Maitland Political Monitor – 17 July 2017
As parliament enters its last week before the summer recess, the reality of life in a hung parliament is coming to the PM.
Her Chancellor appeared on the Andrew Marr show over the weekend to suggest that some colleagues who do not agree with his approach on Brexit are trying to undermine him. Meanwhile, unnamed sources have accused the Chancellor of trying to “undermine” Brexit in the Telegraph. Hammond also put pressure on Brexiteers by suggesting that there is a growing consensus around a transition deal.
In slightly more mundane, but important news, the government will today announce the High Speed Rail 2 route, amid reports that it will be the most expensive in the world at £403 million per mile. Chris Grayling said that he did not recognise this figure, or “anything like it”.
HS2, along with other infrastructure projects looked to have been factored in after the election, seems liable to being stopped. The parliamentary math has changed suddenly to be anti-HS2 as campaigners in the house could convince their colleagues that even if HS2 only costs a few hundred votes; it could cost them their seat.
With a cabinet playing out a soap opera in the public eye and every government policy now up for debate, the PM will be looking forward to the break, and hope that hot tempers from senior ministers will cool with the pause in parliamentary procedure.
- Transport secretary Chris Grayling announced this morning that the construction company Carillion and the infrastructure group Balfour Beatty have won contracts to work on the HS2 rail line.
- Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, has suggested that Theresa May should include Jeremy Corbyn in her Brexit negotiating team.
- A new report written by food policy experts from three universities has warned that the government is “sleepwalking” into a post-Brexit future of food insecurity without a plan to replace decades of EU regulation.
Foges warns that, by retreating from many Leave voters’ central concern, supporters of Brexit risk fuelling a great sense of betrayal. Foges argues: “One gets the sense that Leavers such as Johnson and Hannan want to believe that victory in the referendum was about high-flown, romantic principle — freeborn Englishmen and women casting off the EU’s federalising yoke. They do not wish to believe that the balance was tipped by a desire to cut immigration, an issue they may think of as rather low-rent. But it was.” She concludes: “We are moving towards a destination with which very few voters will be happy: an exit from the EU, loathed by those who voted Remain, which does not lead to a significant fall in immigration, frustrating the majority of Leavers.”
Maltby argues that “chaos reigns” in the Conservative party: “Two successive Tory leaders have gambled their majorities, first on a Brexit referendum for which the leadership was woefully unprepared, then on a snap election for which both country and party were unprepared.” Yet, Maltby argues, “for centuries”, it has been the Conservatives who have argued against too much change too quickly. She concludes, “the party needs to start from scratch in making the case for conservatism. Given a choice between a bunch of unpredictable ideologues with a blue rosette and a bunch of unpredictable ideologues with a red rosette, voters are already showing that they’ll pick the one with a song that sounds like hope.”
- David Davis, the Brexit secretary, meets Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Brexit negotiator, for the second round of formal Brexit negotiations in Brussels.
- A soft Brexit would lead to continued high levels of immigration, according to the Migration Watch UK think tank.
- The prime minister should make Britain the home of human rights, according to a report by the Bright Blue think tank.
- 6.00pm Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary and Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, attend a Fabian Women’s network fundraising dinner in London.
House of Commons
- 2.30pm Communities and local government questions
- Emergency debate on the scheduling of parliamentary business
- Motion on the use of the chamber by the United Kingdom youth parliament (Andrea Leadsom)
- Debate on the abuse and intimidation of candidates and the public during the general election campaign (Theresa May)
- Adjournment debate on acid attacks (Stephen Timms)
House of Lords
- 2.30pm Oral questions on local authority action plans for children in need; lifting the fox hunting ban; issues raised by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and child and adolescent mental health.
- Debate on a report from the European Union committee: Brexit: UK-EU movement of people (Baroness Prashar)
- Debate on a report from the Economic Affairs Committee: The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market (Lord Hollick)
I’m hearing today’s news re
#doctor13 was v disappointing for David Miliband who was seriously considering returning to the UK for the role