Sunak 1) The Prime Minister is ‘to unveil’ £150 million in funding for mental health services, amid A&E strikes

“Rishi Sunak and Health Sec Steve Barclay will unveil £150million of cash for mental health today to try to ease pressure on A&Es – as ambulance drivers strike again. Patients in need of mental health rather than physical care are a major contribution to the pressure on hospital emergency units and ambulances. They say the funding will be used to open 150 new facilities to support mental health urgent and emergency care services with 100 new specialist mental health ambulances funded over the next two years… The cash came as the unions upped their attacks on the Government, accusing them of lying and a secret plot to privatise the NHS. The Health Secretary insisted he has had “constructive talks” with unions…” – The Sun

  • Ambulances for mental health patients – The Times
  • The Government will push NHS demand away from hospitals to reduce pressure on ‘hot areas’ which are in crisis – The I
  • 350,000 patients waited over 12 hours in A&E before getting an NHS bed last year – The Guardian
  • Covid rules must not continue to derail hospital visits – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • The NHS saved my life. We should all be entitled to the quality of care I received – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun


Sunak 2) CBI chief accuses him of ‘burdening’ UK economy with legislative ‘chaos’

“Rishi Sunak will on Monday be accused by a senior business leader of adding legislative “chaos” to the faltering UK economy, amid increasing signs that corporate Britain is disenchanted with government policy. Tony Danker, head of the CBI employers’ group, will claim in a hard-hitting speech that the prime minister’s plan to scrap hundreds of laws of EU origin at the end of the year is creating “huge uncertainty for UK firms”. In an interview with the Financial Times, Danker added his voice to increasing business demands for effective government policy to support UK economic growth. Danker’s speech will reflect rising unease among British companies about the expected recession this year, and the damage caused by Brexit.” – The Financial Times

  • Flailing Tories must get UK back to work – Editorial, The Daily Mail


Sunak 3) He is ‘set to decide’ the fate of former boss over Johnson loan

“Rishi Sunak faces having to decide the fate of his former boss as BBC chairman amid a row over conflicts of interests linked to his appointment. Number 10 is facing questions over the role Richard Sharp played in helping to arrange a guarantee on a loan of up to £800,000 for Boris Johnson when he was prime minister. It emerged on Sunday that Mr Sharp, a former banker at Goldman Sachs, was involved in talks about financing Mr Johnson’s Downing Street lifestyle in November and December 2021, weeks before the then prime minister recommended him for the role of BBC chairman. The chairman is appointed…on the recommendation of the prime minister and culture secretary, meaning Mr Sunak could have the responsibility for deciding his fate.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • Probe urged of loan claim – The I
  • Britain has become too used to handouts – Editorial, The Daily Telegraph
  • The Prime Minister has far more integrity than his seatbelt critic, Cardinal of Cant, Bryant – Dominic Lawson, The Daily Mail

The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip ‘fears Northern Ireland Brexit trade deal could be too much of a compromise’…

“Boris Johnson is said to be ‘deeply concerned’ that the Government will strike a compromise with the EU over Northern Ireland that gives a role to European judges. The former PM fears ministers are planning to let the European Court of Justice be the final arbiter of EU laws that apply within the province to end the long-running dispute over post-Brexit trade. The Government is stepping up its efforts to resolve the Northern Ireland Protocol dispute before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in April… David Jones, of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said Mr Johnson may well speak out. ‘The views of any former PM on such an issue are important,’ he added.” – The Daily Mail

…as he adds to pressure on Germany to send tanks to Ukraine in ‘surprise visit to Kyiv’

“Boris Johnson on Sunday added to the pressure on Germany to authorise tank deliveries to Ukraine as he made a surprise visit to Kyiv. The former prime minister said that “this is the moment to double down and to give the Ukrainians all the tools they need” after touring bomb-scarred suburbs of the Ukrainian capital. Mr Johnson – whose firm support for Ukraine has made him highly popular in the country – was greeted by Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, outside his presidential office. In a video released by the president’s press team, Mr Zelensky thanked Mr Johnson for Britain’s aid as the two sat face to face in a conference room. Ukrainian officials have urged Berlin to “think faster” about delivering Leopard II tanks to Ukraine…” – The Daily Telegraph

  • MPs from all sides demand Germany send tanks to Ukraine – The Sun
  • Zelensky knows Johnson is a man who can get things done – Sam Lister, Daily Express
  • Germany is unforgivably dragging its feet over tanks for Ukraine – Mark Almond, The Daily Mail


Wallace: Our ‘hollowed-out’ military can’t send a division to war

“The defence secretary said the army was unable to field a war fighting division of just 10,000 troops. The Ministry of Defence had only been able to start fixing longstanding issues after it was given more money by Boris Johnson, he said. Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, is holding talks with the MoD over a settlement after concerns were raised about wasteful spending in the department. A report by the National Audit Office last year found that a significant number of MoD projects, including the Type 32 frigate programme and the construction of multi-role support ships, had been left unfunded. A Treasury source said negotiations over the defence budget would require a “long dialogue”, adding that they were “nowhere near a conclusion”.” – The Times

  • The forces are fighting ‘a losing battle’ with ‘waste and underfunding’ – The Times

Zahawi ‘faces first Tory calls to quit’ over tax row…

“A former Cabinet minister said the Tory chairman’s position had become “untenable” as Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former party leader, called on him to release full details of his tax affairs. James Cleverley…refused to back Mr Zahawi after being asked whether he had confidence in him as party chairman…Number 10 sought to distance Rishi Sunak from the row, saying Cabinet Office officials had advised there was nothing to stop the Prime Minister appointing him…last October. By then, Mr Zahawi’s dispute with HMRC had been resolved. It followed a statement by Mr Zahawi on Saturday in which he confirmed he had reached a multi-million pound settlement with HMRC over the tax dispute involving the polling firm YouGov, which he founded.” – The Daily Telegraph

  • The Party Chairman ‘missed out on knighthood’ because of tax row – The Daily Mail



…as he is said to have ‘misled officials’ over Greensill texts from Cameron

“Nadhim Zahawi wrongly told officials that he had not exchanged WhatsApp messages with David Cameron before it emerged that they had been deleted from his phone, The Times can disclose. The Conservative Party chairman falsely claimed that he had not exchanged messages with Cameron when the former prime minister was trying to secure government loans for Greensill Capital. It later emerged that the pair had discussed Greensill when messages from the instant-messaging phone app were released to a select committee inquiry into the lobbying scandal. The revelations will add to pressure on Zahawi, who is facing calls to resign after he admitted reaching a settlement with HM Revenue and Customs over unpaid tax.” – The Times

Braverman ‘declares war’ on ‘politically correct nonsense’ at Home Office

“Suella Braverman has declared war on “politically correct nonsense” … after staff…were ordered not to use words including “homosexual”. Ms Braverman ordered a review in the wake of the event for civil servants in the Homeland Security Group earlier this month. Attendees had been told not to call each other “mate” or use the words “homosexual” and “transsexual” as part of a 12-slide presentation on gendered language. But Ms Braverman distanced her department from the guidance and is understood to have been frustrated by the seminar…“The Home Secretary has made her views very clear — she doesn’t want to see this kind of politically correct nonsense in the department,” a Home Office source told The Telegraph.” – The Daily Telegraph

Jenrick launches ‘new crackdown’ on migrants working in the black market to ‘force them out of the country’

“Illegal migrants working in the black market face a new crackdown in a return of ‘hostile environment’ checks. Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said the Home Office will use ‘every available power’ to ensure ‘only those eligible can work, receive benefits or access public services’. He wants to expand the ‘hostile environment for illegal migration’ led by Theresa May as home secretary…Mr Jenrick will lead a taskforce that will carry out checks on bank accounts, jobs and examine how to protect access to rented accommodation and driving licences. It will also review legislation to prevent illegal migrants from exploiting the explosion in casual jobs in the gig economy, such as food delivery roles.” – The Daily Mail

  • 65,000 ‘will cross Channel in small boats this year’ – The Times

Labour 1) Starmer ‘setting his sights’ on Number 10 chief of staff

“Sir Keir Starmer is hunting for a senior civil servant to prepare him for Downing Street amid concerns that his team does not have enough government experience. In a move modelled on Tony Blair’s appointment of Jonathan Powell, Starmer is looking for someone with recent experience at the top of Whitehall to ease the transition to power. Some in Starmer’s circle are said to have considered Sir Tom Scholar, 54, who was sacked as permanent secretary to the Treasury in September…The Labour leader has been without a chief of staff since October, when he dispensed with the services of Sam White, a former adviser to New Labour. As well as running Starmer’s office…the new chief of staff would lead Labour’s transition planning…” – The Times

Labour 2) He is ‘wooing veterans’ to stand for Labour in dozens of key target seats

“Sir Keir Starmer is signing up veterans to stand for Labour in more than two dozen key target seats. The Labour chief wants to park his tanks on Tory lawns and woo disaffected former voters back with a new defence offensive. The party are targeting a string of areas where they think vets and serving personnel could swing back to red in the next election. They already have several ex-forces candidates lined up in a number of crucial constituencies – such as Dover, Plymouth and Hastings. Teams are flooding the areas with visits and targeted leafleting in a bid to win back lost voters alienated by peacenik Jeremy Corbyn… Seats are being targeted based on their populations of serving personnel, veterans or defence and aerospace workers.” – The Sun

Labour 3) Brown warns of Tories ‘testing the water’ for two-tier healthcare

“Ideas such as Sajid Javid’s suggestion that patients should be charged for visiting GPs or hospital emergency departments show the Conservatives are “testing the water for a different kind of NHS”, Gordon Brown has said…[The] former Labour prime minister says payment for services will end up with people missing early diagnoses and undermine the entire basis of the NHS. Javid, the Conservative former health secretary, told the Times on Friday that the NHS could not “survive much longer” without radical change, including regarding some fee payments. Javid…cited as possible examples the fee of about £20 required of patients to see a GP in Norway or Sweden, and Ireland’s charge of €75 for people who arrive at a hospital A&E without a referral.” – The Guardian

Sturgeon criticized for suggesting the Conservatives are ‘weaponising’ trans people

“Nicola Sturgeon has been blasted over an attack on the British Government in which she accused Rishi Sunak’s leadership of “weaponising” trans people. The accusation came in an interview with BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday. It was also saw the SNP leader say the Tories were using the gender debate to “start a culture war”. The interview sparked an angry response and follows many accusing Ms Sturgeon of deliberately using the bill to set up a row with Number 10 to push her Independence agenda… Ms Sturgeon also insisted there is “plenty in the tank” as the SNP leader hit back at her critics and made a huge pledge over Scottish independence. The Scottish First Minister was grilled by Laura Kuenssberg on her BBC show…” – Daily Express

  • She vows she will ‘do everything’ possible to enact transgender reforms – The Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Decapitate Terfs’ signs at pro-trans rally attended by SNP politicians – The Daily Mail
  • Britain is becoming sick over the trans debate. Only facts can cure it – Nick Timothy, The Daily Telegraph
  • Misguided Labour ignores the danger of trans militants – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express


Tim Stanley: There is nothing empathetic about St Jacinda

“Among the overused words I’d ban are “amazing”, “iconic” and “empathetic” – the latter deployed like a talisman by St Jacinda Ardern, outgoing PM of New Zealand. Compassion is a real word. It means to suffer with; it is active. When people say they are empathetic, they mostly mean that they passively listen… But empathy has caught on among our dizzy elites, from Justin Trudeau of Canada to Harry Sussex of California, most of whom believe that our culture is angry and destructive because it is confrontational… New Zealand has a serious homelessness problem. From a socialist point of view, St J was a flop. She avoided wealth taxes; the Kiwis have yet to significantly reduce emissions. One could argue empathy is a mask for business-as-usual.” – The Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • It’s time to make Johnson special envoy to Ukraine – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator 
  • Vietnam still haunts America – Dominic Sandbrook, UnHerd 
  • Welcome to Chaptopia – Tim Chapman, The Critic 
  • We can’t go on like this. An ever-growing dependence ration is a big problem for Britain – Tim Knox, CapX 
  • How much does aging really hurt a country? – Noah Smith, Noahpinion 

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