Conservative leadership race live: Rishi Sunak says he will ‘scrap or reform all EU law, red tape and bureaucracy’ | Politics | #socialmedia


Sunak pledges to review 2,400 transferred EU laws before next election

Rishi Sunak is touting on social media a piece he has written for the Sunday Telegraph, promising “If I am elected, by the time of the next election, I will have scrapped or reformed all of the EU law, red tape and bureaucracy that is still on our statute book and slowing economic growth.”

The paper describes Sunak as “brandishing his Brexiteer credentials”. Edward Malnick writes:

The former chancellor pledged that he will have “scrapped or reformed all of the EU law, red tape and bureaucracy that is still on our statute book and slowing economic growth” by the time of the next election if he succeeds Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Sunak said he would task a Brexit minister and a new Brexit Delivery Department with reviewing all 2,400 EU laws transferred over to the UK statute book after the UK’s exit from the bloc. He would demand the first set of recommendations as to whether each law should be scrapped or reformed “within my first 100 days in the job”.

Specific pledges included overhauling retained EU regulations “to trigger a Big Bang 2.0” for the City, with his team saying he would set a target “to make London once again the world’s leading financial centre by 2027”.

He also said he would replace the EU-derived GDPR data laws with “the most dynamic data protection regime in the world” and cut red tape slowing down clinical trials.

  • Just to note that I edited this to remove a reference to Sunak supporting remain in 2016. He supported leave.

Key events:

Heather Stewart

Tax and spending has been the key battleground in the Conservative leadership contest so far, with most candidates promising tax cuts, while former Chancellor Rishi Sunak positions himself as the guardian of fiscal responsibility. He has said repeatedly he will not tell his colleagues “fairytales” about what is achievable.

Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, hammered that message home on Sunday. “Sensible Conservative economics means you get inflation down. If not, any money that is delivered to people in their bank accounts through tax cuts will be robbed again, by inflation or interest rates and mortgage payments going up. That can’t be right,” he said.

Penny Mordaunt, who came second in the first two rounds of voting among Tory MPs, appeared to suggest she would loosen Sunak’s fiscal rules in order to afford the tax cuts she is promising – a halving of fuel duty and an increase in personal tax thresholds.

Asked about the two current rules – that debt should be falling as a proportion of GDP in three years’ time, and that the government should only borrow to invest – Mordaunt said: “I’ve said I’d do the first.”

She added: “This is not about rewriting an entire manifesto. All of us stood on a manifesto which we have yet to deliver. And we’ve also not yet delivered on the 2016 referendum.”

Read more of Heather Stewart’s report here: Raab attacks Truss’s record as Tory leadership race enters critical 72 hours

Back to Penny Mordaunt’s BBC interview again for a moment. Another awkward exchange with Sophie Raworth was when Mordaunt was asked about her assertion in 2016 that the UK did not have a veto over Turkey joining the European Union.

Mordaunt said of her now much-analysed interview, “That’s a classic example of the campaign we [Leave] were up against.”

She maintains that because David Cameron had promised Turkey that the UK would support its membership bid, in effect the veto was off the table.

She told Raworth this morning “Just because there’s a provision in a treaty does not mean that the UK could ever have used that. To go back on those undertakings he had given to Turkey – a key Nato ally – would have been crazy. We didn’t have a veto because we couldn’t use the provision in the treaty.”

The European Commission website has this to say about the process of admitting Turkey into the European Union:

Turkey was declared a candidate country in December 1999. Negotiation talks were opened on 3 October 2005 and Chapter 27 was open for negotiations on 21 December 2009. Technical discussions are on-going in areas such as water, waste, nature protection or horizontal legislation.

Amid all the noise of the Conservative leadership contest, there is still some actual government to be done, and the Department for Transport has today issued an “Aviation Passenger Charter”.

Robert Courts, who is minister for aviation and maritime, tweets: “Air travel is back – but the scenes we’ve seen at airports recently are unacceptable. That’s why today we’re launching a new charter which will inform UK passengers of their rights, giving peace of mind as they get back to travel without restrictions.”

Air travel is back – but the scenes we’ve seen at airports recently are unacceptable. That’s why today we’re launching a new charter which will inform UK passengers of their rights, giving peace of mind as they get back to travel without restrictions 👇
https://t.co/F9aS0dQdF0

— Robert Courts MP (@robertcourts) July 17, 2022

Sunak pledges to review 2,400 transferred EU laws before next election

Rishi Sunak is touting on social media a piece he has written for the Sunday Telegraph, promising “If I am elected, by the time of the next election, I will have scrapped or reformed all of the EU law, red tape and bureaucracy that is still on our statute book and slowing economic growth.”

The paper describes Sunak as “brandishing his Brexiteer credentials”. Edward Malnick writes:

The former chancellor pledged that he will have “scrapped or reformed all of the EU law, red tape and bureaucracy that is still on our statute book and slowing economic growth” by the time of the next election if he succeeds Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Sunak said he would task a Brexit minister and a new Brexit Delivery Department with reviewing all 2,400 EU laws transferred over to the UK statute book after the UK’s exit from the bloc. He would demand the first set of recommendations as to whether each law should be scrapped or reformed “within my first 100 days in the job”.

Specific pledges included overhauling retained EU regulations “to trigger a Big Bang 2.0” for the City, with his team saying he would set a target “to make London once again the world’s leading financial centre by 2027”.

He also said he would replace the EU-derived GDPR data laws with “the most dynamic data protection regime in the world” and cut red tape slowing down clinical trials.

  • Just to note that I edited this to remove a reference to Sunak supporting remain in 2016. He supported leave.

Nicola Davis

Nicola Davis

Opportunities have been missed to prepare the UK for future pandemics, the former vaccines tsar has said.

Dame Kate Bingham, the managing partner at life sciences venture capital firm SV Health Investors, played a crucial role in the UK’s efforts to vaccinate the population against Covid. As head of the UK vaccine taskforce between May and December 2020 she led a team that persuaded the government to back a wide portfolio of potential jabs, securing millions of doses.

Speaking to the Guardian on the anniversary of legal Covid restrictions being lifted, Bingham praised quick government decision-making during her time leading the taskforce, as well as Boris Johnson’s willingness to put money into the vaccines upfront.

But she said there had since been missed opportunities – including failing to bring scientific and commercial expertise into the government, and not pursuing the creation of bulk antibody-manufacturing capabilities in the UK.

Read more of science correspondent Nicola Davis’ report here: UK has missed chances to prepare for future pandemics, says ex-vaccines tsar

Observer columnist Kenan Malik writes for us today that he would rather see a pale male PM with great policies over a ‘diverse’ one reinforcing inequality:

The possibility that Britain might have a non-white prime minister by the autumn, and the breadth of diversity among the Tory leadership candidates, has provoked much discussion.

Much of the Tory change rests on a concerted effort made by David Cameron to alter the image of the party. In 2005, he launched his “A-list”, a scheme that encouraged Conservative associations to choose from a list of preferred candidates, half of whom were women and a significant proportion ethnic minorities.

What is striking about the Tory change is that it has turned the normal diversity pyramid on its head. In most organisations, minorities are concentrated at the bottom, and get increasingly rarer the further up the organisational ladder we look, until at the very top diversity is almost nonexistent.

Not so with the Tories. The top echelon of the party – the cabinet – contains a far higher proportion of minorities than the lower rungs. Tory voters are disproportionately white – just 20% of minorities voted Conservative in 2019 and 97% of its membership is white, as are 94% of its MPs. Yet until the recent mass resignations, seven out of 32 cabinet posts were held by ethnic minorities.

Read more here: Kenan Malik – Give me a pale male PM with great policies over a ‘diverse’ one reinforcing inequality

Also appearing in the media this morning was Mick Whelan, secretary-general of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef). With strikes on the horizon he was asked on Sky News how much of a pay rise his members would settle for. He told viewers “We haven’t put an exact figure on it.”

He went on to explain “most people don’t understand that nobody in the railway industry has had a pay rise for three years.”

“The cost of living crisis is hitting all workers,” he said. Of wanting a pay rise that reflected the current rate of inflation, he said “standing still isn’t greed. Standing still is standing still. And of course we wouldn’t even be standing still, because we’re not looking retrospectively for the pay rises we didn’t get in the previous years.”

He wanted to remind the public that train drivers are not in the public sector, saying “We don’t work for the department of transport and we don’t work for the treasury. We work for all of these private companies. And they’ve all been making profits throughout the pandemic. And they’re making profits now. And it seems counterintuitive to us that they’re paying their shareholders and taking money out of the UK to fund state railways elsewhere. While we can’t get a pay rise internally.”

Challenged over people’s perception that train drivers are already very well-paid compared to public sector workers, Whelan said “I look at other workers and think they should have what we have.

“Every time I ask the question ‘if we don’t get it, will you give 22% to the nurses? Will you give it to the fire brigades to bring them up?’ … It gets very, very quiet.

“So we don’t enter into this politics of envy. For us, it’s about everybody is entitled to a pay rise. Everybody should be on the standard that we have.”

Attorney general Suella Braverman is supporting Liz Truss for the Conservative leadership now that her own campaign has ended. Braverman has been on the radio today admitting that there will be “a bit more borrowing” under the tax cut plans that Truss has pledged.

PA Media quotes her telling Times Radio: “Liz has worked in the Treasury in a senior position and when she says she wants to cut taxes, I entirely agree with her. Not necessarily entirely based on more borrowing, I think there will be a bit more borrowing but we will be able to grow our way out of the issue to afford tax cuts. We know that when we cut taxes there is more investment by the private sector, there are more jobs, there is more return to the Exchequer.”

Braverman also made a swipe over transgender rights, saying Truss “knows what a woman is”, which, she claimed, “is becoming worryingly rare these days in political debate”.

Helena Horton

My colleague Helena Horton has an exclusive on Penny Mordaunt’s green policy proposals this morning:

Penny Mordaunt has told Conservative critics of net zero that “environmentalism and conservatism go hand in hand” as she vowed to create “millions of green jobs” if elected leader.

The MP for Portsmouth North is the only Tory leadership candidate so far to properly set out views on climate change and the environment. Alok Sharma, the Cop26 president, told the Observer he could resign if the next leader was lukewarm on the environment. On Monday, Sharma will grill the five remaining candidates on green matters, giving each 15 minutes to speak about what they would do for the environment if elected leader.

There have been fears that a new leader will ditch the controversial replacement of the EU’s farming subsidies, with the farming lobby complaining that they do not want to be paid to conserve nature rather than produce food.

Mordaunt has committed to the eco-friendly farming plan, telling the Guardian: “I have pledged to reform EU land subsidies and instead will reward those farmers here at home who champion nature and sustainable management of the countryside.

“We have seen so many farmers already take these steps, but I want to encourage and support those who actively take steps to leave a cleaner, greener environment for the next generation. Sustainable farming for the longer term is an absolutely crucial part of how we, together, can protect our natural world.”

The former defence secretary is attempting to convince colleagues that there is a positive case to be made for net zero, because of the green jobs it would create.

Read more of Helena Horton’s exclusive here: Penny Mordaunt pledges to create ‘millions of green jobs’ if elected Tory leader

Setting out his case for Kemi Badenoch this morning on Sky News, her campaign manager Lee Rowley said that people were looking for change, and defended the perception that she lacks experience. He cited Tony Blair and David Cameron as people who became prime minister with no ministerial experience. He told viewers:

[She has] lots of ministerial experience, more ministerial experience than some of the people who by common consent have been very big figures in our political system over the past 20 years.

And I think that the public are looking for something different.

So if you are looking for something different, what Kemi offers is both the ability to change, the ability to say actually we’ve done some things, lots of things well over the last 12 years, but we need to do something different now.

Rowley, who was elected in 2017 and served as under-secretary of state for business and industry between 2021 and 2022 went on to say:

I’ve seen far too much ‘government by press release’ when I’ve both been a minister, and when I’ve been an MP.

And the difference between Kemi and what’s happened before – under all parties – is that Kemi is actually saying let’s get to the root cause of an issue, work out what the problem is.

Badenoch campaign continues attacks on Mordaunt over transgender record in government

Kemi Badenoch’s campaign have stepped up their attacks on Penny Mordaunt over her position and record on transgender rights and self-ID.

Appearing on Sky News this morning, the MP for North East Derbyshire, Lee Rowley, who is Badenoch’s campaign manager, said:

I just think it’s a very, very difficult issue with some very, very entrenched views on both sides, and needs to be handled sensitively.

Penny has a set of questions to answer. I don’t think she really answered those particularly well in the debate on Friday. We’ll see whether she does tonight.

Because either Penny did agree with self-ID and is now saying that she didn’t. Question: why?

Or Penny didn’t agree with self-ID. But it looks as though the civil service and the government, the department, decided to do it anyway. Question: how did she let that happen?

The Times yesterday reported that it had obtained leaked documents that appeared to show she had, if not supported, at least not challenged proposed changes to self-ID. It reports:

Penny Mordaunt’s claims that she has never supported gender self-identification have come under fresh scrutiny after leaked government documents suggested she backed watering down the legal process for transitioning.

Papers drawn up by civil servants appear to show she was in favour of removing at least one medical requirement needed by transgender people when she was equalities minister.

Another from February 2020 confirms the government’s support for self-identification ended after she was replaced as the minister in charge of the portfolio.

When the government eventually made a decision, in September 2020, it was under Liz Truss’s watch, and plans to allow people to officially change gender without a medical diagnosis were dropped in favour of cutting the cost of applying for a gender recognition certificate.

Mordaunt defended herself while appearing on the Sophie Raworth show this morning, saying the discussion around her role amounted to “smears”. PA Media quotes her saying:

This has been rebutted many times. We all know what is going on. This is the type of toxic politics people want to get away from.

We did a consultation. We asked healthcare professionals what they thought about the situation. That is the section I looked after. I managed that consultation. We didn’t actually on my shift produce a policy.

There are a number of smears going on in the papers. My colleagues are very angry and upset that this is how the leadership contest is being dragged down.

I was struck by this comment about the focus on transgender rights in the Tory leadership campaign, as noted by LBC producer Shivani Sharma.

Trans caller tells @LBC that she wishes Westminster would ‘stop obsessing over people like me’

‘I’ve got bills to pay. I’m facing a cost of living crisis. Why can’t people just leave me alone?’

— Shivani Sharma (@shivanisharmaaa) July 17, 2022

Vanessa Thorpe

Vanessa Thorpe

Britain’s Conservative-leaning newspapers have been handed a moment of decisive influence in the election of the next prime minister. The political analysis they project – the headlines they choose – could effectively anoint the next resident of No 10. But while these Tory titles continue to quarrel over the merits of rival candidates, the impact on voters in the Tory party is unsure.

According to Chris Blackhurst, a former editor of the Independent, the limited electoral constituency, estimated at just over 150,000 party members, is looking for guidance in a confusing battle. “This leadership election represents the high-water mark, in terms of power, for the rightwing press barons,” he said. “The entire electorate in this race is composed of their readers. Their ability to influence the outcome far exceeds any sway they might possess in a general election.”

This weekend, the Telegraph has given a midway boost to Penny Mordaunt, reporting her allegations of a “dark arts” campaign to undermine her standing. She is being targeted by smears, she says in an extensive interview that appears alongside a plea from columnist Allison Pearson for Tories not to discard Mordaunt in a fit of “self-harming madness”. Pearson also condemns Truss as a terrible communicator.

The Daily Mail, on the other hand, has made its distaste for Mordaunt abundantly clear, running a host of stories over the past week attacking her views on gender, questioning her role in the navy and even criticising the man she co-wrote a book with for “liking” a disobliging tweet. In the news empire overseen by Paul Dacre, Liz Truss is preferred, because she is seen as more plugged into traditional party interests.

Read more of Vanessa Thorpe’s piece here: Sunak challengers vie for support in rightwing press

By the way, if you feel that the Conservative leadership contest is going at a whirlwind pace and you could do with a refresher on who is standing, what they stand for, and how likely they are to win, then Michael Savage has this guide for the Observer today.

He rates Liz Truss as the candidate that Labour would most like to face, and a “competent and convincing” Rishi Sunak as their chief concern.

Read Michael Savage’s guide here: Your guide to the Tory leadership candidates – and whether they’ll have opposition politicians quivering

Tom Tugendhat was also appearing on Sophie Raworth’s BBC One show this morning, and reiterated his call for a “clean start” after the party had been in power for 12 years.

He told viewers it was clear that the prime minister’s account of the Partygate scandal was “rather more fictional than reality”.

PA Media quotes him saying:

What we need to see is a clean start. That is the most essential issue. In two years’ time we are going to be facing Keir Starmer in a general election.

We need to make sure that all the attack lines that have been used against us in the last three years don’t come back in a general election.

We need to make sure absolutely that what we are able to deliver is championing Conservative policies and deliver a Conservative vision for the future.

Phillipson: Labour has ‘nothing to fear’ from any Tory leadership candidate

Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson was asked on Sky News earlier which Conservative leadership candidate she was most worried about fighting at a general election, and was dismissive of them all, telling viewers:

I’m not worried about any of them. I don’t think we’ve got anything to fear from any of the candidates. The reason for that is that all of them have propped up Boris Johnson and the Conservative government for 12 years now.

And over those 12 years, what have we seen happen in our country? We’ve seen our vital public services, whether that’s schools or hospitals, get worse and worse. Britain is completely stuck. You can’t renew your passport. More and more people going to food banks, rising levels of child poverty, growth at a terrible level, a consistent failure to grow our economy. And what are they all doing? An arms race around tax cuts, none of them prepared to set out what that means.

Penny Mordaunt has just been interviewed by Sophie Raworth on BBC One and she’s had quite a torrid time of it.

In a quick-fire questions round, she has just ruled out a Scottish independence referendum, saying “it is a settled question”. She refused to discuss potential cabinet positions, says she is committed to net zero by 2050 provided it doesn’t “clobber people”, said said would not withdraw the UK from the ECHR, and that while she didn’t rule it out, she said privatising Channel 4 would not be a priority for her as “it doesn’t help with the cost of living”.

That answer on Scotland has not, of course, gone down very well in all quarters.

What an unedifying Tory leadership contest this is. On the Sunday Show @TomTugendhat follows @BorisJohnson in refusing to accept democracy and Scotland’s right to choose and then a car crash with @PennyMordaunt on the economy and the lies of the Brexit campaign over Turkey.

— Ian Blackford 🇺🇦🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (@Ianblackford_MP) July 17, 2022

That reference to Turkey is just one of the tangled messes Mordaunt got herself into. The other was in questions again about her stance on transgender rights and self-ID. As ever, though, the performance possibly just confirmed what you believed already.

On @sophieraworth this morning, @PennyMordaunt very clearly demonstrating why she should be our next Prime Minister.

She will unite our country and has a clear plan to tackle the cost of living crisis and delivering economic growth.#PM4PM

— John Lamont MP 🇬🇧🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 (@John2Win) July 17, 2022

I think Penny Mordaunt might just have lost the Tory leadership after that pitiful performance. Simply awful. #SundayMorning

— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart) July 17, 2022

Incidentally, during her show, Raworth said that she had invited all five candidates to appear, but only Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat had agreed.





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