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Ministers 1) Payroll free to vote against the Speaker

John Bercow“John Bercow’s future as Speaker of the House of Commons has been plunged further into doubt after it emerged that government ministers will be allowed to back a vote of no confidence in him. The campaign to remove Mr Bercow gathered pace yesterday after it emerged that he publicly revealed that he voted Remain in the EU referendum, despite strict rules of impartiality attached to the role of Speaker. It led Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative chancellor and a leading Brexit campaigner, to back calls for Mr Bercow’s resignation.” – The Times (£)

  • Government won’t protect Bercow as row over impartiality grows – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs have ‘decision to make’, says Lidington – The Scotsman
  • Speaker battles allegations he favoured Vaz – Daily Mail

Charles Moore: Grandstanding may yet save Bercow

“Since winning, he has buttressed this by giving favours to some Labour members, such as the dubious Keith Vaz.  Even now, his grandstanding may be the best way of clinging on to the Speaker’s chair. The Government, quite correctly, refuses to intervene in a Commons matter, and Mr Bercow must calculate that he has only to go on annoying Tories to retain enough backbench votes. He may survive the motion against him. Even if the vote were tied, he has so little sense of decorum that he would surely exercise his Speaker’s casting vote in favour of himself.” – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 2) Hammond faces ‘high street revolt’ over rate rise

tax“Britain’s high streets face losing some of their most popular pubs and restaurants because of big rises in business rates, Philip Hammond has been warned. Companies including the owners of Pizza Express, Greene King pubs, Wagamama, All Bar One and Slug & Lettuce have written to the chancellor to ask him to rethink a plan under which some outlets will be hit with a 42 per cent increase in their rates this year. There have been complaints from across the business world over the rates, which have also caused concern among Tory MPs worried about closures on high streets in their constituencies.” – The Times (£)

  • How mandarins lost £5.5 billion in failed schemes – Daily Mail
  • Ministers wrangle over state aid for nuclear power – FT

More ministers:

  • Johnson plans to use aid to fend off Putin – The Sun

Editorial:

  • Whitehall’s litany of ineptitude and waste – Daily Mail

Ministers 3) Truss outlines plans to shrink prison population

“Handing criminals with drug and alcohol problems tougher community punishments will lead to a reduction in the prison population, the Justice Secretary will say today. In a major speech aimed at setting the direction of the justice system, Liz Truss will say strengthening non-custodial sentences for low-level offenders will ultimately keep more people out of jail. But she will reject calls to impose shorter sentences in a bid to slash the 85,500 criminals behind bars – warning that sex attackers and violent offenders will still face years in prison.” – Daily Mail

  • Shorter jail terms ‘dangerous’, warns minister – FT
  • Truss attacks left-wing calls for quick cut in numbers – The Sun
  • Duty to rehabilitate to be enshrined in law – The Independent

More law:

  • Ministers put RSPCA on ‘probation’ over prosecutions policy – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • Our prisons shame us, and need root-and-branch reform – Ian Birrell, iNews

Editorial:

Peers warned against clash with Government over Brexit

Lords“Senior Conservatives have warned the Lords that it will face public outrage and abolition if it goes ahead with a plan to defeat Theresa May over Brexit. A coalition of Labour, Liberal Democrat and crossbench peers will amend the prime minister’s Brexit bill to make clear that EU citizens who were in Britain before the referendum will be allowed to stay in Britain. They are on course to defeat the government, which does not have a majority in the Lords. However, Lord Lamont of Lerwick, the former chancellor, was among Tories to say that peers would face “outrage in public opinion and outrage in the House of Commons” should they attempt to alter the bill.” – The Times (£)

  • Europhile lords ‘playing with fire’, warns Lamont – Daily Express
  • Leader of Labour peers vows not to delay Article 50 – The Independent

More Brexit:

  • Juncker fears UK could divide other member states during talks – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Lidington – Lords should not amend the Article 50 bill

Secrecy laws to be toughened in major overhaul

“Whistleblowers and journalists could face up to 14 years in prison for handling leaked official documents, under proposed legislation drawn up for the Government. The new law would threaten whistleblowers and reporters with the same punishment as those convicted of spying for foreign powers, and freedom of speech campaigners warned that it poses a threat to investigative journalism and open democracy. The proposals drawn up by the Law Commission form part of a major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act and would cover any official data that has implications for Britain’s national interest and international relations.” – Daily Mail

  • Government accused of ‘full-frontal attack’ on whistleblowers – The Guardian

Editorial:

Corbyn could step down before 2020, hints campaign chief

Jeremy Corbyn (Tory Poster)“A member of Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle has admitted that the Labour leader may step down before the next election. Ian Lavery, the new elections co-ordinator, said there were “plenty of leaders to pick from” should Mr Corbyn decide to quit before 2020, adding that he did not believe it was his plan at present. It emerged last week that Labour had been testing the popularity of potential leaders in focus groups. The party said this was a regular exercise to improve how it put its message across and was not an attempt to replace its leader.” – The Times (£)

  • Deputy says leader ‘must improve’ – FT
  • Critics organise locally to prevent left-wing successor – The Guardian

More Labour:

  • Chakrabarti praises disgraced lawyer behind ‘witch hunt’ of troops – The Times (£)

Matthew d’Ancona: The bell tolls for Corbyn, but where are Labour’s moderates?

“As reliably bad as the left is at winning general elections, it is extremely good at organisation, internal party strategy and building factions. Its adherents are the ones who show up at meetings and stay to the end, who stand for local party office and find their natural habitat in committees and caucuses. It is lazy to describe this as “infiltration”. Such behaviour reflects application, conviction and stamina. What should alarm all of those who believe in the desirability of an electable Labour party is how badly prepared, by comparison, are its leading moderates… There is no shortage of talent among the party’s centrists. But where is the coordination, the focus, the rage for victory?” – The Guardian

  • Don’t be complacent, the left could bounce back post-Corbyn – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • I’ll create a beacon of social justice in a re-industrialised Greater Manchester – Andy Burnham, The Times (£)

>Today: Steve O’Connell in Local Government: The Cost of Khan – the Mayor’s police numbers just don’t add up

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “Labour will win in Stoke, LibDems could come second.” File this prediction away for use on the night.

Trump visit may be £10-a-ticket tour to benefit ex-servicemen

TRUMP victory speech“Donald Trump could snub Parliament and stage a £10-a-ticket stadium rally in Birmingham or Wembley to help war veterans, it has been revealed. The US President is due to make a state visit to the UK later this year – but it is likely to face opposition from demonstrators. The Sunday Express said that there are plans underway to stage an event outside of central London – possibly in Birmingham or Wembley. Whitehall officials are considering a £10-a-ticket event – with donations going to the British Legion to help war vets.” – The Sun

  • President ‘won’t escape biggest protest in UK history’ – The Independent
  • US trade deal would hurt UK exporters, Plaid claim – Wales Online

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Rees-Mogg on Trump and Brexit

News in Brief:

  • Surgeons left idle for days by NHS beds crisis – Daily Mail
  • US pledges military build-up to counter North Korean threats – The Times (£)
  • Pyongyang ‘successfully’ fires ballistic missile – Daily Telegraph
  • Petrol giants accused of £1 billion diesel ‘rip-off scheme’ – The Sun
  • Riots in Paris escalate just weeks before polls open – FT
  • Fillon and his wife to be indicted for fraud this week – Daily Mail
  • Only a fifth of Scots would back a new currency after independence – The Scotsman
  • Ulster Unionists clash over leader’s decision to endorse nationalist SDLP – Belfast Telegraph

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