Newslinks for Wednesday 23rd November 2022

Sunak 1) The Prime Minister warns of winter of crippling inflation, chaotic strikes, and stretched NHS services

“A biting winter storm of crippling inflation, chaotic strikes and stretched NHS services looms this winter, Rishi Sunak has warned. The PM braced the nation for miserable months ahead, which he blamed on aftershocks of the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine. No 10 revealed the gloomy forecast he had given his Cabinet, saying: “Looking ahead to winter, the Prime Minister said this would be a challenging period for the country.” Ministers have now ramped up plans to “mitigate challenges” of the dire NHS backlog, strikes across industries including nurses and rail workers and 11 per cent price rises. It came as the UK was set to become one of the worst performing economies in the developed world — with forecasts showing the economy shrinking 0.4 per cent next year.” – The Sun

  • ‘I’m not the Grinch,’ claims RMT boss as more strikes announced over Christmas – The Daily Mail
  • Public-sector workers face pay squeeze as ministers warn independent review boards not to stoke inflation – The I
  • Economic sabotage is the last thing workers need – Editorial, Daily Express
  • Sunak has no idea how appallingly broken the NHS is – Allison Pearson, The Daily Telegraph
  • Unions aim to wreck festive period to win privileged treatment – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

>Yesterday:

Sunak 2) He delays ‘critical’ vote on planning reforms due to backbench rebellion

“Prime minister Rishi Sunak has delayed a critical vote on planning reform in an attempt to assuage a growing rebellion of “blue wall” Conservative MPs who are concerned about the prospect of losing their seat to the Liberal Democrats at the next general election…MPs in more prosperous southern seats — the so-called blue wall — are fiercely opposed to relaxing restrictions, while those in the “red wall” of Labour’s pro-Brexit former heartlands want to make it easier to build. Sunak has pushed back votes on the levelling-up and regeneration bill, which contains proposals to give more say to local communities on planning decisions, after 47 MPs signed an amendment that would water down targets on local councils to build additional homes.” – The Financial Times

  • Tories rebel against target of 300,000 new homes a year – The Times
  • MPs ‘in leafy rural and suburban seats’ aim to make housebuilding targets advisory – a move colleagues brand ‘politically insane’ – The Daily Mail
  • Tory rebels will regret wishing for a spell in opposition – Dr Liam Fox, The Daily Telegraph 

>Today:

Sunak 3) Downing Street ‘fears logjam’ if EU laws are reviewed

“Downing Street is conducting a Whitehall review of plans to scrap or retain all EU legislation in UK law by the end of next year amid warnings from officials that it will force ministers to axe other policy priorities. Under legislation going through parliament the government will have to assess whether to keep 2,400 pieces of legislation brought into UK law through Britain’s membership of the EU…The plan was championed by Jacob Rees-Mogg…but Rishi Sunak backed the proposal during the Tory leadership campaign. However, amid concerns at both the pressures it would place on some government departments and on parliamentary time, the Cabinet Office is carrying out an audit to find out how much progress has been made and whether a delay in some areas may be necessary.” – The Times

  • Incredibly, the Tories have squandered another year of Brexit – Ben Marlow, The Daily Telegraph

Raab ‘reaffirms commitment to free speech’ by planning protections in Bill of Rights…

“Dominic Raab has renewed his commitment to crucial free speech protections in a resurrected Bill of Rights. It is the first time the Deputy Prime Minister has made clear measures to guard free speech will be pursued after the legislation was put on the back burner by Liz Truss’s administration. Mr Raab, who is also Justice Secretary, oversaw the first incarnation of the Bill – which set out to prevent human rights legislation being abused. He told the Daily Mail last night: ‘Free speech is a quintessentially British right and the Bill of Rights will strengthen its protection on these shores.’ Mr Raab told the House of Commons: ‘The idea that the Human Rights Act was the last word on human rights in UK constitutional history is daft.” – The Daily Mail

…as he defends the bill as a ‘significant step forward’

“UK justice secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday defended plans to reintroduce contentious human rights legislation to parliament, saying “it’s time” to pursue “a significant constitutional step forward”. Raab unveiled the Bill of Rights in June this year while serving in Boris Johnson’s government. Scrapped by his successor Liz Truss but reinstated by Rishi Sunak, it is intended to replace the 1998 Human Rights Act (HRA), which put human rights legislation directly into UK law. The proposed bill has drawn fierce criticism from lawyers and former judges, who have warned that it will undermine the UK’s status as a legal centre and risk causing friction with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.” – The Financial Times

  • The Deputy Prime Minister had ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt’ charm as he was grilled by the Justice Committee – Henry Deedes, The Daily Mail

Ministers ‘braced’ for large rise in immigration amidst gloomy economic forecasts

“Ministers are braced for a large rise in net migration when the latest numbers are published as international experts warned Britain’s economy was dependent on easing worker shortages. The number of people settling in the UK in the past year, minus those who have left the country, is expected to come in at higher than its previous level of 239,000. Government insiders have privately accepted there will be a significant increase despite their stated policy of pushing down net migration, i understands. The figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday will for the first time show the impact of tens of thousands of recent Channel crossings by asylum seekers in small boats.” – The I

  • Jenkyns urges Braverman to ‘get a grip of migrants crisis’ and show ‘tangible results’ – The Daily Mail
  • Business is right to demand a flexible approach to admitting foreign workers, but getting inactive Britons into the labour market should be a priority – Editorial, The Times

Smith, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, to stand down at the next election, prompting fears of an ‘exodus’ of Tory MPs

“The former cabinet minister Chloe Smith is to stand down at the next election, prompting predictions of an exodus of Tory MPs worried about losing their seats. Smith, 40, said that she was quitting at the “right time” for her family. She has a majority of 4,738, which is likely to be vulnerable. Last night William Wragg, 34, who has held the Greater Manchester constituency of Hazel Grove since 2015, announced that he too would be standing down. With Conservative campaign headquarters giving sitting MPs a deadline of December 5 to decide whether to stand again, one MP said they expected as many as 80 to bow out. They predicted a generational turnover, saying that even Tory MPs in some winnable seats would step down if it looked like the party would lose power.” – The Times

  • Wragg also announces he won’t be standing, ahead of CCHQ’s December deadline – The Guardian

Johnson claims Germany wanted Ukraine to ‘crumble quickly’ after Russia’s invasion and that France was ‘in denial’ until troops went in

“Boris Johnson has suggested Germany wanted a fast defeat of Ukraine – while France was ‘in denial’ up until Russian troops stepped over the border. The former prime minister said there were a variety of opinions on the tensions between the warring countries prior to the invasion on February 24. He singled out three of the EU’s most prominent nations in explosive remarks made in an interview to CNN. Mr Johnson said: ‘The German view was at one stage that if it were going to happen, which would be a disaster, then it would be better for the whole thing to be over quickly and for Ukraine to fold. I thought that was a disastrous way of looking at it. But I can understand why they thought as they did.’” – The Daily Mail

Shorthouse, the founder of Bright Blue, to quit over the party’s ‘betrayal of millennials’

“The founder of an influential Conservative thinktank is to quit his post, accusing the government of betraying his generation as it faces stagnant wages and little help with punishing housing and childcare costs. Ryan Shorthouse, 37, will leave the…thinktank he founded, Bright Blue, next year and told the Guardian he was deeply disillusioned with…the last 12 years under the Tories – saying Rishi Sunak had failed to reinvigorate Conservative vision…“The Tory government has failed my generation – millennials – who have come of age and entered the labour market under 12 years of Tory rule, with punishing housing and childcare costs – combined with stagnant wages – preventing the building blocks of what Conservatives believe make the good life,” Shorthouse said.” – The Guardian

Patterson ‘sues over privacy’ regarding lobbying rules breach

“Owen Paterson, the former cabinet minister, is suing the government for infringing his human rights after he was found to have broken lobbying rules. Paterson, 66, a minister under David Cameron, resigned as an MP last November after the parliamentary ethics watchdog said he had breached paid-advocacy rules and lobbied for two companies that paid him. The standards committee said that Paterson should be suspended for 30 days, but Boris Johnson, then the prime minister, tried to overturn the decision. When he failed, Paterson quit. He is suing Britain at the European Court of Human Rights, according to documents published yesterday. The court, in Strasbourg, interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. It is not part of the EU.” – The Times

Starmer’s call to stop hiring foreign workers sparks fresh party in-fighting

“Sir Keir Starmer sparked fresh party infighting yesterday after telling bosses to stop hiring cheap foreign workers. The Labour leader said he wanted to wean Britain off its “immigration dependency” and instead train more staff at home. But his infuriated predecessor Jeremy Corbyn railed: “Without immigration, the trains wouldn’t run, businesses wouldn’t function and the NHS wouldn’t exist. “We will not end cheap labour by dividing workers and belittling migrants’ contribution.” Sir Keir hardened his migration stance after previously warning that ending EU free movement would damage the economy. In the 2020 Labour leadership election he said: “We have to make the case for the benefits of migration and for the benefits of free movement.”” – The Sun

  • Unions, not business, matter to Starmer – Editorial, The Daily Mail
  • Labour’s migrations plans are far from convincing – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • The trouble with Starmer isn’t that he has no beliefs. It’s that he has whatever beliefs he thinks will het him elected – Stephen Pollard, The Daily Mail

>Today:

Labour ‘plans to shake up the UK’ by extending devolution

“A Labour party review of the constitution by former prime minister Gordon Brown is set to recommend banning second jobs for MPs, beefing up the Electoral Commission and extending further devolution to both the English regions and the parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour party, who commissioned Brown to carry out the review, has already endorsed one of its recommendations to overhaul the House of Lords ahead of its publication in early December. Starmer is expected to accept other proposals in the review, designed to provide a framework for how Labour would pursue devolution if it wins the next general election, which is expected in 2024.” – The Financial Times

Sturgeon ‘won’t win’ Scottish independence referendum even if the Supreme Court rules later that she can have her ‘glorified opinion poll’, says Sillars

“Nicola Sturgeon will not win a Scottish independence referendum regardless of whether the Supreme Court rules she has the legal power to call one, a former deputy SNP leader said. Former SNP deputy Jim Sillars, 85, slammed the current SNP leader’s plans for a second independence referendum as ‘nothing more than a glorified opinion poll’. He also said he hoped the UK Government would win its battle in the Supreme Court – who will rule this morning on whether the Scottish Government can hold a second referendum on independence next year without approval from Westminster. Mr Sillars said he wants  the court to decide that ‘the constitution is reserved’, meaning that the Scottish Parliament cannot call an independence referendum.” – The Daily Mail

  • Supreme court to rule on second independence referendum – The Guardian
  • Sturgeon faces make or break moment for Indyref2 – and maybe her authority – Alan Cochrane, The Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • How did contemporary culture become so dismal? – Gareth Roberts, The Spectator 
  • The dangerous rise of Black Hebrew Israelites – Ralph Leonard, UnHerd 
  • Has the media forgotten Iran? – Steve Dew-Jones, The Critic 
  • Beware the post-Protestant missionaries – Ed West, Wrong Side of History