Published:

Amess tributes: We are all still numb, says Johnson…

“MPs lined up to pay tribute to Sir David Amess last night with affectionate anecdotes ranging from the time he had a boiled sweet blessed by the Pope to when he gifted a signed copy of his book to the emir of Qatar. The House of Commons held a special two-hour session to pay its respects to Amess, the Conservative MP who was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery on Friday. Boris Johnson (C, Uxbridge & South Ruislip) said Amess had been “one of the nicest, kindest and most gentle individuals ever to grace these benches”… Amess’s colleagues and friends in the Commons recalled his “sprightly” character, his “mischievous sense of humour” and his strong Catholic faith.” – The Times

  • Heartwarming moment emotional MPs poignantly leave empty seat for Sir David – The Sun
  • Prime Minister vows ‘evil’ will never defeat parliamentary democracy – FT
  • Johnson tells MPs to continue to meet public – The Times

More:

  • Widow views tributes at church where he died – Daily Telegraph
  • Southend will become a city in tribute to years-long campaign – The Sun

>Yesterday:

…and he’s urged to pass ‘David’s law’ against social media abuse

“Boris Johnson is facing calls to enact “David’s law” to crack down on social media abuse of public figures and end online anonymity in the wake of the killing of Sir David Amess. Dozens of MPs paid tribute in the House of Commons on Monday to the veteran Conservative backbencher who was stabbed to death on Friday, shedding tears, sharing uproarious anecdotes and venting anger over his death. While police are investigating whether there are any links to Islamist extremism and have not connected the killing to the targeting of MPs online, allies of Amess said he had voiced growing concern about threats and toxicity within public discourse as they demanded a crackdown. Campaigners have warned, however, that ending online anonymity could put whistleblowers and pro-democracy campaigners in authoritarian regimes at risk.” – The Guardian

  • Ministers are urged to rethink ‘flawed’ Online Safety Bill – Daily Mail

>Today:

Sebastian Payne: Killing will change how Britain does politics

“After the two killings, however, change is inevitable. Priti Patel, the UK home secretary, is mulling over plans to tighten security, including police protection at surgeries, pre-booked appointments and airport-style checks. The former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who was assaulted during the Tory party conference, agrees police protection is needed but insists access to MPs must be preserved. “Whilst I am sure it is possible to get better security, particularly at our surgeries, nothing should come between us and our constituents”, he wrote at the weekend. Another option is to hold surgeries in MPs’ offices, where vetting is tighter. This is easy in geographically small urban seats, but tricky in large rural constituencies. Some, like the Tories’ Tobias Ellwood, think all surgeries should go virtual, as they did during the pandemic.” – FT

  • Dedicated and tireless, Amess was a paragon of a good constituency MP – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

Sketches:

  • Poetry and humour lift the mournful mood – Quentin Letts, The Times
  • Old muckers try to hold back the tears  John Crace, The Guardian

>Yesterday:

Number 10 hints a ‘challenging’ winter could mean further restrictions

“The spectres of compulsory face masks, vaccine passports and working from home were raised yesterday as increased Covid hospital cases sparked a Downing Street warning. Officials said Britons should prepare for a ‘challenging few months’ after 49,156 infections were recorded yesterday – the highest figure in three months. Experts are concerned the booster programme was moving too slowly and Sage members yesterday warned ‘other measures’ may be needed to relieve pressure on the NHS. Last night Boris Johnson’s spokesman said there were ‘currently’ no plans to reintroduce restrictions but that they were keeping ‘a very close watch on the latest statistics’. Britain led the world in the initial vaccine rollout, but it has now slumped behind Italy, Spain and France in terms of the percentage of the population to be double-jabbed.” – Daily Mail

  • Number 10 deny Christmas visit by godmother of Boris Johnson’s baby broke lockdown rules – Daily Telegraph

New voucher scheme to replace gas boilers limited to just 90,000 households

“Only 90,000 households will get vouchers to help with the cost of removing their gas boilers, the Government will announce on Tuesday, as the door is opened to putting additional green levies on gas bills. In one of a string of major climate change announcements, Boris Johnson will commit to the “ambition” of ending the sale of gas boilers in the UK from 2035. To hit the target, a new Boiler Upgrade Scheme will be set up that gives people £5,000 vouchers to switch from gas boilers to heat pumps, which are less polluting. The scheme, which initially lasts for three years from next April and applies to England and Wales, will be funded with £450 million. However, that means just 90,000 households can benefit. For comparison, the Office for National Statistics estimated there were almost 28 million families in the UK last year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cash for nuclear power and heat pumps in PM’s plan to cut CO2 – The Times
  • Johnson vows ‘boiler police’ won’t kick down doors to rip out dirty gas boilers – The Sun
  • £10bn deals pledged ahead of UK green investor summit – FT

Spectre of rising interest rates helps Sunak’s case for tighter spending review

“Rishi Sunak, UK chancellor, believes the spectre of rising interest rates has reinforced the case for holding down public spending, as he enters the final haggle over three-year budgets with Whitehall departments. Andrew Bailey, Bank of England governor, on Sunday warned interest rate rises are on the way, which is seen by Sunak’s allies as vindication of the chancellor’s fears about the fragility of the public finances. “It’s a concern,” said one Sunak ally, speaking ahead of next week’s Budget and spending review. “His concerns are being realised.” The chancellor has said that a one percentage point rise in interest rates and inflation could cost the Treasury about £25bn a year. Ministers including Dominic Raab, justice secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, business secretary, Liz Truss, foreign secretary, and Grant Shapps, transport secretary, are among those digging in for more cash.” – FT

  • Hiking fuel duty in next week’s Budget would be ‘grotesque’ insult to drivers, warn MPs – The Sun
  • Chancellor warned Britons’ incomes hit by £1,000 cut – Daily Express
  • Sunak could slash VAT on household energy bills – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • The Chancellor’s online sales tax will add insult to injury for retailers – Ben Wright, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Dr Gerard Lyons in Comment: The three-arrowed approach to economic policy that Britain needs

Commons sleaze probe ‘played huge role’ in my wife’s suicide, says Paterson

“Former Tory Cabinet minister Owen Paterson has said his wife killed herself because she feared they would both be destroyed by ‘erroneous’ claims that he was involved in a political scandal. The claim by the MP for North Shropshire is in a highly emotional statement made by him last month to Parliament’s anti-sleaze watchdog, the contents of which have been leaked to the Daily Mail. A coroner delivered a suicide verdict after Rose Paterson, 63, chairman of Aintree Racecourse, home of the Grand National, died in June last year. After her death, Mr Paterson said he had ‘no inkling’ his ‘dedicated and loving’ wife planned to take her life and he has been praised for campaigning for more action to curb suicides.” – Daily Mail