Today’s Political Headlines include BuzzFeed’s scoop on the state of the UK economy after Brexit, Tory donors calling on May to quit and all PIP claims to be reviewed following a court ruling.
Brexit impact assessments leak, as May rejects the EU’s transition terms
BuzzFeed News has obtained a copy of the Government’s economic analysis of Brexit. It suggests that the UK would be worse off outside the EU in every scenario modelled. The news comes as The Daily Telegraph reports that Theresa May is to reject the EU’s proposed transition period terms over free movement and ‘rule taking’, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox tells The Sun that Eurosceptics will have to ‘live with disappointment’. The Guardian says that a new report by Open Britain and the Labour Campaign for the Single Market argues ‘there is no leftwing case for leaving the single market and the customs union’. The paper also reports that the German ambassador has ascribed British Euroscepticism to a sense of national identity built around the Second World War.
Tory donors call on May to quit
The Times claims that displeasure with Theresa May ‘boiled over’ at a Conservative fundraising event on Thursday. An account of the event that suggests around a quarter of the 50 donors attending called for May to go has been circulating amongst pro-Brexit MPs.
PIP claims to be reviewed following court ruling
The BBC reports that the Department for Work and Pensions will review the claims of every person receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP) – a total of 1.6m claims. This follows the Government’s decision not to challenge a court ruling that PIP changes were unfair to people with mental health conditions.
MoD housing deal cost taxpayers £4bn
A report by the National Audit Office suggests that British taxpayers could have lost as much as £4bn because of a 1996 Ministry of Defence property deal, The Daily Telegraph says. In the deal, the MoD sold around 55,000 houses and then leased them back.
Robert Halfon suggests referendum on NHS spending increases
Conservative MP Robert Halfon has called for a referendum on raising NHS spending, The Guardian reports. He has suggested the Government should legislate for a referendum every ten years on how much to increase NHS spending, and consider a new hypothecated ringfenced tax for health and social care spending.
China ‘baffled’ over May’s delay in visiting
As Theresa May prepares to leave for her first trade mission to China, The Times reports that the Chinese are ‘baffled’ that it has taken her 18 months to visit. The Financial Times suggests May will not endorse China’s Belt and Road initiative in which it invests in Asian and central and eastern European infrastructure during the visit. The Guardian says that Brexit ‘has severely eroded’ the UK’s negotiating position and its value to China.
Gavin Williamson under pressure over defence spending
The Times says that Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson came ‘under renewed pressure’ when three former security chiefs – Lord Ricketts (Former national security adviser), Sir John Sawyers (former MI6 head) and Robert Hannigan (former GCHQ director) – criticised the removal of defence from the national security capability review as a ‘backwards step’, driven by politics.
MPs could lose seats for sexual harassment or bullying
The Financial Times has seen a copy of draft plans, expected to be published later this week, under which MPs found to have engaged in sexual harassment or bullying could be suspended by the parliamentary commissioner for standards and trigger a recall process.
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