Cameron accused of cronyism over 50 new peerages

Cameron1“David Cameron will risk a row over cronyism by packing about 50 new peers into the House of Lords. Allies such as his long-serving aide Kate Fall, party donors and favoured former ministers are expected to be among dozens of Conservatives ennobled by the prime minister. Liberal Democrats will feature on the Tory-dominated “dissolution list” even though the party has been almost wiped out in the Commons. A handful of new Labour peers will also be among the 50 or so appointments, which will leave the total number of people sitting in the Lords close to 900. At an average cost of £131,000 a year each, the huge influx is likely to leave Cameron facing criticism over the expense: in the past he has repeatedly pledged to cut the cost of politics.” – Sunday Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Peers need cutting down to size

Nigel Lawson: I fear Cameron will not seize this opportunity to bring powers home

“So Mr Cameron is right to make the ending of the commitment to ever closer union the keystone of his mission to change the EU into something of which the UK can remain content to be a member. However, he now seems to have watered that down into a UK opt-out from ever closer union. This is both useless and meaningless. It is useless since there is no future for the United Kingdom inside the European Union but outside the political union, increasingly marginalised but still shackled to it. And it is meaningless since a UK opt-out would change nothing: there is not a single EU law, regulation or directive past, present or future, which would not be legally binding on the UK, opt-out or no opt-out.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Former Chancellor urges Cameron to ‘kill’ Eurozone – Mail on Sunday
  • Millionaire provides major boost to nascent EU exit campaign – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: David Davis MP in Comment: Greece’s choice today. Be crushed beneath the debt burden. Or escape it by departing the Euro –and defaulting

Osborne tightens his grip on Tory empire

Osborne worker“The living wage pledge had been pencilled in for more than two years by Osborne and David Cameron as the cornerstone of their first purely Tory budget, if they ever got to write one. In Osborne’s inner circle the unspoken subtext was that this was the best platform for promoting his ambition to succeed Cameron. When Osborne broke the news at the end of his budget speech the noise was so loud that the chancellor had to sit while the excitement abated. Cameron turned to him and said: “You’d better do it again.” So Osborne repeated the announcement to create a cleaner soundbite for the evening news. One minister said: “That was the moment I thought George could actually be prime minister.”” – Sunday Times (£)


  • Osborne’s Britain is no country for young men… or women – Nick Cohen, The Observer

Adam Boulton: The Budget time bombs are ticking

“There are two old sayings that wiseacres like to pass on about budgets. The first is that budgets unravel; the louder that government MPs cheer on budget day, the more timebombs will turn out to have been planted under their seats. The other axiom is that if a chancellor has something nasty to do, he (we’ve only had men so far) is best advised to do it in the first flush of election victory, when the next verdict from the voters is a long way off. Osborne’s second, “summer” budget of 2015 flirts with these clichés. As the applause dies away, analysis confirms that the nation will be paying more to government and getting less back.” – Sunday Times (£)

IDS explains why his benefits battle is far from over

DUNCAN SMITH white background“His plans for a single Universal Credit (UC) to replace the Byzantine complexity of the tax credit system installed by Gordon Brown got off to a bad start when they had to be halted and restarted. However, this was not because of the principle underpinning the UC but the age-old Whitehall problem of getting the IT to work properly. Mr Duncan Smith was not about to make the same mistake again. The UC has been carefully tried and tested in a handful of pilot areas and is gradually being rolled out across the country.” – Sunday Telegraph

Whittingdale sets out aggressive BBC reform agenda

“BBC bosses will be put on notice this week that they face the prospect of further changes to the television licence fee, the scrapping of the BBC Trust, restrictions to the website and the part-privatisation of some of its production facilities. A government green paper, due to be published on Thursday, will also question whether the entire mission statement of the BBC is correct or whether it should stop chasing viewers and provide more public service programmes. Last night John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, appointed a board of eight advisers with a brief to conduct “root-and-branch” reform of the corporation as part of the process of renewal of its royal charter, which will expire at the end of 2016.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • BBC’s rivals get key role in deciding its future – Mail on Sunday
  • Hall calls for politicians to be removed from BBC funding process – The Observer

Gummer leads crackdown on NHS lawyers’ fees

NHS_Logo“Ministers are clamping down on lawyers who overcharge the NHS in clinical negligence cases – earning in some cases 10 times what their client receives in compensation – by setting a cap on their fees. As part of a Department of Health plan to save the NHS up to £80m a year, legal costs for claims up to £100,000 would be fixed. The lawyer’s fee would reflect a percentage of the compensation received by the patient. Ben Gummer, the health minister, is pushing through the changes in a bid to reduce the legal fees bill paid out over clinical negligence claims, which amounted to £259m in 2013-14.” – The Observer

Roe reveals why she came into politics

“The Conservative Party’s newest contender for London Mayor has revealed how a near-death experience with breast cancer convinced her to leave the City and run for public office. Philippa Roe, who joined the race on Friday, said she was so convinced that her disease would prove fatal that she wrote a will for the first time. It was only after unexpectedly being given the all clear and soon after having “miracle” twins that Mrs Roe quit her highly paid job as a Citigroup director to become a Westminster city councillor.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What has it come to when Labour are running a better London Mayoral selection than the Conservatives?

Unions call in lawyers to resist Tory strike reforms

On strike“Britain’s biggest trade unions are considering legal action against reforms to strike ballots and political funding due to be published by the government within days. Lawyers at GMB and Unite are looking into whether Conservative plans to ban all strikes not backed by 40 per cent of members break European Union laws. It comes amid fury that the Tories are using their newfound majority to launch a “perfect storm on the Left” to undermine the union movement and lock Labour out of power for a decade.” – Sunday Telegraph

Labour leadership 1) Harman’s stinging rebuke to Burnham

“Harriet Harman has issued a humiliating rebuke to Labour leadership favourite Andy Burnham amid claims he is ‘tacking Left’ to stop veteran Jeremy Corbyn from winning the contest. In an extraordinary put-down, acting party boss Ms Harman told Mr Burnham that Labour had ‘lost’ the debate on capping benefit pay-outs, before adding: ‘You may have noticed that we lost the Election.’ The withering remarks came in a behind-closed-doors meeting of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet last week ahead of George Osborne’s Budget statement.” – Mail on Sunday


  • Greece’s rabble-rousers are finally waking up, and Labour must too – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph

Labour leadership 2) All-male leadership ‘perverse’, claims Johnson

LABOUR holes“Alan Johnson, the former Home Secretary, has warned that it would be “perverse” for Labour to elect a male leader and deputy, amid indications that Andy Burnham and Tom Watson are on course for victory. Privately, many Labour MPs admit to being in despair that “two blokey men” appear likely to take the most senior positions in the party, with many saying a woman would be their best chance to counter the threat of the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and whoever succeeds David Cameron as Tory leader.” – Sunday Telegraph

Labour leadership 3) Kendall savages ‘comfort zone’ rivals

“Kendall is seen to be trailing behind Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and even Jeremy Corbyn, the hard-left candidate who is increasingly seen as a serious contender. The Blairite shadow minister insisted she would not finish fourth and could still win because Labour activists did not want to lose another election. She warned that Corbyn’s “fantasy” politics would put the party out of power for a generation and criticised Burnham and Cooper for failing to break with Ed Miliband’s failed programme. “I might be biased but I think it is about time Labour had a woman leader,” she told The Sunday Times.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Hunt claims Labour needs a ‘summer of hard truths’ – The Observer

Labour leadership 4) Cooper responds to parenthood controversy

Labour Leadership Kendall Cooper“Yvette Cooper has described as “bonkers” the suggestion that an MP without children could not be prime minister, after one of her allies sparked a row by saying she was backing the shadow Home Secretary because she was a “working mum [who] understands the pressures on family life”. In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, the Labour leadership contender spoke for the first time about the so-called “parentgate” row in which her supporter Helen Goodman implied that Liz Kendall would not make a good leader because she does not have children… In her interview, Ms Cooper made no apology for casting herself as a “working mum” because it is “actually a really important part of who I am”.” – Independent on Sunday


  • The motherhood argument levelled against Kendall is bogus – Jenny McCartney, Sunday Times (£)
  • You need many things to be a good politicians, but kids isn’t one of them – Rachel Johnson, Mail on Sunday

Creagh claims Thomas Cook boss tied to intimidate her over child deaths

“A leading Labour MP has accused the controversial former boss of Thomas Cook of trying to silence her in the row over the deaths of two children in a Corfu hotel. Mary Creagh, MP for the family of the two youngsters killed by gas poisoning, claimed Harriet Green tried to use a solicitor’s letter to discourage her from raising the issue in Parliament.  The claim comes just before a Commons debate this week during which Shadow Cabinet Minister Ms Creagh will demand new safety standards to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.” – Mail on Sunday

Democratic Unionists claim retreat on EVEL shows their strength

DUP logo“The DUP has pointed to its potential influence over the Conservative Government after the controversial ‘English votes for English laws’ proposal was postponed until September. Both Government whips and potential Tory rebels were reportedly in touch with the eight DUP MPs amid speculation Prime Minister David Cameron was facing an embarrassing defeat over plans to exclude Scottish MPs from certain votes. DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: “With a very slim majority, the Government is well aware that DUP MPs will only support proposals which strengthen the Union.”” – Belfast Telegraph

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