A round-up of the latest political headlines, which include doubts over PFI benefits, more funding for Calais, the continuing Carillion fallout and the Brexit Bill’s journey to the Lords.
NAO report casts doubts on PFI benefits
A report by the National Audit Office casts doubt on the benefits of using PFI, The Guardian says. According to the report, the cost of using private finance for public projects can be 40% higher than using Government money, while the deals will force taxpayers to pay out £200bn over the next 25 years.
Macron to demand more funding for Calais when he meets May
Theresa May is to announce £44.5m to improve border security when she meets President Macron today, The Times reports. However, Macron is expected to demand more money to improve the Calais economy, that the UK takes more child migrants and that the UK speeds up asylum claims.
Fallout from Carillion collapse continues
The Guardian reports that trade unions are angry with the Government’s attempts to reassure workers following the collapse of Carillion, with the GMB calling for ‘proper guarantees’. The Financial Times adds that Carillion bosses have been stripped of bonus and severance payments following a public outcry, and that work has been ‘paused’ on building projects.
Brexit Bill leaves Commons and heads to Lords, whilst Labour MPs rebel
As The Daily Telegraph reports, last night the EU (Withdrawal) Bill passed its final stage in the House of Commons, meaning it is now headed for the Lords. Forty-eight Labour MPs rebelled against their frontbench to back an amendment that would have kept the UK in the single market and the customs union. The Guardian adds that Justine Greening used the debate as an opportunity to make her first backbench intervention, claiming that young people could undo Brexit.
Power-sharing talks to restart in Northern Ireland
The new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, has announced that power-sharing talks are to restart in Northern Ireland on 24 January, The Guardian says. Bradley, who meets the Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney in Belfast this morning, said that ‘one last opportunity to reach agreement remains.’
New Lord Chancellor on ‘charm offensive’
The Times has interviewed the new Lord Chancellor, David Gauke, and describes him as being on a ‘charm offensive’. He apparently signalled his concern over ‘the “crisis” in judicial morale and recruitment’, pledged to champion the legal services industry, and defended his decision to seek advice over a potential challenge to the release of John Warboys. Separately, the paper warns of a ‘£30m bonanza for consultants’ as part of the courts modernisation programme.
Facebook to expand Russia investigation
Facebook has agreed to expand its investigation into alleged Russian intervention during the EU referendum, the Financial Times reports. This follows pressure from the Commons Digital, Media and Sport Committee, which said the firm’s previous efforts had been inadequate.
Further remarks by Ben Bradley cause controversy
More comments from blogposts by the new Tory Vice-Chair for Youth, Ben Bradley, have come to light, The Times says. In the remarks, he claims that ‘police brutality should be encouraged’. He has apologised.
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