Today’s Political Headlines include Davis ‘standing up’ to the EU, John Major’s speech, no deal harming the car industry and calls for more spending on the armed forces.
Davis stands up to Brussels pressure over Northern Ireland
Brexit Secretary David Davis has said that the UK will not pay the Brexit divorce bill, unless the EU backs down on its attempts to keep Northern Ireland subject to its rules, The Times reports. The Guardian says that Theresa May is under pressure to explain how she will avoid a hard Irish border in her speech on Friday, but that she has conceded that EU citizens who move to the UK during the transition period will be able to stay permanently. In The Daily Telegraph, Ruth Davidson criticises Boris Johnson’s ‘casual disregard’ over the Irish border, but says that Theresa May will use her speech to make clear ‘what is achievable and what is fantasy’. The BBC adds that May is to meet European Council President Donald Tusk today.
John Major calls for MPs to have a free vote on the Brexit deal
As the BBC reports, Sir John Major said, in a speech to the Creative Industries Federation, that MPs should have a free vote on the Brexit deal with the option to hold a referendum. Eurosceptic backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg said that Major was ‘getting it wrong again.’
No deal Brexit would harm car industry, report says
A report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee warns that failing to strike a deal on Brexit would put ‘hundreds of thousands’ of jobs at risk, the BBC says. If trade barriers are erected after Brexit, the sector could be cost £4.5bn in lost exports. However, Toyota has pledged to build the next-generation Auris in the UK despite Brexit, the Financial Times reports.
General says the UK needs to spend more on the armed forces
General Sir Gordon Messenger, vice-chief of the defence staff, has told The Times that the UK needs to spend more on the armed forces, or it would risk defeat to Russia or North Korea. He also stressed the importance of the information war and the use of data.
Boris Johnson could be investigated over garden bridge
The Guardian claims that Boris Johnson could be investigated for misconduct in public office according to a senior lawyer, if it is shown that pressure from him during his tenure as Mayor of London led to the loss of £40m on the abandoned garden bridge project. He will be questioned by a London Assembly committee today.
Osborne’s austerity target met, two years late
The Financial Times reveals that the UK has eliminated the deficit on its day-to-day budget, two years after the target set by George Osborne in 2010. Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies described the news as ‘quite an achievement’, but said that it had ‘come at the cost of an unprecedented squeeze in public spending’.
Libor grants under review
In an exclusive, The Sun says that the Treasury is reviewing all Libor charity cash grants, after ministers raided hundreds of millions for their own budgets. The review started last autumn, after concerns were raised by the National Audit Office. The Public Accounts Committee has promised to question officials over the revelations.
Liz Truss: Middle class professionals put up barriers to stop others joining them~
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, has accused middle class professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, of being a ‘blob’ which is ‘constantly lobbying to put barriers up to prevent new people joining them’, according to the Daily Mail. She suggested that ‘professional regulations can be a damaging restraint on trade’ and praised free schools where ‘teachers don’t have to have traditional training’.
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