A round-up of the latest political headlines, including the Carillion collapse, Labour MPs threatening to leave the party, the EU toughening up its Brexit position and Boris’ claim that £350m was too low.
Carillion collapse raises questions
Yesterday’s collapse of Carillion dominates the headlines today. As the Financial Times reports, the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee is to open an inquiry into government sourcing; Labour has questioned why the firm continued to be awarded contracts after issuing a profit warning; and former pensions minister Steve Webb has questioned the company’s decision to continue to pay dividends. The paper also analyses the reasons for Carillion’s collapse, describing outsourcing as a ‘messy business with little margin for profit’, and Carillion as ‘a lawful sort of Ponzi scheme’.
Labour MPs threaten to leave party if deselected
The Times claims that moderate Labour MPs are threatening to quit the party if they are deselected, and would instead sit in the Commons as independents. Fears of deselection have been intensified by the victory of three Momentum candidates in elections of the party’s National Executive Committee, including the organisation’s founder Jon Lansman.
EU stance on transition period toughens, as Cabinet is split on future trade deal
The Financial Times reports that the EU has toughened up its conditions for a transition deal, including on free movement, maintaining trade agreements, and fishing quotas. The paper also has details of a split in the Cabinet over the direction of trade talks, with Philip Hammond favouring a ‘top-down’ approach and Boris Johnson a ‘bottom-up’ one.
Boris claims that £350m figure was actually too low
In an interview with The Guardian, Boris Johnson has suggested that the Vote Leave campaign’s claim that the EU costs the UK £350m a week was too low, and that the true figure is £438m. He told the paper that when the cash becomes available to spend ‘the NHS should be at the very top of the list.’ The paper says that the claim is ‘likely to provoke some remain supporters’.
Plight of the Rohingya people raised by select committee report
A report by the House of Commons International Development Committee raises concerns about the plight of Rohingya people being returned to Myanmar, as detailed by the BBC. The report calls the situation a ‘huge human tragedy’ and warns of ‘prospects of it becoming a powder keg of radicalisation’. While the report welcomes the Government’s plan, it says that it faces ‘substantial challenges’.
Select committee demands action on white goods electrical safety
The Guardian reports that the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has criticised the Government for being slow to overhaul ‘slow and poorly resourced’ safety procedures which led to 1m potentially dangerous tumble dryers being in use in the UK.
Explanations demanded over release of cancer data
According to The Daily Telegraph, ministers are seeking explanations from Public Health England over the decision to hand over medical data to a firm working to tobacco giant Philip Morris. The Commons Health Committee is due to question the body today, and its chair Sarah Wollaston said that she wanted to see evidence of ‘due diligence’.
Hard Brexit could cost Scotland £12.7bn a year
Analysis by the Scottish Government has found that Brexit would cost the Scottish economy £12.7bn a year, the BBC reports. Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, said that keeping single market membership would be ‘least damaging’, but the Scottish Conservatives dismissed the analysis as ‘completely over-the-top scaremongering’.
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