Page ^ Daily Mail, Thursday, August 1, 2019
Pro-cannabis activist ‘wins
key role with Team Boris’
Former Blair donor funded
Johnson’s No10 campaign
BORIS Johnson’s DUP partners yesterday
hinted they would demand more cash as the
price of continuing to prop up his govern-
ment at Westminster.
Speaking after a private dinner with the
Prime Minister in Belfast, DUP leader Arlene
Foster, pictured, said her ten MPs were willing
to continue with the ‘confidence and supply
deal’ struck with Theresa May in the after-
math of the 2017 election.
But she said the deal,
which resulted in an extra
£1billion for services in
Northern Ireland, would
have to be ‘reviewed’.
She suggested this may
involve more cash, say-
ing: ‘We will be focusing
on what the needs of the
people are.’ Mr Johnson
yesterday faced charges
of bias as he made his first
visit to Northern Ireland as PM.
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald
said his closeness to the DUP made claims of
impartiality ‘laughable’. The republican
leader, who held talks with Mr Johnson as
well, also warned that a No Deal Brexit would
be ‘catastrophic’ for the economy and the
peace process, and it would lead to demands
for an Irish unification referendum.
The focus of Mr Johnson’s visit was to per-
suade political leaders to restore the region’s
devolved assembly, which has been sus-
pended since January 2017. Officials have
warned that otherwise Mr Johnson may have
to impose direct rule in the event of No Deal.
New wine glasses, Prime Minister?
said. ‘All departments that asked
for money for No Deal got it. This
was a very expedited process.
‘We want the Treasury to act as a
motor for Brexit, not a brake, and
that is what is happening.’
But the decision also reflects
Boris Johnson’s approach to the
economy, which he has described
as ‘Boosterism’. The philosophy
abandons the austerity of the past
decade in favour of spending on
infrastructure projects and focus-
ing on tax cuts. Mr Johnson
attended the first meeting of the
new National Policing Board yes-
terday, which will drive through a
£1.1billion project to recruit an
additional 20,000 police officers
over the next three years.
In the coming days Mr Johnson
is also expected to reveal the
details of billions of pounds of new
investment in health, including
upgrades to 20 hospitals and plans
to cut GP waiting times. The new
Brexit funding underlines his ‘do
or die’ pledge to take Britain out
of the EU by October 31.
However, Parliament’s spending
watchdog said it would investi-
gate the extra millions being
thrown at No Deal preparations.
Meg Hillier, Labour chairman of
the Commons public accounts
committee, said there was too lit-
tle time to spend such huge sums
effectively, and accused the PM of
using public money to wage ‘an
expensive form of megaphone pol-
itics aimed at Brussels’.
But Government sources
rejected this, saying much of the
preparation would be needed even
if a Brexit deal was struck.
An insider said: ‘People need to
come to terms with the fact that
we are leaving the EU at the end
of October. Unlike the previous
deal, any agreement that is struck
will mean a clean break with the
single market and customs union.
We will need a new customs sys-
tem regardless of whether we get a
deal, so this is money well spent.’
A leaked Government proposal
revealed yesterday that hauliers
could face bigger fines and civilian
traffic officers will be granted new
powers in the event of No Deal to
avoid customs delays at Dover.
SAJID Javid turned on the spending
taps last night to help Britain pre-
pare for a potential No Deal.
In the latest sign of the Government’s
determination to take Britain out of the
EU on time, the Chancellor has sanc-
tioned the release of £2.1billion to fund
emergency preparations, including beef-
ing up controls at the border.
The funds increase overall No Deal spend-
ing by 50 per cent to £6.3billion, and double
the amount that can be spent this year.
Mr Javid’s measures include:
÷ 500 Border Force guards;
÷ Extra warehousing to stockpile medicines;
÷ Cash for additional lorry parking capacity
to ‘manage traffic disruption in Kent’;
÷ Increased capacity at the Passport Office;
÷ £108million to help businesses prepare;
÷ £138million for a publicity campaign;
÷ £1billion for last-minute contingencies.
Last night, Mr Javid said he was determined
that preparations for a possible No Deal
would not be held back by lack of funds.
He added: ‘With 92 days until the UK leaves
the European Union it’s vital that we inten-
sify our planning to ensure we are ready.
‘We want to get a good deal that abolishes
the anti-democratic backstop. But if we can’t,
we’ll have to leave without one.
‘This £2.1billion will ensure we are ready to
leave on October 31 – deal or No Deal.’
Mr Javid’s largesse is a marked change to
the approach of his predecessor Philip Ham-
mond, who was accused by critics of being
slow to release funds for critical projects.
‘It really represents a shift in tone for the
Treasury as a department,’ a Whitehall source
Javid doubles No Deal
fighting fund to £2bn
He releases cash
By Jason Groves
A CAMPAIGNER for the legalisation of
cannabis has been employed by Boris
Johnson to work in Downing Street, it
was claimed last night.
BuzzFeed reported that Blair Gibbs had
been appointed as one of the Prime
Minister’s policy aides, and will leave his
current job at the Centre for Medicinal
Cannabis campaign group.
He was a crime adviser for Mr Johnson
when he was mayor of London.
In a newspaper article last October
about the increasing support for the
legalisation of cannabis in the UK, Mr
Gibbs was quoted as saying: ‘Prohibition
is no longer seen as the smart and
He has also praised Canada’s liberalisa-
tion of its drug laws, saying: ‘Canada is
rightly praised for legalising cannabis in
a modern yet responsible way.’
Mr Johnson has admitted smoking
‘quite a few spliffs’ as a teenager at Eton,
but has taken a hard line against drug
use since becoming a politician.
A Downing Street spokesman said Mr
Gibbs’ comments ‘do not reflect Govern-
A STEEL magnate who donated millions of
pounds to New Labour gave £10,000 to Boris
Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign, it
emerged last night.
Billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, who is one of
Britain’s richest men, donated more than
£4million to Labour when Tony Blair was
His donation to Mr Johnson’s campaign
was recorded in the latest register of MPs’
interests, which was published yesterday.
It showed Mr Johnson raised more than
£100,000 in the final weeks of the leadership
campaign. Since November last year he has
declared income of more than £1million
including more than half a million in dona-
tions. Other income was raised from
speeches, books and journalism.
Mr Mittal is the chairman and chief execu-
tive of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest
÷ LABOUR would be ‘off our bloody rock-
ers’ not to back Remain, one of Jeremy Cor-
byn’s top frontbenchers has claimed.
In remarks made in Australia that are at
odds with official Labour policy, shadow for-
eign secretary Emily Thornberry also said
the party should also campaign for a second
referendum on ‘whatever deal the Govern-
ment comes up with, no ifs, no buts’.
By Political Editor
BORIS Johnson has made clear that he won’t knowingly undersell Britain –
so it’s fitting that a bevy of boxes from John Lewis arrived at No 10 yesterday.
Given his recent trouble with spilling wine, did the new Prime Minister
order some new, more stable glassware? BoJo’s abodes – Pages 26-