Crabb defends pensioner benefits

CRABB Stephen“Rising Cabinet star Stephen Crabb has slapped down Iain Duncan Smith for urging the Government to slash pensioners’ benefits to curb the welfare bill. Crabb, who took over as Work and Pensions Secretary after Duncan Smith’s shock resignation, said the idea that millions of retired people are ‘living the life of Riley’ is a ‘myth’. In his first interview since being promoted from Welsh Secretary, Crabb vowed to protect universal pensioners’ benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes.” Interview with Stephen Crabb, The Mail on Sunday

Brexit 1): Terror warning from former CIA Director Petraeus…

“Given the dangers and challenges that threaten us around the world, this is a moment when the West and its institutions, including the EU, need to be drawing together —not pulling apart. At least from a national security standpoint, none of the problems the U.S. and UK face will become easier to solve if the UK is out of the EU; on the contrary, I fear that a “Brexit” would only make our world even more dangerous and difficult to manage.” – David Petraeus, Sunday Telegraph

Brexit 2) NHS would be under threat warns Hunt

“The National Health Service will face budget cuts, falling standards and an exodus of overseas doctors and nurses if the UK leaves the European Union, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said. In a controversial intervention in the Brexit debate, Hunt warns in an Observer article that leaving will create risks to levels of service and investment and could trigger a loss of key staff that will leave gaps on the NHS frontline.” – The Observer

  • A strong NHS needs a strong economy – Jeremy Hunt, The Observer

Brexit 3) Gove and Osborne hold EU “peace talks”

“George Osborne held secret peace talks with Cabinet rebel Michael Gove in a bid to halt the Tory civil war over Europe. The referendum rivals dined at the Justice Secretary’s home and agreed to pull together to “keep the show on the road”. The meeting came after the Chancellor’s leadership hopes were dented by the most shambolic week since their party won power.” – The Sun on Sunday

Brexit 4) Leaving the EU would boost our security says Mordaunt

MORDAUNT Penny red“At a time when we are fighting to restore the primacy of international humanitarian law, both to uphold human rights and to allow our armed forces the freedom to conduct operations, European law is frustrating those aims and thus undermining our defence. Intelligence sharing is being attacked, too. Last year the European Court of Justice ruled that the trans-Atlantic safe harbour agreements, which enable data to be held in the EU and US, were illegal, threatening the vital co-operation that exists between the UK and the US as well as all the benefits this brings to EU member states.” – Penny Mordaunt, Sunday Times(£)

  • Fluff and nonsense from both leave and remain – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
  • Two wrong names on pro-Brexit letter – BBC
  • EU tariffs make Easter eggs more expensive – Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Less secure inside the EU, though still unsecure outside it.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: No, Brexit will not lead to Welsh independence

Hammond warns of terrorist attack on British soil

HAMMOND Philip Marr“Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, warns today that “we must prepare ourselves” for the possibility of a terror attack on home soil. Intelligence sources this weekend revealed that more than 100 British jihadists who have returned from Syria and Iraq are “very dangerous and actively plotting” attacks against the UK. Around a quarter of the 400 jihadists who have returned to Britain from the Middle East are now believed to pose a significant threat.” – Sunday Times(£)

Cameron uses his Easter message to praise the UK’s “Christian values”

“Britain should be proud of being a “Christian country with Christian values”, the prime minister has said. In an Easter message, David Cameron said values which the country treasured included responsibility, hard work, charity and compassion. These were Christian values that “speak to everyone in Britain, to people of every faith and none”, he said. The ideology behind attacks such as Brussels could be defeated by “standing up proudly” for those values, he said.” – BBC

Militant teachers heckle Morgan

MORGAN Nicky officiall version“Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has been met with shouts of “rubbish” as she told teachers about plans to turn all schools in England into an academy. In an address to the NASUWT teachers’ conference, Ms Morgan said there was no going back on plans to make every school an academy by 2020. She also urged the union to take a more positive line about the profession rather than talking of “crisis”. She told teachers she would do more to protect them from online harassment.” – BBC

>Today: Rob Leitch on Comment: The greatest Conservative education reform of all – changing the way progress is measured

Lewis pledges injured servicemen will go to front of the queue for Starter Homes

“WOUNDED soldiers will go to the front of the queue for thousands of cut-price starter homes. Families of those killed in action will also get priority under new planning rules to be unveiled this week. One in five new estate homes must be offered to first-time buyers. They will be sold at a 20 per cent discount to moderate-income families. But injured servicemen and women and partners of fallen heroes will get VIP access to the scheme…Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “It’s right we provide help and homes for our heroes.” – The Sun on Sunday

Burnham attacks cuts to Border Force

Andy Burnham 27-07-15“The government is planning “damaging cuts” to the Border Force, Labour says. Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham quoted the force as saying it had been told to expect cuts of 6% in the next financial year and the one after that. In a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May he said making savings now in the wake of the Brussels terrorist attacks would be a “very serious mistake”.” – BBC

Shadow Minister may have broken union laws

“Labour’s spokesman on trade unions is facing claims he may have breached union laws by donating money to his constituency party. Ian Lavery was general secretary of the Northumberland area of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) between 2001 and 2010, when thousands of pounds was given to Labour, much of it to the local party in Wansbeck, the constituency he now represents in parliament. Yet according to its annual accounts, the NUM branch, which was being kept afloat by money given by sick and injured miners from their compensation payments, had set aside just £44 for political activities during that period.” – Sunday Times(£)

Overseas Aid spending “funding terrorist salaries”

“The scandal of how Britain fritters away billions in foreign aid – including paying salaries to convicted terrorists who have murdered hundreds of innocent people – is exposed today by a major MoS investigation. The shocking revelation that thousands of Palestinian terrorists, including men who have masterminded suicide bombings and murdered children, are given cash handouts from aid money will cause anger and disbelief, particularly in the wake of the Brussels massacres.” – The Mail on Sunday

Petronella Wyatt breaks her silence over her affair with Boris

Boris“It was the affair that sullied Boris Johnson’s reputation – and cost him his job after his claims that reports of his infidelity were ‘an inverted pyramid of piffle’ proved to be a lie. Now, 12 years later, the woman who had an abortion and a miscarriage as a result of the scandalous relationship, has spoken out. Petronella Wyatt was Mr Johnson’s deputy at The Spectator magazine he edited when she fell for his charms.” – The Mail on Sunday

  • My ‘amitié amoureuse’ with Boris, the loner who wants to be loved – Petronella Wyatt The Mail on Sunday

Grayling: The SNP is failing Scotland

“In England we increased the spending on health. In Scotland the SNP failed to match it. Levels of literacy and numeracy in Scotland are falling and there are only around half the apprenticeship places for young people compared to their counterparts in England.” – Chris Grayling, The Sun on Sunday

News in brief