Sunak revives “hostile environment” for new migrant plan

“The emphasis will be on the NHS, with Sunak also planning an intervention on the health service later this week. Plans for tougher immigration laws to tackle the small boats crisis and deport migrants who arrive in Britain illegally are also progressing, with an announcement expected by the end of February. This weekend, the Home Office has confirmed that it is reviving a number of the policies enacted under Theresa May. This includes resuming data sharing between banks and the department from April, to shut down accounts opened by illegal migrants. The checks were suspended five years ago in the wake of the Windrush scandal. A new ministerial taskforce will also review whether immigration checks on accommodation, healthcare services and the labour market should be increased. ” – Sunday Times

  • The Prime Minister’s pledge to fix emergency services – Sunday Telegraph
  • Throup says NHS left in crisis ‘after ad budget for jabs was slashed’ – Sunday Express
  • Over £50million of NHS cash spent on wages of trade union activists over past three years – Sun on Sunday
  • What voters think about the pay claims – Sunday Times
  • Hunt called for nurses pay rise when Health Select Committee Chairman – Observer
  • £20 million navy Channel patrol cost – Sun on Sunday
  • Sunak must act on the channel boats crisis – Mail on Sunday Editorial

Voters back the Prime Minister’s decision over trans self ID in Scotland

“A majority of the public who expresss an opinion on the Scottish Parliament’s controversial Gender Recognition Reform bill have backed Rishi Sunak’s decision to invoke never before used powers to block the legislation which could allow a rapist to insist on being put into a prison for women. The row has provoked a constitutional crisis with Nicola Sturgeon claiming it undermines Scottish democracy. According to the exclusive Techne UK poll for, 40 percent support Mr Sunak’s UK Government decision to veto the bill while 29 percent oppose it. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said the decision to block the bill was because of the “consequences to UK equality legislation”.” – Sunday Express

  • The reasons for Sunak and Sturgeon’s trans showdown – Sunday Times
  • Aide to Starmer attacks Rosie Duffield – Mail on Sunday
  • Badenoch v UN working group on people of African descent? – Mail on Sunday
  • What gives men the right to use gender activism as a cover for misogyny? – Hadley Freeman, Sunday Times
  • If Starmer gets to Number Ten, the rights of women could be set back for decades – Sarah Vine, Mail on Sunday
  • The gender bill will make life a bit easier for trans people – Ellie Gomersall, Sunday Times
  • Stoking a culture war? No, Nicola Sturgeon, this is about balancing conflicting rights – Sonia Sodha, Observer

Sunak “mulling Northern Ireland Protocol compromise”

“Rishi Sunak is considering a compromise in Brexit talks with the EU in a move that would risk major conflict with Conservative MPs.  The Telegraph has been told the Prime Minister is exploring a pact that will retain a role for European judges in Northern Ireland.  It is understood UK negotiators are scoping out a system that would put the court at arms-length but still see it able to hand down judgements.  Members of the European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative MPs and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) are organising a joint resistance to the plan.  They will demand that the EU court must have no further role in Northern Ireland, as has previously been the UK Government’s position.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • The Northern Ireland Protocol must be scrapped – David Jones and Sammy Wilson, Sunday Telegraph

Zahawi reaches tax settlement with HMRC and says that he made a “careless but not deliberate error”

“In a carefully worded statement, Zahawi appeared to confirm that HMRC had carried out an investigation into his financial affairs while he was serving as chancellor last summer. Zahawi, now the Tory party chairman, said that the tax authority had concluded that he had made a “careless but not deliberate” error. “So that I could focus on my life as a public servant, I chose to settle the matter and pay what they said was due, which was the right thing to do,” he stated. Tax experts said the statement was a tacit acknowledgment that Zahawi had paid a penalty. The admission raises questions for Rishi Sunak over what he knew about the settlement and when…Zahawi’s tax affairs were thrown into the spotlight last summer when he was appointed chancellor by Boris Johnson, the day before Johnson was forced to resign.” – Observer

More Zahawi:

  • “Following discussions with HMRC, they agreed that my father was entitled to founder shares in YouGov, though they disagreed about the exact allocation. They concluded that this was a ‘careless and not deliberate’ error.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “His knighthood was blocked” – Sun on Sunday
  • Labour says he should quit – Observer
  • The questions about his tax affairs that won’t go away – Observer
  • The BBC chairman helped to arrange a guarantee on a loan of up to £800,000 for Boris Johnson weeks before the then prime minister recommended him for the role – Sunday Times
  • Labour reports Johnson to Standards Commissioner – Sunday Express
  • When I said Nadhim Zahawi owed the taxman, he set his lawyers on me. Now he’s handed over millions – Dan Neidle, Sunday Times
  • Zahawi’s murky tax affairs are toxic for the Conservatives – Sun on Sunday Editorial

Stride plans sick note crackdown

“Ministers are drawing up plans to crack down on long term sick notes to encourage more Brits to stay in work. Job centres could also move in with GP surgeries into new hubs to encourage closer working. A record 2.5 million Brits have dropped out of the workforce because they are on long-term sickness, official figures show. Meanwhile, many pubs, restaurants and shops cannot find enough staff because of a massive labour shortage. Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride has launched an inquiry to see how to keep more people in work. One of the ideas batted around Whitehall is changing how sick notes work to make it clearer that staff should be helped by bosses to stay in work if at all possible.” – Sun on Sunday

> Today: ToryDiary – How many of the economically inactive should be considered a part of “our labour force”?

Prevent review targets blasphemy violence

“Muslim extremists who threaten people they accuse of blasphemy must be targeted by counter-terrorism operatives, a landmark Government report will recommend. Tackling so-called ‘blasphemy violence’ will be a key recommendation in the long-awaited report on Prevent, the Government’s flagship counter-terrorism programme, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. In Islam, it is considered blasphemy to depict the Prophet Muhammad or any members of his close family – and among hardliners, the punishment for such an act is death. The report, by former Charity Commission chief William Shawcross, will urge Prevent teams to tackle imams and Muslim leaders who accuse teachers, writers and others of blasphemy. It is the first time that an official Prevent report will identify Islamic ‘blasphemy violence’ as an extremist problem in Britain.” – Mail on Sunday

Charlotte Ivens: Seat belts, canapés, plane flights – and the trivialisation of our political culture

“No such artistic block plagued Politico’s morning email on Thursday. Westminster’s august daily briefing began with 171 words detailing the canapés at a parliamentary drinks reception. We also got 190 words on what happened at the bash. I can’t vouch for the veracity of the reports. I don’t go to many Westminster drinks dos. I prefer to stay home, politely pushing pins into my eyes. But, as far as I can tell, some people had some drinks. Anyway, important business having been dealt with, the email then told us that Jacinda Ardern had resigned. What’s that? You don’t care about the canapés? You’re not alone. Politico’s Playbook is something of an institution in SW1: a parish newsletter of sorts. On Thursday the great, the good and the neither of Westminster took to — where else? — Twitter to complain about the trivialisation of this sacred text.” – Sunday Times

Other comment

  • After 13 years of Conservative Government, the left still runs Britain – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph
  • The real housing squeeze: we’re forced to live in tiny homes. And they’re getting even smaller – Rob Colvile, Sunday Times
  • The Government needs a growth vision – Ranil Jaywardena, Sun on Sunday
  • Sunak should trust his low tax instincts – Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph
  • The Government’s net zero fantasy will leave us poorer, colder and hungrier – Ross Clark, Mail on Sunday
  • The population control fanatics are wrong – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • The West’s obsession with rights – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Bike lanes won’t level up the north – Rod Liddle, Sunday Times
  • Arden and lockdown – Daniel Hannan, Sunday Telegraph
  • Trust in the police is at breaking point – Suella Braverman, Sunday Telegraph
  • The Online Safety Bill is fast becoming a magnet for terrible ideas – Juliet Samuel, Sunday Telegraph
  • Root out rotten police – Sunday Express Editorial
  • The police must regain women’s trust – Sunday Times Editorial

Other news:

  • Buses instead of railways Tory row – Sun on Sunday
  • Poll says Sunak better than Johnson as Conservative leader for the next election – Mail on Sunday
  • (All the bets are that Johnson will oust Sunak – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday)
  • Lee Anderson interview – Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour “misleading Education department food waste claim” – Mail on Sunday

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