Brexit 1) “We will not be a ruletaker,” Javid declares

“Sajid Javid, the UK chancellor, has delivered a tough message to business leaders to end their campaign for Britain to stay in lock-step with Brussels rules after Brexit, telling them they have already had three years to prepare for a new trading relationship. In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Javid quashed any prospect of the Treasury lending its support to big manufacturing sectors — which include cars, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and food and drink — that favour alignment with EU regulations. “There will not be alignment, we will not be a ruletaker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union — and we will do this by the end of the year,” Mr Javid said, urging companies to “adjust” to the new reality.” – Financial Times

>Today: David Gauke on Comment: As a non-Tory at the last election, my worry is that this Government won’t be Conservative enough

Brexit 2) Johnson to open trade talks with the US before the EU

“Boris Johnson is expected to formally open trade talks with the US before he begins discussions with the European Union, the Telegraph has learned. US diplomats believe the Prime Minister is poised to seek Cabinet authorisation to open trade talks directly with America on a visit to Washington next month. British civil servants have drawn up advice for ministers on the “pros and cons” of starting trade talks with America before beginning them with the European Union, the Telegraph understands. A UK government source who has seen the advice said the argument for going to the US first is to show: “We mean business and we’re not messing around.” It would also aim to avoid becoming “trapped” by Brussels negotiators like Theresa May was, and “negate some of the concerns of the EU trying to play the ball in the way they want”, the source said.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Farmers demand law to ensure chlorinated chicken is banned – The Times

Brexit 3) Forsyth: The EU shouldn’t have signed up to a December deadline for a trade deal if it was “not possible”

“This week, the European Union Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said it is “just not possible” to conclude everything on the UK’s future relationship with the EU by the December 2020 deadline for the end of the transition period. But the UK and the EU both agreed to that timeframe in the political declaration.The EU shouldn’t have signed up to it if they didn’t think it was possible to agree things by that date. Boris Johnson is determined not to extend this transition period. He feels the whole process has gone on too long already. So there needs to be some compromise to keep things moving. What is key is that at the end of this year the UK is no longer sending millions to the EU every day; the UK determines its own immigration policy; and the role of the European Court of Justice in the UK ends on all matters other than the rights of EU citizens.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

Brexit 4) Countdown clock to illuminate Downing Street

“A clock counting down to the moment the UK leaves the EU on 31 January will be projected on to Downing Street as part of government plans to mark Brexit Day. The clock will tick down to 23:00 GMT, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give a “special” address to the nation in the evening, the government said. A special 50p coin will also enter circulation to mark the occasion. Meanwhile, a campaign to find £500,000 to make Big Ben ring when the UK leaves the EU has raised more than £200,000.” – BBC

  • A unifying speech outside No 10 is a must – Leader, The Sun
  • Let’s give our ringing endorsement – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Bring on the bongs if it ends the culture war – Janice Turner, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The Commons should vote on the Big Ben bing bang bong bung

>Yesterday: Rebecca Ryan on Comment: Help us to get Big Ben bonging for Brexit

Brexit 5) Moore: It’s not just Big Ben, spending on Parliament’s building works is out of control

“Obviously the cost of £500,000, if correct, is a big sum (nearly £50,000 per bong), but it is typical of lumbering institutions that they love to skimp on a one-off cost yet happily pour unaccounted millions into grandiose projects. The current restoration of Big Ben – which has silenced the bongs – was estimated at £33 million when it began three years ago. The latest private estimate puts it well over double that, with wider Commons capital spending also racing ahead. This excess is as nothing beside the colossal ambition of the “restoration and renewal” (“R & R”) project for the Houses of Parliament themselves. This includes the total evacuation of the present chambers and the construction of an unnecessarily permanent new extra chamber on the Richmond House site off Whitehall. Critics naturally fear that the existence of the new chamber will be used as an argument for never going back into the old ones. Under R & R, Parliament will literally have been re-formed, without any properly debated decision about whether this is right.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

  • MPs’ £500,000 bill to sound ‘Brexit bongs’ is 35 times more than chiming Big Ben on New Year’s Eve – Daily Telegraph

Atkins speaks of her experience of sexual harassment

“Women and Equalities Minister Victoria Atkins has spoken of her experiences of workplace sexual harassment, as she urged others to share their stories. In one example, the minister revealed, someone had sent her an email “that showed a great interest in my footwear”, after a public appearance. “That was something that made me feel uncomfortable,” she told LBC radio. The government is surveying 12,000 people to find out the extent of workplace harassment. The Government Equalities Office survey is part of an initiative to tackle the problem, including a new statutory code of practice for employers. Ms Atkins said “common sense” was needed to determine what qualified as sexual harassment in the workplace.” – BBC

Starmer takes big poll lead over Long-Bailey

“Sir Keir Starmer has increased his lead in the race for the Labour leadership, according to a poll of the party’s members. The latest YouGov survey for The Times indicates that the shadow Brexit secretary would beat his closest rival, Rebecca Long-Bailey, in the final round by 63 per cent to 37 per cent if the contest were concluded today. A poll conducted last month had Sir Keir beating Ms Long Bailey by 61 per cent to 39 per cent once other candidates had been eliminated, indicating that the left’s candidate is losing ground in the early stages of the race. The first survey of Labour members’ views on the deputy leadership contest strongly suggests that Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, is set for an emphatic win. Some 57 per cent of those surveyed say that they will back Ms Rayner, putting her on course for a first-round win on April 4. Richard Burgon, on 15 per cent, comes a distant second.” – The Times

  • Long-Bailey advisers walk out over strategy – The Times
  • Stop trying to out-working-class each other, Labour candidates told – The Guardian
  • Starmer: Radical who attacked Kinnock in Marxist journal – The Times
  • Long-Bailey: replace House of Lords with elected senate – The Guardian
  • Thornberry tells unions: ‘don’t close gates’ to would-be Labour leaders – The Guardian
  • Nandy, leadership long-shot on the road from Wigan – Financial Times
  • Labour’s succession – Leader, The Times
  • A dire contest – Charlotte Gill, Daily Telegraph
  • Why do the woke liberati have such a problem with Christianity? – Lucy Denyer, Daily Telegraph
  • Proof the hard Left is STILL pulling Labour’s strings – Daily Mail

Police chief admits sexual abuse of children was ignored to avoid “racial tensions”

“A senior police officer admitted that his force ignored the sexual abuse of girls by Pakistani grooming gangs for decades because it was afraid of increasing “racial tensions”, a watchdog has ruled. After a five-year investigation, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) upheld a complaint that the Rotherham officer told a missing child’s distraught father that the town “would erupt” if it was known that Asian men were routinely having sex with under-age white girls. The chief inspector is said to have described the abuse as “P*** shagging” and to have said it had been “going on” for 30 years: “With it being Asians, we can’t afford for this to be coming out.” His incendiary language features in a confidential report by the watchdog that upholds six complaints against South Yorkshire police by a former child victim of sexual exploitation.” – The Times

Violent offenders avoiding prosecution

“Violent offenders, burglars and thieves are being allowed to escape prosecution if they agree to rehabilitation as part of a “deferred” charge scheme that may be extended nationwide. The Telegraph has established that up to 10 police forces – almost a quarter of the total in England and Wales – have adopted “deferred prosecution” schemes where offenders are offered four months’ rehabilitation to which they have to agree for the prospective charges to be dropped. If they complete the four months without re-offending or breaching the rehabilitation “contract” with police, the prosecution is waived and they avoid a criminal conviction. If they do not, they are prosecuted.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Don’t scrimp on justice – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Home Secretary out on the front line with police in Liverpool – Daily Mail
  • We must show the thugs in our prison who is in charge – Richard Madeley, Daily Express

Ballantyne “fighting to win” Scots Tory leadership

“Scottish Tory leadership contender Michelle Ballantyne has revealed that she entered the race to prevent a “coronation” of her competitor Jackson Carlaw, she now wants to win to revolutionise her party and Scottish politics. Ballantyne, who has been an MSP for two and a half years, said she wants to galvanise her party’s membership to create a “blue collar revolution” in Scottish voters. She said the Scottish Government was too focused on “quick wins” and as a result had too many failing policies, that “politician on politician” attacks were a smokescreen to avoid scrutiny, and that Holyrood needed to be “braver in doing the right thing, rather than the immediately popular thing.” Ballantyne, who was criticised for her support of Boris Johnson in last year’s UK Tory leadership contest – which put her at odds with Ruth Davidson – also said she still believed he was ‘the right man at the right time.’ ” – The Scotsman

Actor’s TV comments prompt racism debate

“Laurence Fox is standing strong in the face of a left-wing Twitter mob accusing him or ‘racism’ following his Question Time slanging match with an ethnicity lecturer over Meghan Markle. The 41-year-old accused Rachel Boyle, an academic at Edge Hill University on Merseyside, of ‘being racist’ after she called him ‘a white privileged male’ for denying the Duchess of Sussex was hounded from Britain for being mixed-race. As the row continued today he quoted Martin Luther King’s 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech about living in a nation where children ‘will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character’. He said: ‘This is the position I took last night and I live by in life. If you can improve on it, I’m all ears. Or you can keep screeching ”Racist!” at me and I can carry on having a jolly good giggle at your expense. The tide is turning’.” – Daily Mail

Parris: We should welcome a united Ireland

“Beset by corruption and by politically driven public spending on hopeless investments, the province and its people are victims of a political class that Westminster keeps paying not to be difficult, thus engendering a culture of threatening to be difficult. We throw money at them to go away. They are not loved across the water and they know it. It’s a wretched and humiliating fate visited on them, and it’s partly the fault of the English who, to adapt one American journalist’s words, will do anything for Ulster except read about it. It isn’t working. Not far south of Belfast, in the Republic, it is. Neither side has much by way of natural resources but, instead, tremendous human resources, which only one side has learnt to harness. Meshing the two together will be painful — look how difficult it has proved in Germany — but it can be done; and done better without us.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

News in brief

  • Long-Bailey shouldn’t be hounded for her views on abortion – Melanie McDonagh, The Spectator
  • Why Britain must not allow China’s Huawei to build its 5G network – Frank Lawton, CapX
  • Brexit reflections from Lee Rotherham – Brexit Central
  • An agricultural revolution is coming – and it’s going to save the planet – Madsen Pirie, Free Market Conservatives
  • The New York Times’ bizarre campaign against Britain – Douglas Murray, Unherd