Commons Library disputes Cameron’s EU deal’s legal status…

CAMERON EU fence“David Cameron’s controversial EU deal could be thrown out by European judges, according to a respected source of impartial research. The shaky legal status of last month’s Brussels agreement means it ‘cannot guarantee all the outcomes envisaged’, said a report from the House of Commons library.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister claims shock of Brexit is not a price worth paying – The Guardian
  • Hawking leads 150 Royal Society fellows against Brexit – The Times (£)
  • EU battle forces Prime Minister to bring forward Queen’s Speech – The Times (£)
  • Grayling attacks Cameron’s deal – FT
  • Prime Minister warned that winning trade union support on EU will be ‘difficult’ – The Guardian
  • Cameron claims he won’t quit if Britain votes to Leave – The Scotsman
  • Row deepens over pro-Brexit business leader reprimanded by Number Ten – The Times (£)
  • UK Irish business network to lobby for EU – FT
  • EU chiefs beg Putin to help solve migrant crisis – Daily Express


  • Queen takes Sun to regulator over EU claim – FT
  • We stand by our royal Brexit scoop – The Sun
  • Palace’s fury as Queen’s EU views leaked – Daily Mail
  • Buckingham Palace makes official complaint – Daily Telegraph
  • What’s with the timing of this Brexit leak? – Sebastian Payne, FT
  • I’d be amazed if Her Majesty wasn’t Eurosceptic – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • The Queen’s only human and has opinions like all of us – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun


  • Cameron dodges questions on Turkey – Quentin Letts’ sketch, Daily Mail

…as Government sources claim it undermines Universal Credit

“The plan to restrict benefits for EU migrants would “blow up” the plan for universal credit welfare reform, according to a senior government source. The ambitious programme, which replaces six benefits with a single payment, would need a major overhaul to cope with a key part of the prime minister’s EU renegotiation. This raises fresh questions over whether Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, and Priti Patel, the employment minister, who both back Brexit and champion universal credit, will continue in their roles after the June referendum.” – The Times (£)

John Whittingdale: Britain will thrive outside the EU

WHITTINGDALE union flag“I hoped that it would be possible for us to negotiate a new relationship with the EU but this has proved impossible. The outcome of the prime minister’s negotiations does represent an improvement. However, it falls a long way short of the new arrangement I would like to see. In particular, it still means our courts and parliament have to comply with decisions taken in Brussels, and that we have no ability to control our borders.” – The Times (£)

  • How Brexit could save Europe from itself – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • That Putin wants us to Leave doesn’t mean we shouldn’t – Charles Crawford, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Interviews: Mark Francois – Cameron’s former Europe spokesman, who now is backing Brexit


Prime Minister echoes Thatcher to champion private universities

“David Cameron wants to break open the closed shop in higher education by making it easier for new providers to become universities, in an attempt to widen choice and improve social mobility. The prime minister plans to remove barriers to new entrants, a cause once championed by Margaret Thatcher with the creation of the private University of Buckingham, which achieved university status in 1983.” – FT

Osborne and May rebuked over police funding claims

Police shield“George Osborne and Theresa May were rebuked by the statistics watchdog today for wrongly claiming police funding will be protected. The Chancellor promised in the Autumn Statement that there will be ‘no cuts in the police budgets at all,’ adding: ‘There will be real-terms protection for police funding.’ But today Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, ruled that budgets for police forces across England and Wales were being cut by £160million in real-terms between 2015/16 and 2016/17.” – Daily Mail

  • Chancellor’s climbdown on pensions a ‘missed opportunity’, claims think tank – The Guardian
  • Crabb claims Crossrail is good for Wales – WalesOnline
  • Javid linked to bonus scheme savaged by Supreme Court – The Sun

Hunt’s contract reforms are not driving medics abroad

“Junior doctors may feel angry about Jeremy Hunt and their new contracts, but much of the debate is being whipped up by the BMA with its emotive warnings of a medical exodus. This might get them attention, but the figures suggest that their rhetoric is overblown. Of course doctors are able to move abroad, but once they seriously consider the prospect, far fewer actually do so.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Health Secretary claims Labour has abandoned patients by supporting strike – The Independent


Welsh Conservatives match Labour on childcare

Welsh Conservatives“Parents of three and four year olds would be offered 30 hours of free childcare a week under a Tory government in Cardiff Bay, the party has said. The Welsh Conservatives said the policy would help women return to work. It is a similar policy pledge to that made by both Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru in Wales. And it matches a similar policy being rolled out in England.” – WalesOnline

MPs defeat Government on Sunday Trading

“David Cameron and George Osborne suffered a major defeat in their bid to extend Sunday trading laws tonight as a larger-than-expected Tory rebellion voted down the plans. Ministers had scrambled to table new amendments in the Commons ahead of the crucial vote, but they were defeated by a majority of 31. An estimated 26 Tory rebels consigned the Government to defeat over the proposals to give local councils the power to allow large stores to open for longer than the current six-hour limit on Sundays.” – Daily Mail

  • Tory rebels scupper trade liberalising Bill – The Times (£)
  • Hypocritical nationalists block English trading law – The Scotsman
  • SNP and Conservative backbenchers unite to oppose fuel duty hike – The Sun


  • Chishti faces penalty over football freebie – The Sun


  • Here’s why the SNP voting down Sunday Trading is a problem – Archie Bland, The Guardian
  • Not enough of Cameron’s party were with him – Patrick Kidd’s sketch, The Times (£)

Momentum prepare to circle the wagons around Corbyn

Momentum“Left wing activists have insisted they are ready to protect Jeremy Corbyn from a coup if May’s elections go badly. The Momentum group said it had the members and the infrastructure to fight and win a new leadership election if polls suggesting dire Labour performances in May are borne out by results.” – Daily Mail

  • Leader’s allies: ‘We will defeat any coup’ – The Times (£)
  • Aides admit leadership is under threat – The Sun
  • Jarvis sets out vision for Labour as leadership talk mounts – The Guardian
  • Labour expel hard left activist after Cameron raises him at Prime Minister’s Questions – Daily Mail
  • Prime Minister demands Labour kick out ‘9/11 and ISIS apologist’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Andrew Gimson’s PMQs sketch: Cameron uses a liberal club to bash Labour

John McTernan: Corbyn’s days are numbered if MPs stand firm

“Until recently, all was set fair for Jeremy Corbyn to remain unchallenged for the leadership, despite the upcoming May elections which will see a drubbing for Labour in Scotland, a setback in Wales (where there is a surge for Ukip), and the party going backwards in Middle England where it needs to win support. But for moderates one of the iron laws of politics is about to kick in: never underestimate the stupidity of your opponents.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories have broken their promises on job security – Chuka Umunna, The Independent

Khan accuses Goldsmith of ‘desperate’ politics

Sadiq Khan“Labour London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan pledged to build more affordable homes, freeze transport fares and tackle low pay and crime as he launched his manifesto. He accused his Tory rival, Zac Goldsmith, of playing “desperate politics” and suggested his campaign lacked “fizz”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour want other cities to pay for London fare freeze – The Sun
  • Khan pits optimism against rival’s negativity – The Guardian
  • Mayoral rivals compete for green vision – FT

>Yesterday: Local Government: Zac’s challenge is for Conservatives to turn out to vote in May 5th

Plunging oil price leave’s Sturgeon’s Scotland deep in the red

“Scotland has plunged almost £15 billion into the red and its deficit is now proportionately twice as big as the UK’s, new figures revealed yesterday. The falling oil price led to Scotland’s public spending exceeding its tax revenue by £14.9 billion in 2014-15, a balance sheet which saw Nicola Sturgeon’s opponents claiming that independence would have had a “devastating” impact on Scotland.” – The Scotsman

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: Cameron attacks Sturgeon’s one party state

Sanders and Clinton spar over immigration

America“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over immigration reform on Wednesday night, as Mrs Clinton faced some of her toughest debate questioning to date on her use of a private email server. Both she and Mr Sanders pledged they would not deport any law-abiding undocumented immigrants – a striking contrast from Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who have vowed to deport all 12m immigrants who have entered the US illegally, and from President Barack Obama who has deported more than 2.5m people during his administration.” – FT

News in Brief:

  • Names and details of 22,000 ISIS jihadis leaked – Daily Mail
  • Voting fraud cases soar – The Times (£)
  • Police investigating links between gangland murder and diamond heist – Daily Telegraph
  • Senior European bankers express concern over ECB cut – FT
  • Watchdog proposes capping gas and electricity prices for low-income homes – The Guardian
  • Five dead and three injured in US ‘ambush’ shooting – The Independent
  • Defence contract could bring 50 jobs to South Wales – WalesOnline
  • Riot fears as loyalists given go-ahead for Easter Monday march – Belfast Telegraph