Cameron faces revolt over seat reduction plans…

PARLIAMENT“The alterations are expected to benefit the Conservatives overall, but more than a dozen of the party’s MPs would be left scrambling to find new seats after seeing their own abolished. Some senior figures are warning that the government would lose a vote to approve the changes after the review, due to be completed by October 2018. Other Conservatives said, however, that it would be “bizarre” to renege on the manifesto promise to reduce the size of the House of Commons when the party has its first majority government for almost two decades. Downing Street said that there were no plans to abandon the pledge “for the moment”, an ambiguous phrasing that reflects the prime minister’s difficult choice of either sacrificing his promise or risking insurrection.” – The Times (£)

  • Redrawing seats puts rising stars (including Kendall) at risk – The Times (£)
  • MPs told to stay in London as whips try to maximise majority – Financial Times

…as he is warned not to rush into EU vote…

“David Cameron is being urged by his new Europe adviser not to rush the UK’s referendum on EU membership, amid fears an early vote could undermine Britain’s efforts to achieve reforms to the bloc. Mats Persson, who moved from the Open Europe think-tank to Number 10 last week, has warned of the dangers of trying to secure a “quick win” at the expense of big reforms. George Osborne is also understood to be urging caution, insisting that the priority is to make the EU more competitive and to ensure eurozone countries do not try to hinder UK access to the single market.” – Financial Times

  • Prime Minister embarks on European charm offensive – The Times (£)
  • TUC warn that renegotiation of workers’ rights could damage ‘In’ campaign – Financial Times
  • How other countries view Brexit – The Guardian
  • Blow to Cameron as Merkel and Hollande move to tighten Eurozone political union – Daily Mail

Comment and Editorial:

And agrees with Putin to cooperate against Islamic State

Vladimir Putin“David Cameron has agreed with Vladimir Putin to re-open talks over how to end the civil war in Syria and help stop the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (Isil). The Russian president, called Mr Cameron to congratulate him on his “major success” during the general election on Monday. In the past, talks between Britain and Russia have broken down over Mr Putin’s continued support for Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator. During the 30-minute conversation Mr Cameron said that Mr Assad, whose regime has used chemical weapons, “cannot be part of the solution”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Russia and UK restart Syria talks – The Sun (£)
  • Boris warns: don’t let Greece fall into Russia’s hands – The Sun (£)

>Today: Garvan Walshe’s column: False economy – the huge cost of ignoring foreign policy and defence

>Yesterday: The Deep End: Has Britain really resigned as a world power?

Tories press ahead with ‘Right to Buy’ extension

“More than a million housing association tenants will be given “a helping hand on to the housing ladder” under plans to be included in this week’s Queen’s Speech. Ministers will today promise to plough ahead with the controversial proposal to expand the right to buy despite vocal opposition from housing associations and big business. Critics argue that the scheme will do nothing to tackle the housing shortage and could cripple housing associations. The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that the programme would cost billions of pounds and could “worsen the UK’s underlying public finance position”.” – The Times (£)

  • Cameron pushes on with controversial policy – Financial Times
  • Housing association tenants to be offered ‘significant discounts’ – The Independent
  • Councils must find plots for DIY homes under ‘Help to Build’ – The Sun (£)
  • Housebuilders set for growth as election jitters subside – Financial Times

Ministers crack down on legal highs

Police shield“The Prime Minister has been pressing for action for months, saying in October last year: ‘I want to see us have tougher powers so that we ban these legal highs.’ The Conservative Party manifesto also said: ‘We will create a blanket ban on all new psychoactive substances, protecting young people from exposure to so-called “legal highs”.’ But Home Office lawyers have been grappling with how to ensure a watertight ban. Manufacturers are able to get round the law by making tiny changes to the composition of drugs every time a substance is banned. Ministers are considering a blanket ban, similar to the one introduced in Ireland in 2010. Suppliers would be required to prove their products were safe for human consumption.” – Daily Mail

Norman calls for clean-up at the Bank of England following inadequate forex report

“The Grabiner report is manifestly inadequate. It does not resolve the question of whether BoE officials, including senior staff, were negligent or otherwise at fault. It leaves a shadow of doubt over an institution that aspires to be above suspicion. What should be done? First, the BoE oversight committee must start to exercise genuine scrutiny independently of the governor. Second, the Treasury committee — which before this month’s UK election issued a note of key issues of concern, and will soon be reconstituted — should proceed immediately to a report on this issue.” – Jesse Norman, Financial Times

  • Top lawyer questions rigour of BoE report into forex scandal – Financial Times

Second group claims Conservatives have advanced amongst Sikh voters

Screen shot 2015-05-25 at 08.21.40“Bhai Amrik Singh, chairman of the Sikh Federation, described the British Future survey as misleading, pointing out that the group’s claim that 49 per cent of Sikhs voted Conservative was based on just 63 respondents. However, Mr Singh said the federation’s own research suggested that about 36 per cent of Sikhs voted for the Conservatives at the election, compared with 15 per cent in 2010. He said that the new government had an “opportunity” to work with Sikh groups on issues such as the campaign for a memorial to the Sikh contribution in the First World War. He also warned: “The new Labour leadership will have to take a good hard look at itself in terms of the Sikh vote if it is to stop and reverse this trend of losing Sikh votes.”” – The Times (£)

  • Why so many black and Asian voters are backing the Tories – The Guardian
  • Cameron points migrant talent towards the exit – Financial Times
  • Four charts show what UK’s minority voters think, and its bad news for Labour – The Independent


  • The Tories have a lot of work to do to close the gap with minority voters – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph


Labour accused of trying to hijack EU poll by lowering voting age

“Labour has been accused of trying to ‘hijack’ the government’s planned EU referendum with a back-door bid to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote. Harriet Harman, the party’s interim leader, announced over the weekend that Labour had dropped its opposition to the in-out poll following its disastrous election defeat earlier this month. But it has now emerged that the party is preparing to join forces with the SNP in the House of Lords to lower the voting age, sparking concern it is trying to delay the referendum. The row comes ahead of crunch talks between David Cameron and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the Prime Minister’s country retreat, Chequers, tonight.” – Daily Mail

  • SNP and Labour back franchise change – The Sun (£)
  • Cameron under mounting pressure to let under-18s vote – The Independent
  • Fresh-born SNP MSP denounces referendum rules as ‘democratic disgrace’ – The Independent
  • EU referendum franchise will not be extended to expatriates – The Guardian
  • Blair will campaign to keep Britain in the EU – Daily Telegraph

John Redwood: This franchise gambit is just a distraction

REDWOOD Blog“Our Conservative manifesto contained no proposals to allow EU migrants or 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in general elections or in the referendum. Expats who have been abroad more than 15 years have a better claim but we don’t want to make special cases for the referendum. The Government needs to use its political capital on matters that are clearly in the national interest: to further the recovery, create jobs, improve prosperity, or settle the UK constitution. We have no mandate for such changes, which would be contentious and unlikely to command large majority support. During the election, I received little lobbying to allow 16-year-olds to vote and no lobbying to allow European Union migrants to vote here in national elections. There is no evidence that these things are wanted by many.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Downing Street’s plan for the EU referendum franchise – right, consistent, and a gentle rebuke to Farage

Unite threaten to ditch Burnham if he won’t oppose austerity

“Britain’s biggest trade union is threatening to withhold support for Andy Burnham’s Labour leadership bid unless he promises to oppose all spending cuts. Senior figures in Unite are angered by the shadow health secretary’s failure to adopt an “anti-austerity” economic policy since announcing his bid. They plan to approach Len McCluskey, Unite’s general secretary, to consider formally backing no candidate unless there is a clearer Left-wing option on the ticket. The Telegraph has been told that if Mr Burnham wants to win the endorsement of his most influential potential backer he must change his economic policy.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Cooper appeals to family vote with childcare pledge – The Independent
  • Prescott attacks contenders for ‘meaningless’ leadership campaigns – Daily Mail
  • Healey enters race for deputy leadership – The Sun (£)


  • I want Labour to lead a revolution in family support – Yvette Cooper, The Independent
  • Labour must look outward, not inward – John Healey, The Guardian

Isabel Hardman: The power of the unions to crown the Labour leader is fading

Unite“Polling by Lord Ashcroft in 2013 found that 61 per cent of Unite members thought that neither Ed Miliband nor Len McCluskey represented their interests, and some of them mistook the all-powerful “trade union baron” for Sir Alex Ferguson when presented with a photo of McCluskey. This time around Len and his colleagues are not allowed to stuff envelopes with pictures of their preferred candidate, as they did in 2010, and an official Labour party phone bank in Newcastle will monitor unions’ calls to members. In any case, two can play at the membership game. Supporters of Liz Kendall have their own schemes. They plan to use the same techniques that crowdfunding and charity fundraising websites such as JustGiving and Kickstarter adopt to recruit thousands of supporters.” – The Times (£)

Lib Dems 1) Farron calls on Lib Dems to reinvent themselves as a grassroots movement

“The Liberal Democrats must comprehensively reinvent themselves, ditching Edwardian-style party structures and creating a new movement that campaigns on issues that “fire up” new members, the front-runner for the party’s leadership has said. In an interview with The Independent, Tim Farron said the party had been seen as – “at best” – managerial in government and must go back to “doorstep politics” that made people “passionate and inspired”. – The Independent

Lib Dems 2) Pressure mounts against Carmichael over Sturgeon leak

Scottish flag“Following a Cabinet Office inquiry, the Lib Dem former Scottish secretary admitted he authorised his special adviser to release a memo about a private conversation in which Scotland’s first minister purportedly said she wanted David Cameron to remain as prime minister. Among those calling for him to consider his position over the weekend, including Sturgeon herself, the point has been made that his sanctioning of the leak was compounded by the fact that he lied about his knowledge of it at the time and he was thus re-elected as the only Liberal Democrat MP in Scotland on a false prospectus.” – The Guardian

SNP failing on school standards

“Scotland’s first minister has promised to make improving the country’s education system an SNP priority, amid growing criticism of its record in this area. Nicola Sturgeon said a recent slide in numeracy and literacy among school pupils was unacceptable and that it would be wrong to suggest the education system was good enough. Education will be a political battleground in the run-up to next year’s election for Holyrood, as battered opposition parties attempt to regain momentum following the SNP’s landslide win in Scottish seats at the UK general election.” – Financial Times

  • Average Scot still has £1600 more spent on them than south of the border – Daily Mail

First Minister of Northern Ireland in hospital after heart attack

DUP logo“Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson will spend the night in hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack. The 66-year-old DUP leader was taken to specialist cardiac unit at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital in an ambulance after seeking treatment at the Ulster Hospital, before undergoing a procedure. A spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party said: ‘The First Minister felt unwell this morning and has been admitted to the hospital for some further tests.’ Senior party sources have confirmed he is being treated for a suspected heart complaint.” – Daily Mail

>Today: MPs Etc.: A good election for unionism in Northern Ireland

News in Brief:

  • Doctors claim NHS database could put confidentiality at risk – Daily Mail
  • Health Service wasting millions on ‘failing’ obesity strategy – The Times (£)
  • Goldman Sachs warns of ageing population’s debt time bomb – Daily Telegraph
  • Just 36 per cent of British aid spending goes to poorest countries – The Sun (£)
  • UK market review to push for tougher sentences after city scandals – Financial Times
  • First Libor defendant faces trial in London – The Guardian
  • Over 100,000 sign petition urging Government to force supermarkets to donate food – The Independent