Osborne offers England’s cities a deal on self-rule

George Osborne“George Osborne will today announce a law offering the big cities of England unprecedented new powers, but only if they follow Greater Manchester in adopting an elected metro-mayor. Mr Osborne will claim that ‘the old model of trying to run everything in our country from the centre is broken’ and wants to transfer tax and spending powers from Westminster to a new wave of big city mayors. The Cities Devolution bill is being presented as an English counterweight to the promise by David Cameron of the transfer of new fiscal powers to the Scottish Parliament” – Financial Times

  • It’s time to unleash the power of the North – Phillip Blond, Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron should use mandate to transform the welfare state – Danny Kruger, Financial Times
  • Cameron has this one chance to abolish the BBC licence fee – Charles Moore, Spectator
  • Shapps promised Cabinet comeback – The Sun (£)
  • I’m a Tory who lost to a Lib Dem MP. What sort of two-headed monster am I? Matthew Maxwell Scott, Daily Telegraph



Montgomerie: It’s a myth that Tory modernisers won the day

“The Tory campaign involved an attractive and eventually energised Tory leader selling pretty conventional Tory policies. I think of the Tory manifesto promise of £10 billion of unfunded tax cuts which, when something similar was proposed by Thatcherite backbenchers, were described by George Osborne as reckless; an EU referendum pledge that was decried by Tory modernisers as an appeasement of right-wing backbenchers; a promise to replace the Human Rights Act; the resurrection of the 1980s’ right-to-buy policy; a moratorium on onshore windfarms” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)


To the Point: Conservatives added to their vote even in seats they lost

Brussels threatens retaliation after May refuses asylum seekers

Theresa May 14-04-15“Britain’s row with Europe escalated last night as Brussels threatened retaliation for the Government refusing to accept a strict quota of asylum seekers. Theresa May drew a red-line by insisting the UK would play no formal part in an EU scheme to relocate the thousands of migrants who have made perilous boat journeys across the Mediterranean…in what was seen as a shot across Britain’s bows, the EU Commission said it was considering changing the ‘legal parameters’ of the so-called Dublin Convention to ‘achieve a fairer distribution of asylum seekers in Europe’” – Daily Mail

  • Salmond says Britain should take its fair share of Mediterranean refugees – Herald
  • Foreigners applying for jobs online keeping UK wages down – Daily Telegraph
  • Five reasons why Britain could be sleep-walking to an EU exit as early as next year – Independent
  • Cameron faces backbench opposition to scrapping Human Rights Act – Independent

O’Flynn denounces Farage

“Nigel Farage has become a ‘snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive’ man who is making Ukip look like a ‘personality cult’, the party’s campaign director has claimed in a devastating attack. Patrick O’Flynn, the party’s economics spokesman and one of its most senior MEPs, breaks cover today to warn that the Ukip leader’s recent behaviour risked depicting the party as an ‘absolute monarchy’. He claimed that the party leader had in recent months moved away from being a ‘cheerful, ebullient, cheeky, daring’ politician, and blamed Mr Farage’s team of ‘aggressive’ and ‘inexperienced’ aides” – The Times (£)

  • Fear and loathing between rival UKIP camps – The Times (£)
  • To keep top job, Farage agrees to change his style – The Sun (£)
  • Lord Ryder: “Short” money was intended solely for use in Parliament – The Times letters (£)
  • Without UKIP, Carswell could be a brilliant independent MP – Martin Bell, Guardian



Sturgeon threatens Cameron with new referendum

Nicola Sturgeon“Nicola Sturgeon has warned David Cameron that Scots could demand another independence referendum if he does not agree to her call for more powers for the Scottish parliament. The SNP leader claimed yesterday that her party’s triumph north of the border in the general election meant that it had a mandate to seek sweeping new capabilities for Holyrood. She will put her shopping list in front of Mr Cameron tomorrow. It includes control over the minimum wage, national insurance contributions, welfare, business taxes and equality policy” – The Times (£)

  • Harman backs Murphy to stay as leader – Scotsman

Prince Charles’s letters to ministers published

“A cache of secret memos between Prince Charles and senior government ministers has been released after a 10-year legal battle, offering the clearest picture yet of the breadth and depth of the heir to the throne’s lobbying at the highest level of politics. The 27 memos, sent in 2004 and 2005 and released only after the Guardian won its long freedom of information fight with the government, show the Prince of Wales making direct and persistent policy demands to the then prime minister Tony Blair and several key figures in his Labour government. From Blair, Charles demanded everything from urgent action to improve equipment for troops fighting in Iraq to the availability of alternative herbal medicines” – Guardian

  • These letters make me admire the Prince more – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Prince’s press secretary snatches Crick’s microphone – Daily Mail

Burnham and Cooper join Labour leadership race

COOPER Yvette looking right“Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper have joined the race for the leadership of the Labour party as it seeks to claw its way back from a UK general election defeat that has left party members emotionally flattened. Mr Burnham, shadow health secretary, has been building a strong support base for years — prompting claims of disloyalty from Ed Miliband’s inner circle. He has garnered the backing of many left-leaning and northern MPs who believe that he can reach out to alienated former voters” – Financial Times

  • Farron poised to launch Lib Dem leadership bid – Guardian

Milburn: Labour must win back the centre ground

“Too many in Labour kidded themselves that the ghastly experiment of a core-vote strategy would pay off. Voters couldn’t be fooled. Ed bet the house that they had moved to the left when on issues such as immigration and Europe they had, arguably, gone the other way. ‘One nation’ Labour managed to lose both the core Scottish and the Middle England vote. Labour’s mission now has to be to win them back” – Alan Milburn, The Times (£)

  • Labour’s front bench is out of touch and “dripping with privilege” – Simon Danczuk, Daily Telegraph
  • The return of the Blairites is the last thing Labour needs – Seumas Milne, Guardian
  • Inside the Milibunker – Ed Miliband’s last days, and how he may have sacrificed Ed Balls – Dan Hodges, Spectator
  • The Ed Stone is locked in a south London garage – Guardian


Westminster leads the way with most openly gay MPs

PARLIAMENT“There are more openly gay MPs in Britain than anywhere else in the world, according to research which also shows the Conservatives fielded more homosexual candidates than any other party in the election last week. Thirty two of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), or nearly one in 20 (4.9 per cent), the study found. This is nearly three times as high as Sweden, which has the second highest number of gay MPs in the world” – The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Kim Jong Un executes defence minister with anti-aircraft gun – The Times (£)
  • Saudi Arabia claims oil price strategy success – Financial Times
  • Greece rejects Amal Clooney’s advice about Elgin Marbles – Daily Mail
  • Mourners follow wrong hearse for nine miles – Wales Online