EU talks 1) ‘No deal’, says Boris

BORIS angel devil‘Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have joined forces to press David Cameron to assert Westminster’s sovereignty over Brussels before deciding if they will help him keep Britain in the EU. The London mayor left Downing Street yesterday declaring “no deal” after the prime minister gave him a private preview of a package that he said delivered on his promise to put “beyond doubt” parliament’s primacy. Mr Johnson added “I’ll be back” — keeping the door open to further efforts to win him over.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Daniel Hannan’s column: If the UK were not already a member of the European Union, would we vote to join it?

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Brexit. What Gove decides will be less important than what he then does

EU talks 2) Cameron under pressure to water down the deal even further

‘Humiliated David Cameron last night threatened to veto a new EU deal to fend off a crunch Brussels summit disaster unless it is enshrined in a new treaty. After nine months of negotiations, the PM hopes to come tomorrow with an agreement for Britain’s European Union membership. He will then set a date for the landmark In/Out referendum, expected to be June 23.’ – The Sun (£)


>Today: ToryDiary: Ten, sorry, seven points to watch for from the EU Summit


EU talks 3) Number of EU workers in the UK rises 215,000 in a year

Border‘David Cameron suffered a hammer blow last night as it emerged the number of EU workers in Britain has rocketed by 215,000 in just 12 months. They included more than 120,000 Eastern Europeans – among them almost 50,000 from Romania and Bulgaria. It means there are now more than two million EU nationals working in the UK.’ – Daily Mail

  • Influx of migrants can lower happiness – Daily Mail
  • Crimes by migrants in Germany rise 79 per cent – Daily Mail
  • Royal Navy ships join NATO efforts to stop migrant boats – The Sun (£)

EU talks 4) Lawson: Vote to Leave, and Britain will prosper

‘What was presented as a drive for fundamental reform has turned into an exercise in damage limitation: how to limit the damage that EU membership inflicts on us. And even that has scarcely been achieved. The only way to end the damage is to leave…We would continue to trade with the EU, as the rest of the world does today, almost certainly assisted by a bilateral free trade agreement, which they need far more than we do. Above all, we would become once again a self-governing democracy, with a genuinely global rather than a little European perspective. We would prosper, we would be free, and we would stand tall.’ – Lord Lawson, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Mark MacGregor on Comment: Scotland’s ‘Project Fear’ has lessons for both the Remain and Leave camps

Montgomerie: I’m leaving the Conservative Party

MONTGOMERIE Tim offical‘A radical transformation of the Conservative party is under way. The Tories who defected to Ukip before the last election were replaced by the kind of people who voted Liberal Democrat at the previous four elections. The next political blood transfusion into the Tory body may well come from exiles from Corbyn’s Labour party and they will compensate for any haemorrhage of Eurosceptic voters because of the referendum fight. I admit this grand repositioning might work electorally for a period, but it doesn’t mean that people like me should continue to give time, love and money to the Conservative cause.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Why Tim quit

Unemployment at lowest rate since 2005

‘Unemployment has fallen to a ten-year low with record numbers of people in work. A record employment rate for older workers has helped drive the overall employment rate to 74.1 per cent – the highest since records began in 1971. The number of people without work fell by 60,000 in a quarter, taking the jobless total to 1.69million in the three months to December.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Osborne needs the unofficial opposition to save him from himself

Hospitals warned against temptation to not implement new contract

NHS_Logo‘Hospitals have been warned that they could lose funding if they refuse to impose new contracts on junior doctors. The body responsible for funding training places has told foundation trust chief executives that “decisions on investment” will use implementation of a national contract as “a key criterion”. Foundation trust hospitals are semi-independent and the Department of Health confirmed last week that they were “not mandated to bring in the new contract” promised by Jeremy Hunt.’ – The Times (£)

  • ‘Never event’ medical mistakes happen six times a week – Daily Mail
  • NHS heading for ‘£2.3bn deficit’ – FT
  • Call for every child to have meningitis vaccination – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Phil Taylor on Comment: Hunt is right about a seven day working NHS

Councils plan to increase fees and charges

‘Town hall chiefs yesterday threatened to hike parking charges to fill what they say is a hole in their finances. They also warned of major increases in the fees charged to families for everything from care for the elderly and disabled to taking away garden rubbish. The leap in the charges and fees levied by councils comes as the great majority of local authorities prepare to raise their council tax by the greatest amounts allowed by the Treasury.’ – Daily Mail

  • Council tax rise on the way – The Sun (£)

>Today: Local Government: Dishonest lobbying from London Councils over school funding

Police chiefs can’t blame budget cuts for fall in patrols

Police‘Police chiefs can no longer blame government cuts for slashing routine patrols by bobbies, a watchdog concluded last night. Red tape rather than budget cuts diverts thousands of officers from frontline duties, with some spending less than half their time on the beat, a wide-ranging investigation found. Senior officers have warned bobbies on the beat could vanish if expected budget cuts of up to 40 per cent were made.’ – Daily Mail

  • 18 forces require improvement – The Sun (£)

Pickles launches new push on union accountability

‘The government has stepped up its rhetoric on trade unions’ political activities as Sir Eric Pickles claimed unions were able to back contentious political causes without seeking members’ consent. The former communities secretary and chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel group — and the government’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues — said that under the current system, Jewish union members for example might be inadvertently funding “hard left anti-Israel” campaigns.’ – FT

Jo Johnson urges Oxford to investigate Labour Club anti-semitism

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logo‘The universities minister has written to the head of Oxford urging her to consider disciplinary action over alleged ‘rampant anti-Semitism’ at the university’s Labour club. Jo Johnson demanded an urgent investigation after the student group’s co-chair said members had a ‘poisonous’ attitude towards minority groups and resigned. Alex Chalmers, 20, said a ‘large proportion’ of the Oxford University Labour club (OULC) had ‘some kind of problem with Jews’ and that some had used offensive terms.’ – Daily Mail

Momentum seeks to replace Constituency Labour Parties

‘Momentum, the hard-left network of Corbynistas, wants to replace Labour party branches, according to a leaked proposal raised by a leading local group. Last week the steering committee of Lambeth Momentum, which has been among the most militant branches of the controversial group, denounced the area’s Labour party as ineffective. In an email to members before a meeting last night it suggested that Momentum should become a “replacement space” for political activism.’ – The Times (£)

UKIP feud breaks out over Hamilton

Nigel Farage‘Nigel Farage’s allies have launched a last-ditch bid to stop disgraced ex-Tory MP Neil Hamilton making a political comeback in Wales – warning he will use it to launch a coup. Friends of Mr Farage accuse Mr Hamilton – a member of the party’s ruling national executive committee – of trying to “stitch up” his own selection for the Welsh Assembly and of plotting with its only MP Douglas Carswell to “kill off” Ukip.’ – The Sun (£)

News in Brief

  • Cherie Blair’s lucrative link to Maldivian dictator – Daily Mail
  • Italy investigates Erdogan’s son in corruption probe – The Independent
  • Dozens killed in Turkish terrorist attack – The Times (£)
  • The Church of England expects to decline for another 30 years – Daily Telegraph
  • Teenagers ‘took selfie in police van after killing woman’ – The Sun (£)
  • Clegg carries out Twitter cull – Daily Telegraph
  • RAF scrambled to intercept Russian bombers – Daily Mail
  • Meat scare sees consumption fall – The Times (£)
  • Apple is acting as though it is above the law – The Sun Says (£)

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