Newslinks for Monday 27th February 2023 | Conservative Home

The Protocol 1) Von der Leyen ‘flies in to seal Brexit deal’ as Tory revolt brews

“The European Commission president will fly to London on Monday to finalise a new Brexit deal with Rishi Sunak, despite warnings from Tory MPs that they will revolt if European judges retain a say over Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister will hold face-to-face talks with Ursula Von der Leyen on Monday afternoon, and the pair are expected to hold a press conference…before it is presented to Parliament. However, Tory Eurosceptics and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) warned on Sunday night that they will not back a deal unless EU law is “expunged” from Northern Ireland – something they fear Mr Sunak’s agreement will fail to do. There is also concern over the fact that Downing Street has yet to…confirm that MPs will be given a vote on the deal.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • Britain and the EU aim to seal Brexit deal on Monday – The Financial Times
  • What Sunak’s Brexit deal actually means – The Times
  • How reworked deal will look – The I
  • New deal with ‘finish the job and ensure Brexit works’ – The Daily Mail
  • Sunak admits ‘stakes are high’ – Daily Express
  • The Northern Ireland Protocol deal must put the Union first – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • Sunak inherited a bad Brexit deal – he succeeded in making it better at least – Editorial, The Sun
  • Sunak’s Brexit deal with the EU is the biggest gamble of his premiership so far – Jason Groves, The Daily Mail
  • For Sunak’s Northern Ireland deal to work, he must listen to unionists – Nick Timothy, The Daily Telegraph
  • What was Sunak thinking with his plan to drag the King into the Brexit storm? – Stephen Glover, The Daily Mail
  • The Sunak recovery starts here if he can sell his Brexit deal to Tories – Matt Goodwin, The Sun
  • The Prime Minister is making the biggest gamble of his political career – David Maddox, Daily Express



The Protocol 2) I’ve won big concessions from the EU, ‘claims Sunak’

“Rishi Sunak is poised to formally unveil his Brexit deal with the EU today, claiming that he has won big concessions from Brussels. The prime minister is due to meet Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, at lunchtime to finalise the agreement before a cabinet meeting to sign off on the deal. The two leaders will then hold a press conference before Sunak heads to the House of Commons to sell his deal to MPs. Government sources said that the agreement, which is expected to be published before Sunak addresses MPs, contained “far-reaching” concessions from the European Union that would safeguard Northern Ireland’s place in the UK. Significantly, they said it would involve changes to the Brexit withdrawal treaty, which Brussels had ruled out.” – The Times

  • The public ‘backs Sunak to continue talking’ – Daily Express 
  • He ‘launches a charm offensive’ to win over deal doubters – The Times

The Protocol 3) Eurosceptics demand Sunak guarantees a vote on a Brexit deal

“Rishi Sunak is facing demands from Tory Eurosceptics to guarantee Parliament a vote on his new Brexit deal. The Prime Minister is poised to sign off the pact with Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission president, at a meeting in Windsor on Monday. He is then set to address the Commons to outline the agreement before a legal text is published so that backbenchers can pore over the details, but Downing Street is refusing to say whether Parliament will be granted a vote and whether the result of one would be binding. Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, said on Sunday that MPs “will have the opportunity to express themselves on the deal”, but did not commit to a ballot. The remarks raised concerns amongst Brexiteer backbenchers…” – The Daily Telegraph

The Protocol 4) Michael Howard: Protocol deal will win my vote if it fixes the problems that cause so much frustration

“The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which in theory would give us the right to change the protocol unilaterally, was only ever intended and justified as a bargaining chip in these negotiations. And if it were ever used, it would almost certainly have left us vulnerable to challenge from the EU for breaking the agreement and even liable to pay compensation for this breach. If agreement is reached to fix the problems caused by the protocol it would no longer be necessary. But can such an agreement be reached? Previous attempts at a negotiated outcome have failed. Now we are told that agreement is close. The Prime Minister was right to take up the challenge and try to fix this seemingly intractable problem.” – The Daily Telegraph 

 Hunt ‘handed £24 billion spending boost’ before the budget

“Government departments are due to spend £24 billion less than the Treasury budgeted for last October, new figures show, increasing pressure on Jeremy Hunt before next month’s budget. A breakdown of Whitehall spending, presented to MPs, shows big reductions in the budgets of the business and energy department, as well as Michael Gove’s levelling up department. Total government spending this financial year is expected to be just over £764 billion, compared with the £789 billion budgeted in the autumn. However it is still significantly higher than the £117 billion projected last June…The Treasury said that the better-than-expected figures did not mean that the chancellor had more room for tax cuts…” – The Times

  • He is ‘warned’ corporation tax hike will scare away business – The I
  • UK oil and gas sector warns windfall taxes are deterring investment – The Financial Times
  • Hunt is right to warn that there is little scope for tax cuts in the budget – Editorial, The Times



Raab: I will resign if bullying complaints are upheld

“Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, has said he will resign if allegations of bullying against him are upheld. Mr Raab said he was confident that he had behaved professionally at all times, but told Sophy Ridge on Sunday, on Sky News: “If an allegation of bullying is upheld I would resign.” However, he dismissed calls to step aside while the investigation by Adam Tolley KC, a senior lawyer, was conducted, maintaining that he was “innocent until proven guilty”. He is being investigated by Mr Tolley over bullying allegations, with dozens of officials thought to be involved in eight formal complaints covering his time in three departments – Brexit, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). “ – The Daily Telegraph

  • Simpson’s family to meet Raab amid fears her killer may be released after serving half his sentence – The Sun
  • Tough on crime? Labour voters against increasing the time served by killers – Dominic Lawson, The Daily Mail


Badenoch accused of ‘pressuring junior colleagues into joining putsch against Johnson’

“A minister has been accused of pressuring a junior colleague into joining the wave of resignations that led to the collapse of Boris Johnson’s government. In an astonishing insight into Tory infighting, it emerged that Kemi Badenoch had urged Sarah Dines to quit her post via a message in a ministerial WhatsApp group. Just hours after Mrs Badenoch had resigned as a minister in the Department for Levelling Up, she told assistant government whip Ms Dines: ‘Resign before midnight. DO IT. DO IT. DO IT.’ She sent the…message accompanied by a laughing emoji late on July 6, just after Mr Johnson shocked Westminster by sacking Michael Gove…for disloyalty…A source close to Mrs Badenoch said the idea that she was trying to orchestrate resignations was ‘very overblown’…” – The Daily Mail

  • She ‘sets her sights’ on a slice of India’s ‘lucrative £4 billion luxury goods market’ – Daily Express

Griffith ‘attacks flagship regulatory reform’

“Andrew Griffith, City of London minister, has raised concerns that flagship reforms to stop consumers being ripped off by financial services companies could damage the sector and trigger a wave of spurious law suits, putting him on a collision course with the UK’s chief financial regulator. Griffith has criticised the consumer duty, a key measure by the Financial Conduct Authority that from July requires banks, insurers and other financial services companies to prove they have acted in their customers’ best interests and produced “good outcomes” in areas such as pricing. Bosses of financial services businesses have complained about the administrative burdens associated with the consumer duty, and warned it could unleash spurious lawsuits…” – The Financial Times

Hancock sets up his own ‘TV company’ Greenhazel as ‘shamed ex-Health Secretary and I’m a Celeb star’ plans ‘documentary series’

“Matt Hancock has set up his own media company – after appearances on two reality shows. The former Health Secretary – forced to resign after The Sun revealed his affair which broke his own Covid rules – is the sole director of newly-formed Greenhazel. The private firm is listed on Companies House as undertaking “television programming and broadcasting activities” and could help him rake in more huge telly fees. Sources close to Mr Hancock insist it is not a TV company and will be used for handling his own broadcast work. The MP, who lost the Tory whip over his appearance on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, has already said he will stand down at the next general election. His controversial stint in the Australian jungle earned him £320,000 last year…” – The Sun

Tobias Ellwood: Xi and Putin have declared a new Cold War

“Our global order is in deep trouble. It is now more protectionist and more divided than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our post-Cold War complacency has seen autocratic states multiply in recent years. Now, China and Russia are openly pioneering a competing vision – a post-West world order that we cannot afford to ignore. Many commentators missed it, but President Xi Jinping’s decision to send China’s most senior diplomat to Russia in the week of the anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine marked a turning point; a line in the sand… Putin and Xi have pursued a shared objective of seeing the West, especially America, weakened.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • US ‘in no state’ to defend Taiwan if China invades – The Times
  • Putin claims the West wants to destroy Russia – The Daily Mail
  • Senior Tories ‘urge BBC to ‘reconsider’ increased focus on TikTok’ – The Daily Telegraph

Begum should be allowed home, says terror watchdog

“Shamima Begum and other British women who joined Islamic State should be brought home, the government’s independent terrorism watchdog will say. Jonathan Hall KC, the reviewer of terrorism legislation, will argue that British or formerly British women should be allowed to return from Syria because that is the position taken by key allies including the United States. He will also highlight concerns about a new generation of extremists being reared under the “cubs of the caliphate” programme in northern Syria. Begum was 15 when she joined Islamic State in 2015 with two friends from Bethnal Green in east London. She has been in a camp in northern Syria since the caliphate fell. Her case has provoked fierce debate, with her lawyers arguing that she was trafficked…” – The Times

Britain on track to be poorer than Poland by the end of the decade, warns Starmer

“Britain is on track to be poorer than Poland by the end of the decade, Sir Keir Starmer will say today. The Labour chief will use yet another speech to try and lay out his vision for Britain – claiming he would lick start growth and boost the economy. He said Brits should judge him on whether or not they “feel better off” after five years of a Labour government – despite being nowhere near getting the keys to No10. He will say that Labour’s plan to achieve the highest sustained growth in the G7 will lead Britain out of the Tories’ “low wage, high tax, doom-loop.” And he will cite analysis which says Brits will be even worse off than people in Eastern Europe if the Tories win again… But last night the Tories hit back – saying Labour left the economy in tatters when they left office.” – The Sun

  • Cooper warns of Labour crackdown on social media mysogyny aimed at young men and town-centre crime – The I

Yousaf suggests Forbes ‘thinks’ gay marriage ‘inferior’

“The frontrunner to replace Nicola Sturgeon has suggested his main rival thinks gay marriage is “inferior” as he questioned whether she was a suitable person to become Scotland’s First Minister. Humza Yousaf, the health secretary, said Scots wanted a leader who “shares their values” after Kate Forbes, a devout Christian, disclosed last week that she would have voted against the legislation that legalised equal marriage. In a barbed reference to his opponent’s beliefs, Mr Yousaf said he wanted gay Scots to “look at me and have faith that I will be somebody who would not think that their marriage is somehow inferior to mine”… Ms Forbes’s media advisers said they would not be responding to Mr Yousaf’s comments.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • The candidates ‘slam brakes’ on ‘de facto referendum’ plan – The Daily Mail
  • BBC disinvited us after we stood by Forbes’s freedom of speech, claims LGB group – The Daily Telegraph
  • Beware the bigots side-lining Christian hopefuls from power – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express


News in Brief:

  • ‘Korangate’ and Britain’s new blasphemy rules – Brendan O’Neill, The Spectator 
  • Who will stand against Progress? – Paul Kingsnorth, UnHerd 
  • Britons on the Moon – Tim Dawson, The Critic 
  • China goes all-in on Russia’s war effort – Noah Smith, Noahpinion 
  • Ukraine, the tomb of liberal nationalism – Curtis Yarvin, Gray Matter 

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