Deflation arrives, for the first time since 1960

money‘Deflation has officially struck the UK for the first time in 55 years due to tumbling food and energy prices. The consumer prices index of inflation finally fell to -0.1 per cent in April, after threatening to turn negative for months, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed. It was the first bout of deflation since official records began in 1996 and the first time “since 1960 based on comparable historic estimates”, the ONS said.’ – The Times (£)

  • Respite for consumers, but still no answer on productivity – The Times Leader (£)
  • The productivity puzzle – John Kay, FT
  • A third of Londoners struggle to afford the basics – FT
  • Sajid Javid visits his home town – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • London’s damaging land shortage – FT Leader
  • A simple trick to raise your pension income by 41 per cent – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: The Deep End: The narrowness of the economic policy debate is blinding us to the bigger picture

Cameron gives Ministers first glimpse of the Queen’s Speech

‘The prime minister took colleagues through each of the measures that will make up his first set of bills as leader of the majority Tory government. High quality global journalism requires investment. They will include a bill to pave the way for the EU referendum, another to give ministers more powers to intervene in failing schools and one to ban them from raising taxes for the next five years.’ – FT

  • …and seeks to put a rocket under the drive to control immigration – The Sun (£)
  • Referendum Bill to be published the day after the speech – The Guardian

>Today: Majority Conservatism: Securing the Majority 3) The Boundary Review

>Yesterday: Chris White on Comment: There may be trouble ahead – with a slim majority, unity is the only way to avoid disaster

Hilton: This government should provide real localism and real choice

HILTON Steve‘In areas like education, healthcare, and the fight against poverty the answer isn’t some staid government bureaucracy running things from London, but truly local – literally neighbourhood – service providers who understand the needs of the community and know the lives of the individual people they serve. They can and must be diverse; we should care less about how outcomes are achieved than that people’s lives are changing for the better. Here’s an example. In education, we need to end once and for all the damaging, outdated notion that all we should aim for is “a good local school”. No! We should be aiming for 20, 30 “good local schools” so every family can choose the education that is just right.’ – Steve Hilton, Daily Telegraph


Geoffrey Howe retires

‘Geoffrey Howe, the man credited with ending Margaret Thatcher’s political career with a dramatic resignation, has retired from the House of Lords with immediate effect. Lord Howe of Aberavon said the “advent of a new Parliament” was the “appropriate” time to bring to an end a political career that has stretched more than half a century. It comes as it emerged more than a dozen peers have resigned after moves by the government to free up spaces in the Lords by encouraging elderly members to step down.’ – Daily Telegraph

More business leaders declare for Brexit

EU Exit‘Eurosceptic business leaders have leapt on comments from the head of JCB over quitting the European Union, with one leading anti-EU boss predicting that many more will follow his lead. After the comments from Lord Bamford, the owner-chairman of the construction machinery manufacturer, that Britain should not be scared of leaving the EU, Peter Hargreaves, co-founder of the Hargreaves Lansdown financial service empire, said last night: “I think there will be a lot more speaking out now. People are getting fed up with being told what to do. We can get out [of the EU] and do our own deals with countries.”’ – The Times (£)

  • French tell Cameron to forget about treaty change – The Times (£)
  • CBI boss raises fears – The Times (£)
  • Europhiles’ awful opening gambit – Nils Pratley, The Guardian
  • Deutsche Bank threatens to leave the UK – Daily Mail
  • Frans Timmermans, the man out to persuade us to stay – FT

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Cameron confirms that Britain will vote as one nation on the EU

>Yesterday: Majority Conservatism: Securing the Majority 2) A Grand Bargain on Europe

The People’s Purge: Evans and O’Flynn out as Farage exacts his revenge

‘Suzanne Evans, the deputy chairman of the UK Independence Party, is set to be replaced by former Tory MP Mark Reckless as part of Nigel Farage’s purge of alleged plotters. Ukip confirmed that Miss Evans, who wrote the party’s election manifesto, has lost her paid policy development brief as Mr Farage imposes his will on the party. She will remain in the unpaid role of deputy chairman…The news comes after Patrick O’Flynn quit as Ukip’s economics spokesman and personally apologised to the Ukip leader for calling him “snarling, thin skinned and aggressive”.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Nigel always wins. And always loses.

Labour leadership 1) Cooper becomes the latest candidate to attack Miliband’s policies

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logo‘Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper launched a blistering attack on Ed Miliband this morning –accusing him of setting the party against business with ‘rude’ and badly thought through policies. Ms Cooper, who is married to the former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, slammed the former Labour leader for criticising bad ‘predator’ companies and promising to increase business taxes. She also savaged her former boss’s radical plan to freeze energy prices – accusing him of making ‘surprise’ economic announcements which quickly ‘backfired’.’ – Daily Mail

  • Why should anyone believe them in 2020? – Daily Mail Leader
  • Mandelson rounds on all the candidates – Daily Telegraph
  • We can’t throw money at the poor, says Hunt – The Times (£)
  • The mansion tax is on the way out – FT
  • Miliband flies back from Ibiza – The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Labour leadership candidates line up to criticise the manifesto they were selling two weeks ago

Labour leadership 2) MPs complain Burnham’s campaign is ‘bullying’ them

‘There is growing anger among Labour backbenchers at the tactics allegedly being used by some of his backers. It’s claimed some MPs have been warned their future career prospects will be affected if they don’t support Mr Burnham. A spokesman for Mr Burnham denied any involvement. He said: “If it’s happening, it’s not from us.” Some sickened MPs have even said that while they will publicly back Mr Burnham, they won’t vote for him when the leadership ballot papers are sent out in the autumn.’ – The Sun (£)

Burleigh: The BBC should be slimmed down

BBC‘John Whittingdale, the new culture secretary, knows this sector well from ten years as chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport select committee. A reasonable approach to the BBC, which resembles an expansionary empire, would scale it back to public service functions for which people might eagerly pay a commensurate licence well below £100. Two of the four TV channels could go, with BBC Two and Four merged and Three sold off or scrapped. Radios 1, 2 and 5 could go commercial, leaving Radios 3 and 4 as vital listening. This reduced version could then offer a better-quality product.’ – Michael Burleigh, The Times (£)

  • The licence fee is on the way out, says Paxman – The Times (£)

Prince Charles and Gerry Adams shake hands

‘Prince Charles held out the hand of friendship to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, the first member of the Royal Family to meet the man accused of being the IRA’s mouthpiece. And in a private meeting with Mr Adams a short while later, the two men spoke of pain, reconciliation – and the assassination of Lord Mountbatten, Charles’s beloved great uncle and mentor, who was killed by an IRA bomb in 1979, just 100 miles from where the landmark meeting took place. For some, the meeting – which also involved former IRA commander Martin McGuinness, now deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland – was a welcome moment for reconciliation. But although Mr Adams later expressed ‘regret’ over Louis Mountbatten’s murder – which he publicly justified at the time – he stopped short of apologising for what had happened.’ – Daily Mail

Network Rail mounts legal challenge against Bank Holiday strike

On strike‘Rail bosses have issued a legal challenge to one of the unions threatening strike action over the bank holiday weekend – citing ‘numerous defects’ in its ballot. Network Rail has asked the TSSA rail union to withdraw notice of industrial action or face High Court action. It claimed there were discrepancies in the validity of some votes cast, where they were cast and spelling blunders.’ – Daily Mail

  • Labour received £1.39 from the unions every second of the election campaign – Daily Mail
  • Downing Street gardeners set to walk out – The Sun (£)

Miriam González defends Clegg’s record

‘In her first public statement since the Liberal Democrats’ trouncing in the general election, Miriam González said the former party leader had formed a coalition for the good of the country. She said that her husband had “negotiated a coalition in five days [and] found stability for the country knowing that this could have a high personal cost . . . a high cost for the party (which has been clearly demonstrated in the election)”.’ – The Times (£)

Violence, binge-drinking and drunken injuries have fallen since 24-hour drinking was introduced

beer‘Booze-fuelled chaos was predicted by some during the controversial introduction of 24 hour drinking in 2005. Under the new Licensing Act, pubs, bars and nightclubs no longer had to close at 11pm. Since then, Institute of Economic Affairs has found alcohol consumption per person fell by 17% – the biggest decline since the 1930s.’ – The Sun (£)

Christian bakers lose gay cake discrimination case

‘A Christian-owned bakery that refused to make a cake carrying a pro-gay marriage slogan has been found guilty of discrimination after a landmark legal action. The Northern Ireland Equality Commission brought the case against Ashers Baking Company on behalf of Gareth Lee, the gay rights activist whose order was declined. Giving her ruling at Belfast County Court on Tuesday, district judge Isobel Brownlie said: “The defendants have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination.’ – Daily Telegraph

NHS end of life care fails thousands, report finds

NHS_Logo‘Many suffered unnecessarily in their final days through lack of pain relief or long delays for routine treatment. Others were wrongly denied their wish to die at home, or missed the chance to say goodbye to loved ones because of poor communication by health workers. The report, prepared by the Parliamentary Health Ombudsman, was described as a ‘harrowing read’ by campaigners.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: John Glen MP on Comment: Cameron’s NHS speech joins the battle for public hearts

Councils splash £750,000 on C-list celebrities

‘Cuts-stricken local councils spent more than £750,000 of taxpayers’ cash booking celebrity acts last year, a Sun investigation found. Scores of C-list stars including the Happy Mondays collected up to five-figure fees for events ranging from Christmas lights to staff training sessions. The Mondays’ led by Shaun Ryder picked up £25,000 in Coventry, while ex-Westlife singer Kian Egan got the biggest fee — £26,800 performing for Armagh Council.’ – The Sun (£)

News in Brief

  • Nine men arrested over Hatton Garden jewellery raid – Daily Mail
  • Gangster caught after police book him for a swimwear modelling job – The Times (£)
  • Gregg’s the Bakers stops selling bread – Daily Mail
  • Student diversity officer could lose job over “kill all men” message – The Independent
  • Uber to challenge Boris’ plans for a minicab cap – FT
  • IPSA pass Galloway complaints to police – The Sun (£)
  • Trident whistleblower arrested – Belfast Telegraph
  • What did Shakespeare really look like? – The Times Leader (£)
  • Fraudster’s 17 girlfriends all show up at his hospital bedside – The Independent

And finally…Balls-room dancing? Ex-Shadow Chancellor may appear on Strictly

‘Strictly Come Dancing is preparing to approach former Labour heavyweight Ed Balls about appearing on the hit show later this year. The ex-Shadow Chancellor’s wife – Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper – let slip that he may don the sequins after his sensational election night defeat.’ – The Sun (£)