Lawson urges Osborne to cut top rate to 40p

Lawson“Former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson last night urged George Osborne to cut the top income tax rate to 40p in next month’s Budget, amid signs the Treasury is considering such a move…Lord Lawson, a confidant of the chancellor, told the Financial Times: ‘I would strongly support this: It would significantly enhance the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business, at no cost in terms of lost revenue’” – Financial Times

  • This is Osborne’s opportunity for audacious tax reform – Financial Times editorial
  • There’s no money left so the left is collapsing – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
  • Anti-austerity groupies aren’t helping anyone – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • Our poverty rules are an insult to everyone – it’s time to rip them up – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Mrs Clooney turns heads at PMQs – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail


Boris gives Osborne benefits cuts warning

“Boris Johnson has warned George Osborne and David Cameron against cutting low-paid workers’ benefits before they are awarded a pay rise. The London mayor, who has repeatedly urged the Tories to appeal to blue-collar workers on lower incomes, said that ministers should not start ‘hacking back’ their state help until companies agree to pay a fairer wage. His intervention comes only weeks before the chancellor, Mr Johnson’s main rival for the Tory leadership, unveils the first details of the government’s £12 billion programme of welfare cuts” – The Times (£)

Cameron to launch EU renegotiation over dinner

cameron-thinks“David Cameron hopes to ‘kick off’ his renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership with a low-key presentation at a Brussels summit dinner on Thursday…At a summit overshadowed by the Greek debt crisis and the humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean, Mr Cameron’s plans to recast Britain’s EU relationship have been relegated to a minor talking point” – Financial Times

  • Cameron scales down summit ambitions in face of opposition from France and Juncker – Independent
  • Queen warns of the dangers of division in Europe – Guardian
  • Queen’s comments will be interpreted as plea to stay in EU – Daily Telegraph

Stay and negotiate within EU, business leaders urge

“Leading UK business figures from blue chip companies to small start-ups today call on the government to keep Britain in Europe in a letter to The Times…Today’s letter was organised by Business for New Europe (BNE), a pro-EU group, in response to a campaigning report released this week by Business for Britain (BfB), which argues that the UK would prosper outside the EU” – The Times (£)

  • Letter and signatories, including Roland Rudd, in full – The Times (£)
  • UK would have fared better inside the Eurozone – Martin Sandbu, Financial Times

“Not much progress” on Greek bailout deal

Euro meltdown“Hopes that Greece was on the verge of an agreement to release €7.2bn in desperately-needed bailout funding were dashed Wednesday night after Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, failed to reach a deal after seven hours of talks with creditors in Brussels. The marathon session between Mr Tsipras and the heads of his country’s three bailout monitors… produced ‘not much progress,’ according to a senior eurozone official” – Financial Times

  • Creditors demand much tougher Greek pension reforms – Financial Times
  • Last chance for Tsipras to choose country over party – Mark Mazower, Financial Times

British drivers in Calais complain of being sitting ducks

“Stowaways bound for Britain were being caught at the rate of 90 an hour in Calais yesterday. Overwhelmed border guards and police were removing an average of two migrants from every vehicle they checked. In just four hours 350 were detained. With parts of the French port resembling a battleground, a soldier turned trucker said the incessant gang attacks on lorries made it ‘worse than Afghanistan’. A colleague said drivers were sitting ducks in the face of an onslaught of rocks and iron bars” – Daily Mail

  • Migrants greet a traffic jam “sent from heaven” – Independent


You need Thatcher, minister tells France

ThatcherNoTurningBack“France needs its own Margaret Thatcher figure to take on the trade unions and prevent a summer of misery for holidaymakers travelling through Calais, the transport minister has said. Robert Goodwill accused the country of fuelling unrest by being too quick to ‘cave in’ to strike action…Addressing a conference in London yesterday, Mr Goodwill said he had playfully told his opposite number in Paris that ‘what you need in France is Mrs Thatcher to sort this problem out’” – The Times (£)

Palace backs down in cash row with SNP

“Buckingham Palace made a humiliating climbdown last night, insisting that it had not intended to criticise Scotland over concerns about cuts to funding for the monarchy. Sir Alan Reid, the Queen’s treasurer, issued an unprecedented statement as he moved to end a growing dispute over the SNP government’s willingness to pay for Scotland’s share of royal spending. He said that the Palace had never intended to make a ‘criticism of Scotland or of the first minister’” – The Times (£)

  • Royal spin so clumsy it’s left even the nasty SNP on the moral high ground – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • The Queen charms Berlin – Robert Hardman, Daily Mail
  • Queen perplexed by German painting of her father – Independent

Sturgeon pledges to crack down on cybernats

Sturgeon“Nicola Sturgeon has dramatically intervened in the battle against online trolls by pledging to discipline those SNP members responsible for spreading poisonous abuse. The First Minister vowed to help clean up Scottish politics after this newspaper unmasked some of the country’s most vile cybernats. Writing exclusively for the Scottish Daily Mail, the SNP leader said the time had come to ‘send a clear message that politics in Scotland will not be sullied by this behaviour’” – Daily Mail

Norman: the Premier League must be forced to help the grass roots

“There is something rotten in the state of football. For while the Premier League flourishes, the grass roots that nurture it are dying back…The Premier League needs to honour its 5 per cent pledge to the grass roots and in a fully transparent and accountable way. If it does not, the government should look hard at a new football levy on the league” – Jesse Norman MP, The Times (£)

Cruddas: Labour could be dead within two years

CRUDDAS Jon green background“Labour could be dead within two years after it was ditched by millions of working-class voters, the party’s former policy chief has said. Jon Cruddas said a ‘senior Labour figure’ had made the grim warning to him in the wake of the party’s general election humiliation. He said: ‘It sounds melodramatic, but I don’t think it is’” – The Sun (£)

  • Labour split over Cruddas plan for English wing – Guardian
  • Corbyn calls for extension of Right to Buy to private tenants – Independent


Clegg offered to resign as Lib Dem leader a year before the election

“Nick Clegg discussed resigning as Liberal Democrat leader in the wake of the party’s humiliating reverses in the European and local elections in May 2014, an investigation by the Guardian has revealed…the former deputy prime minister experienced what his mentor and former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown described as the ‘darkest of the dark nights of the soul’. Clegg consulted several senior colleagues about whether…he should go” – Guardian

News in brief

  • Hunt’s “sexist comments” about women scientists were taken out of context – Daily Mail
  • Python chokes to death on porcupine – Daily Telegraph
  • Significance of Hallucigenia fossil at last revealed – Independent