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France cancels meeting with Britain to discuss Channel migrant crisis

“France has cancelled a meeting with Britain to discuss the small boats crisis in the Channel after the deaths of 27 migrants. Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, issued a furious response to a letter from Boris Johnson requesting that President Macron allow British personnel to conduct joint patrols around Calais. Darmanin said the letter, which urged Marcon to allow Border Force staff and British security contractors to patrol with gendarmes on French beaches and nearby road networks, was a “disappointment”. He said that Priti Patel, the home secretary, was no longer invited to Calais for talks with her French counterpart on Sunday as had been planned.” – The Times

  • Fury over Prime Minister’s ‘five-point plan’ letter – The Sun
  • We can have British guards on French beaches by next week, Johnson tells Macron – Daily Telegraph
  • France tells Patel she’s ‘no longer welcome’ at migrant talks – Daily Express
  • Blocking UK help will lead to more tragedies, President warned – Daily Mail

More:

  • France senses policing alone won’t stop risky crossings – The Guardian
  • French fishermen to block Calais ports and Channel tunnel – The Times

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The small boats eruption threatens Johnson with a bigger, bolder, and nastier incarnation of UKIP

Scrap the Human Rights Act or more people will die in the Channel, warn Tory MPs

“Tory MPs have called for a radical overhaul of the Human Rights Act as Whitehall insiders admitted Priti Patel’s plan to turn back boats carrying migrants would likely break existing law. One Conservative MP said on Thursday that if the Government was “weak”, more people travelling across the Channel seeking asylum in Britain could die, while a second called for the entire piece of legislation to be scrapped. Dominic Raab, the recently installed Justice Secretary, is planning reforms to the Human Rights Act, which incorporate into UK law the rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights in 1998. However, it remains unclear if the changes that are being sought would allow the Government to adopt hardline measures on tackling the arrival of small boats.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Reforms branded ‘spicy’ will make it easier to kick out migrants who abuse law – Daily Mail
  • Home Secretary  tells MPs there is ‘no quick fix’ – The i
  • Dozens more migrants arrived in Britain yesterday – The Sun

>Today: Dr Sarah Ingham’s column: People voted to take back control of Britain’s borders – the time is well overdue for some political will

Henry Hill: EU needs to suspend Schengen until it can secure its borders

“Europe seems caught between two places: Member states all have different priorities and concerns, and there doesn’t seem to be anything like the political will required to make a genuinely European solution work. Yet EU policies, especially the Schengen free-movement area, exacerbate the problem. Countries such as Greece, Italy and Poland face huge pressures because they are de facto policing the borders of Germany and France, where the vast majority of the migrants want to end up (even if the latter is a staging post on the way to Britain). If the sort of genuine and effective pan-European governance required to make something like Schengen work isn’t going to come about, is it perhaps time for member states to think again about the arrangement?” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tantrum diplomacy of the Tinpot Napoleon – Jonathan Miller, Daily Mail
  • Scholz is no friend of Britain – James Forsyth, The Times
  • Was I right to support Brexit? If this is ‘Global Britain’, I’m starting to wonder – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

We lack necessary skills in Whitehall, admits Cabinet Secretary

“Britain’s most senior civil servant has backed Whitehall critics and admitted that the government does not have the “skills and experience” needed to tackle the biggest challenges facing the country. In a letter to The Times Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, said many officials lacked the “technical and specialist knowledge” necessary to fulfil the government’s post-pandemic reform plans. He said he agreed with Dame Kate Bingham, the former head of the successful vaccine task force, who this week warned that civil service “groupthink and risk aversion” was leaving the country exposed to a range of future threats from climate change to cyberwarfare. Case’s letter follows days of sustained criticism of Whitehall. Last week the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre hit out at the civil service “blob” for frustrating Johnson’s attempts to install him as chairman of Ofcom, the media regulator.” – The Times

Sunak ‘puts block on Johnson’s bailout’

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak has blocked a multi-million-pound manufacturing bailout backed by Boris Johnson in a sign of rising Cabinet tensions. It follows a spat with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who told broadcasters last month he was in talks with the Treasury over a rescue deal for industries hit by soaring energy prices. The claim prompted a stunning rebuke, with a source from Mr Sunak’s department accusing Mr Kwarteng of ‘making things up in interviews’. However, the Chancellor faced embarrassment after the Prime Minister sided with the Business Secretary. No 10 ordered the two departments to work together on a possible solution, which led to Mr Kwarteng submitting a proposal for taxpayer cash.” – Daily Mail

  • No new money for ‘levelling up’ agenda as Chancellor turns off the tap – Daily Telegraph
  • How Labour’s Starmer and Reeves are ‘wooing’ business chiefs – FT

More:

  • Ministers ‘can’t tell if Kickstart jobs scheme is working’ – The Times
  • Kickstart jobs scheme underdelivers, says audit office – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Sunak resisted Rees-Mogg being moved to the Treasury as Chief Secretary at the last reshuffle

>Yesterday: Tom Spencer in Comment: Monetary uncertainty shows the need for GDP targeting

Prime Minister accused of breaking promise on military numbers

“Boris Johnson was accused of breaking another promise today as ministers unveiled plans for a ‘leaner’ hi-tech British Army – declaring that a force will still be based in Germany. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace insisted that the huge overhaul is needed to ensure that the military is ‘deployable and lethal’. But Labour claimed ‘size matters’ and the government had reneged on the PM’s election vow by cutting regular Army numbers from 82,000 to 73,000 by 2025 – albeit that is 500 higher than originally expected. The shake-up will see the creation of a new Union Division, with Mr Wallace saying he wanted the army to be at the ‘heart’ of the UK in an apparent rebuke to Nicola Sturgeon’s separatist drive.” – Daily Mail

  • Troop total cut from 82,000 to 73,000 – The Times
  • Army to get extra £8bn of kit as part of radical shake-up – The Guardian
  • SNP condemns creation of Union Division as part of Army overhaul – The Scotsman

More:

  • Now soldiers can just ‘be the best’ to get to top of army – The Times

Unionists ‘plot rebellion’ on Health Bill

“Unionist MPs are plotting to launch a rebellion on the Health Bill if negotiations with Boris Johnson’s Government fail before it reaches the House of Lords. More than 20 MPs signed an amendment to the Government’s Health and Care Bill on Monday. The move, supported by 18 Conservative and eight DUP MPs, could have ensured “interoperability of data and collection of comparable healthcare statistics across the UK”. But by plotting a rebellion the group of Unionist MPs could put even more pressure on Boris Johnson, 57, and his Government… Express.co.uk has been told private negotiations between Unionist MPs and the Government led to a division on the amendment being avoided. However, a source close to one of the Unionist MPs said: “We are already in talks to add in the Lords if the Government doesn’t give us a concession.” The source also claimed the group had enough support to force the Prime Minister to rely on support from the opposition benches.” – Daily Express

  • PUP talks of the opportunities of the Northern Ireland Protocol – News Letter
  • Johnson’s dream of a crossing to Northern Ireland is set to be shelved – Daily Mail

More:

  • German coalition to back tough EU stance on Brexit Article 16 with Britain – The Times

Comment:

  • Labour is failing unionists in Northern Ireland – Henry Hill, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Labour should rethink its lamentable attitude towards Northern Ireland

Javid sounds alarm over new ‘worst-ever’ super-mutant Covid variant

“Sajid Javid tonight sounded the alarm over a new ‘worst-ever’ super-mutant Covid variant that will make vaccines at least 40 per cent less effective – forcing flights to be banned from South Africa and five other countries. Experts explained earlier how the B.1.1.529 variant has more than 30 mutations – the most ever recorded in a variant and twice as many as Delta – that suggest it could be more jab-resistant and transmissible than any version before it. The variant – which could be named ‘Nu’ by the World Health Organization in the coming days – has caused an ‘exponential’ rise in infections in South Africa and has already spread to three countries – including Hong Kong and Botswana, where it is believed to have emerged. In response, the Health Secretary announced that flights from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be suspended from midday Friday and all six countries will be added to the red list.” – Daily Mail

  • British health officials believe the new variant with 32 mutations may be the most dangerous yet to emerge – Daily Telegraph

MPs say NHS staff ‘crisis’ could undermine Covid recovery

“MPs have warned the “crisis” of NHS staff shortages will hold back recovery from Covid as they launched a probe into why so many people are leaving healthcare professions. The Health and Social Care Committee of MPs has opened an inquiry into “how to end staff drain” among doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. It comes after MPs rejected a proposal put forward by committee chair Jeremy Hunt which would have introduced better long-term planning for the NHS workforce. Former Health Secretary Mr Hunt had called for independent assessments to be published every two years setting out staffing needs. Eighteen Tory MPs rebelled against the Government on Tuesday and backed the Health and Care Bill amendment, which sought to introduce better workforce planning for care in England. But it was ultimately rejected.” – The i

HMRC to relocate to Newcastle office ‘owned by Tory donors via tax haven’

“HM Revenue and Customs has struck a deal to relocate tax officials into a new office complex in Newcastle owned by major Conservative party donors through an offshore company based in a tax haven, the Guardian can reveal. The department’s planned new home in the north-east of England is part of a regeneration scheme developed by a British Virgin Islands (BVI) entity controlled by the billionaire property tycoons David and Simon Reuben. The deal will see officials at the government department responsible for preventing tax avoidance working from a site owned by a subsidiary of a company based in a secretive offshore tax jurisdiction. The Reuben brothers, their family members and businesses have donated a combined £1.9m to the Tories. Earlier this week, the brothers are reported to have shared a table with Boris Johnson at an exclusive Tory party fundraising dinner.” – The Guardian

  • Government appeals ruling that it broke law by awarding contract to firm whose bosses were friends of Cummings – Daily Mail

Scale of problems at Liverpool city council revealed in commissioners report

“Liverpool city council is “emerging from a difficult, somewhat toxic period”, according to the first report from government-appointed commissioners sent in following the former mayor’s arrest and allegations of corruption. The report, published after the commissioners’ first three months, also warned that the desire for quick change has led to a “frenetic rather than purposeful and targeted approach”. The four commissioners were appointed after an emergency inspection found a “serious breakdown of governance” and multiple failures to provide best value to taxpayers in the city. The inspection was triggered by the arrest of ex mayor Joe Anderson, the council’s former head of regeneration, Nick Kavanagh, and several others as part of a police investigation into allegations of fraud, bribery, corruption and misconduct in public office. They deny all wrong doing.” – The Guardian

  • Tube drivers to begin strike action on Friday – FT

Tony Blair: Reject Corbynism and the culture wars, and Labour can win again

“The latest comprehensive poll of Labour voters past and present from one of Britain’s leading political analysts shows that the opposition’s problem is not complex but simple. Essentially, the working class vote has substantially declined over the last half century. The lines between middle class and working class have become blurred. The trends visible in 1997 have become more pronounced, with much less voting by tradition and much more voting independent of tradition. Two thirds of the British electorate who have switched from Labour define themselves as near the political centre, and that is where a plurality of both main parties also resides. Therefore after the 2019 defeat, and after a decade or more moving in the direction of the traditional left, Labour has a cultural problem with many working class voters, a credibility problem with the middle ground, and is seen as for everyone other than the hard working families who feel their taxes aren’t spent on their priorities.” – The Times

News in Brief:

  • Nationalists in neutrality’s clothing – Owen Polley, The Critic
  • How to beat The Blob – Harry Phibbs, CapX
  • The Calais crisis can’t be solved – John Lichfield, UnHerd
  • Why the next election will be harder for the Tories – James Forsyth, The Spectator