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The row over the Queen’s views about Europe rumbles on. The Justice Secretary is under pressure.

michael-gove“Cabinet Euro rebel Michael Gove was fighting for his political life last night after he appeared to confess leaking the Queen’s comments about the EU. … Pressure on Justice Secretary Mr Gove to quit grew after he said The Sun, which claimed last week the Queen ‘backs Brexit’, did not get ‘all’ its information from him. … His comments were seen by some as close to an admission of guilt.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Amid growing fears in royal circles that the monarch has become politicised, officials at Buckingham Palace conceded that she had been damaged by being sucked into the partisan squabbling over Britain’s future in the EU.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “A third of Brits think the Queen would choose to quit the European Union if she was allowed to have a vote, a poll reveals today.” – Sun on Sunday
  • “A Christian magistrate sacked for opposing gay adoption is to sue Lord Chancellor Michael Gove.” – Mail on Sunday

Comment:

  • “Politicians who have discussed Europe with the Queen say her Euroscepticism is a result of her fealty to the Commonwealth and to her coronation oaths, in which she pledged to rule according to the ‘laws and customs’ of the United Kingdom.” – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times (£)
  • “The Mail, Sun, Express and Star in particular, and to a lesser extent the Telegraph and, on a bad day, the Times, are becoming propaganda sheets for one side of the argument.” – Alastair Campbell, The Observer

“Michael has gone a bit nuts recently.” What Cameron said about Gove, according to Laws’ new book.

LAWS David Yeovil“The book tells of Cameron’s frequent clashes with Gove, over issues from schools to Iran – as well as detailing Clegg’s own feud with Gove. … Clegg says Cameron told him: ‘Michael has gone a bit nuts recently … I’m being driven around the bend by him… he is a Maoist… outrageous, wants to be the darling of the Tory Right.’ … Laws says Gove told a private meeting of Tory and Lib Dem Ministers that the PM’s referendum was ‘completely barmy’. Cameron was not present.” – Mail on Sunday

Further extracts from the Mail on Sunday’s serialisation:

Comment:

  • “Downing Street under David Cameron is more like a Carry On film or Yes Minister than Tolstoy.” – Mail on Sunday editorial
  • “Cameron can’t govern and Corbyn can’t hurt him.” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Clegg to Cameron: Your renegotiation will either be insubstantial or impossible. Cameron to Clegg: “I know.”

In other referendum-related news, IDS says that Brexit would boost Britain’s labour market…

EU Exit brexit“Britain will enjoy a jobs bonanza if we quit the EU as the nation ‘explodes with talent’, Iain Duncan Smith predicts. … Speaking exclusively to The Sun on Sunday, he asked them: ‘If the EU is so bloody good, why is it so bloody bad for everybody else? If being in the EU guarantees so many jobs, why in hell’s name is France languishing with massive unemployment?’” – Sun on Sunday

  • “In her first interview since being named chair of Vote Leave, the Brexit campaign group backed by Boris Johnson, Ms Stuart reveals how she feels a ‘duty’ to reassure ordinary voters they are not ‘bad’ people for being worried about the EU.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “The businessman whose suspension for speaking out in favour of Brexit caused a storm of controversy has taken a key role at the main group that is campaigning for an ‘Out’ vote.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “David Cameron’s allies have provoked a new row about the European Union, claiming unemployment could rise to 4m and house prices could slump by a third if Britain votes to leave the EU.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “[Justine Greening] has hit back at claims that the government is trying to scare voters into staying in the EU with misleading and exaggerated warnings of the consequences of Brexit.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “The Cabinet Office is preparing to issue guidance that could bar civil servants from publishing information — including EU migration statistics — in the run-up to the EU referendum.” – Sunday Times (£)

Comment:

  • “Here’s the entire EU debate in 9 words: Do you want to be a servant of Brussels?” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • “Turkey joining the EU is reason enough for us to get out.” – Tony Parsons, Sun on Sunday
  • “The EU cheerleaders are starting to panic.” – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Turkey has forced Europe to hug it closer.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “The voters deserve to know the full facts about immigration.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

…Patel recalls the moment when she became a Eurosceptic…

Patel Union Jack“Priti Patel can remember exactly the moment she became a Eurosceptic. It was Black Wednesday in 1992, when she was 20 and Britain was forced from the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM). … ‘It nearly destroyed my family; my dad lost a business because of interest rate rises,’ said Patel, David Cameron’s minister of state for employment. ‘We were lucky to keep the roof over our heads. It was just the most traumatic time.’” – Sunday Times (£)

…and Obama is going to urge us to Remain

“Barack Obama will jet into the UK next month and use his star power to convince Britons they should vote to stay in the European Union. … The timing of the US President’s intervention, a major coup for the Remain campaign, is revealed by The Independent on Sunday, as a ComRes poll for this newspaper finds that Boris Johnson, unofficial leader of the Leave campaign, matches David Cameron on ‘trust’ – suggesting that the referendum could be closely fought.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “Obama pours blame on his friends while the Middle East dam cracks.” – Niall Ferguson, Sunday Times (£)

Ahead of the Budget, Osborne tells Britain: graft now, gain later

Osborne worker“We’ve taken great strides forward since the financial crisis and this year we’re forecast to be the fastest growing advanced economy in the world. … That’s thanks in no small part to Sun on Sunday readers’ hard graft and resolve. … If we stick to the long-term economic plan, Britain can keep out in front. … But with the world facing its most uncertain period since the Great Recession, that will mean redoubling our efforts.” – George Osborne, Sun on Sunday

  • “George Osborne is expected to postpone fresh austerity measures this week until 2018 as part of a highly political Budget which will emphasise the dangers to the world economy ahead of the EU referendum this summer.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “The Chancellor, George Osborne, is being pressed to exempt more small businesses from paying business rates before Wednesday’s Budget.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Chancellor George Osborne is under pressure to shelve promised tax cuts for the well-off as he looks to plug a massive and unexpected black hole in the public finances.” – The Observer
  • “George Osborne is planning a clampdown on a tax dodge used by media stars and mandarins who have their salaries paid through special companies to save thousands of pounds a year.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “George Osborne wants to reward an army of odd job men and eBay mums who earn a few bob on top of their regular wage. … The Chancellor is drawing up plans to introduce two new tax allowances, enabling them to earn up to £2,000 a year without declaring it.” – Sun on Sunday
  • “The chief executive of a media and digital marketing company that received £3.9m from the Treasury to advertise government policies is a Conservative Party donor, it has been revealed.” – Independent on Sunday

Comment:

  • “[Osborne] will need to display a surer touch on Wednesday, for this budget will be totally infused by politics, both the politics of the EU referendum and the politics of the Tory succession.” – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • “…it’s vital hardworking Sun readers don’t suffer an unfair share of the burden.” – Sun on Sunday editorial
  • “Osborne owes us a budget for Britain, not just himself.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “A true-blue Budget is needed from Osborne.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

> Today: Chris Wright on Comment – This isn’t austerity. It’s a correction. The sooner we embrace that, the sooner we can redesign better public services.

> Yesterday:

Would Leadsom be Boris’s Chancellor?

“If Boris Johnson finally makes it to Downing Street, he plans to appoint the first-ever female Chancellor – the Brexit-backing Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom. Bojo’s friends say the pair would make a formidable double act in a leadership run-off against George Osborne. In 2011, feisty Leadsom slapped down Osborne when he told her not to push for an EU referendum.” – The Mail on Sunday’s Black Dog column

Cameron will abandon plans for a third runway at Heathrow, predicts Greening

Greening on Marr“David Cameron will abandon plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport, a senior Cabinet minister has declared. … Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, predicted that the Cabinet would conclude that the west London airport should not be expanded. … She called for a new ‘long term’ strategy to be drawn up to decide on a ‘sensible’ future airport policy for the UK.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • “Trains on Britain’s HS2 rail scheme are at risk of derailment and catastrophic track failure, according to previously secret research commissioned by HS2 itself.” – Sunday Telegraph

New powers for the police to hack people’s communications, under Government proposals

“Police and intelligence agencies will be able to hack into people’s mobile phones, tablets and computers using ‘back-door’ technology, which the government will force firms to install under proposed laws. … According to documents published in the past two weeks, internet service providers and technology giants would be obliged to build secret security flaws into their technology to allow them to be accessed by police and the security services on demand.” – Sunday Times (£)

Whittingdale’s plan to control the BBC

WHITTINGDALE John“A powerful new body to run the BBC will be dominated by government appointees, under plans being considered by ministers. … John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, has revealed that only two or three members of the 13-strong ‘unitary board’ will be BBC executives when it replaces the discredited BBC Trust next year. The rest will be outsiders, appointed by the government. … His plans put him at odds with the BBC’s director- general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, who said last week that making the appointments should be ‘a transparent and independent process, at arm’s length from the government’.” – Sunday Times (£)

Hunt’s new contract for junior doctors will be challenged in the courts

“The government’s new contract for junior doctors is to be challenged in the courts by a group of doctors and patients on the grounds of patient safety. … The group have instructed Bindman’s LLP solicitors to investigate judicial review proceedings, which will centre on the detrimental impact of the proposed new contract on the safety patients as well as the stability of the NHS as a whole.” – The Observer

  • “Labour has accused George Osborne of being on course to preside over a decade of the ‘largest sustained funding squeeze in NHS history’.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “The Epilepsy Society has launched a new campaign calling on the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to act against avoidable deaths from the condition.” – Independent on Sunday

Comment:

  • “That’s enough, junior doctors – the NHS has bigger problems.” – Sonia Sodha, The Observer

McDonnell provokes anger by suggesting that the cuts are causing suicides

McDonnell Conference Speech“Labour has caused fury at the Treasury by accusing George Osborne of driving people to suicide with his cuts to public spending. … Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell made the incendiary claim that people have been compelled to throw themselves under trains because of the severity of the Chancellor’s policies. … His remarks have come as the Chancellor looks set to trigger a storm of protest in Wednesday’s Budget by targeting disability benefits for a new round of cuts.” – Mail on Sunday

  • John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, told hard-left allies that he had joined the Labour party as a ‘tactic’ because it was a ‘useful vehicle’.” – Sunday Times (£)

Comment:

  • “McDonnell’s speech on Friday was a shameless welding of the rhetoric of ‘doing politics differently’ with the policy positions of doing it the same.” – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday

Labour’s big money donors abandon the party – but keep giving to Corbyn’s rivals

LABOUR dead rose“Labour’s top donors have abandoned the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader. … Figures show 24 of the 30 most generous backers have given nothing since his election in September. … But they have ploughed £140,000 into the private offices of past or future leadership rivals. … It will fuel rumours of a snap leadership challenge if Labour flop in May’s local elections.” – Sun on Sunday

  • “Ken Livingstone has insisted that Labour MPs accepting donations from hedge funds is like ‘somebody in child protection taking money from Jimmy Savile’ — despite having accepted £8,000 from one of the City firms himself.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Jeremy Corbyn’s trade unions spokesman received more than £60,000 in redundancy pay from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) after resigning to take up his seat in parliament. … Ian Lavery was paid the money over three years after his election as MP for Wansbeck, Northumberland, in 2010 but did not declare it in the House of Commons register of members’ interests.” – Sunday Times (£)

De Piero and Ashworth say their party is failing to win back swing voters

“Many former Labour voters who switched to the Conservatives at the last election in key electoral battlegrounds are showing no regret and little sign of returning to the fold, according to two prominent members of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet. … Gloria De Piero and Jonathan Ashworth, writing in the Observer, raise the alarm about the state of voter opinion after conducting a tour across parts of England where Labour has to recover if it is ever to return to power.” – The Observer

Read De Piero and Ashworth’s article for The Observer in full

  • “Nearly a million men, women and children are set to become homeless by 2020 unless the Government takes action to address a crisis described by Labour as a ‘test of our basic humanity’.” – Independent on Sunday

Sturgeon to renew the fight for Scottish independence

Scottish flag“Nicola Sturgeon will spearhead a renewed drive to build support for Scottish independence this summer, pledging to turn the 45% who voted to leave the UK in the 2014 referendum into ‘a strong and positive majority’. … With just seven weeks to go before May’s Scottish parliament elections, she said: ‘We will achieve independence only when we persuade a majority of our fellow citizens that it is the best future for our country.’” – The Observer

  • “Scottish Nationalists scuppered plans for longer Sunday shopping hours after ‘ratting’ on a deal with Tories, it was claimed yesterday.’” – Sun on Sunday

Comment:

  • “Don’t fret, Your Majesty: the Scots can’t afford to jump ship if we vote for Brexit.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

The Brits named in the leaked ISIS documents

“Two young married fathers from Manchester are among some 64 people with British connections who were named in leaked ISIS recruitment documents. … Investigations are being carried out to learn whether some of the Britons may have been sent home to carry out attacks. … Three jihadis who killed 90 people at the Bataclan theatre during November’s terror attacks in Paris have also been named in the files.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A British jihadist named in leaked Isis recruitment files was jailed for his role in a brutal gang rape in London and fled to Syria after being released from prison on licence.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Jeremy Corbyn has held at least 15 meetings – including four since he became Labour leader – with a leading figure from Finsbury Park mosque who blames Britain for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), has called for the destruction of Israel and appeared to praise the recent wave of terrorist stabbings in that country.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “British special forces are helping Tunisian troops in a fierce battle against ISIS insurgents.” – Sun on Sunday

Comment:

  • “With the recruits they have — and numbers increasing — it explains why police think it’s a matter of when, not if, they strike.” – Sun on Sunday editorial

Hilton on Trump: He’s more interesting and significant than people realise

HILTON Steve“But simply to dismiss Trump as a reality show entertainer with nothing of consequence to say would be to make a big mistake – sorry, a ‘YUGE’ mistake, as ‘the Donald’ himself would put it. … He is a much more serious, interesting and historically important political figure than his detractors allow. Trump is challenging not just some of the basic tenets of Republican ideas, but those of the Democrats too.” – Steve Hilton, Mail on Sunday

  • “The US elite abandoned the American dream – Trump is the terrifying result.” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Nick Cohen: Flood-ravaged towns deserve more protection

“If London suffered like this, you would see action. But the capital sits snug behind the Thames Barrier, one of the most essential and far-sighted public works of the 20th century.  … Britain does not lack far-sighted public servants, who want to mitigate today’s threats with the same spirit that brought us the Thames Barrier. Once they have fought their way past metropolitan complacency, however, they run into the immovable object of a Tory government that does not understand the need for communal effort.” – Nick Cohen, The Observer

News in brief

  • Libyan unity government moves to take power, asserting sole authority to rule – The Observer
  • North Korean submarine missing and presumed sunk, say reports – The Observer
  • Ex-archbishop attacks university anti-semites – Sunday Times (£)
  • Academics in revolt as China reaps benefits of British graphene breakthroughs – Sunday Times (£)
  • Gaffe-prone Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes will not stand for re-election – Mail on Sunday
  • Cambridge students try to ban Orient Express-themed ball – Mail on Sunday

And finally: The Great Clarke

Ken Clarke 01-11-15“Kenneth Clarke may have failed three times in his attempts to lead the Tory party but today he has plenty to celebrate. … The so-called ‘big beast’ has signed a £430,000 deal to write his memoirs — a record for a British politician other than a former prime minister. … ‘Having read two of the chapters, one about what it was like serving in the Thatcher cabinet, the book is a good and revealing read,’ said one publisher who failed in the attempt to sign Clarke. ‘He has an eye for detail and a great memory. It is rather like [F] Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby — being at the big parties and observing what’s going on.’” – Sunday Times (£)

10 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 13th March 2016

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