EU 1) Cameron undermined as ministers join Tory ‘Out’ group

CAMERON EU fence“David Cameron is facing a growing Tory revolt over his plan to keep Britain in the European Union, as his own ministers have joined a new group preparing for an “out” campaign. The Eurosceptic organisation, Conservatives for Britain, which had just over 50 members last weekend has now swelled to include 110 Tory MPs. A further 12 MEPs and 13 peers are also supporting for the organisation, which will demand that Britain leaves Europe if Mr Cameron cannot secure drastic changes to the terms of EU membership before a referendum. The development will be a further blow to the Prime Minister’s authority over his party, which has already been undermined over Europe.” – Sunday Telegraph

EU 2) Tory donors recruit Cummings to anti-EU campaign

“In a fresh challenge to David Cameron’s authority, Conservative donors and MPs have recruited Dominic Cummings, one of the prime minister’s fiercest internal critics, to kick-start the campaign to defeat him in the referendum. Cummings, a former special adviser to Michael Gove, was secretly signed up three weeks ago to co-ordinate the “no” launch amid growing anger from senior Tories that the prime minister is failing to demand enough powers back from Brussels. The campaign is expected to go public with a list of backers shortly. Cummings ran Business for Sterling, which helped to keep the UK out of the euro. He also helped to run a successful campaign against a northeast regional assembly in 2004. Cummings was asked to get involved by Matthew Elliott, a Tory who runs the Eurosceptic group Business for Britain and led the “no” campaign against the AV system in 2011.” – Sunday Times (£)

EU 3) Hoey spearheads Eurosceptic Labour rebellion

Kate_Hoey_1395758a“Labour MPs are mounting a rebellion against their party’s traditionally pro-Brussels line by forming a new anti-EU group. The MPs hope Labour for Britain (UK), which is expected to be launched on Tuesday, will give voice to the rarely publicised Eurosceptic wing of the party. Backed by the party’s largest individual donor, it will call for Labour to end its ‘love-in’ with Brussels and call for an ‘out’ vote in the referendum on Britain’s EU membership unless David Cameron wins radical reforms.” – Mail on Sunday


  • Why Labour must end its EU love-in and save our country – Kate Hoey, Mail on Sunday

>Yesterday: Marc Glendening in Comment: Tolerance through censorship: Blair’s new European project

EU 4) Janet Daley: This EU pantomime is not what voters asked for

“Maybe it is precisely my belief that the EU project itself is doomed that makes me see the present stand-off between the UK and the rest of Europe as a sideshow. What follows from this is regret that so much of the political attention and energy being expended on a pantomime could be going into matters that are perfectly within the power of the Government to address at home. The real commitment of Mr Cameron’s first year should be to reforms of the public services and to the tax and benefit system, which need to be accomplished during this gift of a hiatus – this marvellous breathing space – before the opposition regroups.” – Sunday Telegraph

Cameron cracks down on ‘summer surge’ in FGM cases

David Cameron 14-04-15“New laws aimed at preventing young girls being taken abroad to undergo female genital mutilation are to be fast-tracked within weeks, amid fears that the number of cases could soar during the summer holidays. David Cameron has ordered ministers to rush through measures before schools break up next month. The measures will enable local authorities, social workers or police to apply directly to courts to ensure that any individual they suspect of trying to take someone abroad for FGM will have to surrender their passport and other travel documents with immediate effect.” – The Observer

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

Service chiefs warn that cuts are enfeebling the British military

“The Government has begun a new defence review which it says will assess the threats the country faces and the equipment and manpower required to counter them. But there is widespread fear among defence chiefs that it will be a repeat of the 2010 review, which forced sweeping austerity cuts on the Armed Forces and saw the Army cut from 102,000 to 82,000. George Osborne, the Chancellor, has already announced that the Ministry of Defence will have to find another £500 million of cuts this year. Unlike the international aid budget and the NHS, the MoD has not been ring-fenced and further cuts are widely expected.” – Sunday Telegraph

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Osborne flooded with letters from fuel duty campaigners…

OSBORNE non-broken sword“More than 20,000 drivers are pleading with George Osborne not to “fleece” them by hiking fuel duty in next month’s Budget. They have emailed MPs after The Sun on Sunday revealed Treasury plans to increase duty in line with inflation last week. The tax would hit drivers to the tune of £4billion a year by slapping £5 on the price of a tank. The Chancellor has frozen duty for the past five years in line with our Keep It Down campaign.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

…as left-wing economists attack his budget surplus plan…

“Responding to the chancellor’s Mansion House speech earlier this week, they said a law forcing the government to cut spending or raise taxes every year to generate a budget surplus, characterised as Micawber economics, would suck the economy dry and within a few years could trigger another credit crunch. In a letter to the Guardian, coordinated by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies, 77 of the best-known academic economists, including French economist Thomas Piketty and Cambridge professor Ha-Joon Chang, said the chancellor was turning a blind eye to the complexities of a 21st-century economy that demanded governments remain flexible and responsive to changing global events.” – The Observer

…and will Parliament’s renovation bill impact his leadership ambitions?

PARLIAMENT“One senior MP added: “If they get us out we’ll never get back in again. They’ll decide it is too expensive and turn it into a hotel or a tourist attraction.” MPs are so upset at the prospect of relocating that the future leadership ambitions of George Osborne, who may have to decide whether the money is made available, could be affected, another Commons source suggested. “Many MPs say that the prime minister who agrees to them leaving parliament will not be prime minister for very long,” the source said.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Star Wars fan Osborne keeps lightsabers at the Treasury – Mail on Sunday

May keeps ‘snoopers’ charter’ secret

“The home secretary, Theresa May, has refused to share with law enforcement agencies or communications companies the full details of her new “snooper’s charter”, raising fresh fears that she is seeking to limit dissent in order to steamroller the controversial laws through parliament. The revelation, contained in a report into the future of surveillance legislation published by David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, was described as “extraordinary” by the recently retired leader of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde. The original communications data bill, known as the “snooper’s charter”, was blocked by the former deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, three years ago.” – The Observer

BBC faces £500m cuts as Tories prepare to freeze licence fee

BBC Money Funnel“The Government is set for a major confrontation with the BBC over cuts which could slash the Corporation’s budget by up to half a billion pounds a year. Culture, Media and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale is poised to order a five-year freeze in the annual £145.50 licence fee. And a new review is expected to support Tory moves to stop people who refuse to pay the fee being sent to jail. The plans follow Tory claims that the BBC was biased towards Labour during the Election – a charge vehemently denied by BBC chiefs.” – Mail on Sunday

Gove under pressure for donor appointment

“Michael Gove was under fire last night after giving a close pal and Tory donor a job on the Ministry of Justice board. The Justice Secretary removed four independent directors days after his appointment in May. He has now recruited Sir Theodore Agnew into one of the places. The businessman, who gave £134,000 to the Tories from 2007 to 2009, also served on the Education Department board while Mr Gove was in charge. The MoJ said he had “driven efficiencies and improved performance” there.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Can Gove reform prisons as he’s reformed schools?

Miller scrutinises transgender marriage

Wedding Ring“Parliament’s new Women and Equalities Committee will examine a much-criticised “veto” on transgender people who want to change their legal gender. The Conservative former culture secretary, Maria Miller, was elected chairman of the committee last week. She said problems faced by transgender people are an “emerging issue”. Under the 2013 Marriage Act, the spouse of someone who has received a gender recognition certificate legalising the change of gender, must give permission for the marriage to continue.” – Independent on Sunday

New Tory MP abused by SNP supporters after maiden speech

“A new Tory MP has been bombarded with sexist and anti-semitic abuse by SNP supporters after making a joke about the Scots during her maiden Commons speech. High-flying barrister Lucy Frazer was called a ‘Nazi’ and a ‘slag’ for referring to Oliver Cromwell’s suppression of the Scots more than three centuries ago. The furore blew up after she noted that her South East Cambridgeshire constituency was once home to Oliver Cromwell, who ‘defeated the Scots… incorporated Scotland into his protectorate and transported the Scots as slaves to the colonies’.” – Mail on Sunday

Goldsmith bookies’ favourite to win City Hall as Labour hopefuls line up

LONDON-ASSEMBLY“Tessa Jowell and Sadiq Khan head a list of six vying to become the Labour candidate for next year’s London mayoral election. The others on the list are the MPs David Lammy, Diane Abbott and Gareth Thomas, and the journalist Christian Wolmar. Jowell is a former culture secretary and Olympics minister, while Khan quit as shadow justice secretary to focus on the mayoral contest. The six are seeking to capture city hall when Boris Johnson steps down after eight years as mayor. The Conservative MP and environmentalist Zac Goldsmith is the bookmakers’ favourite to win the election.” – The Observer

  • Galloway enters the race for the mayoralty – The Observer

Byrne claims blue-collar exodus cost Labour the election

“LABOUR has haemorrhaged support among pensioners and traditional “blue-collar” voters, according to a damning study of Ed Miliband’s defeat by the shadow minister Liam Byrne. Miliband’s “35% strategy” to win power by wooing former Liberal Democrat voters was also a disaster, with Labour picking up just one in 13 of their votes in key seats where the party lost. In a withering assessment, Byrne said the former Labour leader had “almost nothing to say” to older people, while David Cameron offered “free gold” in the form of the triple pensions lock and freedom to spend retirement nest eggs.” – Sunday Times (£)

Labour leadership 1) Kendall plays up rebel image

Liz Kendall Leader“Wannabe Labour leader Liz Kendall told yesterday of her lifelong rebel streak, which she hopes will propel her party back into power. The feisty MP admits she’s a born agitator — making her qualified to break up the old guard in the way of change. Despite being a new face to most voters, she says that makes her the only “sure bet” to put Labour back on the path to power again. Unlike her main rivals — Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper — Ms Kendall has never held a Cabinet post. But she’s been “leading from the front” since she became head girl at Spice Girl Geri Halliwell’s old school, Watford Grammar.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Labour leadership 2) Burnham seeks the best of Miliband and Blair

“Andy Burnham, the frontrunner in the Labour party leadership contest, claims that he can win back power in five years by building on the best of both Tony Blair and Ed Miliband, in what will be seen as a rebuke to those who have condemned both the former leaders. Before the first televised leadership hustings on Wednesday, the shadow health secretary says there has been an understandably “negative feel” to the debate since Labour lost the general election, but the party must now draw on the positive lessons of its recent history.” – The Observer

Labour leadership 3) Cooper pledges to end child poverty

COOPER Yvette looking right“Yvette Cooper will pledge to restore the target to end child poverty in Britain if she becomes prime minister. In one of the most important speeches of her campaign to be Labour leader on Monday, the shadow Home Secretary will describe child poverty as one of the most serious challenges facing the country, with long-term consequences for the economy, social mobility, family life and community cohesion. A Labour government under her premiership will set targets, backed up by legislation, for eradicating child poverty within a generation.” – Independent on Sunday

Frank Field: We made catastrophic errors with Gordon and Ed, we can’t have another deadbeat

“As if leading us into this political catastrophe was not bad enough, Ed Miliband jumped ship and resigned immediately, catapulting us into a distracting and overly hasty leadership contest when we should instead be discussing what went wrong. Unlike the Tory Party, whose rules allow them to ruthlessly shove aside leaders who fail the crucial test of looking like Election winners, it is almost impossible under current rules to rid Labour of a loser unless they go of their own accord. The leadership election rules minimise the debate we need and reinforce the image that we’re in the pockets of the trade unions. How come? Contenders must be nominated by 35 MPs, a high hurdle that prevents us having the spread of candidates needed to reflect the views of the party and voters.” – Mail on Sunday

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