Newslinks for Friday 12th August 2022 | Conservative Home

Drought to be declared in southwest England

“A drought is expected to be declared for southwest England as the government meets with water companies today to discuss a dry spell that scientists fear could persist well into the autumn. The National Drought Group, which also includes the National Farmers’ Union and environmental groups, will convene as a heatwave sits over most of the southern half of England and parts of eastern Wales, with temperatures up to 36C forecast over the weekend. Fears of water shortages are spreading, with Yorkshire Water today announcing a hosepipe ban covering its five million households would start on August 26.” – The Times

  • Hosepipe bans to last for months – The i
  • Around 17 million people are already affected – Daily Mail
  • Water restrictions, fire risks and farming hardship – The Guardian

Energy 1) Truss rules out windfall tax on energy companies

“Liz Truss on Thursday night rejected calls to increase the windfall tax on energy companies to fund cost of living handouts for households, saying profit is not a “dirty word”. The Foreign Secretary said she was “absolutely” against such taxes, arguing that such a policy approach would be taken by Labour. The remarks are her clearest yet on the subject and come despite the Treasury devising an expansion of the windfall tax as an option for the next prime minister. As a new forecast predicted that annual energy bills could soar to more than £5,000 next April, Ms Truss also said she would lift the ban on fracking.” – Daily Telegraph

  • She insists that tax cuts will always be her ‘first port of call’ – Daily Mail
  • How much profit do energy companies make? – The Times

Energy 2) Ex-Chancellor’s plan to cancel out energy price rises

“Rishi Sunak has set out plans that he hopes would cover the total cost of rising energy bills for up to 16 million vulnerable people, as he challenged Liz Truss to follow suit. In an article for The Times the former chancellor said he was prepared to find up to £10 billion to soften the impact of this October’s price rise on top of the support announced by the government in May. Every household would benefit from a £200 reduction in their bills by abolishing VAT on energy, in a challenge to Truss, who has said only that she would consider the measures.” – The Times

  • Brits would see £200 slashed from energy bills – The Sun
  • Sunak brands Truss ‘immoral’ after she compared him to Brown… – The Sun
  • …and insists tax plans could put millions at risk of ‘real destitution’ – The Guardian


  • He won’t quit the race… – Daily Express
  • …even though third of Tory members have already voted in ‘major blow’ – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Oh, what a wonderful leadership election!

Energy 3) Rishi Sunak: We have a tried-and-tested strategy for supporting most vulnerable

“Today I can be very clear about the principles underpinning my approach, I can reasonably estimate what is likely to be required and I can explain how we pay for that. Firstly, there are three parts to my plan: support for the most vulnerable, support for pensioners and some support for everyone. The first two groups will need the most help because these are people who simply cannot increase their incomes to meet their energy costs and are the most vulnerable in society. For them, we have an existing channel by which we can get money to them quickly: the welfare system.” – The Times

  • Tories can no longer avoid telling hard truths about the route out of this mess – Lord Frost, Daily Telegraph

Energy 4) Industry told to help with cost of living or risk windfall tax

“Energy companies have been told to use their “huge” profits to help consumers or risk further windfall taxes. Boris Johnson unexpectedly joined a meeting of big energy producers yesterday and said they must do more to help people struggling to pay their bills. After analysis predicted that energy bills could top £5,000 next year, Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, told the big electricity companies the cost of living crisis was “not just the government’s problem”. Urging a “spirit of national unity”, he challenged energy bosses to come up with ways to soften the impact of soaring bills.” – The Times

  • Booming energy giants face tougher windfall tax as bills set ‘to hit £4,400’ – The Sun
  • Johnson warns firms soaring bills will damage sector – The Guardian
  • Downing Street’s crisis summit offered cash-strapped Brits no answer – The Sun
  • British energy bills forecast to soar above £5,000 next year – FT
  • Energy giants to hand shareholders £10bn, equivalent of £363 per UK household – The Sun


  • Kwarteng contradicts Tory policy on wood pellets – Daily Mail


Truss vows to strengthen Johnson’s social media law to protect free speech

“Boris Johnson’s social media crackdown will be strengthened to protect free speech, Liz Truss has vowed. She promised to ensure the flagship Online Safety Bill does not encroach on people’s rights. Senior Tories have blasted the legislation for telling Silicon Valley firms to police “legal but harmful” posts. They fear it will overstep the mark. Ms Truss said she “strongly agreed” adults should have the same rights online as they do in the real world. She said: “That’s a really important principle and I’ll make sure the Online Safety Bill reflects that.”” – The Sun

  • ‘Gutsy’ Foreign Secretary is a potential nightmare for Labour, say party strategists – FT
  • MP who took £5,000 from Sunak backs Truss – The Times
  • Badenoch becomes first Tory to be promised a top job in Truss’ team… – The Sun
  • …as she praises her former rival as ‘maverick’ and hails her ‘unpredictability’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Suella Braverman MP in Comment: The abuse of human rights, the long tail of Blairism, the corrosive role of Strasbourg – and what we’ll do about it

Johnson calls in lawyers over looming punishment

“Boris Johnson is taking legal advice over a privileges committee investigation as those close to him accept it is a “foregone conclusion” that he will be found in contempt of parliament. The prime minister is fighting to save his seat by arguing for a lenient punishment that would avoid a recall petition. A petition could result in his leaving the Commons only weeks after being pushed out of Downing Street. Some of Johnson’s senior team have all but given up hope of escaping censure after the committee of MPs who will decide his fate concluded that he did not have to have knowingly misled the Commons to be found in contempt.” – The Times

Putin is now ‘unlikely to ever succeed’ in occupying Ukraine, Wallace says

“Vladimir Putin is now ‘unlikely to ever succeed’ in occupying Ukraine, Ben Wallace has said, as Britain pledged more financial and military support for the country. The Defence Secretary said Russia’s invasion has ‘faltered’ and is ‘starting to fail in many areas’ as he co-hosted a conference of donors in Copenhagen on Thursday. He also described huge losses of both personnel and military equipment it has suffered in the near six months since Putin launched a ‘special military operation’ on February 24… The UK has pledged to send multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine, as well as precision guided missiles which can strike targets up to 50 miles away – designed to defend against Russian heavy artillery.” – Daily Mail

Starmer ‘missing’ over cost-of-living crisis

“Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, was on Thursday night accused of being “missing” over the cost of living crisis as Left-wing MPs backed Gordon Brown’s demand for a recall of Parliament. Sir Keir, who returns to work from holiday on Friday, has infuriated backbenchers with an “eerie” silence over spiralling energy bills. In his absence Mr Brown, the former prime minister, has put forward plans to bring down gas and electricity bills by temporarily renationalising some providers. The proposals were well received by Labour MPs, who demanded that Sir Keir “go further” by calling for a new cost of living rescue package.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Former Tory backer makes donation to Labour leader – The Times


  • Biggest UK fall in real wages for 100 years looms, warns TUC – The Guardian
  • Junior doctors in strike ballot threat over ‘unacceptable’ pay offer – Daily Mail
  • Train drivers’ union boss warns members are in for ‘long haul’ in UK rail dispute – FT
  • Teachers’ union issues fresh strike threat – Daily Mail


  • Brown has exposed the truth: Starmer is Labour leader in name only – Dan Hodges, Daily Mail

Corbyn refused permission to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court in libel case

“Jeremy Corbyn has been refused permission to lodge an appeal at the Supreme Court in a libel claim brought against the former Labour leader by a political blogger. Commentator Richard Millett, 50, is suing Mr Corbyn over remarks he made during an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show in 2018 when he was leader of the opposition. Mr Corbyn, who now sits as an Independent MP, claims he was defending himself against allegations of antisemitism when he made the comments and is contesting the case.” – Daily Mail


  • Anger as Plaid Cymru restores whip to MP cautioned for assaulting wife – The Guardian

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