Published:

Northern Ireland 1) The Prime Minister signals his readiness to scrap Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trading deal…

“Boris Johnson’s government is on a collision course with the EU after signalling its intention to announce plans next week to tear up post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland. The UK prime minister told his Irish counterpart Micheál Martin on Tuesday that the current agreement with the EU was “not sustainable in its current form”, ignoring longstanding appeals from EU capitals and Brussels not to take unilateral action. In what risks being seen as a major escalation of tensions between London and Brussels, two senior government insiders said the UK was preparing to announce legislation to rescind elements of the Northern Ireland protocol as soon as next week “unless the EU radically changes its approach”.” – The Financial Times

  • Johnson could rip up his ‘hated’ Northern Ireland Brexit deal as soon as Friday… – The Sun
  • …or could give the EU a ‘last chance’… – Daily Express
  • …or has already read the riot act to the bloc – The Daily Mail
  • The Prime Minister faces opposition within his own party – The Times
  • Time to deliver on Brexit’s potential – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph

>Today:

Northern Ireland 2)…and Truss pledges to stand firm as the European Union threatens a trade war

“Liz Truss told Brussels on Tuesday that its proposed solutions to the problems with the Northern Ireland Protocol would actually make the situation worse, after EU leaders threatened a trade war. The Foreign Secretary is preparing to announce that the UK will unilaterally change parts of the Protocol – which defines the trading terms for Northern Ireland since Brexit – as early as next week…There were warnings on Tuesday from Europe about the economic consequences if the UK chooses to renege on the promises made in the 2019 Brexit withdrawal agreement. But Ms Truss retorted: “The current EU proposals fail to properly address the real issues affecting Northern Ireland and in some cases would take us backward.” – The Daily Telegraph

Queen’s Speech 1) Johnson pledges measures to support the UK economy – as Labour suggests they do not go far enough

“Boris Johnson on Tuesday unveiled plans for legislation to support UK economic growth and reduce regional inequalities, but Labour accused the prime minister of failing to tackle the growing cost of living crisis. Johnson highlighted steps the government was already taking to help households with rising bills and said he and chancellor Rishi Sunak would be “saying more about this in the days to come”. But government officials subsequently clarified ministers were not about to hold an emergency Budget of the kind Labour has demanded to deal with the cost of living crunch…The Queen’s Speech included 38 bills for the 2022-23 parliamentary session, as Johnson also highlighted how the government had already assembled a £22bn package of support for households to address the rising cost of living.” – The Financial Times

  • The 38 new laws announced and what they would mean for you – The I
  • The right to work from home ditched – The Sun
  • Johnson hopes to “create jobs and spread opportunity” around the country – The Times
  • The Prime Minister plans a bonfire of EU red tape to fix the cost-of-living crisis – The Sun
  • Troubles amnesty plan abandoned by ministers – The Times
  • The Government will answer critics over the cost-of-living by the end of the month – The I
  • Neighbours get the right to vote on housing plans – The Times
  • Crackdown on truant pupils also announced – The Sun
Comment:
  • A Queen’s Speech lacking in direction – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • This Queen’s Speech did nothing to prove the Government isn’t running out of ideas – Editorial, The Times
  • A legislative agenda that favours ‘red meat’ over real reform – Editorial, The Financial Times
  • The Prime Minister’s positive agenda must not come at a price – Editorial, Daily Express
  • Tax cuts are needed to ease the living squeeze – Editorial, The Daily Mail
  • The Tories must cut taxes now – people are struggling to feed their kids – Editorial, The Sun
  • Johnson’s Tories have lost their bearings – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • The Prime Minister and Starmer appeared surprisingly convivial – Henry Deedes, The Daily Mail
  • The Queen’s absence was tangible in everything about the state opening – Quentin Letts, The Times

>Today:

>Yesterday:

Queen’s Speech 2) … as Number 10 admits the Conversion Therapy Bill will not outlaw all such practices

“Boris Johnson’s high profile plan to make gay conversion therapy illegal will not actually outlaw an often violent practice previously condemned by the Prime Minister, Downing Street admitted today. The Queen’s Speech contains plans for a bill that would ‘ban abhorrent conversion therapy practices intended to change sexual orientation’ in England and Wales. But in a move likely to set up a new culture war battle, it also says that the ban would only apply to all children, and adults who did not consent to it being carried out. No 10 today confirmed that the bill would allow over 18s to consent to the practice, often carried out by religious groups and which has no scientific basis.” – The Daily Mail

  • Gen Z ‘trolls’ the Prime Minister as he joins CCP-backed social media format Tik Tok – The Daily Mail

Sunak demands oil and gas companies increase UK investments or face a windfall tax

“Chancellor Rishi Sunak is demanding North Sea oil and gas companies agree to a significant boost to their energy investments in the UK to avoid being hit by a windfall tax. Sunak does not want to introduce the levy — he has warned it would deter investment — but he is coming under increasing pressure from MPs to impose the tax to help households struggling with soaring energy bills. The chancellor is looking to oil and gas companies to raise their capital spending on UK projects to boost the country’s self-sufficiency in energy after BP and Shell reported big increases in quarterly profits last week, according to Sunak’s allies. “We want to see firms come forward with ambitious investment plans as soon as possible,” said one ally.” – The Financial Times

Patel: The National Security Bill is a vital tool to keep the British public safe

“The nature of the threat to the United Kingdom from foreign states may change, but it is ever-present. Over recent years, it has become even more sophisticated and varied. The Government will give every possible support to intelligence services and law enforcement agencies to address it. One of our tasks is to ensure that the legal framework in which they operate is up to date. The whole country has been united in outrage by high-profile cases such as Salisbury when Russian operatives entered our country to commit murder. In January, I made a statement in the House of Commons about individuals who engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party and targeted members of Parliament. Of course, there are many more threats that cannot be made public.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • Channel migrants will find out this week if they’ll be sent to Rwanda – The Sun
  • Eco ‘hooligans’ will be banned from chaining themselves to buildings and blocking roads – The Daily Mail

Raab’s Bill of Rights is a ‘landmark law to wage war on woke’ and will prioritize free speech

“Free speech will be made a legal ‘trump card’ under landmark legislation that will rip up Labour’s controversial Human Rights Act. Tony Blair’s legislation, which enshrined the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic law more than 20 years ago, will be replaced with a new Bill of Rights. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, who is masterminding the major shake-up, has vowed to give ‘overriding importance’ to principles of free speech. The Bill, pledged in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech and expected to be published early next month, will seek to stave off moves towards European-style privacy laws without Parliament’s approval.” – The Daily Mail

Barclay warns Russian ‘computer crooks’ are ‘behind dozens of cyber attacks on British businesses’

“A Russian gang is behind dozens of cyber attacks on British businesses, a minister will warn today. The Kremlin computer crooks have been running an online blitz on Ukraine and European businesses since the invasion. Cabinet minister Steve Barclay will reveal they are behind 53 attempted ransomware attacks where hackers steal personal data to exchange it for cash. He insists they were spotted quickly. He will add there is a heightened risk of hostile attacks from the Kremlin on Britain for supporting Ukraine. But he will tell a CyberUK conference in Wales: “The greatest cyber crime threat to the UK — now deemed severe enough to pose a national security threat — is from ransomware attacks.”” – The Sun

  • Putin is ‘more dangerous than Hitler or Stalin’, Poland’s Prime Minister warns – The Daily Mail

Mordaunt: Many doomsters want Britain to fail perhaps because they’re also failures

“This country has many fine qualities, but chief among its faults is its tendency to dwell on the negative. What the Prime Minister has called the doomsters and gloomsters are at it again. Project Fear is getting another outing and bad times are just around the corner. We’ve been through tough times. There are challenges ahead. But all around us, spring is reminding us that every year, every day, brings new beginnings and opportunities for us all. The Queen’s Speech signifies the beginning of this in the new political cycle. It’s an opportunity for us all to start again. If you were to believe the narrative, this is an exhausted, divided country in decline.  It is devoid of ideas and has no vision. Ditto its government. And it just ain’t so.” – Daily Express

Starmer ‘will not resign’ over Beergate if he broke rules but isn’t fined

“Sir Keir Starmer intends to dodge resignation on a technicality if he broke Covid rules but is not fined. Labour sources say the party’s leader will not resign unless Durham Constabulary issues him with a fixed penalty notice, despite his statement on Monday that he believes in “the principle that those who make the laws must follow them”. The Durham force, running the investigation into the “beergate” gathering in April 2021, has a policy not to issue retrospective fines and may choose to treat Sir Keir in the same way as any member of the public. After Dominic Cummings was reported to the force in 2020 for his trip to Barnard Castle, detectives chose not to issue a fixed penalty notice but issued a statement that suggested he “may” have broken the rules.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • Police under pressure to fine the Leader of the Opposition if a breach is found – The Times
  • Labour loses support in post-Beergate polls – The Daily Mail
  • MPs wary of internal manoeuvring – The Guardian
  • Labour could have been the truthful party but Starmer has blown it – Jane Moore, The Sun

News in Brief:

  • In defence of Liz Truss’s retro economics – George Trefgarne, The Spectator 
  • The Tories must capture forgotten England – Matthew Goodwin, UnHerd 
  • Censored speech – Lois McLatchie, The Critic 
  • A hyper-active Queen’s Speech can’t distract from a lack of meaningful reform – Henry Hill, Cap X
  • The only winner of the Wagatha Christie case is tabloids – Amelia Tait, The New Statesman