Conservative Conference 1) Northern MPs claim tax rises on the poor prevent levelling up

“A group of senior Conservative MPs has broken ranks to openly question how Boris Johnson can deliver on his promise to increase prosperity in poorer parts of the UK while at the same time raising taxes for working people and cutting benefits…Among Tory MPs, including some who won their northern or Midlands seats from Labour on the back of Johnson’s promise to “level up” the country, there was growing concern that tax rises and cuts to universal credit may fatally undermine their constituents’ trust in Johnson and his ability to deliver for people in more deprived areas. Jake Berry, a former Tory minister of state for the northern powerhouse from 2017 to 2020, who now chairs the Northern Research Group of about 50 Conservative MPs in northern seats, told the Observer that the Manchester conference was a key test for Johnson and his stated mission to create a more equal country.” – The Observer

  • New poll reveals that more voters now believe Labour will keep taxes low as they lose faith in the Conservatives – Sunday Telegraph
  • Milton Keynes voters put low taxes at the top of their shopping list – Sunday Times
  • We are now presiding over the highest burden of taxation since World War Two and there is every sign that is only going to get worse – Esther McVey, Sunday Express
  • Conservatives are losing trust on issues they should own – Leader, Sunday Telegraph
  • The atmosphere in Manchester will be tetchy – Macer Hall, Sunday Express
  • Johnson and Sunak “make secret deal to cut tax before the next election” – Sunday Times
  • Britain now has the chance to become Singapore-on-Thames – and on the Irwell, the Mersey, the Clyde and the Tyne as well – Leader, Mail on Sunday


>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Our survey. Over two in three Party members fear that Johnson will leave a legacy of higher taxes – and a bigger state.

Conservative Conference 2) Patel “to announce tougher measures to stop motorways being blocked”

“The home secretary will promise tougher powers to tackle demonstrators blocking motorways, after a string of protests by climate activists. At the Tory party conference this week, Priti Patel will announce plans for longer sentences and new powers for police to seize protesters’ equipment. It comes after climate group Insulate Britain blocked the M1, M4 and M25 in protests over the last three weeks. Their campaign has already led to hundreds of arrests. On Sunday, the government took out a fresh injunction aimed at preventing activists obstructing traffic on motorways and main roads around London.” – BBC

  • Green activists may be searched for glue and handcuffs – Sunday Telegraph
  • Drop the green pieties. If you mess with people’s livelihoods or deprive families of necessities like affordable fuel, you will enter the valley of electoral death – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Migrants crossing Channel in small boats from France to be detained in Albania in new asylum crackdown – The Sun on Sunday

Conservative Conference 3) Dorries pledges £30 million to refurbish tennis courts

“Tennis is often seen as a preserve of the middle-class and while park courts are more accessible to those who want to pick up a racket, almost half of them are in a dilapidated state. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries will announce £22million of government funding, backed by £8.5 million from the Lawn Tennis Association for council sites. She said: “I want more people to follow in Emma’s footsteps and find success on the court, whether that’s winning an international tournament or just picking up a racket to keep fit.” – The Sun on Sunday

  •  Culture Secretary “will use conference speech to throw down gauntlet to the BBC” – Mail on Sunday

Conservative Conference 4) Wallace prepared to bring in the Navy if French fishermen block ports

“Ben Wallace appears short of patience with France…in response to warnings emanating from Paris that French fishermen could block British ports or the Channel Tunnel over a fishing row, Mr Wallace issues a grave warning: such behaviour would be “illegal” and the Royal Navy could play a role in “upholding the law”. Two Navy vessels previously patrolled near Jersey in May when French fishermen staged a protest in the island’s main harbour.” – Sunday Telegraph

Conservative Conference 5) “Community power” proposed by Gove

“Michael Gove is to launch a paper advocating “community-powered Conservatism” that would see residents made the “ultimate arbiters” of developments in their area. The essay, drawn up by 10 MPs, says the Government must “complete the Conservative Party’s historic mission to put power and trust into the hands of the British people”. The paper, Trusting the People, and the decision of the new secretary for levelling up to appear at its launch at the Conservatives’ annual conference on Sunday, appears to offer a glimpse into Mr Gove’s approach to reforming the country’s planning system…it says that the Conservatives should make “neighbourhood planning universal and the ultimate arbiter of local development”. The neighbourhood planning scheme currently allows local communities to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be constructed, as well as to have a say on the appearance of new buildings.” – Sunday Telegraph

Conservative Conference 6) Unionist leaders to push for Protocal to be scrapped

“Northern Ireland unionist leaders will unite at the Conservative party conference and call for the scrapping of the post-Brexit “protocol” which has disrupted trade with Great Britain. The leaders of the DUP, the Ulster Unionist Party and the Traditional Unionist Voice will appear on the same platform in a direct appeal to the Tory grassroots. They will be joined by Nobel Peace Prize winner and former first minister Lord Trimble, as well as former Labour MP Baroness Hoey. The move comes just days after former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith urged Boris Johnson to “bite the bullet” and unilaterally suspend the protocol “before it is too late.” – Sunday Express

Conservative Conference 7) Truss plans new alliances to counter China and Russia

“Britain is to strike new security deals with democratic countries to fight the influence of China and Russia, says Liz Truss, the foreign secretary. The UK will seek alliances with India, Japan and Canada to protect trade routes, echoing the Aukus deal that Boris Johnson agreed with America and Australia. Truss said Britain would seek alliances with “freedom-loving” democracies to challenge the influence of “malign actors and authoritarian states”…Truss, 46, said security pacts could augment trade deals, pointing to Britain’s request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes countries as diverse as Mexico and Vietnam.” – Sunday Times

Petrol 1) PM warns road haulage industry to improve pay

“The military is due to begin delivering petrol across the UK from Monday. Two hundred military servicemen and women, 100 of them drivers, will provide “temporary” support to ease pressure on forecourts. The government has also announced 5,000 temporary visas for foreign lorry drivers to plug a shortage of lorry drivers worsened by Covid, Brexit and other factors. Although the industry and opposition parties have dismissed these figures as inadequate, Mr Johnson has said importing drivers is not a long-term solution. Speaking on Saturday, he said: “What we don’t want to do is go back to a situation in which we basically allowed the road haulage industry to be sustained with a lot of low-wage immigration.” He added that a “mass immigration approach” had made the sector less attractive by reducing wages and “the quality of the job”. “People don’t want that. They want us to be a well-paid, well-skilled, highly productive economy and that’s where we’re going.” – BBC

  • Johnson’s popularity rocked by “woeful” handling of the fuel shortage – The Sun on Sunday
  • Brexit has freed Britain from cheap foreign labour, claims Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Sunday Express
  • British workers can now demand proper market rates for the vital jobs they do – David Jones, Mail on Sunday
  • Tory triumphalism will anger voters facing empty shelves and a fuel famine – Andrew Rawnsley, Observer

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: If there are labour shortages as Ministers seek to lower migration and raise wages, Party members say: tough it out.

Petrol 2) Colvile: Ministers have limited power

“Even when a crisis is entirely homegrown, it can be surprisingly hard for ministers to pull the appropriate levers. Government can choose how much funding the NHS gets. But it can’t force GPs to treat patients in person, because they’re independent contractors. It can’t tell hospitals to wage war on waste, because those instructions must come from NHS England. It can’t tell the police how to police, or order an independent judiciary to prioritise certain cases, even if some victims of sexual assault must wait four years to see justice done because of the courts backlog. It can certainly make suggestions, often quite forceful ones. But the process of running a department is often less about barking orders and more about painful negotiation with your own quangocracy.” – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times

Three Labour MPs “could defect to the Conservatives”

“Three Labour MPs are considering defecting to the Conservatives because they have become disillusioned with Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, The Mail on Sunday understands. The MPs decided during last week’s Labour conference in Brighton to ‘open lines of communication’ with Tory whips about switching parties. They are understood to be in despair at Sir Keir’s failure to make inroads into Boris Johnson’s opinion poll lead – as well as Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner branding the Conservatives as ‘racist’ and ‘scum’. A Labour MP has not ‘crossed the floor’ to join the Tory Party since Reg Prentice defected in 1977.” – Mail on Sunday

Coronavirus 1) Quarantine requirements to be lifted on most destinations “in time for half-term”

“Draconian Covid-19 travel restrictions are to be lifted on dozens of major overseas destinations within days, as Boris Johnson prepares to announce plans to bring society and the economy back to “normality” following the worst of the pandemic. The Telegraph understands that the 54 countries on the Government’s “red list” will be slashed to as few as nine this week – with South Africa, Brazil and Mexico all expected to be opened up to quarantine-free travel in time for the October half-term break. Cape Verde and Indonesia are also due to be struck off the red list – which requires travellers to quarantine in designated hotels.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • UK might not be over the worst – Observer
  • Government condemned for not releasing details of key email conversations – Mail on Sunday

Coronavirus 2) “Get vaccine or get out,” Sajid Javid tells care home workers

“The health secretary, Sajid Javid, has told care home staff to “get out and get another job” if they don’t have Covid vaccinations amid warnings that making jabs mandatory will see up to 100,000 workers quitting the sector. In the clearest signal yet that the government will not back down, Javid said he was not prepared to “pause” a requirement for care home staff to be fully vaccinated by November 11….Javid’s comments will put him on a collision course with care home providers, who have warned that the sector faces “Armageddon” if the government sticks to its requirements for all staff to be fully vaccinated by the deadline.” – Sunday Times

Hodges: Starmer’s speech dodged the tough issues

“There was a reason the interruptions were so unfocused. Labour’s leader wasn’t brave enough to give his Corbynite opponents anything of significance to interrupt. Where Kinnock directly berated Liverpool’s Militant council for ‘hiring taxis to scuttle round a city, handing out redundancy notices to its own workers’, Starmer simply made an oblique reference to Labour’s 2019 manifesto. Who had written that manifesto? Whose bankrupt political ethos was contained within it? Who had led Labour to catastrophic defeat on the back of that manifesto? Starmer didn’t have the guts to say.” – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

  • Conference fails to give Labour a bounce in opinion polls – Observer
  • Until Labour can convince ordinary voters it doesn’t despise them, it’s doomed to be a pressure group for middle-class trendies – Paul Embery, Mail on Sunday

Hannan: Price controls don’t work

“During Mohammed’s exile in Medina, there was a famine – a common enough occurrence in seventh-century Arabia. As food prices spiralled, community leaders approached the Prophet, asking him to order stallholders to make their produce affordable. Mohammed refused, telling the delegation that prices were in the hands of God. Being a businessman, he understood what happens when prices are artificially lowered. First, there is a rush to buy; and then, inevitably, there is a worse shortage, because people have little incentive to bring artificially cheap goods to market. I recall that episode for two reasons. First, because Islam’s free-market traditions deserve greater recognition. Second, and more important, because people still struggle to grasp Mohammed’s point.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • Johnson is likely to offer more enthusiasm and conviction than Starmer – John Rentoul, Independent
  • Getting down to levelling up – David Goodhart, The Spectator
  • The myth of Angela Merkel – Fraser Myers, Spiked
  • Funding rules give councils a perverse incentive to maintain deprivation – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • What the devil can’t give you – Peter Mullen, Conservative Woman