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Johnson ‘faces Tory backlash’ over deal that breaks the law…

“Boris Johnson’s decision to tear up parts of his Brexit deal damages the UK’s reputation abroad and respect for the law at home, critics claimed last night. Sir Jonathan Jones, QC, the Treasury solicitor and the government’s top legal official, resigned in protest yesterday while Theresa May led the backlash over the government’s move. Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, admitted that the attempts to unilaterally interpret rules to avoid a hard border in Ireland “break international law”, but “in a very specific and limited way”. Ministers were warned by government officials that they faced breaking the ministerial code if they pressed ahead with the proposal. This put pressure on Robert Buckland, the lord chancellor, and Suella Braverman, the attorney-general.” – The Times

  • Government admits changes to Brexit deal break international law – Daily Telegraph
  • Brussels ‘threatened to block British food exports to Northern Ireland’ in Brexit power play – The Sun
  • UK must be ready to repudiate ‘unreasonable interpretation’, says Jenkin – Daily Express

More:

  • French trade minister warns UK on Brexit level playing field – FT
  • Sturgeon accused of treachery after meddling in Brexit stand-off – Daily Express
  • Festival of Brexit will justify £120m bill, says director – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The bluffs, gambits, instincts and bottom lines of Johnson’s approach to the EU trade negotiation

…after row over withdrawal treaty ‘triggered law chief’s resignation’

“The explosive departure of the UK government’s most senior lawyer on Tuesday was prompted by a furious dispute at the heart of Whitehall over the legal implications of Britain’s failure to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. But while Jonathan Jones’s resignation as head of the government’s legal department was met with alarm and surprise by MPs and most of the civil service, for those in government working on preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period, it came as little surprise. Since the early part of the summer, the Cabinet Office and the attorney-general’s office have been at loggerheads about the UK’s legal stance and commitments to the EU in the event that no deal can be secured in time for the transition’s December 31 deadline. One person familiar with the events leading up to Sir Jonathan’s decision to resign said it followed months of tension over the handling of the Brexit negotiations and legal disagreements with attorney-general Suella Braverman.” – FT

  • Straight-shooting civil servant whose resignation was long in the making – Daily Telegraph
  • Friends and colleagues say top civil servant in intolerable position after advice ignored – The Guardian

Comment:

  • A disdain for rules that still haunts Blair – Simon Walters, Daily Mail

>Today: Darren Grimes’ column: We must reject demands that the EU would make of no other independent state

Prime Minister to unveil tough new measures to combat sharp rise in coronavirus infection rates

“Social gatherings of more than six people are to be made illegal, Boris Johnson will announce on Wednesday after a sudden surge in coronavirus cases prompted fears of a second wave. It is the first time the Prime Minister has imposed a nationwide lockdown measure since restrictions began to be eased in May and reflects growing alarm in Government at the sharp rise in infections (see graphic below), which was followed on Tuesday by a jump in daily deaths. Mr Johnson will hold his first Downing Street press conference since July to say: “We need to act now to stop the virus spreading”. From Monday, anyone breaking the six-person rule will be liable to a £100 on-the-spot fine, which will double on repeat offences up to £3,200. The limit of six people from up to six households will apply to adults and children indoors and outdoors, in homes, gardens, parks and venues such as pubs and restaurants.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scientists, MPs and industry leaders warn shutdown could cripple the country – Daily Mail
  • Groups of six or more to be banned from meeting – The Sun
  • Schools, weddings, and funerals ‘exempt’ – Daily Mail

More:

  • Tolhurt ‘moved aside’ after airlines savage lack of progress on testing – Daily Mail
  • Demand for coronavirus tests outstripping supply, Hancock admits – The Times
  • Starmer warns UK’s test-and-trace system on ‘verge of collapse’ – The Guardian
  • Oxford and AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine trial is put on hold – Daily Mail

>Today: Robert Halfon MP’s column: Seven education heroes of the lockdown. All credit to them for putting the interests of children first.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: With NHS Test and Trace repeatedly failing to meet targets, confidence in the Government’s tracing strategy is faltering

Extinction Rebellion are criminals, says Patel

“Activists in Extinction Rebellion are criminals who threaten the British way of life, Priti Patel said on Tuesday after the group’s blockade of printing presses. In the harshest language used yet by any member of the government, the home secretary described the group as “so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals” who “disrupt our free society” with “guerrilla tactics” Speaking at the annual conference of the Police Superintendents’ Association, she vowed to crack down on the group, warning: “I refuse point-blank to allow that kind of anarchy on our streets.” Ms Patel, whose parents set up a string of newsagents, challenged the police to use all the powers at their disposal “against those who threaten our freedoms”, describing the group as carrying out “a shameful attack on our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard-working majority”.” – The Times

  • Tories ‘fear building spree in the shires’ – The Times

Government to fund projects across home nations in fight to keep Union together

“Roads, cultural events and other schemes in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will be directly funded for the first time in decades by the Government in London under a Brexit law to be published on Wednesday. The Internal Market Bill will allow the UK Government in Whitehall to spend public money on its own projects in areas such as economic development, culture, sport, educational activities and training. A new Office for the Internal Market – which will secure the rights of all businesses to trade freely in all parts of the UK – will also decide how state aid money can be spent within the Union, replacing Brussels’ oversight. The plans were immediately attacked by the SNP as a “Tory power grab” that will represent the “biggest threat to devolution in decades”. However, Alun Cairns, a former Conservative Wales secretary, said the new law was the beginning of “the fight back to save the United Kingdom” as people in devolved areas would benefit directly from UK money.” – Daily Telegraph

  • SNP accused of ‘pure treachery’ to fishermen after ministers ‘sided with EU’ over trade talks – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Scott Benton MP in Comment: Why we must win the culture war – and deliver a Blue Collar programme for the economy

Daniel Finkelstein: Why Tories should hope that Trump loses

“There is an assumption that centre-right parties will look favourably on each other’s electoral success. Sometimes subtly, sometimes less so, they will lend each other support. Which makes it important to emphasise this: Donald Trump is not – he cannot be – the Conservative candidate in November’s presidential election. British Tories should not be hoping for his re-election or sending the slightest signal that they do. The first reason for this is not one of political calculation. It’s simply this: four more years of Donald Trump is not in our national interest. The relationship between Reagan and Thatcher was rooted in their common view of world affairs and acceptance of a responsibility to defend western Europe and political democracy, particularly against communism.” – The Times

>Yesterday: Simone Finn in Comment: Civil Service reform. Gove and Case will drive forward the legacy of Heywood and Maude – who’s back to help out

Starmer launching his own televised press briefings

“Sir Keir Starmer is to go head-to-head with Number 10 in a battle for the airwaves by launching his own televised press conference next month, the Telegraph can disclose. The Labour leader is to begin giving monthly televised press conferences in a bid to counter the expected start of daily press briefings by Mr Johnson’s new spokesman in 10 Downing Street. The televised question and answer sessions are likely to take place at Labour’s headquarters, or at a nearby hotel and will be open to all journalists, Covid-19 rules allowing. The press conferences are part of a wider strategy to get Sir Keir out there and build a public profile, Labour insiders said. His advisors also want him to be seen fielding difficult questions from the Press.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scottish Labour rebels begin leadership challenge process – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Is there such a thing as Starmerism? – Alan Finlayson, The Guardian

Salmond offers to go to court to get documents withheld by Sturgeon’s government

“Alex Salmond has offered to drag Nicola Sturgeon’s government back to court to help a Holyrood inquiry obtain key documents that have been withheld about the botched sexual misconduct investigation into him. In an extraordinary intervention, the former First Minister’s solicitor said he was willing to apply to the Court of Session for the documents after the SNP government failed to hand them over to the inquiry. David McKie, of Levy and McRae, said that he was willing to do this “on behalf of” the cross-party committee conducting the investigation if it agreed to meet all Mr Salmond’s legal costs. However, he noted that it is not known whether SNP ministers would contest disclosing the legal documents from Mr Salmond’s victorious judicial review case, thereby “adding to the costs.”” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Conservative Party erupts over Northern Ireland Protocol – Mutaz Ahmed, Reaction
  • Just who is moving the goalposts on a ‘level playing field’? – Martin Davison, CapX
  • Tabloid fake law is not the only fake law – Adam King, UnHerd
  • Macron’s Brexit swansong is about to unfold – John Keiger, The Spectator
  • Davey and the challenge ahead for the Lib Dems – Fraser Coppin, 1828

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