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‘Very sleazy’ Tories cost Johnson poll lead

“Two thirds of voters now see the Tories as “very sleazy” as Boris Johnson’s ratings fall behind Sir Keir Starmer’s for the first time since the January lockdown. Concerns about Tory sleaze are back to levels last seen in the 1990s, with twice as many voters seeing the Conservatives as disreputable as say the same about Labour. The Conservatives have also lost their poll lead, with the two main parties neck and neck on 35 per cent of the vote, according to a YouGov survey carried on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The findings suggest that voters have started to punish Johnson for his handling of the government’s abortive attempt to rip up the Commons ethics system to clear Owen Paterson, who was found to have breached rules against paid lobbying.” – The Times

  • Sleaze goes down badly with voters in Johnson’s ‘red wall’ – FT

More:

  • Nearly 140 MPs worked other jobs in past year – The Times
  • Tory treasurer could net millions from controversial LV= takeover – The Guardian
  • Two Tory politicians probed for possible unregistered lobbying – FT
  • Lib Dem did paid work from office – The Times

Close loophole benefiting MPs with London property, say senior Tories

“A loophole that allows MPs to rent out a London property they own while billing taxpayers for living at another address in the capital should be closed, Tory MPs have said, in an effort to avoid sleaze scandals dragging parliament’s reputation down further. Senior politicians, including the longest-serving member of the House of Commons, Sir Peter Bottomley, told the Guardian the system was in urgent need of reform to make it fairer for taxpayers and MPs. The call came after the former attorney general Geoffrey Cox was discovered to have rented out his three-bedroom flat in south London for up to £4,000 a month while claiming £1,900 a month in rent for a separate residential property.” – The Guardian

  • Johnson calls for probe on MPs claiming rent on expenses while letting out property – The Sun

More:

  • New blood v old guard in deepening Tory civil war – The Times
  • Red Wall Tories vs ‘Red Trouser Tories’ – Daily Mail

Northern Ireland protocol deal ‘close’ as Article 16 threat fades

“A deal on the Northern Ireland protocol could be close after the UK dialled down its threats to trigger Article 16 of the Brexit treaty, Brussels said on Friday. Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice-president, said a breakthrough in negotiations over medicine supplies to Northern Ireland could unlock the protocol talks in Brussels as he dangled the prospect of an agreement. Over a lunch of Cullen skink, beef wellington and chocolate cremeux with Cranachan cream in London, Lord Frost told Mr Sefcovic that Britain would prefer not to trigger Article 16. “I welcome the change of tone in discussion,” Mr Sefcovic said after weeks of threats and counter-threats over the controversial clause. He said both sides would focus like a “laser beam” on striking a deal.” – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘Change of tone’ boosts EU hopes for deal on protocol – The Times

Johnson urges Britons to get Covid booster jabs

“Boris Johnson has called on elderly and vulnerable Britons to come forward for Covid-19 booster shots, as he warned of “storm clouds” gathering over continental Europe after a fast-rising wave of coronavirus infections prompted several nations to reimpose restrictions. “I’m looking at what’s happening overseas, and I’m simply saying to the British people . . . this is the moment to get your booster,” the UK prime minister said on Friday. Some 370,000 booster shots were administered across the UK on Thursday, bringing the number of people who have received a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to more than 11.8m. About 63 per cent of people in the UK eligible for a booster shot — healthcare workers, the over-50s and those considered vulnerable — have received the jab.” – FT

  • Storm clouds gathering, says Prime Minister as Covid cases start rising again – The Times

More:

  • GP who wants doctors to stop ‘vital’ unfunded work may be next head of ‘militant’ union panel – Daily Mail

Graduates must start paying back student loans sooner

“Graduates will have to give up more of their income to repay their student loans faster under government plans to raise around an extra £2.5 billion a year. Currently, graduates only have to start paying off their student loans when they earn £27,295 a year – but that would drop to as low as £22,000 under the new plans. The change means all graduates earning roughly more than the average salary face paying up to £475 extra to the Treasury every year. The move is likely to spark a political row because young people have seen their prospects hit hardest by recent tax changes, while pensioners’ benefits have been relatively protected. It comes with the Tories already under pressure to appeal to people in their 20s and 30s, amid challenges getting on the housing ladder and National Insurance increases.” – Daily Telegraph

Cop26 plan ‘watered down’ as China and other major polluters flex their muscles

“Hopes for a major deal to limit global temperature increases at Cop26 were in tatters today as plans for a curb on fossil fuels were watered down in the face of opposition from the world’s worst polluters. Leaders at the UN summit in Glasgow today published a new draft of a potential agreement from the Glasgow summit amid warnings that hopes of a new consensus were on ‘life support’. The first draft of the ‘cover decision’ for the overarching agreement at the summit, published earlier this week, called for countries ‘to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels’. But a new draft produced today has changed to calling on countries to accelerate the shift to clean energy systems, ‘including by rapidly scaling up clean power generation and accelerating the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels’.” – Daily Mail

  • Glasgow’s landmark climate summit on ‘life support’ – The Sun
  • Hundreds of global civil society representatives walk out of Cop26 in protest – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Eco guilt around childbirth lets politicians off the hook

>Yesterday: Philip Dunne MP in Comment: The Environment Act is a real achievement – but its promise must now be delivered. I and others will hold ministers to account.

Da Costa claims Johnson’s senior advisers are ‘letting Stonewall dictate trans policies’

“A group of Boris Johnson’s most senior advisers are allowing government policy on trans rights to be dictated by Stonewall, a former aide to the prime minister has warned. Nikki da Costa, who stood down as Johnson’s director of legislative affairs in August, claimed the prime minister was being presented with “skewed” advice by a powerful lobby in No 10 that was undermining women’s rights. She alleged this extended to deciding what Johnson saw in his red boxes and refusing to arrange meetings with people who would present opposing views. She added it was having a “chilling” effect on some staff who risked being seen as “difficult” by the most senior political officials. While Da Costa refused to name the aides, Johnson’s most senior advisers include figures such as Henry Newman who have supported the role of Stonewall’s diversity training programme in government.” – The Times