Published:

Starmer challenges critics as he ‘decisively moves Labour to centre’

“Sir Keir Starmer has decisively moved Labour back to the political centre once occupied by Tony Blair, challenging leftwing hecklers at his party’s conference to choose between “shouting slogans or changing lives”. Starmer took on his critics during a 90-minute speech in which he trashed the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn, his predecessor, and adopted many of the themes that took Blair’s New Labour to power. In a speech repeatedly interrupted by shouting and placard-waving, Starmer said: “We will never, under my leadership, go into an election with a manifesto that is not a serious plan for government.” Delivering his first “in-person” address to a Labour conference since becoming leader in 2020, Starmer said only the hard work of party activists in the 2019 election had saved Labour from “obliteration”.” – FT

  • Leader faces down conference hecklers – The Times
  • Labour pledges to borrow billions and insulate every home in Britain – The Sun
  • Tory MPs faced ‘widespread abuse’ after deputy’s ‘scum’ comment – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Labour’s purity test risks electoral suicide – James Kirkup, The Times
  • Starmer will never lead Labour back into power – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Now we know: he won’t generate a surge of support – Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian

>Yesterday:

Raab ‘open-minded’ about allowing asylum seekers to work in UK

“Dominic Raab, the new justice secretary, has said he would be “open-minded” about allowing asylum seekers to work to help tackle the UK’s labour shortage. In what would be a major departure for the government, the former foreign secretary said such a move would allow people waiting for their claims to be processed to integrate and make a positive contribution to the UK. His comments, in an interview with the Spectator, have been welcomed by campaigners who have demanded for a change to current policies which leave many claimants destitute. Most asylum seekers are not allowed to work while their case is considered and instead rely on the government for their housing and essential living needs. As a child of a refugee – his Jewish father fled from Czechoslovakia as a child – Raab was asked whether he would support allowing asylum seekers to work while their claims are being processed. “I would be open-minded about it,” he reportedly told the magazine.” – The Guardian

  • Justice Secretary: hire asylum seekers and prisoners to plug worker gap – The Times
  • He claimed that the radical move could help both society and the economy – Daily Mail

More:

  • French general blasts UK and threatens to pull Calais coast patrols – The Sun

UK deploys reserve tanker fleet to help ease fuel crisis

“The UK has deployed its reserve tanker fleet to help alleviate the fuel crisis as more forecourts reopened across the country in a sign that the panic may be easing. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced that the pool of 80 government-owned tankers would be on the roads on Wednesday afternoon to boost deliveries of fuel to petrol stations across the country. “The trucks are driven by civilians and will provide additional logistical capacity to the fuel industry,” he said. The announcement came as the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents the independent retailers that make up about two-thirds of the UK’s 8,000 petrol stations, said that approximately 27 per cent of its members’ sites were out of fuel on Wednesday. That compared with 37 per cent on Tuesday, and an estimated 50 to 90 per cent on Sunday and Monday.” – FT

  • It is leaving schools unable to transport and teach pupils, warn unions – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Desperate choices’ this winter as three more UK energy suppliers toppled by price surge – The Guardian
  • Cummings calls for his No10 successor Rosenfield to be sacked – Daily Mail
  • Green energy surcharges set to switch from electric to gas bills – FT

Comment:

  • Crisis over? Boris Johnson has jumped the gun as usual – Patrick Maguire, The Times

>Yesterday: Clive Moffatt in Comment: The Net Zero target may not be possible, and gas should bridge the generation gap

Johnson expected to announce new armed forces chief this week

“Boris Johnson has interviewed five candidates to head Britain’s armed forces, with navy chief Adm Tony Radakin and the general responsible for the SAS, Sir Patrick Sanders, frontrunners for the job. Defence sources said the prime minister had been advised to pick a new military leader with “operational experience” to replace the outgoing Gen Sir Nick Carter, whose credibility was damaged by the chaotic exit from Afghanistan. But there is uncertainty at the Ministry of Defence as to who Johnson will favour for the £270,000 a year post, although there is an expectation that Downing Street will announce the appointment this week now the final stage of interviews are complete. All four armed forces officials are in the running, plus a more junior wild card candidate, Vice Adm Ben Key, responsible for joint operations, who was put in the field after No 10 wanted an extra, non-traditional name from the MoD.” – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: The horrific treatment of Harvey Proctor exposes the extraordinary extent to which the Metropolitan Police mark their own homework

Scotland’s Covid vaccine passport plans could be blocked by judge

“A judge will decide on Thursday whether to block the SNP’s vaccine passport scheme – hours before it is due to come into force. The Night Time Industries Association in Scotland, which represents bars and nightclubs, went to the Court of Session on Wednesday to seek a last-minute interim order stopping the measures coming into effect at 5am on Friday. Lord Keen of Elie QC, who represented the group, said there was a “very stateable and real case” that ministers “have not acted proportionally with regard to these regulations”. He called the scheme  “unlawful, irrational and disproportionate” and claimed it would force businesses to break equality laws by discriminating against minority ethnic groups with lower levels of vaccine uptake.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Covid antivaxers ‘met senior Conservative MP’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Emily Carver’s column: The EU’s botched vaccine rollout showed the limits of the precautionary principle. Global Britain, take note.