Published:

Prime Minister warns Putin has ‘underestimated the West’

“Mad Vlad Putin has badly underestimated Western fury and Ukraine’s “heroic resistance” to his barbaric invasion, Boris Johnson warned today. At a wartime press conference with the Canadian and Dutch PMs, he vowed to unleash even more sanctions to strangle the Russian economy. Together with Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte he announced they are forming a Ukraine Support Group and inviting allies to join them. And he confirmed a further £175million for the war-ravaged country brining UK donations to a stonking £400million… He said that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to swingeing British sanctions in response to Russia’s barbaric invasion.” – The Sun

  • Johnson unveils six point plan to target Putin – The Herald
  • What is the Visegrad Group and which countries are in the V4? – The Sun
  • Why Putin may stay in power longer than we think – Daily Telegraph

Zelensky will give a ‘historic address’ to MPs by video link today

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will give a ‘historic address’ to MPs on Tuesday via video link tomorrow. Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he granted the request for Mr Zelensky to read a statement to the House of Commons at 5pm on Tuesday on the Russian invasion of his country. Sir Lindsay said: ‘Every parliamentarian wants to hear directly from the president, who will be speaking to us live from Ukraine, so this is an important opportunity for the House. Thanks again to our incredible staff for working at pace to make this historic address possible.’ MPs will be able to watch the speech on screens installed overnight above either side of the chamber, House of Commons officials said.” – Daily Mail

  • He calls Russian humanitarian corridors a ‘propaganda ploy’ – The Times
  • Defiant Zelensky reveals his location in Kiev – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Xi is the only leader who can stop the war in Ukraine – William Hague, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: No justice, no peace? Ending Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may involve ugly compromises.

>Yesterday: Howard Flight’s column: Why I think Putin will soon seek a deal to end his war with Ukraine

Johnson suggests the UK could increase domestic gas production to reduce reliance on Russia

“Boris Johnson today suggested Britain could ramp up domestic gas production as he admitted the West needs short-term ‘substitutes’ for Russian supplies to reduce costs on British families. The Prime Minister announced he will set out a new energy supply strategy in the coming days as he faces pressures to end reliance on Vladimir Putin’s regime. Addressing a Downing Street press conference with the prime ministers of Canada and the Netherlands, Justin Trudeau and Mark Rutte, he insisted the UK would continue its long term goal to switch to reenable green power like wind and solar. But he said short-term policy had to ‘reflect the reality that there is a crunch on at the moment’.” – Daily Mail

  • Green light for North Sea projects – The Times
  • Prime Minister prepares new UK energy strategy seeking self-sufficiency – FT
  • Russian oil ban ‘on the table’ as Johnson vows to shore up UK industry – Daily Telegraph
  • Markets rattled by push for ban – FT

More:

  • Families should brace for £1,000 fall in income – Daily Mail
  • Sunak must cut fuel duty to soften pump prices rocketing due to sanctions, MPs warn – The Sun
  • Living standards for UK households set for greatest fall since 1970s – The Times
  • Warnings over ‘dystopian’ effects of cost of living – Daily Mail

>Today: Dr Gerard Lyons’ column: What are the economic and policy implications of the war in Ukraine – and what do they mean for the UK?

>Yesterday:

Charles Moore: Why block energy wells just when we need them?

“Yesterday contractors began to arrive at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire. They are there to clear the place. Next Monday, they will start the process of pouring concrete into the only two horizontal shale gas wells in Britain, and keep on pouring until they will never be usable again. It is an eco-punishment, as vengeful as the Romans sowing the defeated Carthage with salt… At any time, this behaviour would be extremely foolish. The wealth of energy contained in the Lancashire field is huge and the recorded damage of fracking there is tiny. As Lord Lilley eloquently put it: “UK shale gas regulations are up to 180 thousand times more stringent than in the US, requiring tremors equivalent to dropping a bag of shopping on the floor to be recorded as an ‘earthquake’. Cuadrilla’s wells produced – for just two seconds – movement that was half what standard construction sites are allowed to produce every single day.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Looking at new North Sea gas supplies may not be palatable but is pragmatic – Nils Pratley, The Guardian
  • Putin never believed the West would cut off Russian oil; that was a grave mistake – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

Editorial:

  • At last, Johnson ditches green dogma on energy – Daily Mail

>Today: Audio: The Moggcast. “The Green Blob has had the view that UK energy is bad in principle.”

Pentagon says Putin has deployed all his troops and is recruiting foreign fighters

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has now sent about 100 percent of his invasion forces into Ukraine, a senior US defense official said on Monday. Russia has made no further move to send battalions from elsewhere in Russia, said the official, as he instead confirmed that Moscow was now trying to recruit foreign fighters for its stalled advance. ‘We now assess that Putin has committed nearly 100 percent of his combat power into Ukraine,’ the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. ‘And by combat power, I mean, that combat power that he has amassed along the border with Ukraine and in Belarus.’ Before the invasion started, US officials said they believed that Russian had massed more than 150,000 people along Ukraine’s borders.” – Daily Mail

  • Russian warship that attacked Ukraine’s Snake Island is ‘destroyed’ – The Times
  • Retired general says NATO should go in – Daily Mail

>Today: John C Hulsman in Comment: Defence and security. If the Germans can rid themselves of their sacred cows, then so can the British.

Green light to sanction hundreds of Russian oligarchs from next week after MPs pass new fast-track law

“Britain will be able to sanction hundreds of Russian oligarchs next week after MPs last night passed a law to speed up the process. Legislation to tackle ‘dirty money’ hidden in the UK was rushed through the Commons after facing months of delays. The Economic Crime Bill received an unopposed third reading. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss earlier told MPs on the foreign affairs committee the new law would enable Britain to sanction ‘hundreds’ of individuals by next Tuesday. The Government tabled a series of amendments to the Bill to crack down on corrupt elites and ramp up pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime. Ministers wanted to shorten the deadline for overseas companies to register their ‘beneficial owners’ from 18 months to six months.” – Daily Mail

  • Truss to cripple Putin with new sanctions in days – Daily Express
  • Foreign Secretary admits UK has been ‘slower’ on Russian sanctions – FT
  • Tory peer resigns as chair of Russian firm EN+ – The Times

>Yesterday:

Ministry of Defence will step in to rescue chaotic Ukraine refugee scheme, reveals Wallace

“The Ministry of Defence will step in to rescue the chaotic scheme welcoming Ukrainian refugees to Britain, Ben Wallace has revealed. A total of 300 visas have been granted to date in the wake of more than 17,000 applications, Home Office figures showed last night amid cross-party calls for quicker support. “Of course we could do more and we are doing more,” Mr Wallace, the Defence Secretary, todl Sky News. The first and foremost duty for all of us is to make sure those people get to safety. Once they’ve got to safety, making sure we just check their identity before they come to this country, [it’s] incredibly important that we do that. It shouldn’t take time and I’ve offered, and I will be offering, to the Home Office assistance from the MoD – in the same way we did in Op Pitting – to increase the processing time to help those people.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Truss passes buck to Patel for visa shambles – Daily Mail
  • Home Secretary ‘slapped down’ on new humanitarian route – The Times
  • Just 300 Ukrainian refugees granted visas to come to the UK – The Guardian
  • France forced to pick up cost of ‘chaotic’ scheme – Daily Telegraph

More:

  • Experts raise doubts over plan for Royal Navy to control Channel crossings – The Guardian

NHS has to change or waiting lists will grow, Javid warns

“Patients face ever longer waits for treatment without radical NHS reform because finances are unsustainable, the health secretary will say today. Sajid Javid will say that the government cannot pump “more and more money” into the NHS and that without fundamental change patients will not get the treatment they deserve. Instead of phoning GPs, the NHS app must become the “front door” to the health service, patients will travel the country to be treated and more people will be given NHS cash to spend on their own care, he will say. Javid will also seek to prepare the public for more far-reaching reform of England’s GP service and hospitals and a tougher approach to prevention as he signals his post-Covid priorities.” – The Times

  • Patients waiting 18 months for NHS treatment can go private for free in plans to cut Covid backlog – The Sun

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My new book on the NHS – and what voters think about their favourite institution

Housing Secretary threatens industry over tower block safety

“A senior UK minister has warned the housebuilding industry that he will use legislation to force through a £4bn tower block safety plan unless executives come up with alternative proposals in the next three weeks. The 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, which caused 72 deaths, has prompted a safety crisis in Britain with concerns about hundreds of tower blocks constructed with potentially combustible materials. The urgency of the issues was underlined on Monday by a fire at a 21-storey office and residential building in Whitechapel, east London. Michael Gove, who became levelling-up, housing and communities secretary last autumn, has taken a tough stance with the housebuilding industry, threatening to cut off companies’ access to government funds and future procurement if they do not meet the refurbishment costs.” – FT

‘Bullying’ Bercow could face ‘life ban from Parliament’

“John Bercow could be banned for life from Parliament today as a probe into claims he bullied three House of Commons staff is concluded. The former Speaker faces allegations he threw a mobile phone, swore at officials and made a racially and sexually discriminatory remark. Mr Bercow will find out his fate on Tuesday morning as a Commons investigation finally publishes its findings. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, is believed to have found him guilty of 21 claims made against him relating to behaviour during his decade as speaker. An independent panel will reveal tomorrow whether it has endorsed Miss Stone’s findings and the sanctions Mr Bercow will face – which could include a temporary or permanent ban from the Commons or an official reprimand from the House.” – Daily Mail

Labour to test Tories with snap debate on national insurance rise

“Labour will spring a snap debate on cancelling the increase in national insurance contributions (NICs) on Tuesday, warning it will cost the average private sector worker £410 a year, as the opposition tries to exploit Tory divisions. In new analysis of sluggish wages and the national insurance rise, planned for April, Labour said private sector employees would face a “double whammy”, with employers also passing on the cost of their increased NICs. The rise, billed as a health and social care levy, was designed to raise £12bn to tackle the post-Covid NHS backlog, as well as funding a longer-term overhaul of social care. Critics including the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation have said the rise, set in legislation in the autumn, is disproportionately loaded on to younger and lower-paid workers compared with a rise in income tax.” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • The Russia we have lost – Ben Judah, UnHerd
  • Reform LISAs to help first-time buyers get a home – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Why is St Paul’s Cathedral commemorating a Benin slave trader? – Robert Tombs, The Spectator
  • Whose day is it today? – Victoria Smith, The Critic