Referendum 1) Leave narrow the gap by eight points in latest poll

telegraphpoll“Public concern over immigration has delivered a “significant” boost to the Leave campaign amid growing concern about Britain’s ability to control its borders, a new poll suggests. Leave now has 46 per cent of the vote share, with Remain on 51 per cent. The five point gap has been cut from 13 points last week.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Leave has to keep up the pressure – Sir Lynton Crosby Daily Telegraph
  • Secret EU meeting prepares for Brexit negotiations – Daily Express
  • Boris is just “a nicer Trump” says Ken Clarke – BBC
  • Migration Watch warn refugee inflow could Britain could reach 480,000 – The Sun
  • Data watchdog rejects US-EU privacy deal – BBC
  • City grandee attacks Treasury “propaganda” – Daily Mail
  • Eustace says leaving would provide a £2 billion Green dividend – The Guardian
  • Nicola Sturgeon to appear for Remain in ITV debate to be shown across the UK – The Sun
  • Businesses spend millions on contingency plans in case we leave – The Times(£)
  • Lord Sugar says Brexit would make Britain “the mugs of the world” – The Sun
  • Cambridge academics “gave concern” at Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • EU blocked extra parental leave claims Hilton – Independent
  • Samantha Cameron and Sarah Vine are still friends – Daily Express
  • Focus on the issue not on Cameron say Rees-Mogg and Baker – Independent
  • Jon Snow is bored by the campaign – The Guardian



Referendum 2) Council withdraws leaflet with graphic instructing people to vote remain

“An EU referendum voting guidance leaflet has been withdrawn after complaints it could influence voters’ decisions on 23 June. Graphic instructions on how to vote included in material sent out with postal votes in Bristol showed a pen hovering over the remain box. It was attacked as unfair by Brexit campaigners – who said similar pictures had been reported in other parts of the country as ballot papers begin to arrive.” – The Guardian

Referendum 3) Leaving EU means we could axe VAT on energy bills says Boris, Gove and Gisela Stuart

cut taxes“In 1993, VAT on household energy bills was imposed. This makes gas and electricity much more expensive. EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills. The least wealthy are hit particularly hard. The poorest households spend three times more of their income on household energy bills than the richest households spend. As long as we are in the EU, we are not allowed to cut this tax.” – Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart The Sun

Referendum 4) Cameron praises “proud Muslim” Khan

“David Cameron has hailed Labour’s Sadiq Khan as “a proud Muslim” and “a proud Brit” as he shared a platform with the London Mayor at an EU Remain rally. They were launching a Britain Stronger In Europe battle bus and pledge card. But Vote Leave said the PM’s criticisms of Mr Khan during the mayoral contest less than a month ago showed he could not be trusted.” – BBC

  • The quiet rise of Tooting – City AM

Referendum 5) Hague: The Conservatives will accept the result

William Hague 14-01-16“Almost every day at the moment, people from other countries ask me if there will be another referendum on the EU after this one. “No,” I tell them, “whatever the result, that’s it. Even if it’s 51-49 to leave, we’re leaving. And if it’s 51-49 the other way, we’re staying indefinitely.” I go on to explain that British voters do not take kindly to being asked the same question twice. As for the Conservative Party, while it is true that some people would find it difficult to accept the result either way, the vast majority would have no appetite for going through this experience again once the electorate have spoken.” William Hague Daily Telegraph

Referendum 6) UK pays £5.5 million to defunct European defence organisation

“The UK Foreign Office has been spending over £1m a year on an international security alliance that was abolished in 2011, the BBC has discovered. In the past five years the department has paid around £5.5m to the Western European Union, which is now defunct. Critics said it was a waste of taxpayers’ money but the Foreign Office says the UK has been pushing to get the WEU fully closed as soon as possible.”

Referendum 7) Almost half of Labour voters don’t know which side their Party is on

Alistair Darling“Almost half of Labour voters do not know that their party wants Britain to stay in the EU, raising fresh questions about Jeremy Corbyn’s efforts to secure a Remain vote. The Labour leader has been criticised over his decision to go on holiday this week while party colleagues step up the referendum fight. Last week Lord Darling of Roulanish, the former chancellor, urged Mr Corbyn to improve his performance, saying: “I hope that he does more.” – The Times(£)

Referendum 8) This battle is turning into a class war says Rachel Sylvester

“There are few “posh boys” among the Tories who want to leave the EU. Chris Grayling, the first Cabinet minister to declare for Brexit, once told me that he wouldn’t go to Notting Hill dinner parties but lived in an old council flat near Victoria station with a leaky bathroom and dodgy wiring that gave him electric shocks. David Davis, Mr Cameron’s former leadership rival, is the son of a single mother who grew up on a council estate.” – Rachel Sylvester The Times(£)

Other comment

  • Tory infighting leaves voters cold – Janan Ganesh Financial Times
  • The Conservatives should focus on the referendum not plot against Cameron – Leader Daily Telegraph
  • Why Cameron should crush the Tory dinosaurs in a revenge reshuffle – Ian Birrell The Guardian
  • Invasion of UK – The Sun Says
  • Whether it’s in or out vote, even if you’re from New Zealand – Timothy Garton Ash The Guardian

Home Office ignored concerns over people trafficking

Home Office logo“The Home Office dismissed concerns by the borders inspector over people- smuggling in small boats as “not significant” only months ago, The Times has learnt. Ministers played down the risk despite a highly critical report of Border Force’s role in achieving maritime security on Britain’s coastline. They also admitted that the organisation was using volunteers as “eyes and ears” to report suspicious activity around the 7,000-mile coastline and at small ports.” – The Times(£)

  • Complacency over an open door into Britain – Leader Daily Mail
  • Essential that the coastline is policies – Leader Daily Express

Ex prisoners need a job, a flat and a girlfriend to go straight says Ken Clarke

“Many prisoners just need a job, a flat and a girlfriend to help them to reform their ways, Ken Clarke has suggested. The former justice secretary said too many of Britain’s jails were ‘overcrowded slums’, and called for improved rehabilitation work to get offenders on the right track.” – Daily Mail

Labour activist who attacked Jews reinstated and won’t apologise

Jeremy Corbyn 16-11-15“A Labour activist who was suspended after calling Jews ‘financiers of the slave trade’ yesterday remained defiant and said she would not apologise for her comments. Jackie Walker, a prominent Jeremy Corbyn cheerleader, was suspended from the Labour Party earlier this month after posting the offensive comments on Facebook but has now been quietly reinstated. She said she was ‘saddened’ if she had upset people by the remarks. But she said she did not have an apology to make, adding that the context for the comments was ‘extremely important’.” – Daily Mail

Trump in trouble over attack on Hispanic governor

“Donald Trump’s campaign is in damage control mode after he attacked the Republican Party’s most senior Hispanic woman, his staff voiced fears that he had bugged their offices and a senior aide warned that he faced a cash crunch. Many assumed that Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico, would be on Mr Trump’s shortlist for vice-president — a running mate to salvage his dismal standing among Hispanic and female voters. However, on a visit to Albuquerque, he attacked her record, accusing her of creating a welfare state plagued by unemployment. “She’s not doing the job. Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico,” he said.” – The Times(£)

Montgomerie: Don’t get your hopes up of a rival to Clinton and Trump

Tim Montgomerie 18-03-16“Bill Kristol…announced on Sunday: “There will be an independent candidate – an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.”…Kristol’s bid will probably fail because time is running out to gather the signatures to get on the ballots of individual states, but also because Americans are almost equally divided about whether an independent candidate should offer “democratic socialism”, “Ronald Reagan-style conservatism”, or be a “middle-of-the-road independent”.” – Time Montgomerie The Times(£)

News in brief

  • SNP to set out plans for Scottish economy – BBC
  • Mellor denies cheating investors – The Times(£)
  • Businesses unable to pay tax as HMRC changed bank details – Daily Telegraph
  • Fierce battle in Fallujah as Iraqi soldiers fight to dislodge ISIS – The Times(£)
  • Luciana Berger to stand for Mayor of Liverpool – The Guardian
  • Brexit would break up Britain – Andrew Dewson Independent