Johnson ‘set to opt out of human rights laws’…

“Britain is preparing to opt out of major parts of European human rights laws, risking an explosive new row with the EU. Boris Johnson’s aides and ministers are drawing up proposals to severely curb the use of human rights laws in areas in which judges have “overreached”. The plans under discussion include opt-outs from the Human Rights Act, which could prevent many migrants and asylum seekers from using the legislation to avoid deportation and protect British soldiers against claims relating to overseas operations. The Act allows British courts to apply the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The move sets up a major new confrontation with the EU, which has been demanding that the UK commits to remaining signed up to the ECHR and keep the Human Rights Act in place as the price of future “law enforcement co-operation” between the bloc and Britain.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Easier to deport migrants, harder to prosecute soldiers – Mail on Sunday
  • Government prepares for ‘tit-for-tat tariffs on champagne’ in trade war with EU – Sun on Sunday

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What the new Anglo-Japanese trade deal tells us about ‘Global Britain’

…as Blair and Major hit out at plans to override Brexit deal

“Boris Johnson is facing mounting criticism over his plans to introduce legislation to override his Brexit deal, as former prime ministers Sir John Major and Tony Blair criticised the threat to break international law. Major and Blair united to urge MPs to reject the legislation, saying it imperils the Irish peace process, trade negotiations and the UK’s integrity – despite the prime minister saying that Brussels could “carve up our country” without his new bill. The former Conservative and Labour leaders united to condemn Johnson’s UK internal market bill in an article for the Sunday Times. “We both opposed Brexit. We both accept it is now happening. But this way of negotiating, with reason cast aside in pursuit of ideology and cavalier bombast posing as serious diplomacy, is irresponsible, wrong in principle and dangerous in practice,” they said.” – The Observer

  • Gove claims internal market bill protects UK integrity from EU ‘threat’ – The Observer
  • Prime Minister reassured Brexit U-turn to have no ‘long-lasting’ impact on UK reputation… – Sunday Express
  • …as top lawyers slam Braverman for wrecking it – The Observer

>Yesterday: David Gauke’s column: May should lead the Commons struggle against her successor’s plan to break international law if necessary

Tony Blair and John Major: Johnson must drop shameful no-deal Brexit bill or be forced to by MPs

“Last October, Britain concluded an international treaty with the European Union for the terms of our exit from the EU. This subsequently passed into British law. It contained a specific agreement for resolution of the terms of trade for Northern Ireland. It was described by the government as a “negotiating triumph” that would lead to an “oven-ready” trade deal between the UK and Europe. It was, of course, no such thing. Even so, a general election — with this agreement very much centre stage — was fought and won by the Conservative Party. Last week, with the promise of a comprehensive trade deal with the EU long gone and the Brexit negotiations in disarray, the government published a bill that it openly admits is a violation of that treaty. This bill contravenes the treaty that the UK ratified and overrides the law that parliament passed on the basis that the agreement over Northern Ireland — as reached by the prime minister himself — did, in any event, contain “unforeseen” ambiguities.” – Sunday Times

  • New bill will damage the union, and with it devolved government – Miriam Brett, The Observer


  • Britain must hold its nerve in Brexit negotiations – Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Is Johnson really mad enough to hit the No Deal nuclear button? – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • So what lies behind ultra-loyalist Braverman’s rise to the top? – Nick Cohen, The Observer

>Today: ToryDiary: What would have happened if Johnson hadn’t signed the Withdrawal Agreement?

Tory MPs rage at housing plan to ‘concrete’ over the shires

“Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, has been accused of “concreting out, not levelling up” as 30 Tory MPs join a rebel WhatsApp group aimed at fighting his planning reforms. The cabinet minister is facing a backlash from his MPs after he launched a plan last month to build more than 300,000 homes a year, giving councils compulsory targets and creating local zones in which development is automatically approved. The plan will use an algorithm to produce targets for every area in England based on “relative affordability” and the extent of development. But figures released by Stantec, the design firm, show huge increases in house building targets in Tory-held suburbs and shires at the expense of largely Labour controlled cities and towns in the Midlands and the north.” – Sunday Times

  • Senior backbenchers blame the policy on a ‘mutant algorithm’ – Mail on Sunday

Sunak plans ‘massive business tax breaks’ to spur investment…

“Rishi Sunak is considering a multi-billion pound tax cut to encourage big companies to invest in machinery and factories as part of his bid to jump-start the economy after the damage wrought by Covid-19. The Chancellor is understood to be studying plans to give firms a full tax break on capital investment, such as technology, machinery and industrial premises, allowing them to immediately deduct the costs from their bills. Senior Tories believe such a move could encourage investment among firms otherwise reluctant to do so as a result of the financial hit from coronavirus and rising debt. Mr Sunak is understood to be concerned about current levels of investment by UK firms. Research in the US has shown that such a tax break, known as “full expensing”, could increase investment by 17.5 per cent and wages by 2.5 per cent.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Johnson tells Cabinet ministers to ‘get a grip or go’ – Mail on Sunday
  • Penrose to review UK competition laws ahead of autumn Budget – Sunday Telegraph

…as Tory donors tell Johnson his Covid rules will ‘wreck Britain and put the NHS in danger’

“Boris Johnson faced fresh pressure last night over his Covid clampdown after Tory donors warned that ‘draconian’ measures were strangling the economy and deterring workers from going back to their offices. The ‘rule of six’, which bans groups of seven people or more meeting socially from tomorrow, has been introduced despite most city centres – and Whitehall offices – being deserted. Soviet-born British businessman Alexander Temerko, who has given more than £1.2 million to the Tories over seven years, told The Mail on Sunday that protecting the economy should be the priority. ‘Without a strong economy, the NHS will be in grave danger. We must get people back to work immediately. The Civil Service must do the same,’ he said.” – Mail on Sunday


  • No ‘rule of six’, please, we’re British – Jonathan Sumption, Sunday Times
  • Stop banging on about Brexit and defeat Covid – Keir Starmer, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: Mark Harper MP in Comment: The office paradigm has shifted – here’s the future

Defence Secretary denies British army is scrapping tanks

“The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has denied reports that the British army is to scrap all its tanks. The Times had reported the modernisation of the army would lead to the end of tanks, saying the cost of maintaining the ageing fleet of vehicles was too high. But speaking to the BBC during a trip to Qatar, Wallace said: “The idea that tanks won’t be there for the army, upgraded and modernised, is wrong.” But he said investment in new technology for the armed forces would mean shelving older equipment. Last month, the Times said the decision to ditch tanks would be made as part of a review into British defence, security and foreign policy which is due to be published in 2021. It is regarded as the biggest assessment of the country’s foreign policy since the end of the cold war.” – The Observer

Police ‘handed new powers’ to remove disruptive protesters

“Police will be given sweeping new powers to remove climate change demonstrators who ­disrupt businesses or transport links. Ministers plan to outlaw “guerrilla tactics” used by Extinction Rebellion protesters to create chaos. They will re-draw public order rules to make it harder for groups to blockade key sites such as power stations, railway stations, military bases or private companies. Home Secretary Priti Patel is acting after XR’s printing press blockade which left some newsagents’ shelves empty last weekend. Under one plan, it will become an offence for protesters to superglue or chain themselves to vehicles, trains or railings to disrupt lawful activity. Last year XR activists disrupted rush-hour services by gluing themselves to a train at a London station.” – Sun on Sunday

  • Teen killers ‘to be banned from endless appeals’ – Sun on Sunday

Bailey closing gap in race to be next Mayor of London, private data suggests

“Sadiq Khan faces a growing threat of being unseated next year, according to leaked polling which suggests the London Mayor’s Conservative rival is beginning to close the gap. The Telegraph can reveal that internal Tory polling has found that the party’s mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, is now trailing Mr Khan by just seven percentage points. The survey, understood to have been commissioned by Conservative Party headquarters several weeks ago, suggests Mr Bailey is on 35 per cent, compared with Mr Khan’s 42 per cent. The data has been a closely guarded secret, with the Tory camp fearing it could cause complacency among Conservative supporters. However, it was shown briefly to a select group of activists last weekend, with Mr Bailey preparing to step up his campaign in the coming weeks. The poll is based on first preference votes.” – Sunday Telegraph

Orkney to follow Shetland in demanding ‘independence from Scotland’

“Nicola Sturgeon now faces Orkney demands to secede after civic bosses admitted they would “seek self-determination in the event of any future constitutional change”. Orkney Islands Council said they would look at options to potentially become independent from Scotland with a number of choices on the table. Council leader James Stockan said that the islands could be governed as a Crown dependency similar to Jersey as among one of the ideas for independence. It comes after Shetland island councillors voted 18 to two in favour of a motion to formally explore options “for achieving financial and political self-determination”. In a debate lasting more than an hour at a meeting this week, members argued decision-making has become increasingly centralised and public funding for the islands has been cut under the SNP Government at Holyrood.” – Sunday Express

  • Leonard survives as Scottish Labour leader – The Observer

Labour left must work with Starmer or risk ‘return to tomb’, says Corbyn adviser

“Labour’s left must work constructively with Keir Starmer and resist the temptation to go “back in our sealed tomb”, Jeremy Corbyn’s former policy chief has warned, amid a growing split on the left over how to respond to the new leader. Andrew Fisher, a key figure during Corbyn’s leadership, acknowledged doubts within the left over Starmer’s sincerity in endorsing a series of policies drawn up during the Corbyn era. However, he said it was the responsibility of senior figures within the party’s left to reassure new members that Corbyn’s replacement would not lead to their marginalisation. A debate is already under way over how the left should respond, with other senior figures calling on the left wing to have a plan to gain control within the party once again when opportunities arise. Others are watching and waiting. Karie Murphy, Corbyn’s former chief of staff, told the Observer that dissent could quickly grow if Starmer ignored the concerns of the left.” – The Observer

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