Gove on Sky over the EU: a masterclass in TV dominance.  But did he move undecided voters?

GOVE Sky debate“Michael Gove has launched a savage attack on the ‘sneering’ elites trying to keep Britain in the EU as he urged voters to ‘take back control’. The Justice Secretary dismissed dire warnings about recession and job losses from organisations such as the Treasury and International Monetary Fund, saying the public was ‘sick’ of getting told what to do. He said the EU was a ‘job destroying machine’ and insisted taxpayers’ money should be going to the NHS rather than ‘invincibly arrogant’ Eurocrats.” – Daily Mail

News lines

  • Gove agrees to have £350-a-week-to-the-EU million figure independently audited – Financial Times
  • I can’t guarantee everyone will keep their jobs, admits Gove – The Times (£)
  • Gove: “I saw my father lose his job. I saw his business go to the wall” – Daily Express
  • Gove on the Conservative leadership: Count me out – The Independent
  • Sturgeon “to debate Boris next Thursday” – Herald Scotland


  • “Michael Gove, thick-rimmed spectacles like Austin Powers, voice as dark and moist as a goodish Dundee fruit cake, last night gave an EU debate performance of almost prime ministerial quality.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “Normally, Michael Gove is a figure of Jeeves-like imperturbability. The weightless composure, the scrupulous diction, the polysyllabic prolixity, his face expressionless but for the occasional flicker of an eyebrow.  The word for him – usually – is consummate.  Tonight, he looked dangerously close to being ruffled.” – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • “Ultimately though, such events are about expectations. Mr Cameron managed to meet what was expected of him — although he had faced tough questions and appeared rattled at times. Mr Gove, however, exceeded his and did better than either side predicted.” – Sebastian Payne, Financial Times
  • “As I have written before, the Brexiters are starting to look like a government within a government. Most striking to me was how little Gove had to say about Cameron’s brilliance – a subject that usually occupies a good third of his public performances. Not last night. This was a politician who knows that an all-important line was crossed long ago.” – Matthew D’Ancona, The Guardian
  • “It was a disciplined, well-prepared performance. The messages were clear: take back control; on the side of the people against the elite; Britain can be great again. But it was undermined by a suspicion that the new “Red Mike” persona was an act constructed for the purposes of debate.” – John Rentoul, The Independent

> Today: ToryDiary – Gove on Sky over the EU. A masterclass in TV dominance. But did he move undecided voters? (And was anyone watching anyway?)

Meanwhile, the Justice Secretary and Boris open up a second front: more money for the NHS…

NHS“The two senior Tories leading the Vote Leave campaign in the EU referendum demanded an extra £5.2billion for the nation’s hospitals and other healthcare facilities in a proposal for a major switch in Government policy.  In their second highly provocative joint declaration within days, the pair said £100million a week saved by cancelling Britain’s EU membership fees if the country votes for Brexit should be diverted towards the under-pressure health budget.  But their decision to publicly sign up to a specific health spending pledge will be seen as another sign that Mr Johnson and his “Vote Leave” allies are preparing a manifesto for an alternative Government after the EU referendum on June 23.” – Daily Express

…Elsewhere, Cameron is ruffled on Good Morning Britain…

“David Cameron was today accused of letting the EU referendum pressure get to him after he snapped at ITV star Kate Garraway during another heated interview. The Prime Minister interrupted the Good Morning Britain host in a row over his immigration record and told her: ‘You’re not giving me a chance to answer’. Mr Cameron looked tired as he appeared on ITV this morning, hours after he was savaged by the audience during the Sky News EU debate and accused of ‘waffling’ and ‘scaremongering’.” – Daily Mail

  • “The first television set-pieces of the referendum campaign have showed that Brexiteers are winning on immigration and Remainers on the economy” – Times Editorial (£)
  • Duncan Smith claims that Cameron is lying over EU claimants’ benefit rights… – Daily Telegraph
  • …and says that he wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton – The Independent
  • Cameron once championed a points system for immigration – Daily Express

…And Hilton offers to debate him on live TV…having joined Vote Leave as a spokesman

Steve Hilton“Mr Hilton laid down the gauntlet in an interview with The Sun to reveal he is officially joining the Vote Leave campaign as a spokesman. The impassioned California-based deep thinker has torn up his plans and will come back to Britain for the final phase of the campaign the week after next. The Brexit backer’s challenge risks infuriating the Prime Minister, who is likely to see it as a betrayal from yet another good friend…Quizzed by The Sun if he personally is prepared to step up, Mr Hilton said he would be “delighted”, as it would allow Mr Cameron to avoid a damaging ‘blue on blue’ confrontation with another Tory minister.  He added: “There is nothing I would love more than to debate the issues with David.” – The Sun



  • Stuart accuses David Miliband of scaremongering – The Sun

Liberal Democrats (remember them?)

  • Boris Johnson is like Trump ‘with a thesaurus’, says Nick Clegg – The Sun


  • Farage “set to lead 60-boat flotilla up the Thames to Parliament to call for Brexit” – The Sun
  • Bodies will be washing up on British beaches all summer if asylum is given to 18 Albanians caught this week, says UKIP leader – Daily Express

Ground war, analysis and voter turnout

  • Pro-EU campaigners launch massive drive to sign up six million missing voters – The Sun
  • Who is winning the ground war? – Financial Times
  • Will the UK benefit from being released from EU laws? – The Independent
  • 3,462 foreign voters were sent polling cards for the referendum despite – Daily Telegraph


Peter Oborne: Where’s Theresa?

FOX and MAY small“To return to the question I originally posed: what on earth has happened to the Home Secretary? One of her Westminster admirers tells me that she is playing what he called ‘a shrewd game’. Mrs May is profoundly ambitious. She has set her sights on replacing Mr Cameron when he steps down. Even though she has come out publicly in favour of British membership of the EU, she is determined to do little or nothing to help Mr Cameron win his Remain campaign. That way, the thinking goes, she can come through the middle as a healing figure to reunite the Tory Party when the inevitable post-referendum leadership contest starts.” – Daily Mail

Other comment

  • Our own bad habits have brought Britain to the brink of Brexit – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Battle for the soul of Britain – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Are we giving away too much sovereignty to Brussels? No – Malcolm Rifkind, The Times (£)
  • Why the stock market wouldn’t even notice Brexit – James Bartholomew, Daily Telegraph
  • Voters are wise to Project Fear – Sun Editorial
  • Remain is paying the price for its lack of ambition – Daily Telegraph Editorial

Blair and Brown urge Labour voters to turn out…

“The two former prime ministers have put aside differences to sign a letter – published by the Guardian – that argues that a failure of Labour supporters to turn out in large numbers will lead to Britain opting to leave the EU. Ed Miliband, Neil Kinnock, Harriet Harman and Margaret Beckett are also signatories to the statement that says a British exit would trigger a “bonfire of workers’ rights” under a rightwing Conservative government.” – The Guardian

  • Khan eyes steps to tackle loss of business space – Financial Times
  • Prescott to clash with Livingstone on Russia Today – The Guardian
  • Labour party split over activists who booed the BBC’s political editor – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

…While Tax Freedom Day under Osborne moves back into the Blair era

BLAIR swivel-eyed“Researchers at the Adam Smith Institute said Britons had to work 154 days this year to pay their taxes. And to the shame of George Osborne, who pledged to cut the tax bill, it is the first time in 15 years the date has been as late as June.  The last time was at the height of Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2001. Institute director Dr Eamonn Butler said: ‘It’s shocking that the Government takes over two fifths of the country’s earnings – and then borrows more. We work longer for the Government than medieval serfs worked for their lords” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Sam Bowman on Comment – It’s Tax Freedom Day. At last.

News in Brief

  • Police search SNP MP’s home – The Sun
  • Collapse of BHS ‘is a blight on Britain’ – The Times (£)
  • Switzerland set to vote on universal basic income – The Independent
  • Troops’ families to get free copy of the Chilcot Report – The Guardian
  • Kincora inquiry continues – Belfast Telegraph
  • Liverpool third most popular city for holidays within the UK – Liverpool Echo
  • Tata retaining control of Port Talbot steel plant ‘would be welcome’, say campaigners – Wales Online
  • Islamic State sex slaves rescued from Fallujah ‘so deprived they didn’t even know know city they were in’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Mohammed Ali is dead – Daily Express
  • Weathermen promise a scorching weekend – Daily Mail

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