Newslinks for Monday 24th June 2019

Hunt ups pressure on Johnson by calling him a “coward”

‘Jeremy Hunt has accused Boris Johnson of being a coward for avoiding public scrutiny as pressure mounts on the Tory frontrunner to address the row with his girlfriend that led to police being called. In his most personal attack on his leadership rival so far, the foreign secretary says Mr Johnson appears willing to “slink through the back door” of No 10 by “pathetically” evading questioning… Mr Hunt says that Tory members want a “fair and open contest, not one that one side is trying to rig to avoid scrutiny”. “One of the strengths of our system is that we scrutinise our politicians with more intelligent ferocity than anywhere else in the world. But in this case it just isn’t happening,” he writes… Mr Hunt challenges to Mr Johnson to show up to tomorrow’s Sky News debate. “Don’t be a coward Boris, man up and show the nation you can cope with the intense scrutiny the most difficult job in the country will involve.”’ – The Times

  • The Foreign Secretary reiterated the criticism on TV this morning – Daily Mail
  • I’m not interested in debating his private life, but he must face scrutiny – Jeremy Hunt, The Times
  • He attacks his rival for the risk he will ‘disappoint people very quickly’ in office – Daily Telegraph
  • Fox and Rifkind say he should explain the events that led to police call-out – The Times
  • Members at Birmingham hustings express concern about a ‘get Boris’ campaign – The Times
  • He should address the questions, but the most important thing is still stopping Corbyn – The Times Leader
  • Hunt says the UK would consider war on Iran… – The Sun
  • …and says he would abandon May’s immigration target… – Daily Mail
  • …and hits the campaign trail in Scotland – Daily Mail
  • He is the man to get us out of the EU – Penny Mordaunt, Daily Express
  • The candidates must consider the world beyond Brexit – Daily Telegraph Leader

>Yesterday:Video: Fox suggests that Hunt has a “good chance” of getting a new deal from the EU

Johnson: No more bottling; we can, must and will leave on 31st October

‘We are just over four months away from the date on which, by law, we must leave the EU; and this time we are not going to bottle it. We are not going to fail. This time we are not going to shrink in fear from the exit, as we have on the last two occasions. We are going to show all the mettle, the creativity and the energy of this amazing nation. We are going to focus all our efforts on honouring that single great promise – and we are going to come out of the EU on October 31. We can, we must and we will. And when we do there will be a moment of release and of opportunity.’ – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Alexander Temerko on Comment: Without a softer Brexit, the Conservatives will be destroyed. Who can best deliver it – Hunt or Johnson?

>Yesterday:Video: Burka comments were “very liberal”. Sunak defends Johnson from allegations of racism.

Morgan and Hands find that existing technology can render the backstop unnecessary in three years

‘The think tank Prosperity UK believes alternative arrangements to the backstop can be up and running within three years, solving the current deadlock that has prevented a Brexit deal being agreed. It claims that with “goodwill and pragmatism” from all sides, a technology-based plan for avoiding a hard border is already possible, and has the support of Parliament, which backed such an idea in January. Prosperity UK asked former Remainers Nicky Morgan and Greg Hands to lead an Alternative Arrangements Commission that is in the process of examining ways of solving the Irish border problem. Both MPs accept the result of the EU referendum and want Britain to leave the EU with a deal. In their interim report, which will be published on Monday, they say that a solution can be found “by harnessing existing technologies and customs best practice – futuristic high-tech solutions are not needed”.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The GATT XXIV plan – and why Brexiteers should pay the EU the compliment of taking its negotiating stance seriously.

Symonds’ home is besieged by the same anarchist group that hectored Rees-Mogg’s children

‘Boris Johnson and his girlfriend have fled their home following the bust-up that has dented his hopes of becoming prime minister. With anarchists now camped outside the flat, he and Carrie Symonds, 31, have decided to go into hiding. Friends of the former foreign secretary say it may be impossible for him to return to the £700,000 property in Camberwell, south London… Yesterday, anarchists perched themselves on the steps of Miss Symonds’ flat to protest against her lover and his party’s policies. Six Class War supporters shouted abuse and held up posters reading ‘f*** Boris, f*** the government’. Camberwell residents have also shown their distaste at having Mr Johnson as their neighbour and posters mocking him were put up before Friday’s altercation.’ – Daily Mail

320 MPs have claimed TV licences on expenses since 2010

‘More than half of MPs have charged taxpayers for a TV licence when claiming for expenses since 2010. Figures show that more than 320 MPs have enjoyed the £154.50 perk for their second home or office. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Vince Cable, and the Scottish National Party’s leader in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, are among those who have claimed. It comes as more than 3.7million over-75s have been ordered to pay for the licence after the government asked the BBC to start funding the concession next year.’ – Daily Mail

  • Well-off pensioners wouldn’t mind forfeiting perks they do not need – James Kirkup, The Times
  • Spending watchdog investigates highest-claiming MP – Daily Telegraph
  • Hammond distances himself from attempt to speedily name Bank of England governor – FT
  • May’s hurried spending splurges are bad policy and bad politics – Robert Colvile, Daily Telegraph
  • Her doomed EU negotiation cost £20,000 a month in flights – The Sun

Hancock announces 14 NHS clinics to address gambling addiction

‘The first ever specialist clinic for children will open amid warnings that gambling is ‘destroying the mental health of young people’. Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said it was unfair taxpayers were being forced to ‘pick up the huge tab’ for the expansion of services to help addicts. He called for a mandatory levy on betting firms and slammed them for ‘pumping out’ online adverts. The NHS will open 14 new addiction clinics – including one for children, which will offer specialist psychological help and open this summer. There will be services in Leeds, Manchester and Sunderland, as well as the clinic in London which will provide specialist help for those aged 13 to 25… Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘We know too many young people face their lives being blighted by problem gambling – so these new clinics will also look at what more can be done to help them.’’ – Daily Mail

  • Councils blamed for rise in drug- and drink-related deaths – The Times

Miliband and Flint speak out as Labour’s second referendum civil war intensifies

‘Labour’s civil war was raging today as former Cabinet minister David Miliband ‘bravery’ to block a ‘we wrecking ball’ Brexit. The ex-foreign secretary heaped pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to come out full-heartedly for a second referendum, saying the public must be given a chance to change their minds. But Caroline Flint, who represents Leave-backing Don Valley, warned that the party risked losing 40 MPs to the Brexit Party and Tories if it failed to honour the result from 2016. And she made clear she will vote in favour of No Deal if necessary rather than allowing the Brexit process to be cancelled.’ – Daily Mail

  • Thank heavens for Flint’s honesty – The Sun Says
  • Brighton MP invites leading figure in anti-semitic Houthi movement to Parliament – The Sun
  • Labour plans to tax home sales so much as to ‘remove the expectation’ of rising value – The Times
  • The Opposition is plotting an assault on millions of households to a degree not seen in 50 years – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • When will Sadiq Khan get serious and put policing ahead of PR stunts? – The Sun Says
  • Eco-warriors plan to disrupt the British Museum – The Times

>Today: Chloe Westley’s column: Khan poses, tweets and postures – while London is ravaged by four murders in four days

>Yesterday:Video: Flint says number of Labour MPs supporting the Withdrawal Agreement “will go up”

Trump warns of the ‘obliteration’ war with Iran would involve

‘Trump believes an all-out war with Iran would cause “obliteration like never before” but insists he’s “not looking for one”. Tensions are at breaking point after the US president aborted a military strike in retaliation for Iran’s downing of an unmanned US drone because it could have killed 150 Iranian people. “I’m not looking for war, and if there is, it’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before. But I’m not looking to do that,” Trump told NBC’s Meet the Press programme. “I think they want to negotiate. And I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear. Look, they’re not going to have a nuclear weapon,” he added. “I don’t think they like the position they’re in. Their economy is, is absolutely broken.”‘ – The Sun

The Council of Europe is on the brink of ‘unilateral surrender’ by rehabilitating Putin

‘In Strasbourg on Monday, MPs from Ukraine and a handful of other countries are expected to mount a final effort to try and stop the 47-member body agreeing to end Russia’s five years of estrangement from the organisation that was sparked by its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Opponents say the plan to bring Moscow back in from the cold risks compromising the very ideals that brought the council into being as a post-second world war bulwark against atrocities and arbitrary state power. “This would be the unilateral surrender of the Council of Europe to Russian demands,” says Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s ambassador to the council, who fears the body’s parliamentary assembly will on Monday rubber-stamp a decision, taken in May by foreign ministers, to allow Moscow’s return.’ – FT

  • Dirty tricks in Russia’s forthcoming elections – The Times
  • Merkel’s man in Brussels complains that MEPs won’t crown him as the new Commission President – Daily Express
  • Concerns that parts of the German police and army are ‘drifting’ into far right ideology – The Times

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