Cameron’s bid for renegotiation meets mixed reaction in Latvia…

EU Exit“The Prime Minister said his pledge to claw back powers from the EU would take ‘patience and tenacity’ and warned he did not rule out campaigning to pull Britain out of the union. Mr Cameron made the remarks after holding his first talks with other European leaders after being re-elected with a surprise majority two weeks ago. Asked if he had upset his fellow EU leader by using the summit in Riga to start Britain’s renegotiation, Mr Cameron said: ‘On the irritation factor, I’m not going to say I was met with a wall of love when I arrived.’” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister looking for love in Europe – The Times (£)
  • Cameron admits negotiations will take patience and tenacity – The Independent
  • Tory leader wants EU reforms by Christmas – Daily Mail


  • Britain failed to shape Europe 40 years ago, but now it can – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph
  • Passion, not PowerPoint, will make the moral case for Europe’s union – Jim Murphy, Financial Times
  • Why current EU rules won’t let Britain reform its benefits – Pawel Swidlicki, Daily Telegraph


>Today: ToryDiary: The AECR unites to celebrate Cameron’s victory

>Yesterday: Alok Sharma MP and Stephan Mayer MdB in Comment: Britain and Germany can work together to deliver free movement reform

…as he slaps down Javid over leaked letter on TV censorship…

“David Cameron has thrown his weight behind Theresa May in a row over plans to allow the broadcasting watchdog to ‘censor’ television programmes. The Home Secretary wants to prevent TV programmes showing interviews with extremists by giving Ofcom the power to filter out such content before it airs. A letter leaked yesterday showed that Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid had attacked the proposals in private as a potential infringement on free speech.” – Daily Mail

  • Cameron indicates extremist broadcasts should be blocked – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Javid’s letter shows the huge difficulties of navigating the waters of counter-extremism

…and gives ‘fat tax’ proposals the cold shoulder

Tax Take“Prime Minister David Cameron has been urged to slap a 25 per cent sugar tax on fizzy drinks, chocolate bars and biscuits to save the NHS. The National Obesity Forum’s Tam Fry told The Sun that a “revolutionary” levy needs to be slapped on drinks and indulgent treats for at least two years. His comments came just hours after Tory life sciences minister George Freeman said it might be time to “recoup” money from food firms producing sugar-laden treats to help the NHS treat fat Brits. Downing Street and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt immediately slapped down Mr Freeman. No10 insisted there were no plans for a tax as it would push up the cost of the weekly shop.” – The Sun (£)

  • New head of No 10 Policy Unit backed stricter anti-obesity measures – The Times (£)


  • A sugar tax isn’t fair, but it is right – Judith Woods, Daily Telegraph
  • A tax on sugar won’t work, as Denmark’s shipwreck of an effort demonstrates – Christopher Snowdon, The Spectator

Matthew Parris: Human rights? So much hot air

“I don’t believe in human rights — fundamental, inalienable or basic. I do believe in being nice to people, but I’ve never seen a useful definition of a basic human right, nor ever encountered a supposed example that did not fast dissolve into a blur of conditional clauses. Havelock Ellis once remarked that “the whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum”. I might add that the whole industry of human rights is due to the absence from the dictionary of a serviceable word for what we must call “desiderata”. Human experience presents a vast range of things to be desired, promoted and protected, some of them — such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — more prominent and precious than others; but never at all costs and never in all circumstances.” – The Times (£)

  • The judiciary, clergy, and BBC form part of today’s clique of dinosaurs – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

Osborne 1) End to six-figure civil service golden parachutes

OSBORNE red and blue“The scandal of six-figure pay-offs in the public sector will be ended by new laws in the Queen’s Speech, George Osborne said last night. The Chancellor said ministers would halt the culture of ‘golden parachutes’ by capping redundancy payments at £95,000. Senior managers will also have to hand back a portion of their pay-off if they take another job in the public sector during the following 12 months. The cap will be introduced as part of a new Enterprise Bill to be published in the Queen’s Speech next week.” – Daily Mail

Osborne 2) Public borrowing falls to lowest levels since crisis

“Public borrowing last month fell to a seven-year low, giving a boost to George Osborne before his first budget in a majority Conservative government. The Office for National Statistics said that the government borrowed £6.8 billion last month — the lowest April figure since 2008 and £2.5 billion lower than a year earlier. The City had predicted a shortfall of £8.1 billion, leading analysts to suggest that the economy had provided the most favourable backdrop to a budget statement since before the financial crisis struck.” – The Times (£)

Meet the new female Conservative MPs

CAMERON'S CHILDREN big“When David Cameron gathered his new MPs around him for a historic first photograph last week, the sight was an unfamiliar one. Where in the past a Conservative Prime Minister would have been surrounded by men in dark suits, the 2015 intake made for a far more colourful first image. The bright dresses and blazers of the more than two dozen new female Tory MPs highlighted the fact that a quiet revolution is taking place within the Conservative Party. Once the joke was that there were more people called David than women in the shadow cabinet, but there is now such strength in numbers that a third of the ministers in Mr Cameron’s first majority government are female. Of the 191 women MPs in this Parliament (up from 143 before the election but still only 29 per cent of the total), 68 are Tory.” – Daily Telegraph

Hancock hits out at Hodge in first speech

“In his first speech since taking over the role of minister for the Cabinet Office, Matthew Hancock accused Margaret Hodge, the high-profile chair of the public accounts committee, of being biased and inserting an “anti-government line” into reports. The speech at the Institute for Government in central London covered subjects from the need for a more diverse civil service to the proposition that civil servants should have performance-related pay. Margaret Hodge, MP for Barking, announced this week that she would not stand to be reappointed chair of the public accounts committee, which is responsible for scrutinising government expenditure.” – The Guardian

Former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles knighted

PICKLES Eric 2009“Relieved of his role as the UK’s communities secretary in last week’s cabinet reshuffle, Eric Pickles was on Friday given a consolation prize as Downing Street announced that the former minister is to be given a knighthood. The MP for Brentwood and Ongar is to be made a knight bachelor in recognition of his public service as an MP, a former cabinet minister and a local government leader, No 10 said. Mr Pickles, who served as communities secretary for the whole of the coalition government, was the only cabinet member to lose his seat at the top table after being replaced by Greg Clark.” – Financial Times

  • Sir Eric has quite the fandom in Eastern Europe – The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Arise, Sir Eric – There are yet dragons to slay

Greg Clark: Why we want to give power to local people

“For 150 years, Whitehall has hoarded power in this country. For decades, central government has made the rest of the country conform to a Whitehall template rather than encourage local flair. Our cities have lost the ability to thrive along the way. For many years, our great industrial metropolises have underperformed – compared to their potential, compared to their history, and compared to their rivals overseas. In Germany, for example, all eight of the biggest cities outside the capital outstrip the country in terms of output per head. The same goes for all but two of the big Italian cities, and in France three of the eight outperform the national average and none fall significantly below it. Yet in England, seven of the eight biggest cities outside London have been below the national average for GDP per head – with Bristol the only exception.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Nick de Bois in Comment: London suffers most from the injustice of the Barnett Formula

Balls won’t rule out return as he turns fire on Miliband

Balls Ed Don't Disturb“Ed Balls tonight refused to rule out a return to frontline politics after dramatically losing his seat at the general election. The former shadow chancellor insisted he would not be ‘dashing back’ to the Commons but said he would ‘never say never’ about resurrecting his political career. In his first interview since the election, Mr Balls refused to accept Labour had spent too much in opposition, criticised Ed Miliband for being too anti-business and admitted was one of the reasons why Labour lost.” – Daily Mail

  • Former Shadow Chancellor claims he was one reason Labour was unelectable – Daily Telegraph
  • Balls to give up politics after surprise defeat – The Guardian
  • Nor does he exclude possibility of a spin on Strictly – The Times (£)
  • Ed and Douglas Alexander hold inquest over lunch – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Ed Balls on losing his seat

Is Kendall truly the heir to Blair?

“Among all her fiercely revisionist pronouncements on Thursday (on defence, on free schools, on wealth creation) one of her less noticed bits of taboo breaking – which will make the public sector unions suspicious – was her evangelism for the idea that “public services should revolve around the people who use them – not the other way round”. In her shadow ministerial job, she in fact carved out some sharply “modernising” territory of her own, in favour of public service reform, patient choice and discouraging public services from “entrenching dependency” by “doing things to or for people rather than with them”.” – The Independent

  • Dugdale wants to lead Scottish Labour – The Independent
  • Labour MP Mann calls for new leader to slash welfare and restrict immigration – Daily Mail

>Today: Quentin Langley in Comment: A secret of our recent success: we understand the left better than it understands us

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: A visit to Planet Toynbee shows why the Right won – and why the Left seems set to keep on losing

Welsh Assembly lined up for enormous pay rise

Wales flag“Welsh Assembly members are to enjoy inflation-busting pay rises which will bring the first minister’s salary up to the level of David Cameron’s. Although Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, is in charge only of devolved issues covering Wales, the Labour politician’s pay will rocket to £140,000. This is only £2,500 less than the salary of the Prime Minister, who is in charge of all UK matters including policies concerning England alone.” – Daily Mail

Andrew Roberts: Why not just wind up the Labour Party?

“While it’s always bad manners to intrude on private grief, I think I have a useful suggestion for the Labour Party; one that could save it a great deal of bitterness and heartache over the next weeks and months, as it struggles to find a new leader and image. For there is an alternative to the coming painful internecine struggle between Peter Mandelson, Len McCluskey, the Unite General Secretary, Jim Murphy, the former Scottish Labour leader, and the various contenders for the Labour leadership: why not just wind up the party altogether? In the 115 years since it was founded as the political wing of the trade union movement at the Memorial Hall in Farringdon Street in February 1900, Labour has rendered the British people a few signal services… But the Labour Party’s time as a useful force in British politics has now passed.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour is digging itself deeper into Miliband’s political grave – Rupert Myers, Daily Telegraph

SNP 1) Rift between Salmond and Sturgeon over behaviour of SNP MPs

SNP logo white background“‘There is a faction of the SNP, in which Salmond is prominent, who believe it’s good politics to annoy the English and upset the Westminster establishment with these quite petty japes and stunts,’ says one veteran observer of the party. They think Scottish voters will see it as getting one over on the auld enemy. They think it should continue indefinitely. Ms Sturgeon strongly disagrees and wants MPs to concentrate on pursuing the party’s political agenda and helping their constituents. But she’s stuck in Edinburgh, 300 miles away, which makes maintaining discipline in London very tricky.’” – Daily Mail

  • Nationalists ‘behaving like goons’ claims longest-serving MP – The Independent
  • Nationalists take the lead on two Commons committees – Financial Times
  • SNP betrays promise to Isle of Arran – Geoffrey Lean, Daily Telegraph

SNP 2) Inquiry concludes First Minister did want Cameron to win

“A leaked civil service memo which alleged the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanted David Cameron to win the general election was an “accurate” record of a conversation with a French official, an investigation has concluded. The former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael admitted he had agreed to leak the memo to a newspaper during the election campaign after his involvement was exposed by a Cabinet Office inquiry. But, significantly, the inquiry concluded that the memo itself was genuine and “an accurate record of the conversation that took place between him (the civil servant) and the French Consul General”.” – The Independent

  • First Minister attacks former Scottish Secretary over leaked memo – Daily Mail

Carswell calls for Farage not to lead ‘Out’ campaign in EU referendum

UKIP glass“As a longstanding advocate of Britain leaving the EU, Mr Carswell is excited by the prospect of a referendum but insists Ukip must take a back seat. Mr Farage should not, in his view, lead the “out” campaign. “I don’t think any politician should be fronting the referendum campaign,” he says. “If a politician says, ‘vote for X’, people instantly think the politician has a vested interested in that. The way to make the positive argument is to get people who have some experience of wealth creation to do it, someone like James Dyson.” – The Times (£)

  • Only Farage can persuade Labour heartlands to leave Europe – Steve Stanbury, Daily Telegraph
  • Farage isn’t finished yet – Michael Deacon’s sketch, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • US-UK relationship at risk over Guantanamo Briton – Daily Mail
  • Bank of England’s secret plans for Brexit – The Times (£)
  • NHS spends £3.3bn on agency doctors – Daily Telegraph
  • ISIS in a position to advance on Damascus – Financial Times
  • Shock figures show NHS trusts £822m in the red – The Sun (£)
  • New report shows one in four want to leave the Armed Forces as soon as possible – The Independent
  • Schools abandon GCSEs for alternatives based on the O-Level – Daily Mail