Published:

UK to send troops to Poland amid concern about Russian buildup

“Britain has agreed to send a further 350 troops to Poland, in a move intended to demonstrate that the two countries stand together amid concerns that the Ukraine crisis could spill over into eastern Europe. The deployment was agreed bilaterally – meaning it takes place outside Nato’s structures – and comes a few days after the US announced it would send in 1,700 paratroop reinforcements into Poland. Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, standing next to his Polish counterpart in London, said the aim was to send a “strong signal” to Russia that the UK and Poland “stand side by side” as Moscow moves up to 30,000 troops to neighbouring Belarus.” – The Guardian

  • Jenrick warns Truss a planned trip to Moscow will hand Putin a propaganda coup – Daily Mail
  • US and Germany ‘absolutely united’ as Joe Biden promises to scrap Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades – Daily Telegraph

Boris Johnson: I still believe diplomacy can prevail

“For our part, British sanctions and other measures will be ready for any renewed Russian attack. The government will ask parliament for new powers to sanction a wider range of Russian individuals and entities, including any company linked to the Russian state or operating in a sector of strategic importance to the Kremlin. No sector is more important than energy, which is why I said last November that a choice was shortly coming between mainlining ever more Russian hydrocarbons through giant new pipelines and sticking up for Ukraine. I welcome Germany’s statement that Nord Stream 2 would be reconsidered in the event of an incursion.” – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The now or never moment for Article 16 is fast approaching

Prime Minister ‘plans mini-reshuffle this week’

“Battling Boris Johnson has vowed it will take a “division of tanks” to oust him from No 10 — as he plans a mini-reshuffle and new chief whip as soon as this week. As part of his continued shake up of the  Downing Street operation, a battered Mr Johnson is considering a new role for current top enforcer Mark Spencer. The Prime Minister  spent the weekend boosting his inner team following a brutal culling in the wake of the Partygate scandal. He has also canned a trip to Australia planned for next week as he battles to keep his job with more hirings and firings expected in  the coming days. With Cabinet Office boss Steve Barclay promoted to Downing Street Chief of Staff some of his Cabinet responsibilities will be handed to more junior ministers.” – The Sun 

  • Arch-loyalists set to reap rewards in move to shore up Johnson – The Times
  • Rees-Mogg to get Brexit spearheading role – Daily Express

>Yesterday:

Police rescue Starmer from mob who surround him and accuse him of ‘protecting paedophiles’

“Sir Keir Starmer was bundled into a police car to protect him from a group of protesters on Monday night, as MPs blamed Boris Johnson’s claims about Jimmy Savile. Sir Keir, the Labour leader, was confronted by anti-lockdown protesters in Westminster. The protesters followed him and David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, along Victoria Embankment, accusing Sir Keir of “protecting paedophiles”. The group repeated an accusation made by Mr Johnson in the Commons last week, when he suggested Sir Keir had been responsible for the failure to prosecute Savile for the sexual abuse of children.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scenes increase cross-party pressure on Johnson – FT
  • ‘They were mostly shouting about Assange!’ Tory MP hits back in row – Daily Express

>Today: Audio: The Moggcast: Operation Midland. The treatment of Harvey Proctor was “deeply scandalous”.

Harri lobbied Downing Street Chief of Staff not to outlaw Huawei over spying fears

“The PM’s new PR man directly lobbied the No10 Chief of Staff not to ban controversial tech firm Huawei over spying fears. Guto Harri — hired by Boris Johnson on Saturday — used a 2020 meeting with Sir Eddie Lister to ask which ministers to “nudge” on behalf of his client, documents show. On June 2, 2020, he met with then No10 Chief of Staff Sir Eddie Lister alongside three top executives from the Chinese Communist Party-linked company. In the 25-minute video call, Mr Harri, representing lobbying firm Hawthorn Advisors, directly asked Sir Eddie which ministers he could “nudge” for help, according to minutes taken. Britain’s Security Service was then conducting a review into the risk of allowing the firm into the UK’s core telecommunications network.” – The Sun

  • Johnson ‘not a complete clown’, says his new press chief… – The Guardian
  • …as Prime Minister gives him a musical welcome – The Times
  • First day of Boris’s ‘grown ups’ turns into circus – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • If Harri becomes the narrative, he’s already lost – Andrew MacDougall, Times Red Box

Low taxes key to economic success, says new policy unit head

“Boris Johnson’s new policy unit head has said low taxes will be the key to Britain’s economic success – and that regaining backbench support for the Government’s policy agenda is crucial. Andrew Griffith, the Tory MP for Arundel and South Downs, was appointed to head up Mr Johnson’s Number 10 policy team after the resignation of Munira Mirza last week. Writing on the ConservativeHome website, Mr Griffith laid out his new approach to the role and drew inspiration from his 1980s childhood, during Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. The former chief financial officer of Sky said he supported lowering taxes and fostering good relations with businesses.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Griffith takes ‘apparent swipe at the BBC’ – Daily Mail

More:

  • Female ‘gatekeeper’ to help out chief of staff Barclay – The Times
  • Who’s who in Downing St after Johnson’s reset? – FT

>Today: Dr Gerard Lyons’ column: Will there be a sterling devaluation this year?

>Yesterday: Andrew Griffith MP in Comment: It is ultimately outputs that matter. Here are my priorities as the Prime Minister’s new Director of Policy.

Is it Carrie’s turn to be embarrassed by Ashcroft?

“On Monday ConHome’s editor Paul Goodman publicly questioned whether Carrie Johnson was fair game. “Whether the charge is true or not, it deflects from the main point. Which is that the prime minister himself, not his spouse, bears responsibility for his decisions,” he wrote. First Lady’s publication is understood to have been brought forward after Johnson’s premiership was imperilled by partygate. The book makes a number of significant – and disputed – allegations, including that Carrie Johnson messaged staff from the prime minister’s phone, interfered in significant political decisions and arranged to have staff members hired or dismissed, depending on who was in favour.” – The Guardian

  • “There is certainly some considerable editorial freedom” at ConHome and other Ashcroft-owned publications – The Guardian

Ministers expect ‘well funded’ NHS to deliver on waiting lists…

“Ministers want an “incredibly well funded” NHS to agree to the most “stretching targets possible”, a government source said yesterday amid a row over a long-awaited plan to tackle backlogs of routine care. The Treasury intervened over the weekend to block the publication of the plan amid an increasingly acrimonious dispute about how quickly waiting lists can return to pre-pandemic levels. There is concern about ensuring value for money given the “political capital” expended raising national insurance by a combined 2.5 percentage points for employers and employees. The Times has been told that the NHS’s plan for tackling the backlog, presented to the government last week, was missing many of the targets that had been discussed previously.” – The Times

  • NHS officials said to be pressing for target to be pushed back by six months – Daily Mail

More:

  • Johnson accused of ‘shameful spinning’ of cancer care targets – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Stewart Jackson’s column: Tax cuts, more homes, immigration control and NHS reform. What the Tories need to do to win next time.

…as row over delay to multi-billion pound programme shines spotlight on tensions with Treasury

“That Boris Johnson even needed to say it speaks volumes about the febrile atmosphere inside Downing Street. Asked on Monday whether he ever worried that the Chancellor might be after his job, the Prime Minister replied “absolutely not” as he insisted that he and Rishi Sunak were “working together” to fix the Covid backlogs. Yet with Mr Johnson still feeling the pressure over “partygate”, and Mr Sunak tipped as his most likely successor, the row over the delay to a multi-billion pound programme to clear NHS waiting lists once again shines the spotlight on historic tensions between Number 10 and Number 11. The National Recovery Plan for the health service has been the subject of detailed discussions over the last week involving Number 10, the Treasury, the Department of Health and the NHS.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Chancellor refuses to sign off NHS plan to clear backlog in row on targets – FT
  • Promise to eliminate one-year wait for NHS operations at heart of rift between Treasury and No 10 – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • No more billions for our ‘sacred’ NHS until they tell us exactly what good it will do – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

Editorial:

  • The Treasury is right to insist on targets to ensure money is well spent – The Times

Six North Sea oil and gas fields to be fired up amid Cabinet row over net zero

“Six North Sea oil and gas fields are set to be given the green light this year, The Telegraph has learnt, as Cabinet figures push back against “insane” demands to go further on net zero. Rishi Sunak has asked Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, to fast-track the licences amid Treasury fears over the economic impact of making the UK a net zero carbon emitter by 2050. It is the latest sign of  tensions between Number 10 and Number 11 after the Treasury held back plans for bringing down NHS backlogs and demanded better value for money. The Telegraph understands that Mr Sunak is also preparing to resist Boris Johnson’s high-spending instincts over public sector pay, measures to limit migrant Channel crossings and the scrapping of free Covid tests.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Ministers face legal challenge over rules for shooting wild birds – The Guardian

Gove’s barometers highlight models for levelling up

“In an attempt to honour this pledge, Michael Gove published a 332-page white paper titled Levelling Up the United Kingdom, outlining Government plans to address the issue. The strategy is designed to take effect by 2030, and aims to improve services such as education, broadband and transport. Alongside the white paper, the Office for National Statistics published an analysis of 25 indicators used to measure the ‘levelled up’ status of different parts of the UK. The barometers used include success in schools, smoking rates, childhood and adult obesity, employment levels, broadband speed and overall happiness. Overall, the 10 regions which scored the highest are Richmond upon Thames, Runnymede, Woking, Buckinghamshire, Elmbridge, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hart, Basingstoke and Deane, Bromley and Wandsworth.” – Daily Express

  • Johnson’s successor deserves our sympathy – Max Hastings, The Times

>Today: Local Government: The Levelling Up White Paper shows that Gove has lost his radical cutting edge

>Yesterday:Ben Houchen in Local Government: Unleash the free market to deliver on levelling-up

News in Brief:

  • Carrie and the problem with anonymous sources – Craig Oliver, The Spectator
  • This damning grooming report is a wake-up call – Rakib Ehsan, CapX
  • Why I quit teacher training – Emily Schroeder, The Critic
  • Captain Tom Foundation spends more on management than charity – Henry Hill, UnHerd