Johnson scrambles to U-turn on foreign lorry drivers as shortages and inflation begin to hit home

“Boris Johnson is set to U-turn on visas for lorry drivers to allow 5,000 foreign hauliers into the UK after panic-buying gridlocked petrol stations across the country.   Motorists ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads to buy petrol amid fears that fuel shortages could bring the economy to its knees. The Prime Minister is expected to buckle and grant visas for thousands of foreign drivers in a bid to tackle the shortages, while soldiers will also be drafted in to help at HGV testing sites to clear a backlog of drivers trying to get licences.” – Daily Mail

“Millions of people are facing soaring gas bills as their energy suppliers go bust, supermarkets are warning of gaps on shelves because of a shortage of HGV drivers, petrol is being rationed and inflation is expected to pass 4 per cent — right when the government is reducing weekly universal credit payments by £20 a week.” – The Times

  • Eustice and Barclay were for the visa plan, Patel and Kwarteng were opposed, Shapps in the middle – The Guardian
  • Will food workers from abroad also get visas? – Financial Times
  • BP “sparked the crisis by lobbying to get visa restrictions lifted” – Daily Telegraph
  • How will the energy crisis affect you? – The Guardian
  • Wind farms were paid to switch off this week, because the electricity they produce wouldn’t have gone where it’s needed – Daily Telegraph
  • Energy retailers want rescue package for suppliers – Financial Times
  • UK needs nearly two million more workers as vacancies soar – Daily Mail
  • Shapps wants retired lorry drivers back at work again – The Sun
  • Insulate Britain protesters “could face jail if they blockade Dover” – The Sun
  • Soaring heating bills could force care homes closures – Daily Mail
  • One in ten pupils off in some schools – i
  • Johnson wants a nuclear power station at Anglesey – Daily Express
  • UK on verge of joining EU vaccine passport scheme – Daily Telegraph
  • Write-through of the Prime Minister’s week and the AUKUS deal – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Sam Hall on Comment – Energy prices. We should urgently wean ourselves off gas and not give up on Net Zero.

Charles Moore: Our energy system is bust…

“This week, however, has brought out something serious – long-term serious. Our energy system is no longer reliable or rational. It is almost bound, barring some technological miracle, to grow more unreliable and more expensive for the foreseeable future. Which is another way of saying that we shall grow poorer. The latest rush to the petrol pumps may truly be the result of temporary shortage – the lack of HGV drivers – and therefore no more than irritating. But the relationship between our net-zero policies and power generation is another matter.” – Daily Telegraph

Matthew Parris: …And government can’t solve every problem anyway

“The 2020s are turning into the decade when the centre in British politics moved stealthily, steadily to the left. Our chameleon Conservative Party is staying in power by changing its colours. Blue has taken on a pinkish edge and it’s getting pinker by the week. The knee-jerk response to every problem is becoming “What’s the government going to do about it?” and the Tories’ knee-jerk answer is becoming “We’re working on it. See it, say it, we’ll sort it.” – The Times

  • Anyone with half a brain could see this energy crisis coming – Jeremy Clarkson, The Sun
  • We need temporary EU lorry drivers – Sun Editorial
  • What’s the Government’s plan? – Times Editorial
  • Putting food on shelves is the top priority – Daily Express Editorial
  • Gove must grasp that levelling-up is about people, not places – Camilla Cavendish, Financial Times

Ministers 1) Javid probes for a way forward over doctors’ return to face-to-face appointments…

“Earlier this week, the Health Secretary met leaders from the British Medical Association and the Royal College of GPs to discuss access to doctors and how the public can get face-to-face appointments. A senior government source said: ‘GPs are doing a phenomenal job and we need to free up more of their time so they can focus on seeing patients rather than filing paperwork. ‘That is why we are urgently looking at ways to cut bureaucracy in the system. For many people telephone appointments are more convenient but of course those who want a face-to-face appointment should be able to get one.’” – Daily Mail

  • Unions claim that the NHS may need to cut all non-urgent care this winter – Scotsman
  • Chemotherapy is being rationed in some areas – Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – The GP crisis. And why it may prove that the lockdown sceptics had a point.

Ministers 2) Early anti-Planning Bill push by Conservative MPs on Gove

“Mr Gove, the new Housing Secretary, is understood to be weighing up how to make planning reforms acceptable to Tory MPs fighting the changes. It emerged that dozens of rebel Conservative MPs have told Boris Johnson and Mr Gove they want to be given an effective veto in the most controversial parts of the planning reforms. Sixty-one Tories signed a letter to Mr Gove and the Prime Minister – seen by The Telegraph – asking that, if the Government goes ahead with a Planning Bill, they submit it to pre-legislative scrutiny first. This would allow MPs to take out divisive areas before it goes into the Commons for a full debate and nullify the chance of damaging rebellions.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Alex Morton on Comment – Five ways in which we can Get Housing Done. And why Gove is the man for the job

Starmer struggles over Labour reform vote as its party conference looms

“Keir Starmer is in “discussions” about whether to press ahead with radical changes to the way Labour elects its leaders, after pulling plans to put the proposals to a vote at the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC). The Labour leader had been expected to push the package of reforms at a meeting on Friday evening. But after he addressed sceptical union leaders on Friday afternoon, Starmer’s office said they would not be tabled. Instead, they suggested, discussions were ongoing. Trade union sources said Starmer had made an emollient speech to TULO, the group that represents the Labour-supporting unions – but that none of the unions present had backed the plans.” – The Guardian

  • Labour leader plans Kinnock-style speech to confront his party if his rule changes fail – The Times
  • Corbyn launches attack on Starmer – Daily Express
  • Rayner has “vowed to hand the party’s union paymasters 1970s style sweeping powers” – The Sun
  • Starmer v Rayner – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour move to boost home ownership – Daily Mail
  • Rayner interview: I find it difficult to be happy – The Times
  • Nandy interview: Labour must show it can be trusted with the nation’s finances – Financial Times
  • Thomas-Symonds interview: warn drug users, don’t prosecute them, he says – Daily Telegraph
  • Khan interview: misogyny should be a hate crime – The Times
  • I doubt Labour can survive – Ian Austin, Daily Mail
  • Starmer is picking the wrong fights – Times Editorial
  • Labour is a middle-class party – Daily Telegraph Editorial

> Yesterday:

Donaldson calls for pan-Unionist electoral pact in Northern Ireland

“DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson is calling for a unionist pact for the next Stormont election to help return “as many as possible pro-Union, anti-protocol MLAs”. He spoke of his respect for UUP leader Doug Beattie and TUV leader Jim Allister and said he believed they could “work together” to broaden unionism’s appeal. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph Sir Jeffrey didn’t rule out attending a gay wedding if invited to one, and also indicated that conscience votes on social issues could become more commonplace in his party.” – Belfast Telegraph

Will Germany’s CDU pull off a last-minute recovery in Germany’s election?

“Angela Merkel has warned that Germany’s stability and prosperity are in jeopardy as her party closes to within a single percentage point of its centre-left rival on the eve of one of the nation’s most tense elections in living memory. The chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is on the cusp of an 11th-hour comeback after sinking to historically low ratings in the polls. Sensing a chance of victory, she exhorted her supporters to use the final 24 hours of the campaign to woo the 25 per cent of the electorate that has yet to decide how to vote.” – The Times

And finally…Andrew Neil weeps as he says of GB News: “I came close to a breakdown”

‘I came close to a breakdown,’ he confesses, tears falling. ‘I said: “This is a disaster and it’s my reputation that’s on the line.” That’s what really did me in the end – and it’s my own stupidity for getting into it – the fact that everybody saw my face on the tin. It was Andrew Neil’s channel. That’s what everyone talked about. What nobody knew was [before the June launch] in March, April, May… my face was still on the tin but I had no say on what was going into the tin” – Daily Mail

  • Lord Gowrie, politician, poet, Thatcher Cabinet member and former Chairman of the Arts Council, dies – Daily Telegraph