Osborne 1) Chancellor stands firm on tax credits…

OSBORNE non-broken sword“George Osborne came under fresh pressure over tax credits yesterday, but claimed Britain will ‘go bust’ unless it cuts its welfare bill. The Chancellor told MPs that controversial tax credit cuts were an essential part of the fight to bring Britain’s finances under control.” – Daily Mail


  • Chancellor was drowned out at Treasury Committee – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Osborne sticks to his guns – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

Simon Walker: Osborne should cut tax credits, but also tax on the lowest paid

“It is not surprising that as more people become used to receiving a benefit, it becomes harder and harder to remove. But this trend, with more and more working people becoming tied to the state through the welfare system, cannot be allowed to continue… Tax credits are a difficult target, but it can only be seen as a failure that even when the economy is doing well, the country still spends large amounts on credits for people in work.” – Daily Telegraph

Osborne 2) …as he prepares to ‘up the temperature’ of EU renegotiation…

EU FLag“Britain is ready to “up the temperature” in its Brussels renegotiation, George Osborne said yesterday as he defended the Bank of England governor’s support of EU membership. Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former chancellor, said that Mark Carney had been wrong to comment in a political way with his claim that Britain was a leading beneficiary of the EU.” – The Times (£)

  • Tory Eurosceptics hit out at Governor – Financial Times
  • Chinese leader expresses hopes for a united EU – Daily Telegraph
  • Wood warns that Brexit could spark constitutional crisis – The Independent
  • Judge rules that EU migrants can send child benefit to children in another country – Daily Mail


  • Carney demonstrates the risks of staying in the EU – Paul Stephenson, Daily Telegraph



Osborne 3) …and cracks down on buy-to-let mortgages

“George Osborne has announced plans that could make it more difficult for hundreds of thousands of people to become buy-to-let landlords. In a surprise announcement, the Chancellor indicated that he is planning to give tough new powers to the Bank of England to regulate buy-to-let mortgages.” – Daily Telegraph

Cameron under pressure from health lobby on sugar tax

Camerons thinking copy“The head of the NHS warned David Cameron last night to take “comprehensive action” over a report calling for a sugar tax alongside an end to junk food advertising and special offers on unhealthy snacks. A 20 per cent tax on fizzy drinks, smaller chocolate bars and the banishing of sugar bowls from restaurant tables are among the measures recommended by Public Health England, the government advisory body.” – The Times (£)


  • Why I’m backing Jamie Oliver’s sugar tax – Judith Woods, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: There is no reason in principle not to have a sugar tax

Shortened Cenotaph ceremony sparks row with Opposition leaders

“As she approaches her 90th birthday, the service at the Cenotaph is to be shortened to limit the standing time, but the move has provoked a political row over an enhanced role for David Cameron… Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, Angus Robertson of the SNP and Nigel Dodds, the DUP’s Westminster leader, were told that they would perform their duty “collectively”. The changes have been made to shorten the ceremony out of respect for the ageing veterans who take part in the annual parade.” – The Times (£)

Grayling leads the charge for English Votes

England Parliament“Scottish MPs’ powers over English laws were finally watered down last night in a move that the government claimed would save the Union. English MPs will now have a final veto over laws that affect their own constituents, although Scottish nationalists said the move had made MPs from their country ‘second class citizens’.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Chris Grayling MP in Comment: Today’s vote on EVEL offers a stronger, fairer Union

Duncan Smith announces ‘yellow card’ softening of welfare sanction regime

“The benefit sanctions system will be made less aggressive in response to criticism of it from a parliamentary committee, Iain Duncan Smith has announced. The Work and Pensions Secretary said people subjected to sanctions would from now on initially be given a “yellow card” or warning when the sanction –a benefit deduction – was triggered.” – The Independent >Today: Philippa Stroud in Comment: I worked with IDS for five years. Now I’m back at the CSJ, and here’s my vision of what it should do next.

May picks fight with Met on knife crime

MAY Theresa menacing“A war of words broke out yesterday as the Home Secretary accused cops of a “knee-jerk reaction” on knife crime. Theresa May blasted Met Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe’s plan to increase the number of stop and searches. The told the National Black Police Officers’ Association there was no evidence it cuts knife crime, calling it “simply not true”.” – The Sun (£)

  • Met Chief caught in crossfire between Boris and May – Nigel Morris, The Independent

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Does May’s closest adviser joining the Vote Leave campaign signal her intentions?

Ross Clark: May should stop seeing racism where there is none

“Just 2 per cent of people in Dyfed Powys, according to the 2011 census, declare themselves to be from black and ethnic minorities (BME)… That is why I can’t share Theresa May’s sense of alarm about the lack of black police officers serving in the Dyfed Powys constabulary. Actually, Dyfed Powys police yesterday contradicted Mrs May by saying that it does have a black officer; but even if it didn’t surely it would only really be a reflection of the local population. I doubt there is a white supremacist in human resources secretly filtering job applications.” – The Times (£)

Shapps launches plan to bring solar energy to Africa

SHAPPS Carla head“The Earth pictured at night shows most countries lit up by bright white light. But most of Africa remains in the dark, with two thirds of people in the vast continent living without electricity. The striking image has inspired Africa minister Grants Shapps to back an ambitious plan to get mini-solar kits into every home home by 2030, with families paying for their power by text message.” – Daily Mail

  • Markets can deliver energy to millions in Africa – Grant Shapps, CapX

SpAds empowered to instruct officials

“Special advisers will be allowed to issue instructions to civil servants and get involved in political campaigns under a new code of conduct issued by the government. The changes have been criticised for giving potential for conflict in Whitehall, and for being imposed without wider consultation.” – The Guardian

Corbyn supporters push far-left Lansman for by-election

Labour holes“Jeremy Corbyn’s allies are pushing for a hard-left militant to replace the late Michael Meacher. Lefties in Mr Corbyn’s Momentum supporters group want Jon Lansman to fight the Oldham West and Royton by-election. It sparked fresh turmoil within the party. A senior MP said: “If Lansman runs this is a declaration of war. He is bad news.” – The Sun (£)

Watson had second case against cleared man re-opened

“Tom Watson pressured the director of public prosecutions on behalf of a close friend to reopen a historic sexual abuse case against a man later found to be innocent. Mr Watson, now the deputy Labour leader, asked Sir Keir Starmer, who has since joined Labour’s front bench, to reconsider a case in which his friend had accused a relation of sexual assault.” – Daily Telegraph

  • DCI sacked from Brittan case after political pressure speaks to MPs – Daily Telegraph

UKIP target Meacher’s seat

UKIP glass“Ukip is gearing up to take on Labour in a by-election following the death of Michael Meacher. The Labour MP for Oldham West & Royton died on Tuesday, aged 75, prompting a contest that could be held within weeks. A Ukip spokesman said that the party would pour resources into the fight.” – The Times (£)

News in Brief:

  • Cuts mean police won’t bother investigating thefts, warns senior chief – Daily Mail
  • Grammar school rushes to expand with annexe – The Times (£)
  • Clinton defiant over embassy fiasco – Financial Times
  • Daring US raid rescues 70 from ISIS – Daily Telegraph
  • TalkTalk warns that customer data is at risk after ‘sustained’ website hack – The Guardian