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Fuel crisis threatens to hit health services and industry

“UK medical workers and transport companies on Monday warned the fuel crisis threatened major disruption to essential services and industry as they demanded priority access to petrol and diesel following panic buying. The scale of the crisis, with the majority of the UK’s 8,000 petrol stations drained of fuel, prompted the government to put the military on standby to help with deliveries. Ministers said British army tanker drivers would be deployed if necessary to fortify supply chains and ensure fuel went to where it was needed most. The British Medical Association said the fuel crisis meant healthcare staff reliant on cars risked being cut off from work, while taxi and courier companies said the acute shortage of petrol and diesel posed significant disruption. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association’s ruling council, said healthcare workers needed access to fuel “whether this is to get to hospitals, practices and other healthcare settings, or for ambulances to reach people in urgent need of care”.” – FT

  • Let Britain’s key workers fill up petrol first, Prime Minister urged – The Times
  • Drivers face confusion over petrol crisis after day of panic, U-turns and Government chaos – The Sun
  • Starmer level with Johnson in poll as fuel crisis bites – FT
  • Panic buying pushes prices to highest level for eight years – The Times
  • Drivers stalk petrol tankers and fight at the pumps – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: No, we’re not returning to the 1970s

School funding under threat as Sunak reins in spending

“Education will be hardest hit in the spending review with “minimal” additional funding to help children to catch up after missing out on school during the pandemic, The Times has been told. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, is preparing to rein in government spending after announcing billions more in spending for the NHS and social care. Two senior government sources said that the Department for Education (DfE) did not submit a formal application for catch-up funding. They said that this was greeted with “incredulity” by Downing Street and the Treasury. This was contested by a source at the department, who said that an “ambitious” bid for catch-up funding had been submitted. The deadline for submissions for the spending review, which will set out government spending for the next three years, was a fortnight ago, two days before the reshuffle in which Gavin Williamson was replaced as education secretary by Nadhim Zahawi.” – The Times

  • Graduates’ fury at plan to make them pay back loans earlier – Daily Mail

>Today: Richard Holden MP in Comment: The Chancellor’s coming Budget should cut high marginal tax rates. More work should mean more reward.

>Yesterday: David Gauke’s column: Sunak’s options for a Budget windfall. Lower debt, tax cuts and higher spending. Which will he choose?

Government to take over Southeastern after ‘serious’ breach of franchise

“The government is taking over the running of the railway operator Southeastern, owned by Go-Ahead, from mid-October after discovering a “serious” breach of the franchise agreement. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said an investigation by the Department for Transport found that since October 2014 Southeastern had not declared more than £25m of historic taxpayer funding that should have been returned, and described this as a serious breach of the franchise agreement’s “good faith” obligation. He said the money had been recovered and further investigations were being conducted into all historic contract issues related to the franchise. After these investigations, the government will consider further options for enforcement action. Southeastern’s owner, Go-Ahead, said it “acknowledges that errors have been made in relation to the franchise” and that the £25m had been repaid.” – The Guardian

  • Gone full Jeremy Corbyn! Boris to renationalise railway – Daily Express

More:

  • Prime Minister orders proper inquiry into smart motorways – Daily Mail

Britain will launch rockets next year, vows Johnson

“Spaceports from Cornwall to Shetland will launch rockets into orbit next year as Boris Johnson promises to create “galactic Britain”. The prime minister insisted that Britain cannot remain “earthbound” and must seize leadership in the multi-billion-pound space industry. Space defences will spy on hostile powers from orbit and prevent them jamming vital communications, a government strategy published yesterday promised. Satellites will also help to forecast the weather and look for power grid outages, the plan said. Britain’s space industry is worth £16 billion a year and employs 45,000 people in areas such as manufacturing, communication and navigation satellites. Johnson believes the country must claim more of a global industry that is projected to double in size to £490 billion a year within a decade. In the space strategy the government promised that the UK would become the first country to launch a rocket into orbit from Europe.” – The Times

  • UK starts talks on £9 trillion trade pact today – Daily Express

Starmer hit by fresh turmoil at Labour party conference…

“Sir Keir Starmer was hit by waves of dissent at the Labour party’s annual conference on Monday as a member of the shadow cabinet resigned and delegates defied the leadership’s line on two foreign policy issues. Andy McDonald, the shadow employment rights secretary and last hard-left member of Starmer’s shadow cabinet, resigned over differences with the Labour leader over the minimum wage. He had been pushing for the party to adopt a £15 an hour minimum wage but Starmer’s team insisted on keeping the existing policy of backing £10 an hour. In a resignation letter McDonald said to Starmer: “After 18 months of your leadership our movement is more divided than ever and the pledges you made to the membership are not being honoured.” Meanwhile, delegates strongly diverged from the Labour leader’s line on both Israel and Aukus — the new Australia, UK, US military alliance — which the Labour leader welcomed earlier this month.” – FT

  • Labour members vote to condemn the AUKUS defence pact and claim it ‘undermines world peace’ – Daily Mail
  • McDonald quits as mayors pile on pressure – The Times
  • How frontbencher’s resignation put Sir Keir on the back foot – Daily Telegraph
  • Could equality law end all-women shortlists? Labour could be forced to scrap the practice – Daily Mail

…as Thornberry suggests Rayner had been drinking when she made ‘Tory scum’ jibe

“One of Angela Rayner’s Labour front bench colleagues suggested today that she had been drinking when she branded the Tories ‘scum’ – as the party’s deputy leader refused to apologise. Shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry said ‘there may have been drink partaken’ at the Saturday night conference bash where Ms Rayner lashed out at the Conservatives. Her comments came as Keir Starmer’s firebrand deputy defied him and insisted Boris Johnson is the one who should be apologising, not her. The Labour deputy leader tweeted doubling down on her vicious barbs at ‘racist and homophobic’ top Conservatives. She posted examples of the PM’s controversial remarks from the past, complaining that critics should be less ‘concerned with my choice of language’. She also offered to meet with Boris Johnson to discuss his comments, an offer rejected by Downing Street.” – Daily Mail

  • Lammy says Tories should ‘get their own house in order’ before criticising ‘fruity’ language – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Rayner’s rant suggests that the Opposition remains some distance from power – and knows it

Labour revives Blair’s policy on crime…

“Labour will be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, the shadow home secretary has said as he announced the party is readopting Tony Blair’s slogan as part of efforts to restore Labour’s reputation on law and order. In an interview with The Times, Nick Thomas-Symonds also said that Labour would continue deportation flights if it entered government and would never bring back freedom of movement. He will use his speech to the Labour party conference to announce a new policy to “bring back neighbourhood policing” by installing “police hubs” in every community. They will work with “next generation neighbourhood watch” teams to use technology including video doorbells and WhatsApp groups to share information to crack down on antisocial behaviour. It will form part of broader policies to “rebuild trust” with voters as he said that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership had cost the party dearly.” – The Times

  • Party mocked after reinstating Tony Blair’s 1990s slogan – Daily Express
  • Labour vows to double the number of special constables on Britain’s streets – The Sun

Comment:

  • German model offers Starmer path to power – William Hague, The Times

>Yesterday: Peter Franklin’s column: Ten reasons why Labour isn’t dead yet

…and seeks to bury Corbyn’s legacy with ‘commitment to economic stability’

“Rachel Reeves, shadow chancellor, has claimed Labour will become “the party of long-term economic stability, of secure public finances and of economic growth”, as she tried to bury Jeremy Corbyn’s leftwing legacy. Although Reeves promised £28bn of additional investment every year over the next decade to pay for Britain’s “green transition”, she said this could be accommodated within the party’s new borrowing rules. Reeves’s fiscal rules — to borrow only to invest and committing to cut Britain’s debt burden — were greeted with some modest applause at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton on Monday. The proposals are intended to prevent a return to the big unfunded spending promises of the Corbyn era; at the 2019 election the party promised, out of the blue, to spend £58bn on compensating women approaching state pension age who had been affected by rule changes.” – FT

  • Labour to spend £28bn a year until 2030 on tackling climate change – The Times
  • Party would hit Britain with a £224 billion borrowing bill to go green – The Sun
  • Opposition would double dementia research spending, shadow health secretary to say – The Guardian

Immigration:

  • Reeves sinks Starmer’s HGV visa plan – Daily Mail
  • Restaurants and hotels press ministers to ease visa rules for staff – FT

>Today: Dean Russell MP in Comment: My dad was an HGV driver. Here’s how Labour and Remainers stood by – while his and others’ wages were driven down.

Webbe accused of making acid threat to friend of her partner, court hears

“An MP has been accused of threatening to use acid against a woman she believed to be in a relationship with her partner, a court has heard. Claudia Webbe, 56, allegedly became “obsessed” with Michelle Merritt due to her friendship with the Leicester East MP’s partner, Lester Thomas. Webbe also threatened to reveal naked photographs and videos she supposedly had of Merritt to her family, Westminster magistrates court heard on Monday. Webbe, who was elected as a Labour MP but has since had the whip withdrawn, denies the charge. Susannah Stevens, prosecuting, said: “The reason for the harassment appeared to be the fact that Ms Merritt was friends with Lester Thomas and this was an issue for the defendant, Ms Webbe. The harassment initially took the form of telephone calls that were made by Ms Webbe to Ms Merritt.” Made from a withheld number, the calls were silent and of a short duration, the court was told. They tended to occur when Merritt was with Thomas.” – The Guardian

  • MP screamed at her partner’s ‘friend’ before ‘threatening to kill her family and send them naked pictures of her’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • McDonald’s resignation spells trouble for Starmer – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • Rayner wants to take working class women like me down with her – Jordan Tyldesley, CapX
  • One big Anglo family – Andrew Devine, The Critic
  • How to solve the fuel crisis – Tom Chivers, UnHerd