Exclusive: George Osborne predicts Boris Johnson will U-turn on scaling back HS2:

“I don’t think high speed rail in the east of England up to Yorkshire is dead yet. You had a Labour party commit very quickly to build it. I think the pressure will grow”

Osborne said on this week’s episode of Payne’s Politics the decision to curtail HS2E and Northern Powerhouse rail was “pretty disappointing.”

“It’s not often you can say this about Boris Johnson but he lacks ambition”

Osborne said that “levelling up, at the moment, feels more like a slogan than a plan” and said Johnson needs to focus on delivery.

“You can talk about big infrastructure, but unless you actually deliver it, it’s going to sound a bit hollow.”

He warns time is running out for the govt to deliver on levelling up:

“It can’t be all delivered in one year. It’s never going to be ‘shovel ready’ because if it was, many previous governments would have done it and the problems would have been solved.”

Do listen to the full interview with @George_Osborne, where he praises the ministers working on Levelling Up, described this week as “an object lesson in how to not make a government announcement” and sets out the theory behind the Northern Powerhouse.


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More from @SebastianEPayne

19 Nov
A "shambles", surrounded by "nodding dogs", potentially taking the Tory party into "sudden decline into defeat" - Tory MPs are deeply unhappy with Boris Johnson after a very difficult week.

Weekend analysis with @GeorgeWParker
Tories are concerned about two growing concerns in the Johnson government. First is the Cabinet, with ministers often left out of major policy decisions.

“You need cabinet ministers who are up to the job. Are they serious or are they nodding dogs?”

Second is the No10 operation. Johnson "thrives on chaos” but MPs feel grip is missing.

Dan Rosenfield and Simon Case are cited as having failed to avert recent political pile-ups. MPs worry Downing Street's political strategy is hard to discern.

Read 6 tweets
18 Nov
👧👴 The MPs' second jobs debate has shown the remarkable rise of the 2019 Tory intake.

The age split in the Conservative parliamentary party has become "the red wall versus red corduroy", with big implications for policy.

Latest @FinancialTimes analysis ft.com/content/63fb5f…
@FinancialTimes The 2019 intake is more diverse in sex, ethnicity and political outlook than older Conservative MPs, and represents the first generation of millennial Tories.

Alicia Kearns was not even born when Christopher Chope first entered the Commons in 1983.

The rise of the younger intake is likely to gradually push the Tories in a different policy direction - with a focus on more interventionist economics, a liberal approach to planning reform plus a more pugnacious style of online campaigning.

Read 8 tweets
16 Nov
As reported in @FinancialTimes this morning, Boris Johnson is set to ban paid consultancy work for MPs ft.com/content/ec3b88…
NB: these proposals do not ban MPs holding directorships or paid consultancy roles that are not deemed "political" or "parliamentary".

How is that going to be defined? i.e. if an MP is a strategic consultant to, say, a food processing firm, when does the work tip into politics?
The CSPL recommended a definition in 2018:

"MPs should not accept any paid work
to provide services as a Parliamentary
strategist, adviser or consultant, for
example, advising on Parliamentary
affairs or on how to influence Parliament and its members."

Read 5 tweets
16 Nov
NEW: Senior Tories are prepared to back a ban on consultancy work by MPs - but Cabinet ministers warn could lead to a clear out of long-serving backbenchers.

"It is attractive because it would remove the lobbying risk"

Latest with @Laura_K_Hughes ft.com/content/ec3b88…
One Cabinet minister on consequences of banning consultancy work:

“I expect the people who have them [consultancy jobs] will be the people who the chief whip and others wouldn’t be unhappy if they decided they were not standing at the next election."

A senior Conservative MP: “There are a lot of ‘former ministers’ here at the moment who seem to have lost a bit of purpose. And I’ve always been in favour of younger people being MPs.”

Read 4 tweets
15 Nov
NEW with @PickardJE: Boris Johnson facing uproar from civil leaders and Tory MPs for watering down HS2 and plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

One senior Tory said that the move exposed the government “has never had a plan for levelling up”.

@PickardJE Instead an entirely new high-speed railway from Manchester to Leeds, only some of a new line will be built from Manchester to a point close to Huddersfield.

The rest of the route to Leeds will consist of upgrades to the existing Transpennine route.

The majority of the HS2 eastern leg is also being scrapped - a core part of the original business case for the railway.

Instead of 115 miles from Birmingham to Leeds, it will now only go 42 miles to the East Midlands Parkway.

Read 5 tweets
9 Nov
👨‍💼 Being an MP has become a full-time job with no room for outside interests.

The era of the “good chaps” theory government is over and its time to curtail or end second jobs, combined with a pay rise to match similar jobs.

Latest @FinancialTimes column ft.com/content/c2f963…
“There’s no way I could be an MP without my outside interests. My wife works full time, I’ve got kids and need the money for childcare.” To the average voter, a salary of £82,000-a-year might seem generous. But to listen to this MP, the struggle is real.

Owen Paterson showed the checks and balances work. No10’s efforts to scrap the standards system to save him failed and the court of public and parliamentary opinion did for him. But the more voters hear of MPs’ side gigs the greater the clamour for reform

Read 13 tweets

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