Prime Minister orders review on corruption controls for £12bn of British aid…

aidgraphic“David Cameron has ordered a review of the corruption controls on £12billion of British aid money sent abroad, following warnings that huge sums may be going astray. The Prime Minister said last night that he was determined to use the publicity surrounding the FIFA corruption scandal to lead a drive against the ‘cancer of corruption’ both at home and abroad. His move comes after huge criticism of his controversial commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid at a time of austerity at home.” – Daily Mail



…as he seeks swift European reform

“David Cameron will this month push for a speedy conclusion of his EU reform talks, urging fellow European leaders to work towards a deal by the end of the year. The prime minister wants a quick agreement so he has the option of holding a referendum on Britain’s EU membership as early as May 2016, building on the momentum of his recent re-election. Mr Cameron will use a European summit at the end of this month to set out his broad reform objectives and to agree the process by which an agreement can be thrashed out with 27 other member states.” – Financial Times

  • This time next year Britain could be outside the EU – The Independent
  • Lord Lawson predicts that renegotiation will achieve nothing significant – The Independent
  • Prime Minister orders EU to resolve Greek crisis – The Sun (£)


  • The IMF has betrayed its mission in Greece – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Lord Lawson says the EU renegotiation will secure reforms of “no significance at all”

Tories and SNP team up to pressure Osborne over freezing fuel duty

Osborne-Headshot3“Warring Tory and SNP backbenchers are set to team up for the first time to demand George Osborne freezes fuel duty, The Sun can reveal. The two sides — feuding over the Government’s cuts programme — are being brought together by campaigners worried the Chancellor could increase the tax. FairFuelUK wants to form a cross-party “Motoring Coalition” of more than 150 MPs ahead of the Chancellor’s Emergency Budget next month. The move comes as the AA warns that the 10p hike in petrol prices since February means that nearly one in five motorists are already cutting back.” – The Sun (£)

Rudd suggests new power stations must be ‘beautiful’ to win public support

“Britain’s new nuclear power stations and other energy infrastructure projects must be designed to look beautiful to garner essential public support, the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has said. The country is set for a complete overhaul of its energy infrastructure in the next decade as new green sources of electricity such as nuclear, wind and solar power stations replace polluting coal and gas plants. Furthermore, flood defences will need to be built to protect buildings, along with weather-resistant transport, waste and water services, as climate change makes weather conditions increasingly extreme.” – The Independent >Today: Graham Stuart MP in Comment: How the rest of the world is catching up with Britain on climate change legislation

Blunt leads Tory campaign to prevent anti-Heathrow ‘stitch up’

BLUNT Crispin“A group of senior Conservative MPs has warned David Cameron that he must avoid a “political stitch-up” that would favour cabinet ministers, and other party heavyweights led by Boris Johnson, who are campaigning against a third runway at Heathrow airport. Mark Harper, the Tory chief whip, has been told by MPs opposed to a second runway at Gatwick airport that the government must make an impartial assessment when the Airports Commission publishes its findings this summer. Crispin Blunt, the former justice minister who is convening a nine-strong group of Tory MPs, told the chief whip in a meeting earlier this week that cabinet ministers opposed to a third runway at Heathrow airport should “recuse” themselves when the government considers the commission’s findings.” – The Guardian

Bridgen denounces ‘hair shirt competition’ over MPs pay

“Senior politicians are encouraging a “hair shirt competition” with their promises to donate a 10 per cent pay rise to charity, a Conservative backbencher has said. Andrew Bridgen was one of two Tory MPs to warn that there was a danger of a “race to the bottom” over plans to increase pay from £67,060 to £74,000. The MP for North West Leicestershire told the BBC that he was disappointed that ministers and shadow ministers were lining up to denounce the pay rise when “they are on twice as much as a backbencher”. He conceded that politicians “don’t expect any sympathy from the public on this”. He said that the whole idea of creating the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) was to “take the politics out of MPs’ pay”.” – The Times (£)

  • Backbenchers warn Cameron against ‘bullying’ IPSA over pay rise – Daily Mail
  • Greening claims IPSA needs ‘sorting out’ – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Cameron has his cake and eats it on MPs pay

Matthew Parris: The Tories aren’t playing fair on party funding

MANIFESTO money“We have no written constitution in Britain and rely on a web of understandings and half-understandings that are no less important for being cloudier than any authoritative text. I believe one half-understanding is that a party in government would not normally use its majority to enact legislation that undermines the very foundations of a rival party. This is not a strong enough doctrine to prohibit any one-sided interference whatever, but it does place on this government some kind of a duty to talk to the opposition about the plans, and take account of their response.” – The Times (£)

Labour leadership 1) Contenders unanimously back Trident

“Every major Labour leadership candidate has vowed to back keeping Trident in its current form ahead of a decision on renewing the nuclear deterrent next year. Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Mary Creagh all told Progress magazine they supported keeping four Trident submarines and maintaining a continuous at-sea deterrent. It means that the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent will almost certainly be secured for another generation given the Conservatives also support renewal. However it could cause serious tensions within the party amid signs Labour’s new MPs oppose Trident and fears its position drove voters away in Scotland.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Sturgeon urges opposition to back her against Osborne – Daily Telegraph

Labour leadership 2) Burnham calls for a moratorium on fracking

Andy Burnham“A moratorium on fracking should be imposed until stronger scientific evidence can show it is safe to drill for shale gas, Andy Burnham, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, is to say. The former cabinet minister will become the most senior Westminster politician to warn that fracking could pose a danger to communities as licences are “handed out like confetti” on flimsy evidence. The MP for the Greater Manchester seat of Leigh, who will outline his plans on Saturday at a leadership hustings organised by the Fabian Society, told the Guardian: “I was literally left open-mouthed two years ago when I realised there were about nine licences all over my constituency. Some of them are moving forward.” – The Guardian

Farage demands to lead ‘Out’ campaign

“Nigel Farage will make an audacious attempt to lead the ‘out’ campaign with just over two years left to the in/out EU referendum in his first speech since the election on Saturday. The UK Independence Party leader will organise series of public events and meetings all over the country in a move which will sound the starting gun for the “out” campaign. Tens of millions of Britons will be given the chance to vote on whether Britain should leave the EU in a referendum before the end of 2017. The question they are likely to be asked is: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union?”” – Daily Telegraph

  • Join my campaign to leave the EU and get our country back – Nigel Farage, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Planning an EU referendum campaign? Here are the three facts you need to know

SNP warned that schools plan could backfire on high achievers

SNP logo white background“Nicola Sturgeon’s new laws forcing councils to close the appalling gap between the best and worst state schools risk backfiring by reducing standards among high achievers, one of Scotland’s most eminent education experts has warned MSPs. Keir Bloomer, one of the architects of Scotland’s curriculum, attacked the “lack of clarity” over the First Minister’s proposed legislation that a legal duty be imposed on local authorities to narrow the “attainment gap” between schools and report on their progress. With little indication about how councils are expected to tackle a “deeply entrenched” problem that has stumped politicians for more than 50 years, he warned the “danger” was the gap would be closed thanks to falling standards among the best-performing schools.” – Daily Telegraph

Lib Dems 1) Farron takes up cry that party is too male and too white

“The Liberal Democrat leadership hopeful Tim Farron has described his party as “too male and too pale”, promising to ensure that 50% of target seats are represented by women and 10% by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) candidates. Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and a former Lib Dem party president, is standing against the former care minister and MP for North Norfolk, Norman Lamb, to replace Nick Clegg as party leader. In a YouTube video, Farron said it was a disgrace that the lack of diversity within the Lib Dems was still an issue.” – The Guardian

Lib Dems 2) My legacy is a single-tier state pension, claims former Lib Dem minister

Lib Dem Logo“As the UK’s longest-serving pensions minister, Steve Webb was at the centre of historic reforms that will change the shape of retirement for generations to come. But after an election defeat in May, he now finds himself in the position of observer as his successor, pensions expert Ros Altmann, completes the job on state pension reform, the introduction of new freedoms and putting another 5m into retirement saving through automatic enrolment. He offers a word of advice to Baroness Altmann. “I would say to my successor, always measure what you are doing against the big goal of how many people are heading for the kind of retirement that they want,” he says, speaking to the FT three weeks after losing his parliamentary seat. “That is crucial.”” – Financial Times

Lib Dems 3) Kennedy hounded by cybernats following defeat

“As day broke, the already grief-stricken Kennedy, therefore, found himself being subjected to a hysterical and somewhat surreal barrage of abuse via Twitter and Facebook. A cabal of aggressive SNP supporters, part of a movement known colloquially as ‘Cybernats’, spent the ensuing hours spouting bile, describing him as (among other things) ‘disgraceful’, ‘despicable’, a ‘nasty, bitter man’, a ‘sore loser’ and a ‘sad, diminished figure’. Politics is, of course, no place for the thin-skinned. Yet there can be little doubt Kennedy was dismayed by this turn of events.” – Daily Mail

  • Former leader killed by alcohol, family says – The Times (£)
  • Have I Got News for You’s TV tribute to liberal giant – The Guardian


  • Why MPs are still in denial over their drinking culture – Andy McSmith, The Independent
  • Kennedy’s death has reignited debate on a possible Lib Dem-Labour alliance – Andrew Grice, The Independent

News in Brief:

  • Gibb to marry secret partner of 30 years – The Times (£)
  • Health expert calls for cigarette advertising ban to include fast food – Daily Mail
  • Homework ban to save pupils from depression – The Times (£)
  • Nearly one million patients could be having confidential information shared – Daily Telegraph
  • Greek wins contest to design new Euro coin – The Sun (£)
  • Activists want UKIP banned from London pride parade – The Independent
  • Judge finds DWP payment delays unlawful – The Guardian
  • Brand’s £60 sweatshirts manufactured in sweatshops – Daily Mail