Iran

Today’s big news concerns oil tankers seized by Iran.  The Telegraph reports:

Two British oil tankers were seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday night, in a major escalation of tensions in the Gulf.
The British-flagged Stena Impero had been en route to Saudi Arabia, but abruptly changed course and began sailing towards the Iranian island of Qeshm, data relayed by maritime tracking services showed.
The 30,000-tonne ship “went dark”, meaning its transponder was turned off, at 4.29pm UK time and nothing has been heard from her or her 23 crew since.
A second oil tanker, the British-operated, Liberian-flagged Mesdar, was intercepted by the Guards about 40 minutes after the course shift by Stena Impero, and was held for some time before being allowed to resume navigation.
HMS Montrose, the Type-23 frigate, was understood to have been dispatched to help the Stena, but was minutes too late.

The Mail says we are nearing a conflict.

Iran last night seized a British oil tanker in the Gulf – edging the world closer to the brink of conflict.
In a major escalation of tensions, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard launched a guerilla-style attack to confiscate the Stena Impero as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.

BBC News says the government is very worried.

The UK government has said it is “deeply concerned” about Iran’s “unacceptable” seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf.
The Stena Impero’s owners say they have been unable to contact the ship, which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway in the region.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned of “serious consequences” if the situation is not resolved quickly.

And the Independent points out the ships were in international waters.

Iran seized two British oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz weeks after British royal marines took control of an Iranian vessel suspected of transporting fuel to Syria.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard took control of the UK-registered Stena Impero over what it claimed were violations of international regulations at around 4pm UK time on Friday afternoon. They later took it to port.

The Times says tension has escalated in the area.

A British-flagged oil tanker was seized by Iran yesterday in an escalation of tensions between London and Tehran.
The cargo vessel Stena Impero had been sailing through the Strait of Hormuz en route to Saudi Arabia when she was surrounded by four vessels and a helicopter at 4pm BST. No contact had been established since that point, her Swedish owners said.
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, said last night that there would be serious consequences if the situation were not resolved quickly.

The US president is also involved, reports ITV News.

US President Donald Trump has sent a stark warning to Iran, after a British-flagged oil tanker and Liberian-registered vessel were intercepted by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the Strait of Hormuz early Friday evening.
“We hope for their sake they don’t do anything foolish,” he said from the White House.
“If they do, they will pay a price like nobody’s paid a price.”

Brexit

Back to domestic politics and the Times says plans to bring down the government if the new PM wants to leave the EU without a deal have been slammed by Boris’ pals.

Boris Johnson’s allies have accused about 20 Conservative MPs and ministers prepared to bring down the government to stop a no-deal Brexit of being “utterly deluded”.
Pro-European ministers and MPs are plotting to remove Mr Johnson from office within ten weeks if he becomes Tory leader and attempts to force Britain to leave the EU without a deal. As many as 20 Tory MPs, including several ministers, are understood to be willing to bring down the government in a vote of confidence.

iNews reports a planned siege.

A plan for dozens of Privy Councillors to lay siege to Downing Street is being considered as a way of stopping Boris Johnson suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.
A senior source revealed to the Standard that Whitehall officials have been asked to study ancient protocol to establish the rights of the Privy Council to over-rule the Prime Minister of the day.

And the Express reports a poll showing an increasing polarisation among voters.

BRITISH voters have become so divided over Brexit they now favour extreme outcomes of either pursuing no deal Brexit or revoking Article 50 altogether, a new poll has shown.
The Politico-Hanbury’s tracker poll surveyed 3,066 people between June 21 and July 15 and asked: Which of the following options would you prefer if Britain has still not agreed a Brexit deal by October 31, 2019? The results showed voters appeared to be more polarised than ever on Brexit, as around 51 percent of voters in London and Scotland supported staying in the European Union. But the North West and the East Midlands were in favour of a no-deal withdrawal at 46 percent.

Boris Johnson

The expected winner in the race for No. 10 is making his plans.  In an exclusive report, the Telegraph says he might call a former minister back to his new Cabinet.

David Davis is in talks with Boris Johnson over a Cabinet comeback, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
Mr Davis, 70, who was the first leaver to quit the government last summer in protest at Theresa May’s Chequers deal, has emerged as a late contender for one of the top jobs in the new administration being assembled this weekend in the hope Mr Johnson will be announced as the next Prime Minister on Tuesday.
The former Brexit secretary is understood to be in line for either Chancellor or Foreign Secretary after telling Mr Johnson he would not settle for a lesser Cabinet role.

The Sun has picked up the story.

DAVID Davis is set for a comeback in BoJo’s new look Cabinet, it was reported last night.
The former Brexit Secretary — who quit over Theresa May’s Chequers deal— is in talks with the Tory leadership favourite, The Daily Telegraph said.
source told the paper: “Boris appreciates the fact that while the rest of the Cabinet sat on their hands over the deal, David did the honourable thing.”
He is said to want to become chancellor or foreign secretary, rather than any lesser role.

The Times claims the ‘honorable member for the 18th Century’ may also be offered a Cabinet job.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is being considered for a ministerial role in the Treasury amid criticism that the department has become “the architect of Project Fear”.
The leading Tory Eurosceptic MP is being tipped to succeed Liz Truss as chief secretary to the Treasury amid Boris Johnson’s desire to accelerate preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Rees-Mogg is facing competition for the role from Rishi Sunak, a junior local government minister, whose endorsement as a prominent Tory MP of the 2015 intake was seen as a key moment in Mr Johnson’s leadership campaign.

And the Mail has details of other potential ministers.

Boris Johnson will promote Liz Truss and bring back former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan in an attempt to confront his ‘women problem’, allies believe.
The Tory leadership frontrunner is finalising his top team over the weekend in anticipation of defeating Jeremy Hunt when the result is announced on Tuesday.
Mr Johnson is understood to be determined to promote ‘talented’ Conservative women to replace female allies of Mrs May’s who are likely to leave Cabinet.

The Express claims the new PM will emphasise his acceptance of no deal.

TORY leadership race front-runner Boris Johnson will change the Department for Exiting the European Union into a ‘Ministry of No Deal’ in an attempt to put pressure on the EU to reopen Theresa May’s controversial withdrawal agreement and prove to the bloc he is serious about threats to deliver a no deal Brexit.
The favourite to be the next prime minister will strip the Government department of all existing tasks and demand civil servants focus their attention on no deal preparations. The aim of the change is to swoop in and take back control of the Brexit process handed to MPs by an embattled Theresa May following three failed meaningful votes, The Times reports.

Conservative Party

The Sun reports the party’s plan to make sure the new PM gets a good run at the job.

TORY grandees have acted to prevent Boris Johnson being kicked out by his own MPs for his first year in No.10.
Party bosses on the 1922 Committee have tweaked party rules to protect the next PM from being challenged in a vote of no confidence.
The 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers “clarified” rules to bar any confidence motion being staged in the next PM until at least July 23 next year.

Sky News also reports the new rules.

Tory MPs are pushing to introduce new rules to protect the next prime minister from a confidence vote for a year after they enter Downing Street, Sky News has learnt.
A confidence vote is when the PM’s own backbenchers are balloted over whether they should continue in office.
The move is being pushed by members of the Tory 1922 executive committee, a group of Tory backbench shop stewards who oversee the leadership rules.

The move comes after the current Chancellor said he might vote against the government, reports the Independent.

Senior Tories are considering changing party rules to stop Boris Johnson facing a no-confidence vote within the first year of being prime minister, by preventing a vote of no-confidence in the leader being called until they had been in office for at least 12 months.
It came after Philip Hammond suggested he would be willing to vote against the next Conservative government in a vote of no confidence if it pursued a no-deal Brexit.
The chancellor’s latest comments followed a claim by leading Tory Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg, a supporter of Mr Johnson, that suspending parliament so that MPs cannot stop the next prime minister forcing through a no-deal Brexit “may have to happen”.

EU

The Telegraph reports a very good reason why we should most definitely leave the EU.

Britain’s contribution to the EU has shot up by £2.6 billion per cent in the past 12 months, new Treasury figures show, as the UK’s growing economy was used to prop up Brussels’ budget.
An “eye-popping” £15.5 billion was sent across the Channel in the year ending March 31, compared with £12.9 billion the year before – an increase of 20 per cent.
The extra money would be enough to put 50,000 more police officers on the streets or fund 81,000 social care beds.

The Guardian reports a potential offer to the new PM.

Brussels is preparing to offer Boris Johnson a no-deal Brexit extension beyond 31 October in an attempt to help him keep the Conservative party together and provide one more chance to strike an agreement deal.
The extra period of EU membership would be used for renegotiation but could be billed to Conservative Brexiters as an opportunity to prepare further for leaving without a deal.
“It will be described as a technical delay to save Boris from political embarrassment but then we will have time to find an agreement,” said one senior EU diplomat.
There is growing confidence among key member states that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided after the Commons voted this week to prevent the next prime minister, likely to be Johnson, from proroguing parliament.

And the Sun reports that it’s the German chancellor suggesting the delay.

ANGELA Merkel has said Brexit could be delayed AGAIN if Britain needs “more time” to find a solution to the Irish border impasse.
The German chancellor supported the stance of incoming EU chief Ursula von der Leyen that the UK should be offered another extension beyond October 31.
Speaking in Berlin, she said: “If the UK needs more time, we want to provide it.
“If that’s not the case, we won’t need to deal with this question.”
She also suggested the EU’s main offer to Boris Johnson will be to redraft the UK-EU trade plan so the controversial backstop is “overwritten”.

Could there be a solution to the Irish border question.  iNews reports there could be.

Angela Merkel said the Irish border backstop could be overwritten if a solution to the problem was outlined in plans for the future relationship between the UK and EU.
The German Chancellor told journalists in a press conference on Friday that if Brexit negotiations found a solution on the Irish border the backstop would not be needed and could be effectively overruled.
Her comments came after both men in the running to be named the new UK Prime Minister next week said the backstop plan was “dead” and needed to be taken out of the existing Withdrawal Agreement.

Labour Party

Corbyn’s in trouble, reports the Telegraph.

Only 35 percent of respondents who backed Labour at the last election said they wanted to see Mr Corbyn running the country, according to YouGov.
Just over a third of Labour supporters who backed the party in 2017 indicated that they would want to see him in Downing Street in a new poll.
It also found that the figure fell to 26 percent when they were asked if they wanted to see him manage Brexit.

The Shadow Chancellor is planning his party’s government strategy in the Mail.

Labour would severely restrict government departments from giving contracts to private companies, John McDonnell is expected to say today.
The Shadow Chancellor will announce sweeping plans to cut state ‘outsourcing’ in the party’s latest move to nationalise services – from waste collection to building hospitals.
Mr McDonnell will reveal details of a new Labour ‘insourcing’ policy which would only allow ministries to use private contractors ‘within very tight guidelines’, an industry source said.

But it still faces accusations of anti-semitism, says the Independent.

Labour has been accused by the Board of Deputies of British Jews of “letting off” people accused of antisemitism without sanction, after a leaked draft of the party’s disciplinary process showed that some members can avoid punishment in serious cases where they have apologised and agreed to undergo education.
The Board of Deputies, a leading Jewish organisation, said Labour’s disciplinary processes were still not good enough and appeared too permissive towards antisemites, following the emergence of a draft of the party’s “antisemitism decision-making matrix” from March.

The Morning Star questions the credibility of the party’s investigations.

THE official investigation into anti-semitism in the Labour Party faces a credibility crisis today as the Morning Star can reveal that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) plans to invite Tory spin doctors as “guests” to its board meetings.
In the fourth part of our series EHRC Exposed, we can now reveal that the watchdog’s leadership want “a ministerial or SpAd guest at a board meeting.”

Referendum spending

A young Brexiteer has successfully challenged a fine, reports the Mirror.

The founder of pro-Brexit campaign group BeLeave has won his appeal against a £20,000 fine imposed by the Electoral Commission.
Darren Grimes was fined in 2018 after being accused of breaching spending rules during the EU referendum campaign three years ago.
But the 25-year-old insisted he was “completely innocent” of making false declarations in relation to a £680,000 donation to his youth-focused BeLeave group from the main Vote Leave campaign.
The Electoral Commission – which regulates political parties, members and campaigners – found that BeLeave “spent more than £675,000 with (Canadian data firm) Aggregate IQ under a common plan with Vote Leave”, which should have been declared by the latter but was not.

BBC News also has the story.

The founder of the youth-focused pro-Brexit campaign group BeLeave has won his appeal against a £20,000 fine imposed by the elections regulator.
Darren Grimes was punished by the Electoral Commission last year, after being accused of breaching spending rules during the 2016 EU Referendum.
Mr Grimes said he was “relieved” as the case had “taken a huge toll”.
He had maintained that he was “completely innocent” of making false declarations.

The quashed fine also takes the wind out of Remainers’ argument, says Breitbart.

The courts have quashed a huge fine against working-class Brexit campaigner Darren Grimes, which many Remain campaigners had used to discredit the legitimacy of the Leave vote in 2016.
The Electoral Commission, a nominally impartial watchdog which has been criticised by Brexit supporters for alleged political bias, had hit Grimes — a young student with a part-time job in a shop — with the maximum individual fine of £20,000.

Sky News reports the victim had protested his innocence.

The founder of pro-Brexit campaign group BeLeave has won his appeal against a £20,000 fine imposed by the Electoral Commission.
Darren Grimes was fined last year after being accused of breaching spending rules during the EU referendum campaign three years ago.
But the 25-year-old insisted he was “completely innocent” of making false declarations in relation to a £680,000 donation to his group from the main Vote Leave campaign.

Guido says the fine was imposed by a ‘kangaroo court’.

The County Court has ruled in favour of Darren Grimes’ appeal, exonerating him of the Electoral Commission’s kangaroo court imposed fine. The Commission’s argument for their egregious fine hinged on Darren’s accidental registering as an individual campaigner rather than a group. The Court has found that this is clearly disproportionate for ticking the wrong box…
Darren won on both alleged offences. The notice has been quashed.

Pensions

Away from front-line politics, the Times claims pension scams are rife.

Pension scams are costing British savers up to £4 billion a year and are the “next big financial scandal”, experts have warned.
Mis-selling cases have risen sharply since 2015, when a relaxation of pension rules took effect. Last year at least 100,000 people transferred out of defined-benefit pension schemes. It is now thought that a third of all pension transfers exhibit “red flags”, up from one in 19 three years ago.
Celebrities have been caught in alleged frauds.

Social care

And the Mail is pushing its petition against social care charges for dementia sufferers.

The Daily Mail today urges its readers to send a powerful message to the new prime minister by demanding an end to the dementia care crisis.
We have started a petition aimed at forcing the Government to end the disgraceful neglect of families living with the burden of dementia.
The Mail is calling for urgent reform of the broken care system which leaves families having to sell their homes to pay for crippling care costs.

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