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Brexit 1) Exit-focused departments “demand funds” from Hammond

EU Exit brexitBrexit ministers have demanded Philip Hammond pays for hundreds of extra officials amid fury that departments have been forced to find cuts. Senior figures in the three Whitehall departments delivering Brexit have told this newspaper the Treasury must agree tens of millions of extra funding. Failure to do so would would undermine “Britain’s trading future” and a drive to forge new links across the world, ministers will argue in spending talks. Both the Foreign Office and the Trade Department have been ordered to outline 6 per cent spending cuts – though the Brexit Department is exempt. The growing row comes after a damaging week for the Chancellor as he was forced to scrap a key part of his first ever Budget.” – Sunday Telegraph

Brexit 2) Grieve and others call for UK to maintain position as signatory of ECHR

“Theresa May must pledge to keep Britain signed up to Europe’s human rights court as part of the next Conservative manifesto, senior Tories have demanded. Three former cabinet ministers are behind the call for the prime minister to promise to keep Britain signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights after Brexit and the next election. It comes amid concerns that Mrs May is keen to explore ways of ensuring that British courts are handed supreme power to adjudicate on human rights issues… Dominic Grieve, a former attorney-general, Maria Miller, a former culture secretary, and Caroline Spelman, a former environment secretary, backed a new campaign to keep Britain inside the convention.” – The Sunday Times (£)

>Yesterday: James Dobson in Comment: Leaving the EU – but not Europe – must include remaining a proud signatory of the ECHR

Brexit 3) Ministers told leaving “takes priority” over domestic legislation

“Ministers have been sent a memo telling them to avoid new “domestic” legislation as the Government prepares up to 15 Brexit bills. The department heads are to find non-legislative approaches to policy aims, such as using secondary legislation and statutory instruments, subject to less Parliamentary scrutiny. The Brexit bills which must be passed alongside a single “Great Repeal Bill” – to revoke the European Communities Act 1972 and incorporate EU law into domestic law – will dominate the Parliamentary agenda.” – Sunday Express

More Brexit

  • Brexit White Paper to address Communities Act and Henry VIII clauses – Sunday Telegraph
  • Davis is full of “blithe hope” – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary: The EU referendum’s winners and losers are still struggling to adapt to their role reversal

Parliamentary watchdog to consider restricting second jobs for MPs

OSBORNE George official“Parliament’s sleaze watchdog will consider banning MPs taking second jobs like George Osborne’s Evening Standard editorship next month, it can be revealed. MPs on the parliamentary Committee on Standards will demand the rules are tightened after a backlash over Mr Osborne’s new role. Tommy Sheppard, an SNP MP on the committee, told this newspaper he would push for two new rule changes to the code of conduct next month. The first would see MPs barred from taking jobs which stop them fully representing constituents; the second would say no second job can involve more than 20 hours work a week.” – Sunday Telegraph

Comment:

At SNP conference Sturgeon accuses May of “inflexibility”

“Nicola Sturgeon has launched a ferocious attack on Theresa May, accusing her of “condescension and inflexibility” and insisting there would definitely be a second referendum on independence however hard the prime minister tried to block it. In a sign of the test of wills to come, Scotland’s first minister said the Holyrood parliament would approve a referendum on Wednesday. She made clear that if May sought to obstruct it, it would “shatter beyond repair any notion of the UK as a respectful partnership of equals”. – Observer

  • She also says Prime Minister is “terrified of the will of the Scottish people” – The Sunday Times (£)
  • Sturgeon invites people from across UK to move to Scotland – The Sun on Sunday
  • And vows there will be a referendum come what May does – Scottish Herald 
  • Brown says she’s “heading for extreme independence” – Sunday Telegraph
  • Plaid MP says Welsh are “increasingly open” to leaving UK – WalesOnline

Editorial:

Comment:

  • Why can’t Government “think radically” about Sturgeon? – Simon Heffer, Sunday Telegraph
  • May has enabled all this – Kevin McKenna, Observer
  • “Hardliners” will sacrifice Union over Brexit – Jonathan Freedland, Observer
  • Why there won’t be a repeat referendum while May is in power – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • Sturgeon is in a mess – Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times (£)

Senior Conservatives “talk of snap general election”

MCLOUGHLIN Patrick“Conservative Party Chairman Patrick McLoughlin, Chief Whip Gavin Williamson and the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary George Hollingbery have talked about a May 4 ballot, in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for a second referendum on Scottish independence. Although Mrs May has so far resisted the idea of shoring up her mandate and increasing her narrow Commons majority, the Tory election fraud probe could convince her to call an early poll. In text conversations with the senior Tories, a source stated a May 4 poll could help the Prime Minister “kill at least two birds with one stone”.” – Sunday Express

Editorial:

Patel to “pledge commitment” to UK humanitarian role

“Priti Patel, the international development secretary, will make her most robust defence of Britain’s aid spending on Monday when she announces an “intensifying” of efforts to tackle poverty and disease abroad. In a speech that will be cautiously welcomed by those who feared her appointment last year risked a dismantling of the department and its work in the developing world, Patel will pledge her commitment to the UK’s humanitarian role. She will also call on leading aid charities to become more vocal at a “momentous” time, with the possibility of four major famines. “I’ve been in this job for nearly nine months now and it’s never been clearer to me that at times of crisis the world looks to Britain … not just for our support but for our leadership,” she will say.” – Observer

Fallon speaks of “commitment to Nato” as UK sends biggest deployment to Eastern Europe since Cold War

Michael Fallon 02-07-15“We are aware of the risks,” [the soldier] said as the first wave of 60 soldiers filed on to a military transport aircraft at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Another 60 were picked up in Germany before landing at Estonia’s Amari air base last night. They are part of a 4,000-strong Nato force deploying over the next weeks in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The mission has no end amid concerns in the region about President Putin. “This is the start of what is going to be a long commitment now to ensure Nato is standing up against Russian aggression,” Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, said. The British contingent, bolstered by a French armoured infantry company, will be located at an Estonian base in Tapa, about 100 miles from Russia.” – The Sunday Times (£)

Nicky Morgan, Nick Clegg, Lucy Powell: Grammar schools are not the answer

“Politics is often defined by what people disagree on. However, some issues are above party politics and it’s time that tackling social mobility became one of them. As politicians from three different parties, we sparred across the despatch box but now we’re coming together to build a cross-party consensus, focused on looking at the evidence of what works, to tackle inequality in education and boost social mobility. Successive governments have made progress in boosting attainment and tackling poor performance across the schools system, but with the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers stubbornly persistent it is clear more needs to be done.” – Observer

The Prime Minister’s “most revealing interview yet”

Theresa May“Today, the famously private Prime Minister gives us a rare glimpse of what really goes on behind the doors of Number 10. And although she reveals that Philip, 59, is in charge of rubbish removal, she does more than her fair share in the kitchen. Away from high-level Brexit talks and the bear pit of PMQs, Mrs May, 60, tells how, despite her intense 75-hour working weeks, she still prepares the meals — just like Margaret Thatcher did. In her most revealing interview ever, Mrs May says: “I do the cooking, because I enjoy cooking, and Philip puts the bins out.” – The Sun on Sunday

More May and Tories

Comment:

  • May “dropped the ball” this week – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday
  • Number 10’s “haphazard response” is worrying – Grant Shapps, Mail on Sunday

Corbynites “plot” with Unite to “take over Labour”

“A hard-left plot by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to seize permanent control of the Labour party and consolidate their power by formally joining forces with the super-union Unite can be revealed by the Observer. The plans, described on Saturday by Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson as “entryism” and a covert attempt by a leftwing faction to take over the party, were spelled out in detail by Jon Lansman, the founder of the grassroots organisation Momentum, who was secretly recorded addressing supporters at a meeting of a new branch of the organisation in Richmond, south London, on 1 March.” – Observer

News in Brief

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