Discuss.

A Conservative MP tweets that “there is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints”.

Newslinks

“Pathetic” not to mount judicial review over Worboys release declares Boles

“Tory former minister Nick Boles tonight tore into Theresa May’s ‘pathetic’ decision not to order a judicial review into the release of ‘vile creature’ John Worboys. He said the Prime Minister should have hired the best lawyer in the country and mounted the legal challenge to show victims the Government is ‘appalled and ashamed’ at the decision to let him go. He said the announcement that ministers are ducking the issue and refusing to take up the challenge was the ‘final straw’ in his long-rumbling anger at Mrs May’s lack of leadership.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday:

Macron says special EU trade deal for the UK

“French President Emmanuel Macron has suggested the UK could get a special trade deal with the EU after Brexit. But he warned that Britain would not have full access to the single market without accepting its rules. Speaking to Andrew Marr, he warned – as Brussels has already done – that the UK could not “cherry-pick” the elements it liked. A deal might fall somewhere between the single market and a trade agreement, he said. Mr Macron’s comments come after his first visit to the UK since becoming French president, where he held talks with Prime Minister Theresa May. In the interview, to be broadcast on Sunday, the leader said that the UK should not gain access to the single market without accepting its “preconditions”, which include freedom of movement across the EU, budget contributions and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.” – BBC

  • May refuses to say how she would vote in a second referendum – The Sun

Downing Street: “No specific plans” for Channel Bridge

“Downing Street has said there are “no specific plans” for a bridge between the UK and France after Boris Johnson floated the idea of a “fixed link”. The UK foreign secretary reportedly ran the idea past French President Emmanuel Macron at a summit on Thursday. But Downing Street said he had been referring to a panel looking at Anglo-French major projects. Experts said a bridge was technically possible but some critics ridiculed the concept.” – BBC

Britain might one day rejoin the EU suggests Lidington

“Britain could rejoin a reformed European Union within a generation, Theresa May’s de facto deputy prime minister has suggested, as he said it would be “something for future parliaments to consider”. David Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister who replaced Damian Green at Mrs May’s side in this month’s reshuffle, said it was impossible to predict what the EU will look like in “10 or 20 years’ time”. Mr Lidington, who campaigned for Remain during the EU Referendum, said he had not changed his views on Brexit but as a democrat it was his job to implement the will of the people.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “It’s dangerous to say never in politics but I just think that having taken a decision by a referendum I don’t see that changing,” – Interview with David Liddington, Daily Telegraph

“Tensions” between the Tories and the DUP over when the billion pounds of spending will take place

“Relations between the DUP and the Tories are under increasing strain amid uncertainty over when the £1 billion promised as part of the confidence and supply deal to keep the Conservatives in power will be delivered. Next week will mark the first anniversary of the collapse of the Northern Ireland assembly. This has caused difficulties on both sides of the Irish Sea, with civil servants reluctant to take key decisions or spend money. Northern Ireland’s cancer strategy is ten years old but cannot be revised without an executive at Stormont. Campaigners say the impasse is at least partially at fault for declining standards. This week the DUP publicly demanded that Westminster politicians take over the running of the province if Sinn Fein and the Unionists cannot agree to restart power-sharing.” – The Times

Green causes allow Gove comeback

“Conservative colleagues of Mr Gove are watching his renewed momentum with intrigue and trepidation. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has traditionally been regarded as a political graveyard, but even his critics admit he has transformed it into the “only place that seems to be innovating”. Since he took charge, Defra has pledged to cut down on plastic waste in the oceans, extend the 5p plastic bag tax and end “unjust” subsidies for rich landowners. Policies prepared by Andrea Leadsom, his predecessor, that had sat gathering dust have been splashed across the national newspapers.” – Financial Times

McVey agrees to higher rates of benefits for those with psychological distress

“Ministers have backed down in a row over paying higher disability benefits to 164,000 people by saying they will not contest a High Court decision. Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said she would not appeal December’s judgement over payments to people with mental health conditions. Ministers had sought to limit those suffering psychological distress from claiming higher rates of benefits. Campaigners said this was “crude and unfair” and welcomed the U-turn.” – BBC

  • Fresh campaign of intimidation planned – Daily Mail

>Today: Clark Vasey on Comment: McDonnell’s infamous remark about lynching McVey is as offensive now as when first made

Challenge to student union leader photographed with Rees-Mogg is abandoned

“A campaign to force out a student union leader for being pictured with the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has been withdrawn after its creator said he did not like the media attention. Frida Gustafsson, 22, president of the Sussex University Students’ Union, faced calls for a vote of no confidence over the photograph, which was taken on a visit to parliament where she was speaking about human rights. Arthur James Hutchinson, 19, started a petition to get her sacked from her £17,500-a-year role at the university. He said: “There are questions about Frida Gustafsson’s leadership in the SU. Fraternising with extremists who hold anti-choice, racist and homophobic ideologies is not something that Sussex should endorse.” Ms Gustafsson, from Sweden, said that she was disheartened by the move. “The Students’ Union is here to support and enable free and fair debate between students,” she said.” – The Times

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