Johnson poised to defy US and approve Huawei 5G

“The prime minister is about to formally announce that the government will allow Huawei technology in the UK’s 5G network, despite intense lobbying from the Trump administration. He said yesterday that “a very important strategic win” was possible to provide the benefits of a faster internet to consumers without “compromising our critical national infrastructure”. The decision, which is expected to be confirmed at a meeting of the National Security Council, will draw a formal rebuke from the US government. President Trump’s administration, which has previously threatened to restrict intelligence sharing, warned yesterday that the move could hamper a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. Mr Johnson will seek to placate his key ally by insisting that he shares Washington’s determination to curb China’s strategic advantage in telecoms technology. The US has banned Huawei from government contracts.” – The Times

PM to ignore warnings from Trump and own MPs – Daily Telegraph

Spies v MPs on Huawei deal – Daily Mail

Johnson controversially hints he’ll allow Huawei to build Britain’s 5G network – The Sun

And he feels increasing heat over UK 5G role for Huawei – FT


China could show us how to get HS2 done, Melanie Phillips – The Times

Tory conflict poses Boris Johnson’s biggest test, Rachel Sylvester – The Times

Of course Huawei is getting an easy ride. The British establishment has been bought up by China, Nigel Farage – Daily Telegraph

Allowing our infrastructure to be infected by Huawei is a far bigger risk than the coronavirus, Charles Moore – Daily Telegraph


ToryDiary: We’ve avoided making up our minds about how to deal with China. Hence the Huawei quandary.

Brexit 1) EU demands its judges keep control after Brexit

“An internal Brussels diplomatic document, seen by The Times, reveals that the EU will insist that the European Court of Justice be able to enforce the terms of a trade, fishing and security deal. The move, which comes days before Britain leaves the European Union at 11pm on Friday, has been condemned by Brexiteers, who called on Boris Johnson to “walk away” from the talks rather than accede to the demands. Downing Street sources also rejected the proposal, saying that the European court was “by very definition not a neutral arbiter”. Talks between Brussels and the UK will not formally start until after the European governments agree a negotiating mandate late next month. EU negotiators have previously demanded that Britain follow the bloc’s rules and regulations in areas such as state aid and environmental protection in an attempt to prevent unfair competition.” – The Times

Johnson to take control of trade talks with Brussels after closing Brexit ministry on Friday – The Sun


Comment: Philip Davies: Better Off Out – the campaign that shattered Westminster’s taboo about leaving the EU


Video: WATCH: The Brexit Story 1) Cameron resigns

WATCH: The Brexit Story 2) Johnson pulls out of the Conservative leadership contest

WATCH: The Brexit Story 3) “Brexit means Brexit” – May’s victory speech

WATCH: The Brexit Story 4) May – “It is up to the Government to trigger Article Fifty and the Government alone”

WATCH: The Brexit Story 5) May says: “We do not seek membership of the Single Market”

Brexit 2) Watchdog questions impact of £46m ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ campaign

“A multi-million pound publicity blitz to prepare the public for leaving the EU appears to have had little impact, a spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said £46m was spent on the “Get ready for Brexit” campaign ahead of the UK’s expected departure at the end of last October. But the campaign was halted three days before the UK was supposed to leave after the EU granted another extension. The NAO said it was “not clear” it left people “significantly better prepared”. But if the Cabinet Office, which is in charge of Brexit preparations, was said to have not done anything in the run-up to the 31 October deadline it would have risked “significant and unnecessary disruption”. The department estimated the campaign reached 99.8% of the population, with every member of the public having the opportunity to see the range of billboard, print, TV and online adverts 55 times.” – BBC News

Brexit 3) Hague: Here’s what it will mean to be a truly global Britain post-Brexit

“When 11pm on Friday arrives, the corks of fine English wines are popped, and Brexit finally happens, the era of “Global Britain” is due to begin. This week’s announcements about bringing in more scientists and far more funding for mathematics are an excellent start – for making this country attractive to brilliant, innovative, entrepreneurial people will be the most crucial task of all. But what should be the foreign policy of Global Britain? What will be the fixed points of our vision for international relations, so that we are not just buffeted between the demands of an assertive America, a powerful China and a recently rebuffed Europe? I suggest there should be four vital fixtures in a foreign policy for this decade.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 4) UK must come to terms with being a ‘small country’ after Brexit, says Varadkar

“Leo Varadkar also suggested the UK could rejoin the EU if Brexit does not “work out for them” and said Brussels would have the “stronger hand” in trade negotiations. The Taoiseach’s comments, which come before trade talks begin in March, appeared to be deliberately provocative in a week which will end with Britain celebrating its new-found freedom from the EU. One former Brexit minister suggested he would serve the Irish people by trying to “work in harmony” with Ireland’s biggest trading partner “rather than trying to provoke it”. It came as Downing Street announced that ministers would be bypassed in the Brexit trade negotiations, with a team of civil servants called Taskforce Europe, headed by Mr Johnson’s chief Brexit adviser David Frost, carrying out the talks.” – Daily Telegraph

Shapps to restore Beeching rail cuts

“Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will visit Fleetwood to announce £21.9m for two railway lines and a New Stations Fund. The £500m fund was promised in the Tory election manifesto in November. But Labour called the plan “meaningless”, adding that £500m would reopen just 25 miles of railway. And the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) described the funds as a “drop in the ocean”. The government is giving funding to develop proposals for two historic railway lines – £1.5m to the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne Line in Northumberland, and £100,000 to the Fleetwood line in Lancashire. And communities will be able to apply for some of the remainder of the £500m pot to restore their lines. Roughly 5,000 miles of track was closed and more than 2,300 stations were axed in the 1960s, mainly in rural areas, following the Beeching report.” – BBC News

Ministers set to renationalise failed Northern rail franchise – FT


Comment: Harry Benson: Number 10 needs a Family Policy Unit

Labour defeat due to gimmicks and division, say members

“Gimmicky policies, horrible inefficiency and factional promotions are among the catalogue of errors behind Labour’s dismal performance at the general election, according to party members. The damning comments on Labour’s campaign form part of an early release of views gathered by a team headed by the former party leader Ed Miliband consisting of MPs, union leaders and party members. They have tasked themselves with analysing Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign and suggesting ways the party might find a path back to power. More than 8,000 people have replied to the nationwide call for members’ experiences and reasons that led to Labour suffering its worst defeat since 1935. A full analysis of the findings will be conducted by the Labour Together Review commission after it closes on 21 February.” – The Guardian

Long-Bailey refuses to accept voters have rejected socialism – The Times


Labour are going nowhere until they wake up and grasp this simple truth about Brexit, Michael Deacon – Daily Telegraph

Though Labour is split, unity may now be easier than it looks, Polly Toynbee – The Guardian


Local Government: Stephen Greenhalgh and Nick Botterill: Under Labour, Hammersmith & Fulham has become a borough of missed opportunity

Prince Andrew refused to speak to us about Epstein, says FBI

“Geoffrey Berman, the US prosecutor investigating Epstein’s crimes and alleged accomplices, said Prince Andrew had “provided zero co-operation”. The Times understands that the FBI has been trying to speak to Andrew, 59, since late November when he promised to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required” following his television interview over his relationship with Epstein. Mr Berman’s intervention, as he answered questions from reporters outside Epstein’s New York mansion, was deliberately designed to put the duke under pressure to co-operate with the criminal investigation. In taking the unusual step of naming someone the authorities want to speak to, the prosecutor also added to the sense of crisis around the royal family in the wake of the withdrawal from official duties by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” – The Times


Coronavirus: China death toll passes 100 – Daily Telegraph

Auschwitz survivors gather to warn of hatred that comes by stealth – The Times

Expansion of smart motorways must stop now, MPs warn – The Times

Lineker says BBC should make licence fee voluntary – The Times


Comment: Nicola Richards: What I learned from my haunting meeting with a Holocaust survivor

Bob Seely: How to make our foreign policy really work for Britain

News in Brief

What it means to be descended from Holocaust survivors, Hugo Rifkind – The Spectator

The deranged rage against the Brexit 50p coin, Brendan O’Neill – The Spectator

Davey ahead in Liberal Democrat leadership race, Stephen Bush – New Statesman

Violent extremism is a mental health issue, Ian Acheson – CapX

After all the Remainer legal chicanery, I’ll be closely monitoring the next stage of talks with Brussels, Martin Howe – Brexit Central