Published:

JW6.15pm WATCH: Ahead of the EU Referendum vote, James Wharton MP says "it's about time people were given a say"

5.15pm Local Government: Labour councillors approved illegal pay rise

4.30pm Emma Carr on Comment: Theresa May’s right – we need to rethink stop and search

3.45pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: How David Cameron could win the next General Election – by not holding it in May 2015

AG2.15pm In his PMQs review, Andrew Gimson sees Cameron bring Len McCluskey before a wider public by using him to beat Miliband: "The Prime Minister told us the Foreign Office was advising "against all but essential travel" to Egypt "except for the Red Sea resorts", and for a moment we feared he was going to make some tasteless joke about how at home Mr McCluskey would feel in a resort of that political complexion."

1.30pm LeftWatch: The plot thickens over Labour's Falkirk scandal

12.45pm Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: Scotland scraps right to buy, and Wales introduces opt-out organ donation

11.30am Greg Clark MP's latest Weekly Letter From a Treasury Minister: Has Labour changed? No, it hasn't. Brown's heirs are in charge.

9.30am ToryDiary: The significance of Team 2015

Newspaper vs technology cartoon

On ToryDiary, Andrew Gimson writes the second in our series of posts on the future of the press: The destruction of newspapers is horrible to watch – but it could also be creative

Grant Shapps' latest column: Welcome to Team2015 – the initiative that takes us beyond party membership

And three posts about Labour's troubles over Europe:

Cllr Jonathan Glanz on Local Government: Generation Y: The silent victims of an over-bloated and unfair welfare system

The Deep End: Immigration is a poor excuse for secularisation

Has May got her way? Reports that Abu Qatada could be deported this weekend

TM"Although ministers insist legal hurdles remain, Whitehall sources say the Al Qaeda fanatic should be handed over to the authorities in Jordan this weekend. … The breakthrough follows yesterday’s adoption by the Middle Eastern state of a treaty that will  protect Qatada’s human rights. … Last night Channel 4 News revealed he will be served with new papers for his deportation that give him 72 hours to appeal." – Daily Mail

More details of Hunt's plan to charge immigrants for using the NHS, as Boris calls for amnesty

"Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce that non-EU migrants in the UK for less than six months will be charged to see a GP in future. … People from the EU will not have to pay upfront — but Mr Hunt will promise a new system to make sure the NHS claims the cash back from their countries. The announcement came as London mayor Boris Johnson risked a showdown with the PM by demanding an amnesty for thousands of illegal immigrants." – The Sun

"Non-EU citizens who come to the UK to work or study will have to pay a healthcare levy of at least £200 on top of visa costs before they are allowed to enter the country, under plans to be set out today." Financial Times

  • NHS 111 phoneline at risk as not enough people call – The Times (£)

> Yesterday on Local Government: Boris contemplates third term as Mayor

Osborne defends his right to oversee the running of RBS

George Osborne"'I represent the taxpayer,' Mr Osborne said yesterday. 'It's a very important bank for our country, it's the largest lender to small business in our country, so of course we're interested in the health of the bank … Suggesting he was pushing the bank to play a greater role in the economy, he said: '[People] have to understand that I'm running not just a finance ministry but an economics ministry.'" – The Times (£)

  • RBS has commissioned an investigation into its record on small business lending - Daily Mail

Hammond sounds a warning about Trident and Scotland

"It would take at least a decade to dismantle the Trident nuclear weapons submarine base in Scotland, the defence secretary told MPs on Tuesday. … He also told the Commons defence committee that he doubted whether an independent Scotland would be able to benefit from the existing 'Five Eyes' intelligencenetwork between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand." – The Guardian

Chris Grayling advises Tories not to be tempted by "nice Nigel Farage"

Chris Grayling"If you’re naturally Conservative, but you’re tempted by the lure of the sofa on polling days, or by the smooth patter of that nice Mr Farage, just remember the reality of what you are doing … If Conservatives go into the next election divided, and our supporters drift somewhere else, we could let [Ed Miliband] into Downing Street by default, and in a nightmare scenario for Britain, leave him there for five or even 10 years." – Chris Grayling, Daily Telegraph

  • Legal aid reforms still unjust after Government U-turn, warn charities – The Independent 

There isn't necessarily a link between benefit cuts and demand for food banks, says Lord Freud

"Lord Freud, a Work and Pensions minister, insisted that the recent sharp increase in people resorting to food handouts to feed their families was not necessarily linked to benefits sanctions or delays. He suggested more people were taking charity food because more food banks existed…" – The Independent

> Yesterday on Local Government: Universal Credit is providing a better relationship between landlords and tenants

Economic recovery is a "20-year generational battle", says Jeremy Heywood

Downturn"‘This is not a two-year project or a five-year project. … This is a ten-year project, a 20-year  generational battle to beef up the economy in ways that we have not seen for many, many decades,’ he said. … Sir Jeremy’s remarks were made to Civil Service Live, a convention for mandarins in west London." - Daily Mail

Jacob Rees-Mogg reckons Britain should apply to leave the EU before any referendum

JRM"Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset, said that a formal application to leave the EU would show other nations that Britain was serious about its willingness to leave and 'show a true strength of purpose'. … That would boost David Cameron's chances of successfully renegotiating Britain's membership, he said." – Daily Telegraph

  • "We need a new deal on Europe or we quit," say historians - The Times (£)

> Today, by Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: Why historians believe we need a better deal from Europe

> Yesterday:

Rob Wilson could ask the police to probe the BBC's massive severance pay-offs

"MPs on the influential Public Accounts Committee called for ‘full accountability’ yesterday, and castigated the ‘greedy and excessive payments’ paid by a ‘self-serving elite’ at the head of the BBC. … It came as Tory MP Rob Wilson wrote to the NAO and BBC director-general Lord Hall asking for full disclosure of the names of those responsible. He promised to take evidence of fraud to the police." – Daily Mail

Dominic Raab: Shale gas has given Britain a lifeline, if we can take on the vested interests

Shale"…the announcement of UK shale gas reserves that – if recoverable – would be the largest in the world comes in the nick of time. We must take on the unholy alliance of vested interests, from Vladimir Putin to Friends of the Earth, who want to stop Britain grasping this energy lifeline." – Dominic Raab, City AM

Cameron needs to promote the talented Tory women, says Alice Thomson

"[Claire] Perry is part of a new generation, including Anna Soubry, Liz Truss, Priti Patel, Esther McVey and Margot James, who won't be belittled. In his reshuffle this summer, the Prime Minister needs to promote them because they are better than most of their male counterparts, they have had to fight harder, they are braver and more tenacious." – Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

Schools-for-profit: Lib Dems to boast that they acted as a brake on Tory ambitions

CoC"During the election campaign, Mr Clegg's party will claim that they acted as a brake on the Tories inside the Coalition. 'We will say we stopped them running schools for profit, privatising the NHS and eroding workplace rights by allowing employers to sack people at will,' one Lib Dem minister said." – The Independent

  • "Profit making schools will bring chaos and cut standards" – Stephen Twigg, The Independent

> Yesterday:

Pressure on Miliband, as it emerges that 70 per cent of Labour's candidates have links to the unions…

Ed Miliband"47 of 67 candidates so far selected by Labour for 2015 are linked to unions, with 27 affiliated to Unite through membership, sponsorship or employment. This is 40 per cent of the total. … Party sources say Unite leader Len McCluskey has begun referring to senior Labour politicians he approves of as ‘Unite MPs’." – Daily Mail

  • "But the exposure of McCluskey as the Machiavellian power behind Labour’s throne is a timely reminder to the electorate. … Vote Ed… and you vote Red." – Sun editorial

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: However hard he tries to unravel himself, Ed Miliband is bound to Unite

…and that his party has had to step in to avoid malpractice

"Labour has seized control of 14 of its constituency parties as a result of attempts to manipulate selections and exert unfair influence. Ed Miliband disclosed the full list for the first time last night amid growing calls to publish a report into the conduct of Unite, the party’s biggest financial backer, in a Westminster selection contest in Falkirk." – The Times (£)

Ed Balls calls for … yep, you've guessed it … more spending and borrowing

Balls"Ed Balls yesterday insisted Britain needs to borrow more to boost spending and give the economy ‘some oomph’. … Despite positive signs in recent months, the shadow Chancellor insisted economic recovery cannot be taken for granted and said more needed to be spent on roads, rail and other public works. … The new governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, was not a ‘miracle worker’ and should not be relied on to drive a return to economic health, Mr Balls insisted." – Daily Mail

"Harriet Harman will warn today that many provincial museums, theatres and arts groups could go under, hit by local authority spending cuts…"The Independent

Peter Mandelson, a former supporter of HS2, speaks out against the rail line

PM"Politicians should not be afraid to think again about a project whose estimated cost has just risen again by a quarter, to £42.6bn. In 2010, when the then Labour government decided to back HS2, we did so based on the best estimates of what it would involve. But these were almost entirely speculative. The decision was also partly politically driven." – Peter Mandelson, Financial Times

"Senior Labour figures such as Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Lord Adonis still publicly back the project. But Mr Balls, the shadow chancellor, is understood to be increasingly concerned about the escalating costs, according to his allies." – Financial Times

  • "The cost of HS2 just ballooned, thanks to the bungling Transport Department" – Cheryl Gillan, Daily Telegraph

New YouGov polling suggests that, across Europe, we no longer believe the Left will look after us

EU FLag"Millions in all four [surveyed] countries [Britain, France, Germany and Sweden] no longer think left-of-centre parties care about them; and most reject the idea that governments are good at solving social problems." – Peter Kellner, The Times (£)

  • "…behind this Tory sideshow lies a minefield for Mr Miliband, a pro-European instinctively opposed to any referendum unless a treaty change obliges him to offer one. While Douglas Alexander has wisely counselled him to wait and see, colleagues with a less nuanced view than the shadow foreign secretary are agitating for Labour to get off the fence." – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • "On Europe, Labour must climb off the fence" – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today:

Ipsa boss to defend higher pay for MPs

PAY RISE"Quango boss Sir Ian Kennedy will break his silence over the row when he tells a think-tank on Friday that MPs are underpaid. … He is expected to argue that it is in the public interest for members’ salaries to be set at sufficient level to attract high-calibre candidates from all backgrounds." - Daily Mail

"A staggering 85 per cent of Brits say MPs should not receive a £10,000-a-year pay rise." - The Sun

  • "Agreeing to award MPs higher wages may be difficult in the current economic climate. But in the longer term, to deny a fair increase to MPs would be to short-change British democracy itself." – Financial Times editorial
  • "Politicians may receive too little money but they also receive too little respect. This is largely their fault. The way around it is to encourage more talent to parliament and then give it more chances to flourish." – John McDermott, Financial Times
  • "MPs may be lowly forms of life, but not five times lower than a broadcasting executive or four times lower than a quango chief." – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

Daniel Finkelstein: Most gay people still fear a knock at the door

DF"In every part of the globe, every day, gay people are being arrested and beaten and intimidated and imprisoned. Even Iran is a little embarrassed that it actually executes them, preferring to allege that the cases involve rape, and hiding names and details. But Iran is certainly not alone in being a place where gay people die as a result of prejudice and oppression." – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

News in brief

  • New public health chief suggests that children should have to walk at least some of the way to school – Daily Mail
  • A quarter of people living in Britain’s biggest cities are immigrants, suggests study – Daily Mail
  • Welsh Assembly law presumes that people want to be organ donors, unless they have opted out – Daily Mail
  • Keith Vaz demands that the "British FBI" reveal which firms have been involved in hacking – The Sun
  • Briton killed in Afghan suicide bomb attack – The Guardian
  • Tax officials failed to collect £9.6bn in VAT in 2010-11, auditors find – The Guardian
  • Old Admiralty Building could be sold to raise money for the Exchequer – The Independent

And finally… Baroness Ashton's car fleetLimo"The controversial Labour peer in charge of the EU’s new diplomatic service was facing fresh charges of waste last night after figures revealed that she employs nearly 500 chauffeurs – including one paid £62,000 a year. … The EU’s diplomatic service now employs almost 500 drivers to ferry officials between meetings, with many of them on lavish salaries, figures released to the European Parliament show." – Daily Mail

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