Today’s political headlines include Raab’s demands to exit backstop after three months, Military to recruit foreign soldiers, Hancock calls on people to take responsibility for their own health and Jeremy Heywood has died aged 56.
Raab demands right to exit backstop after three months
According to The Daily Telegraph, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has demanded the right to withdraw the UK from the Irish backstop after just three months, in a meeting which reportedly ‘stunned’ Irish officials but was contradicted by Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington when he visited Dublin three days later. The Guardian adds that EU officials are putting the probability of a Brexit deal being reached at ’50-50′, but that the British want to make ‘decisive progress’ on the backstop by Friday in the hope of achieving an EU summit to agree the deal on 22 November. The Times says that, despite press reports that a deal is close, Theresa May spent the weekend phoning Cabinet members in a bid to allay concerns that she is about to trigger a summit without domestic political agreement.
Military to recruit soldiers who’ve never lived in the UK
The Daily Telegraph reports the Ministry of Defence is to announce today that it will allow foreign nationals who never lived in the UK to serve in the armed forces. Under the plans, a requirement for Commonwealth applicants to have lived in the country for five years will be abandoned. This follows a recruitment crisis, blamed on ‘the ongoing disaster that is the Capita recruitment contract’ by Commons Defence Committee member Mark Francois.
Hancock calls on people to take responsibility for their own health
The Guardian claims that Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has ‘triggered a row’ by using a speech today to call for people to make healthier lifestyle choices, which he asserts ‘isn’t about penalising people’. Professor Simon Capewell of Liverpool University warns this is ‘victim-blaming’ people who’ve ‘been overwhelmed by a toxic environment’.
Former Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood dies aged 56
The BBC reports on the death, aged 56, of former Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. Heywood, who stepped down just two weeks ago, served four prime ministers in different roles, becoming Cabinet Secretary in 2012.Gordon Brown described him as a ‘leader of exceptional ability’, while Tony Blair called him ‘a quite outstanding public servant’.
Banks denies Russian funding
Interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Leave.EU founder Arron Banks, who is under investigation by the National Crime Agency, claimed that ‘there was no Russian money and no interference of any type’. He also told Marr that in hindsight he thought that ‘we would have been better to remain’ in the EU.
People would pay more tax to fund social care
A poll conducted for the Daily Mirror shows that 56% of people would pay more National Insurance to fund ‘more and better social care’, with 54% willing to pay more income tax. 74% of those surveyed expressed concern about the level of care they expected to receive in their old age.
Hinds calls for more spending on schools
The Daily Mail says that Education Secretary Damian Hinds is calling for billions of pounds worth of spending for schools ahead of next year’s spending review. Interviewed by the paper, Hinds claimed that education was ‘a different category of spend’ because it ‘is about investment in our skills base’.
Johnson tells ministers to reject Brexit plans
Writing in The Sun ahead of tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calls for ministers to reject Theresa May’s Brexit plans, which he describes as a ‘stinker’ that will leave the UK as a ‘vassal state’ for the ‘first time in a thousand years.’
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