Newslinks for Sunday 25th June 2023

Newslinks for Sunday 25th June 2023

Sunak 1) The Prime Minister ‘to hit households’ with £170 net zero green levy

“Households will pay a £170-a-year green levy on energy bills in the coming days, with Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt accused of “slyly” shifting costs back to consumers. The Telegraph has learned that the two-year suspension of green levies announced last autumn is to end from the beginning of July, after just nine months. The cost of the levies was shifted from consumer bills to be funded instead by the Government, following a year-long campaign by energy firms and MPs amid spiraling gas, electricity and food prices last year. It will again be imposed on consumers, although there has been no formal announcement… The decision to fund the green levies via general taxation, as opposed to consumer bill payments, was announced by Kwasi Kwarteng, the then chancellor..” – The Sunday Telegraph

  • Shapps ‘signals U-turn’ on planned hydrogen levy for energy bills – The Observer
  • Labour poll lead climbs to 25 points as Sunak is warned that mortgage mayhem will ;dwarf’ energy bills crisis – The Mail on Sunday
  • Sunak feels the squeeze on mortgages – and Truss sees a chance to pounce – Tim Shapman, The Sunday Times
  • It was Sunak who saw the inflation bomb coming – Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times

Sunak 2) Rishi Sunak: NHS staff must be fast-tracked out of the classroom

“Many doctors and nurses are run ragged with competing demands that mean they can’t spend enough time with patients. Too much time “ is spent by highly trained professionals on jobs that could be done by others. And we know we could do more to make better use of the talents and abilities of existing staff. Unless we fix this, we won’t be able to deliver our promise to fix the backlogs. Nor to pursue our vision of a better, long-term future for the NHS — an NHS that is ready to deal with the changes we see all around us, as our population grows and ages; as the burden of disease changes; and as technology opens new opportunities… We’ve known for decades that the NHS doesn’t train enough doctors and nurses.” – The Sunday Times

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Sunak 3) He ‘scraps net zero pledge to legally ban coal’

“Rishi Sunak has quietly scrapped the Government’s net zero pledge to pass a law banning coal power generation in Britain. The Government no longer plans to legally outlaw coal from October 2024, a spokesman said, adding that legislation is “not necessary” because the owners of the country’s remaining coal power stations are set to close them before the deadline regardless. Experts said that the change in position gives the Government wriggle room to fire up coal plants again in future should they be needed to prevent blackouts. It is also likely to anger green campaigners, who have heavily criticised the use of coal plants to boost electricity supplies over the winter and this summer… Ministers initially said that coal would be legally banned from 2025.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Sunak 4) He will ‘stay in close contact with allies; after Russia strikes deal to end Wagner uprising

“Rishi Sunak is expected to stay in close contact with Western allies to discuss after the rebellion against Vladimir Putin was defused today (24 June), Downing Street says. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin will leave Russia as part of a deal to end his uprising and charges against him and his troops will be dropped, the Kremlin said. Russian authorities will not prosecute troops who joined him in the mutiny and will offer Russian military contracts to those who did not. No 10 said the Prime Minister spoke to US president Joe Biden, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday afternoon “to discuss the situation in Russia and reiterate their continuing support for Ukrainian sovereignty”… It followed a meeting of the Government’s…Cobra committee…” – The I

Daniel Hannan: Russia is still on the verge of disintegration, even if Prighozin turned his men back

“This is the beginning of the end for Vladimir Putin regardless of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s decision to turn around last night. That may seem an odd thing to say. But Putin’s power rests on projection, on propaganda, on the image of invincibility. Now, all of a sudden, the curtain has been snatched back, revealing the Wizard of Oz as a small, mediocre, frightened man. From the outside, dictatorships can look monolithic. One of the reasons that Western Kremlinologists failed to predict the end of the Soviet Union was that they knew little of the necessarily secret rivalries within it. None of them foresaw that the chief instrument in the dissolution of the USSR would be Boris Yeltsin’s Russian Federation.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Hunt aims to channel more pension investments into UK companies

“Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will use his Mansion House speech next month to outline wide-ranging plans for channelling UK pension investments worth billions of pounds into fast-growing British companies as he seeks to boost economic growth. Options to be set out in several government consultations include regulatory changes to encourage UK pension funds to invest more in riskier but potentially high-growth British assets, including early-stage companies, and to drive further consolidation of the country’s highly fragmented pensions market, said Whitehall insiders.  They added Hunt was “closely examining” a proposal by the Tony Blair Institute, a consultancy, to pool tens of thousands of public and private sector pension schemes into “GB superfunds”…” – The Financial Times

  • We need to kick our addiction to state bailouts. Our future freedom depends on it – Robert Colville, The Sunday Times
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Cleverly rejects claim he will stand down at next election

“The foreign secretary, James Cleverly, has described suggestions that he was considering standing down from parliament at the next general election as “nonsense”. Cleverly declared he was “standing at the next election” after newspaper reports claimed he was considering whether to stand. The Telegraph cited “sources close to him” as saying Cleverly had expressed doubts about running again in his Essex constituency of Braintree. The newspaper reported he was frustrated by the “complete mess” of internal rows in his party and wanted to spend more time with his wife, who is recovering from cancer, and his children… The 53-year-old was first elected as the MP for Braintree in 2015 and held on to the seat with a majority of almost 25,000 in 2019.” – The Observer

Barclay ‘frustrated health officials by delaying vaccine programme signoff’

“Steve Barclay frustrated health officials by delaying the Treasury’s signoff on the Covid vaccine programme, amid wider hold-ups by the department in approving the financing for the project, a new book about the NHS has claimed. Barclay, who is now the health secretary, has rejected the claim. But one senior figure in the vaccine programme told journalist Isabel Hardman that Barclay, who was then chief secretary to the Treasury and lead minister on the vaccine taskforce, was a block. “He was a total dick, a total control freak but also not very good at it,” they told Hardman. “He refused to sign off the vaccine programme for ages, saying ‘Is it value for money?’” Barclay has said this is incorrect…” – The Observer

Ministers ‘letting Huawei off the hook’ after scrapping release of security report

“Ministers have been accused of “letting Huawei off the hook” after the publication of an annual report into the Chinese company’s security risks was quietly scrapped. The Huawei Cyber Security Evalu -ation Centre (HCSEC)…was set up in 2010 to monitor products made by Huawei for use in UK mobile networks. An oversight board was tasked with producing an annual report, which was drawn up by British spies and published by the Government. However, the watchdog’s report has not been published since 2021. The Telegraph has learnt that the policy of publishing the report was quietly ditched by then-culture secretary Nadine Dorries… In 2020, the Government said all products made by the…firm must be stripped…due to fears they could be used by Beijing…” – The Sunday Telegraph

Anderson: Everything that is good in the world started in Britain

“Everything that is “good” in the world started in Britain, the Tory deputy chairman has claimed. Lee Anderson said he will keep telling “anybody that will listen” that the UK is a “gift to the world”, as he declared he would vote Brexit again if given the chance. The controversial MP for Ashfield made the remarks on the first episode of his new GB News show, Lee Anderson’s Real World, which aired on Friday night. He has become the latest in a string of serving Tory MPs to strike deals with the channel, joining his colleagues Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, Esther McVey and Philip Davies as a host. Nadine Dorries, the former culture secretary who recently announced her resignation, presents her own show on TalkTV.” – The Sunday Telegraph

  • Anderson: single dad, former miner, and Sunak’s secret weapon – The Sunday Times
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Warburton blames ‘honeytrap’ but police won’t investigate cocaine

“It was the picture that posed countless questions. David Warburton, a backbench Tory MP for Somerton and Frome, sitting in a dimly lit room, beside him a baking tray containing four lines of white powder, resembling cocaine. According to the young woman he visited in the early hours of February 1 last year, Warburton, then 56, a married father of two, snorted line after line of the substance, accompanied by a tumbler of Japanese whisky on the rocks. He then allegedly refused to leave, following the woman into bed and stripping naked before grinding himself against her. Warburton denies this claim. After the picture appeared in April last year, he refused to answer any questions and admitted himself to a clinic…” – The Sunday Times

Starmer: I don’t want to raise income tax for top earners

“Sir Keir Starmer has said he does not want to increase income tax for top earners if he wins the next election. The Labour leader said he is “not looking to the lever of taxation” and will try to avoid imposing further tax increases beyond a list of smaller levies his party has already announced. Labour has been accused of plotting a raft of tax raids on Britain’s wealthiest if it wins next year’s election, including increases in National Insurance and capital gains tax. However, in an interview with The Telegraph, Sir Keir said his “driving principle” was to “lower taxes” and encourage economic growth. Following criticism of the Bank of England for raising interest rates on Thursday, the Labour leader committed to keeping Andrew Bailey, its governor, in post until 2028.” – The Sunday Telegraph

  • Miliband ‘set to be sidelined’ over humiliating U-turns in Starmer’s reshuffle – The Sun on Sunday
  • Labour ‘will order councils to find green-belt land’ to fix housing crisis – The Sunday Telegraph
  • Starmer held talks with Gray ‘for months’ before the Government knew – The Sun on Sunday

Yousaf says poll victory ‘will provide mandate to negotiate independence’

“Winning a majority of Scottish seats at the next UK general election will be a mandate to start negotiations with London on how to achieve independence, Scottish National party leader Humza Yousaf has said. Scotland’s first minister has dropped his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon’s plan to use the poll as a de facto referendum. He said instead it would be up to the UK government to decide whether to agree to another plebiscite or open talks on ending Scotland’s 316-year union with England. Yousaf, who replaced Sturgeon as leader of the SNP in March, sought to convince members at a special convention in Dundee on Saturday that he could overcome London’s refusal to endorse a rerun of the 2014 vote, in which Scots decided to remain in the UK by 55-45 per cent.” – The Financial Times

  • His strategy in event of a victory ‘falls short of strategy backed by Sturgeon’ – The Observer
  • How SNP’s independence rally ended in farce – The Mail on Sunday

News in Brief:

  • The self-delusion of ‘Bomber’ Harris – Leo McKinstry, The Spectator
  • Why is anime having an online renaissance? – Katherine Dee, UnHerd 
  • Down with skool – Lincoln Allison, The Critic
  • Young people hate my party – and that isn’t much of a surprise – William Atkinson, CapX
  • Gay rights and the limits of liberalism – Andrew Sullivan, The Weekly Dish 
  • June 25, 2023