Newslinks for Wednesday 18th September 2019

Johnson urges judges to ‘stay neutral’ as Supreme Court hearing begins

“Boris Johnson has warned the country’s most senior judges that the courts have “no jurisdiction” over his decision to suspend parliament and they risk “entering the political arena”. The Supreme Court began on Tuesday to hear two appeals relating to the five-week prorogation of parliament, which has been ruled by Scotland’s highest civil court to be an illegal attempt to dodge MPs’ scrutiny of Brexit. Accusing the Scottish judges of having a “fundamental misconception of how parliament operated”, the prime minister’s written submission said that it would be “constitutionally inappropriate” for the judiciary to intervene.” – The Times

  • The future is one again in the hands of the judiciary – Daily Telegraph
  • Showdown to decide ‘if Prime Minister or MPs is supreme’ – The Times

More:

  • Johnson will recall Parliament if court rules against prorogation, lawyer insists… – Daily Express
  • …but Government refuses to rule out fresh prorogation if it loses – The Guardian

>Yesterday:

Daniel Finkelstein: The role of the judiciary in our democracy is on trial

“No, the hearings may be seen as a turning point for something else entirely. They may mark the moment Britain stopped being a political democracy restrained by law and became instead a legal democracy tempered by politics. Is our system based on the political decisions made by parliament and the executive in which it places confidence? Or are there laws and arrangements that exist regardless of parliament’s view? In his memoirs, Tony Blair devotes half a sentence to passing the 1998 Human Rights Act and does not even mention that he created the Supreme Court. Yet these may have been the most consequential things of his premiership. They changed the very nature of our democracy.” – The Times

  • Miller’s case gains traction – Adam Cygan, Daily Telegraph
  • Supreme Court is on a journey to the core of democracy – Raphael Hogarth, The Times
  • Business must stand up for the judiciary – Michael Skapinker, FT
  • Why in God’s name is Major trying to disgrace Johnson? – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

EU backlash grows against the Prime Minister’s ‘discourteous’ treatment by Luxembourg…

“A European diplomatic backlash grew today over the “discourteous” treatment of Boris Johnson by Luxembourg’s prime minister. There are fears it could fuel “animosity” between Britain and the EU at a crucial moment in Brexit talks. Mr Johnson’s decision to cancel a joint press conference in Luxembourg yesterday due to anti-Brexit protests was seized on by Xavier Bettel as a platform for an undiplomatic attack on the Conservative leader. He pointed to empty lectern next to him and accused Mr Johnson of putting party political gain over the interests of his citizens. Norbert Röttgen, a senior Christian Democrat and the chairman of the German parliament’s powerful foreign affairs committee, warned that the incident made a no-deal Brexit more likely.” – The Times

More:

  • Juncker gives ‘hard Brexit warning’ to Europhile MEPs – Daily Express
  • MPs fear Johnson could bypass anti-No Deal laws – FT
  • Davidson admits to being ‘hopelessly conflicted’ over Brexit – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Stunt has secured a win for Johnson at the next election – Daniel Hannan MEP, The Sun

>Yesterday: Stephen Booth’s column: Not so long ago, EU leaders hoped Brexit would be stopped. They may now be ready for it to go ahead.

…as he tries to stop EU leaking his proposal for a deal…

“Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals have not been handed to Eurocrats over fears they will be leaked, it has emerged. Talks with Brussels to secure a new exit settlement will intensify next week with daily discussions between officials. Outlines of possible options to resolve the deadlock have been shown to the European Commission but officials have refused to leave copies of the documents behind. Government sources said they fear the Commission would “fire it at the 27” leaders of EU countries and they would no longer be “in control” of it. “We’ve been going to meetings with papers but not left them behind,” they said. Brussels is demanding solutions to protect the integrity of the single market.” – Daily Express

  • Johnson steps up plans for all-Ireland trade – FT
  • Brussels given draft deal ‘with no backstop’, sources claim – The Guardian
  • Third of Irish farmers risk going bust in No Deal scenario – The Sun

Comment:

  • How I responded to a child who accused me of ‘ruining their future’ – Bim Afolami MP, Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit tore Cameron and Gove – and our families – apart – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail

>Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column: Cameron maligns Brexiteers because he misunderstands them

…and ministers prepare to overhaul tariff plans

“Ministers are poised to overhaul the planned tariff schedule for a no-deal Brexit with deep cuts to proposed duties on heavy trucks after opposition from the haulage industry. The government is expected to announce imminently the full set of charges it will impose on various industries in a no-deal departure from the EU, tweaking an earlier draft that was announced in March by the Cabinet Office. The Road Haulage Association complained vociferously in March when the government said it would impose a 22 per cent charge on the cost of importing a new heavy goods vehicle from mainland Europe in the event of Britain leaving the EU without a deal. That “ludicrous” increase would have amounted to an extra £15,000 on a typical heavy goods vehicle, the RHA complained. ” – FT

  • Truss wants Australia trade deal on ‘day one’ of Brexit – Daily Express
  • Gove to be grilled by supermarket bosses over No Deal planning – Daily Mail

Cummings ‘cements power to sack advisers’

“Dominic Cummings has seized new powers to sack ministers’ advisers as No 10 moves to centralise control of the government. Special advisers, who work for cabinet ministers, were sent new contracts of employment this week, whether they worked for the government under Theresa May or not, and Boris Johnson and his top advisers have more control over conduct and discipline. There have been rows this summer over decisions by Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings, his controversial senior adviser, to sack special advisers. Mr Cummings dismissed Sonia Khan, an aide to Sajid Javid, without the chancellor’s knowledge. He said she had misled him over her contact with Philip Hammond, her former boss. She denies any wrongdoing.” – The Times

Leadsom intervenes in sale of defence firm

“The government has intervened in the £4bn takeover of Cobham, a UK aerospace and defence supplier, by a US private equity firm on the grounds of national security. In a rare move, Andrea Leadsom, the business secretary, has instructed the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate the takeover of Cobham, a world leader in systems for planes to refuel in mid-air, by Advent International. Leadsom said: “Following careful consideration of the proposed takeover of Cobham, I have issued an intervention notice on the grounds of national security. The government’s goals are to support private sector innovation whilst safeguarding the public interest.” Shares in Cobham fell more than 1% in early trading following the minister’s announcement. Leadsom, who was appointed business secretary by Boris Johnson in July, has told the CMA to report back by 29 October.” – The Guardian

  • The UK needs clearer rules on its national interest and strategic assets – FT

Government to appoint domestic abuse adviser

“Boris Johnson will appoint a domestic abuse commissioner today in an attempt to reassure campaigners angry at a delay to laws. Nicole Jacobs, the chief executive of Standing Together, a campaign group, is named as the newly created independent watchdog by the prime minister and Priti Patel, the home secretary. The role was initially outlined in a Domestic Abuse Bill but the laws fell victim to Mr Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament. The government decided not to carry over the bill into the new session, but challenged over his commitment to tackling domestic abuse, Mr Johnson promised last week that a new version would appear in the Queen’s Speech on October 14. “Domestic abuse shatters lives and tears families apart,” he said. “We are fully committed to tackling this horrific crime.”” – The Times

  • Johnson wants victims of crime to feel protected – The Sun

Corbyn accused of ‘failure of leadership’ over referendum neutrality plan…

Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of an “shameful abdication of leadership” after signalling that he will remain neutral in a second referendum. In a move that has put him on a collision course with senior allies and Remainer MPs, Mr Corbyn has strongly indicated that he will stay out of the political fray and will “carry out whatever the people decide”. Ahead of Labour’s annual party conference this weekend, Mr Corbyn has set out his plan for a “sensible” Brexit deal,  which would be pitted against remaining in the European Union in a fresh public vote. However, in an article for the Guardian, the Labour leader has indicated he will remain neutral during the campaign, writing that his party is the only one prepared to “put our trust in the people of Britain to make the decision”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Only Labour will give the people a final say – Jeremy Corbyn, The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Here comes Harold Corbyn

…as he prepares to announce intention to scrap Universal Credit…

“Jeremy Corbyn is poised to announce plans to scrap Universal Credit if he gets into power. Labour’s shadow cabinet have reportedly discussed tearing up the welfare reforms after their review found the policy is “toxic”. But critics blasted the plan, warning it would damage opportunities for Brits to get into work and send the welfare bill soaring. Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith, the mastermind of UC, told The Sun Mr Corbyn’s plot would cost billions of pounds. He fumed “Universal Credit is popular and it works. Only a Marxist Labour Party would disagree. “Abolishing it would cost billions and cause utter chaos.”” – The Sun

  • Abolishing UC will alienate working-class Labour voters – Gabriel Milland, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Why a populist programme wouldn’t work for Johnson. Working class voters aren’t values votes.

…and Watson accuses Labour activists of trying to ‘force him out’ over antisemitism row

“Tom Watson last night accused Labour activists of attempting to force him out after he tried to clamp down on anti-Semitism in the party. The party’s deputy leader spoke out after it emerged that local constituency bodies had submitted motions to next week’s party conference censuring him for ‘undermining’ Jeremy Corbyn. Two of them criticise him for his role in efforts to deal with Labour anti-Semitism and go so far as to say he should stand down over his conduct. Labour said the anti-Watson motions would not be debated because only policies and not internal party matters can be discussed at conference. But the motions demonstrate the depth of anger against the deputy leader among Labour grassroots.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbyn accused of delaying selections to parachute in hard-left candidates – The Sun

Swinson accuses main parties of being ‘stuck in the past’

“Jo Swinson has attacked her rivals Boris Johnson as entitled and Jeremy Corbyn as stuck in the 1970s. In her first speech to the Liberal Democrat conference as party leader, she sought to present herself as a modern alternative, saying: “People across Britain deserve a better choice than an entitled Etonian or a 1970s socialist.” She accused Mr Corbyn of being a closet Brexiteer and compared him to the leader of the Brexit Party saying: “Jeremy Corbyn still insists that if Labour win a general election, they will negotiate their own Brexit deal to take us out of the EU. Nigel Farage might be Brexit by name, but it is very clear that Jeremy Corbyn is Brexit by nature.” Ms Swinson has rejected the idea that she would enter a coalition with Mr Johnson or Mr Corbyn after the next general election, but has not explicitly ruled out doing a deal with either party, suggesting that her price could be the head of their party leaders.” – The Times

  • Lamb joins revolt by ‘savaging’ plan to revoke Article 50 – The Sun
  • Party would appoint ‘happiness minister’ if in government – Daily Telegraph
  • Leader urges her party to fight populists – The Guardian
  • Lib Dems would leave UK ‘powerless’ to block entry of dual-national terrorists – The Sun

Comment:

  • Lib Dem clarity is good news for the Tories – James Johnson, Times Red Box
  • The flaw in Swinson’s plan to stop Brexit – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Centrist voters are being squeezed – Mirko Draca, The Times

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: “A Liberal Democrat government will revoke Article 50 on day one” – Swinson

Poll shows six in ten Scots want to remain in the UK

Six out of ten Scots want to remain in the UK and barely a quarter back Nicola Sturgeon’s timetable for another independence referendum, according to a poll published on the fifth anniversary of the 2014 vote. The poll, conducted by Survation for campaign group Scotland in Union, found 59 per cent support for remaining in the UK and 41 per cent backing for leaving. Asked if and when there should be another independence referendum, only 27 per cent backed Ms Sturgeon’s preference for another vote within the next 18 months. More than a third (36 per cent) of Yes voters in the 2014 vote now want to stay in the UK, the poll said, with protecting public services, Brexit and Ms Sturgeon’s performance as First Minister cited as the most important reasons behind their change of heart.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Fewer than three-in-ten want another independence poll – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Sturgeon’s performance is turning voters against independence – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Over-confident Swinson falling for her own hype – Finn McRedmond, Reaction
  • The Brexit deal Johnson wants – Robert Peston, The Spectator
  • Who owns the sky? – Richard Walker, CapX
  • Who will speak for today’s working class? – Paul Embery, UnHerd
  • The Cuban healthcare myth – Matt Gillow, 1828

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