Chequers

Political Headlines – Brexit summit at Chequers and Trump baby will fly

Today’s Political Headlines include the Brexit summit at Chequers, the Labour Party’s antisemitism code, German minister accused of putting security at risk,and the Trump baby. 

Brexiteer ministers expected to confront Prime Minister during Brexit summit
The Daily Telegraph expects at least six cabinet ministers to confront Theresa May during today’s summit at Chequers, following the revelation that her proposed deal would see the UK promise to obey EU standards on many goods after Brexit, with British judges following European rulings ‘where relevant’. A leaked document also reveals that this would make reaching a trade deal with the US harder. The paper says International Trade Secretary Liam Fox appears to have withdrawn his opposition after being given ‘personal assurances’ by the Prime Minister, but Jacob Rees-Mogg has claimed that the proposal is ‘not Brexit’.

Labour Party criticised over new antisemitism code
The BBC says that the Labour Party has been criticised by campaigners and some of its own MPs for its new code of conduct on antisemitism. While the party claims that the code meets the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, critics including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Councils and MPs Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and Anna Turley have accused it of omitting elements.

German minister accuses EU of putting security at risk in Brexit talks
The Times claims that German interior minister Horst Seehofer has attacked EU negotiators for putting the ‘security of citizens at risk’ during Brexit talks. He made the claims in a confidential letter to the European Commission. Seehofer has caused chaos in Germany’s coalition government this week over his stance on migration.

Hammond refuses to overhaul business rates
The Daily Mail says that Chancellor Philip Hammond has been accused of ‘betraying struggling high street retailers’ after he refused to overhaul business rates. Writing to MPs, he said that he would not consider the issue until after an inquiry into taxing digital firms was completed. Former retail boss Bill Grimsey, who has written a report on saving town centres, claimed that Hammond was ‘divorced from reality’.

McVey rejects calls for a further apology
The Guardian reports that Work and Pensions Secretary Ether McVey has refused to apologise to MPs for misleading them about the progress of welfare reforms, despite being forced to appear in the Commons to answer an urgent question. She has only apologised for claiming that the National Audit Office had called for the process to be sped up.

Brexit shows dangers of global trade war, Carney says
The Financial Times carries remarks made by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney in which he warns world leaders that the UK’s economic performance after Brexit shows the dangers of deglobalisation. He warned that the imposition of further tariffs as part of an international trade war would hit global growth.

Williamson would accept amnesty for IRA terrorists in return for one for soldiers
According to The Sun, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has written to the Prime Minister to say that he would back an amnesty for IRA terrorists if this allowed former British soldiers to escape investigation over killings of civilians during the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Giant baby Trump to be flown during presidential visit
The Daily Mirror reports that Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has given permission for a giant blimp in the shape of a nappy-wearing Donald Trump to be flown during the US President’s visit to the UK next week. Strict conditions will be imposed on the flight of the £16,000 inflatable baby from Parliament Square Gardens.

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UK EU

Political Headlines – Brexit customs plan, hospitals missing targets, JLR’s warning and McVey

Today’s Political Headlines include the new Brexit customs plan, hospitals missing targets on the NHS’s 70th birthday, Jaguar Land Rover’s Brexit warning and McVey misleading parliament.

Government reveals some details of its new Brexit customs proposal
The BBC reports that the Government has set out some details of its new customs plan, as Theresa May prepares to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel today. The ‘facilitated customs arrangement’ would allow the UK to set its own tariffs, with technology used to determine whether UK or EU tariffs would be payable on goods, and the UK would mirror EU regulations, with Parliament deciding where to deviate from them. The Daily Telegraph claims that Brexit Secretary David Davis has written to May to warn her that the plans will not work and that the EU will reject them.

Hospitals missing targets as NHS celebrate 70th birthday
An investigation conducted by The Times to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS has found that just one hospital trust met its main targets last year, with 25 out of 139 trusts failing on all three main targets – seeing 95% of A&E patients in four hours, treating 85% of cancer patients in 62 days, and offering 92% of non-emergency patients treatment in 18 weeks.

Jaguar Land Rover warns of hard Brexit impact
The Financial Times says that the Chief Executive of Jaguar Land Rover, Ralf Speth, has warned that a hard Brexit would cost the firm £1.2bn in trade tariffs and that the wrong deal would lead to the firm having ‘to close plants here in the UK’. He revealed that the company needs certainty in order to invest £80m over five years and that it has already spent £10m on contingency plans for Brexit.

McVey faces calls to resign after she admits misleading parliament
According to The Guardian, Labour and the Lib Dems are calling Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey to resign after she had to apologise for misleading parliament. She had told MPs that the National Audit Office had called for the roll out of universal credit to be sped up, but the body’s head Sir Amyas Morse said that this was a misinterpretation of its report on the programme which had actually called for a ‘pause’ in implementation.

New cybercrime court announced
The Times reveals that the Lord Chancellor David Gauke has announced that a new specialist court to tackle cybercrime and fraud is to be constructed at a cost of £300m. Gauke said that the new court would be ‘a further message to the world that Britain both prizes business and stands ready to deal with the changing nature of 21st century crime’.

Councils better at improving inadequate schools, research shows
The BBC carries details of research commissioned by the Local Government Association that shows that council-maintained schools are better at improving schools judged to be inadequate than sponsor-led academies. Changes introduced in 2016 mean that all schools found to be inadequate must now be taken over by an academy chain or trust.

Corbyn calls for bank holiday if England win World Cup
The Daily Telegraph says that Jeremy Corbyn is calling on the Government to introduce a bank holiday if England win the World Cup. Meanwhile, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Matt Hancock has accused the SNP of deliberately forcing votes in the Commons during England’s game against Columbia.

Mordaunt becomes first MP to use sign language in Parliament
The Sun reports that Equalities Minister Penny Mordaunt made history yesterday, becoming the first MP to use sign language in Parliament. She was making a statement announcing the Global Disability Summit on 24 July, which will be jointly hosted by the UK and Kenya. Speaker John Bercow also responded in sign language.

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Boris

Political Headlines – Vote Leave, Brexit, fishing and Unite

Today’s Political Headlines include Vote Leave to be found guilty of breaking electoral law, the dangers of a hard Brexit, post-Brexit fishing plans and Unite’s stance on Brexit. 

Vote Leave campaign expected to be found guilty of breaking electoral law
The BBC says that it has been told that the Vote Leave campaign is expected to be found guilty of four charges of breaking electoral law. A draft of an investigation by the Electoral Commission concludes that the Brexit campaign broke spending limits and failed to obey campaign rules, but former Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliot has denied the claims.

Hammond to warn of hard Brexit dangers at Cabinet summit
The Times alleges that Theresa May has asked Chancellor Philip Hammond and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Greg Clark to warn of the dangers of a hard Brexit for tax revenues and businesses when the Cabinet meets on Friday. According to The Daily Telegraph, May is set to face an ‘almighty row’ with Eurosceptic ministers, with a source telling the paper her plans were ‘a fiction designed to keep us in the EU and single market’. The Financial Times adds that May is ‘pleading’ with EU leaders not to reject her proposal, with an EU diplomat telling the paper she didn’t ‘want to be fighting on two fronts’.

Gove sets out post-Brexit fishing plans
The Daily Telegraph reports that Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove is to set out his post-Brexit fishing plans in a white paper today. The proposals would see the UK own the sea and the fish it contains for up to 200 miles from the coast, with a ‘zonal attachment’ scheme based on the distribution of fish stocks replacing EU quotas.

Unite says it is ‘open to the possibility’ of a vote on the Brexit deal
The Guardian says that Unite has issued a statement at its conference, claiming that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that Labour will back Theresa May’s Brexit deal in parliament. The union also reveals that it is ‘open to the possibility’ of a public vote being held on the deal. The paper suggests that this ‘could increase pressure on Jeremy Corbyn’ to follow suit.

NHS may offer medical cannabis ‘within weeks’
The Times claims that medicinal cannabis may be available from the NHS ‘within weeks’, following a review by Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer. Her report said that current controls on the drug were ‘very difficult to defend’. A further report on rescheduling the drug will now be produced by the advisory council for the misuse of drugs.

Home Office forced immigrants to take DNA tests
According to the Financial Times, the Home Office has admitted that it forced some foreign parents of British children seeking to remain in the UK to take DNA tests, despite this contravening the department’s own policy. After the paper informed the Home Office of the cases, immigration minister Caroline Nokes ordered an urgent review.

Corbyn tells Unite conference Labour is ‘the political voice of the working class’
The Mirror reports that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told Unite’s policy conference that ‘Labour is back as the political voice of the working class’. He said that more needed to be done to ‘give a real voice to working class communities who feel they aren’t heard in politics’ and accused the Conservatives of ‘posturing’ over Brexit, putting jobs at risk.

Reports warn of Brexit’s regional economic impact
The Guardian says that two reports have found that Brexit will make people outside London worse off. Analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research warns that households outside the capital will be disproportionately affected by price rises in the event of a hard Brexit. Research by Oliver Wyman found that poor areas would be worst hit as households spend a greater proportion of their income on weekly shopping and transport.

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Europe map

Political Headlines – Brexit, fuel and alcohol price rises, LGBT Action Plan and Windrush

Today’s Political Headlines include post-Brexit customs, a potential price rise for fuel and alcohol, May’s LGBT Action Plan and Home Office reform needed after Windrush. 

New customs plan will be a ‘significant step forward’, Downing Street claims
The BBC says that it has been told by a Downing Street source that a new plan for post-Brexit customs to be shown to ministers on Friday will be a ‘significant step forward’, allowing both an independent trade policy and friction-free trade. The Times asserts that Theresa May’s attempts to reach agreement with her cabinet were ‘plunged into chaos yesterday’, with ministers complaining about not seeing the plans and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defending Jacob Rees-Mogg’s warning that the Government risked collapse.

Treasury considers lifting freeze on fuel and alcohol duty
The Guardian claims that the Government is close to ending the freeze on fuel duty, in a bid to raise billions of pounds in order to boost public spending, including the planned NHS funding boost. Other plans being considered by the Treasury include lifting the freeze on alcohol duty which was announced in last autumn’s budget.

May launches LGBT Action Plan
Writing in the Daily Mirror, Theresa May sets out her £4.5m LGBT Action Plan, which contains over 70 commitments based on the findings of the world’s largest LGBT survey. These promises include introducing a ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy, appointing an adviser on health inequalities and investment in anti-bullying programmes.

MPs call for ‘root and branch’ reform of the Home Office after Windrush scandal
The Guardian carries details of a report by the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which concludes that the ‘appalling treatment’ of Windrush migrants by the Home Office means that the department is in need of ‘root and branch reform’. The committee recommends that the Government reconsiders its hostile environment policies, establish why it ignored warnings and provide accurate information on the scale of the problem.

Nurseries could close under Government spending plans
The BBC reports that Conservative MPs have claimed that state-run nursery schools might close owing to Government spending plans which would see them lose almost £60m a year from 2020. MPs warn that children with special educational needs and disabilities will be especially affected, as private nurseries have no obligation to admit them.

NHS launches largest ever recruitment drive
The Financial Times reports that the NHS is launching the biggest recruitment drive in its history today. The ‘We are the NHS’ campaign, which will cost £8m, will target those aged between 14 and 18 and is particularly focused on increasing the number of nurses. It aims to increase job applications to the health service by 22,000 and to double the number of nurses returning to practice.

Mercer calls for reform of the armed forces
The Daily Telegraph previews a speech to be given by Conservative MP Johnny Mercer, a former soldier, to the Royal United Services Institute today. In the speech, Mercer calls for the armed forces to ‘do more with less’, warning that they are at risk of becoming a ‘jobs club’. He told the paper that funding increases should be on a ‘cash for reform’ basis.

Plans to encourage energy users to switch supplier hit by new data protection rules
According to The Times, plans to encourage energy consumers to switch suppliers by allowing rival companies to send them marketing literature could be put in jeopardy by new data protection rules. Lawyers for the ‘big six’ energy firms have warned that the companies risk being fined if they comply with the Competition and Markets Authority’s plan.

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Red tape

Political Headlines – Brexit trade deals, Rees-Mogg’s warning, defence spending and the NHS

Today’s Political Headlines include the UK Brexit negotiator’s belief that there’s no chance of a bespoke trade deal, Rees-Mogg’s revolt warning, US/UK defence spending and NHS spending. 

UK Brexit negotiator claims there is ‘no chance’ of a bespoke trade deal
The Times claims that Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator Oliver Robbins has told Cabinet ministers that there is ‘no chance’ of the UK agreeing a bespoke trade agreement with the EU. A ‘Government figure’ told the paper that the UK may face a choice between a Norway-style arrangement which would keep the UK in the single market or a simple free trade agreement. The BBC adds that the Government has produced a third model for post-Brexit customs arrangements that will also be discussed by Cabinet ministers on Friday.

Rees-Mogg warns Eurosceptics will rebel if May doesn’t deliver
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Conservative backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg warns Theresa May that he and his fellow Eurosceptics will vote against the final Brexit deal if she doesn’t ‘deliver what she said she would’. He compares the Prime Minister to Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister forced to quit after his party revolted against him over the corn laws.

US Defense Secretary calls for UK to increase military spending
In an exclusiveThe Sun reports that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson received an ultimatum from his US counterpart Jim Mattis two weeks ago, warning that the UK’s military prowess is ‘at risk of erosion’ and that defence spending should increase or France would become ‘the US partner of choice’. He wants an answer by next week’s NATO summit.

NAO chief calls for higher NHS spending
Speaking to The Guardian, Sir Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office has warned that the NHS will need more funding than that promised by Theresa May if it is to meet the challenges of the ageing population. He called on politicians ‘to be willing to think bigger’, warning that current spending plans would only sustain current services.

NHS confirms it is planning for no-deal Brexit
The Financial Times reports that NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens has confirmed that his organisation is carrying out ‘significant planning’ for a no-deal Brexit in order to ensure that it will continue to have access to medicines and equipment. At the moment, over 37m packs of medicine are imported into the UK from Europe each month.

Political parties should publish gender of candidates, campaigners say
The Guardian says that campaigners including the Electoral Reform Society and the Fawcett Society have joined forces to call on the Government to introduce legislation forcing political parties to publish the gender breakdown of their candidates. Provision for this is included in the Equality Act 2010, but the relevant section has never been enacted.

Former schools minister calls on Government not to use ‘misleading’ statistic
The BBC says that former Lib Dem Schools Minister David Laws, now the chair of the Education Policy Institute, has called on the Government not to use a statistic suggesting that more pupils now attend a good or outstanding school than did in 2010. He said that the statistic ‘misrepresents the level of improvement in school standards’.

Mail launches campaign to save the high street
The Daily Mail has launched a campaign to ‘save Britain’s high streets’ after 50,000 retail jobs were lost in the first six months of 2018. The paper points the finger of blame at high business rates which disproportionately affect high street retailers rather than online stores, with Frank Field, Chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, calling for a ‘specific sales tax’ to be introduced to target them. The campaign is also backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, together with various business organisations.

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Europe

Political Headlines – Brexit, detainees, Windrush and BAE Systems

Today’s Political Headlines include the Brexit approach putting lives at risk, inexcusable treatment of US detainees tolerated by the UK, Windrush detentions and BAE Systems’ £20bn contract. 

May warns EU leaders that their Brexit approach is putting lives at risk
The Times says that Theresa May used yesterday’s European Council meeting to warn fellow leaders that restricting security co-operation after Brexit would put their citizens’ lives at risk. She asked them to overrule the European Commission and widen its negotiating mandate to include unrestricted sharing of security information. The Financial Times claims that EU leaders called on May to confront Cabinet Eurosceptics and shift her ‘red lines’ in order to obtain a positive response.

UK tolerated ‘inexcusable’ treatment of US detainees
As the BBC reports, the Intelligence and Security Committee has concluded that the UK allowed ‘inexcusable’ treatment of US detainees after 9/11. The committee found that British intelligence agencies continued to supply information to allies despite knowing or suspecting abuse in over 200 cases. The Times adds that Ken Clarke has urged the Government to honour a promise made eight years ago and reopen an inquiry into British involvement in the maltreatment of detainees.

Home Office condemned over Windrush detentions
The Guardian reports that the Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded that the Home Office exhibited an ‘inadequate regard for the human rights’ of wrongfully detained Windrush migrants. It adds that the Home Office behaved in a ‘shocking’ way towards Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan, two of those affected, as a result of ‘a systemic failure’.

BAE Systems wins £20bn Australian warship contract
The Financial Times says that BAE Systems has won a £20bn contract to build a new fleet of warships for Australia, hailed by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson as a ‘formidable success for Britain’ and ‘a major boost as we leave the European Union’. The paper notes that the ships will be built in Australia and few jobs will be created in the UK as part of the deal, but some components may come from the UK, as will design and engineering teams.

May plans fourth Brexit speech
The Sun reveals that Theresa May is planning to give another Brexit speech, in which she will outline her vision of a future UK-EU trade deal. Venues reportedly being considered by Number 10 include European cities. A 100-page white paper on the future relationship is due to be published in the second week of July.

Fall in new homes being built
The Sun says that the number of new homes being built has fallen in the first quarter of 2018, down 8% compared to the same period in 2017. If the trend continues for the rest of the year only half of the Prime Minister’s target of 300,000 will be built, the paper claims.

Fines for drivers who pass too close to cyclists
The Times reports that transport minister Jesse Norman is set to announce today that drivers who pass cyclists are to be targeted for fines, with training materials and support provided to police forces. Up to £500,000 will also be spent on training driving instructors to include cycle safety in lessons.

Report calls for housebuilders’ ombudsman
The Financial Times reports that the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment has released a report calling for housebuilders to set up an ombudsman to help buyers resolve disputes over newly-built homes. Membership would be mandatory for housebuilders, who would pay a levy to fund the body.

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Brexit

Political Headlines – Brexit, HS2 and carbon targets

Today’s Political Headlines include ‘the worst possible Brexit deal’. EU planning a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, Chinese firms as frontrunners to operate HS2 and the Government warning it will miss carbon targets. 

May’s former aide warns that the UK risks ‘the worst possible Brexit deal’
The Daily Telegraph reports that Theresa May’s former aide Nick Timothy has warned that the UK risks agreeing what the paper calls ‘the worst possible Brexit deal’, with free movement of workers set to effectively continue under proposals to be discussed by the Cabinet. Ministers have been warned that there are only six weeks of negotiations left to agree a deal by the EU summit in October. The Guardian claims that Theresa May will tell her fellow leaders that the Government is making progress on Brexit at today’s EU summit.

EU works on no deal Brexit as it prepares to issue warning about negotiation progress
The Financial Times says that the EU is increasing work on emergency plans to cope with a hard Brexit, including transitional measures covering transport, financial services and customs to be implemented if no deal is agreed. The paper also claims that Theresa May will be given a ‘serious and grave’ warning over the progress of Brexit negotiations by fellow EU leaders at today’s summit.

Chinese firms are frontrunners to operate HS2
The Times reveals that the Chinese firms Guangshen Railway Co and MTR are the frontrunners to operate HS2 because two British-led consortia, including Virgin and First Group, are unwilling to take on the financial risk required. Final bids are due early next month, with a decision due next May.

Government warned that it will miss carbon targets
The Guardian carries details of a report by the Committee on Climate Change, which warns that the Government will miss its legally binging carbon budgets in 2025 and 2030 because not enough progress had been made in cutting emissions from buildings and transport. The committee, chaired by the Tory peer Lord Deben, accuses ministers of not pursing low-cost options such as onshore windfarms, home insulation and tree-planting.

Truss rebuked by Downing Street over speech
According to The Times, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, has been rebuked by Downing Street after she criticised Government policies and mocked Michael Gove in a speech. The Financial Times suggests that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson could quit if he doesn’t secure extra funding. The Daily Mail adds that senior backbenchers are becoming fed up with Cabinet infighting, with Nigel Evans telling ministers to ‘put a sock in it’.

Welsh Conservative leader resigns
The Guardian reports that Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Conservative leader, has resigned ‘unexpectedly’. The paper says that supporters and opponents of Davies have linked his resignation to his support for Brexit and his comments about Airbus last week, which were criticised for being ‘inflammatory’ by defence minister Guto Bebb.

Mordaunt to use foreign aid to support Commonwealth veterans
The Daily Telegraph says that Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary, will announce today that the aid budget will be used to support war veterans living in poverty in the Commonwealth. She will also outline plans to work with the Ministry of Defence to support islands in the Commonwealth affected by hurricanes.

Clark requests £100m for satellite system feasibility study
The Financial Times claims that Greg Clark, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary, has made a formal request to the Treasury for £100m to fund a two-year feasibility study for a British satellite navigation system as an alternative to the EU’s Galileo programme. Officials plan to launch the first tenders for the new system in the autumn.

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Gavin Williamson

Political Headlines – Gavin Williamson, Greg Clark, Liz Truss and taxing over-40s

Today’s Political Headlines include Gavin Williamson asking for more money, Greg Clark pushing for a soft Brexit, a social care tax for over-40s and Liz Truss mocking colleagues. 

Gavin Williamson to ask the Prime Minister for up to £4bn extra defence funding
The Times claims that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is to ask the Prime Minister for up to £4bn additional funding for the armed forces at a meeting next week, but that there are no plans for any new funding to be agreed. The Daily Telegraph says that the USA’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, has told his UK counterpart, Sir Mark Sedwill, that the US is concerned about the damage being done to the UK armed forces by spending restraints.

Greg Clark pushes for soft Brexit deal
Speaking at The Times’ CEO Summit, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Greg Clark said that he wanted to avoid a no-deal Brexit, continue to benefit from ‘labour mobility’ and wanted to keep single market access for services as well as goods. Theresa May also spoke at the event, saying that she was listening to business. The Guardian reports that the CBI and the TUC have joined forces to demand ‘measurable progress’ in the Brexit talks, while The Sun says that Theresa May is to bypass her Brexit committee by inviting the whole Cabinet to agree on Brexit plans at Chequers next week.

Committees call for over-40s to be taxed to fund social care
The BBC says that a joint report by the Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government and Health and Social Care Committees has called for a new tax, called a social care premium, for the over-40s to pay for elderly care. The tax would also be payable by retired people with lucrative pensions or investments.

Truss attacks calls for higher spending and mocks colleagues
The Times reports that in a speech last night Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, attacked ministers who had called for increased public spending, telling them that it wasn’t ‘macho’ to do so and that they should tackle ‘vested interests’ instead. She attacked regulations and standards, joked about ‘wood-burning Goves’ and said that there was ‘enough hot air and smoke at the environment department already’.

Labour to cut number of MPs needed to nominate leadership candidates
The Guardian claims that reforms to be proposed at Labour’s conference this autumn will see a reduction in the number of MPs needed to nominate a candidate for party leader and give party members the right to vote for local council leaders. A source told the paper that this ‘virtually guarantees’ a left-wing candidate could follow Corbyn as leader.

Report warns of young people’s exposure to gambling advertising
The Daily Mail says that a report by the Responsible Gambling Strategy Board claims that nine out of ten young people have been exposed to gambling advertising on TV or social media, calling this an ‘uncontrolled social experiment on today’s youth’ which risks gambling becoming ‘normalised’. The report makes 30 recommendations for action.

Sturgeon reshuffles Scottish Government
The Herald reports that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has started a ‘dramatic’ ministerial reshuffle, with six ministers leaving the Scottish Government and the number of cabinet posts increasing from ten to twelve. Those departing include Health Secretary Shona Robinson, Communities Secretary Angela Constance and Economy Secretary Keith Brown.

Uber granted new licence to operate
The Financial Times reports that ride-hailing app Uber will be able to continue to operate in London. A judge ruled that Transport for London was right not to renew the firm’s licence last year, but that Uber has now made sufficient changes. The new licence will last fifteen months and has several conditions attached, leading Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to warn that the company is ‘on probation’.

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Third runway

Political Headlines – Heathrow, election law reform, budgets and Brexit

Today’s Political Headlines include vote for the third runway at Heathrow, election law reform, attacks against unsustainable budget increases and BMW’s Brexit warning. 

MPs vote for third runway at Heathrow
As The Times reports, last night MPs voted in favour of a third runway at Heathrow, with a majority of 296, following the imposition of a three-line whip by the Conservatives, Labour’s decision to allow a free vote and the SNP abstaining. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has opposed the proposals, missed the vote as he was in Afghanistan, drawing criticism from fellow Tories. The paper adds that various councils, Sadiq Khan and Greenpeace are launching a legal challenge to the decision.

Electoral Commission calls for ‘urgent’ reform of election law
The Guardian reports that the Electoral Commission has called for urgent reform to the law, as British democracy ‘may be under threat’. The regulator has called on the Government to change the law in order to tackle misinformation, misuse of personal data and overseas interference. Its recommendations are particularly targeted at digital campaigning.

Truss attacks calls for ‘unsustainable’ budget increases
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, attacks calls by fellow ministers for ‘unsustainable’ increases in their budgets, warning that this would result in the Conservatives being ‘crushed’ and would be a ‘complete contradiction of the Brexit vote’. Instead, she calls for ‘better value for money’. She also criticises colleagues for ‘talking about banning things’ and promises to review ‘over-regulated’ jobs.

BMW warns that UK plants could close if Brexit causes delays
The Financial Times reports that BMW has warned that it will have to close its plants in the UK if it cannot import components from the EU quickly and reliably. Customs manager Stephan Freismuth said ‘if at the end of the day the supply chain will have a stop at the border, then we cannot produce our products in the UK’, but added that the company didn’t ‘want to give up our UK plants’.

Commons Defence Committee report recommends spending increase
The BBC says that a report by the Commons Defence Committee recommends that defence spending should increase from 2% to 3% of GDP, in order to maintain the UK’s influence with the USA and in NATO. It recommends spending the extra funding on increased readiness and anti-submarine warfare, countering Russian threats.

EU to offer better trade deal if UK relaxes red lines
The Sun claims that the EU is to call for a ‘realistic and workable’ vision for post-Brexit UK-EU relations and introduce an ‘evolution clause’ into the conclusions of the leaders’ summit later this week. The clause promises that the EU will ‘reconsider its offer on trade, in the event that the UK changes its red lines. The paper adds that French President Emmanuel Macron is set to rebuke the UK for the lack of progress in negotiations.

Hungary warns that no deal would be ‘very devastating’ for the EU
The Daily Mail has been told by the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, that if the EU failed to reach a trade deal with the UK, its competitiveness would ‘further decrease’ and a ‘very devastating’ situation would result. He also criticised attempts to exclude the UK from participating in joint security projects.

Government rejects tidal lagoon plans
The Guardian reports that the Government has rejected plans for a £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay because it judged the scheme to be too expensive when compared to other energy sources such as offshore wind and nuclear power. Government analysis suggested that supporting the lagoon would have cost the average consumer £700 more by 2050.

 

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New runway

Political Headlines – Heathrow, Defence, Brexit and home ownership

Today’s Political Headlines include the Heathrow third runway vote, Labour’s promise to end defence outsourcing, over 50 Tory MPs ready to block a no-deal Brexit and a former adviser to Theresa May calls to unlock home ownership for young workers. 

Grayling calls on Tory MPs to back third runway
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has urged his party’s MPs to back a third runway at Heathrow in today’s vote, arguing that Brexit means that the UK needs ‘to demonstrate clearly that out future lies very much at the heart of the world stage.’ Some Conservative MPs have criticised the absence of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who had previously promised to prevent the scheme. The Guardian adds that Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite, has written to Labour MPs, calling on them to back the scheme, bringing him into conflict with the party’s leadership.

Labour to promise end to defence outsourcing
The BBC reports that Nia Griffith, the Shadow Defence Secretary, will promise in a speech today that a Labour government would end outsourcing of large defence contracts and criticise the performance of firms such as Capita and Carillion. The Daily Mail says that allies of Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson have claimed that dozens of Conservative MPs could vote to block the budget if defence spending isn’t increased.

Over 50 Tory MPs ready to block no deal Brexit
The Financial Times claims that ‘senior Conservative politicians’ believe that over 50 Conservative MPs, including some current ministers, are prepared to block any attempt by the UK to leave the EU without a deal. The paper also reports that Downing Street is trying to reassure businesses following dismissive remarks from two Cabinet ministers.

Former adviser calls on May to unlock home ownership for young workers
The Sun reports that Conservative MP Neil O’Brien, a former adviser to Theresa May, is calling for a million new houses to be set aside for workers under 40. A report by his new think tank, Onward, calls for half a million new homes to be built for rent to those under 40 with discounts of up to a fifth, and for Government support for 500,000 loans for deposits.

MPs and campaigners call for Home Office fees to be cut
The Guardian says that MPs and campaigners are calling for Home Office fees for asylum, immigration, nationality and customs services to be reduced urgently. The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, launched a consultation on the charges, and Labour MP Stephen Doughty claimed that it is ‘never acceptable’ for the Home Office to profit from applications.

New research shows that over 30,000 children are in gangs
The Times says that new research shows that over 30,000 children aged between 10 and 15 claim to belong to gangs. Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield warned that criminals prey on young people by ‘taking the place of society’, with analysis by her office showing that up to 70,000 under-25s could be part of a gang network.

No trade deal with US if geographical protections maintained, Paul Ryan warns
The Daily Telegraph claims that International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has written to Brexit Secretary David Davis, warning that he has been told by senior Republican Paul Ryan that a free trade deal with the US would not be possible if EU geographical indication protections for food and drink such as Champagne and Parma ham are maintained after Brexit.

Pro-Corbyn group launches campaign for a ‘people’s vote’ on the deal
The Guardian reports that a pro-Corbyn group is to launch a campaign for a ‘people’s vote’ on the final Brexit deal. The group, Labour for a People’s Vote, is led by former Momentum members and trade union leaders, with activists from 62 local parties pledging to raise the issue in a motion to Labour’s conference in September.

 

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political headlines 22.06

Political Headlines – Airbus relocating, Brexit no-deal, Greg Hands

Today’s Political Headlines include Airbus preparing to relocate outside of the UK, Juncker increasing preparations for a no-deal Brexit and Greg Hands’ resignation.  

Airbus prepares to relocate business over Brexit fears
The Times reports that Airbus is preparing to abandon plans to build aircraft wings in the UK, assuming a ‘worst-case scenario’ and stockpiling components. A risk assessment warns that the company, which employs 14,000 people in the UK with a further 110,000 jobs in its UK supply chain, would have to ‘reconsider its footprint’ in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The firm delivered its warnings privately to the Prime Minister three weeks ago.

Juncker warns that EU is increasing no deal preparations
According to The Guardian, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned the Irish parliament that he was increasing preparations for a no-deal Brexit, including a new peace programme in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Daily Telegraph reports that the US ambassador, Woody Johnson, has told the British to be less ‘defeatist’ towards Brexit. The paper also warns that ‘violent criminals’ could be among the 4m EU citizens given the right to stay after Brexit, with Iain Duncan Smith claiming that the scheme is too generous. The Sun claims that Theresa May is to launch a tour of European capitals at the end of July, in a bid to ‘jump-start’ trade talks.

Hands quits over Heathrow, increasing pressure on Johnson
The Guardian claims that the Prime Minister is ‘facing a fresh crisis’ after Greg Hands, an international trade minister, quit his post so that he could vote against the third runway at Heathrow. The paper says this has increased pressure on Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, to vote against the runway. He is currently scheduled to be out of the country.

Probation system in a ‘mess’ after failed reforms, MPs say
The BBC says that a report by the Commons Justice Committee has concluded that the probation system is in a ‘mess’ and that it was ‘unconvinced’ that reforms introduced in 2014 could ever deliver an effective service. The Government has acknowledged that there had been ‘challenges’ and that a review would be published next month.

Hammond pledges to fight for the City in Brexit talks
The Financial Times reports that Philip Hammond used his annual address at Mansion House to promise to fight for the City of London in Brexit talks. He accused the EU of not putting forward a ‘credible’ alternative to UK proposals. Hammond said that the Treasury was not ‘the enemy of Brexit’ but wanted to work ‘closely’ with the EU.

Commons spent £2.4m on gagging clauses
The BBC’s Newsnight has learnt that the House of Commons has spent £2.4m on ‘gagging clauses’ for former staff since 2013. A spokesperson claimed that these were used ‘to resolve employment disputes’, but Jill Rutter of the Institute for Government said their use was ‘impossible to justify’.

Government to promote fruit-picking to jobseekers
According to The Times, the Government is producing guidance to convince unemployed people to work in fruit-picking. Two thirds of farms have reported a shortage of applicants this year, and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey has met industry representatives.

Increase in defence funding unlikely, despite Williamson’s campaign
The Guardian says that ‘Whitehall sources’ have claimed that there is unlikely to be an increase in defence spending over the next year, despite a campaign by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. Speaking alongside NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, Theresa May yesterday refused to confirm that the UK was still a ‘top-tier’ military power.

 

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Prime Minister Brexit

Political Headlines – Brexit, defence, Gosport hospital and British expats

Today’s Political Headlines include the passing of the Brexit Bill, the UK’s defence, the Gosport hospital scandal and British expats. 

May welcomes passing of Brexit Bill
The BBC reports that Theresa May has welcomed the passing of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, following the decision of some Conservative rebels to back a compromise stance on a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final deal. The bill has now gone forward for Royal Assent. The Prime Minister claimed that this was ‘a crucial step’ to deliver a ‘smooth and orderly Brexit’, with a white paper and votes on the Trade and Customs Bill to follow in ‘the next few weeks’. The Guardian says that Labour MP Naz Shah has criticised Tory whips for rejecting a pairing request, leading her to discharge herself from hospital and vote in her pyjamas.

May asked Williamson to justify the UK’s role as a ‘tier one’ military power
The Financial Times claims that Theresa May asked Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson to justify the UK’s position as a ‘tier one’ military power at a ‘tense meeting’ on Tuesday, telling him to focus more on cyber warfare. A spokesman said that it was ‘categorically untrue’ that the position of the UK ‘as a leading defence nation is somehow in question’.

Campaigners warn that Gosport hospital scandal could be repeated
The Times says that campaigners have warned that the NHS could see a repeat of the opiate scandal that killed up to 650 patients at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital, because it still ignores whistle-blowers. An independent report into the scandal was published yesterday, and Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that the police will investigate new material raised by it and consider criminal charges, if appropriate.

Javid criticises EU member states over arrangements for British expats
The Daily Telegraph reports that Home Secretary Sajid Javid has criticised the EU for failing to match the UK’s progress on making arrangement for expats post-Brexit, ahead of the publication today of the UK’s settled status scheme for EU citizens resident in the UK. He asked the European Parliament and Commission to exert pressure on member states to publish ‘similar plans’ to ‘support British nationals in their countries’.

Chancellor to set out strategy for post-Brexit ‘global financial partnerships’
The Financial Times says that Philip Hammond will today use his annual speech at Mansion House to set out a strategy for securing new ‘global financial partnerships’ after Brexit, targeted at countries such as China, India, South Korea and Australia. The BBC adds that the Chancellor will admit that taxes will have to increase to fund NHS spending increases.

Government to introduce anti-upskirting legislation today
As the BBC reports, the Government is to introduce legislation to make upskirting a criminal offence today, after Tory backbencher Sir Christopher Chope blocked an earlier attempt by Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse. If it passes, offenders could spend up to two years in prison.

May criticises Trump’s immigration policies but defends visit
The Guardian says that Theresa May described Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents as ‘deeply disturbing’ and ‘wrong’, but defended her decision to invite him to the UK next month, indicating that she would raise her concerns with him when they meet.

Speaker urged to set departure date
The Daily Mail claims that friends of Commons Speaker John Bercow have told him to make a statement naming the date on which he will step down. When originally elected, he promised to serve for nine years, and that deadline will be met on Friday. MPs who have spoken to him have reportedly urged him to resign by next summer’s recess at the latest.

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Political headlines

Political Headlines – GCHQ director intervening in Brexit, ‘meaningful vote’, cannabis review

Today’s Political Headlines include GCHQ Director intervening in Brexit, MPs voting again on the ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal and a new approach to drugs. 

GCHQ director intervenes in row over post-Brexit secuity
The Times carries details of what it calls an ‘unprecedented intervention’ by the director of GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming. He revealed that the UK had supplied information which had led to terrorist plots in four different European countries being prevented in the last year, and argued that the UK and Europe had benefited ‘from our work together on our collective security’. The paper suggests that this intervention was deliberately timed to support the UK’s attempts to secure continued participation in EU security policies.

MPs prepare to vote again on a meaningful vote on the Brexit deal
The BBC reports that MPs will vote again on the meaningful vote on the final deal with the EU later today, and that the result will be ‘tight’. Dominic Grieve, leader of the Conservative rebels, told The Daily Telegraph that his supporters were not ‘peeling away’, despite attempts by whips to persuade MPs to back the Government. According to The Times, Conservative whips have ‘given up’ on their attempts to persuade rebels and are instead focusing on getting Labour MPs in leave-voting areas to back the Government.

Police call for new approach to drugs as Javid announces medicinal cannabis review
The Times reports that the Police Federation’s board voted unanimously for a rethink on drug enforcement as current laws ‘have not succeeded’, calling for ‘an open, honest, transparent debate’. Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, has announced a review of laws on the medicinal use of cannabis, but ruled out changing the law on recreational use.

Teachers should confiscate mobiles, Hancock says
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Matt Hancock has said that teachers ought to confiscate mobile phones at the start of the school day, as they have a ‘real impact’ on achievement and expose children to cyber-bullying. Hancock will put forward this argument at a NSPCC conference today.

Capita awarded highest risk rating and £500m contract by Ministry of Defence
According to the Financial Times, the Ministry of Defence gave outsourcing firm Capita its highest possible risk rating, shortly before it was awarded a £500m contract to run military fire and rescue services. Jim Kennedy of the union Unite said that the decision to hand the firm the contract despite the risk assessment was ‘absolutely scandalous’.

EU rules out UK participation in European Arrest Warrant
The BBC reports that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier had said that the UK would not be able to participate in the European Arrest Warrant after Brexit because it was leaving the European Court of Justice and ending free movement. He added that the EU would instead consider a ‘streamlined’ extradition process.

Hammond refused to release NHS funding unless chief executive publicly backed plan
The Guardian says that it has been told by sources close to the NHS funding deal that Philip Hammond only agreed to it on the condition that Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, had to publicly welcome the funding. Yesterday, Stevens, who had previously called for a larger increase, said that the new funding represented ‘a clear gear change’.

Labour would give Bank of England productivity target
The Financial Times reports that Labour has announced that it will set the Bank of England a new target of 3% productivity growth, but refused to specify a time period for this. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is to launch the party’s report on the financial system today. It also calls for the Bank of England to relocate to Birmingham and more lending to small firms.

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political headlines 19.06

Political Headlines – cannabis legalisation, ‘meaningful vote’, NHS spending boost

Today’s Political Headlines include Lord Hague calling for cannabis legalisation, the Government being defeated by the Lords over Brexit ‘meaningful vote’ and Hammond warning that the NHS spending boost leaves no cash for other policies

Lord Hague calls for cannabis legalisation
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, former Conservative leader Lord Hague claims that the war against cannabis has been ‘comprehensively and irreversibly lost’ and that the Conservatives should ‘be bold’ and imitate Canada, which is legalising the drug. The paper adds that Home Secretary Sajid Javid was prevented from raising the issue at Cabinet yesterday, following the controversy over the supply of medicinal cannabis to 12-year-old Billy Caldwell.

Government again defeated by Lords over Brexit ‘meaningful vote’
The Guardian reports that the Government has been defeated again by the House of Lords over the issue of a ‘meaningful vote’, after Viscount Hailsham tabled an amendment based on the deal Dominic Grieve thought he had struck with the Government last week. MPs will vote on the amendment on Wednesday. The Financial Times claims that UK negotiators are now suggesting that a deal with the EU may not be agreed until November or December, rather than early autumn as originally expected.

Hammond warns that NHS spending boost leaves no cash for other policies
The Times claims that Chancellor Philip Hammond told the Cabinet that after having to find £25bn for the NHS and other money to replace funding currently provided by the EU, there will be no funding for other policies. A cabinet minister said that Hammond had dispelled ‘any sense that the taps were about to be turned on’. The paper also reports that Theresa May has said she is prepared to use legislation to roll back Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms.

First details of ‘settled status’ plan to be published
The Guardian reports that the Government will reveal the first details of the new ‘settled status’ immigration scheme for the 3.4m EU citizens living in the UK on Thursday. A ‘statement of intent’ will list some of the evidence they will need to provide, but will be ‘like a consultation paper’ an ‘informed source’ told the paper.

New £20m fund to combat loneliness
The Daily Telegraph says that schemes to be supported by the Government as part of a new £20m Building Connections fund to tackle loneliness include mobile coffee vans, woodworking in sheds for middle-aged men, an app for young mothers and converting redundant public spaces into ‘loneliness gardens’.

Rail firms admit they only realised the extent of problems at the ‘last minute’
The Daily Mail reports that executives from rail firms admitted to the Commons Transport Committee that they only realised at the ‘very last minute’ that their timetables would not work. The Financial Times adds that Lib Dem MP Tim Farron and local rail users have worked with a charter train operator to restore services to a line in the Lake District.

Government set to water down petrol and diesel car ban
According to the Financial Times, the UK’s plan to ban petrol, diesel and most hybrid cars by 2040 is set to be downgraded to a ‘mission’ in the ‘Road to Zero Strategy’ due to be published by the Government tomorrow. Concerns about the policy’s impact on the automotive sector have been raised by Business Secretary Greg Clark.

Javid causes rift with India over student visa scheme
The Times alleges that Sajid Javid has caused a ‘diplomatic rift’ by deciding not to include Indian students in a new fast-track visa system because of concerns about ‘non-compliance’ (i.e. disappearing after entering the country). An Indian government source told the paper that ‘relations are not at their best right now, while Lord Bilimoria warned that ‘If this is the way they treat India, they can dream on about a FTA with India.’

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NHS funding

Political Headlines – NHS funding, defence spending, Windrush Day and Brexit

Today’s Political Headlines include the NHS funding black hole, a call for increased defence spending, Windrush Day and no no-deal aviation talks. 

£11bn ‘black hole’ in NHS funding plan
The Times claims that there is a £11bn ‘black hole’ in Theresa May’s £25bn NHS funding plan, due to be announced in a speech today. Measures to fund the policy that have been discussed include freezing personal allowance and national insurance thresholds, increasing borrowing and deferring corporation tax rises. Ministers hope that higher growth will help to fill the gap, but experts, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies, have rejected May’s claims of a ‘Brexit dividend’. The Daily Telegraph reports that other areas, including defence, schools and police, will lose out on spending increases as a result and that the Government is considering reviving Sir Andrew Dilnot’s proposed cap on social care costs.

Report calls for defence spending increase
The BBC carries details of a report by the Commons Defence Committee, which calls for defence spending to increase from 2% to 3% of total GDP in order to meet incoming threats, including from Russia, terrorism, extremism and cyber-warfare. The report also warns that current spending levels are ‘far too low’ and that the army is at risk of being ‘outgunned’.

Government promises £500,000 for Windrush Day
The Guardian reports that the Government is to support an annual celebration of the arrival of the Windrush generation with a grant of up to £500,000. June 22 will become an opportunity to ‘recognise and honour’ the contribution of the Windrush generation, communities minister Lord Bourne said.

European Commission bans no-deal Brexit talks on aviation
The Times claims that the European Commission has prevented aviation regulators from holding backstop talks to keep planes flying in the event of a no-deal Brexit until March 2019. The paper suggests that this is ‘a move to raise pressure on No 10’, with a ‘senior industry figure’ warning that it will not be feasible ‘to cobble together a last-minute deal’.

Chope claims that he has been ‘scapegoated’ after blocking upskirting bill
The Guardian reports that Christopher Chope, the Conservative MP who blocked a bill to make upskirting a criminal offence, has claimed that he has been ‘scapegoated’. He has claimed that he supports the bill and only objected to it for procedural reasons. Wera Hobhouse, the Lib Dem MP who proposed the bill, has called on him to make ‘a full apology’ and Theresa May has promised that the Government will take on the bill.

Conservative Party accepted over £200,000 from former Russian defence official
According to the Daily Mirror, the Conservative Party has accepted over £200,000 in donations from former Russian defence chief Alexander Temerko since Theresa May became Prime Minister. Labour’s Jon Trickett said that May had ‘serious questions’ to answer.

House of Lords criticised for resembling a ‘private members’ club’
The Sun says that a report by the Electoral Reform Society criticises the House of Lords for ‘increasingly looking like a Westminster private members’ club’. 39% of members worked in politics before getting a peerage, and just one has worked in a blue-collar job. Labour MP Frank Field is to table a bill calling for the House of Lords to be abolished and replaced by a mix of elected members and experts.

Dimbleby to leave Question Time after 25 years
The BBC reports that David Dimbleby is to retire from presenting Question Time in December, having chaired the programme since 1994. The corporation’s director general, Tony Hall, described him as ‘a titan in British broadcasting’ and a ‘champion of the public’.

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NHS logo

Political Headlines – NHS funding, Brexit deal, Universal Credit and the Lewisham by-election

Today’s Political Headlines include extra funding for the NHS, Government abandons deal with rebels, Universal Credit unlikely to ever be value for money and Lib Dems cut Labour’s majority in Lewisham by-election. 

May set to announce £4bn a year extra for the NHS
The Daily Telegraph expects Theresa May to announce a £4bn a year increase in NHS funding on Monday. The 3% per annum boost will be funded through a ‘Brexit dividend’, a possible freeze of some tax thresholds, and some borrowing. Speaking to the Oxford Union this week, NHS England chief, Simon Stevens, reportedly told students that an increase of 3.5-4% was needed to ensure a ‘responsive, well-functioning health service’.

Government abandons deal with rebels
The Times claims that pro-EU Conservative rebels are ‘up in arms’ after the Prime Minister abandoned a compromise over allowing Parliament to influence the direction of Brexit in the event of no deal. Lead rebel Dominic Grieve said that the Government’s decision to abandon an agreement was ‘incomprehensible and unacceptable’.

Universal Credit unlikely to ever deliver value for money, NAO finds
The Guardian carries details of a critical report on Universal Credit by the National Audit Office. It finds that the policy is unlikely to ever deliver value for money as it may end up costing more than its predecessor, can’t prove that it has helped claimants back to work and has left many in hardship.

Lib Dems cut Labour’s majority in Lewisham by-election
As The Guardian reports, Labour’s Janet Daby has won the by-election in Lewisham East, with the Liberal Democrat candidate Lucy Salek finishing second, cutting Labour’s majority from almost 45% to 25.6% and forcing the Conservatives into third. Lib Dem leader Vince Cable claimed the party benefited from Labour’s ‘failure’ to oppose hard Brexit.

Government backs bill against ‘upskirting’
The Daily Mail reports that the Government is to support a private members’ bill to crack down on ‘upskirting’, introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse. The bill will see perpetrators face sentences of up to two years and put on the sex offenders’ register.

Introduction of new maximum stake on betting machines delayed
The Times claims that the new £2 maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals will not be introduced until April 2020, following a deal between bookmakers and the Treasury. Bookmakers claim they need time to reprogramme the machines, but this claim has been disputed by campaigners and, privately, by manufacturers.

Split over post-Brexit security partnership
According to The Daily Telegraph, the EU is ‘fighting’ to avoid an internal split over the post-Brexit security partnership. It claims that Horst Seehofer, German’s interior minister, has told French and Dutch counterparts that ‘nothing must change’ which could threaten citizens’ security after Brexit. This stance is in opposition to that of the European Commission and Chancellor Angela Merkel.

More pensioners to benefit from ‘warm home’ scheme
The Sun reports that Claire Perry, the Minister of State for Energy, is to announce that thousands more pensioners will receive the ‘warm home’ discount on their energy bills. The threshold over which suppliers must participate in the scheme is to be reduced, so that smaller energy firms are included, following a campaign run by the paper.

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Pensive

Political Headlines – Labour rebels, Dominic Grieve, immigration and SNP MPs

Today’s Political Headlines include rebel Labour MPs, Grieve’s visit to the European Commission HQ, the easing of immigration restrictions and Sturgeon’s pride. 

90 Labour MPs rebel on single market vote
As The Times reports, 90 Labour MPs defied Jeremy Corbyn’s instructions to abstain on a vote on remaining in the European Economic Area, with 75 voting in favour and 15 against. Laura Smith, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, resigned to vote against the amendment, with five parliamentary private secretaries also resigning to vote for it. The Guardian says that it has learnt from Downing Street sources that a compromise amendment on a meaningful vote on the deal, which must be tabled today, has not yet been agreed.

Grieve spotted visiting European Commission HQ
The Daily Mail reports that Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve visited the European Commission’s London headquarters yesterday for a private meeting of anti-Brexit campaigners. Other attendees included Alastair Campbell, Conservative and Lib Dem peers and members of pro-EU campaign groups. Grieve claimed that he was attending to ‘explain something about what was going on Parliament, just as I go and talk to all sorts of groups.’

Immigration restrictions to be eased for highly-skilled migrants
The Daily Telegraph says that Home Secretary Sajid Javid is to announce a ‘major easing’ of the immigration system, allowing thousands more highly-skilled people to move to the country. Foreign doctors and nurses are to be excluded from the cap and, as a result, businesses will be able to recruit an extra 8,000 skilled migrants a year.

Sturgeon ‘proud’ of SNP MPs for walking out of PMQs
As the BBC reports, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that she was ‘proud’ of SNP MPs’ decision to walk out of Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, and that it had made sure that ‘Scotland’s voice was heard’. The row erupted after Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, demanded the Commons sit in private as a protest about the ‘lack of debate’ over the Scottish Government’s concerns about the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

Rees-Mogg defends firm’s decision to establish Irish fund
The Daily Telegraph reports that Somerset Capital Management, set up by Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, has established an investment fund in Ireland and is warning clients of the dangers of a hard Brexit. Rees-Mogg, who still works part-time for the firm, claimed that the launch of the new fund ‘was nothing whatsoever to do with Brexit.’

Serjeant at Arms under investigation over verbal abuse
The Daily Telegraph claims Kamal El-Hajji, the Serjeant at Arms, is under investigation over claims that he verbally abused a female security official last week. Yesterday, he defended the Speaker, John Bercow, against bullying allegations, describing them as a ‘witch-hunt’.

Lib Dems confident of coming second in by-election
According to the Financial Times, the Liberal Democrats are confident they can overtake the Conservatives and come second in the parliamentary by-election in Lewisham East today, increasing their share of the vote from 4% to 25%, because of concerns over Brexit. Labour, which holds the seat, warned in an internal email that turnout was a ‘huge issue’.

EU members vote to exclude UK from Galileo contracts
The Guardian reports that a ‘fresh row’ has broken out over UK participation in the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation programme, after a majority of member states voted to procure the next round of contracts, despite a British request for a delay to permit negotiations over continued British involvement. Science minister, Sam Gyimah, claimed that the UK was ready to ‘walk away’ from the project as a result.

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Government votes

Political Headlines – Brexit votes, NHS funding, Grenfell Tower and care costs

Today’s Political Headlines include Brexit votes in parliament, Hammond giving the NHS more money, May regrets her Grenfell Tower response and councils warn of cuts to care costs. 

Tory rebels may defeat Government on meaningful vote on Brexit deal
The Guardian says that it has been told by ‘several leading Conservative rebels’ that they are not satisfied by changes to the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal proposed by ministers, but that a defeat over the customs union has been avoided. The Government is to back an amendment on the issue backed by Nicky Morgan and Jacob Rees-Mogg, and the issue will be deferred until the customs and trade bills. A compromise amendment on the meaningful vote has been tabled by Dominic Grieve, but has not been accepted by the Government.

Hammond prepares to raise up to £10bn for NHS
The Times claims that Chancellor Philip Hammond is preparing to raise up to an extra £10bn to find the NHS, while Theresa May is to lift a cap on skilled workers from outside the EU which is blocking Foreign doctors from working in the service. Hammond wants a real terms increase of under 3% a year, funded through tax increases and borrowing, and has defeated Cabinet proponents of a dedicated NHS tax.

May regrets Grenfell Tower response
The Guardian reports that Theresa May has admitted that her response to the fire at Grenfell Tower was not good enough and that she would ‘always regret’ not meeting survivors. She has pledged to learn lessons from the tragedy and to light Downing Street in green on Thursday as part of a wider series of commemorative events.

Councils warn of cuts to care costs
The BBC carries the results of a survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services which shows that councils expect to spend £21.4bn on care services this year. The organisation warns that that this is not enough, with three-quarters of councils cutting services and almost half planning to introduce higher charges.

Arron Banks denies receiving Russian money
As the BBC reports, Leave.EU founder Arron Banks is to give evidence to the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee today, following claims that he met Russian officials ahead of the Brexit vote. He has denied receiving Russian money, saying that this was ‘part of a fake news narrative’. According to The Guardian, Home Secretary Sajid Javid told MPs that the Government are treating the allegations ‘very seriously’.

Johnson backs ‘Brexit Bridge’ between Scotland and Northern Ireland
According to The Daily Telegraph Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has thrown his support behind proposals for a £15bn ‘Brexit bridge’ between Scotland and Northern Ireland. A source close to Johnson told the paper that it was ‘an interesting idea which ought to be looked at more seriously’.

EU outlines reasons for rejecting UK’s Irish border proposals
The Financial Times says that the EU has outlined its reasons for rejecting UK proposals on the Irish border. According to slides published by the European Commission, British proposals ‘leave key questions unanswered’, ‘do not cover regulatory controls’ and are ‘time-limited’. The paper also reports that the UK will apply to remain in the European standards system.

May describes G7 summit as ‘difficult’
The BBC reports that Theresa May told MPs that the G7 summit at the weekend was ‘difficult’ and that there were ‘strong disagreements’ between President Trump and other leaders. She said that US trade policies had ‘deeply disappointed’ her and praised Justin Trudeau for the ‘skilful’ way in which he had hosted the meeting.

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UK EU

Political Headlines – Brexit, abortion laws, student fees and Russian meetings

Today’s Political Headlines include the Brexit bill votes, Afghan interpreters win right to live in UK, abortion laws in Northern Ireland and ‘unfair’ student fees and loans. 

May tells MPs to unite ahead of Brexit bill votes
The Daily Telegraph reports that Theresa May will tell backbench Conservative MPs that they need to unite, ahead of this week’s votes on amendments by the House of Lords to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. Addressing the 1922 committee this evening, the Prime Minister will say that MPs must ‘deliver on the decision made by the British people’. According to The Guardian, the Government is ‘quietly reassured’ that it has the votes to pass the bill.

Afghan interpreters win right to live in UK
The Daily Mail is claiming victory in its campaign to allow Afghan interpreters who worked with the British army to settle in the UK. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson writes in the paper that the Government will be introducing plans to make the existing relocation scheme ‘fairer’ and pledges to ‘do what is right to honour their extraordinary service’.

MPs target Javid over Northern Irish abortion law
According to The Guardian, over 30 MPs have promised to send the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, written questions demanding that the domestic abuse bill is brought before parliament by the autumn, so that an amendment giving Northern Irish women the right to access terminations can be tabled.

Student fees and loans ‘unfair’, Lords report claims
The BBC says a report by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee claims the student fee and loan system is ‘deeply unfair’ and the Government is using ‘accounting tricks’ to conceal the cost of higher education, delivering poor value for money for taxpayers. It calls for ‘immediate reforms’ including lower interest rates and restoring grants.

Banks to tell committee that he told CIA about Russian meetings
The Times claims that Arron Banks, the founder of Leave.EU, will tell the Commons Digital Media and Sport Committee tomorrow that he briefed the CIA on his meetings with the Russian Ambassador. The meetings were revealed in emails leaked over the weekend.

Homelessness could be ended in a decade, report claims
The BBC carries details of a new report by the charity Crisis, which claims that the Government could end homelessness in 10 years, if its proposals are followed, including building 100,500 social homes a year. The Daily Telegraph says that a report by the Local Government Association warns that the Right to Buy scheme might collapse, as the UK is running out of council houses.

Hancock refuses to legislate on children’s access to devices
The Guardian reports that Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Matt Hancock does not allow his children to have mobile phones and thinks children shouldn’t have access to them overnight, but will not follow the French and legislate on the matter. Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph has launched a campaign calling for social media and online gaming firms to have a statutory ‘duty of care’ to protect children from mental ill health, abuse and addictive behaviour.

Doctors will not be sacked for ‘honest mistakes, Hunt says
The Times reports that Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce that he is to accept the main findings of a review into the use of gross negligence manslaughter, claiming that doctors and nurses who make ‘honest mistakes’ should not be prosecuted. A system of medical examiners will be created, with the ability to refer cases to coroners.

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David Davis

Political Headlines – David Davis, NHS funding and University Diversity

Today’s Political Headlines include David Davis in open rebellion against Theresa May, Hunt’s significant increase to the NHS budget, uni fees cut if diversity doesn’t increase and MPs call for more women to give evidence to select committees. 

David Davis in ‘open rebellion’ against Prime Minister
The Daily Telegraph claims that Brexit Secretary David Davis is in ‘open rebellion’ against the Prime Minister and is refusing to front her plans for a customs backstop in order to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. While Downing Street has insisted that this will be ‘time-limited’, no end date has been included in details of the plan sent to the EU. The Times claims that Eurosceptic cabinet ministers are accusing Theresa May of deception, with remain-supporting ministers being shown the plans days before they were given them.

Hunt confirms ‘significant increase’ to NHS budget
Speaking to The Guardian, Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed that Theresa May will announce a ‘significant increase’ to the NHS’s budget when it celebrates its 70th birthday in July. He also admitted that he is unlikely to meet his target of 5,000 more GPs in England by 2020, that ‘patient safety in the NHS is still deeply flawed’ and that Brexit had contributed towards NHS staff shortages.

Regulator warns universities that he’ll cut tuition fees if diversity doesn’t improve
Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Sir Michael Barber, chair of the Office for Students, has warned that universities which don’t improve diversity will see their tuition fees cut by a third. However, Professor Graham Virgo, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, has instead that his institution will not give black and minority ethnic applicants ‘special treatment’, despite criticism from Universities Minister Sam Gyimah.

MPs call for more women to give evidence to select committees
The BBC says that the House of Commons Liaison Committee has called for more women to give evidence to select committees, after it found that just 33% of witnesses in the last year were female. A target of reaching 40% female ‘discretionary witnesses’ (i.e. not ministers or senior officials) has been set for the end of this parliament.

Javid promises ‘fairer, more compassionate’ immigration regime
The Guardian reports that Home Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament’s Joint Human Rights Committee that he wants a ‘fairer, more compassionate’ immigration system. He admitted that the treatment of those affected by the Windrush scandal was not ‘personal enough and not sympathetic enough’ and that things had gone ‘profoundly wrong’.

Gove attacks ‘crony capitalists’
The Daily Mail says that Michael Gove, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, has called for a crackdown on ‘crony capitalists’ who have ‘rigged the system’. He called for the tax system to be changed to encourage investment and for bosses’ bonuses to be curbed. He also criticised quantitative easing, which he claimed had made the wealthy wealthier.

1.5m Britons living in destitution
The Daily Mirror carries details of a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that reveals that over 1.5m British people are living in destitution. The charity has warned that social security policies are leading to destitution ‘by design’ and has called for changes to the system, including to the use of Universal Credit sanctions.

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for higher taxes
According to The Daily Telegraph, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has called on the Government to find the ‘courage’ to increase taxes to fund public services, including the NHS. He also called on the Government to increase borrowing, saying that interest rates showed that there was ‘little reason to be so afraid’ of doing so.

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