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Migrant crossings 1) Tory voters believe the Government is too “soft”

“Boris Johnson has been warned the migrant crisis could “destroy” the Conservative Party, as a Telegraph poll showed the overwhelming majority of Tory voters believe the Government’s approach to Channel crossings is “too soft”. On Saturday, a prominent party donor declared ministers must do “far more” to tackle the problem, warning that immigration is “going to destroy us and there is going to be a [Nigel] Farage-style party”…New polling for this newspaper showed that 55 per cent of the public and 77 per cent of voters who backed the Tories at the last election believe the Government’s approach to managing Channel crossings is “too soft”. Migration was also the performance area in which Mr Johnson received the worst negative ratings from voters, with 54 per cent disapproving and just 21 per cent approving, according to the online survey by Redfield and Wilton Strategies.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Denmark is sending its refugees home to Syria – Mail on Sunday
  • Britain’s ‘broken’ asylum system facing further chaos with record 55,000 people stuck in three-year backlog – Sun on Sunday
  • Time for Boris Johnson to serve up a new pact with France – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times
  • Patel’s fake migrant crisis – Leader, The Observer
  • This crisis may sink the Government – Leader, The Sun on Sunday
  • It’s not too late to get a grip, but the failure to implement sound ideas is costing the Tories critical support – Leader, Sunday Telegraph
  • The Tories must be wary of their vulnerability to the rise of a new right-wing party – James Frayne, Sunday Telegraph

Migrant crossings 2) Barclay to undertake cross-departmental review

“A review into how to prevent migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK is to be led by Cabinet Office minister Stephen Barclay. It comes amid record numbers of people making the journey this year, with more than 1,000 crossing in a single day earlier this month. Home Secretary Priti Patel has promised tougher action but numbers have continued to rise. It is understood Prime Minister Boris Johnson thinks more action is needed. Mr Barclay will be responsible for exploring what ministerial departments can do in an effort to make the issue more of a priority in government and the civil service.” – BBC

Migrant crossings 3) Patel “denounces her own officials”

“Tensions between politicians and the Civil Service ‘Blob’ were threatening to turn into all-out war last night after Home Secretary Priti Patel denounced her own officials as ‘not fit for purpose’ – as recriminations grew over the chaotic race to become chairman of media regulator Ofcom. Ms Patel used the same words attributed to Labour Home Secretary John Reid in 2006…Sources said Ms Patel has become so frustrated by the obstructions of officials and legal advisers that she has considered writing to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case to list her department’s failings. Angry civil servants responded by describing the Cabinet Minister as ‘moronic’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Home Office ‘covering up’ its own study of why refugees come to the UK – The Observer

Civil servants “kill off” freeports

“Rishi Sunak has been accused of allowing a key plank of the Government’s post-Brexit strategy to be watered down by Treasury mandarins. Senior ministers claimed that officials had effectively “killed” freeports, the low tax zones that the Chancellor had said would provide an “unprecedented economic boost”. Ministers and industry figures have told The Telegraph that the potential benefits of the new zones will be stymied by a lack of “ambition” in the tax cuts and planning relaxations offered to individual freeports, as well as by an artificial cap that will limit the overall number to 10. One senior minister said: “The Treasury has killed freeports.” Another senior Tory claimed that Treasury officials opposed the policy because they saw all proposals as “a zero sum game”, and that it was one of many across Whitehall in which measures had been deliberately blocked or delayed by civil servants.” – Sunday Telegraph

Javid investigates evidence medical devices may have failed to detect the severity of Covid among those with dark skin

“The health secretary has begun a review into racial bias in medical equipment amid fears that thousands of ethnic-minority patients died of Covid-19 who should have survived. Sajid Javid is working with his American counterpart, Xavier Becerra, on introducing new international standards to ensure that medical devices have been tested on all races before they are allowed to be sold. He has commissioned the review after research showed that oximeters, which monitor oxygen levels in the blood and are used to assess whether Covid-19 patients need lifesaving treatment, are less accurate on people with darker skin.” – Sunday Times

  • Fresh protests in Europe against new restrictions – BBC
  • Why the UK’s Covid winter won’t be as bleak as Europe’s – Sunday Times
  • Keep jabbing and Britain can reap the rewards of its success – Leader, Sunday Times
  • For us, the Covid crisis is over – Andrew Lilico, Sunday Telegraph

Red Wall 1) Rebellion threatened from northern Tory MPs over social care plan

“Senior Conservatives on Saturday urged Boris Johnson to ditch plans that would see many of England’s poorest pensioners paying more for their social care – or risk being forced by his own MPs into a humiliating U-turn. The prime minister, still reeling from sleaze allegations and fury among “red wall” MPs over scaled-back rail investment in the north, is facing another potentially damaging Commons rebellion at the hands of an increasingly mutinous party. The Observer has learned that several northern Tory MPs took part in an emergency call set up by care minister Gillian Keegan on Friday afternoon, during which she was said to have been “monstered” by backbenchers complaining that the plans were unfair and had not been fully explained or thought through. According to MPs in on the call, former Tory chief whip Mark Harper challenged Keegan to produce more detailed analysis of the plans – which neither she nor two civil servants present was able to do.” – The Observer

>Today: ToryDiary: Snap guide to this session’s Government legislation 14) National Insurance Contributions Bill

Red Wall 2) Gimson: Johnson must now deliver

“As a salesman, Mr Johnson has no rival. But by the time of the next General Election, in 2023 or 2024, voters will be looking for tangible evidence of delivery. In the Red Wall seats, left to rot for generations by both main parties, there must be palpable signs of revival. The state of the local high street will be crucial. Is it just boarded-up shops and pound stores, or is it once again somewhere people can enjoy walking down and feel proud of? Are new industries filling the void left by the collapse of the old ones? Have the local bus and train services actually got better?” – Andrew Gimson, The Sun on Sunday

Tory donor and former MP in court clash

“On the face of it, the High Court action that begins next week over the dry, and frankly baffling, issue of data protection would barely raise an eyebrow even among privacy lawyers. However, the case, being heard in the Royal Courts of Justice, threatens to expose a huge row at the heart of the Conservative Party. In one corner is one of the party’s biggest donors. In the other, a former Conservative MP with backing of a smattering of Tory grandees. In the middle is Ben Elliot, the party chairman and nephew of the Duchess of Cornwall, who has been dragged into the mess. Mohamed Amersi, a tycoon who has given the party more than half a million pounds in the past three years, is suing Charlotte Leslie, the former MP for Bristol North West, under the Data Protection Act. Mr Amersi is also planning to sue Ms Leslie for libel over claims she compiled and circulated a series of damaging memos and documents that, it is alleged, was sent to politicians, ambassadors and even the heads of MI5 and MI6.” – Sunday Telegraph

Frost: The EU still lacks the “ambition” to end disruption to trade in Northern Ireland

“Goods which both we and the EU agree aren’t going to leave Northern Ireland should not be treated as if they were moving from one country to another – because they are not. Goods going on to Ireland should be checked, in the Irish Sea, to protect the EU’s single market and to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. That’s what we have proposed. But at the moment the EU says it is impossible. I urge them to think again. The current problems with the protocol go to the heart of our territorial integrity, of what it means to be one country and one market. They will not just disappear. I still hope the EU can show the ambition needed to fix the problem by agreement. If they can’t, of course we will have to safeguard our position in other ways. For my part, I am working as hard as possible to reach a deal. If we can, we can move on from the current frictions and get back to what we always wanted – good relations and free trade with our closest friends and neighbours.” – Lord Frost, Mail on Sunday

  • The dismal truth about the EU has finally been exposed – Douglas Murray, Sunday Telegraph
  • Irish Sea bridge shelved as too difficult and expensive – Sunday Telegraph

Colvile: Britan is not broken

“It seems we are drifting into a culture of polarisation and denunciation rather than argument — of speaking and thinking of crimes and catastrophes rather than errors and problems. That feeds a growing sense that politics isn’t worth engaging with, that the people we disagree with are evil rather than just misguided, that we do indeed live in “a democracy steeped in lies and corruption”. Even with the pandemic, this is still the best time to be alive in the history of humanity, and one of the best places. Yet on all manner of fronts we seem only too eager to believe the worst. Sadly, the more we tell ourselves things are going to hell in a handcart, the more likely it is that they will.” – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times

Hannan: Spending is too high

“To be fair, the PM was always happy to call himself a big spender – a “Brexity Hezza”. He takes a boyish, almost infectious, delight in bridges and airports and whizzbangs of every kind. I remember him posing on the site marked out for the Millennium Dome, his thumbs raised, convinced that Blair’s grand projet would be a triumph. The trouble is that we have spent perhaps £500 billion more than we were expecting to spend two years ago. Restoring our finances should be the chief aim of economic policy as we claw our way out of lockdown. Yet we are carrying on as if nothing had happened – net zero, levelling up, the social care fund, a military presence East of Suez, an increase of nearly 40 per cent in day-to-day spending on the NHS, new railways. We might, after the pandemic, have been able to afford one of these things. Perhaps even two. But we can’t carry on with all of them as if we still had that half trillion.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

  • Public sector hiring spree is heating up jobs market – Sunday Times
  • Labour is now the pro-business party, declares Rachel Reeves – Sunday Times
  • Is there any amount of public spending that will stop Keir Starmer wailing: It’s not enough – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

>Yesterday: Adrian Lee on Comment: Sixty five years on, how the Suez Crisis affected the direction of British Conservative policy

News in brief

  • Kyle Rittenhouse and the failure of the American state – Sam Ashworth-Hayes, The Spectator
  • “Independent” bodies run by civil servants who seek to keep Ministers at arms length are failing – John Redwood
  • Peace is in peril in Eastern Europe. Who will restore order from chaos? – Daniel Johnson, The Article
  • Who runs the universities: Vice-chancellors or union leaders? – Jeremy Black, The Critic
  • Returns to lockdown in Europe are a sign of lazy 2020 thinking – Ryan Bourne, CapX