EU 1) European leaders rebuff Cameron’s reform proposals

David Cameron 07-06-15‘David Cameron today suffered his worst day yet in his bid to reform the European Union as his plans were rejected by four countries. The Prime Minister met with leaders in Brussels as part of a charm offensive to try and renegotiate the terms of Britain’s membership of the EU ahead of the referendum. But the intensive round of diplomacy turned into a humiliating series of set-backs as each of the four leaders he held one-on-one meetings with rebuffed his proposals.’ – Daily Mail

EU 2) MPs propose new regulator to ensure BBC balance in the referendum

‘Eurosceptic MPs have tabled an amendment to the EU referendum bill calling for the BBC and other broadcasters to be monitored by a new regulator to ensure impartiality in coverage of the in/out vote. The 18 backbench MPs, led by Bill Cash, have tabled a proposal for a “referendum broadcasting adjudicator” to be created to “ensure impartiality” of news coverage. The amendment to the EU referendum bill, which will be debated next week, proposes that the regulator would be would be able to order the correction of any justified complaint in as little as one day.’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: James Cleverly MP on Comment: On Europe, let’s fight hard – and then shake hands

Security 1) Downing Street rejects proposal to give judges oversight of terror powers

Police‘David Cameron rejected plans yesterday to strip ministers of the power to authorise snooping by Britain’s spies, triggering a backlash from Tory MPs. Downing Street made clear that it was unhappy at a proposal by the anti-terrorism watchdog to hand judges the power to authorise the interception of communications. The move dismayed many Conservative backbenchers and privacy campaigners.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Rupert Myers on Comment: Here’s how we can start improving human rights legislation

Security 2) Record numbers of Brits are trained terrorists, warns MI5

‘Britain is facing an ‘unprecedented’ threat from Islamists trained in terrorism overseas, MI5 has warned. In evidence submitted to the inquiry by David Anderson QC, it said the number of extremists who had visited a training camp or fought alongside jihadis was higher than at any point before or after 9/11.’ – Daily Mail

Stamp Duty reforms save buyers thousands – and bring in more cash for the Treasury

HOMES Manifesto‘Stamp duty has more than halved on the average UK property since George Osborne’s radical overhaul of the much-hated tax. Analysis found the amount paid on a typical £273,000 house plummeted from almost £8,200 to £3,650 following the changes last December. However the Government continued to rake in more money from stamp duty as house prices rose and the number of transactions increased.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Brandon Lewis MP on Comment: Our plans to give more people the chance to own their homes

Tyrie challenges Osborne’s claim that the bank bailout was profitable

‘George Osborne used a government-commissioned report by the investment bank Rothschild to claim that the taxpayer was £14.3 billion in profit from the massive bailouts of 2008 and 2009. However, Andrew Tyrie, who is set to be re-elected as chairman of the Treasury select committee, suggested yesterday that the figure was an incomplete assessment of the financial contribution of taxpayers. Mr Tyrie said: “The Rothschild review puts the net gain to the taxpayer from the bank bailouts at £14 billion. This would benefit from a great deal of qualification. It excludes the cost of funding the bailouts. The OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility] put this at £17 billion. And it treats fees paid in exchange for a service as if they were income, or recoveries.”’ – The Times (£)

  • It’s time to sell this bad investment – The Times Leader (£)
  • It’s a bad deal – The Guardian Leader
  • Investors say RBS has a ‘long way to go’ – FT
  • Calls for an end to ‘big stick’ regulation – FT
  • Officials wrestle with welfare reform – FT


Are Royal Mail shares being sold too cheaply?

Royal Mail‘Ministers were accused last night of costing the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds by selling shares in the Royal Mail too cheaply – for a second time. One critic dubbed the debacle ‘sell-off groundhog day’ while a top bank privately told clients the shares were worth far more than their price tag.’ – Daily Mail

Boris challenges London’s rich to pay the Living Wage

‘“London is to the billionaire as the jungles of Sumatra are to the orangutans. In fact, we probably have more billionaires than there are orangutans. And yet hardly any of them are taking the trouble to ensure that the companies they lead or invest in are paying their employees the London living wage.” Boris, now also a Tory MP, has waged a two year campaign to persuade David Cameron to give tax breaks to companies in exchange for paying the Living Wage.’ – The Sun (£)

Labour wins the Tower Hamlets mayoral by-election

ballotbox‘The east London borough of Tower Hamlets has a new Labour mayor just weeks after Britain’s first directly elected Muslim mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was ejected from office by an election court judge. John Biggs beat the Rahman-backed candidate, Rabina Khan, into a close second place in a campaign conducted amid intense police and media scrutiny. It followed an investigation after which Rahman was found guilty of systematic and widespread electoral fraud and banned from office.’ – The Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Rahman’s legacy rejected in Tower Hamlets mayoral election. Now we need a crackdown on election fraud.

Brown: It’s the Conservatives, not us, who have damaged the Union

‘When Scotland’s future was at stake in the referendum, Scots had to choose between Scottish nationalism and support for the union – and many patriotic Scots like me chose to defend the union. But when it has come to a choice between English nationalism and defending the union, the Conservatives are choosing English nationalism. Sadly, this tactic – to divide and rule and put party before country rather than to unite – is one that the Conservatives can return to again and again. It reveals a bigger truth: that while Scotland has not yet written off Britain, the Conservatives are starting to write off Scotland.’ – Gordon Brown, The Guardian

>Today: Iain Dale’s Friday Diary: I am Farage’s election agent and a Lamb campaign activist. In my dreams…


The SNP is accused of misusing statistics to argue for fiscal devolution

Scottish flag‘The Scottish National party has misused statistics in its attempts to justify devolving full tax and spending powers to Scotland, according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies. The SNP announced on Thursday that it would push for a law that would allow Holyrood to demand new powers, rather than having to wait for them to be granted by Westminster.’ – FT

  • Campaigner who trolled Charles Kennedy quits party – Daily Mail

The IPCC decides there will be no further investigation into Orgreave

‘Police will not be investigated over claims that officers used ‘excessive force’ during one of the ugliest clashes of the 1980s miners’ strike. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said yesterday it would not investigate alleged misconduct during the infamous ‘Battle of Orgreave’, a notorious flashpoint in the bitter dispute. The decision comes more than two years after South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the IPCC over claims scores of officers – now retired – used ‘excessive force’ against miners, manipulated statements and gave false evidence in court.’ – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Twitter Chief Executive leaves – Daily Mail
  • Farewell Dracula, Scaramanga and Saruman – The Sun Says (£)
  • Will Azerbaijan display any European values while hosting the European Games? – The Times Leader (£)
  • Teacher in Bradford stabbed by pupil – Daily Mail
  • British backpacker could be charged over nudity which allegedly ’caused earthquake’ – The Independent
  • Residents charged £750 to park outside their own homes – The Times (£)
  • Britain’s biggest baby weighs in at 15 lb 10 oz – The Sun (£)