Cameron stands firm against Sturgeon over tax, the EU, and a referendum…

SNP logo white background“David Cameron rejected a trio of core SNP demands during ‘frank’ face-to-face talks with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Edinburgh today. The Prime Minister ruled out granting Scotland a second independence referendum or giving the country a veto over Britain’s place in the European Union. He also flatly rejected giving Holyrood full control over tax and spending north of the border – a key SNP demand. Mr Cameron told the SNP leader he would consider further devolution to Scotland in the future – but not until the package of measures already agreed had been delivered.” – Daily Mail

  • Be sensible and you’ll get more power, Cameron tells Sturgeon – The Times (£)
  • Tory leader offers to beef up Scotland Bill – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister squeezed by competing pleas for power – Financial Times
  • Senior SNP figure says party could hold informal referendum followed by UDI – Daily Telegraph
  • Salmond denies PM’s charge of being source of UDI boast – The Sun (£)
  • Commons etiquette is nationalism’s first victim – The Times (£)



…as he defends Prince Charles’ right to write

“The Prime Minister has said that Prince Charles has ‘every right’ to lobby government ministers and expect his letters to remain confidential. David Cameron said the Prince of Wales had a ‘huge passion about public life’ and ‘improving the lot of our country.’  His comments came just over 24 hours after the hoard of missives to ministers was released by the Government after a decade-long battle costing taxpayers £400,000 in legal fees. The memos, dubbed ‘black spider’ because of Charles’ scribbled notes on many of them, laid bare what critics call the future king’s interference with public life.” – Daily Mail

Matthew Parris: How Cameron can pass his European test

CAMERON EU fence“Paradoxical though it may seem, an impression of unity within the Conservative party will best be sought by recognising, and permitting, dissent. When, 40 years ago, the Labour prime minister Harold Wilson held a referendum on our continued membership of the (then) Common Market he was forced by rebel anti-European stands taken by the Labour left to permit open dissent within, as well as outside, his cabinet. This looked weak and it all turned messy, but it got him through. The impression of weakness, however, led to worsening schism later. Cameron knows that in the referendum campaign ahead the Archangel Gabriel himself would not be able to stifle dissent from convinced anti-EU colleagues, some of them very senior, some jockeying for position, others simply taking a principled stand for beliefs dear to them. They will not be silenced. They will be brave if necessary, and self-sacrificing if they must. It is desperately important to deny them this opportunity.” – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Treaty change is essential to make any meaningful EU reform, and to make any reform lasting

Osborne announces welfare-focused summer budget

“George Osborne has announced the date for an emergency summer budget that will focus on “working people”. The chancellor revealed his last budget only eight weeks ago, but having returned to government without the Liberal Democrats he has the chance to deliver his plans to cut the deficit under an all-Conservative government. Mr Osborne has said that the budget, to be presented on July 8, will focus on reforming welfare, making savings in Whitehall, increasing health spending and cracking down on tax avoidance. It is expected to lay out details of the £12 billion in cuts to the government’s welfare budget — as part of the Tories’ attempt to eliminate the budget deficit by 2018-19.” – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: The Surplus Trap. A new Benefits Trap. Osborne prepares a welcome for Labour’s new leader.

>Yesterday: Simon Parker in Comment: Osborne’s city state revolution is just beginning

Davis threatens revolt over ECHR

ARREST WARRANT European“With a wafer-thin majority in the House of Commons the Prime Minister needs all his MPs to back his plans in order to get them through the Commons in one piece. Mr Davis said: “I’m afraid we will come into conflict with the European court and I don’t want us to leave it. “If we leave, it’s an excuse for everyone else to leave. So I think that could be quite an interesting argument, come the day. I think it is more likely there will be an argument over that than over Europe.” The Government has promised to withdraw the UK from the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights – making courts in the UK more powerful than Strasbourg.” – The Sun (£)

Crosby calls for pre-election poll ban

“The architect of David Cameron’s election victory has savaged Britain’s political class for badly misjudging the result, saying it was their “judgment day and they lost”. In his first interview with the Telegraph, Lynton Crosby, Mr Cameron’s Australian election strategist, suggests that public opinion polls be banned during the final three weeks of future campaigns.He also takes aim at the political commentators who accused him of running a “negative” campaign saying that the incorrect “wall of noise” produced by experts and public pollsters had threatened to derail the ultimately successful campaign.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Rebecca Coulson’s column: Bullying, rudeness and coercion – the dark side of our election victory

Boris seeks legislation to curb Uber

BORIS blue and red“Boris Johnson wants to cap the number of minicabs operating across London, in an attempt to curb the rapid growth of Uber, the ride hailing app. The mayor of London — who was this month elected as an MP for the West London constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip — has been pressing for new legislation. Proposals to cap the number of minicabs in London are expected to be included in the Queens speech this month, according to City Hall insiders. “We must be able to take action against the threat posed by the massive increase we are seeing in the number of private hire vehicles,” Mr Johnson said on Friday.” – Financial Times

Labour leadership 1) Front-runners whittled down as Umunna quits Labour leadership race

“Labour leadership front-runner Chuka Umunna dramatically quit the party’s leadership race yesterday – with aides saying he wanted the freedom to live his life and start a family away from public scrutiny. In a shock move, the shadow business secretary – who has been nicknamed the ‘British Obama’ – announced he was abandoning his leadership bid just three days after launching it. He will remain in the shadow cabinet and has not ruled out a future shot at the Labour leadership. He had been the bookmakers’ favourite, and his departure dismayed Blairites. It leaves shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, who is expected to get the backing of the militant Unite union, as the clear favourite to succeed Ed Miliband.” – Daily Mail


  • A schmoozer, but the leader Labour needed – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Comment and Editorial:

  • Will the last one in Labour please turn out the lights? – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • Still no sign of Labour embracing the future – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Umunna bows out of Labour’s leadership race. Do new candidates now come in?

Labour leadership 2) Hunt attacks mansion tax and Brown spending

SIllyHunt“First, however, Hunt is convinced the party must come clean about its past including admitting it made mistakes in its handling of the nation’s finances. “We didn’t cause the financial crash but we weren’t cautious enough to give headroom for a downturn…… We spent too much in that we didn’t have the room to manoeuvre. We didn’t have a backstop.” There was “hubris” in the declaration of the end of boom and bust and Britain should have run a surplus when the economy was growing.”” – Interview with Tristram Hunt, The Times (£)

  • Mansion tax plans must be overhauled, says Labour hopeful – The Times (£)
  • A party so riven by faction even the leadership contest is in chaos – Daily Telegraph

Labour leadership 3) Kendall backs EU referendum

“Labour should support an in/out referendum on Europe, embrace business and stop advocating high taxation “just to make a point” according to the leadership candidate propelled into frontrunner status among modernisers following Chuka Umunna’s sudden withdrawal. In an interview with the Guardian, Liz Kendall urged Labour to confront the scale of the “catastrophe” at the election, and also warned that the party faces the risk of extinction in Scotland. “One more parliament like the last means we might be unable to form a majority government ever again,” she said. Kendall argued that the party should not support a top rate of tax of 50p on a permanent basis. She said Labour should instead target running a surplus in the public finances.” – The Guardian

  • ‘We have to face up to the catastrophe’ – Interview with Liz Kendall, The Guardian

>Yesterday: The Deep End: Five things that matter more than the election result – Day 5: The next election result

Labour leadership 4) Party begged Johnson to stand in aftermath of rout

Alan Johnson“Senior Labour MPs begged Alan Johnson to run for party leader in the days after the election, The Sun can reveal. They wanted the popular former Home Secretary to be interim boss to “steady the ship” for a year before a long-term replacement for Ed Miliband could be found. However, the Blairite veteran rejected the advances. A source close to Mr Johnson said: “He was approached by some senior MPs a couple of days after Ed resigned. They said they wanted a safe pair of hands at the tiller while a debate went on about the direction of the party.” – The Sun (£)

Mayoral hopeful Lammy turns fire on green belt

“Rules safeguarding the Green Belt protect golf courses for old people at the expense of new housing for the young, a prominent Labour MP has claimed. David Lammy, who is seeking the Labour candidacy for London Mayor, said that the rules protecting green spaces needed to be changed to allow more homes to be built. The MP for Tottenham tweeted: “Greenbelt regulations allow older generations to protect their golf courses while young people can’t afford a decent home. Needs to change.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour MP Gareth Thomas joins race for Mayor candidacy – The Independent

Defeat has left Labour further than ever under the unions’ thumb

On strike“Labour’s election defeat has left the trade unions with greater influence than ever, an analysis shows. The proportion of Labour MPs who have links to unions through membership or donations has risen from 84 per cent before the election to 97 per cent now. The number of MPs with links to Unite, the super-union, has risen from around half to 65 per cent, according to an analysis by the Conservatives. It comes after a drive by Unite, the super-union and key Labour donor, to secure safe seats for its favoured candidates.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Smile! New Labour MPs pose with Harman as they arrive at Westminster – Daily Mail

Labour PCC under fire over contract to non-existent firm

“A police tsar has been forced to defend handing a £60,000 contract to a crime-tackling organisation that doesn’t legally exist – and which also employs his deputy’s daughter. West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson has been told he has ‘serious questions’ to answer by a Conservative MP. The daughter of his deputy, Yvonne Mosquito, works for a group which was awarded a six-month contract to provide help and support to Birmingham companies targeted by criminals. But Broad Street BID (Business Improvement District), where Alicia Mosquito is deputy manager, no longer legally exists.” – Daily Mail

Lib Dem calls for Tory council to investigate teachers for pro-Labour indoctrination

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION“Education chiefs have been urged to launch a formal investigation after primary school teachers allegedly told pupils their parents should vote Labour in the General Election. A county councillor accused teachers of “potential indoctrination” after her god daughter was handed Labour Party campaign literature for a homework project, while eight-year-olds were taught an “anti Nick Clegg” song… Mrs Oborski, a Liberal, said: “During the recent election campaign my 10-year-old god daughter’s homework consisted of Labour Party campaign literature on which she was asked to comment as to why her family ‘should vote Labour’. “Her eight-year old brother came home from the same school and told his parents that ‘you must vote Labour, they are the only party that wants us to live’.” – Daily Telegraph

Edstone tracked to London warehouse

“Had things gone differently, it would now be casting a dark shadow across the Downing Street rose garden. Instead Ed Miliband’s infamous stone, inscribed with his six election pledges, is gathering dust in a moss-covered warehouse on a windswept industrial estate. The Mail tracked down the resting place of the 8ft 6in monolith to south London. And, in a final humiliation, the maker of the slab has admitted he was a ‘true blue’ Tory who did not vote for Mr Miliband… As it became clear the stunt had spectacularly backfired, a truck with a giant claw attachment collected the one ton slab from Hastings the morning after it was made public. Labour officials refused to make any comment on its whereabouts, and it remained hidden for the rest of the election campaign.” – Daily Mail

  • Please don’t destroy it, it’s a piece of our history – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

Carswell calls for Farage to stand aside

CARSWELL Douglas Marr“Ukip’s one MP shatters a fragile ceasefire today with a call for Nigel Farage to take time out from being party leader. Douglas Carswell breaks his silence after days of open warfare to issue a blunt decree: “Nigel needs to take a break now.” Writing in The Times, the MP for Clacton criticises Mr Farage for his “ill-advised” comments about HIV patients and for “sniping” at Conservative preparations for an EU referendum. The former Tory refuses to address the long-term future for the Ukip leader, leaving the question hanging. After praising Mr Farage for his “inspirational” work, he says that the party needs to “consider carefully” its next steps.” – The Times (£)

  • Farage tells Carswell to put up or shut up – The Sun (£)
  • Leader to sack O’Flynn in purge of coup plotters – Daily Telegraph
  • Farage tells critics to pledge loyalty or leave UKIP – Daily Telegraph
  • Ongoing farrago bedevils UKIP – Financial Times
  • Civil war deepens as insider alleges Farage never resigned at all – The Independent
  • UKIP spy who infiltrated protestors tried to encourage Farage abuse – The Guardian


Matthew Goodwin: What this civil war is really about

“The infighting is driven as much by underlying tension between Eurosceptics as it is by internal Ukip politics. Moderate Eurosceptics never welcomed the rise of Ukip. First they underestimated the party’s power and then complained that Ukip and Farage toxified the referendum debate. By fusing the anti-EU message with immigration, they argue, Farage alienated wavering Eurosceptics who might otherwise be won over to their cause… Hopes of pushing Ukip down a different path were dashed. Farage was now back in control – and after spending more than twenty years building up his party he was not about to let Conservative Eurosceptics and a few disgruntled Ukippers fundamentally change his creation.” – Daily Telegraph

Cable and Laws amongst defeated Lib Dems to decline place in Lords

Lib Dem Logo“Four senior Liberal Democrat politicians defeated in the general election, including former business secretary Vince Cable, have turned down offers of a peerage from Nick Clegg in the dissolution honours list. It is understood that David Laws, the former education minister, Simon Hughes, the former justice minister, and former Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander have also decided to reject a chance to sit in the House of Lords. The Lords is likely to be a battleground for the government since the Conservatives do not have an overall majority in the upper chamber, even though in practice there are strict limits on how far peers can resist central planks of legislation agreed by the Commons.” – The Guardian


  • Can this crushed party resolve its identity crisis? – Julian Astle, The Independent

News in Brief:

  • British Chinooks deployed to Nepal to return without flying a single mission – Daily Mail
  • Talks held to prepare for Assad’s defeat in Syria’s civil war – The Times (£)
  • In Iraq, ISIS routs troops from most of Ramadi – The Guardian
  • Libyan patrols struggle to stop migrants – Financial Times
  • Boston Marathon bomber sentenced to death – Daily Telegraph
  • Burundi descends into chaos after coup d’état – Daily Mail