The Deal: Cameron calls EU referendum today as Cabinet divides

The Times 20-02-16“David Cameron will call a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU today but will be opposed by Michael Gove, one of his closest friends and allies. The prime minister will call the poll, almost certainly for June 23, after a cabinet meeting at 10am that will split the Conservative party’s top team.” – The Times (£)

  • The reckoning: five points on which to judge the deal – FT
  • What the Prime Minister wanted and what he got – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister puts Brexit decision to the nation – The Sun
  • Cameron’s rocky road to Brussels – FT
  • EU referendum: what and when is it? – Daily Telegraph
  • How the newspapers reacted – The Spectator
  • Number 10 in TV debate talks with broadcasters – Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit poses existential questions for London and Paris – FT


  • How EU leaders ganged up on Cameron – John Stevens, Daily Mail

Tory leader’s day of frustration

“Watching him go, you had to wonder: why do the most important international summits so often last through the night? Why can’t they break off at a sociable hour, and come back refreshed in the morning? It seems unlikely that political judgement is sharpened by fatigue. In the words of Bill Clinton: “Most of the mistakes I made in my career, I made when I was too tired. You make better decisions when you’re not too tired.” – Michael Deacon’s sketch, Daily Telegraph



Prime Minister claims victory as he starts defence of EU membership

Financial Times 20-02-16“David Cameron gave his most impassioned defence of British EU membership on Friday night, as he confirmed that he would fight “heart and soul” to keep the UK in the 28-member bloc. After months of hinting that he could campaign for a Brexit if he did not get a good deal in Brussels, Mr Cameron confirmed that he would lead the fight for Britain to stay in “a reformed EU” in a referendum expected on June 23.” – FT

  • Watch Cameron’s statement on the deal – Facebook
  • Tory leader will put ‘heart and soul’ into staying in Europe – The Guardian
  • Cameron says he’s got a good enough deal to Remain – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister hails deal to give UK ‘special status’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Project fear begins as Cameron warns Brexit would be a ‘leap in the dark’ – Daily Mail


  • Pro-EU letter circulated to Tories who jumped the gun on their leader’s deal – Daily Mail
  • Mandelson attacks Corbyn over opposition to migrant welfare curbs – The Sun
  • Business leaders wade in against Brexit – The Independent
  • Salmond will campaign for IN ‘because it’s the right thing to do’ – Belfast Telegraph


  • EU police chief claims continent faces highest threat level in ten years – The Sun
  • This is your last chance, EU leaders tell Britain – The Times (£)
  • Fellow leaders unite in urging Britons to vote for Cameron’s terms – FT


Matthew Parris: Quitting the EU would suggest we don’t care for the West

“Our breakaway would be a collapse for the whole. It would carry profound implications for more than the balance of power in the world: but for the battle of ideas and values, too: a battle which is turning critical, and for which the century ahead looks ever more likely to form the stage.With or without us the future of the European Union looks fragile. Without us I’d predict disintegration.” – The Times (£)

  • Dogged work won the tussle in Brussels, now Cameron must win at home – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian
  • Cameron must now show he can be a constructive EU player – Natalie Nougayrède, The Guardian

>Today: Video: WATCH: Cameron – the UK will have “the best of both worlds”

>Yesterday: MPs Etc.: Project Fear Scare Story of the Week: The AA’s petrol price panic

Gove will campaign to Leave

Daily Express 20-02-16“Michael Gove was last night dramatically outed as a member of the Leave camp – by the Prime Minister. David Cameron made the revelation during his press conference after striking his deal in Brussels. On Mr Gove’s position, Mr Cameron said: ‘He has wanted to get Britain to pull out of the European Union for about 30 years.'” – Daily Mail

  • Cameron’s challenge to win round Cabinet colleagues – FT
  • Patel poised for anti-EU ‘reboot’ – The Independent
  • Eurosceptics pour scorn on terms agreed – Daily Mail
  • EU is like a prison for Britain, claim ‘Out’ campaigners – The Sun
  • Tory critics attack ‘feeble pantomine’ – The Times (£)
  • Meet Rees-Mogg, the MP giving Dave both barrels – Daily Mail
  • Two in three private investors claim leaving the EU is best for savings – Daily Mail

Grassroots Out shambles

  • Downing Street tells Brexit ministers to side with Vote Leave over GO! – The Times (£)
  • Galloway’s appearance at GO! rally sparks furore – Daily Telegraph
  • Walkout as hard left politician addresses Brexit rally – The Independent
  • Grassroots Out unites the sort of politicians one tries to avoid – John Crace’s sketch, The Guardian

James Forsyth: If Boris joins Gove it would be catastrophic for Cameron

“Losing Gove – one of Cameron’s best friends – is a blow to No10. But Boris going Out would be catastrophic for Cameron. With Boris on one side and Cameron on the other, there’d be no Tory swing towards In, something he needs to secure a decisive victory. At the moment, Downing Street still doesn’t know what the London Mayor is going to do. Having been sure he would be for In – Cameron has always delighted in pointing out that Boris has never actually called for Britain to leave the EU – No10 is now not so sure.” – The Sun

  • Boris will most likely bottle it on Brexit – Michael White, The Guardian
  • If he accepts this charade, I fear Cameron is signing his political death warrant – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail
  • Cameron’s fatal misjudgement over the referendum will leave him exposed – Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • European participation has served Britain well, but our next chapter lies beyond – Andrew Lilico, Daily Telegraph
  • I’ve always been pro-EU, but here’s why I’ve changed my mind – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail



>Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column: If Boris backs Leave and becomes leader, it will stink

Osborne on track to miss borrowing targets by £5 billion

OSBORNE penknife“George Osborne is on course to miss borrowing targets by £5 billion this year, experts have predicted. The Chancellor is facing a headache in next month’s Budget after “disappointing” January tax receipts, top economists said. The Office for National Statistics said public sector net borrowing was in surplus by £11.2 billion in January, fuelled by strong tax receipts.” – The Sun

  • NHS in financial freefall with debts approaching £3 billion – The Sun

Davidson urges Labour and Lib Dems to adopt harder anti-separatist stance

“Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said she is greatly disappointed in her former Better Together stablemates for allowing nationalists to join their parties. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have signalled they would permit their members to campaign for independence, despite siding with Tories in the campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.” – The Scotsman

  • Jones to pinpoint Welsh Conservatives as Labour’s main threat in Assembly election – Wales Online
  • Welsh Tories would scrap tuition fee grants – Wales Online

Brown’s attack dog returns to serve anti-Trident Thornberry

LABOUR dead rose“One of the most notorious spin doctors of the Gordon Brown era is returning to the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn. Damian McBride, who resigned from the party in disgrace in 2009, will work for Emily Thornberry, the shadow defence secretary, who has the job of sorting out the party’s position on Trident.” – The Times (£)

  • Should we be surprised Corbyn’s fans have a problem with Jews? – Robert Hardman, Daily Mail

Liberal Democrat election post-mortem blames inadequate polling

“An internal inquest into the party’s disastrous electoral performance has found that a lack of research left it “flying blind”, with little factual basis for its political messaging. The Lib Dems conducted “no polling activities of note” in the first two years of coalition government “as a result of dwindling funds”, according to the review published on Friday. “Once a comprehensive polling programme was reinstated in 2012, the fundamental damage was already done.”” – FT

News in Brief:

  • National Crime Agency reveals how guns are posted into Britain – Daily Mail
  • Savers win right to move pension cash – The Times (£)
  • Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, dies aged 89 – Daily Telegraph
  • US steps up pressure in security clash with Apple – FT
  • Ban on Israel boycotts condemned by celebrities, politicians, and a union leader – The Independent
  • Devolution talks end without agreement – The Scotsman
  • First Minister calls for new Stormont expenses system – Belfast Telegraph

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