US continues to pile on pressure over Huawei

“The White House heaped more pressure last night on Boris Johnson to ban Huawei from the UK’s new 5G network citing security concerns before a decision tomorrow. Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, backed Tory MPs urging Mr Johnson to keep the Chinese firm out of the critical new infrastructure as he prepared to travel to London. “The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G,” Mr Pompeo tweeted last night as he endorsed a warning from Tom Tugendhat, the former Tory chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, that a decision to allow Huawei would undermine the UK’s sovereignty. Mr Pompeo is due in London on Wednesday, the day after a decision on Huawei is set to be taken at a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC).” – The Times

  • Giving Chinese access to 5G network would ‘put UK sovereignty at risk’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Government set to approve ‘limited role’ for Huawei – FT

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Patel denies being ‘on the warpath’ over Huawei

Nick Timothy: Bowing to China would be a generation-defining error

“Can anybody explain Britain’s strategic approach to China? We know about its human rights abuses, but stay silent. Our allies complain about its aggression, yet we join its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We boast of a “golden era” of Anglo‑Chinese relations, but deploy the Royal Navy in the South China Sea. Now, ministers are poised to allow Huawei, effectively China’s state-owned tech company, to play a central role in the development of Britain’s 5G network. This technology is not, as some say, simply the next generation for mobile phones. It will be at the heart of everything we do – in life at home, commerce, public services and our national security – for years to come… These are the reasons why Huawei is banned from operating in several countries, including Britain’s close intelligence partners, the United States and Australia.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Free from Brussels, Johnson must not throw it all Huawei – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Ministers 1) Barclay has ‘gut feeling’ that HS2 will get the green light

“A Cabinet minister said it is his gut feeling that HS2 should go ahead as he said the project is a “key part” of the government’s commitment to the north. A government source told the Telegraph that “quite a few” ministers share Stephen Barclay’s view that the project should go ahead. A decision on the high-speed rail link could be as soon as this week. Mr Barclay said: “We have a strong commitment to levelling up all parts of the United Kingdom. High-speed two is a key part of that – not just from speed but more from a capacity point of view in the line. “And that is a very clear commitment we have given the North,” the Brexit Secretary added.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Fate of the line ‘will be decided this week’ – FT


  • Northern rail to be renationalised – and some Beeching closures could reopen – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: HS2. All aboard the Ninky Nonk.

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Barclay is asked for his “gut feeling” on whether HS2 will go ahead. “Yes.”

Ministers 2) Jenrick says universities that reject antisemitism definition could face cuts

“Universities and councils that refuse to adopt an internationally recognised definition of antisemitism are to be named and face having their funding cut. Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, will reveal today that some colleges and local authorities are refusing to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, which is regarded by campaigners as an essential tool in rooting out anti-Jewish racism. Mr Jenrick — who is married to Michal Berkner, whose grandparents survived a concentration camp — will call for more action as he announces funding to help universities to educate students about the Holocaust.” – The Times

  • Ministers ‘have same job security as football managers’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Labour has been “walking on the other side of the street” on antisemitism, says Murray

Ministers 3) Javid to reduce tax breaks for entrepreneurs

“The government is set to scale back a tax break for entrepreneurs in the Budget in March amid concerns that “entrepreneurs relief” is overly generous to the wealthy, according to a senior cabinet minister. Sajid Javid, chancellor of the exchequer, is drawing up plans to curb the £2.4bn-a-year tax break which allows company owners to pay a reduced levy when selling their businesses. Entrepreneurs relief was introduced by Gordon Brown’s Labour government in 2008 and was designed to encourage people to start new companies. It allows entrepreneurs to pay a lower rate of capital gains tax at 10 per cent instead of the usual 20 per cent on up to £10m of gains.” – FT

  • Tory election win delivers boost for growth prospects – The Times

>Today: Neil O’Brien MP’s column: So you want to level up. In what way? And how will you do it?

Ministers 4) British firms have become ‘too reliant’ on migrant labour, claims Patel…

“British companies have become “far too reliant” on cheap labour from the European Union, Priti Patel has said, as a former Tory leader warns ministers against ignoring “blue collar” voters by relaxing immigration controls. Hitting back at calls from business leaders for continued access to low-skilled migrants, Priti Patel said it was “about time” they ended their reliance on EU migrants and began to invest in the UK workforce. With the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) due to deliver its recommendations on a new immigration system on Tuesday, Ms Patel added that ministers intended to prioritise high-skilled migrants after Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister unveils new visa for ‘exceptional talent’ – The Times
  • Aim is to ‘lure top scientists and mathematicians’ – Daily Mail


  • Home Secretary says UK is taking ‘all precautions’ on the coronavirus – The Guardian
  • Britons trapped in Chinese city – The Times

>Yesterday: Jason Reed in Comment: Six ways of helping to open up the Conservatives to young people

Ministers 5) …as she insists that the UK will diverge from Brussels post-Brexit

“Britain will diverge from EU rules on trade and immigration after Brexit, the home secretary has said despite a warning from Brussels that this could rule out a free-trade deal. Priti Patel said: “There is no disagreement in government at all, we are clear — we are leaving. We will be taking back control of our laws, our money, our borders. In terms of divergence, we are not having alignment. We will be diverging. We want to take control of our laws, money and our borders.” … Britain leaves the EU on Friday and the prime minister has vowed to secure a trade deal by the end of the year. There have been warnings that this deadline is ambitious and that trade talks with other nations are more complicated than the government suggests.” – The Times

  • EU to ‘fight tough’ on state aid – FT
  • Varadkar warns that Brussels will have the upper hand in negotiations – Daily Express


  • There is triumph as well as tragedy in the story of Britain and Europe – Andrew Rawnsley, The Guardian

>Today: Suella Braverman MP in Comment: People we elect must take back control from people we don’t. Who include the judges.

Johnson ‘will threaten the US and EU with sky high tariffs to speed up trade deals’

“Boris Johnson plans to threaten the US and EU with high tariffs to speed up post-Brexit trade deals. The Prime Minister is discussing plans with the Cabinet to use tariffs on goods as “leverage” in trade negotiations this week. It means some goods – such as French cheese and German cars – could see sky-high hikes of up to 30 per cent, The Times reports. Boris hopes the move will pile pressure on the EU to agree to a quota-free trade agreement without forcing the UK to follow Brussels’ rules. In the EU Exit Strategy (XS) Committee meeting held on Thursday, ministers agreed the tariffs should be put out for consultation.” – The Sun

  • Barclay says UK will set out trade talk aims ‘by early February’ – The Guardian
  • EU’s ’empty threats’ won’t stop Brexit, warns Baker – Daily Express
  • Farmers and green activists unite to lobby for post-Brexit protection – Daily Telegraph
  • What does Brexit mean for Northern Ireland? – Daily Express


  • Remainers vow never to use Brexit 50p coins – Daily Telegraph
  • Heseltine says celebrations ‘rub our noses in it’ – The Guardian
  • ‘Awkward punctuation mistake’ sparks ‘fury’ – Daily Express


Rayner says Labour leader should lose power to appoint peerages

“Angela Rayner has said that the next Labour leader should be stripped of the power to appoint people to the House of Lords, amid a backlash over Jeremy Corbyn’s reported nomination of John Bercow. The shadow education secretary, who is the clear frontrunner to become Labour’s next deputy leader, claimed on Sunday that the party’s “democratic structures” should be responsible for putting forward people for honours. Calling for a new system of “People’s peerages”, she added that Labour members, trade unions and affiliated groups should be given a say in who is nominated. Her comments, which will be interpreted as a thinly-veiled swipe at Mr Corbyn, follows widespread anger among Labour moderates over reports that he has nominated Mr Bercow, the former Speaker, and Karie Murphy, his ex-chief of staff.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbyn heaps praise on Long-Bailey… – The Times
  • …as he prepares to launch bid to secure ‘legacy’… – The Sun
  • …and his allies ‘line up top jobs’ before new leader is in post – The Guardian

Starmer calls for ‘federal UK’

“Keir Starmer, the Labour leadership frontrunner, has called for a fully federal UK, devolving power to the nations and regions of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after Brexit. The shadow Brexit secretary said only a new federal structure for the UK could “repair the shattered trust in politics”, amid growing clamour in Scotland for another independence referendum. He said there would need to be a national conversation about a new constitutional settlement. However, it could mean taking more power away from Westminster and handing it to regional authorities and devolved governments on areas such as raising taxes, green industrial strategies and transport systems. The idea of a federal UK was championed by former prime minister Gordon Brown after the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.” – The Guardian

  • Labour is stuck in the last century – John Harris, The Guardian

MPs threaten exodus if left-wing challenger wins leadership

“Labour leadership contender Rebecca Long-Bailey faces an exodus of MPs if she wins the party crown. A walk-out is being plotted by backbenchers if the Shadow Cabinet Minister succeeds. The ex-solicitor is second-favourite to win the contest and her campaign was boosted after the support of union Unite. But one moderate Labour MP said: “I will walk out of the party. I will leave, it will be the end of the party, it will be over. We all may have our favoured candidate but in reality it has to be ‘Anyone But Becky’ for the party to survive.” … Long-Bailey, who was first elected in 2015, is backed by senior party figures John McDonnell and Diane Abbott.” – The Sun

  • ‘Good riddance’, says McCluskey of MPs threatening to quit – Daily Telegraph
  • Long-Bailey ‘within touching distance’ of the next round – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Let’s recall how the idea of Brexit went from taboo to reality in a matter of years – Mark Wallace, Brexit Central
  • Fighting Labour with freedom: how to embrace Generation Z – Liz Truss MP, 1828
  • The rise of identitarian liberalism – John Gray, UnHerd
  • A cashless society is nothing to fear – Sam Dumitriu, CapX
  • How to fight back against ‘cancel culture’ – Douglas Murray, The Spectator