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Eurosceptic pressure mounts on Cameron as EU reintroduces borders…

CAMERON EU fence“The tumult triggered demands from Tory MPs for David Cameron to seize the moment and increase his own demands in Britain’s EU referendum negotiations with Brussels. Eurosceptics said that, with borders being re-imposed across the continent, now was the time to demand Britain should be able to impose its own limits on free movement.” – Daily Mail

  • EU benefit reform could be ditched in favour of emergency ‘brake’ – The Sun
  • The Prime Minister’s adventures in Europe – FT
  • Cameron’s big chance to retore sovereignty – Daily Mail editorial

Tories:

  • Party’s favourite print company is churning out EU propaganda – Daily Mail
  • Class of 2015 warn old guard not to rekindle feuds over Europe – FT
  • Michael Caine steps in to support ‘Leave’ – The Times (£)

Labour:

  • Mills claims there are ‘many’ pro-Leave Labour MPs who won’t say so – The Independent

…as hopes rise that May will declare for ‘Leave’

“Eurosceptic hopes rose that Theresa May will lead their campaign for Britain to leave the EU – after she shared an intimate lunch with a leading Tory Brexit backer. The Sun’s exclusive snaps caught the Home Secretary with ex-Defence Secretary Liam Fox just minutes after he urged her to front the push for Out.” – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: May’s Fox accessory

Charles Moore: Is the EU good for European civilisation?

charlesmoore“It is not a dictatorship, but an empire, in a world where other empires have disappeared. One of its oddest claims is that the future cannot consist of nations. Yet all the main players of the future are sovereign nations – China, India, America, the countries of the old Commonwealth. When a real crisis arises, the EU cannot act.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Will the EU referendum trigger the breakup of the UK? – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday:

Forces chiefs warn that action on ‘tank chasers’ must go further

“Military top brass last night welcomed David Cameron’s pledge to ‘shut down’ ambulance-chasing lawyers – but warned more still needs to be done to protect British troops from the legal witch-hunt over Iraq. As the Daily Mail revealed yesterday, the Prime Minister has promised a string of changes to legal aid and no-win-no-fee deals to try to stop lawyers hounding the Armed Forces with ‘spurious’ claims.” – Daily Mail

  • Former forces legal advisor – now Anglican priest – denounces crackdown – The Guardian
  • Falklands War hero backs Prime Minister’s move – The Sun
  • Veteran airman to head UK armed forces – FT
  • MPs offered increased protection after Syria vote death threats – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 1) Chancellor looks set to miss deficit reduction target

Osborne“George Osborne’s chances of meeting his deficit reduction target this year are looking increasingly slender and will be reliant on the public purse having its best final quarter in more than a decade. The UK government has now borrowed £74.2bn to cover the gap between revenues and expenditure for the financial year to date, according to official figures released on Friday.” – FT

  • Retail and borrowing figures pile pressure on Osborne – The Guardian
  • Free childcare pledge scaled back by Prime Minister – The Times (£)

Ministers 2) Gove ‘may cave in’ to legal blob on legal aid reform

“Justice Secretary Michael Gove is preparing to abandon his department’s £100million legal aid reform, it emerged last night. The new regime, due to come into force within months, was designed to bring to an end the criminal legal aid ‘gravy train’… But the changes provoked outrage from law firms who faced losing out and they launched court proceedings against the process for awarding contracts.” – Daily Mail

  • Justice Secretary could signal u-turn in days – The Independent
  • Foreign aid fat cats are best paid in Whitehall – Daily Mail

Ministers 3) Letwin wants more black Cabinet ministers

LETWIN Oliver“Britain needs more black and ethnic minority cabinet ministers, Olive Letwin has indicated as he said the government wants to quicken the “frustratingly slow” pace of change at the top of politics and industry. Mr Letwin, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and one of David Cameron’s closest confidantes, said concerns about diversity at the top of government were “very pertinent”.” – Daily Telegraph

MPs call for overhaul of broadband infrastucture

“Despite the Government spending £1.7 billion on improving broadband, businesses are struggling and Britain is now lagging behind other countries including Japan, South Korea, and Spain, the report warns. The research, published by Grant Shapps, the former Cabinet minister, says Britain’s network of “outdated” copper cables must be entirely replaced with a super-fast “fibre” system.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Shapps has ‘no regrets’ about decision to resign – Daily Telegraph

Pickles mulls public list of banned foreign nationals

Russian flag“The government’s anti-corruption tsar, Eric Pickles, is considering naming any foreign citizen subject to a UK visa ban as a response to the inquiry into the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko… The justice minister Dominic Raab championed the automatic publication of the identities of those subject to visa bans when he was a backbencher, at the end of the last parliament.” – The Guardian

  • UK-based dissidents will ‘live in fear’ after ruling – The Independent

Government backs Heaton-Harris’ and Freeman’s medical bill

“A new national database to allow seriously ill patients to volunteer for innovative treatments and accelerate the development of life saving drugs is to get the green light, The Telegraph can disclose. The Government is backing backbench legislation to allow doctors and patients to access a database containing details of all new medicines in development and allow them to volunteer for treatment.” – Daily Telegraph

Welsh Tory leader bids for blue-collar votes

Welsh Conservatives“Conservatives in Wales are not about “public schools, country mansions or trust funds”, Welsh Tory leader Andrew Davies has claimed as he launched a bid for the support of blue collar voters. With the May Assembly elections looming on the horizon, Mr Davies wants to establish his party as a champion of “working people”.” – Wales Online

MPs) Mogg is the new master of talking out private bills

“If there were an Olympic event for sesquipedalian circumlocution, as The Mogg would call it, he’d be there in his pinstriped leotard winning gold for GB. His first tactic yesterday was to propose a vote on whether the session be held in private. The Mogg was the only MP who voted for it, but it ate up a useful 18 minutes. Even Peter Bone, a career bore, thought this was ridiculous time-wasting.” – Patrick Kidd’s sketch, The Times (£)

  • Allan pulls out of BBC interview when she can’t veto question – The Independent

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Only the public and the press can keep MPs honest

Umunna warns that Labour is ‘shedding’ ethnic minority support

Labour holes“Labour is “shedding votes” from ethnic minority communities that have traditionally backed the party, one of its most senior MPs will warn today. Chuka Umunna, the former shadow business secretary, will say that the party has “given the impression that we take our ethnic minority communities’ support for granted”.” – The Times (£)

  • Former shadow business secretary points out doubling of Tory minority support in 2015 – The Guardian
  • Labour face investigation over the Edstone – Daily Telegraph
  • Lord Winston tears into Corbyn’s “appallingly poor leadership” – The Sun
  • Plans to give NEC more say attacked as “political and divisive” – The Guardian

Giles Coren: Labour is now a hobby for the idle rich

“They’re exactly the sort of people to make a massive fuss about a statue of Cecil Rhodes, or the skin colour of Oscar nominees, or the politically regressive pricing of women’s perfume. They can’t do a thing about those inequalities, of course, or about anything else. But they can have a damn good time, singing round the brazier while the value of their houses goes up and up because the man they cunningly chose as leader looks like keeping the Tories in power for ever.” – The Times (£)

  • Corbyn’s band of luvvies and liabilities – Dominic Kennedy, The Times (£)
  • No, the Tories aren’t scared of your leader – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Leftward ho! Corbyn has little option but to stay the course – The Times (£) editorial
  • No matter how painful this year is for the leader, it will be worse for the moderates – John McTernan, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column: Over at Corbyn Central, the comrades are eating each other

Embattled SDLP offers Sinn Fein ‘second Stalingrad’ in battle for Foyle

Northern Ireland“An SDLP minister has said his party is ready and able to defeat a bid by Martin McGuinness to seize one of its Foyle seats in the upcoming elections, invoking the Battle of Stalingrad as an analogy. Mark H Durkan was reacting to reports that the Deputy First Minister is to vie for a seat in the SDLP-dominated constituency in the May Assembly elections.” – News Letter

News in Brief

  • Germany admits it cannot account for 600,000 of its 1.1 million asylum seekers – Daily Mail
  • Emergency measures could see end of passport-free travel for two years – Daily Telegraph
  • Sinking boats drown 46 as EU struggles with ‘human tide’ – The Sun
  • Scientists find new drug to wipe out superbugs – The Times (£)
  • Google strikes £130 million back tax deal – FT
  • MSPs consider ‘abhorrent’ case to legalise incest – The Scotsman
  • The 12 AMs set for payoffs of up to £65,000 when they step down in May – Wales Online

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