Barroso: ‘Difficult if not impossible’ for independent Scotland to join the EU

Scottish flag‘Scotland’s independence campaign was dealt a blow when José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president, said it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the EU. His comments marked a dramatic toughening of the commission’s language on EU membership for an independent Scotland.’ – FT

  • A rare bit of common sense from Brussels – The Sun Says (£)
  • You can be better off out, but Yes campaigners pretend there are only upsides – The Times Leader (£)
  • Barroso rules out letting the UK control its own borders – The Sun (£)
  • Carney attacks uncertainty of in/out EU referendum – The Times (£)
  • Orthodox jewish UKIP candidate won’t shake hands with women – The Times (£)
  • UKIP think they can’t win over any more Tories – Daily Telegraph



Public concern over immigration stays high

‘Seven out of ten voters want immigration reduced or stopped completely, according to a poll released last night. The YouGov survey found strong public concern about immigration, with people saying only the economy will be more important in the 2015 general election. The poll also revealed six out of ten people believe it is essential that migrants should be able to speak English, while 67 per cent think British people should be given priority for jobs.’ – Daily Mail

Clegg cuddles up to Labour

Libdem bird vs TORY‘Nick Clegg made his most explicit overture to Labour so far by saying that the party was starting to recognise “reality” after changing in recent months. Aides to the Liberal Democrat leader said that he was responding to a more favourable attitude by members of Ed Miliband’s team, in contrast with accusations of betrayal during the first couple of years of the coalition.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Zac Goldsmith MP on Comment: Clegg’s Recall Bill was a stitch-up – Cameron must keep his promise to introduce the real thing

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Why local Tories should be able to deselect MPs

Greening orders other departments to stop sending cash to well-off countries

‘Ministers have been ordered to stop squandering British aid on wasteful projects, including climate change schemes in wealthy countries, the Telegraph has learnt. Justine Greening, the development secretary, fears Whitehall departments, in particular the Department for Energy and Climate Change, could undermine public support for overseas aid by funding poorly-run projects in middle-income countries that do not need help from British taxpayers.’ – Daily Telegraph

Can Cameron win over ethnic minority voters?

CAMERON byline photo‘Look to 2015: there are 50 Tory seats where Labour is second and the BME vote is larger than the Conservative majority. In nearly half of the party’s 40 target seats, the BME vote is larger than the majority they are trying to overcome. Priti Patel, MP for Witham, who was last year appointed as the prime minister’s Indian diaspora champion, thinks inroads are being made. “The prime minister is committed to deepening our relationships . . . Other parties have engaged in the past and we haven’t been there. It is beginning to change. It will take time.” But with Britain’s demographics rapidly shifting, time is not on Mr Cameron’s side.’ – FT

Floods: Miliband tries to make green capital from disaster

‘Ed Miliband and Philip Hammond were criticised yesterday for saying the floods had proved that climate change was a threat to our national security. The Labour leader said the country was ‘sleepwalking into a national security crisis’ because too many politicians failed to accept that climate change was causing the recent extreme weather. He added that global warming had the potential to destroy the homes, livelihoods and businesses of millions of people.’ – Daily Mail


>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Ed Miliband picks a fight on climate change

Business fears Red (Tape) Ed

MILIBAND Red Ed‘Business leaders are alarmed at Labour’s hostility towards the advertising industry, according to Sir Martin Sorrell. The chief executive of WPP, the global advertising giant, spoke out after a shadow minister linked the attitudes of looters in the London riots of 2011 to “the curse of branding”. Helen Goodman, the Shadow Culture Minister, addressing an Advertising Association summit, went so far as to threaten the industry with legislation.’ – The Times (£)

  • Shadow cabinet urge him to hug a banker – The Sun (£)
  • Labour don’t seem to realise what drives growth – The Times Leader (£)

I can’t control house prices, says Carney

‘Bank Governor Mark Carney yesterday said he was ‘very conscious’ of Britain’s ‘history of boom and subsequent bust in the housing market’ but that he could only ‘watch’ as values soar – especially in London. He said the capital’s prime housing market was largely dominated by overseas buyers paying cash – who are therefore not affected by UK interest rates. Mr Carney said rates would be raised from their historic lows of 0.5 per cent ‘only when we see sustainable growth in jobs, in incomes and in spending’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Thousands more Bob Crows: wealthy tenants can’t be kicked out of council homes – Daily Mail 

Maria Miller under attack over second home expenses

‘David Cameron faces a battle to hang on to one of his few female ministers – because an official mauling over expenses could make her position untenable. Culture Secretary Maria Miller claimed £90,000 in taxpayer-funded allowances for a home where her parents also lived. A long-awaited report into her conduct is due within weeks – and is understood to find that for at least part of the time she should not have claimed for the property. One Tory MP suggested that any criticism could make Mrs Miller’s Cabinet position ‘untenable’.’ – Daily Mail

Minimum wage rise would cost 14,000 jobs

FULL employment‘George Osborne raised hopes the national minimum wage could be restored to its pre-recession value of £7 per hour before the election, despite the Treasury’s own analysis that such a rise would cost an estimated 14,000 jobs, the FT has learnt. The chancellor said last month that the economy was strong enough to sustain a big increase in the minimum wage in a political intervention timed to overshadow a speech by the Labour leader Ed Miliband.’ – FT

Dominic Lawson: The inconsistency of Archbishop Vincent Nichols

‘Nichols is entitled to his opinion — even if he doesn’t see that this widespread public view is exactly the same sentiment that he himself expressed on behalf of his parishioners when he thought my wife was asking them to give to the families of children with learning disabilities: times are hard for many of us and our natural generosity is not limitless. There is a further irony: the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, is himself a practising Catholic whose motive for welfare reforms is not to save the well-off from paying more tax but to break the iniquitous cycle of dependency that condemns families across generations to lives without possibility for self-improvement — something you would think the Churches would support.’ – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail


NHS drugs plan would ‘write off’ the elderly

NHS_Logo‘The elderly would be denied new drugs under “hard-nosed” plans by ministers that prioritise patients who contribute to the economy, the NHS treatments adviser has warned. In a blunt rebuke to the Government, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has rejected plans to take “wider societal benefit” into account when considering whether to pay for a drug.’ – The Times (£)

MoD refuses to make pregnancy tests compulsory on deployment

‘More than 200 servicewomen have been sent home from war zones after discovering they were pregnant. An astonishing 99 were evacuated from Afghanistan and 102 from Iraq under rules that ban mothers-to-be from serving on the front line…Incredibly, female soldiers are not forced to take a pregnancy test before deploying because top brass believe it would be an invasion of privacy.’ – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Calls to release ‘Plebgate’ footage – The Times (£)
  • Simon Cowell becomes a father – The Sun (£)
  • Train firms fail half of passengers – Daily Mail
  • Prince William wants all Royal ivory destroyed – The Times (£)
  • Simon Heffer visits the Falklands as the islands gear up for an oil boom – Daily Mail

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