A leadership challenge against Theresa May is “very unlikely” according to former Brexit minister David Jones.
Archbishop of Canterbury plan for more taxes will hit living standards and push wage growth into reverse, says Treasury minister Robert Jenrick
Increasing taxes to fund a cash boost for hospitals could hit living standards and push wages’ growth into reverse, a Treasury minister Robert Jenrick has said in a rebuff to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said Theresa May’s Government should find its “nerve” and "courage" to raise taxes to fund public services like the National Health Service.
There is a live debate in Whitehall over whether Mrs May should increase taxes to fund a £4billion cash injection for the NHS, ahead of the health service's 70th birthday next month.
But Mr Jenrick warned against more tax rises, telling Chopper’s Brexit Podcast today that the tax burden was “relatively high by historic standards, approaching the highest it has been for 50 years”.
He said: “I would be concerned not to increase taxes too much because living standards matter to people in this country – real wages just tipping into the positive.
“This is a moment where you have to be careful not see that pushed that into reverse.
“We have worked very hard to reduce taxes particularly for working people and those on lower incomes and we have had success at that.
“The tax burden in this country is still relatively high by historic standards – it is approaching the highest it has been for 50 years – so we have to be cautious about putting up more taxes particularly because the overriding concern has to be living standards.”
Mr Jenrick also suggested he was against forcing pensioners to pay National Insurance Contributions to fund the NHS.
He said: “That is a decision that will have to be made as we approach the budget – I think it is very important that people are encouraged to keep working if they are healthy and want to keep doing it… it is very important to the economy that they are incentivised to keep working.”
Mr Jenrick, who is backing a new 50p coin to mark Brexit, also said other coins could be minted.
He said: “You could do that for other coins but that really is a decision for the royal mint. In recent years the 50p coin has been the one that has been used most for commemorative coins.”
Other guests on today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast are: Robin Walker, an Exiting the European Union minister, Eloise Todd, chief executive of Best for Britain, Polly Mackenzie, chief executive of Demos and James Rothwell, the Telegraph’s Brexit correspondent.
There will be at least one resignation in the Cabinet when we see the terms of the Brexit deal in the Autumn, and it could be as many as four or five, a peer and former Labour minister says today.
Lord Adonis, a keen Remainer, forecasts a “crisis” in Parliament when MPs are presented with the Brexit treaty. He tells today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast talk of at least one resignation is the “common gossip in Westminster”.
Lord Adonis says: “I think it’s very unlikely to be someone from the right - the Prime Minister is giving in to them and giving them everything they want. It’s much more likely to be one of the pragmatic, sensible people who people who believe in British trade and don’t want to trash the country”.
The Labour peer is joined on the podcast by Conservative MP and Brexiteer Michael Tomlinson who dismissed the prediction as “wishful thinking”.
Lord Adonis believes the solution is to hold a second vote on the terms of the deal: “The issues involved are so great - they’re the most important issues since I’ve been involved in public life - the right thing in the Autumn would be for Parliament to refer the Treaty, when we see it, to the people for a people’s vote.”
Also on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, available from 6am on Friday morning, Stanley Johnson, father of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a one-time Remainer who says he became a Brexiteer for the sake of democracy.
But Mr Johnson doesn’t rule out a return to his former side: “Of course I’ve been loyal to Brexit, but if it appears to be the case that we’re not going to put in place the whole raft of EU measures which we have and we’re not going to achieve this enforcement mechanism which I think is vital, I wouldn’t say I might not change my mind.”
Other guests include the Telegraph’s Political Editor, Gordon Rayner; Brexit Editor, Dia Chakravarty; and Europe Editor, Peter Foster, and Chris Waterman who sings a familiar tune with a Brexit twist.
Theresa May needs to quit as Prime Minister over ‘Greek tragedy’ Brexit talks, says major Conservative party donor
Theresa May needs to be quit as Prime Minister to because the Brexit talks "resemble a Greek tragedy and it only ends when everyone is dead", a leading Tory party donor says today.
Jeremy Hosking, a City financier who has donated £375,000 to the party since 2015, says the Government’s strategy to exit the European Union had to change.
Mr Hosking is the first major donor to speak about against Mrs May and her Brexit talks.
He tells today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast that it is time to take decisive action to ensure that Britain gets the best possible deal to leave the EU in March next year.
He says: “We are three-nil down and it is half time. We are in the dressing room having half time oranges and the plan is to wait until we are six-nil down and hope for a miracle in injury time? It just resembles a Greek tragedy and it only ends when everyone is dead.”
Mrs May had to be replaced “as soon as possible. There needs to be an audit on the strategy – the strategy is not working.
“I feel like a bit like the story of the emperor’s new clothes – someone has got to say it – it ain’t working.
Mr Hosking claims that the difficulties over the talks were part of a "deliberate" attempt to keep the UK in the EU, saying: "I personally have joined up my dots and concluded that it is deliberate... It doesn't really matter if it is deliberate or not if it is a failing strategy."
Mr Hosking says other donors shared his concerns. "The collapse in morale in the last four weeks is absolutely staggering.
"We see absolutely no way out of the box on the current strategy, the same team is being sent out after half time with the same inability to play football, and they are scoring goals at will... Our troops are on the beach and they are surrounded."
He adds: “There very definitely needs to be a change and a reset. You would need to have a new person to implement a strategy that is completely different to the old strategy.
“A lot of the parliamentary Conservative party think everyone is going very well – and I am talking about some of the Brexiteers.
“It is a bit like the man who jumps out of the 50th Storey window – as they fly by the 20th Storey it is all going great but it is not going to have a happy ending.
“The way it is going at the moment we are going to wake up in February 2019 and realise it is not going very well and we have only got injury time to score five goals.
He says that "somehow being a Brexiteer is politically incorrect. Those who oppose Brexit are playing on that like mad. There is a Pavlovian reflex from people to believe it, that we are xenophobes, racists and wife-beaters".
Eurosceptics were considered to be “nutters and lunatics”, he complains.
The party’s leadership felt that “the people who voted to leave didn’t really mean it and he idea of the Tories betraying Euroscepticism – and they are repeat offenders in this regard – that is still OK”.
Separately, David Mundell, the Scottish secretary, says people in Scotland were getting bored of the SNP’s repeated calls to make Scotland independent.
He tells the podcast: “The public’s appetite for discussing these issues is waning. People are fed up across the political spectrum of constantly hearing about independence and constitution.
“Even people who voted yes in 2014 – a lot of those people don’t want another independence referendum because it was a very divisive event.
“And although we politicians went out afterwards and said ‘isn’t it great, 80 per cent of people voted, virtually everybody who was alive in Scotland voted in that referendum.
“And although we say it is great public engagement, most people hated it when you speak to them, they hated the fact that they fell out with friends and family, with people in pubs like the Red Lion.
“People were divided, at their work they were divided. It was very intense in the final weeks. In the street you could not go out and avoid it.
“People don’t want to return to that. They feel it was a once in a generation event. There was a divisive result in favour of staying in the United Kingdom and we should leave it be.”
Mr Mundell, the second longest serving Cabinet minister who voted to Remain in the EU at the 2016 referendum, says he would vote to remain again if there were a referendum today.
He says: “I voted Remain and I would probably still vote Remain but I accepted the result.”
Asked how he deals with abuse from nationalists on Twitter, he says: “I just don’t look at it. I know what I am taking on.
“I asked to do this – nobody is making me. It is a harsh political environment in Scotland, indeed across most of the UK, you just have to get on with it.”
Other guests are Ayesha Hazarika and Tom Hamilton, former aides to ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband, who have written “Punch & Judy”, an account of preparing for the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons.
Chopper’s Brexit Podcast is available on the Telegraph’s website and iTunes from 6am on Friday May 25
Britain’s ‘governing class is ashamed of Englishness’, says former Tory minister - Chopper’s Brexit Podcast Episode 49
Britain’s governing classes are “ashamed” of being English, former Tory minister Nick Boles has said.
Mr Boles, a former Planning minister, called for ministers to be bolder about promoting Englishness in public life to mirror the pride felt by the Scots and Welsh.
A squeamishness about being Englishness - because of an association with the Far Right - had meant that young English people from a black or minority ethnic background were more comfortable describing themselves as British because it was more flexible and inclusive.
Mr Boles tells today’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast: “I drove through Parliament Square on a bus on St George’s Day this year and only place where I could see a St George’s flag was on Westminster Abbey.
“There was I was surrounded by Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Treasury, the Foreign Office – all the Great Offices of State – there wasn’t a St George’s flag to be seen.
“It is completely bonkers and it is not surprising that people feel that the governing class is somehow a bit ashamed of English identity if we make such little effort.”
He added that he did not want to see “state directed patriotism” but he called on the Government to find “small steps” to allow the English can mark their national identity.
All public buildings in England – government offices, courts, police stations, fire stations and town halls – should also be required to fly the St George’s flag on St George’s Day, April 23.
He also called for people being allowed to put an English – or Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh – flags on the number plates to reflect where their cars were registered.
Other ideas included allowing English teams singing one of Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem or I Vow To Thee My Country rather than the British national anthem at sporting events.
Mr Boles said he preferred Jerusalem because of its “progressive” lyrics, but called for a vote by English MPs to decide the new English anthem once and for all.
Also on Chopper's Brexit Podcast, a senior Government minister warned that peers who are amending Brexit legislation are increasing the likelihood of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.
Peers have so passed 14 amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill including removing the 29 March 2019 Brexit leaving date and changing the law to try to keep the UK in the single market.
Dominic Raab, the Housing minister, warned: “The House of Lords is increasing the risk of no deal. I am a passionate Brexiteer but I have always argued that we should secure the best deal that we can with our European friends and partners. I think the peers are making that harder and are making no deal more likely.”
Other guests on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, available from 6am on Friday, Telegraph political correspondent Anna Mikhailova and Michael Lightfoot, co-founder of a new group called Artists for Brexit who sings a song he has composed about leaving the EU called “A Song for British Freedom”.
Margaret Thatcher would not have voted for Brexit, her former private secretary has said.
Caroline Slocock, who worked for the former Tory Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street from 1989 to 1991, said she would have preferred to stay in the European Union and fight to reform it.
Leave supporters have sometimes used Baroness Thatcher’s euroscepticism in the later years of her premiership and in her retirement to suggest she would have voted to leave the European Union.
However, speaking to Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, Ms Slocock said that she would not have voted to leave the EU.
The comments echo those of Lord Powell of Bayswater, Lady Thatcher’s most trusted foreign adviser in Number 10, who said the former PM would have voted to stay in the EU in September 2016.
Ms Slocock said: “My view is that she wouldn’t and I share this view with Charles Powell who advised her on foreign affairs as private secretary when I was there.
“My justification for that is she would not have got into this mess in the first place. She had form and the form was to stay in and fight.
“On the rebate she fought for five years to get the right deal – and I just think that David Cameron walked away far too early from those discussions with the EU.
“She would have done a much better job and we probably would not have had a referendum at all.
“She was very much against the idea of the European super state. She said in her famous Bruges speech that she had not rolled back the frontiers of state in Britain to see them rolling forward in Europe.
“She was angry about it but the fundamental thing is that she was fighting her corner, she wasn’t walking away and she valued immensely the trading relationship that we have with the EU.
“She – who regarded the single market as her greatest achievement in Europe – would just be non-plussed to be finding us walking away from trading relationships with effectively 70 per cent of our trade is with Europe or through European trade agreements – doing that speculatively in the hope that we will get better trading agreements elsewhere.
“The mistake of the government was to sign article 50 – now it has got no real negotiating strength - if you are inside the EU threatening to leave you have got a much better negotiating position.”
Also on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, from 6am on Friday morning, Jake Berry MP, the Northern Powerhouse minister, supported calls for Donald Trump to visit the north of England when he visits the UK later this summer.
Pointing out that Ben Houchen, the Tory mayor for Tees Valley, has invited Mr Trump to visit his region, Mr Berry said it was important that the UK sought a better trading relationship with the US “whatever people’s views of Donald Trump”.
Mr Berry added: “I would be delighted if Donald Trump visits the north of England. He would be probably welcomed in manufacturing areas who want to build that very close trading relationship and we shouldn’t let our personal views whatever they may be about his politics stand in the way of having a successful visit for our closest ally and that visit must be focused on creating a close trading relationship between the manufacturers of the north and the manufacturers of the United States.”
Other guests include George Freeman MP, ex-chairman of the Conservative policy board, Jeremy Warner, the Telegraph’s Assistant Editor and Ed Malnick, the Telegraph’s Whitehall Editor.
The podcast also features the first #BrexitPoems which were submitted by Twitter.
Theresa May has to put a ‘no deal’ option on the table to keep UK out of customs union, says former Brexit minister: Chopper’s Brexit Podcast Ep 47
Let’s embalm Nigel Farage and put him in the new ‘Museum of Brexit’, says Cabinet minister Liz Truss
Nigel Farage “can be embalmed like those Soviet leaders” and put into a new Museum of Brexit, Chief secretary of the Treasury Liz Truss tells Chopper’s Brexit Podcast today.
The former Ukip leader – along with the famous Vote Leave bus with its claim that Brexit will deliver £350million a week for the NHS – are Ms Truss’s recommendations for inclusion in the new museum.
Ms Truss says: "What you are asking me is a bit like Room 101 -what would you put in it. There are a few things from the campaign, may be a Cornish pasty, some leeks and of course the bus."
She adds that perhaps Mr Farage "can be embalmed, like those Soviet leaders" and included in the museum.
Ms Truss makes clear that Brexit will not be delayed to allow for second referendum on the terms of Brexit, saying: "Everyone in my constituency says 'please get on with it', and that is what we are doing."
Ms Truss also criticises a "computer says no" approach at the Home Office when has left more than 100 Windrush citizens unsure of their immigration status.
She says: "The Prime Minister and Home Secretary have given very full apologies about the truly dreadful situation people found themselves in.
"It is appalling that people who fought for his country during the war, have contributed to rebuilding Britain after the war, face that kind of computer says no attitude from the Home Office. That has to stop."
Ms Truss also set her face against calls for a hypothecated tax to fund the National Health Service. She says: "They are a bad thing. If you had a hypothecated tax going into the NHS in the late 2000s, and we got the economic downturn when National Insurance receipts went down, that would have meant less money for the NHS.
"I believe in a tax-funded NHS that is funded from general taxation - that is what makes sense."
Asked if pensioners who work should pay National Insurance to fund the NHS, she adds: "This is not a policy the government has at all. Those people have contributed throughout their lives and I think it is a good thing that people are working beyond the current retirement age."
Other guests on Chopper’s Brexit Podcast, presented by Christopher Hope, The Telegraph’s Chief Political Correspondent, include Gawain Towler, former Ukip spokesman and the secretary of the new Museum.
Mr Towler says a board has been appointed and a number of sites are being scouted to host the museum and archive devoted to the UK’s 40 year membership of the European Union which ends next year.
Michael Deacon, the Telegraph’s longstanding sketchwriter who has been dubbed “Brexit’s Boswell”, and Dia Chakravarty, the Telegraph’s Brexit Editor, offer their own ideas on how to fill the museum on the podcast which was recorded in the Red Lion pub on Whitehall this week.
Tim Morris , the chief executive of the Major Ports Group which owns most of the UK’s ports, is also on the podcast to explain why trade to the UK need not be disrupted after Britain leaves the European Union in March next year.
This week's Chopper's Brexit Podcast comes from the Telegraph's newsroom where Christopher Hope, the Telegraph's Chief Political Correspondent, peers into the future and asks the simple question: will we ever leave the European Union? Joining him in the studio are: Kate McCann, the Telegraph's senior political correspondent; Jeremy Warner, the Telegraph's assistant editor and columnist; and Peter Foster, the Telegraph's Europe editor.