Merkel, Hollande, and Renzi to meet today to discuss Brexit

MERKEL Angela Blue‘The German Chancellor and French Prime Minister will meet with Italian leader Matteo Renzi on Ventotene, a small island off the coast of Naples. They are believed to be worried that Brexit could lead to the break-up of the doomed bloc, starting with an in/out referendum in the Netherlands. Mr Renzi is eager for even more European integration, but Mrs Merkel has called for “a better Europe” rather than “more Europe”. An EU diplomat last night said: “The goal must first of all be to preserve the status quo and to prevent a further disintegration of the EU.” Mr Renzi chose to hold the meeting on Ventotene because the island is seen as the birthplace of European federalism. Two Italian intellectuals jailed on the island during the Second World War wrote a manifesto calling for “the creation of a solid international state”.’- Daily Express 

  • Ventotene island talks show trilateral ‘unity’ – Guardian
  • Three leaders’ ‘bid to relaunch European project’ – Daily Telegraph

More Brexit

  • Decline in infrastructure spending since referendum – FT
  • JP Morgan U-turn over Brexit negativity – Daily Mail
  • Poll shows Leavers want migrants to stay – Daily Express
  • Mandelson advising banks on Brexit – The Sun (£)
  • More on IDS’s call for early formal talks – Guardian
  • Scottish fishermen’s Brexit anger at SNP – Daily Telegraph
  • Rees-Mogg says anti-Brexit civil servants ‘talk down the nation’ – Daily Express
  • French socialist’s anti-EU presidential stand – The Times (£)
  • Railway hate-crimes up – Daily Mail
  • ‘Tensions’ continue as Fox ‘boasts he’s taking over a wing’ of Boris’s FO – Daily Telegraph


  • The Brexit question is ‘when’ – Jon Henley, Guardian
  • Corbyn isn’t up to dealing with Brexit – Chris Leslie, Daily Telegraph

Carnival end to Rio Olympics

‘After the games, the fun. After the sunshine, the rain. In conditions less Ipanema and more Ipswich on a miserable Thursday in February, Rio’s may have been the wettest and windiest celebration in closing ceremony history, wetter than the Commonwealth Games send-off in Manchester in 2002, when the flag bearer from the Solomon Islands was in danger of being swept into the Ship Canal.Not that a bit of precipitation was going to put a stop to all that interpretative dance. Or the human tableau. Or the school choir giving us their acapella Brazilian national anthem. Consumed by colour, noise and towering fruit-based head dresses, the Maracana thrummed with carnival rhythm. On to the very pitch where 24 hours before Neymar and his colleagues from Brazil’s football team had sent the country into ecstasy by winning the gold medal that mattered most to the hosts sashayed hundreds of bouncing women in barely-there bikinis and shoulder pads that would have terrified the cast of Dynasty.’ – Daily Telegraph


  • Success shows Britain can stand alone – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

>Today: Tracey Crouch in Comment: The heroes of Team GB have inspired the nation – we must harness that feeling for good

Extremism flourishes on back of prison political correctness, report claims

Prison bars‘Political correctness in Britain’s jails has allowed Islamic extremism to flourish behind bars, a report warns today. Terrorists and extremists have been able to spread their poison in prison because staff are too frightened of breaching human rights or being branded racists to intervene, the study for the Ministry of Justice reveals. Author Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, says Britain has fallen behind countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and France in dealing with radicalisation in jail – with ordinary Muslims facing ‘aggressive encouragement’ to become jihadis.’-  Daily Mail


  • Isolation is the least bad way to deal with persistent radicals – Raffaello Pantucci, Daily Telegraph

May to ‘axe’ plans for regional mayors

‘Theresa May is to ditch George Osborne’s policy of directly elected mayors for city regions, partly to avoid Labour using them as a platform for a revival in its heartlands, The Times has learnt.The prime minister does not share the former chancellor’s enthusiasm for the plan to elect one individual for every city to be in charge of extra powers and cash devolved from Whitehall.She is also said to be nervous that the policy would give a platform to Labour moderates such as Andy Burnham, the former shadow home secretary, who is hoping to be elected mayor of Manchester next year. While the Manchester and Liverpool mayoral elections are likely to go ahead, Mrs May is expected to let the next phase of devolution proceed without directly elected mayors.’ – The Times (£)


Plans to prevent childhood obesity dropped

‘Ministers have secretly abandoned a key target to prevent nearly a million kids becoming obese in the next decade. Specific plans for 800,000 fewer obese children in 2026 were dramatically dropped causing fury among campaigners. A draft version of the plan stated it was a Whitehall “aim” to stop the youngsters piling on the pounds – with currently one third of 2-15 year olds overweight or obese. But the childhood obesity strategy published last week only states that the action plan would only “significantly reduce” obesity if current trends continue.’ – The Sun (£)

  • IEA says ‘perverse’ tax just ‘gets money out of the poor’ – The Sun (£)
  • Campaigners claim obesity plans are ‘lacklustre’ failure – Independent
  • Health experts criticise May over obesity ‘scandal’ – Guardian


More NHS

Scottish banks warn against independence

Nicola Sturgeon 23-06-16‘Scottish business supporters of independence have warned against rushing to hold another referendum in the aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. The caution from business people who publicly backed leaving the UK in 2014 is likely to strengthen the hand of those in the ruling Scottish National party who say that pushing too quickly for another referendum could backfire. Some SNP members say the EU referendum has created the best-ever opportunity to push for independence since Scotland voted strongly to remain in the bloc. But Dan Macdonald, a property developer who signed a pro-independence public letter in 2014, said it was “too simplistic” to portray independence as a way of securing EU membership given uncertainty about the attitude to Scottish entry of other European states.’ – FT

More Scotland

  • Follow up on Davidson’s case for early general election – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour councils ‘want’ to take Sturgeon to court over cuts – Daily Express
  • The ‘squalor’ of Sturgeon’s constituency – Daily Express 
  • Davidson says Major persuaded her of need for ‘snap election’ – Daily Mail

New maths qualification proves unpopular

‘Only one in seven schools is offering pupils a chance to take a new maths qualification designed to ensure that every teenager continues to study the subject until the age of 18. Low recognition among parents, an unwillingness by universities to include it in their entry requirements and a shortage of maths teachers have been blamed for hampering its take-up. About 3,000 teenagers were awarded grades in the core maths qualification for the first time last week, a lower than expected figure after 500 dropped out halfway through the course.’The Times (£)

More eduction

>Yesterday: John Bell in Comment: Boiling the education debate down into grammars versus comprehensives misses the point

More Government

  • Government ‘could face legal action’ over Help to Buy controversy – Daily Telegraph 
  • Labour peer criticises lack of women and ethnic monitories in senior NHS jobs – Guardian
  • Final salary pension reforms could lead to ‘startling’ personal losses – Daily Telegraph 
  • No tax relief for non-doms – FT
  • Impartiality questions arise over Purnell’s expected BBC appointment – FT
  • Port Talbot Tata plant back in profit – Daily Telegraph
  • House prices to fall then recover – Daily Mail
  • Hammond’s ‘swashbuckling’ past – FT


  • May must define herself – Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian
  • We need open markets, not expanding monetary policy – Michael Heise, FT
  • The government needs to ‘take the plunge’ on carbon capture and storage – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Local Government: Why I want to sell 87 per cent of our homes

Tim Montgomerie: Syria needs Major safe havens

Syria‘John Major has deservedly been lauded for earmarking such a large slice of funds generated by his National Lottery initiative for Team GB’s Olympians. Given increasingly tragic events in Syria we are not, however, looking at the most relevant of the former prime minister’s achievements: his creation of safe havens for Kurds in northern Iraq and Shia Muslims in southern Iraq after the 1991 Gulf war. Those havens were backed up by massive airdrops of humanitarian aid and no-fly zones enforced by the RAF and other western air forces. It is also notable that they lacked direct United Nations approval. The UN’s Boutros Boutros-Ghali even described them, subsequently, as “illegal”. Sir John’s “Operation Provide Comfort” saved countless numbers from Saddam Hussein, a dictator who regularly mass-murdered his own people. It was proof that insisting on getting the blessing of the UN — an obsession of many of today’s do-nothing politicians — can often be the least humanitarian of courses.’ – The Times (£)

  • UN states must make Assad understand consequences of war crimes – Anas Al-Abdeh, Daily Telegraph 
  • German airports and stations to focus on facial recognition software – Daily Mail
  • France needs to reconsider laicite – Delphine Strauss, FT

Corbyn and Smith ‘guarantee’ future top Labour positions for women

‘Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith have promised to change party rules to ensure that in future there will be at least one woman in post as the leader or as a deputy leader of the party. Both leadership contenders have also guaranteed that the number of female Labour MPs will not be reduced by boundary changes, which are expected to be announced next month. The pledges have been made as the first ballot papers were due to be sent out on Monday to more than 640,000 Labour party members and supporters in the bitterly fought contest.’ – Guardian

More Labour

  • First leadership ballots to be sent out today – FT
  • Corbynites attack Khan after criticisms – Independent
  • And say he used Corbyn to win London mayoralty – Guardian
  • Rebels plan for post-Corbyn victory – Independent
  • Does deregistration of Respect mean Galloway will rejoin Labour? – Independent
  • Questions over Abbott charity’s ‘swish’ party – Daily Mail
  • Labour MPs investigation over expenses – Daily Mail


  • What could the end of Respect mean for Corbyn? – Andrew Grice, Independent
  • Cornyn’s ‘causal abandonment’ of defence priorities – Oliver Kamm, The Times (£)
  • Labour’s solution lies outside of London – Steve Richards, Guardian

>Today: Nadhim Zahawi’s column: Both men vying for the Labour leadership pose a threat to our national security

>Today: ToryDiary: What can Tories do to save Labour from the hard left

Trump’s immigration stance ‘wobble’

TRUMP Live‘Donald Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration has long been a central plank of his presidential campaign, but this weekend it may have wobbled, with the Republican nominee apparently modifying his stance on the mass deportation of undocumented people. After previously urging the creation of a dedicated agency to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US, Mr Trump reportedly met with Hispanic leaders at Trump Tower in New York on Saturday to solicit suggestions for what one participant said would be a “humane and efficient” immigration policy.’ – Independent

  • He signals ‘ditching promise’ to deport Mexicans – The Times (£)
  • Trump: the art of the troll – David Sax, Guardian
  • The Nixon ghost in the Trump machine – Edward Luce, FT

News in Brief

  • IS ‘child’ bombs wedding party in Turkey – Guardian
  • Gay clergy group lobbies CofE over same-sex marriage… – Guardian
  • …which is also accused of ‘acting like Pontius Pilate’ regarding child sex abuse – Daily Telegraph
  • Read NASA’s research online for free – Daily Telegraph
  • Blackmail is worse than child abuse, says police ‘menu’ – The Times (£)
  • Drinking isn’t too bad – The Times (£)