A round-up of the latest political headlines, including the Brexit deal that’s been reached, universities criticised by the National Audit Office and Momentum under investigation for election spending.
Brexit deal reached
Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced this morning that a deal had been reached on ‘sufficient progress’, allowing the opening of trade negotiations subject to the approval of the European Council meeting on 14-15 December. The Times reports that May said that there would be no hard border in Ireland and that the Good Friday agreement would be honoured. The DUP claimed that it had obtained ‘substantial changes’ to the agreement it rejected earlier this week.
Universities criticised by National Audit Office
A new National Audit Office report has criticised universities, The Guardian reports. The NAO’s head has claimed that if universities were banks, they would be investigated for mis-selling. The report says that the Government needs to do more to help ‘vulnerable’ students make better course choices and provide better oversight of value for money.
Momentum under investigation for election spending
The Daily Telegraph says that Momentum, the Jeremy Corbyn supporting group, is to be investigated by the Electoral Commission, after it claimed to have spent just £39,000 on the general election campaign. A spokesperson for the campaign said that the investigation related ‘to a series of administrative errors that can easily be rectified.’
Boris Johnson to visit Iran for talks to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Boris Johnson is to visit Iran this weekend, The Daily Telegraph reports. Talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Zarif are expected to cover Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe (the charity worker imprisoned the country), bilateral relation, wars in Yemen and Syria, and the Iranian nuclear deal.
Prince Charles admits lobbying Alex Salmond
According to an exclusive in The Guardian, Prince Charles has admitted to lobbying Alex Salmond to promote the charity Teach First. The Scottish Government had refused to release the papers in question, until the paper lodged an appeal with the Scottish information commissioner.
NHS emergency winter fund to be spent by end of month
The Times reports that the NHS will spend its £350m emergency winter fund by the end of the month because it has to overpay for drugs, with medicine wholesalers summoned to the Department of Health. Supply problems affecting at least 100 drugs have forced the NHS to approve temporary price rises of up to 4000%. Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called for ‘a serious and open investigation’.
Corbyn to criticise tax avoidance in UN speech
Jeremy Corbyn is to highlight four main threats to humanity in a speech at the UN headquarters in New York today, according to The Guardian. These are concentrated wealth and power (exacerbated by tax avoidance), climate change, the refugee crisis and a ‘bomb first, think later’ approach to resolving conflicts.
Primark one of 260 under-paying employers
The Government has named 260 employers which paid staff less than the minimum wage, the Financial Times says. Among the firms named are the retailers Primark and Sports Direct, and the football club Wolverhampton Wanderers. Minister Margot James said that there was ‘no excuse’.
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