“Get tougher on Europe, or UKIP will thrive,” Tory MPs warn Cameron

Farage Nigel Eating Cakes“The prime minister was struggling to contain a growing Eurosceptic tide last night as he faced calls from Conservative MPs and the public to take a tougher line with Brussels to counter the UKIP threat. … Senior Tory backbenchers disclosed that they would visit Downing Street after the vote on May 22 to demand that Cameron outline much more extensive plans for the repatriation of powers from Brussels. … Tory jitters will be stoked by today’s YouGov poll for The Sunday Times on the EU elections, which puts UKIP in the lead for the first time, with the Conservatives trailing a distant third.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “UKIP launched an investigation into another of its aspiring politicians last night after apparently homophobic and racist comments came to light. … Robert Bilcliff, who is standing to be a councillor in Tamworth, Staffordshire, next month, is the latest candidate  to cause embarrassment to UKIP leader Nigel Farage.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “The millionaire businessman who is bankrolling UKIP’s controversial poster campaign targeting immigration is the owner of a luxury apartment complex that employs Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese workers.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Rattled Ukip was branded the ‘BNP in blazers’ yesterday as The Sun on Sunday revealed its new posters copy those of the right-wing racist party.” – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “A post about ‘killing or enslaving’ black people is among a growing list of Wikipedia edits traced to Government offices.” – Independent on Sunday

And comment:

  • “The old adage that all publicity is good publicity could have been designed for UKIP.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “…we need to be able to discuss immigration without sinking into racism and extremism.” – Sun on Sunday editorial (£)
  • “Hurling insults at Ukip is not the solution” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Nigel Farage is a phoney. Scrutinise him and he’ll crumble” – Nick Cohen, The Observer
  • “Clown prince Nigel to blame for Ukip falling on its face” – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday (£)

But, so far as his future’s concerned, the Prime Minister can rest (fairly) easy for now

“‘Cameron is seated on a stool with four legs,’ said this ally of Adam Afriyie, the backbencher who was accused last year of plotting against the prime minister. … ‘He needs to keep the party above 30% in the polls. He needs to lead Ed Miliband on the question of who would make the best prime minister. He needs us to stay ahead on the economy and he needs to personally poll better than the party.’ … Cameron is currently passing each of the four tests.” – Tim Shipman, Sunday Times (£)

Another warning for Cameron: web giants are undermining national security…

Google“David Cameron has been warned by the country’s top spy chiefs that internet companies including Facebook and Google are undermining national security. … The Prime Minister was told internet giants have ‘withdrawn’ their cooperation and are obstructing MI5 requests for help tracking terrorists and major criminals, including paedophiles. … It follows fugitive Edward Snowden’s claims that the firms are used to snoop on British citizens, which is disputed by spy chiefs.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Paedophiles will be handed the same treatment as terrorists under a crackdown on child abuse to be included in the Queen’s speech. … David Cameron said he wanted to close a loophole that allows sexual predators to produce and possess ‘manuals’ giving tips on how to identify victims, groom them, and evade capture.” – The Observer

…as he acts against betting terminals…

“The Westminster government is to announce a crackdown on high-speed, high-stakes gambling machines this week, and support a cut in the maximum bet. … Such is the rising concern over the spread of fixed-odds betting terminals that the prime minister personally intervened to ensure that stakes and prizes would be considered as part of a policy review into the machines.” – The Observer

…and prepares to veto straight civil partnerships

Coalition Colours“David Cameron is to veto proposals to give heterosexual couples the same right as gays to enter into civil partnerships, provoking a coalition split with the Liberal Democrats. … Cameron believes that allowing civil partnerships for heterosexuals would undermine the sanctity of marriage and alienate many traditional Tory voters.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was last night facing mounting pressure to crack down on clergy who marry their gay partners – as the threat of a split in the Anglican Church grew. … A powerful group of conservative African Archbishops said they were ‘deeply troubled’ by liberal Western attitudes towards homosexuality and that Church of England clerics were flouting a ban on same-sex weddings.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “Britain is now a ‘post-Christian’ country, the former archbishop of Canterbury has declared, as research suggests that the majority of Anglicans and Roman Catholics now feel afraid to express their beliefs.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Wise words from Rowan Williamson on Christianity in Britain” – Sunday Telegraph editorial
  • “Even so, professing Anglicanism should helpfully shore up the Conservatives’ core vote — under threat from UKIP and rattled by the introduction of same-sex marriage.” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “A Christian nation, Dave? Only when we are trying to get a place in a faith school” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

Boris 1) Johnson slaps down the Tories talking about each other – is Gove amongst them?

BORIS angel devil“In an interview with Paul Waugh and Sam Macrory of Total Politics magazine, Mr Johnson declared: ‘I’m at one with the vast majority of the population that wants to hear a lot less about what other Conservatives have got to say about each other and much more about what we’re going to do to win the Election.’ … He implied that senior party figures speculating on each other’s abilities only detracted from the ‘mission’ of getting Mr Cameron re-elected. And of his own ambitions, he said: ‘People want to hear a lot less about my career and anybody else’s career, and they want to hear a lot about how we are going to stop Ed Miliband, who would be a disaster.’” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Supporters of Michael Gove are scathing about Theresa May, suggesting the Home Office is failing to ‘nip extremism in the bud’. … But allies of May point out the ‘Department for Education failed to notice alleged extremists running state schools on their watch.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Boris 2) Tory MPs urge him to make up his mind

“Senior Tories have warned that Boris Johnson’s dithering over whether to seek to become an MP in 2015 could dent his political credibility. … A significant number of Johnson’s colleagues are publicly and privately expressing irritation that the London mayor has refused to quell speculation that he is intent on standing in the next general election. Many also believe the issue has become a distraction before the European and local elections.” – The Observer

  • “Boris Johnson will pledge not to take a cabinet post while he remains mayor of London when he announces his return to Westminster.” – Sunday Times (£)

Boris 3) Matthew d’Ancona says he must act fast

“There is a moment when teaser trailers become irritating. Breath does not stay bated forever. Eventually, all mischievous guessing-games end up looking like paralysis. … As Michael Oakeshott observed in his recently published notebooks, the ambitious ‘live in the illusion that they control their destiny’. But an illusion it most certainly is. In the political game, there are only strong probabilities, and one such is that if Boris does not stand as an MP in 2015, he will live to regret it. Come on, Mr Mayor: time to get on with it.” – Matthew d’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph

Could 30 Tory backbenchers vote against HS2 tomorrow?

high-speed rail“David Cameron is facing a growing Commons rebellion against the £50bn HS2 high-speed rail line, with dozens of Tory MPs preparing to defy their whips over the project’s cost and damage to the countryside. … Rebel leaders, who include at least two former cabinet ministers, believe that a minimum of 30 backbenchers will vote against the line after a crucial Commons debate tomorrow.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Conservative ministers are being urged to resign from the government in order to vote against the High Speed 2 rail project this week, as local party activists grow increasingly angry that the scheme will blight their areas.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Opposition to the controversial High Speed 2 (HS2) railway appeared to be weakening last night as Labour prepared to offer its full support to the Government in a crucial Commons vote tomorrow and a leading environmental group set out plans to create a ‘green corridor’ along the route.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Leaked documents reveal a crisis in the £15bn Crossrail project, Europe’s largest construction site, with industrial relations close to collapse and workers too scared to report injuries for fear of being sacked.” – The Observer

And comment:

  • “It’s about the economy, stupid. Except economists, business organisations and local authorities are  very far from unanimity on the claimed benefits. … Wait, wait, isn’t it all about capacity? Well, no, not that either, because the lines with the worst overcrowding won’t be helped by HS2. Those commuters and customers are going to be the ones doing the waiting, waiting. … In short, we are all being asked to hold our noses, trust to luck and take a leap of faith.” – Cheryl Gillan, Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – HS2 and Ministers: when whips pull one way and constituents the other

Grayling vows to protect the victims of crime

GRAYLING collarless“Victims of crime are to be given greater protection from lawyers who humiliate them in court. Tough new rules are being drawn up to end hostile questioning by defence barristers. … Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has vowed to put the welfare of victims at the heart of the system. He told The Sun on Sunday: ‘We’re taking a whole range of new steps to change things.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “Hundreds of lawyers, accountants and other professionals who help organised crime lords will face five years in jail under new laws to be unveiled by the coalition.” – Sunday Times (£)

Javid under fire over tax avoidance

“Mr Javid, 45, was promoted to Culture Secretary earlier this month from his berth as a Treasury Minister, where he was highly critical of City tax-avoidance schemes. … But an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has established that when he was a high-flying executive at Deutsche Bank, Mr Javid was among a group of senior staff who were paid bonuses worth at least £50,000 each through shares in a Cayman Islands company – to lower the company’s total tax bill.” – Mail on Sunday

£200,000 – the Plebgate policeman’s demand for damages

“The Downing Street Plebgate row took a sensational turn last night after a police constable said the former Tory Minister he claims called him a ‘f****** pleb’ must pay him up to £200,000 damages, and be gagged from speaking out. … PC Toby Rowland, who claims he was abused by former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell when he refused to let him cycle through the Downing Street gates, has tabled his astonishing demands in court documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday.” – Mail on Sunday

£200,000 – the amount a Police Commissioner spent on her new office

“A scandal-hit crime tsar has been accused of wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on a new office and boosting her image while police officers are losing their jobs. … Ann Barnes, notorious for employing a foul-mouthed teenager as her youth adviser, has spent almost £200,000 on moving her office less than two miles, and only revealed the costs after an investigation by The Mail on Sunday.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Far too many of the worrying matters which The Mail on Sunday recounts today concern people who seem to have lost all touch with reality. Did we ask or vote for any of this? Were we even warned of it?” – Mail on Sunday editorial

Clegg: I want to be Deputy Prime Minister for 10 years

Curse of Clegg 2“Nick Clegg has said he wants to be deputy prime minister for 10 years and is prepared to force a second general election next year to achieve his aim. … The Liberal Democrat leader said he wanted to stay in government for the rest of the decade and would not support a Labour or Conservative minority government. In an interview in The Sunday Times Magazine, Clegg said that, in the event of a hung parliament, he would insist on a full coalition with ministerial posts for his party.” – Sunday Times (£)

Cable lauds Britain’s trade potential

“Booming Britain is exporting naan bread to India and pizza cheese to Italy as we sell other countries their own traditional products. … In sales successes akin to flogging ice to Eskimos, a Sun on Sunday investigation found British firms are also pedalling Chinese sauces to China, flowers to Holland and even Indian spices back to India. … Business Secretary Vince Cable added: “There really is no limit to what UK companies can export.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Meanwhile, Cable’s department faces further questions about the Royal Mail sell-off

“The Government has made no attempt to contact the handful of big City investors given preferential treatment during the Royal Mail flotation fiasco, despite many of them breaking an apparent gentlemen’s agreement not to sell their shares. Some have gone on to sell millions of pounds worth of shares, even after the process was criticised in a National Audit Office report earlier this month.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “History will be made this week when Jenny Willott, the Business minister, becomes the first Liberal Democrat woman to sit at the cabinet table.” – Independent on Sunday

Miliband to call for spending restraint from Europe

MILIBAND Red Ed“Labour will demand massive EU spending cuts this week. … Ed Miliband wants every penny spent by Brussels justified as his price for refusing voters an in-out referendum. … The move aims to cement the Labour leader’s position ahead of next month’s Euro elections. … Shadow Europe minister Gareth Thomas will make it clear his party wants to remain part of a reformed EU.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “MEPs leaving Brussels after next month’s election will receive a payoff of up to £157,000, in addition to other perks, as part of a ‘golden goodbye’.” – The Observer
  • “I didn’t get any favours.” – James Cracknell, standing as a Tory MEP, is interviewed in the Independent on Sunday

James Forsyth: If Miliband can save the Union he might even save himself

“When I asked if the Scots voting for independence would be the worst  political event of his lifetime, he replied simply: ‘Yes.’ … Scotland is key to Miliband’s chances of making it to Downing Street in 2015.  … If Labour holds its 41 Scottish seats that could be the difference between him becoming Prime Minister or not. But before then, Miliband has something more important to attend to than party politics – keeping this country a United Kingdom.” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

  • “Downing Street last night refused to comment on mounting speculation that David Cameron would be forced to resign if Scotland votes for independence in September.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “British business lobby the CBI has petitioned the Electoral Commission to cancel its registration as an official supporter of the no campaign in the Scottish independence referendum. … The sudden switch in policy came after more than a dozen organisations resigned from the CBI to protect their neutrality in the independence debate.” – The Observer
  • “Now, with their eyes firmly on events in Edinburgh, campaigners in the northernmost counties of England are looking towards devolution.” – Independent on Sunday

> Today: ToryDiary – Should Cameron resign if Scotland votes Yes? > Yesterday: Lee Rotherham on Comment – My guide to being English in the midst of Scotland’s debate

Toby Helm: Will Labour be cautious or bold?

“A battle royal is about to break out in the Labour party. … Far-reaching policy proposals on everything from universal free childcare, to the future of the rail system, to devolution, housebuilding and the long-term financing of the NHS and social care have been thrown into the mix. But how the bigger ideas are eventually presented and then how many, if any, become policy depends on who wins the key strategic argument now building up at the heart of the whole process.” – Toby Helm, The Observer Helm also presents “five key policies on which Labour must take a stand”

What happened when Brighton turned Green

“A rising tide of splits, stunts, U-turns, gaffes and divisive industrial disputes has alienated voters and angered businesses here in a city better known for its bohemian tolerance, while outlandish proposals for a ban on bacon butties and plans to use sheep for traffic calming have earned only derision. … The serious side of politics has suffered, too – a demonstration  of the dangers that await when protest parties win power. A doomed attempt to impose the biggest council tax rise in the country ended with humiliating warnings that Whitehall could be forced to take over the Town Hall.” – Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday

  • “The Energy and Climate Change Secretary is trying to hoodwink us over the value of wind farms” – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Onshore wind power is cheaper and fairer than the alternatives. It is vote-chasing of the worst kind to abandon it now” – Bruce Davis, Independent on Sunday

One-in-five hospitals fail to meet care standards

NHS“One in five hospitals failed inspections as a result of poor care last year, leaving patients to endure a catalogue of neglect, new figures have revealed. … Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) watchdog found that 45 hospitals were not meeting acceptable standards of safe care, following 215 inspections in the year to March — a failure rate of nearly 21%. In the same
period, 32 hospitals, about one in six of those inspected, did not have an adequate number of staff.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Sir Chris Woodhead, the former chief inspector of schools who has motor neurone disease, says he may have to travel to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life because he doubts British politicians will have ‘the courage’ to change the law on assisted suicide before the next election.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “One in four cancer cases is diagnosed in an accident and emergency department after being ignored by patients or missed by GPs” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “A group of more than 70 GPs has written to The Telegraph to criticise suggestions from a minister that doctors should respond better to the needs of patients with more than one medical complaint.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “The NHS is recruiting 50 doctors directly from India in a bid to fill desperate staffing gaps in Britain’s A&E departments.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “The NHS could be ‘carved open’ for profiteering US private healthcare companies by the end of this year Labour has warned, as concerns grow over the implications of a landmark trade treaty between the US and the EU that critics say would give US healthcare giants, ‘irreversible’ powers to bid for any NHS contract.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “One of Britain’s top doctors has warned that children’s health is being damaged because academies and free schools are allowed to opt out of serving healthy lunches to their pupils.” – The Observer
  • “Children are boozing so much some need a new liver by 17, a surgeon has warned. … He has now called on the legal drinking age to be raised to 21.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And comment:

  • “Help us, doctor. We’re frightened of being ill in Cover-up General” – Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times (£)

Birmingham governor writes blueprint for “Islamisation” of state schools

“The alleged ringleader of the Trojan Horse plot wrote a detailed blueprint for the radical ‘Islamisation’ of secular state schools which closely resembles what appears to be happening in Birmingham. … Tahir Alam, chairman of governors at Park View school in the city, called for ‘girls [to] be covered except for their hands and faces’, advocated gender segregation in some school activities, and attacked a ‘multicultural approach’ to collective worship.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • “Grammar school girls earn a fifth more and go on to have fewer children than their comprehensive educated counterparts, new research shows.” – Sunday Telegraph

Another scrap over press regulation

Newspaper mastheads“A fierce row has broken out over the future of press regulation ahead of the appointment of a new board for the successor body to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). … Victims of press abuse are warning of a stitch-up in the appointments process – claims rejected by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), the body proposed to replace the now-discredited PCC.” – The Observer

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Javid has signalled a ceasefire in the battle for press regulation – has Cameron?

Calls for an inquiry into sacked quango boss

“A vineyard owner cheated out of £100,000 by the Tory crony put in charge of billions of pounds of public money has denounced the bankrupt businessman as a ‘devious b******’. … Bill Hulme, who owns the Fleur Fields vineyard in Northamptonshire, backed calls for an inquiry into disgraced ex-Tory chief Tony Caplin, who was put in charge of Public Works Loan Board by David Cameron.” – Mail on Sunday

Five British troops die in Afghan helicopter crash

“Five British troops, including personnel from Prince Harry’s former Army unit, have been killed in the UK’s worst helicopter crash in Afghanistan. … The tragedy happened when the Lynx helicopter, believed to be on a reconnaissance mission, came down in a mountainous Taliban stronghold close to the Pakistan border. … Soon after the crash at 11am local time, Taliban insurgents claimed they had shot the helicopter down with a rocket.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A high-flying Ministry of Defence mandarin has quit his £200,000 post during an inquiry into whether he had an inappropriate relationship with his chief of staff.” – Mail on Sunday

News in brief

And finally 1) He wore only underpants and a dog’s collar around his neck

Dog's collar“But the 36-year-old blonde has exclusively revealed to The Mail on Sunday that two Labour MPs were among the guests at one of her parties, which was raided by the Metropolitan Police and officials from Westminster Council. … Miss Sayle describes the MPs in question as ‘polite, nice guys’. One came as the guest of his wife, who was already a member of the club. The other, who wore only underpants and a dog’s collar around his neck, came with two female friends.” – Mail on Sunday

And finally 2) Rachel Johnson, Miriam Gonzalez-Durantez and the case of two Nicks

“When I was apprised of the confusion I had inadvertently caused, I did my best to help the course of true love to run smooth again. So I crawled on my belly and called her at her office in the Commission. I explained about ‘good Nick’ and ‘bad Nick’ and how I had failed to make the distinction between the two Nicks clear enough in my column and how sorry I was. … I still remember the sticky conversation and her icy tone, even though it all of course came out in the wash and the rest is history.” – Rachel Johnson, Mail on Sunday