Published:

The Prime Minister compares the Ukraine Crisis to Brexit in his Spring Conference speech…

“Boris Johnson is facing backlash for comparing the struggle of Ukrainians fighting the Russian invasion to British people voting for Brexit. Mr Johnson said it is the “instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom”, with the Brexit vote a “famous recent example”, during his speech to the Tory spring conference in Blackpool. In his speech, Mr Johnson said: “I know that it’s the instinct of the people of this country, like the people of Ukraine, to choose freedom, every time…When the British people voted for Brexit in such large, large numbers, I don’t believe it was because they were remotely hostile to foreigners. It’s because they wanted to be free to do things differently and for this country to be able to run itself.” – The I

  • Don’t side with evil, Johnson warns Beijing – The Sunday Times
  • Senior EU diplomat admits that, outside of the EU, Britain’s response to Russia’s invasion was more ‘nimble’ – Sunday Express
  • A fourth Covid vaccine rollout is also in the pipeline – The I
  • The Prime Minister “channels his inner Rocky” whilst on a morning run – The Sunday Telegraph
Comment
  • Why can’t Johnson’s critics admit that he is having a good war? – Dan Hodges, The Mail on Sunday
  • A month of war must consign ‘woolly thinking’ to history – Editorial, The Sunday Times
  • We must be willing to say our values are better than Russia or China’s – Dr Liam Fox MP, The Mail on Sunday
  • Resurrecting the Iran nuclear deal would be a mistake – Dr Liam Fox MP, The Sunday Telegraph
  • How long will our resolution last? – Robert Colville, The Sunday Times
>Yesterday:

…whilst highlighting the importance of weaning the West off the ‘barbarian’ Putin

“Delivering his keynote speech to the Tory conference in Blackpool, the PM said the dictator invaded Ukraine because he is terrified of a free, democratic country on his borders. He gave a stark message to the West that ‘bold steps’ have to be taken to wean off Moscow’s fuel supplies, warning that Putin ‘must fail’ or he will usher in a ‘new age of intimidation’. Mr Johnson’s speech was as usual littered with jokes and he was given a warn reception by the Tory faithful. It was the first time he has addressed them since the Partygate scandal erupted, and Cabinet ministers are increasingly confident he can survive after being seen to handle the Ukraine crisis well. But the PM’s focus was very much on the global standoff with Russia.Mr Johnson said: ‘With every day that Ukraine’s heroic resistance continues, it is clear that Putin has made a catastrophic mistake. ‘You have to ask yourself why he did it – why did he decide to invade this totally innocent country?’” – The Mail on Sunday

  • Putin keen to portray the conflict as a ‘people’s war’ – The Observer
  • Mariupol set to fall – The Sunday Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister was with a Tory donor with Russian links on the night of the invasion – The I
  • Germany fails to deliver promised weapons to Ukraine – The Sunday Telegraph
Comment
  • Those on the right who praised Putin have fallen silent – Nick Cohen, The Observer
  • The war with Ukraine does not erase Johnson’s fundamental unfitness for office – Euan McColm, The Scotsman
  • Zelensky has highlighted the flaws in Germany’s approach – Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times
  • This war is a shameful moment in German history – Daniel Johnson, The Sunday Telegraph

Sunak considering cuts to fuel duty and other taxes to help the cost of living crisis

“The chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing a giveaway this week to ease the cost-of-living crisis to convince voters that he is “on their side”. Whitehall officials expect he will use his spring statement on Wednesday to reduce fuel duty and introduce broader tax cuts to mitigate the impact of spiralling household bills. Further help for parents who pay for childcare is also under consideration after Boris Johnson raised the issue in cabinet last week and said the government should do more. Sunak’s allies insist the spring statement is not a “mini budget” and that it will be “policy light”. But the chancellor is under pressure to spend some of the £40 billion headroom he has accumulated from higher-than-expected tax receipts and a growing economy.” – The Sunday Times

Comment

Truss says it is ‘time to end’ culture wars over pronouns and Britain’s history

“Speaking at the party’s spring conference in Blackpool, Ms Truss defended Britain’s history and called for an end to the “culture of self-doubt”. She said: “We have to be proud of our country, and our long standing commitment to freedom and democracy. Now is the time to end the culture of self-doubt: The constant self-questioning and introspection; the ludicrous debates about [language], statues and pronouns. “Our history – warts and all – is what makes us what we are today. We live in a great country, a great democracy and we should be proud of it.” The prime minister also defended Britain’s tradition of personal freedom but said people did not have to embrace “woke” ideas. He said: “I’ll tell you something. It is the invincible strength of this country that we believe by and large and within the law that people should be able to do whatever they want provided they don’t do any harm to anybody else. And that’s called freedom [and] we don’t need to be woke, we just want to be free.” – Sunday Express

Comment
  • Identity politics is eroding what makes the West better than Putin – Daniel Hannan, The Sunday Telegraph

Matthew Syed: We should be scared of the number of nuclear weapons in the world

“Over the past seven decades, the foreign policy establishment has taken each passing year as evidence that the world’s nuclear arsenal has contributed to peace via the inviolable logic of mutually assured destruction. Game theorists tell us that no rational person would initiate nuclear war, given that it would lead to their own destruction. And this, I’d suggest, is why we took our eye off the ball of arms control. Today, according to some experts, there remain enough weapons to wipe out our species — the ultimate reversion of expectation. But perhaps the crucial insight when it comes to the risks of nuclear war is that psychopaths such as Vladimir Putin — while dangerous — are not the main problem…No, the more serious problem is accidental war: an ambiguous blip on a radar screen that leads to rapid counterattack — before anybody knew it, missiles would be crossing the planet like those satellite pictures of planes that light up the night sky.” – The Sunday Times

  • Britain’s nuclear weapons are reportedly on the move near Glasgow – Sunday Express

Patel: We have balanced helping refugees with keeping the country safe

“Throughout my time in Government, I’ve seen first-hand the plight faced by many people around the world displaced by conflict and the horrors of war. They include Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, Yemeni and Iraqi refugees across Europe, and people we have welcomed to the United Kingdom, including families from Afghanistan. Britain is a country that always does right by those in need. We have a long, proud history of offering sanctuary. The reaction here at home has again been immensely generous, with people up and down the country donating and fundraising to help the Ukrainian people through their darkest hour. Some have even offered a place in their home to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict, following the launch of the Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme.” – Priti Patel, The Sunday Telegraph

  • The Home Secretary issues a warning about female Russian spies posing as Ukrainians to enter the UK – The Mail on Sunday
  • Nandy: Government scheme fundamentally ‘unworkable’ – The Observer 
>Today:

Ministers 1) Kwarteng says that North Sea oil and gas (and Net Zero) will help reduce our reliance on Putin

“For as long as we depend on oil and gas – wherever it is from – we are all vulnerable to Putin’s malign influence on global markets. And with gas prices at record highs, and the price of renewable energy plummeting, it is obvious we need to accelerate our transition away from expensive gas, surely? While our support for the people of Ukraine is unwavering, it is clearer than ever that we need to ensure Britain’s clean energy independence so we can weaken Putin’s grip on the West further by starving him of the cash his country’s natural resources provide. Put simply, switching to our own clean, cheap energy is a win-win for everyone – except Putin. This is no longer just about tackling climate change or hitting Net Zero targets. Moving to cheap, clean, home-grown energy is a matter of British national security to ensure we are no longer held hostage by prices set by global markets we can’t control.” – Kwasi Kwarteng, Sunday Express

  • Johnson ‘privately frustrated’ with the Chancellor’s resistance to new nuclear power stations – The Sunday Telegraph

Ministers 2) Zahawi plans a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees

“Nadhim Zahawi is planning a crackdown on ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees, the Mail on Sunday can reveal. Universities will be required to publish the drop-out rate and graduate job outcomes on every advert they put out for a degree, in the same way loans have to be upfront about APR, under plans being considered by the Education Secretary. This would apply to both physical and online adverts for courses and aim to ensure students are not ‘misled’ when applying, insiders said. A government source said the aim is to tackle universities cynically offering degrees as ‘silly’ as ‘David Beckham studies’ while knowing they are unlikely to lead to better career or earnings prospects for young people. They pointed out that some Management degrees have a drop out rate of more than 50 per cent.” – The Mail on Sunday

Ministers 3) Trevelyan will hold talks with her US counterpart this week

“On Monday, Ms Trevelyan will attend the first of a new series of transatlantic dialogues aimed at deepening our already-thriving £200 billion relationship with the United States. She will be a guest at a two-day event in Baltimore, Maryland, with her American counterpart – US Trade Representative Katherine Tai as part of the Joint UK/US Dialogues on the Future of Atlantic Trade. The event brings together politicians, senior officials, trade unions, businesses and civil society figures from both sides to discuss how the UK and US can work together to deepen our trading relationship. Ahead of the event, Ms Trevelyan said: “The US is our closest and most important economic ally and this visit is a golden opportunity to turbocharge our thriving trade and investment relationship.” – Sunday Express

>Yesterday:

Ministers 4) Rees-Mogg aims to cut the focus on ethical contracts

“Jacob Rees-Mogg is preparing to shake up government outsourcing so that it focuses more on taxpayer value-for-money and less on supposedly ethical principles. The minister for government efficiency wants to reduce the weighting given to “social value” when contracts are handed out. The measure currently encompasses a wide range of non-financial metrics including carbon emissions, jobs and the impact on local communities. Mr Rees-Mogg has held meetings with major outsourcers to underline the changes, which are also designed to reweight government contracts in favour of smaller providers who he fears are negatively impacted by social value criteria. A Whitehall source told the Telegraph that a key consideration was “how social value is defined”.” – The Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Mercer ‘secretly travelled’ to Kyiv to see the ‘carnage’ of war first-hand

“Former Tory cabinet minister Johnny Mercer secretly travelled to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv last week, where he visited maimed civilians in hospital and witnessed the ‘total carnage’ of Putin’s illegal war. Mercer, a former veterans minister and Royal Marine captain, said on Friday that he boarded a plane to Krakow, Poland ‘a week ago’ before heading into war-torn Ukraine ‘at the invitation of local MPs’. He then returned to the West on Wednesday, the Plymouth Moor View MP added. Tweeting photos of himself visiting the sick and injured in a Kyiv hospital, Mercer said: ‘Earlier this week at the invite of local MPs, I was in and around Irpin, Bucha and Kyiv visiting wounded Ukrainian veterans, local MPs fighting to save their country, and families decimated by Putin’s indiscriminate military. Total carnage; incredible human spirit’.” – The Mail on Sunday

  • ‘White van army’ mobilised to deliver aid to Ukraine – including David Cameron – The Sunday Times

Ministers knew about P&O sackings in advance

“Whitehall officials tried to justify P&O Ferries’ sacking of 800 workers by telling ministers it would “ensure that they remain a key player in the UK market for years to come through restructuring”, a leaked memo shows. The briefing document shows the Department for Transport failed to challenge the company’s decision to dismiss crew members with immediate effect, possibly in breach of employment law. Written by a senior official, it was shared across the government, including with the prime minister’s private office, before P&O told staff in a video recording on Thursday that it was their final day at the company. Cabinet ministers then condemned the redundancies as a public backlash ensued. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, gave P&O’s chief executive, Peter Hebblethwaite, a public dressing-down.” – The Sunday Times

Khan donated taxpayers’ money to an anti-racism group which ‘denied Uyghur genocide’

“Sadiq Khan has paid large sums of taxpayers’ money to an anti-racism group, two of whose directors waved Chinese communist flags and denied the Uyghur genocide. The Monitoring Group has received up to £55,000 a year from The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) via the Catch anti-hate partnership. A doyen of the London anti-racism scene since the 1990s, it has also benefited from hundreds of thousands in grants from philanthropic monoliths such as the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Open Society, founded by the billionaire George Soros, as well as receiving significant Lottery funding. However, The Telegraph can reveal that some of the leading members of The Monitoring Group now stand accused of appearing to support one of the most racist regimes in the world.” – The Sunday Telegraph

  • Labour criticised for amendment to the government’s Elections Bill allowing all foreign nationals to vote – The Sunday Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Hurray! Bono has written a poem – Camilla Long, The Sunday Times 
  • How to fix Britain’s broken asylum system – David Goodhart, The Spectator 
  • Why Russia is a prisoner of geography – Tim Marshall, The New Statesman 
  • Why does Britain sell off all its companies? – Walter Ellis, Reaction 
  • Let us work towards a truly inclusive Britain – Sunder Katwala, Cap X