Remainers were split between Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru.” – The Times

  • Bridgen urges prizes for Clarke and Farage – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Majority: The Politics of And. Growing the Majority 2) Brexit Party voters

Sturgeon claims SNP do not need Westminster authorisation for independence vote

“Britons are fuming after Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP has sensationally claimed that Scotland does not need the go ahead from Boris Johnson to hold a second independence referendum. Readers flocked to Facebook to express their fury at the SNP who brazenly suggested Scotland does not require the backing of Whitehall to get a second vote on independence. The comments come after Stewart Hosie, the former SNP deputy leader, disputed the widely accepted notion that the Scottish parliament requires a transfer of power under Section 30 of the Scotland Act to hold an independence referendum. He told Sky News: “We don’t need a Section 30 order to have a referendum but the Section 30 order is important because it then commits both sides to accept the result.”” – Daily Express

>Yesterday: Andy Maciver in Comment: Johnson must change the Scottish Conservatives’ policy on a second independence referendum

Hoyle says Speaker’s wig has gone missing

The Speaker’s wig has gone missing, scuppering plans by Sir Lindsay Hoyle to wear his full ceremonial attire for Thursday’s State Opening of Parliament. Sir Lindsay, who was confirmed as Speaker of the House of Commons by MPs on Tuesday, set out his plans to wear the full bottomed wig when he was elected to the 900-year-old office last month. However an extensive search of the House of Commons has failed to track down the wig which was last worn by Speaker Bernard Weatherill before his retirement in 1992. The habit of the Speaker wearing the wig in the chair then fell out of fashion after Lord Weatherill’s successor Betty Boothroyd refused to put it on… Sir Lindsay said that he would be wearing the traditional robe and court dress for the State Opening. “I will have to wear what is available,” he said.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Bercow to rake it in at £25,000-a-night agency – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Victory for Unionists means refusing to play Sturgeon’s game at all – Alex Massie, CapX
  • How metro-mayors and Brexit shaped the Tory party’s blue-collar strategy – Joseph Rachman, Reaction
  • Corbyn couldn’t have done it without ‘moderates’ like Phillips – Stephen Daisley, The Spectator
  • Sorry, BBC, you had it coming – Robin Aitken, UnHerd
  • The Fat Activism movement is risking lives – Helen Pluckrose, The Critic

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