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France is not doing enough to stop migrants crossing the Channel, says Johnson, as 27 drown

“Boris Johnson accused France last night of failing to do enough to stop migrants crossing the Channel and called for British police and border officials to be allowed to patrol French beaches. The prime minister said gangs were “literally getting away with murder” and there had been “difficulties” persuading France to take more action. He is expected to press President Macron to agree to further measures in coming days. The UK has offered British police and border officials to conduct joint patrols on French beaches. France has rejected that amid concerns that it would infringe its sovereignty. Johnson also said he wanted to “accelerate” the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will enable the overseas processing of migrants and reduce their grounds for appeal.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister tells Paris to ‘step up’ and stop smugglers – Daily Telegraph
  • Macron blanks offer of British boots on ground – Daily Mail
  • President seeks emergency meeting of EU ministers over migration – The Times
  • Calais mayor takes aim at Prime Minister over migrant disaster – Daily Telegraph
  • France warned a year ago that turning a blind eye would create a graveyard at sea – The Sun

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

Cabinet ministers call for head of Sunak’s chief aide…

“Cabinet ministers are calling for the head of Rishi Sunak’s chief aide as Tory handbags escalated. Treasury hardman Liam Booth Smith has been blamed for a withering anonymous attack aimed at Boris Johnson given to the BBC – but he denies being the culprit. Last night one top minister told The Sun: “The Chancellor’s team is out of control and Liam needs to be fired. Pour l’encouragement des autres.” Mr Sunak’s enforcer has been accused of briefing against the PM previously, but last night the Chancellor was standing by his man. The latest Cabinet sniping came as Mr Johnson defended his record in office as he faced questions about his leadership and political future. In a rowdy session of Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson was cheered by Tory MPs as he rejected claims he was not fit for office.” – The Sun

Comment:

  • Don’t fall for Sunak’s leader-in-waiting spin – Iain Martin, The Times

…and Chancellor losing patience with ‘maelstrom of chaos’ at No 10

“Rishi Sunak is increasingly frustrated with Boris Johnson’s “chaotic” No 10 operation, his allies said last night. The chancellor believes that there needs to be greater professionalism after a succession of damaging Tory rebellions and government reversals. The fallout landed on the Treasury this week as Liam Booth-Smith, Sunak’s chief of staff, was accused of briefing that there was “a lot of concern in the building about the PM”. The claim has been denied by the Treasury but allies believe that Sunak will need to protect Booth-Smith because senior figures in Downing Street are “gunning for him”. They highlighted the fact that Sajid Javid quit as chancellor after No 10 attempted to remove his advisers.” – The Times

  • Callow Cabinet Secretary blamed as Prime Minister’s popularity hits all-time low – Daily Telegraph

Drift and division: inside Johnson’s Downing Street

“The clearest sign of this dysfunction is Number 10’s deteriorating relations with Conservative MPs over a series of policy missteps, starting with a botched attempt to overhaul parliamentary standards in order to save disgraced former Tory minister Owen Paterson. Increasingly, MPs pin the blame on Johnson’s Number 10 operation, which they believe lacks political experience and is struggling with a series of major challenges this winter — including the cost of living crunch involving rising energy prices, supply chain disruption in the run-up to Christmas, and increasing pressure on the NHS, partly due to Covid-19. Rebellions by Conservative MPs have highlighted the unease. In a crucial House of Commons vote on social care reform this week, the government’s majority was slashed from 79 to 26, to the alarm of Tory whips. One longstanding ally of Johnson admitted: “This is the first major turbulence we’ve experienced.”” – FT

  • Tory whips order MPs to the Commons to give Prime Minister support – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Daniel Hannan’s column: The Prime Minister is no more off-the-wall than he used to be. But his Peppa Pigg riff revealed his allies have changed.

UK seeks to counter China’s influence with new development investment arm

“The UK is to overhaul its development investment arm in a move designed to counterbalance China’s influence in emerging countries by offering “alternatives” to taking on “strings-attached debt”. Liz Truss, UK foreign secretary, will launch British International Investment (BII) on Thursday, a body that will leverage private capital to invest in countries across Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, offering an alternative to Chinese loans, which are seen by some in the west as a tool to spread Beijing’s influence. The BII is a revamped version of the government’s Commonwealth Development Corporation Group, which has been historically criticised for investing in purely commercial projects, such as hotels and shopping centres, and for concentrating on more advanced economies.” – FT

  • Beijing blocked from funding nuclear power stations – The Times

>Today: Jack Richardson in Comment: Critical minerals. We can and should offer a better model than China’s of extraction at any cost.

Net zero plans scaled back amid concerns over soaring fuel and heating bills

“A key part of the Government’s net zero strategy that would have forced up petrol and heating bills has been scaled back amid concerns of a cost of living crunch. The Telegraph has learned that proposals to expand the UK Emissions Trading Scheme in a bid to reduce carbon emissions have been significantly watered down after a backlash from senior government ministers. A consultation about what areas the scheme, which caps carbon emissions in certain sectors, should be applied to had included fuel used for vehicles and heating in the UK. But both of those elements have now been removed after fears that it could trigger a political storm, given that petrol and energy bills have seen marked increases in recent months.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The UK energy sector must be brought back into public ownership as soon as possible – Joseph Baines and Sandy Hager, The Guardian

Johnson denies he has dumped Tory manifesto amid social care reforms row

“The Prime Minister insisted last night that he had not ditched the Tory manifesto in its entirety as his social care reforms were branded a ‘working-class dementia tax’. Boris Johnson has watered down a promise made at the 2019 general election that no one needing care would have to ‘sell their home to pay for it’. Instead, he is now pledging that people will not be ‘forced to sell a home they or their spouse is living in’. The Government’s landmark social care plans have been at the centre of a row since it emerged they would not be as generous to the less well-off as thought. Mr Johnson has broken a series of promises made at the election, including those on national insurance, pensions, foreign aid, broadband and the Government’s disability strategy.” – Daily Mail

  • Starmer dubs social care plan a ‘working class dementia tax’ – FT

Speaker seeks review into MPs bringing children into UK parliament

“The Speaker of the House of Commons has requested a review into the rules relating to the presence of infants within parliament after a Labour MP was told not to bring her three-month-old baby into a debating chamber. Stella Creasy on Tuesday said that parliamentary officials had written to remind her of guidelines stating that MPs should not attend debates in the Houses of Parliament while accompanied with a child. “Parliament has written a rule which means I can’t take my well behaved, three-month-old, sleeping baby when I speak in [the] chamber,” Creasy tweeted. The letter followed Creasy’s participation in a debate in Westminster Hall. The incident sparked a flurry of responses from fellow parliamentarians across the aisle.” – FT

More:

  • Kendall announces she is having baby through surrogacy – The Guardian

Clare Foges: No, you can’t bring your children to Parliament

“If I ever had a face-to-face meeting, or public engagement, I wouldn’t dream of bringing my eight-month-old with me. Because though my world revolves around my babies, I recognise that the rest of the world doesn’t revolve around them. Why should other people be made to feel uncomfortable, irritated or distracted by my children? While I find my children’s mutterings about dinosaurs and zoos delightful, I am well aware that others won’t. Besides, while there might be scope for some offices to allow babies along for the ride, the House of Commons is a very special workplace. It is the heart of our democracy, the crucible of national debate on matters which will shape the lives of 67 million souls. It should feel like a sacred place, not a creche.” – Daily Mail

We’ll pay for northern rail lines, say northern leaders

“Northern leaders will seek to pay part of the cost of Northern Powerhouse Rail, such is their dismay over “deeply flawed” revisions to the project announced by Westminster last week. Mayors, council leaders and transport bosses from northern regions expressed anger at the Integrated Rail Plan, which included plans to shelve a new high-speed line from Manchester to Leeds via Bradford, and a stretch from Liverpool to Warrington. The eastern leg of HS2, from the West Midlands to Leeds, was also axed. Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, said that the rail plan was “deeply flawed”. At a Transport for the North meeting in Leeds, Burnham said that contributions towards the cost of improvements, including completing the Northern Powerhouse Rail network, could be gleaned from rising land values.” – The Times

>Yesterday: Andy Street’s column: Parliamentary candidates with experience of the real world is invaluable. Here is an example.

Labour vows to do nothing in any future referendum on Northern Ireland

“Labour vowed to do nothing in any future referendum on Northern Ireland — to the horror of unionists last night. Party leader Sir Keir Starmer backed his Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Louise Haigh after she said: “If there is a border poll, we should remain neutral.” She continued: “It’s not my job to be a persuader of the Union.” Following a backlash, Labour said it was their long-standing position — and that the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement outlawed the UK Government taking a side. But the Northern Ireland Office criticised the claim, hitting back: “There is no stipulation within the Good Friday Agreement that the UK Government must remain neutral.” Ex-DUP First Minister Arlene Foster said: “Clearly, Labour needs to re-read the Belfast Agreement.”” – The Sun

I’m going nowhere, insists Sturgeon amid speculation about her future

“Nicola Sturgeon has insisted she will serve a full term as First Minister and dismissed speculation she is preparing to step down as “wishful thinking” from her opponents. The SNP leader said that she had “no intention of going anywhere” as she attempted to shut down rumours that she was looking towards life after politics. She recently fuelled speculation about her future by revealing she had discussed becoming a foster parent with her husband and was thinking of writing her memoirs. She has also regularly spoken about the toll leading the country through the pandemic has taken on her and has appeared to lose her patience more often with journalists and opposition MSPs. However, speaking to the BBC ahead of her party’s conference which begins on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said she intended to serve out the “mandate” won at May’s Holyrood election, meaning she would remain in post until at least 2026.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Belgian ports told to ‘prepare for Scottish independence’ – Daily Express

Johnson’s ‘incompetence’ may help Lib Dems win North Shropshire, says Davey

“The Liberal Democrats are in with a chance of taking the ultra-safe Tory seat of North Shropshire, as “soft Conservative” voters turn against Boris Johnson, party leader Ed Davey has claimed. The seat has been vacant since Owen Paterson resigned, after being found to have broken House of Commons rules on paid lobbying. A byelection is being held on 16 December. The Lib Dem hopes of challenging the Conservatives in their home territory were boosted after they overturned a majority of 16,000 in the Buckinghamshire seat of Chesham and Amersham earlier this year. Winning North Shropshire would represent an even more dramatic electoral earthquake, however. Paterson’s majority in 2019 was almost 23,000, and the Lib Dems took just 10% of the vote, coming behind Labour.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Testing the Tory coalition – Henry Hill, The Critic
  • How will society be changed by the over-production of female graduates? – Mary Harrington, The Critic
  • ‘Immigration is war’: an interview with Éric Zemmour – Freddy Gray, The Spectator
  • Does depression exist? – Stuart Richie, UnHerd