Europe 1) Prime Minister faces showdown over votes for 16 year olds

CAMERON EU fence“Sixteen and seventeen year olds are ‘almost certain’ to get to vote in the EU referendum, under plans being hatched by peers to defeat David Cameron. The Conservatives oppose letting younger teenagers vote, as they did in the referendum on Scottish independence last year, saying the franchise should only be over-18s as in general elections. An attempt to extend the vote to 16-year-olds failed in the House of Commons this afternoon with MPs voting by 310 to 265 against it.” – Daily Mail

  • Lib Dems could use Lords power to try to force EU voting age bill – The Guardian
  • Franchise extended to 16 in Scotland hours after being barred for EU referendum in London – The Independent
  • Cameron quiet on EU reform details – Financial Times
  • EU chief decries reform bid as “driven by hate” – Daily Mail
  • Schulz claims UK ‘belongs to Europe’ – Daily Telegraph


  • Why votes at 16 is more dangerous than you think – Michael Deacon’s sketch, Daily Telegraph

EU 2) MPs from Tories, Labour and UKIP set up embryonic Out group

“Secret meetings between three Tory MPs, three Labour MPs and Ukip’s only MP have been held every week since the election. They have agreed to form a committee that they hope will form the basis of the “no” campaign. Tory MPs on the “exploratory committee” include Owen Paterson, the former Cabinet minister, Steve Baker, chairman of the Conservatives for Britain group, and Bernard Jenkin, the veteran Eurosceptic campaigner. Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins and Graham Stringer represent Labour while Douglas Carswell attends with the knowledge of Nigel Farage, his party leader. The Ukip donor Stuart Wheeler is one of a number of cross-party funders, according to the group.” – The Times (£)

  • Blow to Cameron as Tories lead ‘Brexit Club’ – The Sun (£)
  • Johnson to lead Labour  ‘In’ group – The Guardian

EU 3) Sturgeon demands role in negotiations but sets out no demands

Nicola Sturgeon“Nicola Sturgeon has demanded David Cameron take into account her views during his talks with European leaders about renegotiating Britain’s EU membership. The First Minister called for the creation of a “forum” by which the UK’s three devolved administration can have “direct input” into the Prime Minister’s negotiating stance with other EU member states. But she failed to set out any reforms that she would like to see implemented, prompting claims from some Tory insiders she is more interested in accusing Mr Cameron of ignoring Scotland than changing the EU for the better.” – Daily Telegraph


Cameron claims British Muslims are helping jihadis…

“Too many British Muslims ‘quietly condone’ extremism, David Cameron will say today. In a blunt speech, he will urge families to speak out against the ‘poisonous ideology’ driving hundreds of young people to wage jihad for Islamic State. The Prime Minister will also call for parents to stop blaming police and the security services for failing to prevent British teenagers heading to Syria. Parts of the Muslim community are guilty of normalising hatred of democracy and western values, he warns – making it easier for violent extremism to take hold.” – Daily Mail



…as he invites Egypt’s autocratic ruler to the UK

Egypt flag“David Cameron has invited President Sisi of Egypt to London for talks, a day after a death penalty verdict against his predecessor was upheld in Cairo. The prime minister’s spokeswoman confirmed that an invitation had been issued and defended Downing Street’s offer to host the leader who in 2013 overthrew Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader. On Tuesday, a Cairo court sentenced Mr Morsi and five members of the Muslim Brotherhood to death by hanging.” – The Times (£)

Health 1) Hunt announces that GPs who work weekends will receive bonuses

“Family doctors will be offered cash incentives for agreeing to work weekends under plans announced by the Health Secretary. Jeremy Hunt has also pledged to slash GPs’ paperwork to ease their workload and give them more time to spend with patients. But he has told them that in return they must be willing to take on appointments on Saturdays and Sundays, not just during the working week. Details of these incentives, including how many family doctors they will be offered to, are still being thrashed out.” – Daily Mail

  • GPs to receive ‘golden hellos’ in hiring drive – The Times (£)
  • Hunt pledges new deal to ease GP workloads… – The Guardian
  • …but could face legal action over ‘watering down patient safety’ – The Guardian

Health 2) Wollaston calls for school weigh-ins and a sugar tax

Sugar cube“A Tory health boss wants primary schools to weigh pupils regularly and tell parents if their kids are fat in a bid to tackle obesity. Dr Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Commons health select committee, also called for taxes on sugary drinks. And she demanded a crackdown on cheap treats in supermarkets. The GP warns overweight children are “heading for an early grave”. – The Sun (£)

Rudd brings wind subsidies to an early end…

“Taxpayer subsidies for wind farms are to be axed a year early with local people given chance to block turbines near their homes. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd today said ‘we’ve got enough wind energy’ as she promised to end new public subsidies for onshore developments. But the Scottish government immediately threatened a legal challenge to the decision, claiming it will have a ‘disproportionate impact’ north of the border. During the election campaign, the Conservatives promised to ‘halt the spread of onshore wind farms’. David Cameron warned they often fail to win public support and are unable by themselves to provide the energy capacity that the country needs.” – Daily Mail

  • Rural Scotland’s delight at the subsidy axe… – Daily Telegraph
  • Scotland attacks ‘irrational’ wind decision – Financial Times
  • Thousands of turbines may still be built – Daily Telegraph
  • Ministers ordered to publish secret report on the impact of fracking on house prices – Daily Telegraph

…as Grayling attacks coffee chain for refusing milk from badger cull areas

GRAYLING collarless“Caffè Nero’s policy not to stock milk from farms in the badger cull area because of pressure from animal rights activists was “utterly unacceptable”, a Cabinet minister has said. Chris Grayling, the leader of the House of Commons, said the coffee shop chain was wrong to make the decision and had “damaged the livelihood” of people unconnected to the row. The Tory frontbencher warned other firms not to bow to pressure from animal rights supporters who threatened protests over such incidents. Mr Grayling’s intervention follows a decision by the Government to proceed with pilot culls of badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset to control the spread of TB in cattle.” – Daily Telegraph

Fraser Nelson: Conservatives must seize this chance to rethink climate change policy

“Just two months ago, the Tories could not have hoped to do much. They expected to either lose the election, or be forced into another coalition with the Liberal Democrats, whose enthusiasm for the green agenda precluded serious Tory reform in the last parliament. So they didn’t bother coming up with a modern environmental policy, given the negligible chance of being able to implement one. Lord Cooper, Cameron’s former chief strategist, put the chances of outright Tory victory at 0.5 per cent, which gives a sense of how little they prepared for one. Now, majority has emerged – but a proper Conservative agenda has not.” – Daily Telegraph

MoD budget cuts announced on 200th anniversary of Waterloo

OSBORNE penknife“Crucial training for thousands of troops to repel a Russian tank invasion has been cancelled as part of new defence cuts, The Sun can reveal. In a bid to shave an extra £500m from the MoD’s budget, tank and infantry war games this year for 4,600 soldiers in Canada are being scrapped. And mock battles for 2,400 Army troops in Kenya have also been binned, after generals were forced to cut foreign exercises by two thirds. The decisions – which emerged on the Battle of Waterloo’s 200th anniversary – were forced on furious defence chiefs two weeks ago when Chancellor George Osborne demanded a surprise half a billion pounds of “savings” this financial year. – The Sun (£)

  • Defence chiefs warn Osborne in secret meeting not to rob Britain of ‘fire power’ – Daily Telegraph
  • NATO head ‘relying’ on UK to meet spending target – Financial Times


  • Osborne must cut further and faster or our future is bleak – Jonathan Isaby, The Times (£)

>Today: Cllr David Hodge in Local Government: Surrey County Council will save another £200m by 2020

Committees 1) Opponent of defence cuts appointed to key chairmanship

“Tory MP Julian Lewis, a fierce critic of his party’s record on defence spending, has been elected as chair of the Commons defence select committee, giving him a prominent platform from which to oppose further spending cuts. Mr Lewis, who replaces Rory Stewart — who has become a junior environment minister — recently warned that the Tory leadership had left the UK’s capabilities “enfeebled”. He has joined the ranks of politicians calling for the government to make a firm commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence — a Nato pledge.” – Financial Times (£)

  • Julian pranced in, a gloating smile on his chops – Quentin Letts’ sketch, Daily Mail

Committees 2) Tactical voting by Tories and SNP accused of neutering Public Accounts Committee

PARLIAMENT“A low-profile Labour MP has been elected to run one of parliament’s most important select committees after Conservative and Scottish National party MPs voted to scupper the front­runner. Meg Hillier was elected to succeed Margaret Hodge, the MP for Barking, in running the public accounts committee (PAC), which scrutinises public spending. Ms Hodge earned a reputation for pulling no punches on issues such as tax avoidance and bankers’ pay. Ms Hillier — who was dismissed by Ed Miliband from his shadow cabinet in 2011 after briefings that she was “lacklustre” — beat Gisela Stuart, a spirited Labour Eurosceptic MP, under the alternative vote system… Angry MPs claimed that tactical voting had ushered in a weaker candidate to give government and institutions an easier ride.” – The Times (£)

Committees 3) Norman to oversee BBC charter renewal

“An Old Etonian Tory who clashed with David Cameron over Lords reform has been elected to chair the committee of MPs that will monitor the renewal of the BBC Charter over the next 18 months. Jesse Norman, the MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, beat fellow Conservative Damian Collins in the contest for leadership of the culture, media and sport select committee. The 52-year-old former banker is a published author and director of the Hay Festival who has campaigned for more transparent funding of football and better rural mobile and broadband services.” – The Times (£)

  • BBC boss warns Government: Don’t mess with us – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Peter Heaton-Jones MP in Comment: Scrapping the licence fee is not the answer to the challenges facing the BBC

Committees 4) Critic of Government’s poverty record will scrutinise welfare reform

FIELD Frank grey“A fierce critic of the government’s record on tackling poverty has been elected to examine its plans to shake up the welfare system and cut spending on benefits by £12bn. As chair of the Commons work and pensions and select committee, the veteran Labour MP Frank Field will lead scrutiny of moves to replace benefits and tax credits with Universal Credit. It will also oversee the moves by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, to cut the welfare bill, as well as the operation of benefits sanctions and pensions reform.” – The Independent

  • Field, Norman, and Hillier elected to committees – The Guardian
  • Burnham claims a campaign to demonise benefit claimants is underway – The Independent


  • It’s fantastic to blow your own trumpet – Donald Macintyre’s sketch, The Independent

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Jesse Norman wins Culture, Julian Lewis Defence…and Meg Hillier is the new Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

Phil Collins: The Tories risk blowing their big opportunity

“The opening credits of a majority Conservative government have now played and clues on Europe, human rights, fox hunting and spending cuts have flashed up in the first frames. To take up the first 18 months of the government with a European negotiation that will make no difference to the way people vote in the referendum is self-indulgence close to madness. The Tory party has also conjured, for no obvious reason, a battle over the Human Rights Act and brilliantly positioned itself against one of the better angels of our nature. The sight, in the next scene, of impassioned Conservatives feverishly relishing the chasing of foxes will remind the nation that, at its worst, the Tory party is the preserve of the posh in fancy dress.” – The Times (£)

Labour leadership 1) Focus on Corbyn is a disaster, claim MPs

LABOUR dead rose“Labour MPs have vented frustration at the limelight given to a hard-left leadership candidate who got on the ballot paper because of support from MPs who do not want him to win. Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran CND activist and anti-austerity champion, stole much of the attention at Wednesday night’s BBC hustings. The MP for Islington set out a series of populist left-wing positions, opposing cuts, private involvement in public services and the Iraq war, drawing praise from vocal left-wing audience members in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Some Labour MPs fear that the leadership race will harm the party’s reputation in the eyes of middle England.” – The Times (£)

Labour leadership 2) Kendall supports a points-based immigration system

“Britain should introduce a strict ‘Australian-style’ points-based immigration system of the kind advocated by Ukip, one of Labour’s leadership contenders has said. Liz Kendall, widely seen as the Blairite candidate for the job, told a BBC Newsnight hustings of candidates that Australia’s system was worth emulating. Ms Kendall deployed various anti-immigrant tropes in her argument for the new controls, repeating claims about migrants “scrambling onto lorries from Calais” to live off the British welfare state.” – The Independent

Labour leadership 3) Cooper won’t use Balls as her ‘political wife’

COOPER Yvette looking right“Yvette Cooper today mocked politician’s wives who are paraded during conferences and elections campaigns, vowing that if she becomes Labour leader she will not forced husband Ed Balls to kiss her on stage. The shadow home secretary said the idea of leaders’ spouses posing on stage was ‘dated’ and insisted Britain should be ‘long beyond the era’ of expecting the cheesy ritual at political events. Ms Cooper also said it was ‘cool’ to have her campaign to be Labour leader compared to Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first female U.S. President.” – Daily Mail

Jowell claims her age is an advantage in mayoral race

“With Labour reeling from its defeat in the general election, Dame Tessa is bidding not only to run the capital but also to jolt her party out of its decline. As she warned this week, Labour has lost the art of winning. “It’s a very tough message, because we’ve got to get Labour out of its comfort zone. I just know I can win this, and Labour has got to win again. If we don’t win in London next year, it will be 2020 before we have another opportunity to win a big election.”” – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

  • Mayoral candidate tells opponents to ‘call the dogs off’ – The Independent
  • Watch: leading candidate ‘lies’ over her love for Blair – The Independent

Blair accused of bolstering Putin regime…

BLAIR demon eyes“The former Prime Minister ‎spoke at the St Petersburg Economic Forum alongside ministers from Putin’s regime, oligarchs and businessmen targeted by Western sanctions. His attendance at the summit ‎in the Russian president’s home town came just hours after he was offered a job as an adviser by the president of Ukraine‎, whose country has been dismembered by Russian separatists. It sparked accusations that he is courting both sides of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in a bid to further his worldwide business interests.” – Daily Mail

  • Mandelson attends Russian ‘vanity summit’ – The Times (£)
  • Cherie’s firm is accused of ‘unethical profiteering’ in the Maldives – The Independent

Comment and Editorial:

Rowling faces fresh wave of online abuse after questioning pro-SNP journalism

“JK Rowling is at the centre of a new online row after challenging the claim that there is no longer any anti-English sentiment in the SNP. The Harry Potter author caused a Twitter spat after questioning a statement by a journalist that “every trace of ethnic nationalism was expunged from the party in the 1970s”. The hugely successful writer, who has been abused repeatedly by so-called “cybernat” trolls for donating £1 million to the Better Together campaign during the referendum, tweeted that it was “quite a claim”.” – Daily Telegraph

UKIP dumps Evans for criticising leader

UKIP glass“The deputy chair of Ukip Suzanne Evans was dumped as the party’s spokesperson last night – after saying Nigel Farage shouldn’t lead the EU “Out” campaign. Ms Evans said the outspoken Ukip chief was viewed by voters as a “very divisive” figure and it would be better someone else to lead the bid to take Britain out of Europe. Within hours, a “very angry” Nigel Farage was said to have ordered Ukip officials to have no further contact with her – and to scrap her media work. A scathing internal email – sent by party director Steve Stanbury – read: “I have just spoken to Nigel and in light of Suzanne Evans’ comments I am issuing this directive.”” – The Sun (£)

News in Brief:

  • Underground drivers on £50k to strike over all-night services – Daily Mail
  • Greece must pay up, demands IMF chief Christine Lagarde – Daily Telegraph
  • Commons fix-up may cost £7bn and take 32 years – The Sun (£)
  • Drug trials back firm that paid for them in 97 per cent of cases – The Times (£)
  • Scrap GCSEs, calls head of business lobby – Financial Times
  • IEA celebrates 60 years – City AM
  • Soaring price of fuel is forcing drivers off the road – Daily Mail

And finally… new Thatcher papers reveal joy and fears as Falklands recaptured

Thatcherpic“A secret handwritten account of the Falklands War by Margaret Thatcher has been published for the first time today. The 128 page, 17,000 word handwritten memoir of the 1982 conflict reveals for the first time her anxiety on the eve of battle and her joy at winning back the islands from Argentina. Experts today declared it ‘the single most significant historical document Margaret Thatcher ever wrote’ – and was so secret only her husband Denis probably knew about it.” – Daily Mail

  • Iron Lady’s raw emotion over battle is put online – The Times (£)
  • Prime Minister showed no reaction after ordering Belgrano sunk, papers reveal – The Independent
  • Thatcher’s fury at BBC ‘aiding the enemy’ – Daily Telegraph