The Telegraph goes to war over the Feldman Review

conservativetree‘Up to 90 per cent of the country’s 650 Conservative associations could be axed under the biggest reforms to the party’s structure in 18 years. Critics believe that it is a bid to reduce the influence of Tory members – which are typically eurosceptic – on the party’s next leadership contest. It comes just weeks after Mr Cameron faced a furious response from Conservative members after telling MPs to ignore the views of eurosceptic associations in the build-up to the referendum.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Reorganisation could run along county lines – The Times (£)

Heywood faces grilling over ‘unconstitutional’ order to keep Leave ministers in the dark

‘Sir Jeremy Heywood is set for a bruising encounter with senior MPs on Tuesday as the backlash over the civil service’s role in the EU referendum intensifies. Last week Britain’s most senior civil servant published rules that limit the extent of briefings Eurosceptic ministers can receive in the four-month run-up to the referendum…Priti Patel, the employment minister, on Monday called Sir Jeremy’s instructions “unconstitutional” and warned that they “threaten the reputation of the civil service”.’ – FT

>Today: Bernard Jenkin on Comment: Denying Leave ministers sight of their own departments’ information is absurd

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Banning Leave ministers from getting civil service support is both wrong and dangerous

Cameron: I want Project Fact, not Project Fear…

EU Flag‘Asked about claims the “in” campaign had launched “Project Fear” to fight a negative battle over the polls, David Cameron denied the accusation and said he was only interested in ‘Project Fact.’ He told an audience in Ipswich today: “Project Fact is about saying stay and you know what you get.” – Daily Telegraph

  • So why has the Government published a scaremongering dodgy dossier? – Daily Mail Leader
  • Hancock tries to suggest we won’t be allowed to buy Volkswagens after Brexit – Daily Mail
  • The man who runs Project Fear – The Times (£)
  • Sturgeon plays a canny game – Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)


>Yesterday: ToryDiary: May and Javid and Europe. Why did they do what they did?

…but that’s baloney, replies Boris

‘Mr Johnson said this was ‘baloney’. He told LBC: ‘There is an attempt going on to scare people into staying with the status quo, when I think the real risk is we will simply remain in a system that is less and less suitable to our needs.’ Mr Johnson urged Britons to have ‘courage’ to resist the fear driven campaigns and head for the Brexit.’ – Daily Mail

  • Blunt urges a fair fight – The Times (£)
  • Migrants batter down fence between Greece and Macedonia – Daily Mail
  • Riot police storm the Jungle – The Independent
  • Corbyn questions legal credibility of the deal – The Guardian
  • Where are the most anti-EU places in Britain? – Daily Mail

>Today: MPsETC: Europe. How Conservative MPs break down. Latest Leave estimate – 126 Tory MPs, 30 on the payroll, 96 not.

Ganesh: Cameron’s arrogance is a strength, not a weakness

CAMERON Popular‘The Flashman parallel inadvertently airs Mr Cameron’s strengths, not just his flaws. Chronic underestimation of this prime minister is a glitch among pundits. He is on his fourth Labour leader, in his second term, having fronted the Tories for a decade. This durability should suggest he is more than a chancer who acquired his power in a fit of absent-mindedness…Every politician has to have a defining flaw, and arrogance is the least bad. Calling someone cocky is like calling a film overrated: it has the effect of piquing people’s interest.’ – Janan Ganesh, FT

>Yesterday: Andrew Kennedy on Comment: Cameron promised this referendum. He has delivered it. He has never concealed his view. So stop complaining.

Budget 2016: Osborne urged to soften pension changes

‘George Osborne is under pressure to soften plans for radical pensions reform set to cost higher earners billions of pounds in tax relief, as David Cameron urges the chancellor to “play it safe” in this month’s Budget. Faced with a Conservative rebellion on pensions and tensions in the party over Europe, Mr Osborne’s Budget will be one of his most politically precarious statements since becoming chancellor in 2010. Mr Osborne has been warned of a “riot” and an “explosion” from Conservative MPs if his pension reforms hit Tory voters.’ – FT

  • Tories do care about the North – and now they have to prove it – Seb Payne, FT

The Snoopers’ Charter may be watered down

Computer‘Twitter, Apple, Google and other communication companies will not be forced to decrypt messages unless it is “practicable” as ministers will today admit they are powerless to stop unbreakable encryption. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will publish a revamped snooping bill after draft proposals on surveillance powers last year received widespread criticism. The revised Investigatory Powers Bill will make it clear that communication providers will only be asked to remove encryption “where it is practicable for them to do so”, sources said.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Mass trawling for data won’t catch terrorists – Bill Binney, The Times (£)
  • New York judge backs Apple in encryption case – FT

Hancock rejects secretive public bodies’ attacks on FoI

‘Since the autumn, the act has been under grave threat from a Government-commissioned review. In particular, councils and other public sector bodies demanded that the press and public should have to pay a fee for each request. But, when it publishes its report today, the FoI Commission will say that ‘use of the act by the media gives rise to some very important investigations that are clearly in the public interest’. It will add that ‘a fee for information requests could hamper those investigations’. – Daily Mail

  • A victory – though we await the details with interest – Daily Mail Leader
  • Ministers maintain their right to veto requests – The Times (£)

NHS plans healthy housing estates

NHS_Logo‘Ten new housing developments designed to help Britons live longer by staving off obesity and dementia are being pioneered by the NHS. The healthy areas will trial a range of different measures, for example some will ban takeaway outlets from opening near schools, while others are planning to install signs prompting the public to walk rather than drive. Measures will also include pavements with special surfaces to prevent falls, and 1960s-themed cafes to help elderly people with dementia feel more at home.’ – Daily Mail

  • No-one will be prosecuted over Mid Staffs – Daily Mail

>Today: Michelle Lowe on Local Government: Let local government help people step onto the housing ladder

More people in their 70s pay 40p tax than people in their 30s

‘Despite the vast majority being retired, an “astonishing turnaround” in pensioner wealth now means a higher proportion of septuagenarians have incomes above the £42,385 higher-rate tax threshold than their younger counterparts, most of whom are in full-time employment. Experts believe that generous final-salary pensions, better state support and the diligence of the baby boomer generation in paying off mortgages are behind middle-class pensioners’ large incomes, while fewer young professionals earn enough above the threshold because their wages have fallen substantially since the recession.’ – Daily Telegraph

Fury as Corbyn fails to take questions from the PLP

LABOUR dead rose‘Jeremy Corbyn angered Labour MPs last night when he addressed his parliamentary party for the first time this year but failed to take any questions. The Labour leader used his appearance to say that he was confident of a good result in forthcoming elections in England, Scotland and Wales. In a sign that his team is preparing for the possibility that he could be the first opposition leader in decades to suffer council losses, he added that the party faced “a big job”.’ – The Times (£)

  • MP calls for Young Labour to be suspended over anti-semitism scandal – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • The hunt is on for the Phantom Cat Shaver of the Cotswolds – Daily Mail
  • Criminal justice system inefficiencies revealed – FT
  • Britain’s last Dambuster attacks the failure to mint a Bomber Command medal – Daily Telegraph
  • Mystery of mummified sailor found adrift – Daily Mail
  • Corbyn makes unlikely appearance on list of world’s most desirable dinner guests – The Sun (£)
  • E-cigarette consumer revolution saves lives and money – The Times (£)
  • Vaping works – The Times Leader (£)