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May to meet Trump

US flag“Theresa May will fly to the US to meet Donald Trump ‘in the spring’, it has emerged. The Prime Minister will make the trip to Washington to hold talks with the new president within his first few months in office, according to a source. The groundwork for the meeting was laid last month when Mrs May sent her joint chiefs of staff on a secret mission to New York and Washington.Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy are said to have met senior aides to the Republican leader during the fence-mending mission. The visit might may have proved awkward as both publicly criticised Mr Trump on Twitter before entering Number 10.” – Daily Mail

  • Kerry blames Britain for derailing America’s Syria plan – The Guardian
  • Downing Street’s fury as Economist cover says May is ‘indecisive’ – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Javid grasps the need to right Britain’s housing injustice. Which is why May should back him.

Lords will not sabotage Brexit, Lord Speaker assures the Prime Minister

“The House of Lords will not “sabotage” Brexit, the Speaker of the House of Lords says today, as he urges Theresa May not to create peers to ensure Parliament approves the triggering of Article 50. The Supreme Court is expected to rule later this month that Parliament should be given a veto over the Prime Minister’s decision to take Britain out of the European Union. This has prompted speculation that peers in the Lords – where the Conservatives do not have a majority – will seek to frustrate the process of leaving which involves triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Davis’ most senior official tried to bloc new ambassador to Brussels – Daily Telegraph
  • Powell accuses Rogers of ‘flouncing’ from EU post… – The Times (£)
  • …whilst Villiers says he was ’emotionally needy’ – The Independent
  • Senior civil servants demand Brexit workload pay rise – The Guardian

More Brexit:

  • Prime Minister urged to put agriculture at the heart of her Brexit plan – The Sun
  • Cameron could have got a better deal, claims his own EU adviser – Daily Telegraph
  • Predecessor’s failure looms over May’s Brexit task – FT
  • UK heading for hard Brexit – The Sun
  • Entrepreneurs urge May to avoid ‘collapse’ in migration – FT
  • Patten hits out at EU’s chief Brexit negotiator – Daily Express

Opposition:

  • Give us details or risk our support, Tory moderates tell May – The Guardian
  • Cable rips up Lib Dem thinking to say mass immigration has been a disaster – The Sun

Fraser Nelson: May must make Brexit work for Remainers too

EU BrexitHer credentials are such that she can now sound more conciliatory and the opportunity to do so will come in her speech about Europe later this month. The idea of a Brexit that works for Remainers is not so preposterous, if you consider the arguments that animated the campaign and the overlap between them. No one was very enthusiastic about the EU itself, which is why Remainers struggled to make a positive case for staying in.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brexit needs an impartial civil service – Bernard Jenkin, FT
  • For May, immigration matters more than the economy – Martin Kettle, The Guardian

>Today:

>Yesterday:

MPs 1) Mitchell condemns move to reveal ‘Trojan Horse’ whistleblowers

“A senior MP has condemned a move to reveal the identities of key witnesses in the ‘Trojan Horse’ schools scandal as ‘horrifying’ and ‘unacceptable’. Andrew Mitchell, the Tory MP for Sutton Coldfield, said two of his constituents are at risk of being exposed and has written to Justine Greening to urge an intervention. The two whistle-blowers were assured they could remain anonymous when they gave evidence of an alleged takeover of state schools by Islamic hardliners. They have already received online harassment and fear reprisals from the community, Mr Mitchell said.” – Daily Mail

  • Sort out Trojan Horse ‘shambles’, Greening told – The Times (£)

Comment:

  • Ministers must honour the anonymity of whistle blowers – Greg Hurst, The Times (£)

MPs 2) Committee chairs demand solution to care crisis

Aid shield“Theresa May must urgently strike a cross-party deal to tackle the social care crisis or risk condemning millions of pensioners to a miserable future, senior MPs say today. A joint letter from the chairmen of three Commons select committees urges her to put party politics aside for the sake of the nation. Amid an unprecedented crisis in funding, they say a political consensus is needed to address the ‘pressing social care challenges facing the country’.” – Daily Mail

  • May to improve mental health support for children – The Times (£)

Michael Gove: Don’t clap our crusading press in irons

“Any newspaper prepared to take on the powerful would know that those it investigated could bankrupt it. So instead of muscular public interest reporting, instead of exposure of drug cheats, sex abuse rings and tax avoiders, newspapers would become tethered and anaemic, sustained only by recycled official briefings and thin celebrity puff pieces – half Hansard and half Hello! The truth is that if we want a vigorous press then we have to expect that some of what gets written will be uncomfortable. Even offensive. After all, free speech isn’t really free unless someone is told something they don’t want to hear.” – The Times (£)

  • Press regulator accused of bias against newspapers – The Times (£)

Scottish Conservatives call for cannabis crackdown

Scottish Conservatives“Scottish Conservatives have called for a crack down on cannabis after official figures revealed hospital admissions related to the drug have reached a 10-year high. The analysis, carried out by the party, claims that 834 – or 14 per cent – of the 5,922 admitted to hospital after drug use in 2015-16 in Scotland had taken cannabis. It is just below a high of 15 per cent a decade earlier. Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative’s shadow justice secretary, said the figures demonstrated that cannabis is “not the harmless substance some would have us believe”.” – The Independent

Union told that driverless trains are safe

“Train drivers were urged to suspend Britain’s most damaging rail strike yesterday after inspectors concluded that a new system of operating carriage doors was safe. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said that transferring responsibility for doors from conductors to drivers, which is at the centre of the dispute, was a “safe method of working”. An inspection of the technology operated by Southern Rail led to recommendations to improve the system further, including better lighting on platforms, extra staff at the most overcrowded stations and better CCTV cameras to enable drivers to check all doors.” – The Times (£)

  • Furious passengers lose pay and cancel hospital visits – The Times (£)
  • Power station workers planning blackout – The Sun

Comment:

  • Ban strikes on public services now – Joe Haines, Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Bank of England’s chief economist says profession is ‘in crisis’ over post-Brexit predictions – Daily Mail
  • Navy battling to save £500m after bungled ship deal – The Times (£)
  • Blair ‘closes down commercial empire’ to fund new institute – Daily Telegraph
  • US intelligence chiefs reject Trump’s doubts over hacking – FT

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