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Fuel crisis 1) Disruption at petrol pumps could last for a month – as Johnson urges people to behave “in a normal way”

“Petrol stations will face disruption for up to a month even if people stop panic buying, industry figures have warned, despite “tentative” signs that the situation is starting to improve. Boris Johnson said yesterday that the government was putting preparations in place to deal with a shortage of HGV drivers and ensure that Britain could get “through to Christmas and beyond”. In his first public comments on the fuel crisis, the prime minister said that the situation was “stabilising”. He urged people to stop panic buying and to behave “in a normal way”. However, industry sources told The Times that the disruption could continue for weeks even if panic buying subsided because it would take time to restock petrol stations.” – The Times

  • Downing Street feared an early intervention by PM would add fuel to the fire – The Times
  • Fuel crisis is delaying appointments for cancer patients, reveal hospitals – Daily Telegraph
  • Blame haulage industry not Brexit for fuel shortage, says Tory MP – Daily Telegraph
  • Soldiers will drive fuel trucks to ease chaos as Johnson sends in Army but vows situation is improving – The Sun

Comment:

Analysis:

  • Why is there a fuel shortage and how long will it last? The Times

>Today:

Fuel crisis 2) EU single market avoids supply problems

“Shortages of lorry drivers have not led to empty supermarket shelves or significant disruption in Europe because of “labour flexibilities” in the European Union’s single market, according to industry experts. They say the single market allows the European logistics industry to protect itself against the shortages that are causing big supply problems in Britain. “In Europe haulage companies have more flexibility to deploy labour to add transport capacity,” said Michael Clover of Transport Intelligence, a logistics consultancy that works across Europe. “Hauliers can recruit drivers from anywhere within the EU so can draw on the whole pool of European drivers.”” – The Times

Labour Party Conference 1) Victory more important than unity, Starmer tells leftwingers..

“Sir Keir Starmer will vow today to end the Jeremy Corbyn era as he says that winning is more important than maintaining unity in his party. In his first in-person speech to his party conference as leader, Starmer will say that he is putting Labour “back in business”. He will draw a line under the Corbyn years and the manifesto that Labour presented to voters in 2019. A party source said his speech would demonstrate that it “will never again go into an election with a manifesto that isn’t a serious plan for government”. Shadow cabinet ministers believe that Corbyn will never again be a Labour MP after Starmer’s rule changes. The reforms, approved on Sunday, make it harder for local activists to trigger a deselection process.” – The Times

  • Labour members defy Starmer over minimum wage – The Times
  • Starmer to accuse Tories of being ‘lost in the woods’ as he rejects Corbyn era – The Guardian

>Today:

Labour Party Conference 2) …as Corbyn is told to apologise for his past comments about Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis… or stay suspended from the party whip

“Jeremy Corbyn will only get the party whip back if he issues an apology for past comments about Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis, Sir Keir Starmer said yesterday. The hard-Left former leader was suspended last year after saying the scale of the problem had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by opponents and the media. He was later let back in as a party member, but he is still suspended from the Labour whip and sits in the Commons as an independent. Yesterday, Mr Corbyn refused to rule out standing against his own party in his Islington North seat at the next election. And he denied being part of a ‘Machiavellian plot’ to stage a shadow cabinet resignation to overshadow the Labour conference.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbyn will never be Labour MP again after Starmer’s rule changes, shadow ministers believe – The Times
  • McDonnell calls on Labour to readmit Corbyn as MP – Daily Telegraph

Political sketch:

Labour Party Conference 3) Daniel Finkelstein: The best Starmer can hope for is a coalition

“Here’s an episode for Sir Keir Starmer to contemplate as he makes his speech in Brighton today and heads home from the party conference. As he is only three days younger than me, and was equally obsessed with politics from a young age, he can probably just about remember it. On Saturday March 2, 1974, the leader of the Liberal Party, Jeremy Thorpe, left his Devon cottage by the back door, walked across a muddy field and jumped into a car waiting to start the journey to London to see the prime minister. The election campaign had just concluded, producing a hung parliament, and Ted Heath had asked for a meeting. He wanted to see on what terms the Liberals might be willing to support him continuing in office.” – The Times

Labour Party Conference 4) I’ve been thrown on railway tracks, says Duffield in trans row

“An MP has accused Sir Keir Starmer and members of the shadow cabinet of “chucking me on the railway tracks” as the row over trans rights in Labour overshadowed the eve of the party’s final day of conference. Rosie Duffield, 50, spoke at an unofficial event last night in Brighton with a heavy security presence after organisers were blocked from hosting a round table at official conference venues. Protesters gathered outside to denounce the meeting. Duffield, the MP for Canterbury, who is a survivor of domestic abuse, is not attending the official conference because of fears for her safety. Yesterday, Angela Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, became the latest frontbencher to distance herself from Duffield’s remarks about trans people.” – The Times

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Labour Party Conference 5) Burnham calls for council tax to be scrapped and replaced with a wealth levy based on the value of your home

“Andy Burnham yesterday called on Labour to back a wealth tax based on the value of property. The Greater Manchester mayor said he wanted to see council tax scrapped and replaced with the new levy. The ‘proportional tax’ would see homeowners paying an annual levy worth around 0.5 per cent of the value of their home instead of council tax and stamp duty. Supporters, such as the think-tank IPPR, say it is unfair that those who have benefited from soaring house prices should pay so little. Speaking at an IPPR fringe event, the former Labour MP said: ‘There is a really interesting discussion about how we reform property tax. ‘The party can’t tiptoe around it any more. Council tax is bearing too much weight.’ Wes Streeting, Labour’s spokesman on child poverty, told conference the Government was ‘punching down’ on families with the cut to universal credit.” – Daily Mail

Ministers risk new French spat after rejecting fishing licences

“Ministers risked starting another post-Brexit fishing conflict with France after rejecting more than 80 per cent of applications by French boats to fish in British coastal waters. The government told Brussels and the French authorities yesterday that they intended to grant only 12 licences for small boats to fish in the zone between six to 12 miles off the coast of Britain. At the same time officials in Jersey are set to reject 122 applications from French boats to operate in waters off the coast of the island, granting only 47 licences. France has already privately called on the European Commission to use the threat of wider trade sanctions to break what it regards as UK intransigence on fishing rights.” – The Times

Comment:

Insulate Britain: M25 protesters not covered by crackdown

“None of the 52 activists who blockaded the M25 this week were covered by the government’s injunction aimed at stopping protests. The activists from Insulate Britain were arrested for obstructing the highway and released with no conditions, because it is a summary offence that can result only in a fine. Although National Highways obtained a High Court injunction to try to stop blockades, sources said that none of the most recent protesters were named in it. They could not therefore face the more serious sanctions involved in an injunction breach even if they returned for future protests on the same road. After protesters caused chaos with consecutive protests on the M25 and then the port of Dover, the government said the injunction was a deterrent, because breaching it could result in a prison sentence.” – The Times

  • Thunberg criticises Johnson’s ‘blah’ promises – The Times

Gene-edited animals and crops to be approved in productivity boost

“Gene editing of animals and crops will be approved under plans to use post-Brexit freedoms to improve productivity, make food more nutritious and reduce reliance on pesticides and antibiotics. Ministers will focus initially on relaxing the rules on gene-editing plants but they also plan to allow the technology to be used on animals and intend at a later stage to make it easier to sell genetically modified produce. Regulations will be changed by the end of the year in England to allow scientists to conduct field trials of gene-edited crops without risk assessments or obtaining consent, a process which costs between £5,000 and £10,000.” – The Times

>Today:

Whitehall departments face legal demand to reveal every time that ministers and top civil servants have used personal phones and email for official business

“Two Whitehall departments are facing a legal demand to reveal every time ministers and mandarins have used their personal phones or email to conduct official business. All those in high-profile posts within the Cabinet Office and Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) will have to explain what was said and the steps taken to preserve any messages. The request has been submitted by transparency campaigners Foxglove, who claim key policy decisions are being discussed over encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp.” – Daily Mail

Side effects from booster shots of Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines occur at the same rate as reactions after second doses, CDC report finds

“Side effects after booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines occur as frequently as they do after second doses, a new report finds. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at reports made to v-safe – a voluntary, smartphone-based safety surveillance system – after people received a third dose. About 79 percent had reactions at the injection site, such as pain, redness or swelling, and 74 percent reported other side effects such as fever, headache, chills or joint pain. The figures are very similar to the 77 percent of patients who reported injection site side effects and 76 percent who had other reactions after the second dose.” – Daily Mail

  • Schools tricked into sending antivaxer Covid ‘consent form’ to parents – The Times

Counselling for Khan’s staff after death threats

“Sadiq Khan has described his “horrible” life of round-the-clock protection and revealed his staff have had to have counselling after reading threats. The mayor of London, 50, said that “the mayor of the greatest city in the world needs protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week because of the colour of his skin and the god he worships”. Khan told a New Statesman event at Labour’s conference in Brighton that he refused protection after succeeding Boris Johnson in 2016. But he said a “gamechanger” was when “police spoke to my chief of staff and my wife. And the point they made was ‘do I realise that those who are with me are at risk, my wife and kids, my staff’.” – The Times

Harvey Proctor blasts Scotland Yard ‘coverup’ culture after censored report into probe over false ‘VIP paedophile ring’ claim

“Harvey Proctor has lashed out at Scotland Yard’s ‘cover-up’ culture after a heavily-censored report cleared officers of wrongdoing over the Operation Midland scandal. The ex-Tory MP, falsely accused of child sex abuse and serial murder in the fiasco, issued a damning statement after a ‘whitewash’ inquiry exonerated officers. Swathes of the report by Merseyside Police on behalf of the Met were redacted, meaning the rationale for controversial decisions at the end of Operation Midland remain secret. Last night Mr Proctor said it was an ‘exquisite example of cover-up and further attempts to ensure no police officer is personally held responsible’ for Scotland Yard’s inquiry into a so-called VIP paedophile ring.” – Daily Mail

300m daffodils left to rot in wake of Brexit and Covid

“Daffodil growers were forced to let nearly 300 million flowers rot in the ground this year due to a lack of pickers caused by Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. Farmers are warning that if the critical labour shortage is not solved by the government before next year’s harvest, many will stop growing one of the nation’s favourite flowers. Cornwall supplies nine out of ten of all daffodils grown in the UK after large-scale commercial operations were set up in the late 19th century to benefit from the mild climate. But this year 274 million stems were left in the ground due to a lack of pickers, leaving the £100 million industry in crisis. The figure represents 20 per cent of the entire crop and has left its growers threatening to pull out if more government support is not forthcoming.” – The Times

Students at University of Kent must take ‘white privilege’ course

“All students at the University of Kent must take a diversity course which suggests that wearing second-hand clothes and using swear words can be examples of white privilege. The university has told every student, regardless of the subject they are studying or if they are an undergraduate or postgraduate, to complete the four-hour online course, which covers topics including white privilege, microaggressions and preferred pronouns. The Expect Respect course is described as outlining “the behaviours we expect of you whilst you are with us as well as what you can expect from both the university and your students’ union”, according to the university website.” – The Times

  • The woman canceling cancel culture: How a British academic’s ‘support group for the unwoke’ is helping people fight back against social justice office culture – including a black man who was sick of being told he was oppressed  – Daily Mail

 News in brief: