Brexit 1) Senior US figures warn the UK would ‘lose clout’

US flag‘Britain must not bank on its “special relationship” with the United States to compensate for losing global influence by leaving the EU, foreign and defence chiefs from every White House administration over the past 40 years have warned. In a letter to The Times, 13 former US secretaries of state and defence and national security advisers say that the country’s “place and influence in the world would be diminished and Europe would be dangerously weakened” after a vote to leave in next month’s referendum.’ – The Times (£)

Brexit 2) Roberts: Cameron has got his history wrong

‘It is true that in his great post-war speeches at Zurich and The Hague, Churchill spoke in favour of a United States of Europe to bind France and Germany together, harmonising iron and steel production — but he never once stated the UK should become a member of any such body. He saw the ‘Special Relationship’ with the U.S. and the fraternal bonds with the Commonwealth as far more important, and when he had the opportunity in his post-war ministry to involve Britain in the early EEC negotiations, he kept Britain free of them…The Zurich speech took place in 1946; if he had wanted Britain to join the United States of Europe he’d have said so by the time he left office in 1955.’ – Andrew Roberts, Daily Mail



Brexit 3) IDS: The Government allowed Merkel to veto EU renegotiation demands

IDS headshot‘Germany was secretly in control of David Cameron’s EU renegotiation throughout – and talked him out of asking for a key immigration block, Iain Duncan-Smith today claims. The former Work and Pensions Secretary breaks ranks to sensationally lift the lid on the Cabinet’s bid to redraw Britain’s membership. He insists that at the last minute, the PM allowed Angela Merkel to sabotage his promised ‘red line’ demand for an emergency brake to halt new arrivals.’ – The Sun (£)

  • He also attacks Major over ERM – Daily Mail
  • Cameron calls Gove ‘reckless and irresponsible’ – The Sun (£)
  • The gloves are off – FT
  • May hires new spokesman as leadership race looms – The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: Iain Duncan Smith on Comment: Join me in fighting for Britain’s future

Brexit 4) Business support for Leave rises

‘Support among business leaders for leaving the European Union has increased by seven percentage points in two months, according to a survey. Thirty-seven per cent of executives polled by the British Chambers of Commerce last month said that they would vote to leave in the referendum, compared with 30 per cent in February. “The race for the business vote has clearly tightened,” Adam Marshall, its acting director-general, said.’ – The Times (£)

  • It’s neck and neck among Brum businesses – Birmingham Mail
  • Now the Chancellor suggests tens of thousands of City jobs could be lost – FT
  • Flight disagrees – FT
  • Banks threaten higher loan costs – Daily Mail
  • ‘Unacceptable’ CAP delays hit farmers – FT
  • Won’t get fooled again: Daltrey backs Brexit – The Sun (£)

Fresh education trouble as SATS answers leaked online

MORGAN Nicky officiall version‘The Department for Education suffered a second major embarrassment over its controversial exams for primary school pupils, after answers for a test due to be sat by all 10- and 11-year-olds in England were leaked online. Nearly 600,000 year 6 state school pupils are to sit the test of spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag) on Tuesday, but it emerged that both the test paper and its answers were posted to a website the day before by the department’s contractor, Pearson. The error means that the answers – such as lists of words pupils were to be asked to spell – could have easily been downloaded.’ – The Guardian

  • Teachers claim writing test is too hard – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: John Bald on Local Government: Learning the lessons from the Academies fiasco

The UK might not accept any child refugees until Christmas

‘Last week David Cameron, the Prime Minister said the UK would accept unaccompanied child refugees from camps on the Continent in the face of a large scale rebellion by Conservative MPs. However Number 10 said on Monday that the Government’s “expectation” was that children from the camps would only be allowed come to the UK by the end of this year. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “It is a new scheme so we need to work with councils to get it up and running and that is why we expect we will have the first children arriving by the end of this year.” The delay was criticised by Conservative MPs who said the public “expects an urgent response”.’ – Daily Telegraph

Tory MP expresses concern about BBC reforms

BBC‘David Cameron has been warned of a backlash among Conservatives if he attempts to curb the BBC. Huw Merriman, Tory MP for Bexhill & Battle, said that he and other Conservative MPs were concerned about BBC reform as the government prepared to publish a white paper on the corporation’s future on Thursday. It promises an overhaul of governance, as well as new rules for salary transparency.’ – The Times (£)

Phillips: ‘Squeamishness’ about migrant integration threatens catastrophe

‘Britain is sleepwalking to catastrophe over the influx of migrants, the nation’s ex-race equality supremo said last night. Trevor Phillips warned the old attitude that they will simply fit in was dangerously misguided and risked massive social unrest. He demanded state action to integrate the unprecedented numbers settling here. And he blasted the politically correct brigade for standing in the way.’ – The Sun (£)

Daisley: The Scottish Conservatives achieved something breathtaking, but it is still fragile

Scottish flag‘The Tories, as improbable as it still seems four days later, are now the second party of Scotland. The “official opposition”. A greater parliamentary force than Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined. What William Hague could not do, what Iain Duncan Smith could not do, what Michael Howard and David McLetchie and Annabel Goldie could not do — what David Cameron could not do — Ruth Davidson has done. The decline in Conservative fortunes north of the border has not only been halted but reversed.’ – Stephen Daisley, STV

  • Davidson got the Tories back in the game, but nowhere near power – Dani Garavelli, The Guardian
  • Here’s how she can hold Sturgeon to account – John McTernan, Daily Telegraph
  • In Westminster, the Nationalists display almost Leninist discipline – FT
  • SNP MP pays £10,000 to Unionist she falsely branded a holocaust denier – The Sun (£)

>Today: Ruth Davidson’s column: How we became Scotland’s official opposition – and what we are going to do next

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: How do the Scottish Conservatives grow from here?

Osborne: I’ll stand up for local newspapers

‘We need professional journalists present at those council meetings, asking challenging questions of local leaders, keeping tabs on what those in power in their communities are up to. As power is devolved out of Whitehall, a dynamic and vibrant local press is more vital to our democracy than ever before. I know publishers are uneasy about direct government subsidy, and I understand that. But there is a role for government here…From next year, I am going to introduce a business rate discount for local newspapers in England. It will mean a £1,500-a-year saving on the costs of that tax paid by local newspaper offices.’ – George Osborne, PoliticsHome

>Today: Alex Thomson on Comment: Localism has proceeded apace since 2010, but there is still much further to go

A third of heart attack deaths could be avoided if the NHS followed its own guidelines

NHS_Logo‘According to a new study published in European Heart Journal: Acute Cardiovascular Care, up to a third of deaths from the most common type of heart attack could be avoided if patients were given recommended treatments and simple healthy-living advice. Doctors needed to accept responsibility for improving patients’ lifestyles as well as administering high-tech medicine, experts said. Almost nine in ten patients were not getting all of the 13 treatments laid down by expert NHS guidance, according to the study of almost 400,000 heart attacks in 247 British hospitals.’ – The Times (£)

Corbyn has another fraught meeting with his MPs

‘Jeremy Corbyn was last night savaged by his own MPs, furious at Labour’s failure to make progress in last week’s local elections. There were angry recriminations at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party, despite Labour sources promising earlier that he would reprimand rebels. He was due to criticise them for ‘parading on the media to give a running commentary on our party’, but appeared to lose his nerve. But last night, Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, said: ‘I thought socialism was about “we”, but it’s all been about you – and that’s not a good thing.’’ – Daily Mail

  • He admitted Labour must do better – The Times (£)
  • Corbynites are driving good people out of Parliament – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • There’s ‘no such thing as glorious defeat’, Khan warns his leader – Daily Mail
  • Trump says he’ll make an exception and allow the London Mayor into the US – Daily Mail
  • Khan hires Adonis – The Times (£)
  • Barnet Council chief executive leaves his job after polling day mess – The Times (£)

>Today: Chris Grayling’s column: A year into our second term, we are delivering on our manifesto – while Labour is in chaos

Facebook accused of burying conservative news items

Facebook‘Facebook was battling last night against allegations that its editors artificially manipulated the site’s “trending” topics feed to bury politically conservative news and to promote stories that they deemed important. Former Facebook staffers told Gizmodo, the influential tech blog, that the editing process had a “chilling effect on conservative news” and reflected an “absolute bias” against right-wing news sources. Their remarks have raised fresh questions about the Silicon Valley company’s political influence.’ – The Times (£)

And finally: Chilcot to publish in July

‘The Iraq inquiry is to publish its report on July 6, two weeks after the European Union referendum and seven years after it was set up. Sir John Chilcot, the chairman, wrote to the prime minister yesterday to say that vetting by the security services was complete and that the full 2.6 million-word text could be published without redactions. This provides two more months for proofreading, formatting, printing and preparations for online publishing. David Cameron told Sir John in November that he was disappointed about the length of time it was taking to release the findings.’ – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • English wines win record number of international awards – Daily Mail
  • Killer caught by daughter’s DNA after 31 years – The Times (£)
  • Prince Harry opens the Invictus Games – Daily Mail
  • Brazil Speaker annuls Roussef’s impeachment vote – FT
  • Cambridgeshire Police will give out free pants to combat crime – The Times (£)
  • France to create de-radicalisation centres – Daily Mail
  • Don’t be so beastly to North Korea – Mary Dejevsky, The Guardian
  • Boris sings Ode to Joy in German – Daily Telegraph