MINISTERS have used the last day before the summer holidays to sneak out a number of awkward Government revelations.
Using the final few hours before MPs go off for a break, they decided to literally “take out the trash”.
21 written ministerial statements were rushed out on the final day of term today.
Although some were pretty positive, including public sector pay rises for one million workers, others were more complicated, with updates on RAF basis, Crossrail, Brexit and milk schemes also smuggled out.
Here’s what you might have missed today, if we weren’t paying attention for you.
1. The UK’s top prosecutor has been announced as Max Hill – the terror watchdog boss who said we shouldn’t arrest Isis fighters
Ministers sparked a furious backlash today after promoting the controversial boss of the UK’s terror watchdog to become Britain’s most senior prosecutor.
Max Hill QC – once dubbed a “politically incorrect snowflake” for being soft on terror – will replace Alison Saunders as the £250,000-a-year Director of Public Prosecutions in November.
Mr Hill was slammed earlier this year after publicly urging the government not to arrest jihadi fighters returning from fighting for ISIS but instead give them “space” to get back to normal life.
2. Theresa May is taking personal charge of Brexit talks – and we’ll be tied to EU law and payment timetables for years to come
Previously the last Brexit Secretary David Davis presented himself as leading the negotiations.
But after friction between the Brexit department and Number 10, the PM today asserted her authority over talks with Brussels.
Mrs May’s statement today said: “I will lead the negotiations with the European Union, with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union deputising on my behalf.”
Today another Brexit paper was released too – detailing that it will be the EU who will decide how much money we have to pay the EU and when.
And it confirmed that we won’t be fully repealing all the EU laws until the end of the transition period in 2020.
3. Seven courts are closing across the UK
A string of courts are doing to be closed to make savings, it was revealed earlier.
The following course will be shut, ministers said:
- Banbury Magistrates and County Court
- Maidenhead Magistrates Court
- Chorley Magistrates Court
- Fleetwood Magistrates Court
- Northallerton Magistrates Court
- Wandsworth County Court
- Blackfriars Crown Court
4. The Home of the Red Arrows is being sold off
RAF Scrampton will be sold off, and the RAF Red Arrows will be relocated to “locations more fit for purpose”, it was announced today.
Another RAF base is also being sold off – Linton-on-Ouse in North Yorkshire. It’s currently used for holding training aircraft, but ministers say it won’t be needed when the aircraft retired.
5. The cost of delivering Crossrail is set to soar by £600million
New trains, built for the Elizabeth line, are now in service on the Liverpool Street to Shenfield rail route[/caption]
The Budget for the new train service has increased from £14.8billion to £15.4billion, the Rail Minister Jo Johnson revealed today.
He said it was down to “cost pressures” across the project, but insisted that it will still be delivered successfully.
The rail line, which will become known as the Elizabeth Line when it opens officially, is 93 per cent complete.
Trains will operate on three routes from December – Paddington to Abbey Wood, Paddington to Heathrow, and Liverpool Street to Shenfield.
The additional cash will be stumped up by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.
6. Ministers forgot to declare they gave money to the Jordanian military
Gavin Williamson said today that £13.3million was given to the Jordanian armed force between 2015 and 2017 that had previously not been declared to Parliament.
This was given as a grant and was used for equipment and infrastructure – including for 4×4 armoured vehicles, IT, accommodation and buildings.
“The Ministry of Defence has conducted a detailed examination of the errors made and has taken robust measures to ensure than an oversight such as this does not occur again,” the Defence Secretary said.
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7. Fracking gets given the go-ahead at a site in Lancashire
Energy minister Claire Perry approved the first permit for fracking to go ahead today – since a new regime was introduced.
Work will begin in late August or early September at the Preston New Road site between Blackpool and Preston, and the decision is sure to anger environmental campaigners.
It’s been dogged with protests for the last 18 months since work there began.