Newslinks for Wednesday 14th August 2019

EU 1) Ex-Chancellor accuses Johnson of ‘betraying the referendum’

“Boris Johnson risks betraying the EU referendum result by allowing “unelected people” intent on wrecking any chance of a deal to “pull the strings” of his government, Philip Hammond is warning. In his first intervention since resigning as chancellor, Mr Hammond accuses Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s most senior aide, of attempting to force through a no-deal Brexit by making demands that Brussels “cannot, and will not, accede to”. Writing in The Times he claims that the suggestion from Brexiteers such as Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, that Leave voters were informed before the referendum of the risks of a hard exit is “a total travesty of the truth”.” – The Times

  • Chancellor’s letter accuses Johnson of wrecking deal – The Sun
  • Hammond happy to give power to ‘unelected’ EU – Daily Express

Johnson:

  • Prime Minister doubles down on exit date… – Daily Express
  • …as he believes EU will offer better deal ‘at the 11th hour’ – Daily Mail

EU 2) Philip Hammond: It is simply not true that people voted for hard Brexit

“So those of us who desperately want to believe this Conservative prime minister is committed to negotiating a deal that will protect our future prosperity need to see evidence that it is happening soon. Because no-deal is not an acceptable outcome and after three weeks in which the government’s narrative has gone more or less unchallenged, it is time for us to explain why — by busting two great myths. The first is that to reject a no-deal exit is somehow to challenge the expressed will of the British people. It is not… The second myth that needs busting is that a no-deal exit will be painless. Some key figures in the government have even absurdly suggested that it will make us better off fiscally and economically. It won’t.” – The Times

  • Remainers lack the courage to defend Brussels’ federalist plans – Liam Fox MP, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Hammond complains about a No Deal Brexit – a policy to which he was signed up if necessary. And undermined.

EU 3) Rudd insists that risks of no-deal exit can be ‘managed’

“Amber Rudd has said she believes the risks of a no-deal Brexit are no more than a challenge that can be countered by government action, going back on her previous assessment in which she said it would cause “generational damage” to the UK. The work and pensions secretary, who kept her job when Boris Johnson became prime minister by renouncing her previously resolute opposition to no deal, said she still believed this would be much less preferable than a managed Brexit… Asked if no deal would bring a further rise in unemployment after new jobless figures showed a rise on Tuesday, “It’s very difficult to tell,” Rudd said.” – The Guardian

  • Tory MP admits bid to block hard Brexit is ‘over’ – Daily Express
  • Next boss says Government has averted risk of ‘gridlock’ – The Guardian
  • Javid hails ‘booming economy’ – The Sun

More:

  • Legal challenge to Johnson’s plan is ‘fast-tracked’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Scottish court to hear case on September 6th – FT
  • NHS told to prepare to charge EU citizens under no-deal exit – The Times

Comment:

  • Jobs boom means the British economy is ready for anything – Amber Rudd MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Calais boss is right to dismiss threat of chaos at ports – Ross Clark, The Sun
  • A million more in work: could Project Fear have been more wrong? – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

EU 4) Bercow vows to prevent Johnson bypassing MPs

John Bercow said on Tuesday that he would refuse to let Boris Johnson take Britain out of the EU by suspending Parliament. The Commons Speaker said he would fight any attempt to prorogue Parliament “with every bone in my body”. He also said that MPs can stop Britain leaving without a deal at the end of October, putting him on a collision course with the Prime Minister’s chief strategist, Dominic Cummings. Mr Bercow dismissed suggestions that he would stand down in the short term as Speaker…  It is unclear how the Speaker could overrule Mr Johnson if Britain were to enter uncharted territory.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Speaker insists Parliament can block a no-deal exit – The Times
  • Readers say Johnson should suspend Parliament – Daily Express

EU 5) Watson urges alliance with the Liberal Democrats

“Jeremy Corbyn must work with the Liberal Democrats to stop a no-deal Brexit, his deputy has warned. Tom Watson, speaking alongside Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, at an event hosted by young campaigners for staying in the EU, said that party allegiances needed to be set aside to obstruct Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans. “Everyone who cares about democracy, our country and our future must work together because there are enough of us — from all parties in parliament — to stop him,” he said… His intervention, and his decision to appear with Ms Swinson, deliberately strikes a different tone from some of Mr Corbyn’s allies.” – The Times

  • A ‘national unity’ government will never fly – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times
  • After the Brexit storm, a new alliance could emerge – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

President to meet Prime Minister in ‘snub to G7’

“Donald Trump is preparing to meet Boris Johnson before seeing any other European leaders to “send a signal” to them at the G7 summit in France next week. The US has said it is prepared to work immediately on sector-by sector trade agreements after Britain leaves the European Union. John Bolton, Mr Trump’s national security adviser, said on Monday that the chemistry between Mr Johnson and Mr Trump was already better than that between the president and Theresa May. “They’ve already had five or six phone calls,” he said. “It’s off to a roaring start.”” – The Times

  • Johnson says deal with Brussels is ‘more important’ – The Sun
  • USA’s trade offer ‘makes No Deal more likely’ – Daily Telegraph
  • How realistic is a sectoral Anglo-American trade agreement? – FT

>Today: James Arnell in Comment: The conventional wisdom about a trade deal with America is wrong. Trump will want a fair one. Here’s why.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: A UK-US trade deal. Never mind the economics (at least for a moment). Feel the politics.

State should ‘wrap arms’ around problem families, says Johnson

State agencies need to “wrap their arms around” problem families to prevent young people getting sucked into crime, Boris Johnson said yesterday as he toured Leeds prison, one of the previously most overcrowded in England and Wales. The Prime Minister said he wanted improvements in every part of the criminal justice system so that not only were serious offenders locked up to protect the public but that those who needed Rehab and support were provided with it. It marked a shift in tone towards tackling the causes of crime after a series of announcements of crackdowns on offenders. “We are putting money into every aspect of the criminal justice system,” he said.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Blitz on NHS and crime sees Tories well ahead of the Brexit Party – The Sun
  • Prime Minister ‘fuels election talk’ with Leeds trip – The Guardian

Wallace wants curb on probes into Ulster veterans

“Veterans who served in Northern Ireland should not face any future probes unless new evidence comes to light, the Defence Secretary said last night. Former Scots Guard Ben Wallace, who served in Northern Ireland, said ex-soldiers in their 70s and 80s should be enjoying their retirement – not suffering the ‘trauma’ of investigators knocking on the door. In his first comments on the issue, he said he ‘would not let the history books be rewritten’ when it came to legacy investigations into the Troubles, and troops should be ‘proud’ of what they achieved. Currently, hundreds of veterans face being quizzed over their actions on the battlefield – even if no new evidence has come to light.” – Daily Mail

Tugendhat calls for Hong Kongers to be offered full British citizenship

“The UK should give Hong Kong citizens full UK nationality as a means of reassurance amid the current standoff with Beijing, the chair of the influential Commons foreign affairs committee has argued. Tom Tugendhat said this should have happened to people in the formerly British-ruled territory in 1997, when it was handed back to Chinese control, and that doing so now would reassure Hong Kong’s people that they were supported by the UK. Hong Kong has been gripped by 10 weeks of large-scale and occasionally violent pro-democracy demonstrations, which have been met by a sometimes brutal police response, and increasingly trenchant threats from Beijing.” – The Guardian

  • China accuses US of ‘inciting chaos’ – Daily Mail

A Levels: Teachers blame Gove reforms for slump in English…

English A-level is set for its biggest drop in students in 20 years as headteachers call for an inquiry into whether GCSE reforms are killing the subject. The number of students taking the subject has plummeted by 13 per cent since last year, according to provisional data published by the exams watchdog Ofqual. Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, described it as “alarming” and urged ministers to take “urgent action”. English remains one of the most popular A-level subjects, but the drop from 67,865 to 58,870 is the most drastic year-on-year fall since 2000, when the Joint Council for Qualification’s (JCQ) records began.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Subject has ‘become a joyless slog’ – The Times

>Yesterday: Suella Braverman MP in Comment: The momentum for free schools has stalled. Johnson’s new Government should revive it.

…as Labour propose overhaul of university admissions

“Students would apply to university only after receiving their A-level results under Labour proposals. The party said that it would abolish the system of predicted A-level grades determining university offers and end the summer clearing scramble. The move would also end unconditional offers, in which universities offer places to students with no A-level grades required. Head teachers have said that these are damaging education. Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, said predicted grades were “wrong in the vast majority of cases” and that disadvantaged students in particular lost out under the system.” – The Times

  • Proposals ‘take aim at predicted grades’ – FT

Comment:

  • We will make admissions fairer – Angela Rayner MP, The Guardian

Williamson sues Labour over re-admission

MP Chris Williamson is suing Labour over his re-suspension for claiming the party was “too apologetic” on anti-Semitism. The strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn is preparing for potentially embarrassing court action against Labour in a bid to get readmitted to the party. The Derby North MP said he was hoping to “overturn the unconstitutional decision” to reimpose his suspension from the “party I love”. A source close to Mr Williamson told PA that legal papers had already been filed in court. No further information was immediately provided. Labour is understood to be confident its rules were followed and that there will be no successful grounds for a challenge.” – Daily Telegraph

Opposition’s nationalisation plans could produce ‘flood of claims’

“A future Labour government risks provoking a “flood of claims” under international law if it tries to nationalise some of the UK’s key utility companies at below market prices, according to lawyers advising businesses on how to protect themselves. Investors seeking compensation could bring lawsuits under bilateral investment treaties (BITs) between Britain and various territories and countries, including Hong Kong and Malaysia. These pacts are designed to protect investors from state interference and unfair expropriation. Some investors already have these rights by virtue of their nationality, including YTL, the Malaysian group that owns Wessex Water, and Cheung Kong, the Hong Kong-based investor that controls several large UK energy distribution networks.” – FT

  • McDonnell eyes major tax hike for millions of workers – The Sun

Scottish Government paid Salmond over half a million pounds after botched inquiry

The Scottish Government’s botched inquiry into sexual misconduct claims against Alex Salmond has cost taxpayers more than half a million pounds. The SNP administration has paid the former first minister £512,250 to cover his legal costs after he raised a successful court action against the government he once led. Mr Salmond won a judicial review earlier this year when Scotland’s highest civil court found that the way the investigation was handled was illegal. The case was abandoned in January, on the eve of a Court of Session hearing, after the government admitted it had breached its own rules by appointing an investigating officer who had “prior involvement” with two civil servants who had made complaints.” – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Why Brexiteers have a point about the Backstop – Tom McTague, The Atlantic
  • Beyond Brexit, the EU and Britain will face the same challenges – Nicolas Bouzou, CapX
  • The rush to go green has compromised the UK’s electricity supply – Andrew Willshire, Reaction
  • Could we be heading for a Coupon election? – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • The war against objectivity – James Bloodworth, UnHerd

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Author: Conservative Home


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