Queen’s Speech 1) The biggest prison reform programme since the Victorian era

Prison bars‘The piloting of the next generation of tags is among a series of justice reforms to be announced in the Queen’s Speech today. The government described the plans as the biggest shake-up of prisons since Victorian times. Governors will be given more power over the running of their prisons. Wandsworth, one of the biggest in Europe, is among six “trailblazer” jails at which governors will be given power over budgets, education, prison regime, family visits and partnerships with organisations providing work for inmates. The brightest graduates will be encouraged to join the prison service to teach offenders, who will be given personalised learning plans. From September eight police forces will trial tags that track offenders’ movements using GPS technology.’ – The Times (£)

  • Some criminals will only serve time at the weekend – Daily Mail
  • Justice review recommends iPads in cells – Daily Mail
  • Cameron hopes the proposals will rally frustrated Tory MPs – FT
  • His social reforms are right, but his Party will never love him for them – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

Queen’s Speech 2) Spaceports and driverless cars lead a new tech revolution

‘Driverless cars, drones and British spaceport are also set to feature in the Queen’s Speech. Proposed new laws would allow self-driving cars to be insured under ordinary policies and see more government support for businesses investing in pilotless drone aircraft. Plans to build the first commercial spaceport will also be outlined. It might seem like something from science fiction, said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, but the “economic potential of the new technology is huge”.’ – The Week

>Today: Profile: Driverless cars, so tempting to politicians who want to look modern

Queen’s Speech 3) But ‘sham’ Sovereignty Bill appears to have been dropped

Commons‘Government insiders last night claimed the PM has abandoned it altogether, as it was only ever a “sham” to try to win over wavering big beast Tory Brexiters Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. Our revelation of the PM’s U-turn will be a deep embarrassment for him. On February 21, just two days after finishing his EU renegotiation, Mr Cameron told the Andrew Marr programme: “We are going to set out in the coming days proposals to make clear the British parliament is sovereign”. The government insider added: “The Sovereignty Bill was only ever intended to get Boris on side, and that went will didn’t it?”‘- The Sun (£)

>Yesterday: Daniel Thornton on Comment: To make its Queen’s Speech work, the Government must handle Parliament better. Here’s how.

EU Blue-on-Blue 1) Cameron says Brexit would make ISIS happy

‘ISIS would be happy if Britain left the EU, according to David Cameron. The Prime Minister ramped up the Project Fear rhetoric to new levels after claiming Brexit would be welcomed by the terror group. At a speech in London he said the Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “might be happy” with a vote to leave in the June 23 referendum.’ – The Sun (£)


>Yesterday: Tim Bale on Comment: The Corn Laws analogy is misplaced. There’s no good reason why the Tories should split over Europe.

EU Blue-on-Blue 2) Heseltine launches all-out assault on Boris

HESELTINE Michael‘Boris Johnson is losing his political judgment and stooping to “obscene” depths under the strain of leading the campaign for Brexit, a Tory grandee claimed last night. In an outspoken attack on one of the frontrunners to succeed David Cameron as prime minister, Lord Heseltine accused Mr Johnson of damaging his leadership hopes by making a string of “preposterous” statements. He added that he would be “very surprised” if the former London mayor became Conservative leader.’ – The Times (£)

  • Minister alleges there is a smear campaign underway against Marina Wheeler – The Sun (£)
  • The former Mayor says Remain need to win 2:1 to settle the issue – Daily Mail
  • He’s on the road with Carswell and Gisela Stuart – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • There’ll be no neverendum, replies the Prime Minister – The Times (£)
  • A look at the Norway option – The Times (£)
  • Catalan premier says Britain would be fine after Brexit – Daily Telegraph

EU Blue-on-Blue 3) Patel, Whittingdale and Mordaunt said to be on the Prime Minister’s reshuffle list

‘John Whittingdale, the culture secretary, heads a list of Brexit ministers earmarked for the sack by David Cameron as he draws up plans for a post- referendum reshuffle. Priti Patel, the employment minister, and Penny Mordaunt, the armed forces minister, are also judged to have abused their freedom to campaign to leave the EU. However, Chris Grayling, leader of the Commons, is set to keep his cabinet role after sticking to the rules that were supposed to limit criticism of government policy.’ – The Times (£)

  • An EU-US free trade deal will never happen, predicts Priti – The Sun (£)
  • IPSO raps The Sun’s claims about the Queen backing Brexit – FT
  • We stand by what we wrote – The Sun Says (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Gove as Deputy PM. May to the Treasury. Osborne to Foreign, Boris to Home. The unity reshuffle.

The EU cosies up to another thug in the desperate hope of stopping the boats

EU FLag‘I’t’s migrant boat people season again and this time the smuggling routes have shifted away from Turkey’s shores to Libya and the southern rim of the Mediterranean. What is the EU doing about it? Talking to dictators. Realpolitik, the hard-nosed pursuit of national interest, is making a comeback. The European Union, in its own estimation, was a visionary construct designed to end continental warfare, bring prosperity and agree on civilisational values that could be exported to a grateful world. Now, though, we’re close to striking a deal with Omar Bashir, the president of Sudan, the thug of thugs.’ – Roger Boyes, The Times

  • Interpol warns terrorists are getting into the EU – Daily Mail
  • Can we trust Brussels with our security? – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • Erdogan’s autocracy is highly risky – FT
  • Applications for ‘small weapon’ licences in Germany double – Daily Mail
  • Jihadists planning terror abroad face life sentences – The Times (£)
  • Fascist MEPs cost £1m a month – The Sun (£)

Police 1) May launches investigation into ‘shameful’ police relationships with victims

‘Theresa May announced an inquiry into how victims of abuse were exploited by police and vowed to discover the true scale of inappropriate relationships with investigating officers. Mrs May expressed concern that such officers were ignoring their “professional duty and moral responsibility” after a string of sackings for carrying out inappropriate relationships. Speaking at the annual Police Federation conference in Bournemouth, Mrs May revealed that she has asked Sir Tom Winsor, Her Majesty’s chief inspector of constabulary, to investigate the issue. She said: “We do not know the true scale of this but everyone in this room will know it goes on far more than we might care to admit.”’ – The Times (£)

  • MPs rebel against snooping powers – The Times (£)
  • May condemns Police Federation ‘slush fund’ – Daily Mail

Police 2) Timothy ups pressure for an Orgreave inquiry

Police‘Theresa May’s former chief of staff has strongly endorsed calls for an inquiry into the “battle of Orgreave”, saying the public need to know if the police planned an unlawful mass assault on striking miners. An article on Conservativehome by Nick Timothy, who was the home secretary’s most senior adviser until last year, is the clearest indication yet that May is likely to order an inquiry into the actions of the South Yorkshire police and other forces at Orgreave on 18 June 1984.’ – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Nick Timothy’s column: As with Hillsborough, we must get to the bottom of what happened at Orgreave

BBC accused of ‘stunt’ over recipe site cuts

‘The broadcaster formally announced in a review published yesterday that it would close its online database of 11,000 recipes. But the move prompted strong criticism from politicians and BBC presenters, and more than 140,000 people signed a petition calling for the site to be protected. A BBC source confirmed last night that the ‘massive public reaction’ had led to ‘accelerated plans’ to move the recipes to the separate Good Food site, which is owned by the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide. Critics of the publicly-funded broadcaster had suggested that the announcement of the Recipes site’s closure was a ‘tactic’ by BBC bosses to provoke a ‘calculated reaction’ from the public.’ –  Daily Mail

Labour anti-semitism report ‘suppressed’

LABOUR dead rose‘An inquiry by Baroness Royall into Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) found no evidence of ‘institutional anti-semitism’, but warned the party faces ‘difficulties’ in making Jewish students feel comfortable. But yesterday, the party’s ruling National Executive was accused of ‘suppressing’ the report as only an executive summary and recommendations were published. Lady Royall said anyone expelled from the party for anti-semitism should not be barred for life because ‘people may change their views’.’ – Daily Mail

Vine: Westminster is full of marriage-wreckers

‘From researchers to special advisers, Westminster is a hotbed of young, single women, often straight out of university, their brilliance almost as distracting as their skirt length. Legs waxed, mascara unsmudged, brains and bodies unblemished by childbirth, they have neither the demands nor the baggage of a wife. They can — and will — drop everything for the sake of their masters. They don’t nag, complain or expect help with the washing up. They don’t interrupt while he’s reading his paper, or question his decision to have another glass of wine…By comparison, home can seem claustrophobic, restrictive, limiting. For many a male politician a wife is a pull away from this glamorous existence, a not always welcome reminder that, at the end of the day, he is not a God but a mere mortal.’ – Sarah Vine, Daily Mail

  • Two SNP MPs reported to have had affairs with the same journalist – The Times (£)
  • Sturgeon consoles her wronged friend – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Henry Hill’s Red, White and Blue column: Mundell calls for ‘reset’ of Westminster-Holyrood relations

Teacher numbers fail to keep up with rising demand

BARRIE CHARACTER EDUCATION‘Schools in England spent more than £800 million on supply teachers last year amid a staff shortage fuelled by bulging pupil numbers and migration. New figures revealed yesterday that the equivalent of £168 per child was spent on supply cover as schools struggle to recruit enough staff to fill vacancies. It comes after a National Audit Office report found that increases in the pupil population – partly caused by immigration – has meant a rise in demand for teachers.’ – Daily Mail

  • Headmaster struck off for doctoring SATs papers – Daily Mail

>Today: Rebecca Coulson’s column: Ten of the very safest spaces that you can feel very safe in

Ridley: It’s time to embrace the huge potential of GM crops

‘The exhaustive and cautious new report from the American National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine leaves no room for doubt that genetically engineered crops are as safe or safer, and are certainly better for the environment, than conventionally bred crops. The European Union was wrong to reject them 25 years ago and is wrong to continue rejecting this beneficial technology. The European Commission conceded in 2010 that GM crops are not per se more risky than, for example, conventional plant-breeding technologies, but still makes it all but impossible to grow them.’ – The Times (£)

  • Expert review dismisses bogus claims of anti-GM campaigners – The Times (£)
  • Now scaremongers have nowhere to hide – The Times Leader (£)

News in Brief

  • Wales has a First Minister – FT
  • Abortions rise among women over 30 – Daily Mail
  • Students are warned that throwing mortar boards is too dangerous – The Times (£)
  • RAF fighters intercept Russian jets for second time in a week – Daily Mail
  • Britain has become ‘semi-pacifist’, warns retired general – Daily Telegraph
  • World’s biggest cruise ship arrives in Southampton – The Times (£)
  • Police find large arms cache in Northern Ireland – Daily Mail
  • Downing Street prepares for ‘awkward’ Trump visit – The Guardian