“Rishi Sunak left Suella Braverman dangling in a speeding ticket row last night – amid claims the Whitehall blob is trying to take out another minister. The PM was still weighing up launching a formal probe into whether the Home Secretary broke the ministers’ rulebook by asking her civil servants to organise a private speed awareness course last year… But critics say involving officials may have broken the Ministerial Code. Yesterday in a fiery Commons exchanges, Braverman insisted she was “confident that nothing untoward has happened” and accused Labour of making political mischief to distract from their own dire crime records.” – The Sun
>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Braverman. Rather than breaking rules or abusing power, she seems to have been set on avoiding harm or being taped
“Suella Braverman, UK home secretary, has insisted there was “nothing untoward” in her handling of a speeding offence, as Labour demanded her resignation if she is found to have breached the ministerial code… Braverman accused Labour of trying to weaponise the claims about her conduct to “distract from the abject failure of the Labour party to offer any serious proposals on crime and policing”. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told ITV her actions looked “inappropriate” and should be investigated, adding: “I think if she’s breached the ministerial code she should go.”” – FT
“A national compensation scheme for victims of child sexual abuse is to be introduced in England, Suella Braverman has announced. Thousands of victims “let down by institutions in the past” will be eligible for the fixed term compensation, paid by the Government. It was recommended by the seven-year independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA), which reported last October. The Home Secretary told the Commons it was a landmark commitment but acknowledged it would take time to set up – as MPs urged her not to delay introducing the necessary reforms.” – Daily Telegraph
“Few were surprised when Truss made her home secretary, faithful as it was to the overarching Truss philosophy of doing the worst thing whenever possible. You may recall, though, she was actually forced to resign from that cabinet at the height of its dysfunction because of some baffling scandal about an email. Ask even seasoned Westminster hacks what happened there and they’re liable to wince and shrug. As if some political shenanigans are too twisted for human ken, like the Upside Down in Stranger Things. That Sunak opted to reappoint her, a mere six days later, cuts right to the heart of his biggest problem.” – The Times
“Immigration could be cut by up to 150,000 under plans expected to be announced on Wednesday that will bar most foreign students from bringing family members to the UK. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, is due to announce that all foreign students except for those on doctoral courses and a small number of other limited exemptions, such as research-led master’s courses, will be barred from bringing dependants to the UK. Internal government modelling has predicted the move would cut the number of migrants coming to the UK by between 120,000 and 150,000 based on 2023 figures. The vast majority of overseas students in the UK are full-time postgraduate students from non-EU countries.” – The Times
>Today: Poppy Coburn’s column: Why Ministers have opted for more immigration. It’s easy because it’s quick.
“The British government is selling £1.26bn worth of its stake in NatWest, reducing its ownership of the lender that it bailed out in 2008 to below 40 per cent. The sale, announced on Monday, will cut the government’s stake in the high street bank to 38.6 per cent, down from 41.4 per cent. “Today’s sale is another major milestone in returning NatWest to full private ownership as promised,” said City minister Andrew Griffith. “The government has now sold well over half of its shareholding.” The shares will be sold to NatWest at Friday’s closing price of 268.4p, well below the 502p the government paid in 2008 in the £46bn bailout of the lender then known as RBS.” – FT
>Today: ToryDiary: You may not be interested in industrial strategy, Prime Minister. But industrial strategy is interested in you
“Dominic Raab will stand down as an MP at the next general election, calling time on his parliamentary career just a month after he quit the Cabinet over bullying claims from civil servants. The Telegraph has seen an exchange of letters between the former deputy prime minister and the chairman of his local Conservative Association dated last Friday explaining his decision… The constituency Mr Raab has represented since 2010, Esher and Walton in Surrey, is one of the top targets for the Liberal Democrats at the next election, which is due to take place next year.” – Daily Telegraph
“An Egyptian-born billionaire has become the Conservative Party’s biggest donor in more than two decades, after announcing that he had given the party £5 million before next year’s general election. Mohamed Mansour, who was appointed the party’s treasurer last year, said he was donating the money to give Rishi Sunak the best chance of defeating Labour and having a full five-year term. The money is the equivalent of about 16 per cent of the Conservative Party’s total income last year and more than the £4.8 million that the Tories reported in total donations in the final quarter of last year.” – The Times
>Yesterday: Gary Porter in Local Government: I put more shoe leather into this election than I had in the last three combined. So why did I lose?
“Red traffic lights in London could be switched off at night if Sadiq Khan is sacked as Mayor, The Sun can reveal. Tory hopeful Dan Korski today vowed to finally end Mr Khan’s attack on drivers and impose a radical shake-up of London’s roads. If elected London Mayor, Mr Korski would explore switching off red lights between 10pm and 7am. Instead, amber flashing lights managed by sensors would “ease the flow of traffic”… Mr Korski, a former No.10 aide, would also allow motorists and cyclists to share lanes on routes where bike segregation has caused annoying congestion.” – The Sun
>Today: Local Government: Nominations have closed to be the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London.
>Yesterday: Events: Stronger North, Stronger Britain: Northern Research Group Conference 2023
“The green quango Natural England has been accused of blocking 160,000 new homes and helping to push housebuilding to its lowest level since the 1920s. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has warned that Natural England’s actions, and recent changes to planning policy, threaten to reduce the number of new homes from 240,000 a year in 2018-19 to 111,000 by 2025. Rules imposed by Natural England, the agency within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs responsible for protecting the landscape, have led 74 councils to block developments that could not show they would not pollute water systems.” – The Times
“Millions of jobless Brits should form the backbone of an economic recovery – not overseas workers, Rachel Reeves says today. Labour’s aspiring Chancellor declares the five million on out-of-work handouts must be given the chance to clock on again to help the country thrive. And she told The Sun net migration is too high with a promise that a Labour government “wouldn’t turn to immigration as the easy answer to these labour shortages”. Last week Labour’s Chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said that Labour would allow net migration to rise in the short term to fill gaps in the job market… Speaking on a visit to the United States, she said simply allowing in foreign workers to take British jobs “doesn’t make any sense at all.”” – The Sun
>Today: Malcolm Gooderham in Comment: Questions for Reeves as her Washington speech looms
“Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on Monday sidestepped questions over how his party plans to fund its wide ranging reforms to England’s health service, as he outlined his plans to build an NHS “fit for the future”. Starmer warned that the NHS would not survive “five more years of Tory government”, arguing that a Labour administration would get the health service “back on its feet” by meeting within five years long-missed targets for the time people waited for ambulances and hospital treatment, and halving the gap in healthy life expectancy between different regions. The Labour leader… promised to outline a comprehensive breakdown of funding for his NHS plan “before the election”.” – FT
>Today: David Willetts’ column: The single best action we could take to ensure Britain benefits from AI? Sort the NHS’s patient records.
>Yesterday: Richard Balfe in Comment: The Government should drop the strikes bill and get real about trades unions
“Labour could introduce a new tax on sugary and salty foods after the cost-of-living crisis eases, Sir Keir Starmer has suggested. The Labour leader made the remarks as he unveiled new plans to ban the marketing of junk food to children on TV and social media… Sir Keir said he would pump more money into the health service, but repeatedly refused to specify how much or where it would come from. Part of his plan is to encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles, alleviating the burden on hospitals from conditions such as heart disease.” – Daily Telegraph
“Sweeping cuts to the Army must be stopped, Labour’s defence spokesman will say today. But the Opposition will not commit to building up troop numbers despite the security threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. John Healey will call on the Government to halt 13 years of ‘hollowing out’ of the Armed Forces. This has seen the size of the Army reduced to its lowest number of soldiers since Napoleonic times. By 2025, the total manpower is expected to shrink to just 73,000 troops… Today, there are 25,000 fewer full-time troops in the Army than in 2010, according to Labour. Meanwhile, many hugely expensive defence procurement projects have blown their multi-billion pound budgets and been hit by delays.” – Daily Mail
“Margaret Ferrier has lost her appeal against a proposed 30-day ban from the House of Commons over Covid rule breaches, paving the way for a byelection in the MP’s Scottish constituency. The former Scottish National party MP was found to have damaged the reputation of the Commons and put people at risk after taking part in a debate and travelling by train while she had Covid in September 2020. The failure of her appeal could trigger a recall petition in her Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, where a byelection would provide Labour with an opportunity to contest a seat in Scotland, where it hopes to make gains in the general election.” – The Guardian
“Northern Ireland’s biggest unionist party vowed to extend its boycott of Stormont’s political institutions until London reforms the region’s budget and provides guarantees over its place in the UK. Democratic Unionist party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said on Monday local council elections held last week had delivered “a renewed mandate to go back to the government and secure the solutions that we need”. The DUP has been boycotting the assembly and power-sharing executive at Stormont since regional elections last May in protest at post-Brexit trade rules, which it argues undermine the region’s position in the UK and its internal market.” – FT