Osborne asks the MoD to make £1 billion of further cuts

DEFENCE cuts‘George Osborne is seeking to cut the budgets of most government departments this year by an extra 5 per cent in a move that raises the chances of Britain missing a crucial Nato target for defence spending. The Treasury has told each ministry, with the exception of health, education and international development, to find savings amounting to £3 billion or more before the budget on July 8. The Ministry of Defence has been asked to find £1 billion of the savings.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Why meeting the NATO two per cent defence target matters

Cameron’s EU tour hits choppy waters in France

‘David Cameron held a difficult meeting with President Hollande last night where they agreed that there was still “a lot to work through” before agreement was reached on the European Union…Mr Cameron said before the meal at the Élysée Palace: “My priority is to reform the EU to make it more competitive, and to address the concerns of the British people about our membership. The status quo is not good enough”…[Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius] said Britain would undoubtedly suffer more than Europe from a “Brexit”. The British must understand that they could not change the “club” rules at whim, he went on. “They joined a football club and you can’t say in the middle of the match, ‘Well, now we’re going to play rugby’. It’s one or the other.”’ – The Times (£)

Whittingdale and the Prime Minister call for Blatter to resign over FIFA corruption scandal

ball‘David Cameron and FA chief Greg Dyke backed calls for Mr Blatter to resign and voiced their support for his rival…Culture, Media and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale said a change in leadership was ‘very badly needed’ and urged sponsors to review their relationships with the troubled body. He said a boycott of the 2018 World Cup in Russia was the ‘nuclear option’ as it would hit fans.’ – Daily Mail


Duncan Smith: We’re changing lives for the better, as well as saving money

‘Already more than 14,000 households affected by the cap have taken the positive step into work. What’s crucial about this fact is that these are now homes where children can see their parents going to work, and perhaps for the first time understand the value of work and the feelings of self-worth it brings. This is social justice in action, welfare reform that improves individual lives, not that just generates savings.’ – Iain Duncan Smith MP, Daily Telegraph

  • Thousands of children miss out on food because their parents buy tobacco instead – The Sun (£)
  • No sympathy for such bad priorities – The Sun Says (£)
  • The UN suggests Britain should ration healthcare – Daily Telegraph
  • NAO attacks welfare reforms – FT

>Yesterday: John Higginson on Comment: Compassionate conservatism can reach parts of the country that have traditionally rejected our party

Craig Oliver teased over his past as a floating voter

LibDemDead‘Craig Oliver was ribbed by the PM and Election guru Lynton Crosby on a morning conference call when a campaign team brought up his past to prove the strength of their ‘Vote Source’ system. One insider told the Sun Mr Oliver was mocked for having Lib Dem sympathies. The canvassing data showed that the spinner had in the past been classified as a ‘P’, not a Tory and someone who had probably voted for other parties in the past.’ – The Sun (£)

  • 2015 was the most expensive election ever – The Guardian
  • Addison Lee founder made major Tory donation – FT


Letwin given Cabinet Home Affairs role in ‘snub’ to May

‘David Cameron is to appoint Oliver Letwin to one of the most powerful positions in Whitehall in a move seen by supporters of Theresa May as a snub to the home secretary. The prime minister will make Mr Letwin, a Tory moderniser and long-time ally, chairman of the home affairs cabinet committee — putting him in charge of leading debates with ministers on all aspects of domestic policy. Some allies of Mrs May view the appointment as a part of a wider attempt to help George Osborne’s leadership prospects.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Home Secretary’s police reforms show her libertarian side

Rudd to ‘play no part’ in decision on gas storage scheme represented by her brother’s firm

Amber Rudd‘An energy firm wants to store 900million cubic metres of natural gas in salt caverns in Lancashire and her department has to give the go-ahead. But the company, Halite Energy Group, is represented by lobbying firm Finsbury, which is chaired by Miss Rudd’s brother Roland. Last night Miss Rudd conceded that she would play no part in the decision. But the Department for Energy and Climate Change insisted that this was not because of any conflict of interest.’ – Daily Mail

Lord Lexden: The Conservatives must re-establish their alliance with the UUP

‘I continue to hope that Ulster Unionists and Conservatives in the rest of our country will find a way of working together once again. They did so for the best part of a century without feeling that they were operating in two separate organisations. Ultimately it is only through the Ulster Unionists that my party can discharge its duty fully in Northern Ireland. MPs from Ulster should hold office in the government of our country. A future Conservative and Unionist administration should include them on terms with which Ulster Unionists can feel confidence.’ – Belfast Newsletter

Wolf: The Government is wrong to seek to fulfil people’s housing dreams

HOMES Manifesto‘This is a flagship policy of a party supposedly devoted to both the market and careful stewardship of public funds. Yet it amounts to nothing less than the expropriation of private property. It would also shift important parts of the charitable sector’s housing stock into expensive private lettings, for the benefit of the lucky tenants turned landlords.’ – Martin Wolf, FT

>Today: Local Government: Let’s introduce a right to shared ownership

Carswell: My experience at the hands of a lefty mob

‘After they knocked the phone out of my friend’s hand, things turned really nasty. Up until then, the crowd around me had only shouted and sworn. They had jeered and chanted. But they’d also held back from entering that personal space that we generally respect in fellow being humans. Once the phone hit the floor, though, the crowd became a mob. The jostling turned to shoving. “Get the scum!” shouted masked faces.’ – Douglas Carswell MP, Daily Telegraph

Burnham tries to lay claim to shake off left-wing reputation

Andy Burnham‘Andy Burnham will attempt to escape his reputation as the left-wing candidate vying for the Labour leadership by saying that he would slash the deficit and champion wealth creation. The shadow health secretary will use his first major speech to make a shift to the right, and say today that the party was wrong to spend too much before the financial crash. He will vow to “balance the books” should the government fail to do so.’ – The Times (£)

  • His death tax is back – Daily Telegraph
  • Cooper tries to woo business, too – FT
  • Are we supposed to believe all these u-turns? – The Sun Says (£)
  • Flint: Labour has forgotten the interests of working people – The Sun (£)
  • Miliband took large donation from ‘man who wrecked Lloyds’ – Daily Mail
  • Regrets? I have, er, none, says former Lehman boss – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Who should be Labour’s next leader? Have your say in our latest survey.

Scots Nats consider going all-out for full fiscal devolution

‘SNP MPs could attempt to amend the Scotland Bill to give full fiscal responsibility to Holyrood, John Swinney has confirmed, as the party reacted furiously to perceived shortcomings in the legislation published yesterday. The Scottish finance secretary, backed up by the first minister, said that MPs might table amendments to give Edinburgh complete control over tax and spending. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned that this could blow a hole of up to £10 billion in Scotland’s balance sheet.’ – The Times (£)

  • Even Scottish kids are better off – Daily Mail
  • Salmond attacks Trident renewal – FT
  • Law Society confirms Cameron is keeping his devolution pledge – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: To The Point: Sorry, Mel Gibson, Braveheart didn’t win it for the Nats

News in Brief

  • Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect bans women from driving – The Times (£)
  • ISIS destroys ancient lion god statue in Palmyra – Daily Mail
  • Heron invades Downing Street – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • BBC rejects complaint about Top Gear’s Falklands numberplate – The Times (£)
  • Direct democracy could restore Britain’s Eurovision hopes – The Sun (£)
  • Oxford University appoints first female Vice-Chancellor – Daily Mail
  • Banning mankinis is the key to reducing crime – The Sun Says (£)
  • Who could succeed Blair as Middle East Peace Envoy? – The Times Leader (£)