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Westlake Legal Group > Newslinks

Newslinks for Sunday 20th January 2019

May to “offer” bilateral treaty to Ireland to avoid backstop and hard border…

Westlake Legal Group Theresa-May-300x288 Newslinks for Sunday 20th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “… The revelations came as the prime minister’s plan B to salvage her Brexit deal can be disclosed. She wants to offer a bilateral treaty to Ireland that would remove the hated “backstop” from the EU withdrawal treaty and prevent a hard border by other means. Aides think that would “decontaminate” her deal so it could be supported by the DUP and Tory Eurosceptics. Her chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, has told two cabinet ministers that if it falters, the prime minister might have to offer to stand down in the month of May in a bid to drum up more support for her deal. With her future hanging by a thread, a senior civil servant warned last night: “The government could collapse. She has nowhere left to go.” May will tomorrow table a “neutral motion” and give both a written and an oral statement to the Commons about her next moves.” – The Sunday Times

…As she sides with Smith and Lewis, over Barwell…

“May will this week outline plans — including an attempt to turn the Irish backstop, opposed by Brexiteers, into a standalone treaty with Ireland unconnected with Brexit — designed to win over her Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) allies and the hard Brexiteers of the European Research Group under Jacob Rees-Mogg. In so doing she has sided with her party chairman Brandon Lewis and her chief whip Julian Smith against her closest aide, chief of staff Gavin Barwell, who was encouraging May to edge towards permanent membership of a customs union in order to drum up support from Labour MPs. A cabinet minister said: “Gavin would like to be able to find a way to get more opposition support.” Lewis and Smith have warned that this course of action would destroy the Tory party. Insiders say Barwell and May have been at “loggerheads” and Barwell’s deputy JoJo Penn, in turn, is at “daggers drawn” with the chief whip. A senior Tory said: “It’s Julian against Gavin. Julian is telling her, ‘You’re going to split the party if you go with this.’ Gavin is saying, ‘You’re going to need something else. If parliament votes for a customs union, that gives you a way out.’ ” An MP who recently witnessed a stand-off between Barwell and Smith in a Commons corridor, said: “It was not a pleasant conversation. They were like a couple of stags facing each other.”” – The Sunday Times 

>Today: ToryDiary: The independent MPs who could hold May’s fate in their hands

…And EU diplomats claim she made “unchanged” demands to European leaders after losing vote…

Westlake Legal Group EU-FLag-300x200 Newslinks for Sunday 20th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “After Mrs May lost the Meaningful Vote on Tuesday, Tory MP’s who previously voted against her agreement rallied against Jeremy Corbyn and helped her to defeat his motion of No Confidence by 325 to 306 votes. EU ambassadors agreed that Mrs May should go back to the drawing board completely and seek a cross-party agreement in the UK before returning to Brussels for new talks. Three days of cross-party meetings ensued, in which the Mr Corbyn refused to meet with the Prime Minister until “no deal” had been taken “off the table”, with Labour believing a permanent customs union is the best approach to a new deal. But news reports claim Mrs May left EU leaders dumbfounded through a series of phone calls – by demanding the same Brexit deal as the one voted down by her own cabinet on Tuesday. Senior EU sources claim Mrs May’s stance was “greeted with incredulity” after she held a phone call with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday night – and reportedly made no changes to her demands. A source told the Daily Telegraph: “It was the same old story – the same set of demands – all unchanged despite the defeat.”” – Sunday Express

…Meanwhile, alternative plans surface, including Clerk of Bills’ “secret plot” with Grieve to suspend Article 50

“Theresa May’s government is facing meltdown today as The Sunday Times reveals how a senior House of Commons official helped rebel MPs who are plotting to derail Brexit. Leaked emails obtained by this newspaper show that Dominic Grieve, the former attorney-general, has been in secret communications with Colin Lee, the clerk of bills, with the explicit intention of suspending Britain’s departure from the European Union. Lee drew up three versions of the plan for Grieve — each of which would overturn centuries of parliamentary precedent — and then swore him to secrecy. MPs will tomorrow unveil their plan to hijack the agenda of the Commons to suspend article 50, the mechanism by which the UK is leaving the EU.” – The Sunday Times

Fox: “It is time to deliver”

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-05-01-at-16.33.17-300x276 Newslinks for Sunday 20th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Sometimes you are so involved with the detail of something you can’t see what is important. When a Question Time audience seemed to cheer the prospect of ‘no deal’, they were reminding Westminster of something too many are missing. When MPs voted to hold the referendum, they made a contract with voters. They said “you make the decision and we will abide by it”. They confirmed it at the election when 80% of those elected promised to honour the result with Conservatives committed to leaving the customs union and the single market. It is time to deliver. The government believes that the best Brexit is delivered by negotiating a deal with the European Union so that we honour the outcome of the referendum while ensuring the least disruption to both sides as we do so.” – Sunday Telegraph


Corbyn “is poised” to back proposal for extension in case of no deal…

“Jeremy Corbyn is poised to back a plan to block a no-deal Brexit as pressure builds within Labour and the trade unions for a delay to Britain’s EU departure. It is understood that the leader and his shadow cabinet team are preparing to support a proposal that would force Theresa May to request an extension to Britain’s EU membership should no Brexit deal be agreed by early March. The plan would need the endorsement of the Labour frontbench to have a chance of being passed when the next round of critical votes takes place next week. While no final decision has been taken, senior figures said the move was in line with Corbyn’s demand that May take a no-deal Brexit “off the table”. The deliberations come with the Brexit options narrowing for Labour’s leadership amid an internal battle over whether it should back a second referendum. Having tried and failed to secure an election, figures in the party say the choice is now between a Norway-style soft Brexit, which would effectively have to include free-movement rules, and another public vote.” – Observer


  • Here’s what they should do – Dave Prentis, Observer


>Today: Steven Edginton in Comment: The BBC’s Question Time last week. Abbott was the victim of her own rudeness – not of racism. As I saw at first-hand.

…And Scottish sector leaders echo Major in calling for Brexit “pause”

Westlake Legal Group Screen-shot-2015-06-19-at-19.34.16-100x100 Newslinks for Sunday 20th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Leaders in the business, trades union, charity and higher education sectors are behind calls to pause what promises to be the biggest economic change in the UK in over 70 years. Their call, which is echoed by the SNP, Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Greens, comes as the Prime Minister plans to unveil her Brexit “plan B” to MPs tomorrow. Under the terms of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, two years after Theresa May invoked the so-called Article 50 which sets a time limit on negotiations. However, with Parliament rejecting the withdrawal plan presented by Theresa May, the prospect of the UK coming out of the 28-member bloc without a deal grows by the day.” – Herald

More Parliament 

Sinn Fein MP criticises suspected car bomb explosion outside Londonderry court

“The PSNI in Londonderry have warned people to stay away from the city’s courthouse after an apparent car bomb explosion. The PSNI sent out the warning via social media, telling people to stay away from Bishop Street Within while they investigate the suspected explosion. They also posted a photograph of what appears to be a vehicle on fire. A PSNI statement said: “We would ask for patience and co-operation of the public and the business community as we carry out our initial investigations.” Sinn Fein MLA, Elisha McCallion condemned the incident. The Foyle MP said: “This incident has shocked the local community. In particular, there are many elderly residents who live in the area who have been alarmed by this incident.” – News Letter 

Beatings and killings in Zimbabwe as regime tries to block news

Westlake Legal Group Zimbabwe-100x100 Newslinks for Sunday 20th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Hundreds of people, including children as young as 10, have been killed or beaten in Zimbabwe in recent days in a crackdown the regime has tried to hide by shutting down the internet and deporting foreign journalists. The violence comes as the country’s president heads to the economic summit in Davos by private jet tomorrow to brush shoulders with the rich and powerful in his quest for international recognition and investment in his bankrupt nation. Last week civil society groups, led by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, wrote to the EU accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa of using “murder of unarmed civilians as a tool to retain power”.” – The Sunday Times

News in Brief

  • Don’t expect a customs union – James Forsyth, Spectator
  • Can “community wealth building” help Hartlepool? – Anoosh Chakelian, New Statesman
  • On the shutdown – Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker
  • Is cosmopsychism just a mental idea? – Philip Goff, Aeon

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019

Brexit 1) Fox “hopes” free trade deals with 40 countries will be finalised in time for a “no deal” Brexit

Westlake Legal Group Liam-Fox-22-10-17-300x300 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “The UK has yet to finalise agreements to replace existing free trade deals the EU has with 40 big economies if there is a no-deal Brexit. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said he “hoped” they would but it depended on whether other countries were “willing to put the work in”. He said more deals were coming, after signing one with Australia. Concerns have been raised that the UK will leave the EU without a deal that would protect current arrangements. The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, under the Article 50 process and the UK’s EU Withdrawal Act, with or without a deal – unless the UK chooses to revoke Article 50 and continues as a member of the EU.” – BBC

  • Question Time audience in Derby cheers Oakeshott for declaring we should “walk away” – Daily Mail
  • Abbott accuses BBC Question Time of legitimising racism – The Guardian


Brexit 2) Claims that Ministers have asked their constituency associations to prepare for a snap General Election

“Three Cabinet ministers have warned their local activists to prepare for an election, it was claimed today despite Theresa May ruling out a snap poll. A further six junior ministers have alerted their constituency associations to the risk of a new general election as Westminster is deadlocked by Brexit. Mrs May has insisted she will not call an election for fear of causing even more chaos if the result is indecisive. But after her continued denials turned into a snap election in 2017, few in Westminster feel anything is certain. Britain’s top civil servant told Government departmental heads to be ready in case an election is needed to break the Brexit impasse.” – Daily Mail

  • February 28th named as a possible date – The Sun
  • It’s no more crazy than other scenarios, suggests Shapps – Financial Times

Brexit 3) Facebook accused of pushing out “fake news” funded by Remainers

Westlake Legal Group telegraphfacebook-183x300 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Facebook has been accused of “pumping out fake news” after running political adverts claiming endangered animals were being threatened – by Brexit. The social media giant has been paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by Britain’s two most prominent Remain campaign groups to stir up support for a second referendum. Latest figures released by the Facebook show the two organisations – People’s Vote UK and Best for Britain – spent £373,587 on Facebook ads in the run up to the parliamentary vote on Theresa May’s defeated Brexit deal. By contrast, Leave-supporting groups spent a little over £93,000, according to an analysis by the Telegraph of political income disclosed by Facebook.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK patients stockpile drugs – The Guardian
  • Millennials targeted with warnings that orangutans and turtles will die – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 4) EU’s “disbelief” at unchanged UK demands

“Theresa May has left European diplomats in a state of “disbelief” following a series of phone calls to EU leaders in which she made no change to her demands despite her Brexit plan being voted down by a 230-vote margin this week. Senior EU diplomatic sources said that Mrs May’s unchanged stance was “greeted with incredulity” following a call with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday night. “It was the same old story – the same set of demands – all unchanged despite the defeat,” said the source with knowledge of the calls. Mrs May is understood to have repeated the same performance in conversations with the French president Emmanuel Macron, the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, provoking what one source called “diplomatic eye-rolling” in Brussels.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 5) Boles claims Ministers will quit if they are prevented from backing his Bill to block “no deal” planning

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-12-02-at-10.00.16-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “A Tory MP who has put forward a plan to block a no-deal Brexit says ministers have told him they will quit, if they are ordered to vote against it. His cross-party bill would force Theresa May to request an extension of Article 50 if she can’t get a deal approved by MPs by the end of February. Mr Boles told the BBC his bill had a “broad base” of support from different sides of the Brexit debate. And he said he believed a number of ministers backed his plan.” – BBC

Brexit 6) Delay may be necessary says Ellwood

“A defence minister has become the first member of Theresa May’s government to break ranks and publicly urge her to delay Brexit if no deal can be reached. As Whitehall stepped up preparations for a possible snap election, Tobias Ellwood argued that extending Article 50 would be preferable to Britain leaving the European Union on March 29 without a deal. Leaving with no agreement would “be an act of self harm with profound economic, security and reputational, consequences for the UK at the very time threats are increasing and diversifying,” he told The Times.” – The Times

Brexit 7) Go back a get a better a deal, urges Johnson

Westlake Legal Group Boris-Johnson-18-01-19-300x300 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Boris Johnson has urged Theresa May to return to Brussels to demand a new deal without the controversial backstop  – and “mean it this time”. The former Foreign Secretary urged her to use the mandate provided by MPs’ resounding rejection of her plan and a threat to withhold half the £39bn from the divorce settlement to secure a new deal without the backstop  designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland. He said the Prime Minister needed to turn her focus on Brussels rather than having politicians “battling each other” or trying to heave MPs back into place behind a “pseudo-Brexit.” Speaking at the headquarters of Tory donor Lord Bamford’s JCB plant in Stoke, he dismissed calls to rule out a no-deal Brexit, saying it was “overwhelmingly likely” Brussels would offer an improved agreement.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Mordaunt agrees – The Guardian
  • His weight loss was evident – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Comments about Turkish immigration quoted back at him – The Times
  • Carrie Symonds calls him “my Bozzie Bear” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: Johnson – “It would be shameful, at this late stage, to change that totemic date: March 29th”

Brexit 8) Compromise or risk a split, Watson tells Corbyn

“Tom Watson will rally Labour moderates for a battle to determine the party’s Brexit policy with a warning that it must widen its appeal to avoid a split. The deputy leader will make a speech today challenging Jeremy Corbyn, who is under intense pressure from the party’s backbench MPs and ordinary members to back a second referendum. In his address to the Fabian Society conference in London, Mr Watson says that Labour must “engage intelligently” with Theresa May but stops short of criticising Mr Corbyn’s boycott of cross-party talks.” – The Times

  • Corbyn missed an open goal – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Labour backing Brexit “would lose votes” – The Guardian
  • Interview with Tony Blair – The Times

>Today: Nick Hargrave on Comment: In an age of post-truth politics, moderate politicians must prepare to work across party lines

Brexit 9) Farage would start a new Party if Euro Elections are held

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2019-01-18-at-21.42.47-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Nigel Farage says he is ready to fight the European elections in May if Brexit is delayed. The former UKIP leader, who quit his party in December, said he was seeking “the right political vehicle”. As things stand, the European Parliament is axing most of the UK’s seats, with a small number to be re-allocated to other countries…Mr Farage said he believed the UK should “just leave” the EU without a deal, on World Trade Organization terms, but he did not see “the will” to do so from the prime minister and the government.” – BBC

>Yesterday:WATCH: Farage says he will stand for a new party at the European elections if Brexit is delayed

Brexit 10) Forsyth: Giving way on the Customs Union would not be a solution

“Immediately after the Government’s crushing defeat on Tuesday night, a slew of Cabinet ministers thought it inevitable that Mrs May would have to make some kind of concession on the customs union to get a deal through Parliament. But this option has run into two obstacles. First, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell aren’t playing ball. Without their blessing, there is no way you could get 116 Labour MPs to vote with a Tory PM. As one of those doing the maths on this tells me: “She can’t do a deal without them.” Secondly, it has become clear that agreeing to a customs union would not only split the Tory party and lead to at least one Cabinet resignation, it would also — according to one senior Cabinet minister — lose the support of 40 MPs who voted for the deal on Tuesday night. Mrs May is not keen on the idea either. She thinks having an independent trade policy is one of the main economic benefits of Brexit.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

  • Foster rejects claims that the DUP would agree to “softer” Brexit – Belfast Telegraph

Brexit 11) Leadsom: Ministers back Remain “think they know better than voters”

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2016-06-30-at-18.43.41-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Ministers trying to block a no deal Brexit wrongly “think they know better” than voters, Andrea Leadsom has said as the issue prompted a public split among the Cabinet. Ms Leadsom, the Leader of the Commons, told The Telegraph that colleagues who want to stop no deal will “fail our country” and weaken the UK’s negotiating hand. It comes after Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, said in a leaked conference call that the “threat” of a no deal Brexit could be taken “off the table” within days. Other ministers including Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, and David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, and Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, have also argued publicly that a no-deal Brexit must be stopped.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 12) Moore: Parliament versus the people?

“It is grand to assert the rights of Parliament. Indeed, it was one of the main reasons for voting Leave. But against whom are those rights being asserted now? The Hammonds, Bercows and Boleses are trying to assert them against the people. Mrs May does not always find the right words, but at the beginning of this tumultuous week, she had a good answer when old Ed Miliband got up and asked her if she were “the servant of the House”. She replied she was “the servant of the people”. It is astonishing that Remainers are trying to split off the one from the other.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Other comment

  • “Remainiac politicians are traumatised by ordinary people supporting Brexit” – Leader, The Sun
  • The Conservative Party can only survive if it finally splits – Matthew Parris, The Times
  • Brexit isn’t about the imperial past. It’s about our democratic future – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Councils plan new £1,000 a year parking charges

Westlake Legal Group timespark-236x300 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Motorists will have to pay up to £1,000 a year to drive to work under plans to cut congestion in Britain’s most gridlocked cities. A workplace parking levy is being considered by at least ten councils in England and Scotland to reduce traffic and pollution and to raise money for public transport. The charge would be imposed on businesses with more than ten parking spaces and is designed to encourage employees to leave their cars at home. Last night the AA described it as a “poll tax on wheels” and said that costs would be passed on to workers. In Nottingham, the only city to introduce the levy so far, about four in ten companies pass costs on to staff. Hundreds of teachers pay to park cars in the city but NHS buildings are exempt. It has raised £53.7 million since it was introduced in 2012, with most of the money spent on improving the tram network.” – The Times

  •  It’s good economics and will help to tackle toxic air – Leader, The Times

Salmond accuses Sturgeon of “rewriting history”

“Hostilities between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have taken a fresh twist after the former first minister accused his successor of “rewriting history” by removing his name from the SNP’s website. But Mr Salmond was accused of throwing a “temper tantrum” by political opponents as the fallout of the Scottish Government’s botched sexual harassment inquiry into him continues. But Mr Salmond was accused of throwing a “temper tantrum” by political opponents as the fallout of the Scottish Government’s botched sexual harassment inquiry into him continues.” – The Scotsman

Second Trump/Kim summit “within weeks”…

“US President Donald Trump is to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a second summit by the end of February, the White House says. The announcement came after Mr Trump met top North Korean negotiator Kim Yong-chol at the White House. He had been expected to deliver a letter from Kim Jong-un to Mr Trump. Little progress has been made on denuclearisation since their historic summit in Singapore last June. No venue has been announced for the new summit.” – BBC

…as younger Republicans “look to a new candidate””

Westlake Legal Group Donald-Trump-12-07-18-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 19th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Donald Trump’s path to re-election looks increasingly rocky after a poll showed that younger Republican voters would prefer a fresh candidate for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. The prospect of a primary selection contest initiated by lesser-known personalities could tempt big names to join the fray, with the wish list of anti-Trump conservatives topped by Jim Mattis, the recently departed defence secretary, and Nikki Haley, who unexpectedly stood down as US ambassador to the United Nations in October. The desire for Mr Trump to prove himself under the primary system was greatest among those aged 18 to 37, with 52 per cent of Republican voters in the “millennial” age group backing a challenge, a Marist poll for the NPR/PBS public broadcasters showed. Generation X, those aged 38 to 53, also favoured a challenge, by 49 to 43 per cent, while older voters were against.” – The Times

News in brief

  • Theresa May asks her MPs to ‘think about history’. She should do so too – Tim Bale, Evening Standard
  • Claire Lehmann: Warrior princess of the Intellectual Dark Web – Toby Young, CapX
  • Brexit will allow us to rebuild relationships in Africa and the Caribbean on an equal footing – Chloe Schendel-Wilson, Brexit Central
  • What’s the real reason Greg Clark doesn’t like Brexit? – Rupert Darwall, The Spectator
  • Human Rights Act could be scrapped – Independent

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Newslinks for Friday 18th January 2019

Brexit 1) Opposition MPs unhappy after talks ‘descend into acrimony’…

Westlake Legal Group dead-rose Newslinks for Friday 18th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Theresa May’s talks with opposition parties about a Brexit plan B descended into acrimony on Thursday after she told MPs she could not make substantial changes to her existing plan despite it being overwhelmingly rejected by the Commons. Smaller opposition parties who attended talks with Mrs May were left bewildered after Downing Street made clear it would resist demands to shift towards a softer form of Brexit following MPs’ emphatic vote against her withdrawal agreement on Tuesday. Following a separate defeat at the hands of MPs this month, Mrs May is obliged to outline a Brexit plan B on Monday, but a Commons vote on it will not take place until January 29 — two months before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Mrs May’s spokesman indicated that the prime minister would not accept the smaller opposition parties’ demands for an extension to the Article 50 process under which the UK is supposed to leave on March 29, or a second referendum. He added that Mrs May also rejected Labour’s proposal for a long-term relationship between the UK and EU involving a permanent customs union, and would also not drop her threat of a no-deal Brexit if there were no acceptable agreement with the bloc.” – FT

  • Labour MPs ‘defy Corbyn’ to attend meetings with the Government – The Times
  • May slams Labour leader’s boycott… – The Sun
  • …and tells him it is ‘impossible’ to rule out no deal – The Guardian
  • Corbyn faces split – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour leader’s ratings crash amongst Remainers – The Sun
  • Corbyn could face ‘string of resignations’ if he backs second referendum – The Guardian


  • Business groups call for consensus on alternative – FT
  • May has no choice but to delay Brexit, says Blair – The Sun


  • Until Brexit isn’t seen as right-wing there will never be a cross-party plan – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph
  • Sorry May, there’s no talking to Corbyn unless you’re IRA, Hamas… – Daniel Hannan, The Sun
  • When prime ministers meet their shadows: an awkward relationship – Nigel Fletcher, Times Red Box


Brexit 2) …but Brexiteer MPs happier

“Brexiteers today boasted of securing pledges from Theresa May that could see a Brexit deal passed by Parliament. Eurosceptic MPs who met her left Downing Street in upbeat mood, saying she had vowed not to bow to pressure from Cabinet Remainers to accept Labour’s idea of a permanent customs union. Nigel Evans, one of 118 Tory MPs who voted against Mrs May on Tuesday, said: ‘The Prime Minister is listening. She wants to get Brexit over the line and she is listening to our concerns.’ A former Cabinet minister added: ‘It was good and positive – we are getting onto the same page. I am more optimistic now – I think she will get a deal through. ‘She made it very clear to us that she is not going to have a customs union deal, whatever some people in Cabinet might want.’ It came as Mrs May held a full day of meetings with MPs from across the Brexit divide in a bid to revive her deal with the EU which was resoundingly rejected in the Commons on Tuesday. Former Brexit Secretary David Davis and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith were among the members of the European Research Group invited for talks. The hardline Brexit group played a key role in the Commons defeat. Former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers was also present, as was former culture secretary John Whittingdale, who tweeted afterwards that their group’s meeting with the Prime Minister had been ‘constructive’.” – Daily Mail

  • Pro-Leave MPs optimistic that May will stand firm – The Guardian
  • DUP edges towards customs union – The Times
  • Remaining would spark extremism, warns Halfon – Daily Telegraph


  • Brexiteer MPs must not cave in – The Sun

Brexit 3) Whitehall put on alert for another election

Westlake Legal Group PARLIAMENT-300x225 Newslinks for Friday 18th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Britain was on general election alert last night after Whitehall chiefs were ordered to draw up contingency plans for a snap poll. Amid the fragile situation in Westminster, Britain’s top civil servant told Government departmental heads to be ready in case an election is needed to break the Brexit deadlock. Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill met senior mandarins this week to discuss preparations in case Theresa May decides to go to the country. Today, it also emerged that official guidance has now been drawn up on the possible timeline for a second Brexit referendum. A document, apparently presented at cross-party Brexit talks, suggested that another referendum would take 15 months to arrange and hold. Downing Street has repeatedly insisted the next general election will not take place until 2022, as mandated by the Fixed Terms Parliament Act. Only this week, the Prime Minister told MPs that holding a ballot now would be ‘the worst thing we could do’, with some Tories fearing that the party would lose seats to Labour, handing the keys to Number 10 to Jeremy Corbyn. But Cabinet ministers have held conversations about how an election may now be the only way to move forward, with one warning a poll is ‘on the way’. Despite the failure of its attempt to oust the Government this week, Labour has also not ruled out the possibility of repeatedly tabling no-confidence motions in a bid to topple Mrs May.” – Daily Mail

  • Hague warns that Britain may go to the polls within weeks – The Sun

Brexit 4) Iain Martin: Leavers must set aside the purity tests to get departure done

“Search through the records, or raise the question on social media as I did yesterday, and you will find precious few heavyweight Tories who argued for leaving before 2016. Yet many of them now condemn Mrs May’s deal as impure and insufficiently Brexity. I sympathise with them and don’t much like her version of Brexit either. I am keen to get out of the EU and think no-deal would be disruptive but perfectly manageable. I dislike the threat to sovereignty and the Union inherent in the Northern Ireland backstop. But my message to fellow Brexiteers is that time’s up. Give the purism a rest in the interests of getting the mess sorted out. Anyone who has followed events in parliament this week with the semblance of an open mind can see that the fundamentals have changed and the pure-Brexiteers are badly outnumbered. John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has created conditions in which Remainer MPs are going to have a good go at banning no-deal Brexit by legislative chicanery or by forcing ministers to seek a delay in Article 50. If that fails, there is a large enough group of anti-Brexit Tory MPs (as many as 30 I am told) prepared to go for the nuclear option of bringing down the government to stop Brexit, leading in all probability to a general election. The risk is very high of a split, incompetent Tory party inflicting a catastrophe on Britain by letting in a Corbyn government.” – The Times

  • Cosying up to big business is only going to fuel Corbynism – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • May must form a single-issue coalition to sort Brexit – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • A new referendum could be the life raft both sides are searching for – Sam Gyimah, Times Red Box
  • Letting MPs vote on every option is a way out of this mess – Philip Collins, The Times
  • May seeks a talking cure to her Brexit woes – Henry Mance, FT
  • Multinationals may seek to preserve the status quo, but small businesses want change – John Longworth, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 5) Cabinet ministers warn May of resignations if she won’t allow MPs to block ‘no deal’

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2017-09-25-at-06.12.15-300x300 Newslinks for Friday 18th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   Cabinet ministers have warned that Theresa May will face mass resignations if MPs are barred from trying to stop a no-deal Brexit. The Prime Minister said on Thursday that it is “impossible” to rule out a no-deal Brexit under the terms of Article 50 and warned that it “not in the Government’s power” to do so. However as many as 20 mid-ranking ministers have indicated that they are prepared to quit the Government so they can support backbench moves to stop a no-deal Brexit. The Telegraph has learned that a delegation of five ministers from the group visited the Prime Minister in No 10 and warned her directly that they were prepared to quit… The row erupted after The Telegraph obtained a leaked recording of a conference call between Philip Hammond and business leaders in which he set out how a backbench Bill could take no deal “off the table”. He claimed that the Bill, which will be tabled on Monday and would force the Government to extend Article 50, is likely to win support and act as the “ultimate backstop” against a no-deal Brexit. The Chancellor faced a furious Cabinet backlash on Thursday, with one minister describing him as a “rogue element” and accusing him of attempting to “bounce” the Cabinet into abandoning the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Senior MPs intensify efforts to block no-deal departure – FT
  • Cabinet ministers to back second referendum – The Sun
  • Cooper tables laws to let MPs seize control – Daily Mail
  • Brexiteers call for Hammond and Clark to go – The Times
  • Chancellor branded ‘traitor’ – The Sun


  • Army Reserves on standby for no deal – FT
  • Brexit department uses gagging orders as firms plan – The Guardian


  • Cabinet’s most prominent Remainer is often gloomy, but seldom incorrect – Daniel Capurro, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 6) Civil Service warns that progress on trade deals has stalled

“Britain has failed to finalise most trade deals needed to replace the EU’s 40 existing agreements with leading global economies and will not be close to doing so when Brexit occurs on March 29, according to an internal Whitehall memorandum. The memo, compiled by civil servants as part of contingency planning for the UK crashing out of the EU without a formal Brussels divorce agreement, warned that most of the deals would lapse without a transition period that keeps Britain under the EU umbrella once Brexit occurs. “Almost none of them are ready to go now and none will be ready to go by March,” said one government official who has seen the internal analysis of the Department of International Trade’s progress. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, had vowed to “replicate” the EU’s existing trade deals — which are among the world’s biggest, including bilateral agreements with G7 members Canada and Japan — before Britain left the bloc, and other pro-Brexit campaigners argued they could be easily copied. “We’re going to replicate the 40 EU free trade agreements that exist before we leave the European Union so we’ve got no disruption of trade,” said Mr Fox shortly after the Article 50 exit process was triggered in 2017. “Believe me, we’ll have up to 40 ready for one second after midnight in March 2019.”” – FT

  • Downing Street admits plans for re-run have been ‘looked at’ – The Sun
  • Official guidance says second referendum will take a year to organise – Daily Telegraph
  • Poll shows 12-point lead for Remain… – The Times
  • …but Sun readers would vote Leave again – The Sun


  • German businesses warn of economic decline without deal – The Sun
  • EU chiefs hold back cash owed to Britain – Daily Express

Johnson in bid to ‘revive leadership ambitions’ with pitch to workers

Westlake Legal Group Boris_7801-e1409741849142 Newslinks for Friday 18th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Boris Johnson will try to revive his leadership ambitions today with a pitch designed to enhance the Conservative appeal among blue-collar workers. In a speech in Rocester, Staffordshire, the former foreign secretary will call on the government to “use Brexit to unite the country” by focusing on the “issues that drove Brexit” with a “national programme of cohesion”. Mr Johnson will try to reclaim his liberal credentials by stressing that he is a “passionate believer in the benefits of migration” while complaining that wages have been too low because “big corporations” have benefited from “unlimited pools of labour” from abroad. He will also call for no new taxes or increases in income tax and more spending powers for devolved regions. Speaking at the headquarters of JCB, the construction equipment company, less than 20 miles from the potteries factory where Theresa May touted the benefits of her Brexit deal on Monday, he will urge the prime minister to focus on the “issues that drove Brexit” and “use this moment to become more productive and more dynamic”… The productivity gap Mr Johnson wants to address is not “the gap between the UK, France, Germany and Italy, though we are behind our main competitors” but the “worrying” gap “between London, the most productive part of the whole European economy, and other regions in the UK”.” – The Times

  • Brexit can unite Britain with “low-tax, low-immigration” economy, claims former mayor – Daily Telegraph
  • Johnson wants ban on new taxes and huge public investment boost – The Sun
  • A not-so-subtle leadership pitch – Daily Express

May to ‘tear up precedent’ and block Bercow’s peerage

“John Bercow is set to become the first Speaker in 230 years to have his peerage blocked after ministers moved to punish him for “bias” during Brexit debates, The Times has learnt. Commons Speakers are usually automatically offered a seat in the House of Lords after approval by No 10 but relations between Mr Bercow and the government have broken down. The Speaker tore up years of precedent on Wednesday last week to change Commons rules and allow MPs to control business of the House. “Precedents of Speakers getting peerages don’t last for ever either,” one senior Tory said last night. Mr Bercow, a former Conservative, has been accused of favouring Labour MPs and those who want to block Brexit, but insists that he is a “champion of the back benches”. A cabinet source said: “It’s a good job that peerage nominations are in our gift — I’m sure we’ll be thinking carefully about which individuals we would choose to elevate to the House of Lords. I can’t imagine we would look favourably on those who’ve cheated centuries of procedure.” When elected Speaker in 2009 Mr Bercow promised to serve no more than nine years. Last year he changed his mind, telling friends he planned to see through Brexit. He is now widely expected to stand down this summer if Britain formally leaves on March 29.” – The Times

  • EU media name Speaker ‘European of the Week’ – The Sun
  • Buckingham association seeks new candidate for Bercow’s seat – The Sun

Javid embroiled in row over armed police protections

Westlake Legal Group Police-shield-300x300 Newslinks for Friday 18th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Home Secretary Sajid Javid is embroiled in a new row with frontline police officers over a “shambolic” review they claim has failed to protect armed officers from lengthy and damaging  investigations if they shoot suspects. The police federation, which represents frontline officers, said the conclusions of a three-year firearms review, revealed in a short Home Office statement, did nothing to allay armed officers’ fears of being treated as suspects “just for doing their job.” The review was set up in 2015 after Lord Hogan-Howe, then Metropolitan Police Commissioner, warned the lack of protection for firearms officers would prevent forces recruiting the number they needed to fight terrorists on Britain’s streets. The federation said police were still short of 600 of the extra 1,500 armed officers subsequently promised by David Cameron, then Prime Minister, and Theresa May, then Home Secretary. The review concluded “the right legal and procedural protections” are in place for police officers following shootings and that in the great majority of incidents officers were dealt with as witnesses rather than suspects. It confirmed rules that key police witnesses should be separated after an incident to prevent them sharing information but that senior officers had operational discretion to use alternatives such as recording proceedings on body worn video.” – Daily Telegraph

  • How thousands of foreign students were failed by the Home Office – FT

Nuclear power strategy in ‘disarray’ as construction suspended

“Plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations are in disarray after a second company in two months announced that would stop work on the projects. Hitachi said yesterday that it was suspending its nuclear development programme in Britain, placing on hold plants at Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in south Gloucestershire. The Japanese company is writing off £2 billion spent on preparatory work and is withdrawing despite having been offered several sweeteners by the government. Greg Clark, the business secretary, revealed that the government had offered to take a one-third equity stake in the £15 billion Wylfa plant, finance the borrowing needed to build it and give a guaranteed price of £75 per megawatt hour for its electricity, well above the rate needed by offshore wind farms. Hitachi had been seeking a better subsidy but Mr Clark said the costs of renewable energy had fallen so sharply that he could not justify more support. The government is developing a new method of financing new nuclear power stations and promised to publish proposals in the summer. Hitachi’s decision puts 370 jobs in Britain at risk. The GMB union said it left the country with “a looming energy crisis”. Toshiba, another Japanese company, scrapped the Moorside nuclear project in Cumbria in November.” – The Times

  • Jobs blow hits Anglesey hard – FT


  • The UK needs a more realistic energy strategy – FT

Rees-Mogg to present new LBC radio show

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-01-12-at-18.54.31-300x300 Newslinks for Friday 18th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   As a purveyor of the Queen’s English and with a fondness for classical music, it was only a matter of time before Jacob Rees-Mogg was going to be invited to the DJ decks. But it is LBC rather than classic FM that has given the so-called ‘honorable member for the 18th century’ his first shot at radio stardom with a new Friday night phone-in show. The Brexiteer backbencher will take to the airwaves at 6pm every Friday, starting on January 18, for his first hour-long outing on Britain’s biggest commercial speech radio station. It comes after former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has commanded audiences with the same 60-minute slot from Monday to Thursday,covering mainly Brexit politics. It also follows the success of the North East Somerset MP’s live half-hour phone-in every fortnight during Nick Ferrari’s breakfast show, launched last April giving LBC’s listeners direct access to the MP. Mr Rees-Mogg has previously hosted a number of one-off programmes on the station. In a press release, LBC said the 48-year-old father of six would “bring his formidable insight and personality to LBC’s growing audience during this pivotal period in British history”. “With his in-depth knowledge, he will cut to the heart of the biggest stories of the day in a 60-minute programme packed with callers, opinion and debate,” the release added.” – Daily Telegraph

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Newslinks for Thursday 17th January 2019

Softer Brexit 1) Will May pursue it with other parties – and risk splitting her own?

Westlake Legal Group ConHome-May-on-fence-300x300 Newslinks for Thursday 17th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Cabinet divisions over whether Theresa May should soften her Brexit deal to attract Labour support burst into the open yesterday. David Gauke, the justice secretary, broke ranks to urge the prime minister not to be “boxed in” by her red lines. Brexiteer cabinet ministers, however, want Mrs May to offer Tory rebels a way back next week with a vote to limit the length of the backstop and promise to secure a Canada-style trade deal… After the confidence vote Mr Gauke was joined by Amber Rudd, work and pensions secretary, who said that “nothing is off the table”. Pressed on whether the government could back a permanent customs union, Ms Rudd said: “Everything has to be on the table because the priority is to find a negotiated settlement so we can leave the European Union.” Asked if that would split the Tory party, she said: “I certainly hope not. I don’t think it would.”… Other cabinet ministers believe that Mrs May should harden her stance with Brussels and present a non-binding plan B motion on Monday that would enable her to prove to Brussels that there is a workable majority for a deal if they give ground. The ministers, understood to include Andrea Leadsom, Liam Fox and Liz Truss, acknowledge that Mrs May has to offer cross-party talks but believe a Brexit deal is only possible with Tory and DUP votes.” – The Times

  • Leavers fear the Government will pursue a softer deal – The Sun
  • May refuses to rule out staying in the customs union… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but then she does – The Guardian
  • Remainer Lords will hijack Trade Bill – The Sun


  • Prime Minister faces fresh calls to sack Chief Whip – The Sun
  • Tory rebels split six ways – The Times
  • EU indicates it could accept a delay – FT
  • Duncan Smith predicts movement from Brussels – Daily Express
  • Gove has signed ‘obituary’ with attack on Brexiteers – Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron admits he regrets ‘chaos’ – The Sun
  • DUP would be ‘open’ to time-limited backstop – News Letter


  • May’s deal is dead, and so is no deal – Nick Timothy, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Decision time for Javid and Hunt?

Softer Brexit 2) Hammond tells business leaders that No Deal is off the table

Philip Hammond told business leaders that the “threat” of a no-deal Brexit could be taken “off the table” within days and potentially lead to Article 50 “rescinded”, a leaked recording of a conference call reveals. The Chancellor set out how a backbench Bill could effectively be used to stop any prospect of no deal. He suggested that ministers may even back the plan when asked for an “assurance” by the head of Tesco that the Government would not oppose the motion. He claimed next week’s Bill, which could force the Government to extend Article 50, was likely to win support and act as the “ultimate backstop” against a no-deal Brexit, as a “large majority in the Commons is opposed to no deal under any circumstances”. A recording of the call, passed to The Daily Telegraph, recounts how the Chancellor, Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, and Stephen Barclay, the Brexit Secretary, spent nearly an hour talking to the leaders of 330 leading firms. They included the heads of Siemens, Amazon, Scottish Power, Tesco and BP, all of whom warned against no deal. The disclosure reveals the close nature of the relationship between the Treasury and some of Britain’s biggest businesses, and how they appear to be working in tandem to block a hard Brexit. It will also add to suspicions that Mr Hammond has been orchestrating attempts to soften Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Dozens of business leaders call for a second referendum – The Times
  • Full transcript of the Chancellor’s phone call – Daily Telegraph
  • Business fears ‘catastrophic’ no deal – The Times
  • Dover bosses insist the lorries will keep rolling – The Sun


  • Irish watchdog urges UK auditors to prepare for no-deal departure – FT
  • SNP guilty of ‘crooked politics’ over second vote – Daily Telegraph
  • Ireland accused of ‘hiding truth’ about border checks – The Times
  • Irish border admissions caught on tape – News Letter


  • Forget the Remainers’ forecasts, we don’t need a deal to trade – Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph
  • What business leaders said, perhaps – Matthew Vincent, FT
  • Breathtaking ignorance of rent-a-quote MPs – Jenni Russell, The Times


  • Call which shows Parliament could commit a great betrayal – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: The defeat of May’s deal was a consequence of half a decade of negotiation failure

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Ici Londres – If the EU won’t delete the backstop, then ready yourselves for No Deal, argues Hannan

Softer Brexit 3) Sebastian Payne: May will now pivot towards it

Westlake Legal Group BRITISH-TROUBLE-AHEAD-271x300 Newslinks for Thursday 17th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Although a no-deal exit on March 29 remains the default outcome, it is ultimately unlikely to happen. Faced with that prospect, diehard Tory Remainers, such as former attorney-general Dominic Grieve, could well abstain in a future confidence motion to bring down the May government. Such a move would wound or destroy their political careers, but enough Remainers feel strongly enough that they would act to avoid a calamitous no-deal scenario. But pursuing a softer Brexit risks ripping apart the Conservative party. For many Brexit-supporting MPs, the prospect of striking free trade deals is one of the most enticing opportunities of leaving the EU. Remaining in the customs union makes that impossible. Brexiters such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg will not tolerate this, nor would much of the party’s membership. If Brexit goes in this direction, a political realignment on the right of British politics, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century, becomes a very real possibility. Mrs May is facing a huge choice. Does she decide to put country before party by pursuing a softer Brexit that can pass through parliament but break the Tories? Or does she prioritise the political party she joined as a teenager and has poured her life’s work into and take a stance that harms the country? The high drama we have seen in Westminster this week may, in fact, only just be starting.” – FT

  • Thanks to May’s bungling of Brexit, divisions over trade could split the Tories – Liam Halligan, Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister has one last throw of the dice – Philip Stephens, FT
  • Tory Remainers have a duty not to destroy their party – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • It’s now or never, May must compromise on Brexit – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Europe is in no fit state to handle the risks of its own brinkmanship – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • Unless we grab May’s deal, we won’t be leaving at all – Rod Liddle, The Sun
  • Only rupture with the EU will alter the failed status quo – Larry Elliott, The Guardian

>Today: Stewart Jackson in Comment: Don’t pivot to the Customs Union, Prime Minister – it could destroy the Conservative Party

Moment of unity as Tories rally to defeat no-confidence motion

“Theresa May was fighting last night to break the Brexit deadlock after Jeremy Corbyn rejected her offer of cross-party talks to reach a deal that would pass the Commons. The prime minister invited Mr Corbyn and the leaders of Westminster’s main opposition parties to talks at No 10 immediately after surviving the first no-confidence vote for more than a quarter of a century. She appealed to opposition MPs to work with her on a revised deal that was “negotiable” and would win the support of a majority of MPs. The Labour leader resisted the overture, however, insisting that Mrs May abandon a no-deal exit before the start of any “positive talks”. His spokesman later accused the prime minister of “blackmailing” the country with the threat of a chaotic departure. Ian Blackford, the SNP leader at Westminster, and the Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Vince Cable, did attend Downing Street within hours of the invitation. Other leaders were expected to follow suit for what Mrs May’s allies promised would be substantive negotiations on a compromise deal over the coming days and through the weekend. In a statement last night Mrs May said she was “disappointed” that Mr Corbyn had chosen not to join the talks, adding: “Our door remains open.” No 10 softened its stance on the content of the discussions, opening the way to a substantially softer Brexit. Only a second referendum or the removal of a no-deal exit appeared to be off the table.” – The Times

  • Gove mounts blistering attack on the Labour leader – The Sun
  • The Prime Minister survives, but is snubbed by Corbyn over next steps – Daily Telegraph
  • Britain remains in deadlock – The Guardian
  • Hague says crisis could yet lead to a general election – FT
  • Polling shows voters opt for May, but even more don’t know – The Times
  • DUP confirmed as kingmakers – Daily Telegraph
  • Leaders rehearse election scripts in confidence debate – The Times
  • Support for politicians plummets as chaos reigns – Daily Express
  • I will never back Corbyn for Prime Minister, says Hermon – News Letter


  • Why an election may be the only way to save Brexit – Gisela Stuart, Daily Telegraph
  • Vote highlights new constitutional mess – Catherine Haddon, The Times


Watchdog prepares for second referendum

Westlake Legal Group Electoral-Commission-300x300 Newslinks for Thursday 17th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Britain’s election watchdog is drawing up contingency plans to hold a second referendum and to participate in the forthcoming elections to the European parliament if Brexit is postponed. EU and UK officials are privately examining what might happen if an extension to Article 50 were agreed that lasted beyond the present European parliamentary session. A number of the UK’s 73 seats have been reallocated in anticipation of Brexit for the elections in May but the EU would be open to legal challenge if British voters were not represented in the parliament while the UK was still an EU member. If the government withdrew Article 50 before May the UK would also have to have representation in the parliament. A spokeswoman for the Electoral Commission, which regulates UK elections and referendums, said they were taking all eventualities into account. “As part of our contingency planning, we are making certain preparations that will enable us to swiftly take the necessary action should circumstances change and these elections need to be held,” she said. “We maintain contingency plans to ensure that the commission has made all appropriate preparations to deliver a referendum should there be one.” The spokeswoman denied that any work had been done on potential questions for a referendum, adding that this would only happen once parliament had submitted its own form of words.” – The Times

  • Labour MPs tell their leader to support a ‘People’s Vote’… – The Times
  • …but others are opposed to one – Daily Express
  • MPs pre-empt leader as 71 declare support – The Guardian
  • Corbyn humiliated for ‘fence-sitting’ on Brexit – The Sun
  • ‘Guerrilla billboards’ give Brexit a pasting – The Times


  • Advocates of a ‘People’s Vote’ need to remember Corbyn’s Eurosceptic record – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Labour must pursue a better deal, not a second vote – Owen Jones, The Guardian
  • Corbyn’s clique are the old guard Brexiteers – David Aaronovitch, The Times

>Yesterday: Left Watch: On Brexit, Labour is working hard to remain absolutely, certainly, unequivocally… undecided

Hinds to lobby Treasury for multi-year education funds

“The education secretary, Damian Hinds, is to lobby the Treasury for a multi-year funding settlement for education in England similar to the 10-year package announced for the NHS, MPs were told. Hinds, appearing before parliament’s education select committee, said he would make a “a very compelling case” for more funding in this year’s spending review, agreeing that something similar to the recent NHS long-term plan was needed. The cabinet minister’s pledge came as he was put under pressure by his fellow Conservative MPs, with Robert Halfon, the committee’s chair, telling Hinds: “We’d like to see you get up with a 10-year plan and make sure that education gets the funding that it needs for the future. Is that likely to happen?” Hinds replied: “It will happen, I’ll be putting a strong case and, I think, a very compelling case for education.” William Wragg, the Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Manchester, made an impassioned plea for Hinds to convince the Treasury to boost funding. He said: “Why is it that schools in my constituency, which have been some of the most poorly funded over decades, say to me they haven’t got enough revenue for what they need? When the chancellor, with a typical tin-eared phraseology of his, says that there is £400m for ‘little extras’ and capital funding, that is not well received by schools.”” – The Guardian

Lord Forsyth leads attack on Government over ‘stealth taxes’

Westlake Legal Group Screen-shot-2015-04-21-at-08.43.04 Newslinks for Thursday 17th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Brits are being ripped off by the Government hiking a raft of stealth taxes by the “unfair” Retail Price Index rate of inflation, peers have warned. The Lords Economic Affairs Committee said rail fares, student loan interest fees, road tax and beer and tobacco duty are rising by more than 1 per cent higher than they should be. This is because these taxes rise in line with the higher RPI rate of inflation, whereas the Government uses the lower CPI measure when setting the value of its pay-outs such as benefits. The report said this “error” was “untenable” and was creating clear “winners and losers”. The report said UK statistics watchdog must address this “flaw” or risk being in breach of its duties to safeguard the quality of official statistics. The report also said the UK Statistics Authority’s refusal to correct “error”. Committee boss Lord Forsyth said the inconsistency was “simply not fair”. He demanded the Government stop ripping off commuters, students, motorists and drinkers by agreeing on a single measure of inflation for both taxes and pay-outs. It is estimated the error – which has artificially increased the rate of RPI – has boosted holders of inflation-linked government bonds to the tune of around £1 billion more a year in interest. But it is costing commuters and students dear, as RPI is used to calculate annual increases in rail fares and student loan pricing.” – The Sun

  • Ministers criticised for ‘sneaking out’ pension announcement during Brexit drama – The Times

MPs demand restrictions on export of plastic waste

“The world must stop treating seas as a sewer and Britain should play its part by ending the export of plastic waste to countries that may dump it in the ocean, MPs say. Plastic makes up 70 per cent of litter in the ocean and the amount could treble within ten years unless urgent action is taken, according to a report by the Commons environmental audit committee. The committee urged Britain to push for a “Paris Agreement for the sea”, a reference to the international deal secured in 2015 to tackle global warming. Mary Creagh, the committee’s Labour chairwoman, said: “Our children deserve to experience the wonders of the ocean but climate change poses a triple whammy of threats from ocean warming, deoxygenation and acidification, which are decimating marine life… The committee recommended a ban on exports of waste to countries with poor recycling infrastructure and urged ministers to publish plans for more domestic recycling facilities to be funded. The MPs also called for a ban on plastics that are difficult or impossible to recycle and said that ministers should bring forward the government’s target date of 2042 for achieving zero avoidable plastic waste.” – The Times

Sturgeon promises independence timetable in ‘weeks’

Westlake Legal Group SNP-logo-white-background-248x300 Newslinks for Thursday 17th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Nicola Sturgeon has said Theresa May is “deluding herself” by trying to persist with her Brexit red lines, and suggested details of the timetable for a second Scottish independence referendum would be revealed within “weeks”. The First Minister was at Westminster to meet with SNP MPs, and said an extension of Article 50 and a People’s Vote were the only realistic options to break the Brexit deadlock. However, she added: “I’ll say more about the timing of a referendum in the next matter of weeks. I want to see the UK stay in the EU, I think that would be best for the whole of the UK… even when Scotland is independent, that serves our interests best as well. That’s why we’re backing the People’s Vote, the second EU referendum. But if that’s not possible, in terms of our wider interests, the chaos and the fiasco of the last couple of years have shown that the worst thing for Scotland is to be thirled to Westminster when it’s making such a mess of things. We’d be far better off in charge of our own affairs.” The First Minister spoke to the Prime Minister by telephone late on Tuesday, following the unprecedented Commons defeat of the government’s Brexit deal by a margin of 230 votes.” – The Scotsman

News in Brief:

  • Would Norway break the stalemate? What the polling tells us – Tim Bale, The Conversation
  • Fear and loathing define Labour’s Brexit struggle – Alan Lockey, CapX
  • Disastrous May has botched it every step of the way – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Boles’s plan is certainly crazy. But it just might work – Nikki da Costa, The Spectator
  • Democracy is in danger as our political leaders seek to subvert the Leave vote – Sheila Lawlor, Brexit Central

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Newslinks for Wednesday 16th January 2019

May’s Brexit plan suffers historic defeat

Westlake Legal Group May-and-dead-EU-rabbit-300x300 Newslinks for Wednesday 16th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘The prime minister offered cross-party talks after MPs rejected her deal by a majority of 230, with more than a third of Conservatives rebelling. With only 72 days to go before Britain leaves, however, Labour MPs demanded that she extend Article 50 to give time for a consensus to be found. Jeremy Corbyn warned Mrs May that she had reached the “end of the line” as he tabled a motion of no confidence in her government that will be voted on today. Allies suggested that Labour could repeatedly test MPs’ confidence in Mrs May’s government in the weeks ahead as it pressed for a general election to end the Brexit chaos. In all, 202 MPs voted in favour of Mrs May’s deal and 432 against. The previous biggest meaningful defeat of a prime minister was in 1924, when Ramsay MacDonald’s short-lived minority Labour government lost by 166 votes.’ – The Times

  • It is the biggest ever Commons defeat on a meaningful vote – Daily Telegraph
  • She offers MPs talks, but also says she will not bend – The Times
  • The Speaker obstructed amendments that might have been helpful – The Sun
  • Tusk calls for Brexit to be cancelled – Daily Mail
  • The Whips made a huge miscalculation – The Times
  • The pound rallies – The Times
  • Round-up of EU press reaction – Daily Telegraph





Johnson and other Brexiteers urge renegotiation

‘Boris Johnson last night insisted the Brexit deal can be renegotiated without delaying Britain’s departure from the bloc. The former foreign secretary said he did not ‘rejoice’ in the massive defeat suffered by Theresa May, but demanded that she ditches the Irish border backstop and takes a ‘fresh approach’. He dismissed the idea that would mean extending the Article 50 process, which has just 10 weeks left to run, saying most of the other terms were ‘fine’…Mr Johnson told Sky News that the margin of defeat was ‘bigger than I expected’. ‘It’s no particular cause for rejoicing for me, after all I’ve been trying for so long to get the government back in the place the PM was in her Lancaster House speech last year,’ he said. ‘We were really talking about taking advantage of free trade deals and taking control of our laws. All that got lost as we moved into this quicksand of the backstop, locked into the customs union and single market. What she has now is a massive mandate. With 432 votes against her deal, she takes it back to Brussels and says “we can’t do this deal as it is, we need a fresh approach.”’ – Daily Mail

  • Ministers are split – The Guardian
  • Raab and Davis tell May to stay in office – The Times
  • The ERG want drastic changes, not least to the backstop – The Times
  • The Irish Government says the border will stay open in every scenario – The Sun
  • Barnier insists this is the best deal possible – FT
  • The vote was a challenge for the EU’s Brexit approach, too – FT
  • Bercow hints he will aid Remainers in obstructing the process – Daily Mail
  • Germany avoids recession by one day – Daily Mail
  • The Euro turns 20 – FT


>Today: Robert Halfon’s column: Now is the time for Common Market 2.0, and an EFTA-type plan for Brexit

>Yesterday: WATCH: Tracey – Mordaunt’s PPS – says the deal doesn’t pass his or his constituents’ tests

Hammond promises business No Deal will be blocked, and flirts with delaying Article 50

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-06-15-at-08.45.12-300x287 Newslinks for Wednesday 16th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘Philip Hammond sought to reassure business leaders on Tuesday night that a no-deal Brexit could be blocked, while also raising for the first time the possibility of a delay to Article 50.  Speaking on a conference call alongside business secretary Greg Clark and Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, the chancellor said the government would now seek to build a consensus in parliament. “We have to reach out to MPs in the Commons first,” he said. “There is a large majority in the Commons that is opposed to no-deal.” Mr Hammond said the government would not put up any “obstacles” in the way of Nick Boles, a former minister, who has proposed that the Commons liaison committee — made up of the chairs of the other select committees — could oversee attempts to find a way through the political morass.’ – FT

DUP and Brexiteers pledge to support the Government in Corbyn’s no confidence vote

‘Moments after the result was announced Jeremy Corbyn announced he would table a no-confidence motion, which MPs will vote on tonight, in a bid to force a general election. But the PM’s Northern Irish allies, former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and backbench ringleader Jacob Rees-Mogg have all pledged to support her, meaning she is likely to survive. The DUP’s Sammy Wilson said the party wanted to ‘get the government back on track’ and would back Mrs May, while Mr Rees-Mogg said last night: ‘I will be supporting the Prime Minister’. Mr Johnson said he ‘certainly shall’ vote for the PM in Wednesday night’s vote, saying he did not want Mr Corbyn in office instead. Today former Ukip leader Nigel Farage called on Tory MPs who ‘believe in Brexit’ to be brave and resist the Article 50 leaving date of March 29 being extended – and urged them to dump Mrs May as PM and replace her with a Brexiteer calling it a Neville Chamberlain moment.’ – Daily Mail


Corbyn continues to infuriate those who want a second referendum

Westlake Legal Group ConHome-Corbyn-hammer-sickle-300x300 Newslinks for Wednesday 16th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘Jeremy Corbyn has offered no encouragement to supporters of a second EU referendum after he called for a vote of no confidence in Theresa May’s government and an immediate general election. The Labour leader did not refer to a second referendum in his two Brexit speeches on Tuesday evening, and risked antagonising the party’s pro-remain wing, some of whom want him to back another poll by the end of the week. In his first, longer speech at the end of the full Brexit debate, Corbyn said: “Labour believes that a general election would be the best outcome for the country if this deal is rejected tonight.” He argued that despite differences of opinion over Brexit, membership of the European Union was not the most important issue facing the country. “We need to keep in mind that the vast majority of people in our country don’t think of themselves as remainers or leavers,” he said.’ – The Guardian

Welfare change could see pensioners with younger partners lose thousands

‘Thousands of poorer UK pensioners who have partners of working age could lose up to £7,000 a year in top-ups as a result of imminent rule changes that will require them to claim universal credit as a couple. Changes slipped out on Monday night by the Department for Work and Pensions mean that from 15 May, new pensioners whose partners are younger than the state retirement age of 65 can no longer claim a means-tested top-up called pension credit. Instead they will be forced to claim the much less generous universal credit alongside their younger partners. The couple rate of universal credit is £114.81 a week compared with £255.25 for a couple receiving pension credit. This amounts to a potential loss of £7,320 a year.’ – The Guardian

  • Charity says Universal Credit traps people in debt – The Sun
  • Disability benefit changes cost the taxpayer money – FT
  • Machine aids transplants by keeping livers alive – The Times

Ofsted to start scoring schools on pupils’ behaviour

Westlake Legal Group BARRIE-CHARACTER-EDUCATION-229x300 Newslinks for Wednesday 16th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘Schools with badly behaved pupils will be marked down by inspectors in an overhaul of Ofsted ratings. Low-level disruption including pupils swinging on chairs, whispering, passing notes or checking phones while teachers are talking will be assessed from September. Ofsted said that this was the issue parents cared most about. Inspectors will assess behaviour as a new category by observing different classes and at break and lunch, noting pupils’ punctuality, manners and “pride in themselves and the school”. The move is part of sweeping changes to the inspection framework in which exam results will be downgraded and the process by which results are achieved will be under closer scrutiny. Ofsted said that there was currently an “over-reliance on performance data” which incentivised schools to game the system.’ – The Times

  • Tuition fee cut threatens a dozen universities – The Times
  • US invention allows schools to monitor pupils’ brains – Daily Mail

SNP splits threaten their chance of a second independence referendum

‘The Scottish parliament is to launch an inquiry into the handling of sexual misconduct allegations against Alex Salmond, opening a new front in a controversy that has shattered the once-close alliance between the former first minister and his successor Nicola Sturgeon.  Tensions within the governing Scottish National party have already bubbled over, with Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman this week accusing people close to Mr Salmond of trying to smear her following a botched government investigation into the claims. The SNP appears more divided than at any time since the early 1980s, threatening its effectiveness at a time when Brexit offered the chance of a renewed push for Scottish independence, said polling expert John Curtice. “The SNP are at risk of falling out among themselves just when . . . there might be an opportunity to hold an early independence referendum,” he said.’ – FT

One in five baby boomers is now a millionaire

Westlake Legal Group Screen-shot-2014-09-03-at-07.46.581-300x257 Newslinks for Wednesday 16th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘Decades of soaring house prices, economic growth and final salary pensions mean that 20 per cent of over 65s have a wealth of £1million or more in real terms, up from just 7 per cent in 2006. But while baby boomers are the group to have experienced the greatest rise in their household wealth, younger generations have seen a much more modest increase. Analysis by wealth manager Netwealth shows that the total wealth owned by over 65s nearly doubled – from £2.4trillion to £4.7trillion – in the decade between 2006 and 2016. In comparison, those between 25 and 54 years old saw their wealth increase by just 9 per cent in real terms during the same time.’ – Daily Mail

  • Housebuilder scoops £1 billion profit (helped by Help to Buy) – Daily Mail

US Government shutdown is beginning to harm the economy

‘The record-breaking US government shutdown is triggering ripple effects across the US economy and risks denting confidence among companies that have already been fretting about trade disputes and stock market turbulence. Shutdowns have historically had only fleeting economic effects, but Jay Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman, warned last week that a dispute that outlasts past impasses could begin to change the picture for the worse.  The deadlock in Washington, which has entered its fourth week, raises particular concerns over looming tussles around the need to lift or suspend the ceiling on US public debt this summer, as well as the fate of public spending caps that will bite late this year.’ – FT

  • Trump doubles down on the shutdown – Daily Mail
  • He is dangerously inconsistent – The Times Leader
  • The President ‘repeatedly’ considered pulling the US out of NATO last year – Daily Mail

News in Brief

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Newslinks for Tuesday 15th January 2019

Brexit 1) May faces heavy defeat in the “meaningful vote”

Westlake Legal Group timesbrexit-236x300 Newslinks for Tuesday 15th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Theresa May warned Tory rebels last night that they will risk a Jeremy Corbyn government if they vote against her Brexit deal amid fears of the heaviest defeat suffered by a government in modern politics. Downing Street is braced for a no-confidence vote as soon as tomorrow as Mr Corbyn tries to force an election he claims would break the Brexit logjam. The prime minister begged Brexiteer Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party to take a “second look” at her agreement in the light of further European Union assurances over the Irish backstop. However, only half the Conservative parliamentary party turned up to hear her eve-of-vote pitch in which she urged them to unite around two tasks: achieving Brexit and keeping the Labour leader out of Downing Street. The best way to secure those aims, she said, was to vote for her deal.” – The Times

  • Pleading, threats and dire warnings – Daily Telegraph
  • Warm words aren’t enough to appease the DUP – The Times
  • PM claims backstop assurances “have legal force” – Belfast Telegraph
  • Chris Philp claims a “shift” by MPs to back the deal – Daily Express
  • MP Tulip Siddiq delays caesarean to enter lobby in wheelchair – The Times
  • Stride accused of “desperate” picture stunt – Daily Mail
  • Dark mood descends on No 10 – Financial Times
  • It could be the biggest ever Government defeat in the Commons – Daily Telegraph



Brexit 2) Wallace: Broken promises have ended up pleasing neither side

“May’s retreats, first at Chequers and then in the Withdrawal Agreement, were supposed to ‘bring people together’. They have instead emboldened and inspired pro-EU MPs to rebel more. It is fashionable to praise the virtues of compromise and consensus, but politics remains red in tooth and claw – giving ground is seen as weakness, and when May offered the Remain lobby an inch she emboldened them to demand a mile. ‘Leavers’ reward for two years of loyal support was an outright breach of May’s promises’ Even Leavers are abandoning her Her disastrous strategy gradually reinflated the Remain wing of the Parliamentary Conservative Party, but it inflamed the Leaver side. Not only is this a bad deal from a Eurosceptic perspective, loading the UK with costs without delivering proper democratic self-government in return, but many of May’s colleagues feel it breaks promises made by the Prime Minister to her party and by the Conservative Party to the country. Scores of Tory MPs find themselves unable and unwilling to support it, setting the stage for the largest Commons defeat ever seen.” – Mark Wallace, The i

Brexit 3) Gareth Johnson resigns as a Government Whip

Westlake Legal Group Gareth-Johnson-MP-100x100 Newslinks for Tuesday 15th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “The man in charge of getting other MPs to vote for May’s EU deal has quit in protest….Assistant Tory whip Gareth Johnson threw in the towel on Monday, January 14, as the PM battles to win last-minute support for her hated deal. The 49-year-old said he couldn’t back it as it would keep us tied to the EU for years to come, and said it was “disrespectful” to the millions of Brits who opted to leave. In his resignation letter to Theresa May he wrote: “This agreement prevents us taking back control and instead could leave us perpetually constrained by the European Union”. Ex-Brexit minister Steve Baker, who also quit over our EU exit, hailed him as a “hero” and said it was “the right thing to do”.” – The Sun

Brexit 4) PM may have to quit, “suggest some cabinet ministers”

“Theresa May will be expected to stand down if she loses Tuesday night’s crucial vote on her Brexit deal as heavily as predicted, Cabinet sources have said. More than 100 Tory MPs have insisted they will oppose the deal, putting Mrs May on course to break a series of unwelcome Parliamentary records….If Mrs May loses the vote – expected between 7.30pm-9.30pm depending on how many amendments are chosen by the Speaker – she is expected to make an immediate statement on her next move….Downing Street declined to deny that Mrs May would resign if she suffers a defeat well into triple figures, and Cabinet sources said a defeat by a majority of more than 100 would put Mrs May’s future in peril.” – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 5) Thornberry: Labour may be forced to back a second referendum

Westlake Legal Group Emily-Thornberry-22-04-18-100x100 Newslinks for Tuesday 15th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “The prime minister must call an election. Anything else would not be stoicism or stubbornness, or whatever other qualities her admirers claim; it would just be sheer cowardice. But if she refuses,if Labour’s no confidence motion fails, and if we have to move to other options, including campaigning for a public vote, we will take no lectures from her about respecting our country’s democracy. Because she will be the one who has forced us into that position by ignoring every historical precedent on which that democracy is based.” – Emily Thornberry, The Guardian

>Yesterday: WATCH: Gardiner attacks the idea of calling off Brexit and staying in the EU

Brexit 6) Boles Bill would mean MPs could instruct the PM to request an extension of Article 50

“Opponents of a no-deal Brexit will publish a plan today to force Theresa May to delay Britain’s departure from Europe if parliament cannot unite on a way to leave the bloc. In a move designed to upend the “default” setting of Brexit, a cross-party group of MPs are to publish a draft bill that, if passed, would reverse Britain’s automatic departure on March 29. The bill would give Mrs May and parliament six weeks to agree a new way forward if, as expected, the prime minister’s plan is defeated in the Commons tonight. If no consensus can be agreed, MPs would be permitted to instruct the prime minister to request an extension to the Article 50 process, which mandates that Britain will leave the EU even without a deal…The plan is being masterminded by a group of senior Conservative MPs including the former ministers Sir Oliver Letwin, Nicky Morgan and Nick Boles. Yesterday they held talks with a group of cross-party MPs to try to win support for the move.” – The Times

  • Four cabinet ministers back the plot – The Sun
  • Possible amendments to PM’s Brexit deal – BBC
  • It’s all or nothing: Article 50 can’t be revoked temporarily –The Times
  • Idea of senior select committee devising alternative finds no traction – Financial Times

Brexit 7) McVey: Reject the Withdrawal Agreement and show confidence in our country

Westlake Legal Group Esther-McVey-09-12-18-100x100 Newslinks for Tuesday 15th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Yes, some measure of uncertainty would be created by the government shifting to pursue a bolder, no deal route out of the EU. But we have to believe in the strength of British industry and in our country’s unique place in the world, recognising that this scenario would be far more preferable to staying in an EU that is making a host of wrong decisions at a critical time of global change. As Parliament prepares to finally go through the lobbies for the meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement, I would urge my colleagues to consider the importance of those two words – Trust and Confidence. Trust in the people who made the decision to leave, and confidence that Britain can thrive outside the EU.” – Esther McVey, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 8) Hague: Put your reservations aside and support the PM

“Ardent Remainers want that second campaign because they think they would win it. But two close referendums would mean this question would never go away. Now, ardent Leavers seem to be warming to the idea as well – a chance to nail it, to run rings round the establishment again, to channel the anger that would erupt if Brexit is foiled. It’s a dangerous idea. Political leaders who try to channel anger tend to be consumed by it instead. It is not responsible to put this country through the agony of another vote. So for multiple reasons I would go through the lobby with Theresa May. It doesn’t look as if a sufficient number of MPs will do that. I hope they don’t have the nerve to complain about the consequences afterwards.” – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

Brexit 9) Daily Mail makes final plea to back the deal

Westlake Legal Group mailcountry-225x300 Newslinks for Tuesday 15th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “After all the endless months of bickering, braggadocio and blatant attention-seeking, the day of destiny for British democracy has finally arrived. Today, the Commons votes on Theresa May’s plan to secure an orderly withdrawal from the EU. In the Mail’s view, the choice before MPs is simple: accept a deal which delivers the main planks of Brexit — and provides the stability the nation yearns for. Or lead us into a dark and hazardous unknown. So to honourable members of all stripes, we make this plea. Before entering the division lobby at such a pivotal moment in our constitutional history, put personal prejudice aside and think very hard about where the overriding national interest lies.” – Leader, Daily Mail

Other comment

  • We need a free vote in the Commons to break the impasse – Rachel Sylvester, The Times
  • MPs must reject this dreadful deal – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Remain MPs message to Leave voters is : “Know your place, plebs” – Brendan O’Neill, The Sun
  • The Tories may never be forgiven – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Promises from the EU can’t be trusted – Leader, The Sun
  • May must become a willing servant of the Commons – Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times
  • Brexit is not only economic suicide, it’s cultural vandalism – William Dalrymple, The Scotsman
  • Opposing the deal is not worth the risk – Leader, Daily Express
  • I cannot vote for a deal that squanders Brexit and betrays the British people – Suella Braverman, Daily Telegraph
  • Like a dying bull in the ring, the PM kept fighting – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Chaos ahead – Leader, The Times
  • This is only the end of the beginning – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

Davis to back 28 day limit to immigrant detention

“Plans to limit the amount of time people can spend as a detainee in immigration centres to 28 days are likely to be passed by MPs within weeks. The Tory MPs David Davis, Dominic Grieve and Andrew Mitchell, along with the Labour MPs Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper, are seeking to force the government to impose the limit on all immigration and asylum detainees apart from foreign national offenders. Under the plans, foreigners who are ineligible to be in the UK under immigration or asylum rules could be detained for 28 days and then removed or tagged. No further detention beyond this period would be allowed in any one year. The MPs believe that they have a cross-party majority to force a change given that the government does not have a majority in the Commons.” – The Times

Raab launches “thinly veiled leadership bid”, with a speech calling for tax cuts

Westlake Legal Group Dominic-Raab-09-12-18-100x100 Newslinks for Tuesday 15th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Dominic Raab finally launched his thinly veiled leadership bid yesterday – outlining a tax-cutting blueprint for post-Brexit Britain. The former Brexit Secretary called for a rise in the National Insurance earnings threshold to £11,850 to save someone earning £15,000 around £412 each year.In a speech at Westminster, he told supporters there should also be more shareholder control over chief executives’ pay. Arguing the Tories must counter the “seductive Marxist allure” of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, he said they should instead be championing consumers and business. Mr Raab proposed a gradual reduction in the basic income tax rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent…..Supporters attending the speech yesterday included the influential chair of the Tory 1922 committee Sir Graham Brady.” – The Sun

  •  ‘I bottled it’ over pulling out of PM race in 2016 after winning Brexit vote, Johnson admits – The Sun

Obesity is not a disease, insists Hancock

“Obesity is not a disease and people should take responsibility for being fat, the Health Secretary said yesterday. Matt Hancock also unveiled a government plan to enrol one million heavies in exercise classes.But he denied it was a “nanny state” approach — saying there should be less intervention for the healthy and more for those who need it. And he claimed “even a fatty cut of delicious steak is healthy in moderation”.” – The Sun

News in brief

  • The EU’s latest effort won’t help May pass her Brexit deal – James Forsyth, The Spectator
  • Britain has a bright post-Brexit future – Dominic Raab, CapX
  • How the UK repeatedly weakened its own negotiating position – Charles Grant, New Statesman
  • Today UK democracy is on trial in Parliament – John Redwood
  • 113 Tory MPs have indicated they oppose the deal – Alex Wickham, Buzzfeed

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Newslinks for Monday 14th January 2019

The Government: May tries to win over Leavers with last-ditch warning that No Brexit is more likely than No Deal

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-11-16-at-07.18.44-300x300 Newslinks for Monday 14th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘In the speech to be given to factory workers in Stoke-on-Trent today, she says she believes that it is more likely that MPs will block Brexit than allow Britain to leave without an agreement. She adds: “I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people in our democracy. “What if we found ourselves in a situation where parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a Remain vote? People’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm.” Cabinet ministers lined up to warn Brexiteers that they risked no Brexit after reports of Remainers’ plots. Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, who made the comments about the country facing a rise in extremism, said that it would be a “huge mistake” for MPs to attempt to take control of the Brexit process.’ – The Times

>Today: Nicky Morgan’s column: Imperfect, certainly. But May’s plan avoids the twin perils of No Deal and No Brexit. The Commons should back it.

>Yesterday: WATCH: Marr asks if Barclay misled the nation over the Withdrawal Agreement vote

The Leavers: These new threats are no more convincing than the old ones, writes Johnson

This deal is still the worst of both worlds, by which we somehow leave the EU but end up being run by the EU. It is still a complete stinker, and so no – I can’t tell exactly what will happen on Tuesday. But I cannot believe that it has much of a chance of getting past the House of Commons. As this reality has dawned on the supporters of the PM’s deal, they have started to change tack. They have come up with a last desperate scare story, designed to chivvy MPs through the lobbies. After spending much of the last few weeks warning of the perils of “no deal”, they have been dismayed to note that, if anything, their warnings have fortified the public – and MPs – in their determination not to be frightened…It is in the face of this outbreak of common sense that the scaremongers have changed their story. Throughout the past 48 hours, they have been ringing MPs and warning that unless they vote for the PM’s deal, the risk is not a no‑deal Brexit – the risk is that there will be no Brexit at all!’ – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph


The Remainers: Alleged plan for Wollaston’s committee to take charge if May’s deal is rejected

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2017-05-21-at-18.05.07-300x300 Newslinks for Monday 14th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘The plan to seize control of Brexit is based on a draft Bill, which the Mail understands has been drawn up by former ministers Nick Boles, Sir Oliver Letwin and Nicky Morgan and is to be published today. All three backed Remain, but are expected to vote for Mrs May’s plan tomorrow. A source close to the move said the changes to the standing orders of the House of Commons would be temporary and would be reversed after Brexit. The source said: ‘We all want Brexit to happen on March 29, that is our first preference’… Under the plan, the Prime Minister would have 21 days to come up with an alternative Brexit deal. If none is found, responsibility for developing one would pass to the liaison committee which is made up of the chairmen of the 36 Commons select committees. It is chaired by Dr Sarah Wollaston, who is a leading campaigner for a second referendum. The committee’s proposal would have to be approved by MPs with ministers then ordered to reopen talks with Brussels. If time is short, Article 50 could be extended, meaning the UK would stay in the EU. If Brussels refused this, Article 50 would be revoked, in effect cancelling Brexit.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: WATCH: Grayling repeats his warning about the threat of extremism if Brexit is halted

Gove to clamp down on open fires, woodburning stoves and scented candles

‘The Clean Air Strategy, which will be launched today, aims to reduce the estimated 36,000 annual deaths blamed on breathing toxic air. The Government said it would become the first major economy to adopt tough World Health Organisation standards. Proposals include a ban on the most polluting fuels – such as domestic coal – and ensuring only the cleanest stoves are sold. Woodburning stoves and open fires are now the biggest source of outdoor particulate emissions – 38 per cent, compared with 16 per cent from industrial processes, and 12 per cent from road transport. Much of the strategy will involve advice to families such as to haver fewer bonfires and buy in bulk to reduce the number of deliveries by van. Manufacturers will be told to reduce emissions from scented candles, carpets, laminate flooring and glues. These add to particulate pollution and can break down to create toxic gases.’ – Daily Mail

  • He reportedly wants a ban on all but the cleanest stoves by 2022 – The Sun
  • Toxic air kills – let’s work together to reduce the risk – Michael Gove and Matthew Hancock, Daily Telegraph
  • Estimated cost of air pollution is revised upwards – The Times
  • Strict limits on pollutants make good sense – The Times Leader
  • But campaigners are disappointed the plan includes no legally binding target – FT
  • Perry dismisses request to free up shale gas industry – FT

The Chancellor and Home Secretary team up against financial crime

Westlake Legal Group pZW47uRL-225x300 Newslinks for Monday 14th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘The home secretary and chancellor are to launch a joint assault on fraud, bribery, corruption and money laundering. Sajid Javid and Philip Hammond will chair a new taskforce that will work with senior figures in the financial sector to tackle economic crime. This is a broad category covering a range of illegal activity, with the Home Office estimating its scale to be at least £14.4bn a year. Javid said: “We need to take action on all fronts to target the corrupt fraudsters who are lining their pockets with dirty money and living luxury lifestyles at the expense of law-abiding citizens. The government is already investing millions in the fight against economic crime, but it is crucial we work closely with our financial sector partners to win this battle. These criminals threaten the UK’s reputation as a world-leading place to do business and we have a joint responsibility to stop them.” The chancellor said the UK is leading the world in the fight against illicit finance.’ – The Guardian

Williamson proposed paintballing Spanish ships to deter Gibraltar incursions

‘The Cabinet minister made the extraordinary suggestion during a recent MoD meeting with top brass. It came after Mr Williamson had initially proposed an even more incendiary idea, to send a Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer to the Spanish territory of Ceuta on the Moroccan coast. The Defence Secretary – nicknamed Private Pike after the dithering Dad’s Army character – then proposed arming locals on the Rock with paintball guns to splat Spanish Navy and police vessels whenever they illegally entered British waters in a bid to humiliate them. The order came during 42 year-old Mr Williamson’s regular Monday afternoon meeting with Britain’s military chiefs just before Christmas…“Nick Carter just rolled his eyes and said, ‘We’ll come up with some options minister”, but everybody knew he wouldn’t. It’s properly potty.”… Mr Williamson’s aides last night confirmed he had made both proposals. But they insisted the paintball suggestion was just meant as a joke and he had no serious intention that they actually carry it out. An MoD spokesman said: “While the Defence Secretary was speaking in jest about paintballing Spanish ships, he is in favour of the Royal Navy taking a strong stand against Spanish incursions into sovereign British waters”.’ – The Sun

  • Paxman says MPs who object to being shouted at are ‘snowflakes’ – Daily Telegraph

To try to stick to its budget, HS2 considers…slower trains

Westlake Legal Group Stop-HS2-300x63 Newslinks for Monday 14th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘HS2 may have to run slower and less frequent trains to slash costs, its chief executive has admitted. The state-backed firm overseeing the high-speed line is mulling over plans to limit the speed of trains by 30mph. It is also considering reducing the number of services per hour by a fifth, from 18 to 14 each way, which would cut the capacity of the line by the equivalent of around 8,800 passengers per hour during peak times. Last night one campaigner warned that it is ‘quite conceivable’ that some journeys to Birmingham on the high-speed line may be slower than at the moment. The plans were revealed by HS2 Ltd’s chief executive, Mark Thurston, at a meeting with MPs towards the end of last year. Trains were due to hit a maximum speed of 225mph, but he warned that they may have to be slowed down, at times, by around 30mph in order to have any chance of sticking to its £56billion budget. This would have to be done, in particular, when going through some tunnels because otherwise extra, and more expensive, engineering work would be needed on the tunnels to cope with the high speed.’ – Daily Mail

  • And fewer trains – The Times
  • Why does the Transport Secretary still have no answer on the drones problem? – The Sun Says

Royal College to poll doctors on assisted dying

‘Doctors are to be asked if they think the law against helping terminally ill patients to die should be changed. The Royal College of Physicians will poll its 35,000 medics next month — and also ask if they would “actively participate” in assisted dying if it became legal. RCP president Prof Andrew Goddard said the organisation needed an “up-to-date understanding” of medical opinion. He added the RCP is “frequently asked for its stance on this high profile issue”. But he said it would stay neutral until a two-thirds majority voted in favour of a change. Doctors now face up to 14 years’ jail if they help a patient to die. A similar survey five years ago found the majority did not want to change the law.’ – The Sun

Prominent voices on the British left participate in Kremlin ‘disinformation’ films

Westlake Legal Group Vladimir-Putin-258x300 Newslinks for Monday 14th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   ‘Viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, the slick films, fronted by British presenters, appear to be the work of grassroots campaigners seeking to raise awareness of social ills. They feature interviews with trade union leaders, Labour politicians and prominent left-wing activists. What viewers may not realise is that the documentaries are the work of an enigmatic new media organisation funded by the Russian state. The organisation, Redfish, is based in Berlin and specialises in creating youth-friendly films highlighting political and social instability in western European democracies…The goal is to strengthen Moscow’s power by spreading discontent in Britain and portraying the West as a basket case, experts in disinformation say. “A nationalistic rage has swept over Britain and Islamophobia is rampant,” is the introduction to one video. In another the presenter says: “We are living in an increasingly divided and unequal society.” Despite the revelation of Redfish’s ties to the Russian state the company has not struggled to attract contributors from the left of British politics.’ – The Times

  • Europe must decide between Russian money or protecting its security – Edward Lucas, The Times
  • Trump on defensive over new Putin claims – FT
  • Give Zaghari-Ratcliffe diplomatic immunity – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Employment tribunal rules academic has no right to be anti-PC – The Times
  • DNA discoverer Watson stripped of honours over his views on intelligence and race – The Guardian

News in Brief

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Newslinks for Sunday 13th January 2019

Claims of a backbench plot seize control of Parliament in ‘very British coup’…

Westlake Legal Group House-of-Commons-logo Newslinks for Sunday 13th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Theresa May has been warned that her government “will lose its ability to govern” after Downing Street uncovered a bombshell plot by senior MPs to seize control of Brexit negotiations and sideline the prime minister. A cross-party group of senior backbenchers — including former Tory ministers — plan what one senior figure branded a “very British coup” if May loses the crunch vote on her Brexit deal on Tuesday. At least two groups of rebel MPs are plotting to change Commons rules so motions proposed by backbenchers take precedence over government business, upending the centuries-old relationship between executive and legislature. Downing Street believes that would enable MPs to suspend article 50, putting Brexit on hold, and could even lead to the referendum result being overturned – a move that would plunge the country into a constitutional crisis. May’s team got wind of the plot on Thursday evening when one of the conspirators – a former cabinet minister – was overheard by the government chief whip Julian Smith discussing the plan in the MPs’ cloakroom. He commissioned written advice from legal experts, who warned May her government’s future was at stake.” – Sunday Times

  • A horror story overheard in the cloakroom – Sunday Times
  • Bercow ‘hurled insults at aides’ before scorning their advice – Sun on Sunday
  • UK could plunge into constitutional crisis – Sunday Express


  • Bercow’s historic shift from government to Parliament – Philip Cowley, Sunday Times
  • Playing chicken over May’s deal – George Parker and James Blitz, FT


  • Parliament is slowly taking back control of Brexit – Catherine Haddon, FT
  • Call the Speaker whatever you like, but he’s given parliament its voice back – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times
  • If MPs block Brexit, it will do horrible things to our politics – Tony Parsons, Sun on Sunday
  • A cross-party Remainer alliance is betraying their promise to the people – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • MPs take back control… from the people – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times


  • The Prime Minister’s authority hangs by a thread – Sunday Times
  • Politicians have led us into a blind alley – Sun on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Grayling, Patten, the Far Right, the IRA, Brexit, the Speaker – and the difference between a threat and a warning

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: As the ‘meaningful vote’ approaches, apply buckets of salt to all Government news

…as Tories warn party stands on the brink of an ‘historic split’

The Tories are on the brink of a historic split, senior Conservatives have warned, as Brexiteers and Remainers both threatened to torpedo the Government if they did not get their way on Brexit. Pro-EU MPs claimed  a third of the Cabinet would resign if Theresa May pursued a no-deal Brexit in the face of almost certain defeat over her deal, as they threatened a walkout of backbenchers that would obliterate the Government’s Commons majority. At the same time, The Sunday Telegraph understands that several senior ministers are agitating Mrs May to immediately open talks with Labour MPs about a compromise involving a permanent customs union if her deal is defeated by a large margin on Tuesday. One senior Tory said: “A growing number of the Cabinet now think the only feasible option is to tack towards a softer Brexit involving a permanent customs union, in order to get a deal through with Labour votes. Amber [Rudd], David [Gauke], Greg Clark and others have made noises along those lines.” Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the European Research Group of Eurosceptics, warned that the move would risk a split akin to the schism prompted by Robert Peel’s repeal of the corn laws. “It’s difficult to see how at least some Conservative MPs would not withdraw confidence in the Government,” he said.” – Sunday Telegraph


  • Labour set to call a vote to topple May’s Government – The Observer
  • Cable offers Corbyn ‘Number 10 deal’ over second referendum – Sunday Times
  • Poland calls for some ‘give’ from Brussels ahead of the vote – Sunday Telegraph
  • Ministry of Defence sends planners to ministries over border fears – The Observer


  • MPs must vote against May’s deal in numbers sufficient to kill it forever – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: Stephen Booth in Comment: There are reasons to be sceptical about the Brexit deal. But its security provisions aren’t one of them.

Theresa May: Time to forget the games and do what is right for our country

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-05-07-at-16.55.12-298x300 Newslinks for Sunday 13th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “The deal I have secured delivers for our whole country. It takes back control of our borders by ending free movement once and for all. It takes back control of our laws by ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK. And it takes back control of our money by ending the vast sums that we send to Brussels each year, so we can invest more in domestic priorities like the long-term plan for our NHS. The deal gives us an unprecedented economic relationship with our European neighbours, one that no other major country enjoys, protecting British jobs. But it also takes back control of our trade policy, so for the first time in 40 years we can seize the exciting opportunity to forge new trade deals with partners all around the world – just this week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Downing Street to talk about future trade ties. And by getting us out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the Commons Fisheries Policy, our deal will also make Britain an independent coastal state once again, with full control over our waters. And the deal keeps us safe with the broadest security relationship in the EU’s history, and ensures the integrity of our precious United Kingdom – all essential if we are to move on from what has become a corrosive public debate and instead begin the process of bringing our country back together.” – Sunday Express

  • Brexit was a roar for change, and Britain is capable of so much more than this – Dominic Raab, Sunday Telegraph
  • Kill the Prime Minister’s Brexit bill and set Britain free – David Davis, Sunday Times
  • If we can agree on Norway, so can everyone else – Sir Nicholas Soames and Seema Malhotra, Sunday Times
  • Politicians have failed to grasp that leaving is a springboard for economic renewal – Bim Afolami, Sunday Telegraph
  • The cost of a bad decision is too great: please stop and think – Sir John Major, Sunday Times
  • Out of this nightmare must emerge a more robust democracy – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

>Today: Owen Paterson MP in Comment: No Deal would put the people back in control

Ministers 1) Berry calls for the North to set its own taxes

“Radical plans to create a department for the north of England able to levy its own taxes on 19m people, with devolved powers similar to those of Scotland, are being considered by the government, the Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry said last week. In a transfer of power from Whitehall to the regions, the proposed department would drive forward transport, education and devolution agendas in the north of England using funds raised by its own citizens, Berry said. The region has an economy larger than those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. “With so much economic growth, it is time for the government to consider a department for the north of England, with its own secretary of state,” Berry said. “Liverpool once had its own Whitehall office, so it is not unprecedented to have a department based outside London,” Berry said. In the 19th century, Liverpool and its docks became the largest single contributor to the nation’s finances, largely due to the booming textile industry, and the city’s Custom House was the busiest in the UK… Powers of devolution helped Manchester become one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, Berry said. “Each region across the north should have its own bespoke devolution deal. An economic boom here would help drive this country’s economy forward post-Brexit. We need the powers to be able to do that.”” – Sunday Times

Ministers 2) Leadsom launches ‘stinging attack’ on viability of HS2 over proposed changes

Westlake Legal Group hs2logo Newslinks for Sunday 13th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “A Cabinet Minister has fired a stinging attack over the “viability” of the £56 billion high speed rail network – as the trains may be slower. Andrea Leadsom has questioned whole business case of the Hs2 line if speeds are to be cut by more than 30mph to keep the project within budget. Leadsom wrote to HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston saying new plans could undermine “speed, capacity and connectivity” if the number of trains are cut per hour. Speeds could be cut for the trains – with a maximum speed of 225 mph – when they travel through tunnels between the capital and Birmingham to cut the construction budget. Her letter, seen by The Sun on Sunday, came after HS2 chiefs addressed a Parliamentary rail group last year outlining potential changes to keep it on time and on budget. The proposed route is expected to cut through parts of her South Northamptonshire constituency… She hit out at the proposals ahead of a review into the business case for the proposals that will take place next year. It follows her attack last year in Cabinet were she told colleagues the project was poor value for money and funding should go elsewhere.” – Sun on Sunday

Ministers 3) Grayling under fire as serious crimes committed on parole soar

“The number of rapes, murders and other serious crimes committed by offenders on parole has risen by more than 50% since reforms to probation were introduced four years ago, according to official data that has triggered calls for the government to rethink its plans for another shake-up of the service. Serious further offence reviews – which take place when a convicted offender under supervision is charged with another serious offence (SFO) – rose from 409 in the year before the 2014 reforms to 627 in the 12 months up to last April. The new figures for England and Wales – which were shared with Plaid Cymru’s justice spokeswoman, Liz Saville Roberts – come as it emerges that coroners have taken the highly unusual decision to reopen inquests into three people killed by offenders under supervision, a move that is expected to expose systemic flaws in the probation service. The problems are blamed on former justice secretary Chris Grayling’s reform programme, which saw some probation work outsourced to eight private providers, who were given responsibility for running 21 community rehabilitation companies working with low and medium risk offenders.” – The Observer

  • Stewart considers scrapping jail sentences of six months or less – Sun on Sunday

Ministers 4) Wright mulling ban on using credit cards to gamble

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2016-03-06-at-08.52.12 Newslinks for Sunday 13th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Ministers are considering backing a ban on using credit cards to gamble. Jeremy Wright, the Culture Secretary, is demanding “social responsibility” from all businesses connected to the gambling industry – including banks. He is due to meet with retail banking giants and bookmakers to discuss the problem of gamblers getting into debt by betting money they do not have. It comes ahead of a Gambling Commission call for evidence on the issue of gambling on credit cards both online and offline which is due to be launched in February. The review will be tasked with examining the risks of gambling on credit and could ultimately lead to a regulatory crackdown. Some high street banks have already taken action by allowing customers to disable spending on gambling via mobile apps. Mr Wright wants all banks to follow suit but he also believes the wider issue of the use of credit to gamble must be examined… Mr Wright’s comments suggest the Government would be sympathetic to a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling should the Gambling Commission recommend one.” – Sunday Telegraph

Bellingham accused of breaking anti-sleaze rules

“One of Theresa May’s trade envoys has been accused of breaking MPs’ anti-sleaze rules by failing to disclose that he chairs an African mining and construction company whose senior team includes a convicted fraudster. Sir Henry Bellingham, a former Africa minister, is paid £30,000 a year to chair Clifton Africa, which is building low-cost homes for one African government and a network of military barracks for another. The code of conduct for MPs says members must register financial interests “within four weeks”. Bellingham did not declare his role at Clifton Africa when he became chairman last January, or when he became a trade envoy in June. Instead he waited until last month. In the intervening period the Conservative MP, 63, secured private meetings for colleagues with senior British diplomats in Ghana and Ivory Coast as they pursued government contracts and explored goldmining in the region. Bellingham denies wrongdoing, saying he “took the view” that he could declare the role when Clifton Africa’s projects became operational: “It would have been premature to register something that may well not have materialised.”” – Sunday Times

  • Former head of watchdog hosted event for wife’s organisation – Sunday Telegraph
  • Taxpayers fund £30k gag on former aide of ‘love rat’ Labour MP – Sun on Sunday

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Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019

Brexit 1) Grayling warns that failing to leave the EU would boost extremists

Westlake Legal Group mailgrayling-224x300 Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Britain will witness a surge in neo-Nazi extremist groups if MPs block or weaken Brexit, a Cabinet minister warns today. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the 17 million who voted to leave the EU would feel ‘cheated’ by any moves to water down Theresa May’s deal or thwart our exit entirely. This would have grave implications for our democracy, he said, ending centuries of moderate politics….In a chilling intervention, Mr Grayling said blocking Brexit could end the 350 years of ‘moderate’ politics Britain has enjoyed since the bloody English Civil War. Doing so would provoke more ‘nasty’ incidents such as this week’s ‘Nazi’ taunts at pro-Remain Tory MP Anna Soubry outside Parliament, he argued. It would also play into the hands of ‘disturbing’ extremists such as ex-English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, who has been tipped to take over UKIP.” – Daily Mail



Brexit 2) Grieve calls for delay on Article 50

“Conservative rebel Dominic Grieve has urged the prime minister to delay Brexit if her EU withdrawal deal is rejected by MPs next week. Mr Grieve, who backs calls for another referendum, said she could remove the 29 March date from UK legislation and ask the EU for more time. Cabinet ministers who oppose leaving the EU without a deal had a “duty to resign” if she refused to do so. Ministers warn the UK faces Brexit “paralysis” if the deal is rejected…He said, if MPs reject the deal, the government should act immediately to strike the 29 March Brexit date from UK legislation before going to the EU to ask for an extension of the Article 50 process.” – BBC

  • Plotters seek Commons rout to kill deal for good – The Times
  • “People’s Vote” backers bide their time – The Guardian
  • Juncker plans exchange of letters “to help May” – Financial Times

Brexit 3) Tory donors predict we will never leave

Westlake Legal Group timesdonors-236x300 Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Leading Conservative donors who spent millions on the Brexit campaign say they now believe that Britain may never leave the European Union at all. Crispin Odey, a hedge fund manager who has given more than £870,000 to pro-Leave groups, revealed yesterday that he was betting on the pound to strengthen after Brexit failed. “My view is that it ain’t going to happen,” Mr Odey said. “I just can’t see how it happens with that configuration of parliament.” Another two Tory donors, who between them gave £1.7 million to support the campaign to take Britain out of the EU, said they too believed that the eventual deal would not represent a real Brexit. Jeremy Hosking, a fund manager who donated £1.69 million to the Brexit campaign, said he was worried that the country would end up with something that was “not a Brexit deal at all”, while Terence Mordaunt, who donated £50,000 to the campaign, said he feared that “we may never get out.” – The Times

  • Hunt says Parliament could stop a “no deal” outcome – Daily Telegraph

Brexit 4) Oliver warns against a second referendum

“Craig Oliver admits that he watched Channel 4’s drama Brexit: the Uncivil War through “splayed fingers”, with Rory Kinnear playing him as he fought unsuccessfully to win the referendum and keep Britain in the European Union…Although Sir Craig still believes it is a mistake for Britain to leave the EU, with a “heavy heart” he says he would not advocate a second referendum. “I do think it would be unbelievably divisive. Rerunning the Leave campaign is the easiest campaign in the world. It is ‘Tell them again’ and ‘Can you believe the establishment is so up themselves they think your views don’t matter at all’.”…Sir Craig no longer works for Mr Cameron but talks to him regularly. He insists that the former prime minister still believes having a referendum on Britain’s relationship with Europe was the right thing to do.” – The Times

Brexit 5) Forsyth: The deal could be made even worse, in order to win over Labour MPs

Westlake Legal Group Forsyth-James-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “May’s deal is flawed. How could it not be, given the ­failure to prepare properly for No Deal, which has so weakened the UK’s negotiating position, and the loss of the Tory ­majority in Parliament which has hobbled Mrs May? But the reality is that if this deal doesn’t pass, Brexit will only be weakened. The Government doesn’t want No Deal and doesn’t think it could get it through this ­Parliament even if it did.That means it will soften the deal to try to get Commons support for it. The danger for Brexiteers is that voting against this deal could make it worse, not better.” – James Forsyth, The Sun

  • Further concessions would be insane – Leader, The Sun 
  • Parliament must offer an alternative – Leader, Financial Times

Brexit 6) Parris: May’s “half-in, half-out” arrangement just adds to the poison

“I’ve been dispirited in recent days to read colleagues in the press, and hear friends in the Commons chamber, slipping into defeatist talk just as we approach a final fence which it lies within our power to clear. Too many who should know better, who see all too clearly the absurdity of moving from being a member of the EU to being a satellite of the EU, but who have been scared by nonsense about “no-deal”, are wriggling away from the only rational response to where we are in January 2019. The response is that we must try to stop Brexit. They talk instead about finding a compromise, a way to bring our politicians and our country “together” this year, a way to “heal wounds” and end the political civil war. Heal wounds? Come together? End the civil war? This year? Substitute “this decade” and it still defies likelihood.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

Brexit 7) Moore: Only the PM – whether it’s May or Corbyn – can stop us from leaving

Westlake Legal Group Screen-shot-2014-04-08-at-07.26.09-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “We keep being told that Parliament is “overwhelmingly against” a no-deal Brexit. It may be so, but we still do not know how it proposes to overwhelm it. If MPs refuse to honour the referendum result, they must agree among themselves a way that actually prevents Britain leaving. The actual proposal must be smoked out. One clear way to stop Mrs May, of course, is to defeat her in a vote of confidence in the House. But that only stops Brexit if the next Prime Minister agrees to do so. In yet another interestingly boring speech this week, Jeremy Corbyn has carefully avoided committing himself. The way the law stands, it could be Brexit with Mrs May or Brexit with Jeremy Corbyn, but it would still be Brexit.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

Stewart: Scrap jail sentences of under six months

“Jail sentences under six months should be scrapped for most crimes because they are “too short to heal” offenders, says the prisons’ minister Rory Stewart. Burglars and nearly all shoplifters would be among up to 30,000 offenders a year who would be spared jail if the change is enacted. Only offenders convicted of violence or sex crimes would be excluded. In an interview with Saturday’s Daily Telegraph magazine, Mr Stewart said the Ministry of Justice was “looking very carefully” at imposing a new legal presumption on English and Welsh courts against sentences under six months – and potentially longer.” – Daily Telegraph

  • More children sent to referral units where gang leaders can target them – The Times

Crosby “faces axe” as Tory election guru

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2017-08-30-at-18.58.00-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “The Conservative party is preparing to distance itself from the Australian strategist Sir Lynton Crosby, who masterminded David Cameron’s 2015 election victory but failed to repeat the trick for Theresa May. James Cleverly, the Conservative Party’s deputy chairman, said that a review of last year’s snap election had highlighted the weaknesses of bringing in outside consultants to run general election campaigns for the party. He added that the Tories were building up their own in-house campaigning team instead, to make them less reliant on external consultants which they believed would be a more effective way to win elections in the longer term.” – The Times

  • Johnson given interest free loan by Crosby – The Guardian

Wright wants restrictions on credit card gambling

“The Culture Secretary today warns bookies and banks to crack down on credit card gambling or face seeing it banned. Jeremy Wright will call in industry leaders for a dressing down next week.It comes ahead of a major Gambling Commission review next month on whether using credit cards to make online deposits deepens debt and addictions. Mr Wright said last night: “Protecting people from the risks of gambling related harm is vital and all businesses with connections to gambling – be that bookmakers, social media platforms or banks – must be socially responsible.” – The Sun

Major welcomes Universal Credit changes

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2018-07-22-at-11.29.32-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Sir John Major, one of the most vehement Conservative critics of universal credit, has backed Amber Rudd’s changes to the welfare policy but warned they don’t go far enough. Yesterday Ms Rudd, who was made work and pensions secretary in November, announced a set of reforms, saying the system was not as “effective” or “compassionate” as she wanted. Sir John told The Times: “I welcome Amber Rudd’s measured approach to reforming this benefit. Her latest changes — especially ending the retrospective penalty for families with more than two children — are very welcome. More incremental changes are still necessary and it is more important to get these right than to rush them through.” – The Times

>Yesterday: Gareth Streeter on Comment: Three facts which suggest a rise in food bank use is not just down to Universal Credit

Javid boasts of increase in stop and search

“Sajid Javid has opened up a new rift with Theresa May by suggesting her landmark policy of restricting stop and search powers was responsible for a rise in crime. In a discussion about the alarming increase in violent attacks in Britain, the Home Secretary told a private meeting of Tory MPs on Wednesday night: “Sadly, we’ve seen a drop in stop and search.” He then boasted of how its use was increasing again under his watch…Since he began to loosen rules on stop and search last year, the number of knife attacks on youngsters has dramatically reduced. Met Police chief Cressida Dick said knife attacks on under-25’s went down 31 per cent during the three months between September and the end of November, with 176 fewer stabbing victims compared to the same period last year.” – The Sun

Brokenshire challenges Legal Aid payments for fugitive

Westlake Legal Group James-Brokenshire-25-11-18-100x100 Newslinks for Saturday 12th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Speedboat killer Jack Shepherd should have his legal aid cut off until he returns to face justice, a Cabinet minister said last night. James Brokenshire said it was ‘astonishing’ that fugitive Shepherd is receiving legal aid in order to lodge an appeal against a six-year sentence for killing 24-year-old Charlotte Brown. The Housing Secretary’s dramatic intervention comes a day after Theresa May told the runaway to give himself up to police and called the case ‘shocking’.” – Daily Mail

SNP “split by personality cults”

“The SNP is embroiled in a war between two personality cults that is jeopardising the party’s grip on power, its former deputy leader has warned after a senior MP appeared to back Alex Salmond’s return as leader. Jim Sillars told the Telegraph that the party was paying a “high price” for allowing Mr Salmond then Nicola Sturgeon to dominate the top of the party with little external input except from a small “fan club” of advisers. He said a cult of personality had been allowed to form around each, with the two camps now at loggerheads over Ms Sturgeon’s handling of the sexual misconduct claims against Mr Salmond.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Why is the Brexit Deal so unpopular? – Stephen Fisher and Tim Bale, What UK thinks
  • Has Speaker Bercow outstayed his welcome? – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • Universal Credit can still be a game-changing policy – Patrick Spencer, CapX
  • Brexit can only take off on world trade terms – Ian Herbert, Brexit Central
  • Tories draw up a contingency plan to fight the Euro Elections – Alex Wickham, Buzzfeed 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Newslinks for Friday 11th January 2019

Leak shows Prime Minister furious at ‘plotting’ ministers…

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2017-12-19-at-06.25.43-300x300 Newslinks for Friday 11th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Furious Theresa May has accused her own Cabinet ministers of plotting to undermine her as she fights to save her Brexit deal, a bombshell secret No 10 memo has revealed. An email leaked to this newspaper lays bare the open warfare in the Cabinet as rival ministers jockey for position amid reports the Prime Minister could be forced to resign if her Brexit deal is defeated. The email, written by No 10 director of communications Robbie Gibb, slams rival Tory leadership contenders Sajid Javid, Amber Rudd and Liz Truss. He accuses them of trying to upstage Mrs May’s £20billion annual NHS boost unveiled last weekend by announcing their own initiatives at the same time. He says Mrs May was ‘frustrated’ by their actions; she had not approved them – and they had not even bothered to ask her permission. And in the email to Cabinet ‘special advisers’ – high powered spin doctors employed by senior ministers – he claims they are making her Brexit task even harder… Former BBC executive Mr Gibb does not name individual ministers in his email. But insiders said his anger was directed at Home Secretary Mr Javid, Work and Pensions Secretary Miss Rudd and Treasury Chief Secretary Miss Truss.” – Daily Mail

  • Ministers tell May ‘no deal’ could break up the UK – The Sun
  • Morgan urges May to abandon the DUP to work with Labour – Daily Telegraph
  • Ulster allies hold fast against the deal – FT
  • Gove warns no deal could ruin the Grand National – The Sun
  • Even more MPs now against the deal – Daily Express
  • May faces ‘biggest Commons defeat ever’ – Daily Mail


  • Brussels’ crowing about the Agreement shows why we should reject it – Owen Paterson, Daily Telegraph
  • With a heavy heart, I will back the Prime Minister’s deal – George Freeman MP, Times Red Box
  • Withdrawal Agreement poses a grave threat to national security – Sir Richard Dearlove, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: As they prepare to vote next Tuesday, here’s why Conservative MPs should back May’s deal


…as she ‘calls of union chiefs’ to save her deal…

“Theresa May was appealing to Britain’s biggest unions last night in an attempt to win Labour support for her Brexit deal. The prime minister called Len McCluskey, the head of Unite, as she intensified her efforts to build support across party lines. The call was Mrs May’s first conversation with Mr McCluskey, who has been a vociferous critic of the prime minister and her government. She also telephoned Tim Roache, head of the GMB, after meeting a small group of Labour MPs in Westminster on Monday. The efforts to build cross-party support came after it was claimed that the prime minister could be heading for a defeat by more than 200 in Tuesday’s meaningful vote on her Brexit deal. Unite declined to comment officially, but did not contradict No 10’s claim that the call had been constructive. “Len’s a dealmaker. He would have approached the call with an open mind,” a source said. Mr Roache was less positive but stopped short of rejecting the overture outright. Mrs May told the union leaders that she could back an amendment to strengthen the protection of workers’ rights that had been tabled by John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw. Greg Clark, the business secretary, had earlier called on MPs from opposition parties to work with the Tories to prevent the “disaster” of a no-deal Brexit that would cause “incalculable damage” to British industry.” – The Times

  • Election is Labour’s priority, says Corbyn… – The Times
  • …but he concedes holding one may delay Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • Gove brands Labour’s plan ‘b*****ks’ in Parliament – The Sun
  • Rebels also in talks with Opposition over new Brexit plan – Daily Express


  • May is tormenting Tory MPs with doses of Corbynism – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • Labour’s pro-Europe MPs are risking no deal – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Opposition must back a People’s Vote before the clock runs out – Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian
  • Trump, May, and the art of political brinkmanship – Tim Harford, FT
  • Trying to rejoin the EU is a lost cause, no matter how much Labour MPs want to – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph


>Yesterday: Left Watch: Corbyn’s lack of urgency on Brexit comes from the blunt fact that it isn’t his priority

…and Baker canvasses support for an alternative proposal…

Westlake Legal Group Screen-Shot-2017-08-05-at-09.40.17-1-294x300 Newslinks for Friday 11th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “A leading Brexiter MP is planning to publish a blueprint explaining how Theresa May should employ tough negotiating tactics with the European Union. Steve Baker, the former Brexit minister, is collecting support for a suggested written ministerial statement for the government, which its backers believe would be a pathway to better withdrawal terms and an independent trade policy. It comes amid Tory expectations of a Commons defeat for May’s withdrawal deal in the vote on Tuesday. Another former minister told the Guardian that serving ministers could stand down to vote against the deal. Baker, a leading figure in the backbench European Research Group (ERG), said he is drawing up specific suggestions to force the EU to come to the table. “I’m very clear what should be done. I’m clear that we can write down the right way forward and I am as confident as I can be that the right plan could rescue the negotiations for the country, the government, the Conservative party and the EU. Of course, in the usual way we will make constructive suggestions for the right way forward,” he said. Baker declined to offer further details on his plans. ERG members are keen to show that they have an alternative plan to May’s deal, which would be likely to involve challenging the EU to accept an amended withdrawal agreement while preparing for no deal.” – The Guardian

  • Deal threatens national security, warns ex-defence boss – The Sun
  • Abe says whole world wants the UK to avoid a no-deal departure – FT
  • Civil servants told to quit day jobs to plan for no deal – The Times
  • CBI boss claims it could see eight-point fall in GDP – Daily Mail
  • Police chief warns that it could lead to riots over food shortages – The Sun
  • Health department signs contract to store drugs under no-deal scenario – The Guardian
  • Coveney talks up prospects of deal getting approved – News Letter
  • Eight former Foreign Secretaries on Britain after Brexit – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: “No-one voted for Brexit to become poorer.” Really? We vote to deny ourselves money all the time.

Speaker accused of taking ‘kamikaze’ approach to Brexit as he prepares to step down

“John Bercow has been accused of taking a “kamikaze” approach to his role over Brexit because he is preparing to stand down. The Speaker ignored legal advice and parliamentary precedent to allow a vote that gives the Prime Minister just three days to present a “plan B” if her Brexit deal is voted down. One source said that Mr Bercow’s diary is empty from May, paving the way for him to leave after Brexit. “He is going out in a blaze of glory,” a source said. “It is kamikaze. He doesn’t care.” However James Duddridge, a Tory MP and prominent critic of John Bercow: “He has nothing else to go do. There will be a revolt against him going to the Lords. He loves the trappings of office. I can’t see him going.” Theresa May yesterday said she was “surprised” by Mr Bercow’s actions and said he should “explain” himself. She called for legal advice to be published… It came as the chief whip directly contradicted Downing Street yesterday after it suggested that MPs would be given just 90 minutes to debate a plan B for Brexit. No 10 said that under a rebel amendment forced on the Government ministers would not be obliged to hold a full debate and there would only be a single vote. However after a backlash from MPs in the Commons Julian Smith, the chief whip, said that “no decision” on the format had been taken and the information was “not correct”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Abuse is ‘water off duck’s back’, says Bercow – The Times
  • May demands he explain his decision – Daily Mail
  • Speaker ‘vows to keep helping Remainer MPs’ – The Sun

>Yesterday: Chris White in Comment: The day the Speaker set fire to Erskine May

Quentin Letts: Bercow could ignite the petrol of British politics

Westlake Legal Group John-Bercow-300x295 Newslinks for Friday 11th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “On the television news they sometimes report punch-ups in foreign parliaments – distant places such as Thailand and the Ukraine. It makes for terrific viewing, legislators whacking each other, biting, kicking and generally behaving worse than Tyson Fury in a mood. We laugh at such scenes, don’t we? We think ourselves superior, reckoning such mayhem could never occur in our House of Commons because, my dears, we’re British. We drink tea. We are far too ­civilised for such fisticuffs. After Tuesday’s extraordinary events at Westminster, when anger nearly boiled out of ­control, don’t count on it. Commons Speaker John ­Bercow, blatant as a bad ­shoplifter, bent the rules to help his mates who are trying to stop Brexit. Bercow ignored centuries of established procedure, over-rode his clerks and let hardline Remainer MP Dominic Grieve spring an amendment on an unamendable motion. I’ll spare you all the technicalities but it was like a judge, overseeing the trial of one of his golf club cronies, suddenly ­ripping up legal ­convention to give the defence a deadly advantage. When lawmakers start ­dishonouring the rules, why shouldn’t anyone else? But that way violence lies. When ­established procedures are cynically abandoned, people may conclude there is no alternative but physical force.” – The Sun

  • Biased Speaker has set the stage for the neutering of Parliament – Nikki da Costa, Daily Telegraph
  • Outrage shows the constitution is working – David Allen Green, FT
  • After Brexit, our politics needs an overhaul – Iain Martin, The Times


  • The Speaker was right to ignore convention – The Times
  • Remainer MPs pretended to honour Brexit whilst plotting to destroy it – The Sun

>Today: Lee Rowley MP in Comment: Brexit is big. But our politics is bigger – and I say that as a committed Leaver. Here are some ideas to boost it.

Ministers 1) Eurotunnel accuses Grayling of breaking rules with ferry contract

“Chris Grayling faced fresh humiliation yesterday after Eurotunnel said his £103 million Brexit contracts with ferry firms broke state aid rules. And the Le Shuttle operator said the deals were also a “unilateral breach” of Britain’s concession agreement with the firm. In a leaked letter, Eurotunnel chief Jacques Gounon storms: “It is with serious concern that we have read details of agreements between HMG and certain ferry operators. I must bring to your attention the distortionary and anti-competitive effects of such an action.” He separately revealed the Department for Transport had been in talks with the business about “running additional rail freight trains”. The Sun revealed on Wednesday that the DfT had been in negotiations with foreign-owned freight firms DB Cargo and GB Railfreight about running extra services at night to relieve pressure on Dover. The DfT has denied it could hit commuters who use the Southeastern high-speed line. In a blistering letter Mr Gounon says: “Our staff are ready to operate additional missions, assuming that HMG will bear any additional costs. Another option we are working on – as you know – is running additional freight trains.” He adds “Eurotunnel remains prepared to deliver additional capacity” but that it must be under “equivalent contracts” to those signed with the ferry operators.” – The Sun

  • How EU rules let Slovakia offer Jaguar Land Rover state-aid sweetener – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Ben Houchen in Local Government: Free Ports would allow leaving the EU to boost the most deprived regions of the UK

Ministers 2) Rudd scraps proposals to extend two-child Universal Credit limit

Westlake Legal Group universal-credit-250x300 Newslinks for Friday 11th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “Amber Rudd will on Friday scrap plans to extend the two-child limit on Universal to an extra 15,000 families because the existing Conservative policy is “not right”. Ms Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, will reverse plans to extend the cap to families with children born before the policy was introduced in April 2017 at a cost of £250 million. In a speech in London today she will say: “These parents made decisions about the size of the family when the previous system was the only system in place. So I can today announce that I am going to scrap the extension of the two-child limit on Universal Credit for children born before April 2017. All children born before that date will continue to be supported by Universal Credit. This will help approximately 15,000 families a year.” The two-child cap limits support for families through tax credits, housing benefit and Universal Credit to the first two children. Subsequent children, except in special cases, are not entitled to the “child element”, which is currently £2,780 a year. Ms Rudd’s move comes as the Commons Work and Pensions Committee branded the plans to retrospectively extend the cap to children born before it was brought in as “cruel”. The committee expressed fears about the impact of such a move on the levels of child poverty.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Benefits freeze likely to end in 2020, Secretary of State suggests – The Guardian
  • Seven thousand disabled Brits face months of waiting to get benefits back – The Sun

Ministers 3) Javid under pressure as Home Office’s deportation failures criticised

“More than 50,000 failed asylum seekers have stayed in Britain because the Home Office is removing less than half of migrants whose applications fail, a report says today. Many of those in the country illegally are thought to work in the black economy and others have simply disappeared from the Home Office’s radar. David Wood, a former director-general of immigration enforcement at the Home Office, said in his report for the think tank Civitas that many asylum applications were made not by refugees but by economic migrants exploiting the system to stay. Sajid Javid, the home secretary, was criticised last week for questioning whether people who had crossed the Channel in small boats were “genuine asylum seekers”. The Civitas report said that of 80,800 applications refused or withdrawn in the seven years to the end of 2016 only 29,600 people were removed, leaving 51,100 still in the UK. Between 10,000 and 15,000 people applying per year had no valid claim, the report said, and less than half were removed. Applications that waited more than six months for a decision rose from 4,000 in 2010 to 14,300 last year. Removals fell from about 15,000 a year in the 2000s to 5,000 last year… His report recommends speeding up application processing. It also suggests tamper-proof locks on lorries, “lie detection” technology for interviewers, and that more failed applicants should be detained. Countries that do not co-operate in providing travel documents should be “named and shamed” and people simply flown back to them.” – The Times

Ministers 4) Williamson announces readiness of next-generation F-35 fighter

Westlake Legal Group MOD Newslinks for Friday 11th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   “The UK’s next-generation fighter jet, the F-35, has been declared ready for combat and could fly its first strike missions against Isis terrorists in Syria and Iraq by the summer. Announcing the milestone on Thursday, during a visit to RAF Marham, defence secretary Gavin Williamson signalled the UK’s intent to keep up the pressure on remaining Isis fighters in the east of Syria, even as US President Donald Trump has signalled plans to withdraw troops from the country. The UK has so far taken delivery of 17 of its initial order of 48 F-35s from US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Although the majority of the jets will be deployed on Britain’s two new aircraft carriers, nine have now been cleared to fly missions from land bases. According to one defence official, some of the first nine jets will be sent to the RAF’s air base at Akrotiri in Cyprus to complete final training missions in the spring before potential deployment in Iraq and Syria later this year. “We have very clear ideas of how we want to use the F-35s operationally and we have now the capability with having nine ready to fly, nine ready to fight,” Mr Williamson said… With the ageing Tornado being phased out of service from March, the UK will now turn to the Typhoon to carry out the majority of its strike missions in the Middle East. The aircraft has just completed a weapons upgrade, adding Storm Shadow cruise missiles and Meteor air-to-air missiles to its armoury as part of a £425m refit programme.” – FT

Prosecutors to decide if protesters harassed MPs

“Three cases of alleged abuse and harassment outside parliament have been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service. It has been asked to consider whether the behaviour, including the heckling of the Tory MP Anna Soubry, went beyond lawful protest. Scotland Yard also said that online comments by far-right protesters were being examined. John Bercow, the Speaker, and more than 115 other MPs wrote letters to Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan police commissioner, calling on her to tackle the verbal abuse of Remainer MPs and commentators. Ms Soubry was surrounded by male protesters who called her a “Nazi”, which lawyers said amounted to an offence under the Public Order Act. Sir Stephen House, the Met’s deputy commissioner, told the London Assembly yesterday that three cases had been referred to the CPS. He said: “There’s a very fine judgment to be made about allowing [protesters] lawful expression of their views whilst not stopping other people going about their lawful business. People have got an absolute right to go about their lives without impediment. That’s clearly a balance, and clearly outside parliament we’re seeing it being tested to the extreme limit.” A group of pro-Brexit men have targeted specific politicians, journalists and commentators on College Green, the area opposite parliament used by broadcasters. Broadcasters briefly abandoned the area this week as MPs refused to be interviewed there.” – The Times

  • We must ensure that politicians are not at risk – Harriet Harman, Times Red Box

Sturgeon accused of breaking ministerial rules as Salmond crisis deepens

Westlake Legal Group SNP-logo-white-background-248x300 Newslinks for Friday 11th January 2019 Newslinks January 2019 Newslinks   Nicola Sturgeon is embroiled in a major leadership crisis over allegations she broke ministerial rules during five discussions she held with Alex Salmond about the sexual misconduct claims he faces. The First Minister was under intense pressure to accede to a Labour request to refer herself for investigation under the ministerial code of conduct over three meetings, including two at her home, and two phone calls she held with her former mentor. She admitted no minutes were kept of their secret discussions about the Scottish Government’s inquiry into the misconduct allegations, despite the code specifying that a record should be made if government business was significantly mentioned. In a series of astonishing omissions, she said she failed to tell Leslie Evans, her most senior mandarin, about the first meeting for more than two months and no officials were present for any of the discussions. She said the only other attendee was Liz Lloyd, her Scottish Government chief of staff, at the first discussion. It emerged she helped broker the April 2 summit last year at Ms Sturgeon’s Glasgow home. The First Minister’s denial that she interfered in the inquiry was undermined by an admission that she wrote to Ms Evans the day before her third discussion with Mr Salmond outlining his plans to take legal action. Ms Sturgeon argued that she did not have to abide by the code’s provisions for minutes being kept or an official being present because they were SNP, not government meetings, despite Ms Lloyd’s presence.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Salmond refers Scottish Government to watchdog after leaks – The Guardian
  • First Minister under fire for ‘astounding lapse in judgement’ – The Scotsman


  • Does the ‘S’ in ‘SNP’ stand for Sturgeon, or Salmond? – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Sturgeon under fire after Salmond wins case against her government

News in Brief:

  • Don’t be fooled: this Brexit deal creates a triple lock to shackle the UK to Brussels forever – A Civil Servant, Brexit Central
  • Competition and procurement are key to making a success of the NHS – David Hare, CapX
  • How Britain became the world’s largest expert in medical marijuana – Robert Jackman, The Spectator
  • Weak Macron and fading Merkel in no position to forge further integration – Walter Ellis, Reaction
  • How to stop the mis-selling of education – Peter Franklin, UnHerd

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