Campaigners’ concern over Prime Minister’s Freedom of Information review…

Cameron1“More than 100 transparency campaigners have written to David Cameron accusing him of stuffing a commission on the future of the Freedom of Information Act with critics of the law. Two months ago, the Prime Minister unveiled the five-member commission and told it to consider reforms to the legislation first introduced by Tony Blair. But last night 140 media bodies and campaign groups – including the Daily Mail – put their name to a letter outlining their ‘serious concerns’ over the government’s approach to FOI.” – Daily Mail

…as Cameron tells EU to increase aid to Syria

“David Cameron will condemn EU leaders for not giving enough aid cash to fleeing Syrians. The PM’s intervention comes ahead of a crunch emergency summit on the crisis in Brussels. He will meet with French president Francois Hollande tonight over a “working dinner” at Chequers to debate the deepening refugee crisis.” – The Sun (£)

  • We must compromise with evil Assad in Syria – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Chancellor 1) Osborne downplays concerns over Chinese-funded nuclear power station

OSBORNE builder“George Osborne will today pledge a ‘golden decade’ of co-operation with China after brushing off fears over its involvement in British nuclear power. He yesterday signed off a £2billion ‘subsidy’ for a new atomic plant in Somerset – to be part-funded by Beijing – despite the security fears of critics.” – Daily Mail

Chancellor 2) Has Help to Buy pushed up house prices for everyone else?

“House prices have been forced up by almost £20,000 in parts of the country because of George Osborne’s controversial help-to-buy scheme, a new report has revealed. Under the Chancellor’s programme people who cannot get a mortgage because they do not have enough savings will be given a cheap government loan… However, the policy has come under fire for forcing up house prices up for everybody else – pushing the dream of getting on the housing ladder even further out of reach for many families.” – Daily Mail

  • Housing bubble fear over £200bn buy-to-let borrowing – Daily Mail

>Today: Judy Terry in Local Government: Where will the one million more homes we need come from?

Second day of Ashcroft revelations reveal tensions over Libya

ASHCROFT Krieg“David Cameron’s leadership record is torn apart today by a former defence chief, Tory grandees and White House officials. On Day Two of Lord Ashcroft’s explosive biography, the Prime Minister is accused of ‘doing an Iraq’ in Libya and rank incompetence over Syria. Astonishingly, General Sir David Richards, says he had to tell Mr Cameron that ‘being in the Combined Cadet Force at Eton’ did not qualify him to decide the tactics of complex military operations.” – Daily Mail

  • Military chief frozen out of Syria discussions – Daily Mail
  • ‘Incompetent’ Cameron accused of ‘doing an Iraq’ on Libya – The Independent
  • How Brady was sacrificed in row over grammar schools – Daily Mail
  • Secrets of Dave’s ‘Chipping Snorton’ set – Daily Mail
  • How the elite let loose at Oxford – The Times (£)
  • Picture emerges of Prime Minister riding out with hunt before ban – Daily Mail
  • Cameron’s brother is ‘family’ to Rebekah Brooks – Daily Mail
  • Cocaine circulated at dinner party thrown by future Tory leader, book claims – The Sun (£)
  • Clegg denies blocking the Prime Minister from appointing Ashcroft a minister – Daily Mail
  • Ashcroft claims Cameron knew about his non-dom status – The Independent
  • The Prime Minister’s fearsome efficiency at Downing Street – Daily Mail

The Backlash:

  • Former Tory treasurer takes revenge with lurid biography – Financial Times
  • What’s true, what’s speculation… and what’s just vengeance? – The Independent
  • Lord Ashcroft’s book bears the hallmarks of a revenge job – The Guardian
  • Cameron biography claim starts to unravel – The Times (£)
  • Oxford insiders pour cold water on story – The Independent
  • Prime Minister’s university ex dismisses claims of debauchery – Daily Telegraph
  • Founder of elite Oxford club ridicules story – The Independent
  • Friends deny Cameron was member of society in question – Daily Telegraph
  • Dead pig claim ‘nonsense’, says Number Ten – The Times (£)
  • Lord Ashcroft could be dismissed as Government advisor – Daily Telegraph
  • Downing Street bosses set out to hunt down MP who made pig claim – The Sun (£)
  • Book released after election to minimise damage, claims author – The Independent

Matthew Engel: This tale of a pig looks set to fly

“There is something about the pig story that will hurt, true or false, because it hits at the weakest part of Mr Cameron’s public image: the sense of him being uncaring and remote from ordinary life. And because he must know that in Paris, Berlin, Washington and Moscow, the world’s other leaders are just as likely to be tittering as the pint-drinkers in the Dog and Duck, the Rose and Crown and, indeed, the Boar’s Head.” – Financial Times

  • I smoked dope with Dave – James Delingpole, The Sun (£)
  • Piggy-in-the-middle wouldn’t be a secret today – Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)
  • A tabloid editor would have rejected this story – Ian Kirby, The Spectator

>Today: ToryDiary: It’s about time Piers Gaveston stopped causing trouble

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Revenge! says the Mail, amidst claims of “drugs and debauchery”. Its serialisation of Lord Ashcroft’s biography of the Prime Minister opens.

Tory machine will stay neutral in EU referendum

EU Exit“David Cameron will have to campaign to stay in the European Union without the support of the Conservative party, it has emerged. The Tories said on Monday that they had decided to adopt a position of neutrality during the upcoming EU referendum campaign. The decision means that In or Out campaigners will not be able to call on the resources of the Conservative party, such as its valuable lists of activists’ names and addresses.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Davidson will campaign to stay regardless of renegotiation – Daily Telegraph


Privately-run hospital victim of ‘left-wing stich-up’

“The country’s first hospital to have been privately run is near the top of a satisfaction league despite being condemned by inspectors. Hinchingbrooke was ranked fourth out of 160 NHS hospitals, receiving just 1.3 complaints per 100,000 times patients were dealt with. The worst trust had 13 times as many grievances and the average was 6.2 per 100,000. Yet for the past nine months the Cambridgeshire hospital has been in special measures after the Care Quality Commission branded it inadequate.” – Daily Mail

  • Over 1600 doctors seek documentation to work overseas as Government drives through reform – Daily Mail
  • How the Left sank a model hospital – Daily Mail editorial

>Yesterday: George Freeman MP in Comment: New technology can save the NHS

Watson tells Labour to show Corbyn more respect

LABOUR dead rose“Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has ordered the party’s MPs to show more ‘respect’ to new leader Jeremy Corbyn – after a string of attacks undermined his first week in charge. Mr Watson, who was elected the party’s number two alongside Mr Corbyn last week, admitted he was ‘worried’ about the level of sniping by MPs and appealed for them to give him time to ‘lay out his stall’. It comes after a string of shadow ministers openly defied Mr Corbyn over the weekend – dismissing his views of nuclear weapons, Syrian airstrikes and Britain’s membership of Nato.” – Daily Mail

  • Deputy leader dismisses speculation that MPs might defect to the Lib Dems – Daily Mail
  • Nuclear split in Shadow Cabinet – The Times (£)
  • Front-bench arsonist asks to be allowed to move on – Daily Mail
  • Corbyn ally bought land to block third runway at Heathrow – The Times (£)

Dan Hodges: Trident will be Corbyn’s moment of reckoning

“At the moment shadow ministers hope they – along with unions with representation in the defence industry – can bind Jeremy Corbyn to existing party policy. Essentially arguing “Jeremy doesn’t agree, but policy is clear. We are backing the decision to proceed.” The trouble is, Labour isn’t just going to be asked “Do you want to replace Trident?” Those sneaky Tories are preparing to ask Jeremy Corbyn a second question: “Are there circumstances where the Rt. Hon. Gentleman would personally authorise the use of nuclear weapons?”” – Daily Telegraph

New leaders’ grassroots army to be given Labour membership

CORBYN Citizen cap“The Labour party is preparing to grant full membership to people it blocked from taking part in its leadership contest, in a boost to Jeremy Corbyn’s grassroots army of supporters. The party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) will meet today for the first time since the election of the new leader and will cheer Mr Corbyn despite the private doubts of several figures in the room.” – The Times (£)

  • Russian ambassador lavishes praise on Corbyn’s foreign policy… – Daily Telegraph
  • …but Italian leader Renzi scorns Labour leader’s views – Financial Times
  • Choice of leader shows Labour’s delight in losing, claims Renzi – The Guardian


  • Corbyn is a variable in the Brexit debate – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

>Today: Paddy Briggs in Comment: Rail privatisation hasn’t worked, but Corbyn’s nationalisation wouldn’t either – we need a third way

>Yesterday: Paul Abbott’s column: Voters can judge Corbyn by the gallery of wrong’uns who cheered his victory

Former First Minister attacks Dugdale’s decision to let MSPs campaign for separation

“Kezia Dugdale’s decision to allow Labour MSPs to campaign for independence risks sending a message to voters the party is relaxed about a Yes vote in a second referendum, a former First Minister has warned. Henry McLeish said it would be “remarkable” if Scottish Labour MSPs and MPs were allowed to have a “flexible” position on independence.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Should Scottish Labour have a free vote on independence? – The Guardian

Liberal Democrat peers plan to challenge government and ‘misbehave’ to provoke reform

Lib Dem Logo“One of the Liberal Democrats’ most senior figures has boasted the party can defeat the government at will in the House of Lords and may “misbehave” by repeatedly changing laws to provoke reform. Lord Newby, the party’s chief whip in the Lords, said the Lib Dems could force through “umpteen” changes to laws every day despite having just eight MPs because there are so few Tory peers.” – Daily Telegraph

Clegg admits to leaving the Liberal Democrats looking ‘insipid’

“Nick Clegg today admitted his leadership of the Lib Dems left the party looking ‘insipid’ and heading for a ‘very public drubbing’. Addressing the party’s conference for the first time since leading it to an electoral bloodbath with the loss of 48 MPs, Mr Clegg said the result ‘hurts’ as he laid bare his own ‘mistakes and miscalculations’.” – Daily Mail

  • Faithful embrace ex-leader’s message of hope – The Guardian
  • Party failed to make the centre inspiring – The Times (£)
  • Former leader claims Lib Dems will be ‘comeback kids’ of politics – The Independent
  • Clegg avoids questions on his poor voting record – Daily Telegraph
  • Farron claims Brexit would leave UK an ‘impoverished backwater’ – Daily Mail


  • Why the party still loves Clegg – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Ex-leader looks more like the one the party actually needs – Donald Macintyre, The Independent
  • Fallen leader hailed by the faithful – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Return of the Lib Dems’ loveable loser – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)

Rachel Sylvester: We need a liberal party which isn’t a joke

LibDemDead“Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, struck a nerve by saying anyone defecting from Labour to the Lib Dems would be abandoning the Beatles for a Bananarama tribute band. The conference Twitter hashtag #LibDemFightback is a forlorn hope. The irony is that there is a greater need than ever for a reasoned, liberal party that can question the tribalists on both left and right.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief: