A round-up of the latest political headlines, which include French/UK relations, the Boris Bridge, the continuation of the Carillion chaos, the tuition fee review and funding for underperforming schools.
May and Macron agree new treaty, but Boris’s bridge suggestion dominates headlines
Yesterday saw the summit between Theresa May and the French President Emmanuel Macron, which has sparked a range of stories. The Times says that May has agreed to fast-track asylum claims from Calais migrants, as the two leaders signed the new Sandhurst Treaty, and the Financial Times claims that Macron ruled out a special deal for the City in the Brexit agreement. However, the headlines have been dominated by Boris Johnson’s suggestion of a new bridge between the UK and France, as The Daily Telegraph reports.
Carillion pled for Government support, while Corbyn pledges to take back control
The Financial Times reveals that Carillion begged the Government for a £150m short-term loan as it tried to avert collapse. Senior figures at the company said they believed the Government turned down the request because of pressure from Vince Cable and reaction to the bailout of the East Coast rail franchise. However, Government sources insisted that there was never a ‘significant chance’ of this. Jeremy Corbyn has told The Guardian that Labour would ‘rewrite the rules to give the public back control of their services’.
Tuition fees to be reviewed
According to the Daily Mail, the new universities minister, Sam Gyimah, has said that officials would investigate whether the highest tuition fee of £9,250 ‘works across the system’. This would form part of a wider inquiry into tertiary education, but he refused to give a timetable or the review’s terms of reference.
Damian Hinds announces funding for underperforming schools
The new Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has written in The Times, calling for ‘an ambitious culture in all our schools’, announcing over £45m for the best academies to improve underperforming schools, and pledging to reduce teachers’ workload and to continue supporting established professionals to enter the profession.
Trump to snub May at World Economic Forum
The Daily Telegraph claims that President Trump ‘is poised to snub Theresa May for the second time this month’, as he has no plans to meet her at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. The Prime Minister had apparently been hoping for a ‘clear the air meeting’.
Aircraft carrier and jet programme puts defence projects at risk, report says
A report by the Public Accounts Committee warns that the Ministry of Defence’s aircraft carrier and jet programme is leaving it ‘financially exposed’ and putting other defence projects at risk, the BBC says.
Prison crisis revealed by new reports
The Independent has details of reports that reveal ‘the crisis at the heart of the prison service’. Inspectors described HMP Liverpool’s conditions as the ‘worst they have ever seen’, whilst an ‘urgent notification’ has been issued for the first time following a not-yet-published inspection of HMP Nottingham, which found that it was ‘fundamentally unsafe’.
Repairs to Westminster could be delayed
The Guardian reports concerns that the restoration of the Palace of Westminster could be delayed. MPs are to be given a vote on a motion authorising work to go ahead, but with a review before the end of 2022 on whether comprehensive works were needed. If not agreed, MPs can decide to vote for an independent body to examine the issue. The Government is refusing to allow amendments to the motions.
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