Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including David Davis’s Commons statement about Brexit
The European commission has said today that it does not want to speed up the Brexit talks, the BBC’s Adam Fleming reports. The commission was responding to reports that the UK government is interested in intensifying the pace of the process, which currently involves face-to-face talks in Brussels only taking place every four weeks.
The David Davis statement on Brexit in the Commons this afternoon will come before Boris Johnson’s statement on North Korea, Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, has revealed.
Three @HouseofCommons oral statements today, firstly:
David Davis – Update on the progress of EU exit negotiations: July and August rounds
Second Government oral statement today:
Boris Johnson – the situation on the Korean Peninsula
Here is my colleague Lisa O’Carroll on Gerry Adams’ announcement earlier. (See 10.21pm.) She says the significant point is that he is pushing back the point at which his likely successor, Mary Lou McDonald, will take over.
Gerry Adams will seek re-election as Sinn Fein president, pushing Mary Lou McDonald’s prospective succession back https://t.co/uZBpOyywbu
Downing Street has tweeted a picture of today’s cabinet meeting.
Prime Minister Theresa May chairs the first Cabinet meeting of the new Parliament pic.twitter.com/Zflhqg4s5L
The Labour party has not officially responded to Lord Adonis’s claim that it will end up offering voters a referendum on the final Brexit deal (see 10.42am), but a party source reminds me that Adonis “doesn’t speak for the party on this”. The source also points out that Labour backs “a jobs first Brexit” and that it “respects the result of the EU referendum”.
Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, has refused an amended planning application to build homes on the site of the former New Scotland Yard building in Westminster on the grounds that only 3% of units would be affordable housing. The original application, approved by Khan’s Conservative predecessor, Boris Johnson, had just 4% affordable housing. Khan said that Johnson should not have approved that in the first place, but a revised application was submitted because the developers wanted to increase the number of homes being build on the site (but not the number of affordable homes).
In a statement Khan said:
A shortage of affordable homes is at the heart of the housing crisis in our city. The scheme put forward for this site is simply unacceptable: it fails to provide the maximum amount of affordable housing that could be delivered on this landmark site, and follows a previous application in which the affordable housing provision agreed by the previous mayor was already appallingly low. It beggars belief that the initial application was approved under the previous mayor with a paltry four per cent affordable housing, just days before the mayoral election.
This is a site which has only recently been transferred from public ownership and sits within one of the most expensive areas of the country. Having carefully considered the evidence available to me, I have decided to refuse permission for this amended application.
Andrew Adonis, the Labour peer and Blairite former transport secretary, has told the New Statesman in an interview that he expects Labour to commit to a second referendum on Brexit. And if Labour promises one, the government will follow and back one too, he said.
[Adonis] predicts that Labour will back a second referendum, as it has embraced a meaningful Brexit transitional period. “Once Labour’s in favour it’s only a matter of time before the government has to concede … I would be very surprised if we’re not committed to a referendum on the exit terms within six months. The thing I only always learned from Tony [Blair] is ‘get the policy right and the politics will follow’. The right policy is a referendum on the exit terms, the politics will sort itself out.”
I’m not hostile to Jeremy personally, I used to be a Labour member in his constituency [Islington North], I think he’s an absolutely brilliant constituency MP. But he is not a potential prime minister. The voters have already had a chance to make a judgement on him, they’re not going to change their view in a few years’ time …
If Jeremy goes into another election, he will lose it. The next Conservative leader, who I cannot conceive will be as electorally unattractive as Theresa May, will beat him.
Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, is making a statement in Dublin. He says he will stand again for election as Sinn Fein president later this year but that, if elected, he will then begin the process of handing over to a new generation of leaders.
This is from Sky’s David Blevins.
BREAKING: Gerry Adams says he will “set out process for generational change” including his own future if re-elected Sinn Fein leader in Nov.
Gerry Adams says he will stand again to be Sinn Fein president in November for 34th time but will set out plan for “generational change”. pic.twitter.com/NpYLv5icZI
In his Telegraph column today (paywall) William Hague, the Conservative former foreign secretary, says that, unless the international community can establish that North Korea is getting help from abroad with its nuclear missile programme and cut off that support, the world will have to get used to containing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, not thwarting them. He says it is important to understand why Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is so desperate to have a viable nuclear bomb.
As [Kim Jong-un] studies the history of our century to date, he will consider that both Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi would be alive and in power today if they had possessed the weapons he is now trying to perfect. Then he can face the world as he now faces what is left of his family and original party leadership – from a position of invulnerability.
If this is correct, there are no sanctions that will deter him from this goal, necessary as they are to demonstrate international disapproval. Nor will threatening “fire and fury” or saying “talking is not the answer” as President Trump did, because Kim will calculate that the US will not start a war that could be so catastrophic all round and the stronger he gets the less likely they will be to do so.
For South Korea, that it needs full deployment of the Thaad missile defence system. For Japan, that Prime Minister Abe’s plans to change the constitution to enable a more muscular defence are sadly necessary. For China, that an earlier refusal to take decisive measures on this leads to an arms race among their neighbours. For the UK, that giving up our nuclear deterrent when proliferation happens so quickly would be utter madness. For the world, that the further uncontrolled spread of nuclear science is a massive danger.
For the United States, that it is indeed correct to threaten massive retaliation as a deterrent. But in addition, that ruling out diplomacy would be a mistake when a paranoid young dictator is getting close to converting a yearning for his own security into a fact.
In the summer Jacob Rees-Mogg brushed aside speculation about him becoming the next Conservative party leader as a product of the August “silly season”.
But now we’re into September and support of a Rees-Mogg candidature continues to grow. The ConservativeHome website carries out a regular survey of party members to see who they want as next party leader and, for the first time, Rees-Mogg has come top. He was on 23%, beating David Davis, the Brexit secretary, who was in second place on 15%.
In our view, Jacob Rees-Mogg is the beneficiary of party member disillusion with the present senior options for replacing her. This, in turn, shows the knock-on effects, first, of an EU referendum campaign that those members evidently found divisive (despite their strong support for Brexit); second, of a sense that the collective leadership of the party failed during the general election campaign and, third, of a Corbyn factor – that’s to say, of a yearning for clarity, authenticity and commitment, made all the more pressing by the Party now having been in government since 2010.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, was also on the Today programme this morning. As my colleague Jessica Elgot reports, he claimed that Labour was being “irresponsible” in refusing to back the EU (withdrawal) bill.
We have listened to the lessons from the general election campaign, we look carefully at the issues we face as a country, but when it comes to these big financial decisions they are things that have to wait for the budget.
All of us want to see a situation where we can provide people with additional pay, additional job opportunities, but in order to do that we have to have a strong, growing economy.
Here is more from the Today interview with the Icelandic foreign minister.
We were probably the poorest nation in Western Europe in the beginning of the last century. Now we are quite wealthy. And the reason, one of the reasons, is a fundamental thing, that we have access to other markets and our markets are open.
In the UK one of the many arguments about Brexit is about whether we should seek to remain in the single market after we leave through membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) or the European Free Trade Association (Efta). But what do Efta members think? On the Today programme this morning the Icelandic foreign minister, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, said Iceland would like Britain to join. That was because it would give Efta more clout in trade negotiations, he said. He told the programme:
They [the UK] could definitely join Efta, and I think it would strengthen Efta at least to have a cooperation with Britain. It is quite clear that when Britain starts to negotiate their own free trade deal, then everyone wants to make a free trade deal with Britain. You are the fifth largest economy in the world. Everyone wants to sell you goods and services. It’s as simple as that.
Link : Labour will end up backing second Brexit referendum, Lord Adonis claims – Politics live