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“The home secretary will be under a legal duty to remove nearly all asylum seekers who arrive on small boats and there will be a cap on refugee numbers, under new plans. The duty will take precedence over human rights and modern slavery claims and there will be new powers to enable the mass detention of tens of thousands of people every year before their removal. There will be constraints on the rights of migrants to use a judicial review to challenge decisions. The illegal migration bill will make exceptions only for unaccompanied children and those suffering “grave” illnesses.” – The Times
“Suella Braverman has vowed to “push the boundaries of international law” to stop migrants entering the UK illegally in a direct challenge to European human rights judges. The Home Secretary will on Tuesday unveil a new law to detain migrants who arrive illegally and deport them to their home nation or a “safe” country such as Rwanda to claim asylum there. Migrants will only be able to prevent their removal on asylum, human rights or modern slavery grounds in exceptional circumstances. It can also be revealed that it will be stated in the Bill that the new laws may not be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), although ministers believe that they are.” – Daily Telegraph
“In January, I made it one of my five promises to the country to stop the boats — and today we are bringing forward new laws to do so. I know Sun readers have heard promises before. Previous Bills have made a start on gripping this problem, but what we are announcing today takes that work forward. It will mean that those who come here on small boats can’t claim asylum here. This new law will send a clear signal that if you come to this country illegally, you will be swiftly removed. That’s the right and fair thing to do, especially for those who are being exploited by criminal gangs and putting their lives at risk to come here.” – The Sun
“However, the settlement is not expected to be anywhere near the £8billion-£11billion extra Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has been demanding to deal with surging inflation. The department is seen as particularly exposed to inflation due to its huge equipment projects. Mr Wallace suggested he has not given up on his lobbying today, saying he is ‘pretty confident’ the military will get the investment it needs. Asked at Conservative Home’s defence and security conference on Monday whether he was confident he would receive the investment the armed forces required, said: ‘I’m pretty confident, yes.'” – Daily Mail
>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Andrew Gimson’s sketch: Wallace the wine waiter says the Army’s kit is “desperately in need of replacement”
“Boris Johnson has put his father’s name forward for a knighthood in his resignation honours list, it has been reported. Should Stanley Johnson’s knighthood be approved by the Cabinet Office, he will join his son Jo, a former Tory minister now in the House of Lords, in being honoured by the ex-prime minister. While it has been met with some criticism, several Tory MPs appeared to show support for the former PM’s decision. Backbencher Michael Fabricant said: ‘Stanley Johnson should have received a knighthood years ago… he was in the European Parliament and afterward he engaged in animal conservation work worldwide, and has written books on environmental and population issues.'” – Daily Mail
>Yesterday: Adam Wildsmith in Comment: Only bold policies on housing and childcare can make reality of Sunak’s pro-family rhetoric
“Kemi Badenoch is hoping to seal a trade deal with Israel this year as the UK tries to gain an advantage over global rivals in the lucrative services sector. The Business and Trade Secretary is in Tel Aviv this week with British negotiators to update existing arrangements for the smartphone era. She said: ‘What we’re looking for is something… world-class that we haven’t seen before – a services-based, high-tech innovative trade agreement including digital, health – all of the innovations that our countries specialise in.’ However, officials stressed that she was seeking ‘the best deal, not the fastest’.” – Daily Mail
>Yesterday: David Spencer in Comment: Sunak must get serious on Taiwan
“Ministers are tussling over more than a billion pounds in science funding as Rishi Sunak cools on rejoining the European Union’s research scheme. Downing Street said yesterday that the prime minister was “taking stock” of whether to apply to rejoin the Horizon collaboration after the EU lifted objections because of a deal on the Northern Ireland protocol. British scientists are pleading with Sunak to return to a programme they believe will help to achieve his goal of making Britain a “science superpower”. However, he is said to be sceptical about Horizon, with sources saying: “He thinks it’s a very expensive way to fund a lot of small academic collaborations which don’t really change the world.”” – The Times
“Matt Hancock discussed a plan to block funding for a new centre for disabled children and adults as a way of pressuring a rebel Tory MP to back new lockdown restrictions, The Lockdown Files show. WhatsApp messages between Mr Hancock, the then health secretary, and his political aide show they discussed taking a plan for a learning disability hub in Bury, Greater Manchester, “off the table” if James Daly, the Bury North MP, sided against the Government in a key vote. It came ahead of the vote on Dec 1, 2020 on the introduction of a toughened new local tiers system of restrictions for England. The Telegraph has also obtained a WhatsApp message with an attached list of 95 Conservative MPs planning to vote against the tier system and detailing their concerns about it.” – Daily Telegraph
““Transformative” changes to England’s student finance system that promised to allow people to retrain at any age will exclude over-60s, the government has confirmed. The Department for Education on Tuesday unveiled details of its life-long loan entitlement, a flagship policy giving everyone in England access to government finance for short courses focused on workplace skills. Skills minister Robert Halfon said the overhaul was a “radical prospect” that would allow more people to improve their lives by upskilling. “I think it’s going to be transformative because it will enable . . . many many more people to climb that skills ladder,” Halfon said.” – FT
“A bid to take back control of Britain’s roads from unnecessary closures and delays caused by spurious roadworks will be launched today when legislation is published this morning by former minister Mark Francois. The senior Tory backbencher will push his Roadworks (Regulation) Bill designed to curtail the seemingly endless increase of roadworks in Britain and help “Can the Cones.” The Bill has come about because of a rise in the number of road and lane closures often where work is not being carried out with sometimes miles of plastic cones. Mr Francois’s efforts now have the “full support” of the AA since he first presented the Bill to the House of Commons late last year.” – Daily Express
“Sue Gray and Sir Keir Starmer have been accused by ministers of breaking government rules and damaging the civil service’s reputation for impartiality. Jeremy Quin, the Cabinet Office minister, told MPs that offering a senior civil servant a job as chief of staff to the leader of the opposition was “playing fast and loose” with rules designed to ensure the integrity of Whitehall. Starmer is under increasing pressure to set out the timeline of his approach to Gray after refusing six times on Monday to give details of when he first made contact with the senior civil servant who led an investigation into illegal Downing Street parties. He said only that it was “recent” and after Gray had completed her parties report.” – The Times
“Labour’s shadow chancellor will on Monday accuse the Conservatives of changing corporation tax rates like a “yo-yo” as she announces a review into business levies. Rachel Reeves will use a speech in London to accuse the Tory Government of attempting “sticking plaster” solutions for the problem of comparatively low investment levels in the UK. The intervention comes amid a Tory civil war emerging over Rishi Sunak’s plans to raise the rate of corporation tax from 19 per cent to 25 per cent this April. A group of vocal Tory backbenchers, including Boris Johnson, the former prime minister, is lobbying for the rise to be abandoned in this month’s Budget, but the Treasury is insisting the policy will remain.” – Daily Telegraph
>Today: Bartek Staniszewski in Local Government: Labour promises a ‘new deal’ on housing. But fails the key challenge of increasing supply.
>Yesterday: Anthony Browne MP in Comment: Our fractured pension system penalises savers. To fix it, my new bill would put employees in control.
“The Democratic Unionist Party is to consult business groups and community leaders about whether to back Rishi Sunak’s Northern Ireland Brexit agreement, amid signs that its leadership is moving towards supporting the deal. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, said he was setting up an eight-person panel to assess the views of unionists on the Windsor agreement and a potential return to power sharing. DUP figures said the composition of the panel, which includes two former party leaders, indicated that Donaldson was inclined to endorse the changes to the protocol negotiated with the European Union by Sunak.” – The Times
>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What can Sunak learn from the Brexit negotiations about realising ‘Global Britain’?