Osborne tries to downplay fresh cuts in u-turn on economic outlook

OSBORNE scissors“George Osborne will this week unveil a £4 billion round of fresh spending cuts amid dire warnings there is a £50 billion black hole in his Budget. The Chancellor yesterday admitted the economic outlook had become ‘more uncertain’ since he announced rosy forecasts in his November spending review.” – Daily Mail

  • The Chancellor face reality – FT
  • Budget set to be a humiliating u-turn – The Sun
  • Billions of further cuts needed to balance the books – The Times (£)
  • Osborne plans crackdown on tax avoidance by multinationals – FT
  • Chancellor plans extra tax on home and car insurance – Daily Mail
  • Osborne expected to raise fuel duty – FT
  • 85 per cent of benefits from new tax cut will flow to richest half of UK, research suggests – The Independent
  • Lowest paid given £1,200 savings boost – The Times (£)
  • Lord Turner blasts Chancellor’s pension reforms – FT

Other news:

  • McDonnell attacked for blaming suicides on spending cuts – Daily Mail
  • Lib Dems aim for centrist voters with tax platform – FT
  • Report says wealth of super-rich has soared – The Independent

Isabel Hardman: The Chancellor must stop infuriating his backbenchers

“That the chancellor is considering using the budget as a political tool highlights one of the great weaknesses that could cost him the leadership. He cannot resist using every political event as part of a wider game. We have known this for a long time but I have been struck recently by the number of Tory MPs, both new and veteran, who are now getting infuriated by this trait, rather than just accepting it as a personality quirk or even thinking it a good thing.” – The Times (£)

  • Osborne’s message will be: this is no time for a Boris – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian
  • Never mind our vices, now the Chancellor wants to tax our virtues – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail
  • A Budget for energy – Nick Butler, FT
  • Osborne has enough room to show whether he knows what Britain needs – The Times (£) editorial
  • Why Britain needs a brave Budget – Daily Mail editorial


Labour and Downing Street go for Gove after royal leak…

GOVE union flag T-shirt“Michael Gove was clinging to office last night amid fears of an orchestrated campaign to undermine his work for the Leave camp. Pro-EU politicians leapt on remarks by the Cabinet Minister that he was not the source of ‘all’ the leaked information that the Queen holds Eurosceptic views.” – Daily Mail

  • Justice Secretary’s alleged comments a ‘sackable offence’, claim Government sources – Daily Telegraph
  • Queen set out views after being wound up by Clegg ‘sermon’ on EU integration – The Sun
  • Gove and Stuart to head up Vote Leave – FT
  • Prime Minister thinks Justice Secretary is ‘nuts’ and fears Boris – The Times (£)
  • Cameron’s identikit local newspaper pieces revealed – Daily Mail

More Gove:

…as Boris attacks Obama’s ‘EU hypocrisy’

“Boris Johnson has hit out at President Obama’s planned intervention in the EU referendum, describing it as a “piece of outrageous and exorbitant hypocrisy.” The mayor of London, a leading figure in the Out campaign, has accused the US of adopting a “do as I say but not as I do” approach, as it would never sign up to an EU-style system.” – The Times (£)

  • US President to jet into Britain to persuade voters to Remain – The Sun
  • Johnson defies the Prime Minister to attend Lord Ashcroft’s party – Daily Mail
  • Chancellor claims Brexit would create ‘economic shock’ – The Sun
  • Osborne accuses Boris of ‘playing games’ over the EU – The Guardian
  • Expats fight for EU referendum vote – The Times (£)
  • Clarkson backs ‘United States of Europe’ – The Sun
  • Welsh Conservative MEP claims Brexit would leave UK without influence – WalesOnline
  • Hilton savages Boris’ mayoral legacy – The Guardian

Boris Johnson: America would never stand for the EU, so why should we?

BORIS blue and red“Whether in code or en clair, the President will tell us all that UK membership of the EU is right for Britain, right for Europe, and right for America. And why? Because that – or so we will be told – is the only way we can have “influence” in the counsels of the nations. It is an important argument, and deserves to be taken seriously. I also think it is wholly fallacious – and coming from Uncle Sam, it is a piece of outrageous and exorbitant hypocrisy.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Clarkson’s pro-EU arguments are borderline bonkers – The Sun

>Today: James Cartlidge MP in Comment: I will vote Remain because I believe in the sovereignty that matters most – that of economic strength

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Clegg to Cameron: Your renegotiation will either be insubstantial or impossible. Cameron to Clegg: “I know.”

Vaizey to meet Bradford MPs over museum deal

“The culture minister, Ed Vaizey, has agreed to meet Bradford MPs and the Science Museum Group (SMG) to discuss a “secret backroom deal” that secured the transfer of a world-famous photography collection from the National Media Museum in Bradford to London. Museums and galleries outside London were not given an opportunity to bid for the artistic and cultural “jewels” of Bradford’s Royal Photographic Society (RPS) collection, according to confidential documents released to the Guardian.” – The Guardian

  • Solloway attacked by victims of husband’s firm collapse – Daily Mail
  • Davies savages Welsh Labour in conference address – WalesOnline

Labour threaten to defeat new surveillance bill

Labour holes“Labour will attempt to derail the new surveillance bill unless it is amended to protect individuals’ privacy, the shadow home secretary has warned. The party’s MPs will abstain in a vote after the second reading of the Investigatory Powers Bill tomorrow, Andy Burnham said. He insisted that there would be “no blank cheque” for its passage through the Commons.” – The Times (£)

MP demands Corbyn tackle anti-Semitism in Party

“Labour has a problem with anti-semitism that must be challenged, a senior MP has warned. John Mann, chair of the all party group on anti-semitism, called on Jeremy Corbyn to take “prompt action” to stamp out the problem within Labour groups or face “an almighty row” with his party. He claimed the problem has got worse since swathes of new members joined Labour after Mr Corbyn’s election last year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • McDonnell exposes tensions with Corbyn over controversial Greek ex-minister – Daily Telegraph
  • Watson warns left not to change rulebook – The Times (£)

Sturgeon claims Scottish deficit would have been ‘manageable’

SNP logo white background“Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney have staged a concerted attempt to repair the damage to public “confidence” in their independence case inflicted by official figures showing Scotland has a £15 billion deficit. The First Minister conducted a high-profile interview with the BBC’s Andrew Neil in which she repeatedly claimed that the 2014-15 deficit, twice the size of the UK’s, would have been manageable after separation.” – Daily Telegraph

  • UK investors back away from Scottish property – FT
  • Swinney promises ‘most comprehensive’ SNP campaign yet – The Scotsman
  • Buoyant SNP confident of landslide victory – FT
  • Thousands sign petition opposing second referendum – The Scotsman

Trump fans flames as rallies continue to see violence

“Donald Trump refused to take responsibility for the outbreak of violence at his campaign rallies yesterday, fanning the flames by threatening to deploy his supporters to disrupt Bernie Sanders events and standing by a white supporter arrested for sucker punching a black protester. The bellicose businessman vehemently rejected the notion that his rhetoric may have incited the violence, saying he was “just the messenger” for the anger and resentment Americans feel, and bemoaning the fact that, “when we hit back, we’re the bad ones”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Singer denounces Trump as a ‘racist’ after rally clash – The Sun
  • Protester arrested after attempted attack on candidate – The Sun
  • Trump threatens to flood Sanders rallies with his own supporters – The Independent

News in Brief:

  • German voters’ damning verdict on Merkel as AfD surge in state elections – Daily Mail
  • International analysis reveals Britain’s maths crisis – The Times (£)
  • Gunmen kill 14 in Ivory Coast shooting – Daily Telegraph
  • Death toll from Ankara bombing climbs to 37 – FT
  • More than a million Brazilians protest against left-wing government – The Guardian
  • Auditors flagged up concerns over scheme to pay Stormont spin doctors – News Letter