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Draft EU Deal 1) ‘Emergency brake’ on migrant benefits…controlled by Brussels

ConHome EU shirt Cameron‘A Tory revolt is growing over David Cameron’s decision to let Brussels control his four year benefits ban on new EU migrants. It has emerged that EU chiefs will be in charge of triggering the welfare freeze for new arrivals…Former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans said watering down the bid to control immigration will probably persuade him to vote Leave. He said: “If we have to phone 27 friends to decide that we can put our foot on the brake, then no driver in their right mind would get into a car with those sorts of conditions”…Tory MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed Anne-Marie Trevelyan added: “What seems to be on offer is a brake that the eurocrats will control. The British people don’t want that”.’ – The Sun (£)

>Today:

Draft EU Deal 2) A non-binding ‘red card’ system on EU laws

‘The Prime Minister will today welcome a draft deal to be published by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, setting out the reforms being offered to Britain ahead of the referendum. The deal will include a “red card” system giving MPs the power to band together with other like-minded parliaments in member states to stop unwanted directives and repeal existing laws…until now there has been no mechanism allowing national parliaments to kill off laws outright. However, the “red card” would allow the Commons to effectively veto any inappropriate EU legislation – as long as MPs and MEPs have the support of 55 per cent of the national parliaments in the EU.’- Daily Telegraph

  • This is a cynical pretence – Cabinet ministers must speak out – Daily Mail Leader
  • We should stay in the EU precisely because it’s in crisis – Gideon Rachman, FT
  • AXA boss attacks giving the people a say at all – The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Cameron’s vanishing renegotiation

Draft EU Deal 3) May puts on pressure over immigration rules

Border‘The home secretary is demanding that Mr Cameron holds firm on tougher measures to stop the abuse of EU migration rules, raising fears in Downing Street that she could refuse to back the reform deal that he has been seeking in Brussels this week. Mrs May, who has not ruled out heading the Brexit campaign, wants Brussels to close a back-door route into Britain that is being used by migrants from outside the EU.’ – The Times (£)

Jenkin and Cummings’ Vote Leave love-in

‘The two men locked in a bitter power struggle over the future of a group campaigning to take Britain out of Europe put on a very public display of “kiss and make up” yesterday. Dominic Cummings, the campaign director of Vote Leave, and Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP, lavished praise on one another in front of about 30 Tory MPs in the House of Commons last night. The reconciliation came a week after Mr Jenkin initiated a campaign to oust Mr Cummings from his job.’ – The Times (£)

Ganesh: Stop putting leadership ambitions before running the country

Osborne PMQs‘Real money and real people are caught up in George Osborne’s work as chancellor of the exchequer, yet every austerity measure and corporate tax settlement is read as a twist in the screenplay of his career. Whether Britain remains in the EU is the largest question any serving politician will ever answer but we almost expect Theresa May, the home secretary, and Boris Johnson, the London mayor, to decide on the tawdriest calculations…If the protagonists are as cynical as we believe, Britain is in trouble.’ – Janan Ganesh, FT

  • Morgan: It would be a mistake for the leadership contenders to be two white men – Daily Telegraph
  • Osborne should focus on simplifying the tax code – The Times Leader

Doctors will strike next week after BMA refuses to budge

‘The NHS is braced for further strikes after talks between junior doctors and the government collapsed again. The British Medical Association will press ahead with a strike next week although doctors will provide emergency care. However, a future all-out strike has not been ruled out. Sir David Dalton, who is leading talks for the government, accused the union of refusing to negotiate after it rejected a compromise deal that would have seen fewer hours on Saturday paid at standard rates.’ – The Times (£)

  • They’re about to lose public sympathy – The Sun Says (£)
  • 25,000 patients could lose out – The Sun (£)

Big businesses given £5 million to install greener lightbulbs

votebluegogreen‘British business giants including Sainsbury’s and Dixons Carphone have been handed tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash to install energy-efficient lightbulbs, as part of Government efforts to avert a looming power crunch. The Football Association and Travis Perkins are among other organisations to share in a total of £5 million of Government funding, under a scheme to try to reduce the risk of blackouts in coming winters by cutting electricity demand. Ministers awarded the cash to companies to spend on upgrades such as replacing old fluorescent strip lighting with new efficient LED lamps.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • 40 per cent of people won’t take any action to combat climate change – Daily Telegraph

Mundell: Talks with the SNP are going well

‘David Mundell has disclosed that the UK and Scottish governments have “narrowed the gap” between them over the funding for Holyrood’s new powers and pledged to “strain every sinew” to get a deal. The Scottish Secretary concurred with John Swinney, the Scottish Finance Minister, there was a “considerable distance” to go before agreement could be reached but told the Telegraph progress was made during talks in London. His assessment was backed by the Treasury, which said it remained confident of reaching a deal, but was in marked contrast to Mr Swinney’s pessimistic remarks to the media.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Scottish Labour plan to raise income tax for middle earners – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Ruth Davidson’s column: The story behind the changing face of the Scottish Conservatives

Labour could need a swing bigger than 1997 to win the next election

LABOUR dead rose‘Labour may need a swing in England larger than it managed in 1997 to win a bare overall majority at the next election, with its challenge made steeper because of the government’s boundary changes, according to a new analysis. The scale of the electoral challenge facing Labour has been calculated by Lewis Baston, the political analyst and election expert, who found winning in England would be more important than ever for the party in 2020.’ – The Guardian

  • Corbyn snubs donors and abandons fundraising efforts – The Times (£)
  • Tory attacks on Labour funding are a scandal – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • Team Miliband flee to the private sector – FT
  • Opposition defence review considers using Trident subs as a ‘taxi service’ for troops – Daily Telegraph
  • Taliban bombmaker to sue the British Army – The Times (£)

Burnett: Schools, not universities, hold back the poor

‘Frequent lack of resources in the state sector today gives middle-class children an unfair advantage. Nothing substitutes for an excellent teacher…When further education colleges are spending an estimated 30 per cent of their budget on remedial maths and English lessons for those without the required GCSE grades, it is clear that pupils leaving school today cannot be confident that they leave with the best chance of success.’ – Sir Keith Burnett, The Times (£)

  • It’s unfair to blame particular institutions for systemic problems - The Times Leader (£)

>Yesterday: Festus Akinbusoye on Comment: Cameron is right to put equality front and centre

Iowa: Cruz beats Trump, as Rubio surges to strong third

TRUMP hair‘The Texas senator Ted Cruz won the Republican Iowa caucus last night, edging Donald Trump into an unexpected — and possibly humbling — second place. The candidate who got the biggest boost of the evening was Marco Rubio. The Florida senator was a strong third, outperforming expectations as he nipped at Mr Trump’s heels. The result bolstered Mr Rubio’s bid to become the champion of the establishment wing of the Republican party.’ – The Times (£)

‘Gay cake’ bakers appeal their conviction

‘The Christian bakers taken to court for refusing to make a cake promoting gay marriage say their experience is like living in a dystopian “science fiction” world where the state orders people to say things they do not believe. Daniel McArthur, general manager of Ashers Baking Co, and his wife Amy insisted they would “do it all again” despite being pursued through the courts by a government equalities body and fined for discrimination.’ – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Too many charities are taxpayer-funded – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • Momentous news of gene editing in the UK – The Times Leader (£)
  • Bickering is good for a marriage – Daily Mail
  • The Pope warns priests and nuns against gossip – The Guardian
  • Colombian spies infiltrate rebel group, and find them all in drag – Daily Mail
  • Elephant gores tourist to death in Thailand – The Times (£)
  • Lords’ attendance allowance isn’t enough, says millionaire peer – The Sun (£)

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