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Raab says UK will defend itself against Afghan terror threat

“The UK will defend itself against any terrorists who use Afghanistan as a base for plots in the wake of the final withdrawal from the country, Dominic Raab has said. The final evacuation flight flew out of Kabul airport just after midnight local time, bringing to an end the US’s presence in the country that lasted nearly two decades. There are fears that the rushed withdrawal could raise the risk of future terror attacks. The Pentagon has estimated there are at least 2,000 “hardcore” Islamic State fighters on the ground in Afghanistan, on top of those who had been let out of prison by the Taliban in recent days. The head of the Royal Air Force told The Telegraph the UK could be involved in airstrikes against Islamic State Khorasan – otherwise known as Isis-K – the group that was behind the attack on Kabul airport, which killed nearly 200 people.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Chaotic end to Afghan mission prompts Tory soul-searching – FT
  • Minister admits pleas for help from Afghans still haven’t been read – The Times

More:

  • MPs trying to rescue more than 7,000 people trapped in Afghanistan – The Guardian
  • Last US flights slip out of Afghanistan 24 hours early – Daily Mail
  • Allies fear foreign secretary faces ‘brutal’ fall from grace – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Will the fall of Afghanistan lead to terror in Britain?

EU vows to prevent ‘uncontrolled’ mass immigration in wake of Afghan crisis

“The European Union will act to prevent “uncontrolled” mass immigration in the wake of the Afghan crisis, according to a draft statement in Brussels leaked to media, as Turkey ruled out taking more refugees. EU states are eager to avoid a repeat of the bloc’s handling of the huge influx of refugees and migrants to Greece and Italy in 2015 that fuelled tensions and support for anti-migrant, far-Right movements. A call for “solidarity” via a system of migrant quotas prompted a threat to slap huge fines on several Eastern European countries who refused to take part. “Based on lessons learned, the EU and its member states stand determined to act jointly to prevent the recurrence of uncontrolled large-scale illegal migration movements faced in the past, by preparing a coordinated and orderly response,” interior ministers are due to declare at an emergency meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Councils warn not enough room for incoming Afghan refugees – Daily Express

More:

  • Cost of asylum system soars 42 per cent – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The media focus on Afghanistan isn’t shared by voters – according to Conservative MPs

Pentagon leaks ‘blame UK for bombing deaths’

“The special relationship was under strain last night after Pentagon leaks claimed that the US had kept open a gate at Kabul airport, despite knowing there was a high risk of attack, to assist the British evacuation. Senior government sources and Tory MPs accused Washington of trying to “shift the blame” after the leaks suggested that senior US military figures wanted to close Abbey Gate on Thursday, hours before a fatal bombing. Rear Admiral Peter Vasely, commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, was said to have told colleagues in a call on Thursday that the gate would remain open because British forces had “accelerated their drawdown”. The tensions came as America’s top diplomat, the secretary of state Antony Blinken, said a new chapter in the US’s engagement with Afghanistan had started.” – The Times

  • Raab slams ‘untrue’ US claim Britain was to blame for making Kabul death toll worse – The Sun
  • Britain is planning to take out ISIS-K chiefs responsible for Kabul airport suicide bombing – Daily Mail
  • UK wins praise for role in Kabul evacuations – Daily Telegraph

Prime Minister and Chancellor ‘are close to a deal to cap social care costs’

“Boris Johnson was urged last night to ‘bite the bullet’ and finally announce his long-awaited social care reforms amid rising hopes they could be finalised in days. The Prime Minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are thought to be close to a deal to cap social care costs, the last details of which insiders believe could be ironed out this week. This would resolve the sticking point between No 10 and the Treasury over the huge cost of the reforms. It is understood the £10billion cost will be met through an increase in National Insurance contributions of 1p on both employers and employees. This rise, which will be dubbed a ‘health and social care levy’, could also be charged on working pensioners for the first time. The Prime Minister hopes to be able to unveil the new plan some time between the return of Parliament next week and the Tory conference in early October.” – Daily Mail

  • Ministers get set to unveil £8bn plan to build 119,000 properties – Daily Mail

>Today: Peter Lilley in Comment: Social care. There’s an alternative to higher taxes – namely, state-backed voluntary insurance

Supermarkets urged to hire British lorry drivers to bring end to crisis

“Supermarkets should hire more Brit lorry drivers rather than look to foreign workers, a Cabinet minister has said. Kwasi Kwarteng rejected calls from industry chiefs to grant EU truckers visas. The Business Secretary wants firms to take on retired soldiers and ex-cons instead of turning to cheap labour from the continent. His remarks came as it emerged Waitrose drivers earn almost £54,000 — more than some architects and lawyers. There have been shortages of products, including KFC chicken and McDonald’s milkshakes, due to a dearth of 100,000 truckers. The Sun’s Keep On Trucking campaign to get more Brits behind the wheels of HGVs is being backed by ministers. Mr Kwarteng said people whose jobs are under threat due to the pandemic would leap at the chance to retrain.” – The Sun

  • Union leaders call for more public holidays to thank working Britain – The Guardian

>Today: Richard Holden MP’s column: We must slash red tape and give people skills that will empower them to get new jobs

>Yesterday: John Redwood MP’s column: Lorries, Brexit – and the truth about how to keep on trucking

Schools could improve children’s behaviour by keeping them in lunch ‘bubbles’, Williamson claims

“Schools should consider keeping children in lunch ‘bubbles’ this term to improve their behaviour, Gavin Williamson has suggested. The Education Secretary is encouraging headteachers to extend the Covid measure because it has other benefits beyond restricting the virus. The bubble system, which saw pupils eat with the same group every day to stop the virus spreading, has been scrapped for the new term this week. However, Mr Williamson said headteachers found it a great opportunity to teach ‘family dining’ – including table manners and social skills… Schools have autonomy over their behaviour policies and do not have to adopt Mr Williamson’s suggestion. But even before the bubble system, family dining was adopted by a number of top schools to tackle poor behaviour.” – Daily Mail

  • Schools will need to reintroduce tougher Covid measures in weeks, warn unions – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Shabana Raman in Comment: It’s time to close the attainment gap by putting power into parents’ hands

UK launches £450m fund for energy network innovation

“The UK has opened applications for a £450m innovation fund aimed at accelerating efforts to decarbonise energy networks, as the country gears up to host the UN’s COP26 climate summit later this year. Ofgem, the independent energy system regulator, and Innovate UK are pushing for companies to come forward with proposals for heating, transport, digitalisation and system integration with the objective of turning the UK into the “Silicon Valley of energy”. The funding, which comes from network charges on consumer bills, could be increased if enough viable proposals come forward, Ofgem said, as the country targets cutting emissions to net zero by 2050… Ofgem said it was also interested in projects such as battery storage technology, which is seen as critical as a larger part of the UK’s power generation comes from intermittent renewables such as offshore wind power.” – FT

Ministers reject BBC plea for licence fee to keep up with inflation

“The BBC licence fee will rise by less than the rate of inflation over the next five years because ministers are concerned about hitting households with higher bills, The Times has been told. The government is due to conclude negotiations with the BBC over the licence fee, which is £159 a year, in coming weeks. The talks will determine its cost over the next five years. Ministers are understood to have rejected calls by the corporation for it to increase the licence fee in line with inflation, as in previous years. “The BBC is a hugely important national institution,” a government source said. “But equally these are hard times. Nobody wants to punish the BBC but it’s got to be subject to the same efficiency savings as everyone else.” A source familiar with the discussions said the BBC had warned that raising the licence fee by less than the rate of inflation could lead to significant cuts to “quality” programming. The fee yields £3.2 billion a year for the corporation.” – The Times

  • Corporation bosses lose cash battle – Daily Mail

Britain ‘on cusp’ of striking £2.3bn post-Brexit trade deal with New Zealand

“Britain was last night on the cusp of striking a post-Brexit trade deal with New Zealand. Negotiators are locked in final talks on a £2.3bn pact to ditch tariffs and boost business ties. Industry insiders have been told the agreement is set to be inked “imminently”. It comes just weeks after Liz Truss signed the UK’s first major trade deal outside the EU with Australia. Brits will be able to benefit from cheaper prices in the shops on New Zealand produce like wine and food. The deal will remove up to 20p of tax from a bottle of Kiwi plonk in the supermarket. And the pact will boost exports of iconic UK goods including chocolate, gin, buses, and clothes. It is also another step towards No 10’s ambitions to join the £9 trillion Trans-Pacific Partnership area.” – The Sun

Sturgeon appoints Green party ministers to Scottish government

“Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, on Monday announced the appointment of the first Green party ministers in any UK government, giving co-leaders of the Scottish Greens potentially pivotal roles in cutting carbon emissions and introducing rent controls. The appointment of co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, which must be confirmed by the devolved parliament at Holyrood, seals an innovative power-sharing agreement between the governing Scottish National party and Scottish Greens agreed earlier this month. The deal gives Sturgeon’s government of Holyrood an assured majority for a second referendum on Scottish independence and most of its other policy priorities. However, it stops short of a full coalition, with the two parties agreeing to differ on issues such as aviation policy and how to measure economic success.” – FT

  • First Minister accused of ‘taking nationalist gamble with people’s jobs’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Sturgeon abandoned bid to rejoin EU after poll showed record level of euroscepticism – Daily Express

More:

  • Salmond inquiry upheld five sexual harassment complaints – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Westminster must now confront the anti-democrats in the SNP/Green ‘alliance’ – Ian Mitchell, CapX
  • Stonewall came tumbling down – Josephine Bartosch, The Critic
  • Why Johnson’s opponents keep failing – Patrick O’Flynn, The Spectator
  • How not to talk to a science denier – Tom Chivers, UnHerd