Johnson urges Sunak not to abandon Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

“Boris Johnson has urged Rishi Sunak not to abandon legislation he introduced on how Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade will work in the long-term. The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill was set in motion when Mr Johnson was PM, but Mr Sunak has been meeting EU leaders to agree a new deal. Since 2021, certain trade checks cover some goods crossing the Irish Sea. A source close to Mr Johnson said the former PM thought it would be a “great mistake” to move away from his plan. If it concludes its passage through Parliament, it would give the Westminster government the power to unilaterally decide to move away from those current arrangements for Northern Ireland.” – BBC

  • Deal by no means done, says PM – BBC
  • The fragile truce between Rishi and his old boss is fractured – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Partygate inquiry homes in on Abba evening at Johnson’s flat – The Observer

Duncan Smith: The survival of the Good Friday Agreement is what is at stake

“So long as EU law and regulations apply to Northern Ireland, leaving the province outside the UK’s own single market and the remit of exclusively UK law, the DUP cannot go back into the Assembly. If they don’t re-enter, then the Good Friday Agreement is to all intents and purposes dead. Sadly, this in turn plays into the hands of extreme elements. This cannot be allowed to happen.” – Iain Duncan Smith, Sunday Telegraph

  • Any deal must safeguard the Union and Good Friday Agreement – Leader, The Sun on Sunday
  • This deal isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough – Leader, Sunday Times

PM urges allies to “double down” on backing for Ukraine

“Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged world leaders to send the most advanced weapons to Ukraine now in order to secure its long-term future. Mr Sunak told the Munich Security Conference that allies must give the country “advanced, Nato-standard capabilities”. He said now was the time to “double down” on military support. Throughout the conference, Ukraine’s allies have reiterated the case for defending the country.” – BBC

  • Tyranny can’t win, we stand with Ukraine in the name of freedom – Rishi Sunak, Mail on Sunday
  • “Taking in a Ukrainian family was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done” – Interview with Robert Jenrick, Sunday Telegraph
  • Macron: Russia must be defeated but not crushed – BBC
  • If the EU commands defence procurement, Russia will cheer – Daniel Johnson, Sunday Telegraph

Khan’s ULEZ expansion “could be blocked by Downing Street”

“Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) expansion could be blocked by Downing Street, under plans being considered by ministers. Whitehall officials and legal advisors are weighing up whether the London Mayor has exceeded his powers under the Greater London Authority (GLA) Act of 1999. Under the act, the Government has the power to veto any proposals by the Mayor that are “inconsistent” with national transport policies and “detrimental” to areas outside Greater London. The powers, under section 143 of the Act, have never been used before.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Take control and scrap Ulez to revive Tory fortunes – Ross Clark, Sunday Telegraph
  • There’s big money to be made in greenwashing – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times

Government “faces rebellion” over Corporation Tax increase

“Rishi Sunak is facing a major Budget rebellion over his corporation tax hike, The Telegraph can reveal. Senior Conservative backbenchers, business chiefs and economists have urged the Prime Minister to “abandon” his flagship policy to raise the tax from 19 to 25 per cent. A letter to Mr Sunak – which has been signed by the leaders of several influential groups of Tory MPs – urges him to “follow a growth agenda” and adopt a fresh approach that will encourage investment. It is the first coordinated attack on Mr Sunak’s economic agenda from his own MPs since he entered Downing Street.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • MPs’ challenge to corporation tax hike welcome – Leader, Sunday Telegraph
  • Hunt planning back to work Budget to stop over-50s retiring – Sunday Express

Shapps ambitious for more nuclear energy

“Grant Shapps has had less than a fortnight to get to grips with his new-look department but the energy secretary is buzzing with ambition…“I think it was wrong of us to stop investing in nuclear,” Shapps says. “Labour did it for political reasons because they didn’t like nuclear for a large part of their existence. Perhaps because of the coalition government as well, which wasn’t super-keen on nuclear, we weren’t able to progress even when the Conservatives came in. So it’s taken a while but we’re on the right track.” – Interview with Grant Shapps, Sunday Times

SNP 1) Yousaf and Regan launch bids to become SNP leader

“Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and former minister Ash Regan have announced they will stand to take over from Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister. The pair, who revealed their plans to run in the Sunday Mail, are the first to declare their candidacy. Other candidates tipped to stand for election are Finance Minister Kate Forbes and deputy leader Keith Brown. The winner of the race is due to be announced on 27 March.” – BBC

  • Can Scottish Labour mount a post-Sturgeon revival? – BBC
  • Will the nationalists continue with gripe and grievance, or embrace the chance to work positively with the UK Government? – Alister Jack, Sunday Express

SNP 2) Massie:  None of Sturgeon’s potential successors look impressive

“Winnie Ewing’s stunning victory in the 1967 Hamilton by-election marks the starting point of the SNP’s long journey to power and Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation last week the moment at which observers could be forgiven for wondering if this was as good as it might get for the SNP. In the intervening period, the SNP produced two leaders of the highest political class. Alex Salmond willed the SNP into power; Nicola Sturgeon made the SNP Scotland’s natural party of government. After them; the deluge. None of Sturgeon’s putative replacements — Angus Robertson, Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf, Keith Brown — possess the departing first minister’s combination of class and clout. There is a palpable sense of one era fading before its replacement is ready to arrive.” – Alex Massie, Sunday Times

SNP 3) Hannan: Unionists can’t be complacent. British achievements must be celebrated

“Separatism has suffered a significant setback. But Unionists would be fools to be complacent…The original attraction of the Union was that it had created the greatest country in the world. But, these days, greatness is seen as problematic. Our obsession with victimhood darkens the UK’s achievements, presenting its history as a hideous chronicle of racism and exploitation. The trouble with this view is that, if Britain is the baddie, then so are the ideas that Britain propagated, such as parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, habeas corpus, uncensored speech, private property, free contract and limited government.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

Labour 1) Starmer “to pledge households will keep more of their own money”

“Sir Keir Starmer is preparing to launch five “national missions” to transform Britain if Labour wins power at the next election…Starmer will focus on economic growth, the first of his pledges. He is expected to say the party should be judged against every region of the UK increasing its prosperity and households keeping more of their own money.” – Sunday Times

  • Truss was right, says Labour Leader, as he pledges to grow more food in UK – Sunday Telegraph
  • The Tories have blown it on free markets, benefit fraud and even patriotism. So Labour must be bold. – Matthew Syed, Sunday Times
  • Nobody can judge me more than I would judge myself – Interview with Angela Rayner, Sunday Times
  • Commons Speaker suggests Starmer lacks Blair’s “sprinkle of magic” – Mail on Sunday

Labour 2) Cooper proposes new “Respect Orders” to tackle anti-social behaviour

“Labour have pledged to reintroduce a strengthened version of the Asbo that would allow police to arrest those engaging in anti-social behaviour. The party said the “Respect Orders” would tackle serial offenders and help clean up high streets. In 2014, the Government overhauled powers relating to anti-social behaviour, abolishing Labour’s anti-social behaviour orders (Asbo). The orders were replaced with anti-social behaviour injunctions, which were supposed to provide a speedier response to unacceptable behaviour. There were also concerns that for some hardened offenders, being slapped with an Asbo was regarded as a badge of honour.” – Sunday Telegraph

Labour 3) Accusation that Starmer is “ducking” trans issue

“Sir Keir Starmer is accused today of ‘ducking’ the trans-rights row that helped trigger the shock resignation of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon. The Labour leader faced claims that he was ‘scared stiff’ of raising the issue because his own party backed the SNP’s controversial trans agenda. The row came after party sources confirmed that in a keynote speech to Labour’s annual Scottish conference today, he would be making no reference to the controversy.” – Mail on Sunday

  • The woke failed to seize Scotland. They won’t inherit the earth. – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Hilton: Politicians should be honest about the failing NHS

“Despite knowing perfectly well that the existing NHS model is unsustainable, we see the embarrassing spectacle of politicians virtue-signalling their support for it by staging regular photo-calls on hospital wards, rather than making the case for fundamental reforms that would provide reliable, high-quality healthcare to every family. Margaret Thatcher famously defended her decision to pay for private healthcare by saying that because of the demands of her job as Prime Minister, she needed to see the doctor she wanted at the time she wanted – and get out quickly. She argued that this relieved pressure on the NHS and was nothing to be ashamed of. This is exactly the kind of attitude you see in most other countries, notably Australia, where it is considered selfish for those who can afford it not to pay for private healthcare.” – Steve Hilton, Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: Is settling with the unions Sunak’s least worst option?

News in brief

  • Beware the nonsense narratives about ‘obscene’ energy profits – Andy Mayer, CapX
  • The treatment of mothers in public life needs to change – Theo Clarke MP, The House
  • The West shouldn’t underestimate Russia in Ukraine – Justin Bronk, The Spectator
  • Different scenarios on the Northern Ireland protocol deal – John Redwood

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