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Cop26: Johnson hails deal to cut methane emissions…

“World leaders agreed a deal yesterday to curb emissions of the planet’s second-most polluting greenhouse gas as Boris Johnson expressed optimism for success at the Glasgow climate change conference. The prime minister said that two days of talks had given a “sense” of how the world could achieve the cuts needed in greenhouse gases. He was speaking after 103 countries signed a deal to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by the end of the decade. If fully implemented, the pledge could limit global warming by about 0.2C by 2050. Britain, the US, EU, Indonesia, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico, Nigeria, Iraq, Vietnam and Canada all signed. However, China, India and Russia, three of the top five methane emitters, have not and neither has Australia.” – The Times

  • Plan to cut carbon emissions or be fined, Sunak tells listed companies – The Times

Comment:

Political sketch:

… but China undermines Cop26 aims with call for 2C global warming target

“Joe Biden has criticised China’s decision not to attend the Cop26 summit as a “big mistake” after the world’s largest polluter called for less ambitious climate change goals to keep warming to 2C. China on Tuesday said a 2C target should be the aim of talks, suggesting that 1.5C was too difficult for many countries. “If we only focus on 1.5C, we are destroying consensus and many countries would demand a reopening of the negotiations,” Xie Zhenhua, Beijing’s climate negotiator, told the BBC. The 2015 Paris Agreement commits more than 190 countries to keeping the rise in mean global temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels, and “preferably” limit to 1.5C. Joe Biden said that the non-attendance of Chinese President, Xi Jinping had “been a big mistake”.” – Daily Telegraph

Household spending power hit by high taxes and stagnant wages

“Household incomes will rise at the slowest rate on record over the course of this parliament because of stagnating wages, higher taxes and falling employment, an analysis has found. The Resolution Foundation think tank concluded that disposable income — a household’s spending power after taxes and other costs — would rise by only 0.1 per cent a year, the lowest over a parliament on record. The previous record was between 2015 and 2019 under David Cameron and Theresa May, when the annual rise was 0.3 per cent. Adam Corlett, principal economist at the foundation, said: “Last week the chancellor hailed his budget as marking a ‘new age of optimism’, but the economic reality facing families across Britain is far more sobering.” – The Times

Fox: Act now to curb threat of inflation

“As ever, it takes a few days for the details of the budget to sink in. We now know that the increases in national insurance and corporation tax will take UK taxes, as a share of GDP, to around 36.5 per cent — the highest in 70 years. While public spending will fall from the very high levels induced by the pandemic of around 53.1 per cent of GDP in 2020-21, it is planned to stabilise at around 41.6 per cent from 2024-25. This is the highest sustained level since the 1970s, when we carried the burden of Cold War defence spending. We are told that Conservative philosophy has changed. I disagree. It would be a mistake to believe that a more social democratic approach to economic management represents the centre of gravity of the party. The internal debate is only just starting.” – The Times

We have not yielded to France in Brexit fishing row, says Johnson

“Boris Johnson on Tuesday denied that Britain had offered concessions to France in the Brexit fishing row after Emmanuel Macron climbed down from his threat of sanctions. Asked whether the UK had offered Paris more generous terms on fishing licences in a bid to defuse tensions, Mr Johnson said: “The answer is no”. Hours before his midnight deadline on Monday, Mr Macron, the French president, announced that he was pausing his threat of sanctions so talks with the EU and Britain could continue. Clement Beaune, the French Europe minister, claimed Paris had backed down over its plan to punish the UK with trade disruptions and port bans after receiving signals from “British authorities that will speed up talks”.” – Daily Telegraph

Tories set to veto Paterson’s suspension…

“Ministers are prepared to back unprecedented plans to overturn the six-week suspension of a Tory grandee for breaking lobbying rules and put his case in the hands of a Conservative-dominated committee instead. The Commons will today vote on a decision by the standards committee, a cross-party group of MPs, to suspend Owen Paterson for breaching lobbying rules on behalf of two companies which between them were paying him £100,000 a year. Sanctions imposed by the standards committee are usually approved as a formality but supporters of Paterson will table a series of amendments seeking to change the process because they believe that he has not received natural justice.” – The Times

  • Jacob Rees-Mogg questions fairness of Owen Paterson suspension vote – The Guardian

… as the PM seeks to replace Commons standards watchdog

“Boris Johnson will attempt to reform the House of Commons standards watchdog following its decision to ban Owen Paterson, the former Cabinet minister, from Parliament. Tory MPs and ministers will be ordered by the Government’s whips to support a backbench motion which could lead to the Commons standards committee system being disbanded and replaced with a new body. Ministers believe this unprecedented move could lead to the resignation of Kathryn Stone, the Commons standards commissioner, who has been accused of bias against Tories and Brexiteers. John Whittingdale, the former Conservative Culture secretary, has been lined up to chair a new nine-strong select committee, with most of the members nominated by the Government, which is likely to redraw the rules on MPs’ conduct.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Parliament’s chief sleaze inquisitor faces questions about her own partisanship – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

‘Exasperated’ Wallace summons top brass for dressing-down

“Ben Wallace has summoned senior army generals to the Ministry of Defence for a dressing-down after becoming “exasperated” by a number of “worrying incidents” relating to culture and conduct in the service. The extraordinary meeting of the army board, which includes General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the army, is expected to be held next week. It is the first time the defence secretary has “summoned” top brass to express his frustration with the way the army has handled allegations and procurement programmes. The army board, which normally meets formally twice a year, is made up of senior commanders, including the assistant chief of the general staff and the commander-in-chief of land forces. The meeting will cover the beleaguered Ajax armoured vehicle programme, conduct at the Sandhurst military academy and the alleged killing of a Kenyan prostitute in 2012.” – The Times

Coronavirus 1) Javid says lack of face-to-face appointments are piling pressure on A&Es as he tells GPs it’s a sign ‘patients want to be seen’

“A lack of face-to-face GP appointments is putting ‘significant’ pressure on A&Es, the Health Secretary revealed today. Sajid Javid warned patients are resorting to turning up at emergency departments because they can’t access a doctor in person. Putting pressure on GPs to see more people face-to-face on the back of the pandemic, he said patients ‘stayed away from the NHS when they were asked to, they now want to be seen’. It comes after a top GP last week blamed Britons’ ‘Amazon Prime mentality’ for the increasing number of patients turning up at A&E with symptoms that could be managed by a GP.” – Daily Mail

  • Women unable to access abortions with NHS under pressure – The Times

Coronavirus 2) Wellcome director resigns as UK government science adviser

“The UK government’s pandemic science advisory group has lost one of its most prominent members. Sir Jeremy Farrar has left Sage, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, to concentrate on his work as director of the Wellcome Trust, the country’s largest medical charity. Farrar, who has a global reputation as a public health leader, has recently been advocating stronger action against Covid-19 than the government has taken — a “vaccine plus” strategy involving more mask-wearing on public transport and in shops and indoor spaces, as well as more active promotion of good ventilation and flexible working to avoid crowded commuting and offices.” – FT

  • MPs told to wear masks after Covid cases rise in parliament – The Times

Coronavirus 3) Business travel starts bouncing back despite switch to video calls

“Business travel is set to bounce back to two thirds of pre-pandemic levels by next year, research has found. Experts had predicted that video calls and online conferences would sound the death knell for overseas jaunts, while airlines feared that businesses would slash their travel budgets. However, spending on business travel looks set to rise by more than 25 per cent this year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), and by a further 34 per cent in 2022. Business travel was disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and has been slower to resume as a result of the trend towards working from home. Foreign travel collapsed in March 2020 when travel restrictions closed borders. Spending on trips fell by 61 per cent overall last year.” – The Times

Stonewall dropped by health department

“The Department of Health has quit Stonewall’s controversial diversity scheme, the latest high-profile organisation to distance itself from the lobby group which is facing criticism over its alleged influence on public policy. The government department cited concerns over value for money. Stonewall says that its initiatives help organisations provide a better, fairer workplace for their LGBT staff. Critics claim that taxpayer-funded organisations are effectively paying a lobby group to lobby them, as evidence emerges of Stonewall advising members to rewrite their own internal and external policies to reflect the charity’s agenda.” – The Times

Analysis:

  • What does Kathleen Stock, alleged ‘transphobe’, actually believe? – Daily Telegraph

News in brief: