Published:

Nandy to face Gove on ‘levelling up’ after Labour front bench shake-up…

“Lisa Nandy has been appointed shadow minister for “levelling up” as Labour leader Keir Starmer seeks to hold the government to account over its signature policy. As part of a wider reshuffle Nandy will move across from her current job as foreign affairs spokesperson to shadow Michael Gove, the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities. David Lammy, the outspoken anti-Brexit MP for Tottenham, who has close links with US Democrats including former president Barack Obama, will replace her as shadow foreign secretary. Meanwhile, Jonathan Reynolds becomes business secretary, replacing former Labour leader Ed Miliband in the role.” – FT

  • Cooper and Lammy among beneficiaries of reshuffle – The Guardian

>Today: Ravi Gurumurthy in Comment: What can the Government learn from New Labour about levelling up?

…but leaves Rayner ‘clueless’ about move

“Labour  leader Sir Keir Starmer did a surprise Shadow Cabinet reshuffle last night – catching his own deputy on the hop. In the second rejig this year, ex-Labour minister Yvette Cooper returned to the front bench… And the reshuffle was a humiliating blow to Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, who has made several digs at Sir Keir over recent weeks. Yesterday morning she was on the radio denying Sir Keir would conduct a reshuffle — just two hours before the Labour leader began one. She told Times Radio: “No, I’m not aware of any plans for a reshuffle. I reckon that Keir would tell me first, yeah.”” – The Sun 

Coronavirus 1) Boosters for every adult ‘in bid to save Christmas’

“NHS bosses are scrambling to put the Covid vaccination booster programme “on steroids” after 13 million more people were made eligible yesterday amid a looming wave of the Omicron variant. A million more people a week will be given booster jabs to protect the nation against a threat likened by Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, to a coming storm. With 14 cases of the new variant confirmed in Britain and dozens more suspected, health chiefs fear that Omicron is spreading and are putting in place intensive testing to try to slow it down… From today masks must be worn in hairdressers, beauty salons, banks, post offices and shops in England after the government published yesterday the full list of venues where face coverings are mandatory.” – The Times

  • UK aims for 500,000 jabs a day – The Guardian
  • Can the booster drive cope? – Daily Mail
  • Face masks legally required in hairdressers and takeaways under new Covid rules – Daily Telegraph
  • Pupils face new curbs – The Sun

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Omicron or no Omicron, high-income nations should have promoted a more equitable distribution of vaccines

Coronavirus 2) Recall Commons over Christmas so MPs can debate any extension to rules, say Tories

“Tory MPs have demanded that the Commons be recalled during Christmas recess if the Government wants to stretch new Covid restrictions beyond three weeks. Calls for MPs to have a say on any extension to the rules, brought in to tackle the omicron variant, grew on Monday after complaints that MPs were only set to be offered an initial debate and vote after the measures were implemented. Rules legally mandating face coverings in shops and on public transport, plus a directive ordering people arriving into England to take a PCR test within two days and self-isolate until the result, come into force at 4am on Tuesday. However, a Commons debate will not take place until Tuesday afternoon, with a vote likely by around 4pm. The measures are expected to pass.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Javid tries to allay fears with promise to lift new curbs – The Times

Mark Wallace: Expecting politicians to have all the answers for the new Omicron variant is downright dangerous

“The peculiar insistence that those in public life should be omniscient runs up against two problems. The first is human nature. Even on topics they’re responsible for, nobody can hold every relevant statistic in their head, still less for topics that aren’t their brief. The second is that reality involves uncertainty – regardless of whether it makes a good headline or a neat argument. The pandemic should have taught us that, at least. When not asking ministers and public health officers things that they don’t need to know, some broadcasters also ask them things they can’t possibly know, because nobody does. For example: will the Omicron variant lead to x, y, or z policy outcomes? … Except it isn’t reassuring to be given answers that are guesses dressed up as certainly – it’s reckless, and causes unjustified panic or a false sense of security.” – The i

Johnson ‘has lost faith’ in Priti Patel over Channel migrant crisis…

“Cabinet ministers embarked on a civil war over the Channel migrant crisis yesterday – with Priti Patel at its centre. Frustrated colleagues blasted the Home Secretary and claimed Boris Johnson had lost patience with her – while her allies insisted she was having to fight a “lone battle”. It comes after the crisis was thrown into sharp focus last week when 27 people — 17 men, seven women and three kids — died when their dinghy sank off Calais. The PM is said to be enraged by warnings from MPs that the small boat migrant tide entering the UK could cost him the next election. A record 25,700 have arrived so far this year, dwarfing the 8,410 who made the treacherous trip across the English Channel in 2020.” – The Sun

  • Conservative voters critical of response – The Times

>Yesterday: Keiran Pedley in Comment: Why the Conservatives are vulnerable on immigration

…but France ‘prepared to pursue discussions’

“The French prime minister is preparing to offer Boris Johnson a post-Brexit deal with the EU on migration after the deaths of 27 migrants in the Channel last week. Jean Castex will write to Mr Johnson on Tuesday after days of verbal clashes between the UK and France which saw Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, disinvited from a Calais summit of interior ministers to discuss the Channel migrant crisis. Gerald Darmanin, Ms Patel’s French counterpart, also said France was prepared to resume discussions this week but added that he would only do so once the “double talk” in London had stopped.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Paris backtracks on refusal to negotiate with UK – Daily Mail
  • French minister Darmanin blasts Britain over crisis – Daily Express

Neighbours to decide planning rules using street referendums

“Homeowners will be able to band together with their neighbours to hold a referendum on adding extensions to their properties, Michael Gove has said. The housing secretary said he supported the “cracking” idea of Street Votes, which would allow property-owners to add hundreds of thousands in value to their suburban homes. Under the plans, 20 per cent of residents or ten homeowners, whichever figure is higher, could apply to their local council to hold a referendum on a design code for their street. The code, which would need the support of 60 per cent of residents, would determine the height, size and architectural style of new properties and allow residents to add extensions to their existing homes.” – The Times

MPs face being gagged by woke new rules in attempt to clean up Westminster sleaze

“MPs face being gagged by new rules forcing them to be more woke in a fresh attempt to clean up Westminster sleaze. Parliament’s ethics watchdog wants to make politicians demonstrate anti-racism, inclusion and diversity at all times. MPs hurling excessive personal attacks or abuse on Twitter would breach the code. But politicians branded the draft suggestions nonsense, warning they would throttle free speech. One raged: “I think it’s a load of rubbish. This organisation is just trying to be woke.” Another fumed that it would “flatten out the cut and thrust of parliamentary debate”. The overhaul, put forward by the Standards Committee, would also force ministers to come clean on lavish holidays and job perks.” – The Sun

  • Johnson under pressure to further curb rules on MPs’ outside work – FT

Comment:

  • Ban MPs from consultancy work to prevent another Paterson – Chrys Bryant MP, Times Red Box

>Today: ToryDiary: Our Cabinet League Table. Johnson is back in negative ratings.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Three quarters of Party activists believe that MPs should have outside interests. Our survey.

Online safety bill to make tech giants tackle scams

“The government is looking at ways to hold technology companies responsible for the “explosion” in online scam advertisements, a minister has suggested. John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, said the government was “very sympathetic” about tackling the problem of fraudulent adverts amid a surge in attacks, in a sign the imminent Online Safety Bill could include stronger measures to deal with the issue. Emails and digital adverts entice people to visit hoax websites about “get rich quick” schemes. They are then encouraged to click on a link to invest but the money is sent to cybercriminals. “This is a massive problem,” Glen told MPs on the Treasury select committee. The current draft of the bill does not include measures to make tech giants combat online adverts set up by fraudsters. Instead it is down to financial regulators to request that the adverts be removed.” – The Times

  • Treasury minister backs calls for tighter rules to tackle online fraud – FT

News in Brief:

  • The Left is wrong about housing – David Swift, UnHerd
  • If half of MPs were women, would Parliament really be more ‘representative’? – Jamie Whyte, CapX
  • Mugged by misrepresentation – Richard Waghorne, The Critic
  • Poland steps up its legal fight against Europe – Andrew Tettenborn, The Spectator