Cameron rules out leaving the ECHR, claims the Daily Telegraph…

Cameron1“David Cameron has ruled out withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights despite objections from Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary, and Theresa May, the Home Secretary. In the first major cabinet split since the election, Mr Gove and Mrs May believe that pulling out of the convention entirely may be the “only solution” to re-establishing the supremacy of British courts over Strasbourg judges. The Conservatives last year threatened to pull out of the convention to help free Britain from the edicts of Strasbourg judges, which have seen serious criminals use the human rights laws to avoid deportation.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UN expert compares UK withdrawal plans to Nazi persecutions – Daily Telegraph


  • The moral case for a British bill of rights – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The ECHR. Gove v May, Round Two?

…as senior European politicians support his drive for a ‘two-speed’ Europe

“Two senior European politicians have sketched the outline of a possible pre-referendum deal with David Cameron that would allow Britain to become a kind of “low-definition” member of the European Union. Emmanuel Macron, the French Economy Minister, said that it was time to “accept the idea of a two-speed” Europe in which some countries would stand aside from progress towards greater unity and integration. Meanwhile, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat, urged other members to accept Mr Cameron’s demand for Britain to be exempted from the EU objective of an “ever-closer union”.” – The Independent

  • Fifa merely exemplifies the problems that plague international bureaucracies – Matt Ridley, The Times (£)
  • Fifa and the EU are both unaccountable empires – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)


>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Business for Britain presents the Government’s EU renegotiation aims – in their own words

Wolfgang Münchau: Britain has no chance of European treaty change

EU FLag“Germany can be relied on to boycott meaningful eurozone reforms for as long as its economy benefits from the eurozone’s internal imbalances. That might not change for a decade or so. Until that moment arrives, any debate on treaty change is likely to end in failure. There is a saying in Brussels: never waste a treaty change. If you do something this difficult, you have to make sure you get it right. Mr Cameron’s problem is primarily one of timing. The last treaty change took almost eights years from inception to completion. This one may take longer.” – Financial Times

Prime Minister speeds up rollout of childcare pledge

“Some families will get 30 hours a week free childcare by next year, David Cameron will announce today. The PM has ordered the key Tory manifesto promise to be speeded up to get more Brits in work. Pilot projects will see thousands of working parents of three and four-year-olds get the £5,000-a-year giveaway from September 2016 instead of 2017. A taskforce will push through the reforms. Mr Cameron said: “My message is clear — this Government is on the side of working people, helping them to get on and supporting them at every stage of life. That is exactly why we are pressing ahead with these reforms so that not a moment is lost.”” – The Sun (£)

  • Cameron warned that free childcare increase will raise nursery costs – The Times (£)

Osborne extends powerhouse plans to the Midlands

OSBORNE of the north“George Osborne will today pledge to extend his ‘Northern powerhouse’ idea to the Midlands. The Chancellor will continue his drive to devolve power from Whitehall to England’s regions as he sets out plans to make the Midlands an ‘engine for growth’. During a day-long tour of the region, he will hold talks with council leaders on how they can gain additional powers for new super-authorities headed by ‘metro-mayors’. Ministers have already agreed a devolution plan in Greater Manchester for the much-vaunted ‘Northern powerhouse’.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Beth Prescott in Comment: How I helped to get #WorkingClassTories trending on Twitter

Chancellor protects aid spending on foreign police as UK forces face cuts

“In Congo, one UK-funded project built 23 police stations — the same number to have closed in Cheshire, Cumbria, Hants, Leicestershire, Lincs, Thames Valley and Wilts combined. Some 29 stations have closed in Lancs alone, and the number of officers cut by 700. But Chancellor George Osborne has boosted the DfID budget and vowed to keep foreign aid spending at 0.7 per cent of national income. Jonathan Isaby, chief exec of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The authorities need to focus on bobbies on the beat at home, not overseas.” The Police Federation, which represents rank and file cops, says their numbers have been cut by 17,000. Chairman Steve White said: “Budget cuts are severely hampering officers’ ability to protect the public.”” – The Sun (£)

Fallon warns against further cuts to the Armed Forces…

DEFENCE cuts“The defence secretary has given a stark warning about the dangers of war in Asia and the disastrous effect that it could have on the British economy if deep defence cuts go ahead. Michael Fallon told The Times that he refused to accept that the Ministry of Defence would have to make any cuts at all, let alone the £1 billion demanded privately by the Treasury. He also warned of the dangers of soaring tensions in the South China Sea, where China’s construction of military bases on artificial islands has raised fears of a war with America. “Who said I’m going to be asked to cut?” he said, on the sidelines of a meeting of defence ministers in Singapore. “My job is to make sure that the armed forces have what they need to keep Britain safe. That’s what I’ll be negotiating with the chancellor.”” – The Times (£)

Comment and Editorial:

…as Duncan Smith targets child benefit in bid to tame welfare bill…

“Iain Duncan Smith has ordered civil servants to consider fresh cuts to child benefit that could include limiting it to two or three children per family. As the Work and Pensions Secretary tries to cut £12billion from the welfare bill, he has asked his staff to ‘model’ what impact reducing the benefit would have. The Prime Minister spoke out against reductions to child benefit in the run-up to the General Election. But one option being considered is a cap on the number of children eligible for the benefit – a cap at two would save £1billion annually.” – Daily Mail

  • Families with more than two children to lose child benefit – Financial Times

Iain Duncan Smith: We’re giving everyone a chance to get on

idspic“Five years ago, when I was named Work and Pensions Secretary, I embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime process of transforming this country’s welfare state. From the depths of the great recession, we started on a journey to bring in a system that would finally reward work and better support people during difficult times; a system that would not only function more efficiently and deliver necessary savings, but also fundamentally change the lives of people who use it for the better. Earlier this month the Prime Minister asked me to continue this journey, signalling our one-nation Government’s commitment to bringing real change to the welfare state.” – Daily Telegraph

Rudd calls for energy bill cuts as threat of Labour recedes…

“Energy Secretary Amber Rudd wants power suppliers to slash their bills now Labour’s price freeze threat has gone. The Big Six gas and electricity firms cut rates by as little as 1.3 per cent over winter, despite wholesale costs falling by 30 per cent. They insisted they could not pass on much of the worldwide drop due to Ed Miliband’s damaging market intervention pledge. But new Government energy boss Ms Rudd has written to the bosses of British Gas, npower, EDF, e.on, Scottish Power and SSE telling them to look afresh at their prices after the Tories’ election win.” – The Sun (£)

…as Truss declares war on littering

Liz Truss“On-the-spot fines for littering could be doubled to £150 to help tackle the scourge of rubbish blighting Britain. Environment Secretary Liz Truss will also give powers to councils to issue higher fixed penalty notices for the fly-tipping of large items such as fridges and mattresses. Fines for general litter, such as food wrappings, are currently set by councils at between £50 and £80, but Miss Truss will launch a consultation on raising the penalty to £150. There are no fixed penalties for fly-tippers. If taken to court they can be jailed for up to five years or face an unlimited fine, but prosecutions are rare due to the costs involved.” – Daily Mail

  • Wind farm invasion at an end as Tories ‘pull plug’ on new turbines – Daily Express
  • Wind industry makes last-ditch attempt to save subsidies – Daily Telegraph

Clark orders ministers to find state-owned land for new housing

“Ministers will be urged to find thousands of acres of state-owned land to create more sites for housebuilding. Greg Clark, the new Communities Secretary, wants to use the land for 150,000 homes by 2020. Tomorrow he will tell departments across Whitehall they need to ‘loosen their grip’ on sites that are lying idle. It could see homes being built on land owned by the NHS or the Ministry of Defence. Mr Clark will chair the first meeting of the new Cabinet housing taskforce tomorrow.” – Daily Mail

Tories call for a free vote on Europe

EU Exit“David Cameron should allow his ministers to campaign for either the ‘in’ or ‘out’ camps in the referendum on EU membership, two former Tory Cabinet members have said. Pro-European former Chancellor Ken Clarke and leading Eurosceptic MP John Redwood have both called on the Prime Minister to suspend collective responsibility and allow ministers to choose a side. Mr Cameron has so far avoided questions about whether he will let the Eurosceptics campaign against him if – as expected – he pushes for Britain to stay in the EU on better terms.” – Daily Mail

Conservative MP faces claims he helped UKIP target Labour voters

“Hampshire constabulary are looking into claims that Royston Smith, the new Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen, handed the constituency’s Ukip candidate intelligence and a specially designed leaflet to help him target potential Labour/Ukip swing voters. Former Ukip candidate Kim Rose claims that two months before polling day Smith handed him an envelope marked confidential containing about 55 pages with maps, local election results broken down by area and addresses for traditional Labour voters who had indicated to Tory canvassers they were likely to support Ukip.” – The Guardian

Labour leadership: Cooper attacks rivals and defends Miliband record…

Labour holes“Labour’s leadership race turned nasty this morning after the shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper launched a stinging attack on her rivals for the top job. Ms Cooper accused front-runner Andy Burnham of ‘stigmatising’ the poor after he criticised Labour for giving people on benefits an ‘easy ride’. She also attacked the Blairite Liz Kendall for ‘swallowing the Tory manifesto’ by distancing herself from a series of Ed Miliband’s core policies. Ms Cooper, who is married to the former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, said she still supported the 50p top rate of tax and refused to commit to reducing the benefit cap so no family can earn more than £23,000 a year in state handouts.” – Daily Mail

  • Yvette hits out at left and right – The Times (£)
  • Burnham criticises Kendall over NATO commitments – The Sun (£)
  • At last, the battle heats up – Daily Express
  • Khan claims ‘aspiration’ is leadership contest’s most overused word – The Guardian
  • Labour supporters split down the middle on future direction – The Sun (£)

…as Harman rules out probationary leader…

“Harriet Harman has rejected the proposal that a new Labour leader should be put up for re-election in three years’ time, as she announced a “truth and reconciliation” commission to discover why her party lost the general election. The interim Labour leader said she disagreed with a suggestion from the shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, supported by leadership hopeful Liz Kendall, that the party should have an early chance to dismiss the new leader if he or she were found wanting. Harman said that, once a leader was elected under the new “one-person, one-vote” system, it was “for them to be getting on and doing that job” for five years. The intervention will be a blow for Kendall who, as a relatively inexperienced candidate, may have felt she would have a better chance of winning in a few years’ time should a more established figure, such as frontrunner Andy Burnham, be chosen in September.” – The Guardian

…and Burnham claims England should boycott the 2018 World Cup

Andy Burnham“Andy Burnham, the favourite to become the new Labour Leader says England should boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Mr Burnham, MP for Leigh, said that someone needs to take a stand against corruption in Fifa and military aggression by Russia. Speaking on the BBC’s Pienaar’s Politics, he said: “I’ve long had my doubts about Russia holding the next World Cup. “Now with all of this, I believe there is a pretty overwhelming case for England taking a stand and saying we should not participate in the next World Cup given the current appalling state of Fifa.” The FA have faced growing pressure to do more to condemn Fifa, following the US indictment and arrests earlier this week.” – The Independent

Carswell and Farage clash again over HIV comments

“Ukip MP Douglas Carswell reignited his feud with Nigel Farage this morning after publicly slamming his election attacks on foreign HIV sufferers receiving treatment on the NHS. Mr Carswell, who is Ukip’s only representative in the Commons, said the remarks were ‘mean-spirited’ and ‘wrong’. It comes after the pair clashed in the wake of Mr Farage’s dramatic decision to ‘unresign’ as party leader following his election defeat earlier this month. The Ukip leader appeared to blame Mr Carswell for a failed plot oust him. It came after the MEP Patrick O’Flynn was forced to stand down after describing Mr Farage as ‘snarling, thin skinned and aggressive’.” – Daily Mail

Williams backs Lamb for Liberal Democrat leadership

Lib Dem Logo“Shirley Williams, the founding member of the Social Democratic party, has backed former care minister Norman Lamb to replace Nick Clegg as leader of the Liberal Democrats. In a statement, Lady Williams described Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, as one of the finest MPs and ministers she had met in her “long political life”. “He is a wonderful constituency MP, a man who has brought politics at its best to his county,” she said, adding: “Norman became a parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in 1992, a time when personal ambition might have led many politicians to a party that offered a better chance of becoming an MP.”” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Britain sends more troops to fight ISIS – Daily Mail
  • More tax evaders jailed but they serve less time – Financial Times
  • Doctors hail ‘spectacular’ step towards cancer cure – The Times (£)
  • Defiant Tsipras threatens to ignite European crisis – Daily Telegraph
  • NSA loses phone monitoring powers – Financial Times
  • Queen’s income to face scrutiny as public funding for monarchy rises to £40m – The Independent
  • Adults using children as ‘Oliver Twist’ style pickpocketing gangs – Daily Mail