Brexit

With BoJo still leading the polls in the running for Prime Minister, the Telegraph reports on his plans after he gets into No. 10.

Boris Johnson is forming a Brexit ‘war Cabinet’ to force through Britain’s departure from the European Union in his first 100 days in office, the Telegraph can disclose.
The “crack team” – as one source described it – would comprise a tightly-knit unit of senior ministers and advisers charged with mapping out and tackling every possible obstacle on the way to Britain exiting on October 31.
It would then report back to the broader cabinet, which itself will be comprised entirely of ministers who signed up to Mr Johnson’s deadline.

The Times describes it as a ‘war footing’.

Boris Johnson has set up a US presidential-style transition team that will put Whitehall on a “war footing” to deliver Brexit, in an effort to convince Tory MPs and members that his campaign to succeed Theresa May is back on track, after a week of turmoil that sparked bitter infighting among his allies.
Johnson has recruited a team of three to lead his preparations for government, led by his right-hand man from his days at London’s City Hall, a remainer cabinet minister and one of David Cameron’s closest aides.

The Express claims he’s getting tough with Europeans.

BORIS Johnson has dived into the Brexit negotiations during the Tory leadership battle by ordering European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier to come to the UK immediately to reopen Theresa May’s controversial withdrawal agreement.
Mr Johnson is reported to have made the move of inviting the two top Eurocrats to London while a further three weeks of nationwide hustings remain ongoing. The move itself is a stark contrast to Mrs May’s technique of getting a last-minute flight to Brussels with haste.

Several of the media report the imminent departure of a top mandarin.  ITV News says he will go this summer.

Chief negotiator Olly Robbins will quit his Brexit role this summer.
PA understands the man who masterminded Theresa May’s Brexit deal will step down shortly after the new prime minister takes up his post at the end of July.
Mr Robbins has committed to a brief handover before he moves on, with reports he may take up a job in the City.
Mr Robbins’ departure is the latest in a wave of top civil servants dealing with Brexit who have announced they will resign rather than take on the challenge of delivering Brexit within 100 days under the new leader.

Westmonster has the same story.

Theresa May’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, Olly Robbins, is finally quitting the role and leaving when the next Prime Minister takes over.
Robbins has long been viewed by many Brexiteers as too pro-EU. Is it any wonder when the Sunday Times reported in October that: “Robbins appeared ready to sign the UK up to a deal that would have seen Britain agree to join a Customs Union with no end date, while enshrining in law an EU ‘backstop’ plan that would have left Northern Ireland in the orbit of the EU and introduced regulatory barriers between the province and the rest of the EU.”
A source has told the Mail on Sunday that Boris Johnson’s new team are gearing up to spring into action: “The window for talks is very tight, so we will get the ball rolling almost immediately. No one will be able to accuse us of dragging our feet, when the offer of fresh talks to avoid No Deal will be there from the off.”

The Independent says he will go after briefing the new PM.

Olly Robbins, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, is set to quit his role this summer.
The civil servant will reportedly leave his role shortly after briefing the new prime minister, who is expected to take office on 24 July.
The Independent 
understands that Mr Robbins is keen to move on, having remained as chief negotiator for eight months longer than originally intended.
It is believed that he may be considering a job in the City.
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, was asked about the resignation rumours at a Tory leadership hustings in Manchester.

But the Mail claims he’s already gone.

Controversial civil servant Olly Robbins has resigned as Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator ahead of an expected Boris Johnson premiership, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
He is to leave Government before the country’s new Prime Minister takes power next month for a lucrative job in the City.
Our revelation comes as Mr Johnson prepares to launch a ‘day one’ Brexit blitz that would see Whitehall put on an immediate No Deal ‘war-footing’ and EU bosses invited to London to immediately reopen Brexit negotiations.

As does the Express.

OLLY Robbins has quit his post as Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator, it has been revealed at the Tory leadership hustings event in Manchester yesterday evening.
Mr Robbins’ departure was announced during Jeremy Hunt’s time on stage at the hustings event in the north. The audience erupted with cheers at the news, which was announced by Mr Hunt’s interviewer. Mr Hunt said: “I wasn’t a believer in the backstop, I didn’t believe it would get through Parliament.”

Divorce bill

And now even Jeremy Hunt says he could withhold a payment to the EU, reports BBC News.

Prime ministerial hopeful Jeremy Hunt has said he would consider withholding some of the UK’s £39bn EU “divorce bill” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The foreign secretary told the Sunday Times he would not hand over “a penny more than is legally required of us”.
Fellow leadership contender Boris Johnson previously unveiled similar plans to hold back money from Brussels.

Bercow

The arch anti-Brexiteer speaker of the House of Commons could still try and stop Brexit, says the Telegraph.

John Bercow has decided to delay his departure from the House of Commons’ speaker’s chair until the end of this year, raising fears he could try to disrupt the Brexit process again.
MPs say the Speaker has privately made clear to his team that he wants to carry on as Speaker until Christmas, rather than stand down this summer has had been thought.

The Express also reports the squeaker’s plans.

JOHN BERCOW has planned to delay his departure from the House of Commons, raising fears he could try to derail the Government’s Brexit plans.
MPs have said the Speaker of the House of Commons has made it clear he wishes to remain Speaker until Christmas, rather than stand down this summer. Last October, reports suggested Mr Bercow had allegedly “told friends” he was planning to stand down this summer. Local newspaper The Buckingham and Winslow Advertiser also reported in April that Mr Bercow had said he would not stay on as Speaker for “much longer”.

And the Mail claims video cameras could be installed in Commons offices to combat bullying.

MPs could be forced to install video cameras in their Commons offices to tackle an ‘epidemic’ of unwanted sexual advances and bullying, The Mail on Sunday has learned.
Under the plans being drawn up by Speaker John Bercow, researchers would also be issued with GPS-tracked ‘grope alarms’ to record the exact time and location of any assault, while sales of  alcohol could also be banned on the Parliamentary Estate before 6pm.

Tory leadership

Meanwhile, back on the hustings, the leadership contenders have been locking horns.  But the Guardian reports that even if Boris wins, he may not be able to take up his post.

Boris Johnson could be stopped from becoming prime minister even if he is elected as the new Conservative leader, two of Britain’s leading constitutional experts have said.
With Tory MPs threatening to withdraw support for the party under his stewardship, Johnson is warned that he could be prevented from ever entering Downing Street should it become clear he cannot command a majority in the House of Commons.
It is the latest sign of the parliamentary crisis that could face Johnson upon his election. It risks involving the Queen in politics and could pull Theresa May back into the Brexit impasse; as the incumbent prime minister, she will be key in recommending to the palace who should be called to form the next government.
Johnson’s legitimacy would be challenged if just a handful of Tory MPs declare that they could not support his administration, according to professors Robert Hazell and Meg Russell from the constitution unit at UCL, University of London.

The Telegraph is plumping for Jeremy Hunt.

Jeremy Hunt should be elected Tory leader because he can persuade Liberal Democrat and Green supporters to vote Conservative, his main Brexiteer supporter has said.
Penny Mordaunt, the Defence secretary and Equalities minister, said Tory members should vote for Mr Hunt to be leader because he was “respectful” and could unite the party.
She also took a swipe at rival candidate Boris Johnson by saying party members wanted a candidate who had a plan to deliver Brexit, saying Mr Hunt had a plan and was “telling it like it is”.

And the Times reports that both contenders will play hardball with Brussels.

Britain is on course for a hard-Brexit confrontation with Brussels after both prime ministerial contenders revealed last night they were drafting in negotiating teams to replace Theresa May’s failed deal with a free-trade agreement.
Jeremy Hunt has drafted in two senior Canadian politicians, while Boris Johnson has asked Jacob Rees-Mogg and two other dedicated Brexiteers to draw up his Brexit blueprint.

EU

Both leadership contenders claim they’ll be able to renegotiate May’s Withdrawal Agreement, says the Independent.

Since last year, the European Union has said it won’t renegotiate Theresa May’s  Brexit deal.  Yet the message doesn’t seem to be getting through in Westminster. All the Conservative Party leadership contenders to replace the prime minister have suggested some kind of changes.
For Brussels, the matter is closed. It has split up the team that negotiated the deal, and sent Sabine Weyand, Michel Barnier’s deputy, to work for another part of the European Commission.
Jean-Claude Juncker said most recently at the June European Council that EU member states were “unanimous” that there would be no further talks on it, and that there would be nothing new.

And Breitbart has an interesting story about the billions we’ll have to continue paying the bloc if we don’t get out pdq.

If you thought the EU’s demand for £39 billion of British taxpayers’ money was off the scale then be prepared for a shock. There’s a further huge contingent liability to the EU in the event of a Eurozone crisis of hundreds of billions pounds more, that Theresa May agreed to keep us on the hook for and which Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson have not yet commented on.
The secret has been revealed, however, in a new 40-page report written by City banking specialist Bob Lyddon and published by the economic think tank Global Britain. The unpalatable truth that Remainers don’t want to acknowledge – and which you’ll never hear on the BBC or broadcast news channels – is that huge financial liabilities associated with EU membership cannot be avoided without a quick, clean Brexit.

Theresa May

She’s still desperate to leave a legacy and that’s causing rows with her chancellor, says the Telegraph.

Theresa May has escalated a major row with Philip Hammond over her eleventh-hour “legacy” projects, insisting that she is still Prime Minister and entitled to push ahead with the demands.
Dismissing concerns that the proposals, including a £27 billion increase in education spending, will bind the hands of her successor, Mrs May insisted that she will press on with her own agenda “until I hand over” in less than a month’s time.
Mrs May lobbied Mr Hammond over the plans as they travelled together on a 12-hour flight from London to Osaka, in Japan, for the G20 summit of world leaders.

She’s going for new legislation on domestic abuse, reports the Times.

Theresa May will use her last days in power to push through landmark domestic abuse legislation amid fears her successor will not make a priority of the issue.
The domestic abuse bill is expected to be introduced on July 16, just a week before May is expected to hand over the keys to Downing Street to either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt.
Sources close to the prime minister claim she is determined to see the legislation clear the House of Commons before she leaves office.

The Times also reports her differences with Hammond.

Theresa May has rebuked Philip Hammond after he tried to block her plans to spend billions of pounds on her legacy.
In a veiled attack on the chancellor, the outgoing prime minister reminded him that she was still in charge until she handed over the keys to Downing Street to her successor at the end of July.
Speaking for the first time since the row erupted over her plan to boost the education budget by £27bn, May signalled her determination to press ahead with her spending spree.

The Independent claims she’s determined to continue building her legacy.

Theresa May has defended her decision to commit the government to billions of pounds of spending in her final weeks in office.
The weeks since Ms May announced she would stand down have been marked by a flurry of initiatives on issues ranging from climate change to mental health and housebuilding, as the prime minister seeks to forge a legacy that goes beyond her failure to deliver Brexit.
The spending spree has met fierce resistance from the Treasury, where Philip Hammond has let it be known that he is ready to resign if prime ministerial “vanity projects” threaten his record of prudence on the economy.
The chancellor has built up a war chest of more than £26bn “headroom” in the public accounts to cushion the impact of a no-deal Brexit, and does not want the cash to be raided until it is certain that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will be orderly.

Labour Party

Corbyn’s not faring any better, reports the Mail.

Jeremy Corbyn launched an astonishing attack on the Civil Service last night over claims he has suffered a mini-stroke and is physically unfit to be Labour leader.
Mr Corbyn demanded an investigation into Whitehall leaks which described him as ‘frail’ and ‘losing his memory’, accusing the mandarins of being anti-democratic and politically motivated.
Rumours have been swirling around Westminster for several months about Mr Corbyn’s health, including the claim that the 70-year-old had a mini-stroke three months ago – something which Labour insisted yesterday was ‘categorically untrue’.

Sky News reports that he’s angry.

Jeremy Corbyn has angrily questioned the neutrality of the civil service after officials reportedly told a newspaper he was “too frail” to become prime minister.
The Labour leader, 70, has described as a “farrago of nonsense”- claims on the front of The Times about his mental and physical health.
The paper quoted two “senior civil servants” – with one suggesting there are concerns in Whitehall that Mr Corbyn was “losing his memory”, was being “propped up” by his advisers and was “not in charge of his own party”.

His health has apparently been discussed, reports the Independent.

Labour has angrily denied claims that Jeremy Corbyn is too “frail” to be prime minister.
The party rejected suggestions, reported to have been made by senior civil servants, that the Labour leader was “too frail” and “losing his memory”.
According to The Times, Mr Corbyn’s health was discussed at a recent event attended by top Whitehall figures.
One senior civil servant reportedly told the paper: “There is a real worry that the Labour leader isn’t up to the job physically or mentally but is being propped up by those around him. There’s growing concern that he’s too frail and is losing his memory. He’s not in charge of his own party.”

And the Mirror claims his health won’t stop him becoming PM.

Labour last night rejected claims Jeremy Corbyn’s health could torpedo his bid for No10.
The Times claimed senior civil servants feared he has become “too frail and is losing his memory” and maybe forced to step down as Labour leader.
But a party spokesman said: ” Jeremy Corbyn leads an active life, running and cycling regularly, and is in good health.
“Reports to the contrary are scurrilous and a transparent attempt to undermine Labour’s efforts to redistribute wealth and power from the few to the many.”

Corbyn blames the Whitehall mandarins in the Guardian.

Jeremy Corbyn has raised concerns about the neutrality of the civil service after anonymous senior officials claimed he was too frail to become prime minister and may resign as Labour leader over health concerns.
The civil servants told the the Times that Corbyn, 70, could be forced to stand down because he was not up to the job “physically or mentally”.
According to the newspaper, the future of the Labour leader was discussed at an event attended by mandarins earlier this month amid suggestions he was “losing his memory”.
Corbyn said in a statement on Saturday that the briefing given by civil servants against his suitability was “something that should be very concerning to a lot of people”.

And he has demanded an enquiry into the comments, says the Times.

Jeremy Corbyn has demanded an independent leak inquiry in response to claims that senior civil servants think he is too frail to be prime minister.
The Labour leader called for action, saying it was “very concerning” that mandarins had briefed The Times that he was unfit to lead the country, and he questioned the civil service’s neutrality.
Two senior civil servants had suggested there was a “real worry” in Whitehall that the 70-year-old was not up to the job “physically or mentally”, was “losing his memory” and was being “propped up by those around him”.

Mad cow disease

The spectre of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease has not gone away, reports the Star.

UP to 30,000 people may be infected with the human form of mad cow disease without yet showing any symptoms.
Half of Britain’s population carry genes which mean they could be incubating the ticking timebomb of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD).
And it could incubate within their bodies for another 10 or 20 years before they become a fresh wave of victims of the degenerative brain condition.
The shocking revelations are in the documentary Mad Cow Disease: The Great British Beef Scandal. The disease sparked Britain’s worst food crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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