Newslinks for Friday 24th July 2020


Johnson ‘nurtures Union’ with extra £1.9bn for Scots

“Boris Johnson has given Scotland an extra £1.9 billion as part of a plan to help Britain “bounce back stronger together” which he hopes will shore up support for the Union. The prime minister suggested that Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, had highlighted differences between London and Edinburgh throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. During a trip to Orkney and northeast Scotland, Mr Johnson said that the main differences between his approach to the virus and Ms Sturgeon’s was presentational. She had claimed that his trip north of the Border, where he promoted a joint £100 million growth deal for the Scottish islands with the Scottish government, was political campaigning.” – The Times

  • He pledges Scotland and England will ‘bounce back stronger together’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Anniversary in power blighted by Scottish woes – FT
  • Sturgeon accuses Johnson of using Covid-19 as ‘political weapon’ – The Guardian
  • MSP says First Minister’s briefings are ‘party broadcasts’ – Daily Mail

More:

  • Bridge to Northern Ireland could be ‘as essential as M25’, says minister  – Daily Telegraph
  • Huge Holyrood row erupts over SNP’s plans for schools – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Only money is holding the union together – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • Linking Scotland and Ireland may weaken the Union – Eilis O’Hanlon, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Remainers cannot re-write history: it is Covid-19, not Brexit, that challenges the Union

>Yesterday:

  • ToryDiary: The Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission pledged in the Conservative Manifesto is being quietly shelved
  • Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Davies touts ‘devolution revolution’ as the Welsh Tories try to shield their unionist flank

Prime Minister to ‘ban junk food ads before 9pm watershed’ in bid to battle Covid-19 obesity risk

“Junk food ads will be banned online and before TV’s 9pm watershed under Boris Johnson’s radical plan to battle obesity, it emerged last night. Shops could also be barred from promoting unhealthy food and drink products in store. The PM is planning to unveil the sweeping new restrictions on the marketing of high-fat and sugary foods as part of his blueprint for making Brits leaner following evidence obese people are more likely to die from coronavirus. He will unveil the Government’s new obesity strategy on Monday. The new curbs are expected to cover a wide range of products, including chocolate, sweets, milkshakes and even yoghurt drinks.” – The Sun

  • Huge rise in coronavirus test centres to prepare country for winter – The Times
  • Everything you need to know about donning face masks – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: As a leading epidemiologist says school closures may have been a “mistake”, did the decision lack adequate debate?

Brexit: UK sets October deadline as Barnier warns agreement ‘unlikely’

“Britain has set a new deadline of October for a trade deal with the EU to be signed after Michel Barnier said an agreement was now “unlikely”. The two sides remain deadlocked on the issues of fishing rights and anti-competition guarantees, but will continue talking through the summer after conceding that Boris Johnson’s July deadline will be missed. David Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, said a deal could still be reached if the EU was prepared to give ground – but Mr Barnier said Britain’s current position was “completely unacceptable” to Brussels. Government figures had previously suggested that Mr Johnson could walk away from the talks if there was no outline agreement by the end of this month. However, Mr Frost said he still believed an agreement could be reached before the end of September, so the talks will continue.” –

  • Trade deal in September is possible, UK and EU officials say – The Times
  • Johnson turns to shadowboxing in tussle over deal – FT
  • Barnier ‘demands fishing power grab’ – Daily Express

Fraser Nelson: Johnson learn the real lesson of his first year in office?

“This top-down model – clear orders, no discussion, flay enemies – is what’s needed to finish the job. Deadlines need to be respected and red lines defended. Giving ground on either can be fatal, as Mrs May found out. The Prime Minister will have hated purging Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond, but if he hadn’t, there would be no 80-strong majority now. The problem is that once you start governing this way – diktats from No 10, punishments for dissenters, nodding dogs in Cabinet – it can be hard to stop… But the command-and-control methods have failed with Covid. Ministers are told to await instructions, but none are forthcoming. No 10’s indecision seems final.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Britain’s hand is stronger than doomsters think – Iain Martin, The Times

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: My end of term school report on the Cabinet. Grades below. Open with care.

Treasury draws up plans for infrastructure bank

“Rishi Sunak is drawing up plans for a new infrastructure bank to provide billions of pounds of new funding for capital projects across the country, as ministers seek to kickstart Britain’s economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic. With the UK unlikely to remain a member of the European Investment Bank after the end of the Brexit transition period later this year, detailed discussions are taking place across Whitehall over how a new state-owned lender could accelerate upgrades to Britain’s creaking infrastructure. While government officials cautioned that no final decision had been made, Mr Sunak is expected to make an announcement on the bank in his autumn statement. “The talks have stepped up and I think the government is very serious about doing this now,” said one person with knowledge of the talks.” – FT

>Yesterday: Grant Shapps MP in Comment: Why I’m in Manchester today to help kick-start better, greener and more modern transport for the North

Tory MPs ‘plot to oust leader before next election’

“Boris Johnson is facing a coup after it emerged some Tory MPs are already considering ousting their leader, with the Prime Minister’s honeymoon period well and truly over ahead of his year anniversary in office. Tory MPs are understood to be looking to get rid of Prime Minister Boris Johnson before the next General Election in 2024 as they grow increasingly frustrated at his approach to the coronavirus crisis, which has left behind a crippled UK economy. Critics have accused Mr Johnson of being “obsessed” with Brexit and therefore not well equipped to deal with coronavirus as he reaches his 12-month milestone on Friday… Mr Johnson’s first year in office has seen Brexit, a baby and a brush with death from coronavirus.” – Daily Express

  • ‘Brutally honest’ insight into rollercoaster first year in power – The Sun

China threatens to stop recognising UK’s Hong Kong passports

“China has threatened to stop recognising the British National Overseas passports held by Hong Kong residents as valid travel documents, after the UK promised a route out of the former colony for millions of residents. Following China’s imposition of a national security law on the territory last month, the UK offered extended visa rights and promised to “provide a pathway to future citizenship” to almost 3m Hong Kong residents eligible for a BNO passport. China has condemned the pledge to extend visa rights, arguing that the two countries had agreed a memorandum stating that the UK would not give Hong Kong BNO passport holders right of residency.” – FT

  • Patel vows to ‘face down UK’s enemies’ with tough laws – Daily Express
  • Downing Street ‘to pull China funding’ in aid shake-up – The Sun
  • European committee chairs jointly condemn China over Hong Kong – The Guardian

Name Russian tycoon behind power company, say top Tories

“The Russian tycoon behind plans for one of Britain’s biggest infrastructure projects must be publicly identified, senior Tories said last night as scrutiny of the party’s finances intensified. Aquind has given the Conservative Party more than £240,000 since 2018 and wants to install a £1.2 billion electric power link under the Channel. But its controlling party cannot be named under an exemption to regulations that were introduced to improve corporate transparency and contain a get-out clause if an individual claims that their life would be at risk if they were identified. Companies House said it had granted an exemption because the “person with significant control” of Aquind was “at risk of serious risk of violence or intimidation”… The decision on the interconnector planning application will be made by Kwasi Kwarteng, a junior business minister.” – The Times

Corbyn accused of ‘unleashing wave of legal claims’ that could bankrupt Labour

“Supporters of Sir Keir Starmer have accused Jeremy Corbyn of unleashing a wave of legal claims against Labour that threaten to leave the party at risk of bankruptcy. After the party on Wednesday agreed to pay out an estimated £370,000 in fees and damages to anti-Semitism whistleblowers, it has now emerged that Labour is  facing at least 40 further civil claims. Many of the claims, which are being handled by two law firms, relate to a leaked internal report on the party’s handling of anti-Semitism, and revolve around allegations of data privacy breaches, misuse of private information and libel. Among those taking action is Lord McNicol, a former Labour general secretary who stepped down during Mr Corbyn’s leadership.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Momentum founder apologises for joining Labour attack on whistleblowers – The Guardian
  • Labour’s ex-general secretary Lord McNicol sues the party – The Sun

More:

  • Starmer critic ‘pushed out of running’ for Unite chief – The Times
  • Blair gushes with praise for ‘transformation’ of Labour – Daily Express

Comment:

  • Time to root out Corbynites once and for all – Philip Collins, The Times

Khan ‘wrongly claims number of TFL workers on over £100k has gone down on his watch’

“Sadiq Khan has been accused of misleading MPs by wrongly claiming the number of TFL staff earning huge paypackets has gone down on his watch. The London Mayor claimed yesterday that there were fewer people at Transport for London raking in more than £100,000 a year than when Boris Johnson was in charge. But figures show they have gone up every year except one, where they dropped. Mr Khan told MPs on the Transport Select Committee yesterday: “Unlike during the previous administration where the number of people earning over £100,000 was going up and bonuses were going up, in the last 4 years they have been going down.” He said that the number of people on high salaries had gone down.” – The Sun

>Yesterday: Andrew Boff in Local Government: The London Assembly needs more power to hold the Mayor to account

News in Brief:

  • Stuart Wheeler, mogul who became a leading Tory donor – Obituary, Daily Telegraph
  • The civil service needs a military makeover – Tom Swarbrick, CapX
  • Who paved the way for the populists? – James Bloodworth, UnHerd
  • The Brexit game of chicken over three red lines – Gavin Rice, Reaction
  • What is a conservative? – Nigel Jones, The Critic



Source link

Leave a Reply