Tax 1) Cameron fights back with a defence of aspiration

Cameron Fightback‘David Cameron has defended his “wonderful dad” in a fight back against tax dodging claims, as he also insisted wealth creation are “not dirty words”. Addressing MPs for the first time over the Panama papers furore, the PM also lashed out at his media critics. Mr Cameron again said he deserved blame for failing to declare all his dealings with his father’s investment fund Blairmore Holdings swiftly enough.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Overseas territories agree to share information – Daily Mail
  • Osborne received £44,000 windfall from family firm – The Times (£)
  • Boris’ £900,000 tax bill – The Times (£)
  • Watchdog to judge Cameron’s shares – The Times (£)
  • The BBC and the Guardian refuse to assist Panama enquiry – The Sun (£)
  • Only 25 per cent of tax collectors have faith in HMRC – FT



>Today: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: The Panama row won’t have changed people’s minds about Cameron


Tax 2) Labour MPs fear that Corbyn looks opposed to success

‘Labour MPs have raised concerns that Jeremy Corbyn’s rhetoric on tax avoidance could appear anti-aspiration. A senior shadow cabinet source said the party leader was in danger of overreaching himself in his criticism of David Cameron for investing in Blairmore, the fund set up in an offshore tax haven in the Bahamas by his father Ian….The Labour leader published his tax return yesterday and it showed that he had been fined £100 for sending it in late.’ – The Times (£)

  • He failed to disclose £450 of income to the taxman – The Sun (£)
  • MPs hit back against his suggestion they should all publish tax returns – FT
  • Labour will never win until they understand why people hate inheritance tax – John McTernan, Daily Telegraph
  • Skinner thrown out of the Commons – Daily Telegraph
  • Hollande faces internal challenge – The Times (£)
  • Venezuela asks women not to use hairdryers to reduce energy crisis – Daily Mail


EU 1) Tory MPs attack the Government’s ‘spiv Mugabe antics’

EU Exit brexit‘In a stormy Commons session, Europe Minister David Lidington was forced to defend the booklet, insisting none of its facts were ‘over-egging the pudding’. He said the leaflets cost only 34 pence per household – and insisted the Government was ‘not neutral’ in the debate. But he was met with a barrage of criticism from Tory backbenchers over the document being sent to 27million households across the UK. Former Tory vice-chairman Nigel Evans compared ministers to the Zimbabwean leader.’ – Daily Mail

  • Ministers have shot themselves in the foot – Daily Mail Leader
  • Facebook advertising under fire, too – The Guardian
  • Cameron poaches civil servants for his referendum ‘war room’ – The Sun (£)
  • The Prime Minister’s behaviour would make a despot blush – The Sun Says (£)
  • Boris warns the leaflet will disrupt the London elections – The Times (£)
  • The EU is utterly incapable of changing – Dan Hannan, Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Why is Hammond never available to take difficult Commons statements on Europe?

EU 2) David Miliband: Leaving the EU could destroy the international order

‘If the world is increasingly divided between firefighters and arsonists then Britain has, for centuries, been a firefighter. This is no time for Britain to join the ranks of arsonists, and there should be no doubt that Brexit would be an act of arson on the international order. Our history, while great, plays a diminishing part in Britain’s standing.’ – David Miliband, The Guardian

EU 3) NHS workers argue Brexit would mean more health spending

NHS_Logo‘More than 50 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and paramedics have called for Britain to leave the European Union to save the NHS. However, David Miliband, the former Labour cabinet member, will enter the Brexit debate today, warning that “now is not the time for unilateral political disarmament”. The healthcare workers claimed that the government had “starved the NHS of necessary funding”, but Brexit would free up funds that could be injected into the health service.’ – The Times (£)


Javid: The Government could part-nationalise Port Talbot

‘The government is willing to co-invest with a commercial buyer to save the Port Talbot steelworks in a move that would amount to part-nationalisation, the business secretary said yesterday. Tata Steel revealed that it had received dozens of expressions of interest in Port Talbot and the rest of its operations in Britain as Sajid Javid told MPs that he had prevented a complete closure of the plant by convincing the owners to hold out for a buyer.’ – The Times (£)

  • The return of British Steel – FT

>Yesterday: Sanjoy Sen: My debt of gratitude to British Steel

Villiers: A century on from the Easter Rising, there are lessons for today’s peace settlement

VILLIERS Vote Leave‘A century on from the Rising and the Somme, relations within these islands have been transformed, not least by the Belfast Agreement, the 18th anniversary of which fell on Sunday. Last week I visited an exhibition on 1916 at Belfast City Hall where it was clear that every word had been scrutinised, every picture the subject of negotiation, every display weighed up for accuracy – all with a view to ensuring that everyone could feel comfortable visiting the exhibition, whatever their background. This was a good illustration of work that goes on, day in, day out, to embed and support the 1998 political settlement.’ – Theresa Villiers, The Irish Times

Ex-Public Appointments Commissioner complains of efforts to appoint Tories

‘David Cameron personally intervenes in the public appointments process to demand that more donors and ex-Tory MPs are handed plum public sector jobs, a former top civil servant has revealed. Sir David Normington, who was permanent secretary of the Home Office until 2011, when he became commissioner for public appointments, complained that ministers were escalating attempts to install Conservative sympathisers in public bodies. As he steps down as commissioner, he revealed that the prime minister or other members of the government intervened about once a month.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Calling Conservatives: New public appointments announced

Sturgeon demands inquiry into ‘unsafe’ PPP schools

STURGEON debate‘Nicola Sturgeon has called for an inquiry into controversial private finance deals after 17 Edinburgh schools were closed amid safety fears. Thousands of students across the city remained at home yesterday as structural surveys took place at ten primaries, five secondaries and two special schools built under a public private partnership (PPP). Last night it emerged a fund registered in a tax haven owns a 20 per cent stake in the schools alongside investments in schools in Glasgow and South Lanarkshire.’ – The Scotsman

>Today: Ruth Davidson’s column: The SNP is on course to win in May – which is why Scotland needs a strong, Conservative opposition

Leaflets calling for the killing of Ahmadis found at a South London mosque

‘Leaflets calling for the killing of members of the Ahmadi sect of Islam have been found in a south London mosque. A pile of the flyers, which were found in Stockwell Green Mosque, seem to endorse the killing of Ahmadis if they do not convert to mainstream Islam. It has been speculated that they were printed by Khatme Naubwwat.’ –

  • Khalid Mahmood urges Muslim men to be braver in changing ‘unacceptable attitudes’ – Daily Mail
  • Better integration should start at school – The Times Leader (£)
  • Politicians need to accept there’s a problem – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • 50 British fighters head home from ISIS-held territory – The Times (£)
  • Kurds lack ammunition for British-supplied weapons – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Bercow is wrong to try to bar MPs from naming cheating celebrity – Daily Mail Leader
  • Kremlin propagandists’ mis-spelled spy ‘plot’ – The Times (£)
  • Brazilian congressional committee votes to impeach Rousseff – Daily Mail
  • Britain demands answers from Egypt over student’s death – The Times (£)
  • Goodwill surprised to learn seedy history of his office – The Sun (£)
  • Italy sets up bailout fund – FT
  • Students who attack free speech are harming their own cause – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

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