Published:

Johnson should remain as Prime Minister even if he’s fined over Partygate, says Cabinet minister

“Boris Johnson would not have to resign over Partygate even if he is fined, a Cabinet Minister has said for the first time. Welsh Secretary Simon Hart yesterday insisted “the world has moved on a considerable distance” since the saga erupted late last year. He warned against changing the PM and staging a “self-indulgent” Tory leadership contest while Europe is gripped by war. He warned against changing the PM and staging a “self-indulgent” Tory leadership contest while Europe is gripped by war. Last night Helen MacNamara, the Government’s former ethics chief, became the first person to publicly fess up to being fined.” – The Sun

  • Ministers defend him over party on eve of Prince Philip’s funeral – FT
  • Whitehall braced for top staff to be implicated in Gray report – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister ‘didn’t lie about parties, he was misled by his staff’ – The Times

Comment:

  • We have a right to know the names of Partygate offenders – Sean O’Neill, The Times

Channel 4 to be privatised, Government to announce

“Channel 4 is to be privatised before the next general election, the Government has decided, in a move that opens up the possibility of foreign ownership of the broadcaster. In what has been dubbed the biggest privatisation since Royal Mail, offers for the channel are expected to be tabled next year. The sale is due to be completed in early 2024, ahead of a predicted national poll in May that year. Government ministers informed the broadcaster’s board on Monday of the decision, after months of discussion in which it became increasingly clear Boris Johnson and his colleagues were leaning towards a sale.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Largest privatisation since Royal Mail – The Times
  • Ministers maintain public ownership is holding broadcaster back – FT
  • Tory backlash as Government warned move is the ‘opposite of levelling up’ – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Disappointed’ TV staff who may fight move – Daily Mail

>Today: James Roochove in Comment: Social media companies are publishers, not just platforms – and should be liable for defamatory adverts

Fracking under consideration as UK energy security strategy to be published

“Ministers will today ask government scientific advisers to reassess the safety of fracking in Britain as a cabinet minister played down the risk of earthquakes. Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, will write to the British Geological Survey to request a three-month review of the evidence related to fracking. He wants the scientific advisers to establish whether there is any new technology that can help predict and manage seismic events caused by fracking. Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities minister has repeatedly spoken out in favour of fracking in cabinet.” – The Times

  • Energy woes can be tackled by extracting ‘every last drop’ of oil from North Sea, says Rees-Mogg – Daily Mail
  • Johnson blows cold on onshore wind faced with 100-plus rebel MPs – The Guardian
  • Clean power groups call for slicker process on planning and permits – FT

>Yesterday: Craig Mackinlay MP in Comment: How to gain popular consent for fracking

Charles Moore: Net zero is one big thing Boris has got wrong

“Nor is it true that we can rely on renewables when the wind fails or the sun doesn’t shine. We need fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Nor is it true that voters, especially Tory voters, are so keen on “saving the planet” that they want the country infested with wind turbines. Opponents of fracking object to its supposed uglification of the countryside: it would be as nothing compared with, say, Scottish Power’s onshore scheme for east Suffolk or Sunnica’s plan for more than 2,700 acres of solar panels on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Fracking? No thanks. Onshore wind? Certainly not. Nuclear power? We’ll get back to you. Why energy security is hard to deliver.

LGBT groups quit UK conference over failure to ban trans conversion practices

“More than 80 LGBT and HIV charities, including Stonewall and the Terrence Higgins Trust, are to boycott the UK government’s first global LGBT conference, in response to the decision to exclude trans people from a ban on conversion practices. In a statement on Monday, the charity Stonewall said it was withdrawing its support for the Safe to Be Me conference due to “the prime minister’s broken promise on protecting trans people from the harms of conversion therapy”. It added it would only be able to participate in the event “if the prime minister reverts to his promise for a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy”.” – The Guardian

  • Wallis hits out at the Government’s plan to continue to allow conversion therapy – Daily Mail
  • Trans people can be excluded from single-sex services if ‘justifiable’, says EHRC – The Guardian
  • Rees-Mogg cited scripture when asked whether women can have penises – Daily Mail

Sunak tells Royal Mint to create a ‘crypto token’ in bid to make Britain a global hub for digital technology

“Rishi Sunak has asked the Royal Mint to create a so-called ‘non-fungible token’ (NFT) as he seeks to make Britain a global hub for digital technology. The Chancellor wants the token to be issued by the summer in a bid to show ‘the forward-looking approach we are determined to take towards crypto assets’. NFTs give investors a share of ownership of a digital asset such as a piece of art or music. But the tokens have become targets for hackers and con artists. Sunak’s decision to press ahead came as he doubled down on his support for crypto coins…” – Daily Mail

>Today: Dr Gerard Lyons’ column: Sunak should raise the lower tax threshold this autumn to put more money in people’s pockets.

>Yesterday:

Truss demands EU leaders stop filling Putin’s ‘war chest’ with oil and gas money

“Liz Truss heaped pressure on EU and other Western leaders to cut Russian oil and gas out of their economies today, accusing them of funding Vladimir Putin’s criminal army in Ukraine. She used a Warsaw press conference alongside her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to promise more weapons for Kyiv and a fresh wave of economic sanctions. It came amid global revulsion at war crimes committed by Russian troops in the city of Bucha that were revealed at the weekend after they were forced out.” – Daily Mail

  • Germany rules out immediate ban on Russian gas imports – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • The butchery in Bucha should be a wake-up call to the West – Tobias Ellwood, Times Red Box

>Today: ToryDiary: Merkel’s appeasement of Putin is cast into savage relief by the atrocities in Ukraine

Royal Navy support vessels tender threatens new shipbuilding strategy

“A new national shipbuilding strategy unveiled by Boris Johnson less than a month ago has already run into controversy as industry executives fear that British shipyards could lose out on work to build supply vessels for the Royal Navy. Hailed by the prime minister as a boost for UK industry, the so-called “refresh” promises to deliver a pipeline of 150 new naval and commercial vessels over the next 30 years. It builds on a previous strategy by industrialist Sir John Parker, which recommended a steady pipeline of orders to end the industry’s decades-old boom-and-bust existence.” – FT

‘Outsourcing’ of migrants to Rwanda edges closer

“Boris Johnson is close to making a formal statement about plans to “outsource” the processing of asylum seekers to Rwanda, The Times has been told. The prime minister wanted to announce a trial of the plans last week after a surge in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel. However, a government source said that Johnson had “wobbled” after colleagues raised concerns that the plans were not ready. The nationality and borders bill, which will enable asylum seekers to be processed abroad, has not yet gained royal assent and the terms of the deal with Rwanda are still to be finalised.” – The Times

  • Patel’s immigration bill suffers multiple defeats in Lords – The Guardian

More:

  • Politicians request visa scheme for Ukrainian students and academics – The Guardian
  • Refugees trying to get to UK left in limbo by missing emails – Daily Telegraph

Hunt says ‘many more lives will almost certainly end prematurely’ after cancer workforce shortage

“Cancer survival rates could reverse because a lack of ‘serious effort’ to deal with the NHS workforce crisis, a scathing report warned today. The Health and Social Care Committee said NHS staffing shortfalls are ‘jeopardising’ progress on diagnosing cancer early. Cancers are harder to cure or treat when they are spotted late. The committee’s report on cancer services warned that there is no detailed plan to address shortages of clinical oncologists, consultant pathologists, radiologists and specialist cancer nurses.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • U-turn shows the ideological purity of the NHS matters more than patients – Henry Hill, CapX
  • The moral chaos of Western foreign policy – David Landrum, The Critic
  • Why Orbán keeps winning – William Nattrass, The Spectator
  • How philosophy gave up on the truth – Kathleen Stock, UnHerd