Europe 1) Hammond says that leaving the ECHR isn’t an option…

ARREST WARRANT European“The idea of Britain leaving the the European Convention on Human Rights is not ‘on the table’, Philip Hammond said today as he sought to heal a Cabinet split. … The Foreign Secretary insisted the UK would comply with its obligations under international law as part of Tory plans to scrap the Human Rights Act. … It came amid claims Home Secretary Theresa May and Justice Secretary Michael Gove wanted to pull out of the convention as the ‘only solution’ to re-establishing the supremacy of the British courts.” – Daily Mail

  • “David Cameron will have to give prisoners the vote if he fails to quit the European Convention on Human Rights, a Tory QC warned last night.” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Europe 2) …or is it?

“David Cameron is to keep open the ‘nuclear option’ of withdrawing from the European convention on human rights. … The prime minister is prepared to break with the convention, drawn up by British lawyers in the wake of the second world war, if the Strasbourg-based court refuses to accept reforms that are designed to break the link with the European court of human rights. … The Guardian understands that the prime minister still sees merit in a proposal, outlined last year by the then justice secretary Chris Grayling, to withdraw from the European convention if parliament failed to secure the right to veto judgments from the court.” – The Guardian

  • “In the land of Magna Carta, individual liberties already exist – Human Rights Act or no.” – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Europe 3) The Prime Minister takes charge of his Government’s immigration policy…

CAMERON EU fence“David Cameron is taking personal charge of the Government’s desperate bid to gain control of the immigration crisis, it emerged last night. … The PM will chair an Immigration ‘Implementation Taskforce’ – one of ten set up to ‘deliver’ the Tories ten key policies in power. … The Immigration panel will be charged with achieving the PM’s long-held promise of cutting annual net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ and changing benefit rules for EU migrants.” – The Sun (£)

  • “France and Germany have slammed an EU plan to ease migrant pressures in the southern member states, claiming it doesn’t take into account their ‘efforts already undertaken’.” – Daily Mail

Europe 4) …and brings Eurosceptics into the fold

“David Cameron has brought senior Conservative eurosceptics into the inner council that will decide Britain’s demands for a new EU settlement, as he attempts to bind in potential critics of his strategy. … Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary and a former rebel against the Maastricht treaty in the 1990s, is included in the nine-strong Europe cabinet committee. … Sajid Javid, the Thatcherite business secretary, also sits on the body — chaired by Mr Cameron — which includes chancellor George Osborne, foreign secretary Philip Hammond, and home secretary Theresa May.” – Financial Times

  • “A Treasury minister has dismissed Brussels’ latest move to combat tax avoidance as ‘an answer still looking for a question’.” – Financial Times

Europe 5) Cameron will dock Britain to Europe permanently, claims Juncker

Juncker“David Cameron wants to use the upcoming EU referendum to ‘dock’ Britain permanently to Brussels, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has claimed. … Mr Juncker told a German newspaper that Britain would not vote to leave the EU – claiming that both the public and the Prime Minister were against it. … The EU chief’s intervention comes after he held private talks with Mr Cameron…” – Daily Mail

Europe 6) Boris uses his (second) maiden speech to talk Brexit

“Boris Johnson warned David Cameron last night that he must be prepared to ‘walk away’ from Europe if he fails to get a good deal for Britain. … He used his maiden speech in the Commons since being re-elected as an MP to underline his own Eurosceptic credentials. … The London Mayor spelt out a warning to the Prime Minister that Conservative MPs would not accept a cosmetic renegotiation of Britain’s membership of the EU.” – Daily Mail

  • “The staccato delivery and self-parody style does not work so well in the Commons as before the public. MPs see through him.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “Hours passed. Johnson left the chamber and returned. … Maiden speech after maiden speech – some a great deal better than others – were made and heard to an ever-dwindling audience.” – John Crace, The Guardian

Europe 7) Hannan presents a vision of Britain outside the EU – “confident, successful and free”

HANNAN Dan Krieg square blue background“Best of all, we have cast off the pessimism that infected us during our EU years, the sense that we were too small to make a difference. As we left, we shook our heads, looked about, and realised that we were the fifth largest economy on Earth, the fourth military power, a leading member of the G8, a permanent seat-holder on the UN Security Council, and home to the world’s greatest city and most widely spoken language. We knew that we had plenty more to give.” – Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph

  • “The complacency of Europhiles could lose them the referendum.” – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • “Scaring voters won’t be enough to win EU vote.” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

Cameron overrules IDS on child benefit cuts…

cameron-face“Downing Street yesterday overruled Iain Duncan Smith over suggestions that child benefit could be slashed to help balance Britain’s books. … Number 10 said the Prime Minister would stick to his pre-election pledge to protect the entitlement for the next five years. … This is despite Mr Duncan Smith asking civil servants to ‘model’ the impact of a series of cuts to child benefit, as he attempts to find £12billion of welfare savings.” – Daily Mail

  • “George Osborne, the chancellor, is now unlikely to be able to announce in his budget on July 8 the full £12 billion of welfare savings the Conservatives had promised. ‘Some of the welfare cuts are likely to be announced in the autumn rather than the budget,’ a Whitehall source said.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “The prime minister cannot afford to dodge tough decisions on welfare reform.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Tories often say how highly they value such mothers’ contribution to the health of our society. It’s time they showed it.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “The early years matter most, but good childcare still eludes us.” – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

> Today:

> Yesterday: WATCH – Patel explains the Government’s childcare policy

…and tasks Letwin with overseeing Whitehall

“The Prime Minister has moved to ensure that Downing Street’s writ runs across Whitehall by appointing a key ally to sit on every Cabinet sub-committee across Government.  … Oliver Letwin will also have a place on nine new ‘implementation task-forces’ designed to ensure that departments work together to tackle Mr Cameron’s priorities over the next five years. … The move is designed to combat criticism that Downing Street did not exert a sufficient ‘grip’ on policy in the last Parliament.” – The Independent

The Prime Minister should halt Britain’s military decline, argues the FT

DEFENCE cuts“Britain’s slippage down the ranks of military powers is happening more by financial muddle than strategic design. Defence cuts are driven not by a hard-headed assessment of need but by anti-MoD sentiment at the Treasury. Mr Cameron himself has contributed to the confused thinking. He makes it an issue of principle that Britain should meet an international benchmark to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas aid. But when it comes to Nato’s 2 per cent target he seems content to compromise, despite the high diplomatic price.” – Financial Times editorial

  • “Does Britain really no longer aspire to be a major global power?” – Daily Telegraph editorial

And related news stories:

  • “Britain must not disengage with the rest of the world, the foreign secretary has said, amid a growing row with the United States over ritain’s level of future defence spending.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Bureaucracy was blamed for a failure to postpone an SAS training march in scorching heat which resulted in the deaths of several army reservists, a coroner heard yesterday.” – The Independent

> Yesterday: Nadhim Zahawi MP’s column – In this new Parliament and amidst an uncertain world, we need a well-supported Foreign Office

Osborne’s plan for selling off RBS shares

“Chancellor George Osborne is expected to lay out plans for privatising Royal Bank of Scotland in next week’s Mansion House speech, according to people familiar with the situation. … The government is eager to capitalise on its surprise outright victory in last month’s general election to accelerate the sale of stakes in RBS and Lloyds Banking Group, which date back to the bailouts of the 2008 financial crisis. … The chancellor aims to prepare the ground politically to begin selling shares in RBS below the price of its £45bn bailout during the financial crisis.” – Financial Times

  • “The UK’s financial system remains at risk of upheaval despite the regulatory changes undertaken since the 2008 banking crisis, according to a thinktank.” – The Guardian
  • “Boom conditions are back in the UK housing market and prices look set for a new surge before the end of the year after the Conservative election victory has galvanised buyers and sellers.” – The Guardian

Hunt waves his axe at the NHS fat cats

HUNT Doctor Carla Millar“Jeremy Hunt will today unveil a package of tough measures to end the scandal of NHS fat cat pay. … The Health Secretary is warning that the salary and perks pocketed by some executives are unjustifiable. … His crackdown follows a series of revelations from the Daily Mail’s Investigations Unit that senior executives are secretly using loopholes and other tricks to claim huge perks and exploit the NHS pension scheme.” – Daily Mail

“The NHS must improve patient care and stop making excuses about a lack of funding after the government committed to giving it an extra £8billion a year, the health secretary says today. … In an article for The Telegraph, Mr Hunt says that the health service has the money it needs and must now ‘deliver its side of the bargain’ and make ‘substantial and significant’ savings. … Mr Hunt has ordered a clampdown on ‘exorbitant’ fees of up to £3,500 a shift charged for temporary doctors and nurses and accused staffing agencies of ‘ripping off’ hospitals.” – Daily Telegraph

Read Hunt’s article for the Daily Telegraph in full

Other NHS-related news stories:

  • “A controversial child protection chief has been stripped of her lucrative consultancy job worth nearly £1,000 a day, it was revealed last night.” – Daily Mail
  • “Now in an interview with Radio Times magazine, [Robert] Peston said he was ‘scandalised’ by the lack of money spent on researching cures for lung cancer.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “NHS staff are joining agencies in droves, for less stress and more pay. … It is time Mr Hunt addressed low morale and nurses’ wages.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “As he closes each loophole, the Health Secretary must be on alert for others.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “Why are there so few new GPs when so many of our keenest brains want to study medicine?” – Peter Stanford, The Independent
  • “The process is usually described as outsourcing – but that term does no justice to what’s happening in this leafy part of the capital.” – Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian

McLoughlin: Work on HS2 will start within two years

“Work on the £50 billion HS2 project will begin within two years because the argument for a new high-speed line ‘has been won’, the transport secretary said. … Patrick McLoughlin said that the line from London to the north of England would be constructed in full after the general election had delivered a ‘massive vote of confidence’ in the scheme. … In his first speech since the election, he dismissed any claims that the controversial link would be scaled back to save money.” – The Times (£)

We need more international students, says Jo Johnson

Mortarboard“British universities need to recruit more international students from countries like India, Jo Johnson said yesterday. … In his first speech as universities and science minister, he pledged to ‘roll out the red carpet’ for the world’s ‘brightest and best’ who hope to study in the UK. … Mr Johnson warned that students from India and other ‘key partner’ countries were in decline because of fears that the UK was no longer welcoming of foreigners.” – Daily Mail

Wilson orders charities to stop preying on the elderly

“Charity chiefs will today be ordered to stop preying on OAPs and sharing their personal data in crisis talks with furious Government officials. … Charities Minister Rob Wilson will demand Britain’s main fundraising bodies clean up their act in a showdown with their chief executives today. … It follows the harrowing suicide of 92 year-old poppy seller Olive Cooke, who was being bombarded with up to 260 begging letters from charities each month.” – The Sun (£)

Whittingdale moots a rival competition to the FIFA World Cup

Whittingdale“A rival World Cup to Qatar could be organised by European football organisations in protest at Sepp Blatter’s re-election as president of Fifa, the government revealed today. … Culture and Sport Secretary John Whittingdale said FA chairman Greg Dyke would raise the prospect during a meeting with European football chiefs at a special meeting this week. … Mr Whittingdale said ‘strong agreement’ would be needed across the continent to organise a mass boycott of Qatar’s proposed winter World Cup in 2022.” – Daily Mail

  • “US authorities believe Jerome Valcke, Fifa’s secretary-general, authorised a $10m transfer at the centre of a bribery scheme, a person briefed on the matter said.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “The battle to overthrow the odious Sepp Blatter at Fifa is mired in indecision.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “What Fifa tells us about global power.” – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Clark to councils: why do you own nightclubs and cheese factories?

“Councils have been told to justify why they own hundreds of farms, golf courses and restaurants, as well as a nightclub, a cheese factory and even a wet fish stall. … Greg Clark, the Local Government secretary, said council tax payers had a ‘right to know, and demand, that every penny of their hard earned contribution is being carefully spent in the most effective way’.” – Daily Telegraph

> Today: Local Government – Why do councils own 407 golf courses, 2,586 farms, 378 pubs…?

Conservatives versus the BBC: Anger at Kerslake’s radio appearance…

BBC“Former civil service chief Bob Kerslake was invited onto Radio 4’s Today programme to attack the Tories’ manifesto commitment to extending the right to buy scheme to 1.3 million housing association properties. … However, the presenters failed to mention that the cross bench peer has since taken over as head of one of Britain’s most famous housing associations … Philip Davies told MailOnline: ‘There’s absolutely no excuse for them not to draw attention to his blatant conflict of interest.'” – Daily Mail

  • “The BBC is to be investigated over a news bulletin that featured a child saying he backed Ukip ‘to get all the foreigners out’.” – The Guardian

…and at one of the Corporation’s bosses

“The director of television warned that the Corporation would probably have to cut entire services – such as TV channels or radio stations – if non-payment of the £145.50-a-year licence was decriminalised. … MPs interpreted his remarks as an attack. ‘This sounds like a threat rather than a reasoned argument in favour of the licence fee,’ said Conservative Andrew Percy. ‘Viewers shouldn’t be held to ransom in this way.’” – Daily Mail

Lamb: The Lib Dems need to be reborn as a political start-up

Lib Dem Logo“The Liberal Democrat brand is so damaged that the party needs to be reborn as a ‘political start-up’ to reconnect with millions of former voters who share its fundamental values, a contender to succeed Nick Clegg argues. … Norman Lamb, one of the few Liberal Democrat ministers to survive the election pummelling, also warns that smaller parties will never enter a coalition again unless there is a complete overhaul of a ‘corrupt’ electoral system which has left almost 8 million voters virtually unrepresented.” – The Independent

Miliband returns to the Commons

“Ed Miliband was all smiles as he made his first appearance in the Commons since quitting as Labour leader today. … Onlookers said he looked more relaxed than he had for months as he smiled and waved at colleagues as he contemplated his future in the political wilderness.” – Daily Mail

  • “Voters opted to back a Conservative majority government to avoid the ‘mess’ of a complicated coalition or deal, a senior Labour MP has said.” – The Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – We announce Party members’ choice for next leader. It is… Liz Kendall

Creasy defends the pursuit of profit

CREASY Stella“The pursuit of profit does not make you evil, the Labour deputy leadership frontrunner Stella Creasy has said in a speech designed to improve the party’s relations with business. … Creasy, who won praise during the last parliament for her campaigning against some of the practices of payday lending companies, said it was time to turn the page on ‘tired old cliches’. … In a balanced message to the Labour finance and industry group, she said making a profit was a ‘central dynamic’ of the economy but businesses should have wider ambitions.” – The Guardian

Janan Ganesh: “Labour has nothing left to say on tax”

“Without realising it, the left’s animating mission has changed. A movement that used to cherish ideals of universalism and solidarity now fixes its eyes on the few uppermost percentiles of the income scale, wondering what blend of property and income levies can elicit more revenue. Or it drapes itself in the comfort blanket of public borrowing. Either way, the movement has given up asking any more of the bulk of society.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

UKIP “would have won 80 seats” under proportional representation

UKIP glass“Britain’s voting system is ‘archaic and divisive’ and does not represent the will of millions, a pressure group has argued. … The Electoral Reform Society, which has campaigned for proportional representation for 130 years, claimed last month’s election result was the most disproportionate in history. … They said Ukip would have won as many as 80 seats in the general election under List PR – the type of PR used in many European countries – while the Greens would have got 20.” – Daily Mail

  • “A Ukip parliamentary candidate has claimed that his Conservative rival handed over intelligence about the constituency before the election in order to beat Labour in the seat.” – The Times (£)
  • “Labour will need to gain at least 106 seats in 2020 to secure a majority, after taking account of the forthcoming boundary changes, according to a thinktank analysis of the consequences of the party’s election defeat.” – The Guardian

Hogan-Howe wants police officers to shape up

“Overweight and unfit police must improve their physical condition or risk losing their job, Britain’s most senior officer has said. … Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe described the standard of an annual fitness test officers must complete as too low. The 15-minute assessment, which became compulsory in September, requires officers to run a short distance back and forth in time to a bleeping sound.” – The Guardian

Charles Kennedy dies aged 55

Charles Kennedy“Former Liberal Democrat Party leader Charles Kennedy has died at his home in Scotland aged 55, his family has said. … The Scottish ex-MP’s death was not believed to be suspicious and the cause of death has yet to be confirmed.  … Mr Kennedy, who led his party from 1999 to 2006, lost his seat in the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency in last month’s general election. … Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said Mr Kennedy was one of the ‘most gifted politicians of his generation’.” – BBC

News in brief

  • Clinton to make first major speech of her presidential campaign – Daily Mail
  • The Oxford Union brands itself “institutionally racist” – Daily Mail
  • 14-year-old Syrian boy describes how he was tortured by Isis – The Independent
  • New signs of Syriza splits as Greece moves closer to default – The Independent
  • Greek bailout monitors hold emergency summit – Financial Times
  • “Give Greece a golden parachute to leave the euro.” – Ed Conway, The Times (£)
  • Hundreds trapped on capsized cruise ship in China – The Times (£)
  • BBC plan for Top Gear to have different host each episode – Daily Telegraph
  • “Call me Caitlyn.” – The Sun (£)

And finally: Dave’s praise for Sam Cam’s figure

CAMERON Samantha Carla“David Cameron says he is ‘very lucky to have such a wonderful wife’ after pictures emerged showing his toned missus in a bikini — but blamed banquets for not being in better shape himself. … The PM said: ‘I’m not as good as Samantha at controlling what goes in. I’m a bit greedier. She’s very disciplined.'” – The Sun (£)

  • “What if David Cameron is an evil genius?” – Frankie Boyle, The Guardian