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MPs to hold emergency debate today on escalating sleaze accusations

“Boris Johnson will come under renewed pressure this week from backbench and opposition party MPs over the government’s handling of the Owen Paterson lobbying case and its failed attempt to create an appeals system for MPs accused of wrongdoing. Parliamentarians will hold an emergency three-hour debate on Monday to discuss the “consequences” of last Wednesday’s vote which saw the government attempt to reform parliamentary procedures and overturn the suspension of Paterson. Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the House of Commons, announced a U-turn on the vote the following day citing a lack of cross-party support. Paterson, who has denied any wrongdoing, subsequently resigned. However, Johnson’s administration faced further allegations of sleaze over the weekend, amid concerns over the Paterson case, the Conservative party’s use of the House of Lords honours system and renewed scrutiny of funding for the prime minister’s flat refurbishment and holidays.” – FT

  • Moonlighting MPs face ban if committee gets way – The Times
  • MPs could be barred from consultancy roles in sleaze clampdown – The Guardian
  • New sleaze row over Boris Johnson’s Downing Street redecoration – The Times
  • Watchdog stopped ministers breaching neutrality code in top BBC and BFI hires – The Guardian
  • Johnson accused of creating conflict of interest over Ofcom chair – FT
  • Jenkin is under pressure to resign as Commons liaison committee chairman – Daily Mail
  • Calls for police probe into Tory ‘Cash For Honours’ row – Daily Mail
  • Whitehall ‘must end jobs for the boys’ as think-tank urges mandarins to stop giving top roles to their personal favourites – Daily Mail
  • Johnson turned MPs into ‘cannon fodder’ in sleaze row, say angry Tories – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Paterson fiasco has bruised Boris – but the real loser is Labour leader Starmer, who is still more unpopular, Trevor Kavanagh – The Sun

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UK ‘ready to scrap Northern Ireland Protocol’s customs laws’

“Britain is prepared to trigger Article 16 and change laws to ditch customs checks required by the Northern Ireland Protocol before Christmas, The Telegraph has learned. In a move designed to show the EU that the UK is serious about altering the current trade arrangements, ministers are working on legal changes to customs regulations. A decision from the UK on whether to use Article 16 will be taken at the end of November. The move, widely expected both in Brussels and London, would lead to a month of formal talks. But The Telegraph understands that the UK plans to simultaneously lay secondary legislation before Parliament to slash customs checks and have the laws changed before Christmas.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Row with European Union puts £77bn science and research schemes at risk – The Times
  • Eurocrats last night accused Britain of acting like ‘toddlers’ after No 10 drew up plans to withhold £15 billion in funding to the bloc – Daily Mail

Comment:

Cop26: Plans for carbon border tax risk raising cabinet temperature

“Ministers are drawing up plans for a carbon border tax that would affect imports from polluting countries, the environment secretary said yesterday. George Eustice said the proposed tax on imports from countries with poor environmental records would protect green businesses in the UK. He said that the proposals were being examined by the Treasury and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. They would take several years to implement and ideally would happen in collaboration with other governments, he said. His comments could cause a cabinet row. Sources at the Treasury and the business department said that their officials were not looking at the tax.” – The Times

  • Nervous PM warms up for a climate deal rescue mission – The Times
  • Biden under fire for resisting UK scheme to end polluting car sales – Daily Telegraph
  • Flash flooding could triple by 2070s – The Times
  • Heritage buildings are cracking up in extreme weather – The Times
  • Electric cars to get more expensive as battery costs soar – Daily Telegraph
  • Motorists face £400-a-year levy for parking space at work – The Times

Comment:

NHS 1) Hancock: Jab NHS staff before winter hits

“NHS workers should be legally required to get Covid vaccinations before the winter, Matt Hancock, the former health secretary, has said. In his first major policy intervention since leaving the Government, Mr Hancock – writing in The Telegraph – warned ministers against delaying mandatory jabs for nurses and doctors. His comments will increase pressure on the Government to announce that the law will be changed within weeks to require Covid jabs for the 1.45million NHS staff in England. “Having looked at all the evidence, I am convinced we must require vaccination for everyone who works not just in social care but the NHS – and get it in place as fast as possible,” Mr Hancock wrote. Ministers are widely expected to be preparing to say the requirement will only be adopted in spring next year – too late to impact the Covid pressures expected in the next few months.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Exhausted NHS staff fear bleak winter – The Times
  • Winter ski holidays in jeopardy as NHS Covid app ignores booster vaccinations – Daily Telegraph
  • No need for more Covid lockdowns, says NHS Providers chief – Daily Telegraph

NHS 2) Javid – Covid vaccine is key to getting through difficult winter and enjoying Christmas

“THE Covid-19 booster programme has moved rapidly in recent weeks, with over 10 million people in the UK already vaccinated. That’s around double the number getting their top-up dose since The Sun launched its campaign just over three weeks ago. Thank you to the Sun, the NHS and everybody who has played their part in this crucial mission. We know vaccine protection begins to wane after six months, especially for the elderly and the vulnerable. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to roll out boosters quickly. We’ve updated the National Booking Service to allow people to pre-book booster appointments a month in advance of becoming eligible. This means they can book five months after their second dose — and get jabbed on the day they hit the six-month mark, reducing delays.” – The Sun

NHS 3) Doctors set to be barred from jobs in richer areas

“GPs would be barred from taking new jobs in affluent areas to force them to work in deprived towns under plans being considered by the government. A regulator tasked with restricting where family doctors can set up would improve health in poorer parts of the country that have far fewer doctors, in a plan put forward by a former senior official. Poor areas can have almost half the number of doctors per head as richer places and closing the gap is essential to Boris Johnson’s levelling-up goals, the Social Market Foundation think tank says in a report today. Ministers are understood to be interested in the plan after Sajid Javid, the health secretary, promised to address the “disease of disparity” under which poorer people die almost a decade earlier than the richest.” – The Times

  • Genome sequencing set to improve chances of children with cancer – The Times

Start levelling up country or we’ll lose, Johnson warned

“Boris Johnson needs to stop campaigning and begin “governing” to deliver his manifesto pledges or risk betraying the voters who supported him, a former cabinet minister warns today. In a shot across the bows of Downing Street, Robert Buckland, the former justice secretary, said if Johnson wanted his government to be “sustainable” then he needed to show “seriousness of purpose”. In an article for The Times Red Box Buckland implies that unless Johnson changes the way he runs the government he risks squandering the 80-seat majority he won in 2019 and delivering very little for those who voted for him.” – The Times

Comment:

  • Government can’t deliver change without a long-term plan, Robert Buckland and Ben Jafari – Times Red Box

Scottish nightclubs sidestep vaccine passport rules by putting furniture on dance floors

“Scottish nightclubs are successfully evading the SNP’s vaccine passport rules by putting furniture on their dance floors, leading to claims that the scheme has descended into “a shambolic mess”. Lulu, a major nightclub in Edinburgh, has begun marketing itself to unvaccinated Scots by advertising the fact that door staff will not be carrying out checks on whether customers have been jabbed. Nightclubs and other venues, such as stadiums and concert venues hosting major events, have been legally obliged to check customers’ vaccination records in Scotland since last month. However, despite describing itself as “Edinburgh’s best nightclub” and being open until 3am, Lulu said it technically no longer qualified as a nightclub under Scottish government rules because it had placed seats on its dance floor.” – Daily Telegraph

BBC ordered to tighten its belt as inflation soars and rivals shape up

“The BBC has been told by ministers to make new savings as it faces a potential licence fee freeze and industry hyperinflation thanks to competition from Netflix and Amazon. Tim Davie, the director-general, remains in negotiations with ministers over a financial settlement that will shape the corporation’s resources until the end of 2027. A funding deal was close to being agreed before September’s cabinet reshuffle. Nadine Dorries has cast a fresh eye over the settlement since being made culture secretary. BBC insiders told The Sunday Telegraph that the licence fee could be held at £159 for up to two years, before rising in line with the Consumer Prices Index rate of inflation. However, government sources dismissed the report as “speculation”.” – The Times

Sewage dumped in rivers for months on end

“Untreated sewage is being spilled into rivers for months on end from emergency outlets that are only supposed to be used in severe storm conditions, an analysis for The Times has shown. Conservative MPs suffered a backlash last week after they voted down an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have placed a legal duty on water companies “to take all reasonable steps to ensure untreated sewage is not discharged from storm overflows”. The Commons is due to debate the amendment again today. Campaigners fear it will be altered to lessen its impact. The new analysis helps reveal the scale of the problem, indicating that Thames Water has five sewage treatment works (STW) that each released untreated effluent — a blend of raw sewage and rainwater — into rivers for at least 3,000 hours last year, equivalent to more than four months of spilling.” – The Times

Foreign Office is still paying Stonewall thousands of pounds months after Truss urged ministries to pull out of diversity scheme

Stonewall“Liz Truss’s department is still paying Stonewall to belong to its diversity scheme – months after she urged ministries to pull out. The Foreign Office confirmed it remains a member of the LGBT+ charity’s ‘diversity champions programme’, which costs thousands of pounds a year. Hundreds of companies and public bodies have joined the scheme to receive advice on how to create an inclusive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender staff. But critics say it advises members to rewrite their policies to reflect the charity’s agenda on trans rights. Earlier this year Miss Truss, then International Trade Secretary, told officials she believed government departments should withdraw from the scheme as it did not provide value for money.” – Daily Mail

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