Osborne and Duncan Smith agree benefit cuts

OSBORNE scissors“George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith have agreed a plan to slash spending on benefits by £12bn a year — defying claims that the government’s welfare reforms would be watered down. In an article for The Sunday Times, the chancellor and the work and pensions secretary today pledge to tackle the ‘damaging culture of welfare dependency’, warning it will take ‘a decade’ or more to return the welfare budget to ‘sanity’. They say they will outline their plans for ‘significant’ cuts to ‘working-age benefits’ in the budget on July” – Sunday Times (£)


Comment: Mark Field MP: Our central plan was to rebalance the economy. Now is the time to get back to it.

Cameron plans to “rebrand” Britain’s EU role

“Downing Street is drawing up a secret blueprint to win the European referendum that will see Britain’s membership of the EU ‘rebranded’ to convince voters David Cameron has redrawn the country’s relationship with Brussels. Senior figures have told MPs the prime minister’s renegotiation plans go much further than he has publicly admitted, in an attempt to stem growing Tory concern that he is not demanding enough from Brussels. Several No 10 officials want to ‘rebadge’ Britain’s role in the EU to something like ‘associate membership’, to demonstrate the UK will have a new relationship with Brussels” – Sunday Times (£)

Baker denounces “brutal” methods used to crush Tory EU revolt

BAKER Steve headshot bigger“The Conservative MP leading the campaign to get Britain out of the EU has denounced the ‘brutal’ methods used by David Cameron’s Ministers to crush the Tory revolt. Outspoken Steve Baker claimed rebel anti EU Tory MPs had been subjected to threats by Conservative whips. He compared angry scenes during last week’s revolt by Tory eurosceptics over the rules for the EU referendum to ‘war’” – Mail on Sunday

Gates says the UK should be proud of its foreign aid

“It would be an understatement to say that international development aid has come in for some criticism recently. While you have no doubt heard any number of anecdotes about alleged waste or misuse, you may not have heard much about the good that is being done…I am neither a politician nor a pundit, but I want to lay out why my wife Melinda and I choose to invest our own money alongside the UK in international development” – Bill Gates, Sunday Telegraph

  • Britain’s armed forces are anything but feeble – Michael Fallon, Sunday Telegraph

Berlin issues final warning to Greeks

Euro meltdown“German officials have issued a dramatic warning to the Greeks, telling them they will have to leave the eurozone if they fail to do a deal with their creditors. It followed an equally blunt warning to Athens by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, that ‘the game of chicken needs to end and so does the blame game’. Leaders of the eurozone countries are due to meet in Brussels tomorrow evening in a final attempt to persuade Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s far-left prime minister, to implement reforms demanded by his country’s creditors” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Grexit would strengthen Cameron’s hand – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday
  • Why Cameron is an anxious spectator of the Greek drama – Andrew Rawnsley, Observer
  • If Cameron makes a passionate case for the EU, its leaders will help him – Charles Grant, Observer
  • Sorry, Greece, you lose, and it isn’t a game – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times
  • Putin sees the chance to swoop on Greece – Mark Almond, Mail on Sunday
  • Greek Prime Minister prepares last-ditch offer – Observer


Germans taught royal etiquette

Do not touch, speak only when spoken to and do not even think of taking a selfie. Germans invited to a garden party to be held in Berlin on Thursday to mark this week’s royal visit have been given a four-page guide by the British embassy advising them how to behave when they meet the Queen and Prince Philip. The royal couple, who arrive in Germany on Tuesday, are understood to have told organisers they want to meet as many ‘ordinary German citizens as possible’ – Sunday Times (£)

Stafford campaigner calls Burnham a self-serving “coward”

Andy Burnham“Labour leadership front-runner Andy Burnham has been called a self-serving “coward” who ran scared from relatives of those who died in Britain’s worst hospital scandal… as Secretary of State for Health under the previous Labour government he repeatedly refused to meet campaigners demanding action over the estimated 1,200 needless deaths at Stafford Hospital. Instead, when victims’ loved ones arrived at his surgery for help, he called the police” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • Burnham admits Labour became “toxic” under Miliband – Mail on Sunday
  • Rivals turn on Kendall for backing free schools – Observer
  • Watson says Labour has to understand why so many of its supporters voted for UKIP – Observer
  • Labour plotted to boycott PMQs if Tories failed to win a majority – Mail on Sunday

Lib Dem leadership candidate removes two campaigners

“The Liberal Democrats are engulfed by scandal after the leadership contender Norman Lamb was forced to remove two high-profile volunteers from his campaign team over potential breaches of the Data Protection Act. The police and the Information Commissioner, which regulates compliance with the Data Protection Act, have been approached by concerned party members over phone calls made on 19 June” – Independent on Sunday

Farage quizzed by police over Fuller claims

Nigel Farage“Nigel Farage has been interviewed by Scotland Yard over claims that his alleged ‘ex-mistress’ fabricated a sexual assault case against a Tory MP, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. The Ukip leader was quizzed by detectives investigating whether Annabelle Fuller falsely accused Andrew Bridgen of groping her on the balcony of his flat after an evening in a Westminster pub. Mr Farage’s police interview, conducted earlier this month, came after officers gained access to Ms Fuller’s phone records to check her account of events with people she spoke to that night” – Mail on Sunday

News in brief