Politics

Newslinks for Sunday 7th August 2022


Truss 1) An ally of the Foreign Secretary describes her lead in the ConservativeHome survey and YouGov’s polls as a “blessing and a curse”…

“[T]he Truss camp are on edge about the apparently commanding nature of their lead. YouGov puts Truss 38 per cent ahead, and ConservativeHome has her advantage at 32 per cent. “The poll lead is both a blessing and a curse,” a Truss ally said. “Clearly it is better to be ahead but the lead being so high does mean Rishi has nothing to lose and can go for broke. It also means that like Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 he is scrutinised less because no one thinks he will ever enact his agenda.”… When one poll, more than a week ago, suggested Sunak was catching up, Truss’s team devised Operation Rolling Thunder, a name stolen from the Vietnam War, to describe a series of daily endorsements to suggest the foreign secretary had the momentum.” – The Sunday Times

  • Why we believe Truss should be Prime Minister – Editorial, The Sunday Telegraph
  • The Foreign Secretary could be a truly visionary Prime Minister for Britain – Penny Mordaunt, Sunday Express
  • Truss’s critics are penning her political obituary…but a crisis may be just what she needs – Dan Hodges, The Mail on Sunday

>Today:

Truss 2)…her team are in ‘secret talks’ to ‘lure defectors’ from Sunak…

“Cabinet supporters of Rishi Sunak have been in talks with Liz Truss over defecting to her campaign as her poll lead lengthens, The Mail on Sunday has learned. One prominent member of the former Chancellor’s camp was on the brink of announcing his switch to the Foreign Secretary last week, but pulled back following Ms Truss’s ill-conceived – and swiftly reversed – plan to introduce regional pay for public sector workers. With polls of Tory Party members giving Ms Truss a seemingly unstoppable lead, Ministers and senior MPs who backed Mr Sunak early in the contest – such as former Party Chairman Oliver Dowden, Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland and former Health Secretary Matt Hancock – are now left wondering about the impact on their careers.” – The Mail on Sunday

Truss 3)…she pledges to ‘rush through’ tax cuts to tackle the cost-of-living crisis…

“Liz Truss will rush through tax cuts up to six months earlier than planned, The Telegraph can disclose, with the Foreign Secretary pledging to “look at what more can be done” to tackle the rising cost of living. Until now, the Tory leadership contender had been planning to reverse the National Insurance rise from April – in line with usual Treasury rules – after formally announcing the move in an emergency budget in September. But her team have now established that she can scrap the increase immediately, meaning the change can be implemented within days of the budget and start increasing the pay received by workers from November.” – The Sunday Telegraph

  • I will pave the way to economic growth with an emergency budget – Liz Truss, The Sunday Telegraph
  • The Tories risk forgetting a rich tradition of economic thinking – Tim Pitt, The Financial Times

Truss 4)…blames her rival for the UK heading into recession…

“Liz Truss blamed Rishi Sunak for putting Britain on the road to recession yesterday as the gloves came off in the Tory leadership race. The Foreign Secretary said the policies that have led to current troubles were put in place when her rival was Chancellor. Yet Mr Sunak’s allies said Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans would only make matters worse. Tory voters appear to side with the race favourite, with a poll revealing 48 per cent support her, against 22 per cent for her opponent. Ms Truss fired yesterday’s first shots by tearing into Mr Sunak’s legacy as a high-tax Chancellor. She attacked the “abacus economics” of the Treasury under his stewardship — and vowed to reverse the National Insurance rates increase her rival introduced.” – The Sun on Sunday

Truss 5)…and as she ‘is planning’ to ‘shake up’ the education system by moving the start of the university year to January

“The start of the university year could be moved from September to January under Liz Truss’s planned shake-up of the education system, The Telegraph can disclose. Last week, Ms Truss unveiled a policy for all students receiving straight A*s in their A-levels to be automatically invited to an interview at Oxford or Cambridge. In order to deliver the pledge, the Truss campaign has said it would reform admissions so that students apply following the grading of their A-level exam results. The system – known as post-qualification admissions (PQA) – would represent a radical overhaul of current arrangements, where universities make offers on the basis of students’ predicted grades.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Sunak 1) The ex-Chancellor pledges billions more to ease cost of living crisis…

“Rishi Sunak has pledged to introduce another multibillion-pound package to help ease the cost of living crisis, saying the country faces a stark choice between “clear-eyed realism and starry-eyed boosterism”. The former chancellor said it was “wrong” of his leadership rival Liz Truss to rule out further direct support for households this winter when nightmare forecasts suggest the price cap on energy bills could reach £4,400 in January. The crisis has emerged as the new dividing line in the Conservative Party leadership race since the foreign secretary insisted tax cuts, not “handouts”, would help those facing a squeeze on their finances this winter.” – The Sunday Times

  • The ex-Chancellor: ‘My wife definitely drinks…it massively irritates her that I don’t’ – The Sunday Times
  • Only Sunak can stop this inflation nightmare – Robert Halfon, Sunday Express
  • Britain needs Asian family values. One candidate can deliver them – Dolar Popat, The Sunday Telegraph

Sunak 2)…vows to end low-earning degrees in post-16 education shake-up…

“Rishi Sunak has vowed to phase out university degrees that do not improve students’ “earning potential”, create a Russell Group of world-class technical colleges and introduce a British baccalaureate that would prevent 16-year-olds from dropping maths and English. The Tory leadership hopeful said his plans to reform post-16 education marked “a significant stride towards parity of esteem between vocational and academic education”. If he becomes the next prime minister, Sunak would strengthen networks of technical institutions and their links with industry, as well as giving them powers to award degrees, his campaign said.” – The Observer

Sunak 3)…as he is accused of ‘lacking serious judgment’ over Covid fraud by his former Treasury Minister

“Rishi Sunak lacked serious judgment in allowing billions of pounds in taxpayer cash to be lost to fraud during the Covid pandemic, his former Treasury Minister has said. Lord Agnew, who resigned in disgust at Rishi Sunak’s ‘spray and pay’ approach to coronavirus handouts, has said the next Prime Minister must urgently fix the Covid black hole he left behind. As much as a tenth of the £376 billion Covid bill was squandered by the Treasury to fraud, waste or loss – potentially costing each Briton £559.This included loans worth up to £17 billion granted under the bounce-back loan scheme which will never be repaid. Of this, £4 billion was lost to organised criminals, fraudsters and error, according to the latest estimates.” – The Mail on Sunday

Robert Colville: They may not realise it yet, but the Tories are actually choosing Johnson over Cameron

“[T]he choice between Truss and Sunak is not just about policy or personality. It is, in effect, a choice between doubling down on the electoral realignment that took place under Johnson and Theresa May, or returning to a Tory vote that looks more like David Cameron’s. And it is one that dictates the electoral battleground. A Tory party that scraps with Labour for working-class Leavers in the north will find it harder to keep middle-class Remainers in the south from drifting to the Lib Dems — and of course vice versa…the Tory selectorate have indeed been making a choice between Johnsonism and Cameronism in this contest — but it has been one in which the odds were always in favour of the former, simply because the party’s transformation was already so far advanced.” – The Sunday Times

Johnson’s allies are ‘incandescent’ at the ‘vengeful’ parliamentary committee they claim is ‘hellbent’ on removing him from the Commons…

“The next Prime Minister will come under intense pressure over a ‘rigged’ investigation into Boris Johnson’s actions over Partygate, that could potentially lead to him being stripped of his right to sit in the Commons. Allies of Mr Johnson describe themselves as ‘incandescent’ about the Commons privileges committee probe into whether he misled Parliament over Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street…The Johnson allies dismiss the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and a ‘constitutional travesty’, pointing out the history of anti-Boris remarks by the seven members of the committee and arguing that it ‘moved the goalposts’ by changing the inquiry’s terms of reference to continue to pursue Mr Johnson even after he had been fined by police, apologised and toppled as Prime Minister.” – The Mail on Sunday

  • Johnson has already paid a heavy price…so axe this vengeful tribunal – Editorial, The Mail on Sunday

…as his ‘last act in government’ will be to award payments for victims of the NHS tainted blood scandal

“Boris Johnson’s last act in government will be to award interim payments of £100,000 to the victims of the contaminated blood scandal. Ministers will announce this week that payouts will be made to all those infected with deadly diseases through contaminated blood products “as soon as possible”. The Sunday Times has campaigned on the issue for more than four decades. It will be the first time that the government has recognised the state’s culpability for the worst treatment disaster in the National Health Service’s history, which led to at least 2,400 deaths… A No 10 source said: “The prime minister strongly believes that all those who suffered so terribly as a result of this injustice should receive compensation as quickly as possible.”” – The Sunday Times

Zahawi to appoint an ex-mandarin with ‘no economic experience’ to the Bank of England’s board

“A former mandarin with “no economic experience” is on course to be appointed to the Bank of England’s board after civil servants told the Chancellor she would “make a strong contribution to improving diversity and inclusion”. Dame Clare Moriarty, a former permanent secretary of the environment department, has been selected by Nadhim Zahawi, having been lined up by Rishi Sunak before his resignation last month. A source close to Mr Sunak denied that any of his special advisers carried out due diligence checks on Dame Clare. But a government source criticised the decision to put her forward for the role amid the growing cost of living crisis and pressure over the Bank’s handling of inflation.” – The Sunday Telegraph

  • Baroness Nicholson accuses the bank of being ‘too focused on the woke agenda’ after donating almost £10,000 to Stonewall – The Mail on Sunday
  • History tells us the Bank of England is an easy target – but be careful what you wish for… – Oliver Shah, The Sunday Times

Raab to ‘bar trans prisoners from women’s jails’ in ‘strict new policy’

“Transgender prisoners who are biologically male are to be blocked from serving time in women’s jails, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Following high-profile sex scandals involving trans prisoners, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab plans to implement a new policy whereby Ministers have to sign off any move to a women’s prison of a male-bodied inmate who self identifies as a woman. The Government would also have the power to order the removal of transgender prisoners from jails. Sources said Mr Raab has adopted the tough stance following an alarming incident earlier this year involving a transgender prisoner serving time for murder at HMP Bronzefield in Surrey.” – The Mail on Sunday

Hosepipe bans must come in now, says Eustice

“Millions of households across the south of England could be hit with hosepipe bans within days after the Environment Secretary urged more water companies to introduce urgent restrictions. In the first public intervention by ministers over the possible drought, George Eustice said it was “right” that some firms had already taken action. “I strongly urge other water companies to take responsible action to protect and preserve our water supplies during this exceptionally dry period,” he added. His remarks, in an article for The Telegraph, come as some ministers and senior officials fear firms are being too slow to react to the driest spell since 1976. Environmental groups have already criticised water companies for failing to act quickly.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Jacob Rees-Mogg: We must fight Whitehall waste and woke indoctrination to be a more efficient nation

“Fighting waste in Whitehall must be a central part of the nation’s efforts to curb the rising cost of living. It will also help fund tax cuts to let hard-working Britons keep as much of their own money as possible. I work with some excellent civil ­servants who are cost-conscious but I see the widespread evidence of a ­culture of wastefulness. Fundamentally, there should be a sacred understanding in Government that all its money comes from private citizens and not a single pound should be spent unless it is really necessary. Whitehall has not taken efficiency seriously enough. I always knew there was a problem with waste but I soon saw how badly money can be spent, having taken up my post as minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency at the beginning of the year.” – The Sun on Sunday

  • Accusations of a ‘zombie government’ as more than half of departments delay key decisions – The Observer
  • The next Prime Minister must crack down on rampant Whitehall waste – Editorial, The Sun on Sunday

Russian ‘threatens to sue Shapps’ over online video of superyacht seizure

“Had it not been for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the £38 million superyacht Phi would be gliding through the blue waters of the Mediterranean this weekend, while its passengers enjoyed its onboard luxuries…the 192ft boat is languishing in a dock at Canary Wharf, east London, from which it has barely moved since it was boarded by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) in March and served with a detention notice. At the time of the raid, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, described the sleek new vessel as “an icon of Russia’s power and wealth” and hailed its arrest as a “stark warning to Putin and his cronies”. Now, however, the yacht’s secretive owner, Sergei Naumenko, has hit back, accusing Shapps of defaming him and putting him on notice of a libel action.” – The Sunday Times

Gordon Brown: ‘Set emergency budget or risk a winter of dire poverty’

“The more the Conservative leadership election heats up, the more the remaining candidates have resorted to claiming the moral high ground. Raising debt is “immoral”, Rishi Sunak is saying. “High taxes are ‘immoral’,” retorts Liz Truss. But there is nothing moral about indifferent leaders condemning millions of vulnerable and blameless children and pensioners to a winter of dire poverty. The reality is grim and undeniable: a financial timebomb will explode for families in October as a second round of fuel price rises in six months sends shockwaves through every household and pushes millions over the edge…With time running out to update the universal credit payments system before the October rise, Boris Johnson, Sunak and Truss must this week agree an emergency budget.” – The Observer

  • The next leader must be switched on to spiraling energy crisis – Editorial, The Sunday Times
  • The miserable truth is that our leaders don’t want us to have cheap energy – Daniel Hannan, The Sunday Telegraph

Starmer ‘hid’ secret land ownership from ‘Commons chiefs’ for eight years

“Sir Keir Starmer hid a secret land ownership worth tens of thousands of pounds from Commons chiefs for eight years. The Labour leader was finally forced to admit he was the true owner of a seven-acre field in Oxted, Surrey, during a probe by the Commons Standards Commissioner. Sir Keir has now had to apologise for not revealing the plot — purchased for his poorly mum to graze donkeys — was held in his name. Sir Keir acquired the land in 1996 when he was a well-heeled lawyer, and claimed he had “gifted” it to his late parents. But his name was on the title deeds — and he is now in the process of flogging it. Last night a Labour Party spokesman said: “Keir was unaware the field’s value had increased above the declarable limit.” – The Sun on Sunday

  • If Starmer wants to be Prime Minister, he could learn a lot from Truss the insurgent – Steve Richards, The Sunday Times

News in Brief:

  • Why Liz Truss is right to say ‘forecasts are not destiny’ – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator 
  • America has lost its purpose – Jacob Siegel, UnHerd 
  • The next Prime Minister needs to introduce an Emergency Planning Act – Brendan Chilton, CapX 
  • England and Germany’s family fallout – Ed West, Wrong Side of History 
  • Is China preparing to invade Taiwan? – Katie Stallard, The New Statesman 



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