Whittingdale mulls backing Brexit

WHITTINGDALE union flag“Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has become the first cabinet minister to test David Cameron’s rules on opposing EU membership by refusing to rule out backing Brexit. The Prime Minister has agreed to suspend the ‘collective responsibility’ rules and allow his ministers to publicly oppose him on the EU referendum – but only once he has finalised his negotiation and presented it to the Cabinet.” – Daily Mail

  • Culture Secretary becomes first Cabinet minister to hint at ‘Leave’ support – Daily Telegraph
  • Gove ‘torn’ between the Prime Minister and leaving the EU – The Times (£)
  • Justice Secretary’s new constitutional court will veto nothing, warns Tory QC – Daily Telegraph
  • Why Gove hopes to reinvent human rights law – The Independent


  • Cameron struggling to get his way in treaty change row – The Sun
  • Downing Street using software to trace eurosceptic leaks – Daily Telegraph
  • Government drops welfare cap which won’t dent public hostility – The Sun
  • The ten huge holes in the Prime Minister’s new deal – The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Whittingdale leads the way

Tory activists threaten to turn their backs on candidates in May

“Conservative grassroots members are threatening to refuse to campaign for candidates in May’s elections following David Cameron’s “contemptuous” comments telling MPs to ignore eurosceptic associations ahead of the referendum. The Prime Minister prompted anger from grassroots campaigners after he told backbenchers not to back the campaign to leave the EU “because of what your constituency association might say”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Grassroots fury as Cameron tells MPs to ignore constituents – Daily Mail
  • Tories to target grassroots to broaden membership – FT
  • May told not to deport offenders if they have an EU child – Daily Mail
  • Question Time audience member savages eurosceptic ministers – Daily Telegraph
  • The Welsh Tory MPs who want to Leave, and why – Wales Online

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: It isn’t the grassroots influencing MPs not to vote with their hearts, but the leadership

Eurosceptics plagued by further infighting at the top

EU Exit brexit“The main campaign group seeking to take Britain out of the EU is in danger of losing the referendum unless “damaging and unnecessary” bickering is stopped, according to a leaked internal email. In a sign of the bitter infighting in the Vote Leave group, one of its main supporters has accused campaign director Dominic Cummings of undermining the organisation by generating “ill feeling” among workers.” – The Guardian

  • Hoey quits Labour Leave over ‘toxic’ leadership – The Times (£)
  • Johnson claims the ’emergency brake’ will achieve nothing – Daily Telegraph
  • Some migrants will get more benefits than Brits – The Sun
  • Welfare limits to impact fewer migrants than expected – FT
  • Emergency brake will hit just one in ten migrants – The Sun


  • Eurosceptics worry over lack of leadership – FT
  • Voters ‘crying out’ for TV debate, claim campaigners – Daily Telegraph
  • Damning verdict on Cameron as 45 per cent back Brexit – The Sun
  • ‘Out’ campaign surges to record lead… – The Times (£)
  • …but Rose claims ‘In’ will win by a substantial margin – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘In’ boss ‘arrogantly takes Brits for granted’ – The Sun
  • Goldman Sachs told to stop ‘scaremongering’ on currency – Daily Mail
  • MEPs can veto all the UK’s migration reforms… – The Times (£)
  • …which won’t affect EU migrants already here – Daily Telegraph
  • Plan to deport foreign ‘crook’ blocked by European judges – The Sun


  • Davis puts the Brexit case in his daringly unzingy way – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • It’s the sane voice of euroscepticism, but is anyone listening? – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Embracing the keen European’s argument for Brexit – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)


Philip Collins: An anti-elite backlash could deliver for ‘Out’

“The conditions, though, are gathering for the possibility of a debate that is not In versus Out but Us versus Them. In a more deferential age, the electorate would have taken the guidance of most of the cabinet, the bulk of the opposition and the greater part of organised business. These days, it could work the other way round.” – The Times (£)

  • Cutting up EU red tape may not help the British economy – John Springford, Daily Telegraph
  • The EU no longer serves the people, democracy needs a new beginning – Yanis Varoufakis, The Guardian
  • Why aren’t Cameron and other politicians making the debate clear? – Judith Wood, Daily Telegraph
  • The right wing press can’t be allowed to bully us out of the EU – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian



Ministers 1) Mundell warns SNP not to reject devolution over ‘molehill’ of risks

SNP logo white background“Scots will not forgive the SNP for abandoning a “mountain of powers” for Holyrood because of a “molehill of risks”, David Mundell has said as he claimed there is no reason a funding deal could not be reached next week. The Scottish Secretary said John Swinney, the SNP Finance Minister, was “chancing his arm” by demanding in negotiations with the UK Government a share of growth in English income tax after the levy is devolved.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scottish Secretary slams ‘ludicrous’ powers demands – The Scotsman
  • Treasury officials arrive in Scotland to finalise funding deal – The Guardian
  • Holyrood asked to investigate Salmond’s radio show – Daily Telegraph
  • Scottish Greens target second votes of SNP supporters – The Scotsman

Fraser Nelson: Imagine the state an independent Scotland would be in

“Had the referendum gone the other way, Salmond would be preparing his first Budget by now. In all likelihood he would be in a state of blind panic. His White Paper on independence envisaged Scotland enjoying almost £8 billion a year in oil revenue by this stage. But that was before the crash. The forecast today is just £100 million, some 99 per cent less than the SNP imagined.” – Daily Telegraph

Ministers 2 May wants Police and Crime Commissioners to set up free schools

Police shield“Police and crime commissioners should be allowed to set up their own free schools to stop troubled children from drifting into a life of crime, the home secretary said yesterday. The Home Office and Ministry of Justice want to expand the role of commissioners into youth justice, courts and probation after elections in May.” – The Times (£)

  • Police Scotland introduce ‘bespoke’ university degree course – The Scotsman

MPs 1) Mercer spearheads committee investigation into ‘inept’ Iraq war crimes investigators

“A powerful committee of MPs has launched an inquiry into the Iraq war crimes investigation after branding it “shambolic”. The Commons probe turns the tables on the Iraq Historic Allegations Team, dubbed by war vets as a ‘witch hunt’. The IHAT’s boss Mark Warwick will be hauled in front of the Defence Committee to be grilled on oath during it, as well as tank-chasing lawyers.” – The Sun

MPs 2) Cox apologises for failing to declare income

House of Commons logo“A Tory MP who earns hundreds of thousands of pounds as a barrister has been forced to apologise to the House of Commons for failing to declare £400,000 of outside income. Parliament’s Standards Committee found that Geoffrey Cox QC had committed a ‘serious’ breach of rules but accepted he had not ‘intended to hide’ the payments.” – Daily Mail

  • Merriman accused of bullying lawyer after one-night stand – The Sun

News in Brief:

  • Huge pay-offs for public sector fat cats are banned – Daily Mail
  • Overstretched nuclear police force is a ‘threat to security’ – The Independent
  • Australians ban British from war memorial ceremony – The Times (£)
  • NATO says Russian military drills at level unseen since Cold War – Daily Telegraph
  • Obama proposes $10 per barrel oil tax – FT
  • Sacked NHS whistleblower could get £11 million compensation – The Sun
  • First Minister backs calls to investigate claims RUC were warned of Belfast bomb – Belfast Telegraph

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