Newslinks for Saturday 17th August 2019

Javid could make sellers pay Stamp Duty

“Sajid Javid is considering a change to stamp duty that would switch the tax burden from buyers to sellers. It would ensure that first-time buyers never pay the tax and also help families buying bigger properties. However, it would result in larger tax bills for those who have benefited from soaring property prices and are looking to downsize. The plan is one of a number of tax changes under consideration for a budget later this year. In his first interview as chancellor, Mr Javid told The Times: “I’m a low-tax guy. I want to see simpler taxes.” He said that he was looking at various options when asked about stamp duty reforms including reversing liability from those buying property to those selling.” – The Times

  • Chancellor says taxes could be cut for middle earners this autumn – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘I’m a low-tax guy’ – Interview, The Times

More housing:

  • Councils are ‘keeping developers waiting’ – The Times
  • Outrage over Labour’s ‘garden tax’ – Daily Express

Comment:

  • This plan could drive up house prices for all – Carol Lewis, The Times

‘Gaukeward Squad’ to meet to plot against Johnson…

The so-called ‘Gaukeward Squad’ of Tory ministerial rebels will meet early next week to plot ways to stop a no deal Brexit. The Daily Telegraph has learned that a meeting has been scheduled between former Chancellor Philip Hammond and his former cabinet colleagues David Gauke, Greg Clark and Rory Stewart to discuss ways to thwart Boris Johnson’s do or die Brexit pledge with other rebel Tory MPs. It comes after they were among 20 remainer rebels who sent a letter to Mr Johnson earlier this week warning him that his demand for Brussels to scrap the Irish backstop had “set the bar so high that there is no realistic probability of a deal being done”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Clarke ‘ready to lead unity government’ – The Times
  • ‘Good chance’ that rebels will get ‘shock opportunity’ from the Speaker – Daily Express
  • Cummings: first we’ll leave the EU, then we’ll smash Labour – The Times

Comment:

  • The best Prime Minister we never had? Remainers want to find out – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Brexit and No Deal. The Prime Minister has a policy, and a plan to deliver it. His opponents agree on neither.

…but key Tories refuse to back Labour leader…

“Splits in the anti-no deal alliance of MPs in parliament threatened to stymie plans to stop a no-deal Brexit on Friday, as Conservatives and independent MPs ruled out backing plans brokered by Jeremy Corbyn… Corbyn’s hopes of forming a unity government were fading on Friday as a number of prominent Conservatives working to stop no-deal Brexit ruled out any mechanism to put the Labour leader in No 10. Dominic Grieve, who has previously suggested he could vote against the government in a confidence vote, said he would not go as far as facilitating a Corbyn government.” – The Guardian

>Today: John Strafford in Comment: The Grieve case raises a question. Do local Associations have the power not to reselect their Conservative MP?

>Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column: Don’t mention the war, please. Why Johnson was wrong to suggest Hammond and company are collaborators.

…amidst rumours that Corbyn is ‘plotting with Sturgeon’ to seize control of Brexit

“Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is plotting to use laws in a bid to block a no deal Brexit if he fails to topple Boris Johnson’s Government via a no confidence vote. Mr Corbyn is thought to have had discussions with the SNP today about the possibility of passing a law which would extend Article 50, preventing Britain leaving the bloc as planned on at the end of October. A number of senior Labour figures believe the plan could win a majority in the House of Commons, the BBC has reported… BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley cited Labour sources as suggesting a no-confidence motion in Mr Johnson’s Government could run parallel to attempts to extend Article 50, with the latter being a fall-back option.” – Daily Express

  • Labour leader risks ‘blowing up’ anti-Brexit alliance by lashing out at Swinson – Daily Mail
  • ‘Good number’ of pro-Brexit Labour MPs ready to resist delaying Brexit – The Sun

More:

  • Bogdanor claims UK could retroactively ‘not leave’ after October 31 – Daily Express
  • Germany ‘expects No Deal’ and won’t renegotiate – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: The real winners of this abortive ’emergency government’ could be the SNP

Matthew Parris: Any attempt to block No Deal rests on Corbyn

“Unless the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs stay rock solid behind whatever parliamentary procedure is chosen to stop Boris Johnson crashing Britain out of the EU, all is lost. Their solidarity remains a likelihood but not a certainty — and I’m worried that Jeremy Corbynhas this week been trying to muddy the waters. I cannot dispel a suspicion that in the coming struggle Mr Corbyn, or more importantly the tight-knit group who help steer his leadership, have cloudy intentions. On Brexit they have a history of triangulating and this week, by steering the question away from no-deal and towards who should be prime minister, they’re at it again.” – The Times

  • Remain ultras are playing into Johnson’s hands – Stewart Jackson, Daily Telegraph
  • No, the Prime Minister is no de Gaulle – Julian Jackson, FT
  • MPs are wrong to think blocking Brexit will boost their career – Douglas Murray, The Sun

Conspiracy theorist leading bid to reinstate Labour MP

“A controversial British academic who has defended President Assad of Syria against accusations that he used chemical weapons is leading the bid to readmit Chris Williamson into the Labour Party. David Miller, a professor of political sociology at the University of Bristol, is the sole director of Campaign for Chris Williamson Ltd, a company that was incorporated on July 17. He is part of an academic working group on “Syria, Propaganda and Media” that has disputed whether the Assad regime has used chemical weapons and whether Russia was responsible for the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury.” – The Times

  • Academics regurgitate pro-Assad theories – Oliver Kamm, The Times

Corbyn plans to ‘give empty shops to start-ups’

“Empty high street shops should be handed to start-ups or community projects, Jeremy Corbyn has said. The Labour leader said that radical action was needed to reverse a “retail apocalypse” and prevent town centres becoming “ghost streets”. Mr Corbyn said councils should be given the power to reopen abandoned shops left vacant for at least a year. On a visit to Bolton today, he will say that the plan will rejuvenate high streets. About 29,000 stores have been left empty for more than 12 months… The Conservatives said that a Corbyn government would mean more empty shops.” – The Times

  • Plan would allow councils to seize properties – FT
  • Owners must accept new tenants ‘free’ – The Sun

Labour leader ‘won’t be a barrier’ to a Welsh independence referendum

“Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he wouldn’t be a barrier to any future discussion of a referendum on Welsh independence. On a visit to Machynlleth Mr Corbyn said he was open to considering all options for Wales’ future. Mr Corbyn was in Wales on Friday visiting the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth to hear about practical solutions which could help reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. Wales voted in for Brexit but Corbyn said that he doesn’t see any benefit for Wales when the UK leaves the European Union in October.” – ITV

SNP criticised over plan to nationalise shipyard

The last commercial shipyard on the Clyde has been taken into public ownership following a long-running dispute over the construction costs of two new ferries amid claims that the contract was “bungled” by ministers. Derek Mackay, the Finance Minister, visited the Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow on Friday and said the nationalisation of the facility would enable the completion of the Caledonian MacBrayne ferries… The Scottish Conservatives said the decision by ministers to take over the yard covered up the extent to which they had “messed up this bungled ferry contract”.” – Daily Telegraph

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