Sunak warns our problems won’t “go away” in 2023, as he stresses continued support for Ukraine

“2022 was tough and the UK’s problems will not go away in 2023, Rishi Sunak has warned in his New Year’s message. The prime minister said the government was taking “difficult but fair” decisions to “get borrowing and debt under control”. He promised that his government would put “people’s priorities first”. He also said the coronation of King Charles III would give the country the chance to “come together with pride”…”I’m not going to pretend that all our problems will go away in the new year,” said Mr Sunak, but added that “the very best of Britain” would be on display as it continues to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia.” – BBC

  • We will build a better future for generations to come – Rishi Sunak, Sunday Express
  • Hasta la vista, 2022: the best and worst of a wild year in Westminster – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times
  • Archbishop of Canterbury calls for leaders to fix social care – BBC
  • It’s a make or break year for the UK and the Tories – Leader, Sunday Telegraph
  • We beg Tory MPs to lay aside small differences for the greater good – Leader, Mail on Sunday
  • Will Rishi Skywalker fight the Election with honour – or try to zap Starmer with a sneaky tax trap? – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

>Today: ToryDiary: 2023 could be the year the twenties start to roar

Nuclear plants “face shutdown over tax on windfalls”

“Two nuclear power stations crucial to keeping Britain’s lights on risk being closed next year as a result of Jeremy Hunt’s windfall tax, their French owner warns today. EDF, which operates all five of the country’s serving nuclear plants, said the Chancellor’s raid on power producers will make it harder to keep the ageing Heysham 1 and Hartlepool stations open as long as hoped. It would mean the sites close in March 2024, potentially removing the “cushion” of spare capacity used by the National Grid to avoid blackouts and reducing nuclear power generation in Britain to its lowest level since the 1960s.” – Sunday Telegraph

Imposition of Covid checks on travellers from China “made for political reasons”

“Rishi Sunak’s decision to perform a U-turn and impose Covid checks on travellers from China was dismissed on Saturday night as a purely political manoeuvre that would make no difference to the rise or fall of cases in the UK. The health secretary Steve Barclay was briefed by the chief medical officer Chris Whitty on Thursday and was told there was no clear evidence of significant benefits from testing travellers from China. The Observer has learnt that on the following day, Barclay discussed the issues with Sunak, who nevertheless decided it was more important for Britain to align itself with those nations – the US, Japan, Italy and Spain – that had already imposed such tests.” – The Observer

  • Plans to test UK arrivals from China for Covid sparks row in Cabinet – The Sun on Sunday
  • MPs fear ‘slippery slope’ to lockdown after latest travel curbs – Sunday Telegraph

Polling 1) Analysis suggests most wavering voters could really be “shy Tories”

“The MRP poll by Focaldata of 10,010 people, on behalf of the internationalist campaign group Best for Britain, was conducted about the time of Truss’s resignation and updated with an MRP poll of 2,000 people after Sunak took over. Many seat projections do not factor in people who respond “don’t know” when asked how they intend to vote at the next election, despite relatively high numbers choosing this option over the past few months. Analysis in Best for Britain’s “Wavering Wall” report has drilled down into the growing number of undecideds surveyed in the poll. It found the bulk of them are probably so-called shy Tories as these respondents closely resemble the age and education profiles of people who say they intend to vote Conservative.” – Sunday Times

  • Few voters will be thrilled by Keir Starmer turning into another Greta Thunberg – Peter Mandelson, Sunday Times
  • Why would anyone under 45 vote Tory? – Charlotte Ivers, Sunday Times

Polling 2) Voters see Channel boats crisis, inflation and NHS waiting times as priorities

“Rishi Sunak must stop the Channel boats crisis and cut inflation and NHS waiting times if he wants to win back Tory support, a major poll has found. But confidence in the Government to fix these issues is at rock bottom after an astonishing year of civil war and three PMs in Westminster.Most voters also think the Government has failed to stand up for British values like freedom of speech, the Policy Exchange survey found…more than a quarter of Brits (26 per cent) said the priority should be cutting the sky-high tax burden — which is the biggest since the aftermath of World War Two. But while many people think levies are too high, the survey found they overwhelmingly oppose cuts to the NHS, schools or the police. Instead, they want to slash spending by cancelling the HS2 rail project and cutting “woke” equality and diversity initiatives and foreign aid.” – The Sun on Sunday

  • Taxpayers face a £167 billion bill from the Bank of England for quantitative easing losses from 2009 – Sunday Times
  • Murder plot terrorist who can’t be deported or monitored by police over fears security protocols would ‘violate his human rights’ – Mail on Sunday

Duncan Smith: Downing Street needs to act boldly to win back supporters

“Downing Street needs to act boldly to show it has a grip. We must get growth going in the early spring, cut taxes and bring down inflation. The public wants us to sort out the health care waiting list problem. Yet the UK is already spending more than most EU countries with worse results. Reform of social care and GP services must be priorities – not yet more spending. Most of all, this analysis shows that getting back 2019 Conservative voters is still possible. To do this, the Government must be seen to act. The public doesn’t think the Government has a clear sense of purpose or stands up for British values such as free speech or is willing to take tough decisions for the long-term.” – The Sun on Sunday

Labour demand negotiations to end strikes

“The UK economy faces a “massive hit” in 2023 because Rishi Sunak’s government is refusing point blank to negotiate with unions over ending public sector strikes, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has told the Observer in a marked escalation of rhetoric from Labour. This week will see five consecutive days of shutdowns on the rail system but Reeves says ministers appear to have “given up” on governing altogether and are instead seeking confrontation with the unions for political reasons.” – The Observer

  • Sunak to unveil New Year anti-strike laws to keep Britain running – The Sun on Sunday
  • Co-ordinated strikes could cost unions public support – Leader, Sunday Times
  • Rail unions want to stop trains running on hot days due to ‘health and safety’ concerns and some Labour MPs support the scheme – Mail on Sunday

Home Office staff gave almost £200,000 to group led by Taliban-supporting imam

“Panicking Home Office civil servants – who gave almost £200,000 to a group led by an imam who once voiced support for the Taliban – are now ‘scheming’ to cover it up by keeping his name out of a damning official report. The Left-leaning Whitehall penpushers – dubbed ‘the Blob’ – are delaying the publication of the review of the Prevent counter-extremism programme, claiming individuals named in it may sue. But The Mail on Sunday understands that this ‘legal ruse’ is being used as ‘a***e covering’ by bureaucrats concerned they may lose their jobs over the revelations.” – Mail on Sunday

Hannan: Things are bad, and they’re only going to get worse

“All agree that the illiberalism began nearly a decade before the pandemic. The lockdown reinforced the trend, making it seem reasonable to ask the state’s permission before travelling or enjoying your property. Who, in this darkening age, can fail to be a rational pessimist? Even now, lockdown nostalgics are falling greedily on the news from China, beginning their clamour for yet another round of restrictions. And they will surely do the same whenever there is a new disease – or, indeed, a “climate emergency”. Lockdowns are out there now; the needle will not return to where it was.” – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph

Colvile: Public sector pensions are not only unfair but unaffordable

“Every year, the state pays another 18 per cent of salary into the average employee’s pension pot, compared with 6 per cent in the private sector. This sends the raw hourly pay gap between public and private shooting up to 21 per cent. It is not just unfair, but unaffordable. Experts calculate that the liability from public sector pensions exceeds £2 trillion — effectively doubling the national debt. In the past year alone a change in life expectancy formulae and other factors raised the expected pensions bill for the NHS by £140 billion. That’s almost as much as we spend each year on the health service itself. If the government tried to take away these rights by force, it would face the mother of all fights. But what about giving public sector staff the right to take more of their pay upfront, rather than let it pile up in their pensions (and ideally making that the default for recruits)?” – Robert Colvile, Sunday Times

Saatchi: The Conservatives must remember competition is at the heart of the free market

“Big corporations are even worse than big government because, however bad politicians become, we know their names and have an opportunity occasionally to get rid of them. A government can be held accountable by the electorate….Capitalism without competition is nothing less than exploitation, and that’s what exists today. To get back to a true free-market economy is a huge task that could take an entire generation because national governments are now local entities, compared to the international cartels. But the Conservatives must try to recreate a true free-market economy, because that is what the party stands for.” – Lord Saatchi, Mail on Sunday

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