Chris Grayling confirms plans for third Heathrow runway – Politics live

Chris Grayling confirms plans for third Heathrow runway – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen

Grayling is replying to McDonald.

He says McDonald did not say whether or not Labour backs the project.

Andy McDonald, the shadow transport secretary, says Grayling does not have the support of the Commons. He is only here because Theresa May was too weak to sack hi, he says.

As Tory MPs jeer, he says they did not support Grayling during yesterday’s statement on the rail timetable crisis.

He says, alongside the NPS (national policy statement) being published today, he is releasing a lot of other material that will help MPs make a decision on this.

Grayling says the process involves the Commons having to approve the government’s plans, and then a much more detailed planning permission having to be approved.

Grayling says the government’s airport strategy will set out a longterm strategy for airports.

He says he has met financial backers who could fund a new southern rail access to the airport.

Grayling says Heathrow are the only body who could deliver this scheme.

His department will be working closely with it, so it can meet the target date of 2026, he says.

Chris Grayling says he comes to the Commons to mark a historic moment. He is laying before the House a plan to expand Heathrow airport. It is an example of the the government’s industrial strategy.

He says he is aware of the strength of feeling on this and has met residents.

Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, is about to make a Commons statement about going ahead with the third runway at Heathrow.

As we switch from customs to Chris Grayling, here is a tweet from Peter Ricketts, the former head of the Foreign Office, neatly linking the two topics.

The deft handling by Grayling and team of the new rail timetable boosts my confidence they’ll make an equal success of the much tougher feat of keeping the 8.5m vehicles a year flowing smoothly across the channel, esp since the new customs plans will be clear so far in advance!

This is what Jon Thompson, the HMRC chief executive and permanent secretary, told the committee earlier (see 11.18am) when asked what the cost to business would be of a no deal Brexit.

He said stressed that this was not the government’s preferred option. But he went on:

If we moved to WTO [World Trade Organisation] rules, then that would definitely require customs declarations. So it would similar [to the costs of the “max fac” option].

Thompson says HMRC has worked with internet service providers to stop people receiving fake HMRC phishing emails. He says it estimates that it has prevented 500m of these emails being sent out.

HMRC never sends out emails inviting people to click links, he says.

Labour’s Wes Streeting goes next.

He asks about the revelation that HMRC made a reference to Lycamobile making a donation to the Conservative party when HMRC wrote to the French authorities refusing to raid Lycamobile’s London office on their behalf.

Nicky Morgan says she was surprised to read a recent Times article saying HMRC is employing 2,000 fewer people than at the time of the EU referendum.

Thompson says there was an assumption that digitisation would reduce the need for staff.

Thompson says HMRC has continued to ask for permission to have discussion with other tax authorities about systems after Brexit.

But at the moment all negotiations are with the EU, he says.

Nicky Morgan goes next.

Q: You says, under the new customs partnership plan, there would be no checks. Presumably you mean no customs checks – not all checks. There could be checks for sanitary reason, couldn’t there?

Q: The Sunday Times at the weekend said a no deal Brexit could result in “armageddon”. How do you provide reassurance in the light of that?

Karen Wheeler, director general of the cross-government border delivery group at HMRC, says that story referred to a report she has not seen. It is not something she recognises, she says.

Labour’s Rushanara Ali goes next.

Q: You said HMRC would be able to have a functioning border by January 2021, even though new arrangements might not be fully optional. And you said one of three things would have to give: security, revenue or trade. So would that really be a functioning border.

Thompson says HMRC is only one department of several looking at customs options.

He says HMRC is not the primary author of government papers on the two options being considered.

Thompson says he does not believe that the alternative methods used to calculate the cost of “max fac” take into account the actual nature of UK-EU trade.

The Commons transport committee has announced it will launch an inquiry into the rail timetable debacle, likely spelling another uncomfortable hearing for transport secretary Chris Grayling.

Thousands of trains have been cancelled and seriously delayed on Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern rail services since a new timetable was introduced two and a half weeks ago, leading to calls for urgent government action.

Passengers continue to suffer from terrible disruption to their train services, particularly on Northern and GTR services. We will begin by questioning Northern, GTR and Network Rail but plan to take further evidence, including from the Department for Transport, so that we properly understand why the introduction of the new timetable has gone so badly wrong, what is being done to put it right and the steps needed to prevent this happening again.

The secretary of state has said there have been ‘major failures’ – we want to unpick this mess and understand how it can be prevented from occurring in December, when another timetable change is due.

Q: You have been accused of muddling consignments and containers in the calculations that produced a figure for the cost of “max fac”?

Thompson says he has explained how he arrived at his figures. They reflect the fact that trade with the EU is lower value, higher frequency than trade with elsewhere in the world.

Charlie Elphicke, who was elected as a Conservative but is currently suspended from the party, goes next. He asks about a letter he received from the Treasury minister Mel Stride saying government policy after Brexit would be to stick close to EU VAT policy. Is that right, he asks.

Elphicke is referring to a letter written up in a Financial Times story (paywall). This is how it started.

Britain is taking what a minister has described as an “active role” in shaping new EU value added tax regulations for the 2020s, suggesting the Treasury is planning for the UK to remain inside the bloc’s VAT area after the Brexit transition period.

In a letter seen by the Financial Times from Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, to Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover, the minister also says: “The government aims to keep VAT processes after EU exit as close as possible to what they are now.”

The five-page letter from Jon Thompson to the Commons Treasury committee sets out in detail how he arrived at the figures he gave the committee two weeks ago for the costs to business of the two customs options being considered by the cabinet – “max fac”, and the new customs partnership.

The letter says the estimate that “max fac” could cost business up to £20bn a year does not include the “costs of delays” at the border.

The letter from Jon Thompson (chief exec, HMRC) to Chair @NickyMorgan01 setting out more detail on a Highly Streamlined Customs Arrangement Facilitations has just been published here:

Thompson is now being asked about some figures he has provided the committee in a letter which has been published on its website.

Thompson says the new customs partnership, the customs option said to be favoured by Theresa May over “max fac”, would not require customs declaration.

He says leaving the EU with no deal would also cost business about £20bn a year, because there would have to be customs declarations, as with “max fac”.

Q: Have you been challenged on your figures by government departments or ministers or Downing Street?

Thompson says there has not been much challenge from officials.

Nicky Morgan, the chair, is asking the questions.

Q: Can you talk us through the sources you used when you told us two weeks ago what the costs of custom declarations would be under the “max fac” option?

Jon Thompson, the chief executive and permanent secretary at HM Revenue and Customs, is giving evidence now to the Commons Treasury committee about Brexit.

He appeared two weeks ago, in a dramatic hearing during which he said that the “maximum facilitation” customs plan favoured by cabinet Brexiters would cost business up to £20bn a year.

And, since we’re on the subject of Theresa May, these tweets from the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg are worth a read.

They were promoted by this, from HuffPost’s Jess Brammar.

Surely by now the default answer to “could May survive that?” is yes, however extraordinary that has seemed at times over the past year

My notebooks from the last year are full of that question… but week after week, Tina saves Theresa – as govt aim, as one Cab minister puts it, is ‘just getting through each day’

2. Tina being Number 10’s true friend – ‘there is no alternative’ – although right now tempers rising, patience fraying, and grumpiness all round

3. 3 central truths, Minority govt is a nightmare; delays to Brexit decisions driving Ministers and MPs nuts but what saves her again and again is that none of those who might want to take over from May have incentive to do so, or be identified with putsch right now

4. It could all go v suddenly wrong, next week might be a car crash, but remember May was up not so long ago, with the wind blowing the other way

Talking to Tory MPs on next week’s Brexit votes, consensus v clear: (1) some confusion as to why Downing St is doing it now before they’re sure they have the votes and (2) PM can afford to lose one or a few votes but as one MP said “any more than a couple and it gets dangerous.”

And, while we’re on the subject of polling, the ConservativeHome survey of Conservative party members for the month of May makes grim reading for the prime minister. Amongst cabinet minister, only Philip Hammond, the chancellor, gets a worse satisfaction rating.

Readers will remember that March’s Cabinet League Table contained quite a remarkable showing for the Prime Minister. Apparently as a result of her confident response to Russia’s attack on Salisbury, she had gained almost 47 percentage points to leap to a positive rating of +56.4, up from a miserable +9.1 the month before. To paraphrase the investment adverts, reputations can go down as well as up, however – and Theresa May now finds herself with a net negative rating, languishing at -9.5.

Unsurprisingly, this appears to be a reflection of Party members’ frustrations about her Brexit performance.

What a difference a dither makes to Tory party members. Compare and contrast Theresa May’s ratings from March (+56%) to June (-9%) (ht @ConHome);

Disagreement with Britain’s decision to quit the European Union has reached its highest point since the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a new poll (pdf). As the Press Association reports, the YouGov survey found 47% of voters thought the decision to leave was wrong, against just 40% who said it was the right thing to do – the widest margin since the weekly survey began two years ago. YouGov interviewed 1,670 voters for The Times weekly tracker poll on May 28 and 29.

Here is a What UK Thinks chart showing how the figures have varied over time.

My colleague Lisa O’Carroll has been covering the Treasury committee hearing where bosses from from the ports of Calais and Zeebrugge, and from Getlink (formerly Eurotunnel, have been giving evidence on Brexit. Here are some of her tweets.

TReasury committee quizzing Eurotunnel, Calais and Zeebrugge ports… Benoit Rochet, Deputy CEO, Port of Calais, Joachim Coens, CEO, Port of Zeebrugge, and John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Getlink (formerly Groupe Eurotunnel)

NEW DATA: 2.8mn cars pass through Zeebrugge to UK every years. 1m of those are new cars being exported to the UK.

Zeebrugge handles “about 4,000 trucks a day – 80k in a line, quite some hectares to store them” if there were checks, Joachim Coens, head of Zeebrugge tells Treasury select committee

Calais boss says controls of lorries would be “no big deal” on customs checks, but problem would “sanitary inspection” on all lorries carrying meat and fish etc and they would need all the info targetting those lorries

Calais Port deputy CEO Benoit Rochet: “We know there is Brexit but we don’t know exactly what Brexit means”
Tory MP Nicky Morgan: “You are not alone”

Eurotunnel boss tells committee that they have “very clear guidance” on a no deal scenario and are preparing for that. “The real thin we are missing is the detail, what inspections might be required, what volume of inspection required”. Only then can we move contingency plans

Charlie Elphicke MP for Dover to Zeebrugge boss – what has HMRC told you:
Joachim Coen: They all say prepare for the worst, but we don’t have detail…practical things should be started immediately, but even the transition period is a problem. we don’t know if that’s going ahead

The Commons culture committee has taken a further step towards getting Dominic Cummings, the former Vote Leave campaign director, found guilty of a contempt of parliament for refusing to give evidence to its fake news inquiry. It has published a report requesting a Commons vote on an “order of the House” telling Cummings he must appear. If Cummings were to ignore that, the committee of privileges would investigate, which could lead to the Commons passing a motion finding him in contempt of parliament.

I went into all this in some detail last month in a post explaining what this procedure means, and why Cummings will be supremely unbothered by the prospect of a parliamentary reprimand.

This is what Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan police commissioner, told Yvette Cooper a few moments ago about how police cuts have contributed to the increase in violent crime. (See 9.49am.) Dick said:

A whole series of social issues will have contributed to the changes and the increases [in violent crime]. I answered a radio interview in which I said, in effect, of course austerity has probably had something to do with it, by which I mean, of course, the other services as well as the police.

But I would be naive to suggest that reduced numbers of officers on the street, for a whole variety of reasons, including – and I’m talking across the country here – reduced officer numbers overall, have had no impact. I’m sure it’s had an impact, together with a whole series of other things.

Cooper asks Thornton about police funding.

Thornton says the settlement in December 2017 was better than expected.

At the home affairs committee Yvette Cooper, the committee chair, asks why violent crime in London is getting worse.

Cressida Dick says it is hard to tell.

Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, has just started giving evidence to the Commons home affairs committee about the future of policing. She is appearing alongside Lynne Owens, director general of the National Crime Agency, and Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.

You can watch the hearing here.

Jeremy Corbyn has faced persistent criticism for allegedly refusing to do enough to tackle antisemitism in the Labour party. His supporters argue that the media should be focusing as much on allegations of Islamphobia in the Conservative party, and last week the Muslim Council of Britain put this story in the news by calling for an independent inquiry into the problem. Sajid Javid, the home secretary, responded at the weekend by claiming that the MCB does not represent Muslims – prompting Mishal Husain to post what for a BBC presenter amounted to an unusually pointed tweet suggesting Javid was talking nonsense.

It is no surprise that Corbyn would want to comment on this, and last night he did. Speaking at the speaking at the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in Westbourne Park, after an evening meal for Muslims to end their daily Ramadan fast, he said there should be an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party. He said:

I think if there are allegations made then an inquiry should be held and it should be addressed and it should be dealt with.

Islamophobia, as with antisemitism, as with any other form of racism, has no place whatsoever in our society or in any of our political parties. Nobody should be condoning it, nobody should be hiding it, everybody should be exposing it.

Continue reading…

Source: Guardian Transport

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