Cameron claims Human Rights Act has devalued the Magna Carta…

Cameron1“The legacy of Magna Carta has been ‘devalued’ by Labour’s Human Rights Act, David Cameron will say today as Britain commemorates its 800th anniversary. The Prime Minister will say the 13th century charter is the foundation document for human rights worldwide, but the meaning of these rights has become ‘distorted’ in recent years. In a clear sign that he intends to honour his commitment to scrap the Human Rights Act, he will say that it is the ‘duty’ of politicians of the present generation to ‘restore the reputation’ of human rights.” – Daily Mail

  • ‘Good name’ of human rights has been ‘distorted and devalued’, claims Tory leader – Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron promises to sort out the “complete mess” that human rights have become – The Sun (£)
  • The Prime Minister evokes the spirit of Magna Carta – The Times (£)
  • The competing forces that cry out for a constitutional convention – The Independent


  • Cameron is already plotting 2020, and his own legacy – Matthew D’Ancona, The Guardian
  • Magna Carta’s historic significance outstrips its mundane origins – The Times (£) editorial

>Yesterday: Alex Deane in Comment: What does Cameron’s “full second term and no further” pledge mean in practise?

…as opposition grows to his plans to scrap purdah for EU poll

“But there is growing unease about the details of his referendum plans, including scrapping the 28-day ‘purdah’ period during which government, councils and the EU cannot spend public money on campaigning. Mr Paterson insisted Conservatives for Britain is ‘beefing up’ Mr Cameron’s chances of success by demonstrating the level of concern. He urged the Government to avoid a ‘totally home-made’ showdown over the campaign rules by reinstating the ban on public body activity in the final 28 days of the campaign.” – Daily Mail

  • Fifty Conservative MPs to challenge leader over rigged rules – Daily Telegraph
  • Eurosceptic rebellion looms over referendum funding – The Times (£)
  • Dump plans to drop purdah, warns Paterson – Daily Telegraph
  • How Labour MPs are divided on Europe too – Daily Mail


  • Why I’ll be voting to stay in this comic, wasteful, inefficient mess – Chris Deerin, Daily Mail
  • The government should ensure the debate is conducted fairly – The Times (£) editorial


Osborne stands in at PMQs for the first time

Osborne Budget 2015“George Osborne is to cement his position to succeed David Cameron as Tory leader by standing in for him at Prime Minister’s Questions this week. The Chancellor will appear at the Despatch Box at midday on Wednesday, taking questions from MPs on any subject. It comes more than two decades after Mr Osborne began prepping then-Premier John Major for the weekly clash. Under the coalition, Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg covered for Mr Cameron when he was out of the country. But after the Tories won a surprise overall majority on May 7, Mr Cameron was freed from his coalition partners. He quickly named his close friend and chancellor Mr Osborne as First Secretary of State, making him the highest ranked Cabinet minister.” – Daily Mail

Hague criticised for lavish summit that achieved nothing

“William Hague faced criticism last night as it emerged that a high-profile summit he held with Angelina Jolie about rape in war zones cost more than £5million. The former foreign secretary spent four days hosting the lavish summit in London last summer, which he said would help to eliminate the scourge of sexual violence in conflict. With delegates from 123 countries attending, the food bill alone came to more than £299,000, according to figures obtained under Freedom of Information laws.” – Daily Mail

Tories and SNP clash over fiscal autonomy

Scottish flag“The SNP has called on the Tories to stop “playing games with Scotland” as the UK Government confirmed it will reject the call for the power to implement full fiscal autonomy. Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said that fiscal autonomy is the best route to fulfil Scotland’s potential – but Scottish Secretary David Mundell said it will cost every family in Scotland £5,000. Mr Mundell described the plan as a “full fiscal shambles” and confirmed the UK Government will reject an SNP amendment to hand MSPs the power to move to full fiscal autonomy at a time of Holyrood’s choosing. The first day of the committee stage of the Scotland Bill begins today on the floor of the House of Commons when MPs will scrutinise the legislation line by line.” – The Scotsman

Ministers 1) Plan stretch definition of defence spending ahead of NATO report

“Ministers are stretching to the limit what can be counted as defence spending to shoehorn elements of intelligence and overseas aid into the military budget ahead of a Nato report. Government figures have been talking to Nato and the OECD to see what can be re-categorised as defence as Downing Street tries to come as close as it can to the defence alliance’s defence spending target. The talks come ahead of a league table of Nato members’ military spending, which UK officials say will be published on a “comparable basis”. This will be vital for the UK, which has had a narrower definition of the defence budget than other alliance members.” – Financial Times

>Today: Nadhim Zahawi MP’s column: We need a new approach to foreign policy. Here it is.

Ministers 2) Pressure from experts to reveal failing NHS trusts

NHS_Logo“Ministers are under pressure to publish a secret list of hospital trusts that the NHS leadership believes are performing so poorly that they are no longer viable. Identifying hospitals deemed unsustainable should then lead to a substantial cut in the overall number of organisations that provide NHS care, despite the unpopularity of doing so, a group of respected healthcare figures says. The group is urging ministers to publish the list of 90 English trusts that have not achieved foundation trust status, drawn up last year by the NHS Trust Development Authority (TDA), the body which supervises them.” – The Guardian

Boris Johnson: To get the best from both sexes, we must acknowledge their differences

“At the moment we are failing to unlock the talents of both sexes because we are failing to grasp that they are intellectually equal but in some ways emotionally different. Until we work out how to handle and how to compensate for these gender differences, we will continue to see too few female scientists, and too many male kids who are getting left behind by the system. The first step is to recognise that these emotional differences do indeed exist, and to be honest about them.” – Daily Telegraph

New report claims parties are failing to reach beyond their comfort zones

Policy-Exchange-logo“A paper from the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange argues that Labour is still seen as the party of the poor and trade unionists, while the Tories remain most closely aligned with the wealthy. Policy Exchange focused on lower middle class and working class voters in 119 marginal seats. The majority of those surveyed, regardless of their political affiliation, said that they felt “overlooked and unrepresented” by politicians in Westminster. Policy Exchange said it found that Labour was widely perceived as the party of those on benefits and trade union members, while the Conservatives were seen as being on the side of business and of the rich.” – City AM

  • Labour still seen as the party of welfare claimants – Bloomberg

>Yesterday: Louise Burfitt-Dons in Comment: There was no sign of ‘One Nation’ in Labour’s election

Unions square up to resist Government reforms

“Britain’s biggest public sector union has vowed to fight the Conservative government’s “vicious and vindictive” strike laws in parliament and the European courts. Dave Prentis, Unison’s general secretary, said the union would build alliances with civil liberties advocates to resist the “anti-democratic” legislation, which would set a 50 per cent turnout threshold for strike ballots and a higher bar for strikes that affect public services. The comments from Mr Prentis, usually seen as one of Britain’s more pragmatic trade unionists, suggest the unions are preparing for a battle with the government over the next five years.” – Financial Times

  • Union leader threatens illegal strike if rules tightened – The Independent
  • Unison boss warns that attempts to ‘crush’ unions will fail – The Guardian

Cooper and Burnham proclaim death of ‘Taliban New Labour’

BLAIR demon eyes“Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, the front-runners for the Labour leadership, have joined forces to pronounce the death of “Taliban New Labour” and declare the Blairites’ attempt to recapture the party a failure… At the start of the contest, the Blairite Liz Kendall, a surprise entrant, impressed commentators with what was described as an unexpectedly clear vision from the Right of the party. However, sources close to Mr Burnham and Mrs Cooper said they no longer saw her as a threat after a “flat” week last week which saw her fail to impress in a series of media interviews and hustings event.” – Daily Telegraph


  • Labour’s past is killing its future – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • The winner of this bloody feud will be Unite – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)

Campaign mounts for new mechanisms for ditching Labour leaders

“Labour MPs are demanding a “trapdoor mechanism” to allow the parliamentary party to drop a failing leader before an election. The veteran parliamentarians Frank Field and Margaret Hodge and six other MPs have called for the rule change, inspired by the Conservative party constitution, which allows the Tories “to ruthlessly shove aside” floundering leaders. The group have written to John Cryer, the chairman of the Labour party, asking him to “change our rules so that if he received, say, 30 signed letters from Labour MPs asking him to call a vote of confidence in the leader, such a vote would have to be put. Who signs the letters should remain anonymous until that debate takes place.”” – The Times (£)


  • Harman’s the man for Labour, so why isn’t she running? – Peter McKay, Daily Mail

Tim Montgomerie: Labour needs to learn from the Tories on ditching deadweight captains

MILIBAND Red Ed“As nominations in the leadership race close today Her Majesty’s opposition needs a mechanism to revisit the danger of rushed conclusions. As Frank Field and other Labour MPs have recommended, removing a leader needs to be a lot easier. As in many things, Labour needs to adopt the Tory approach and allow a no-confidence vote if, say, 30 anonymous Labour MPs trigger one. And one bonus thought for Labour: Chuka Umunna, Dan Jarvis or Keir Starmer may not be ready now but by 2018 or 2019 they might well be.” – The Times (£)

Murphy makes final speech of his political career

“Jim Murphy will make what he has called the final speech of his political career at a thinktank in London after formally stepping down as leader of Scottish Labour. Murphy, whose talk at Policy Exchange on Monday follows his departure at the weekend, had secured a series of reforms he argued would help set the party on a path to recovery following its devastating general election defeat in which it lost all but one of its Westminster seats in Scotland. In a relaxed valedictory address following a meeting of Scottish Labour’s executive committee in Glasgow on Saturday, Murphy described the election defeat as “traumatic””. – The Guardian

  • Defeated Scottish leader claims Labour blew its best chance of winning in 20 years – Daily Telegraph
  • Dugdale ‘too experienced’ to be Labour leader – The Scotsman

SNP threaten new referendum if they can’t claim powers at will

SNP logo white background“The SNP has threatened to call for a second independence referendum if the government fails to devolve more powers to Holyrood. Stewart Hosie, the Scottish Nationalists’ Westminster Treasury spokesman, gave the strongest indication yet that his party could revisit a vote before a Commons debate today on the Scotland Bill. SNP parliamentarians will push for amendments that would allow Edinburgh to claim powers rather than Westminster devolving them.” – The Times (£)

Salmond accused of sexism a second time

“Alex Salmond has been accused of sexism for the second time — after refusing to apologise for telling a senior Tory to behave herself. The SNP politician had a heated on-air row with journalist Zoe Williams. He claimed his critics simply don’t understand the “vernacular of Scotland” and said he does not regret the remarks. Ms Williams accused him of calling her stupid and not knowing anything about Scottish politics. The Scot also warned Ms Williams not to play up to the radio audience and added, “you’re definitely not being entertaining”.” – The Sun (£)

  • Former leader claims critics of sexist remark do not understand Scottish language – Daily Telegraph


  • If we don’t speak up against sexism, it will never go away – Zoe Williams, The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Chilcot faces calls to resign as report is delayed again – Daily Mail
  • ISIS internet agents lured British teen bomber – The Times (£)
  • Renewable power could overtake coal within 15 years – Financial Times
  • Burma edges towards a nightmare – The Independent
  • Syriza left demand ‘Icelandic’ default as Greek resistance stiffens – Daily Telegraph
  • Business tax could close 80,000 shops in two years, ministers warned – Daily Mail