Whitehall ‘blocks’ peerage for former Party treasurer

Cameron‘David Cameron is involved in a new cronyism row after his resignation honours’ list was blocked over his plan to give a peerage to a former Tory treasurer who was caught up in a City scandal. In an embarrassing move for the former prime minister, the official independent advisory committee responsible for granting titles has refused to support an award for Michael Spencer, the City boss who has raised an estimated £70million for the party. Theresa May, Mr Cameron’s successor, will now have to decide whether to over-rule the Commission and agree the peerage for Mr Spencer, who has donated £4million personally to the Conservative party’ – Daily Telegraph

  • ‘Ethical concerns’ stopped Michael Spencer’s honour – The Sun (£)
  • May had said she wouldn’t set ‘bad precedent’ by interfering in Cameron’s honours – The Times (£) 
  • And she ‘dismissed’ suggestions of a review – The Guardian
  • But there’ll be pressure on her over Spencer – The Times (£)
  • Who is Spencer? Daily Telegraph
  • Desmond Swayne explains the system – The Sun (£)
  • The ‘lax vetting’ of the list – Daily Mail 
  • Tom Watson says Larry the cat only one to miss out on honour – Daily Express
  • Cameron honours Remainer failures – Independent
  • Is Cameron just ‘rewarding failure’ with his Remain honours? – FT
  • Lord Feldman helped to write the list – Daily Mail
  • Brexiteers’ anger over Will Straw’s CBE – The Times (£)


  • The list ‘sets a seal on his hubris’ – Raphael Hogarth, The Times (£)
  • Awards to rich donors ‘discredit politics’ – Ian Birrell, Daily Telegraph
  • Investigation into May’s chief of staff’s lobbying past – The Times (£)


  • This shows that Cameron ‘doesn’t care’ about the public’s opinion any more – Daily Telegraph 
  • We need a ‘judicious’ balance with Chinese investment – The Times (£)

May to hold first industrial strategy meeting

Theresa May 25-07-16‘The Prime Minister will on Tuesday convene the first meeting of her new Cabinet committee on economy and industrial strategy, which will be attended by 10 secretaries of state. It comes as China warned that the “golden era” of relations with Britain is now in jeopardy after Mrs May postponed approval of the Hinkley Point nuclear plant amid security concerns over Chinese involvement… Speaking ahead of the first meeting of the new Cabinet committee, she said that her “focus” will be on “improving productivity” and creating a “plan to drive growth up and down the country – from rural areas to our great cities”. The commitment is a rejection of Mr Osborne’s economic strategy, which was criticised for failing to focus on productivity’ – Daily Telegraph 

More economy

The positives:

The negatives:

  • Brexit vote reversed manufacturing output – Independent
  • Savings accounts vanish ahead of expected interest rate cuts – The Guardian
  • Foundation ‘reveals’ costs of poverty – The Sun (£)
  • Companies House records erasure risks fraud investigations – The Times (£)
  • Transparency needed over Central Banks’ ‘revolving doors’ – FT
  • Risk to pension triple lock – Daily Mail

Byron burgers continued:


  • We should credit ‘sound government’ for its economic achievements – Janan Ganesh, FT
  • We should listen to the rogue banker – Will Gore, Independent
  • May’s focus is right, but high social mobility will be ‘hard to achieve’ – Alan Milburn, Daily Telegraph
  • May must start spending on the young – Andrew Grice, Independent

Brian Groom: The Northern Powerhouse plans were built on the premise of Chinese investment

OSBORNE George official‘The decision by Theresa May, the UK prime minister, to postpone approval for Hinkley Point nuclear power station, apparently because of security concerns about Chinese investors involved in the project, raises questions about another of her predecessors’ flagships: George Osborne’s “Northern Powerhouse”. Wooing Chinese investment was central to the former chancellor of the exchequer’s plan to harness the collective strength of northern England’s cities and so to rebalance the economy and devolve powers from Whitehall. If Hinkley is cancelled and a promised “golden era” of UK-China commercial relations comes to nought, the Powerhouse will look underfunded.’ – FT

  • May is snubbing Osborne’s great Northern plan – The Sun (£)
  • Chinese media warning over repercussions of Hinkley decision – Daily Telegraph
  • China’s anger over UK’s ‘suspicious approach’ – The Sun (£)
  • Cable accuses May of Chinese prejudice – The Times (£)
  • France want £2.5bn compensation in case of cancellation – Daily Mail
  • EDF board ‘felt pressured’ into agreeing deal – FT
  • Hinkley ‘overreaction’: let’s ‘be fair’ to the Chinese – Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: May’s mission. Not so much social justice or even social mobility as social reform.

Home ownership falls to 1986 levels

‘Soaring property prices have cut home ownership in England to its lowest level since 1986, according to research from the Resolution Foundation. Back then, the average first time buyer could get a home for £30,000, a sum that these days would barely cover a deposit.In 2015, the average cost of a home topped £150,000. Home ownership has fallen 7 per cent in England from a peak of 70.8 per cent in April 2003 to 63.8 per cent in February 2016. Across the UK, home ownership has dropped 6.8 per cent from peak of 70.9 per cent in 2004. The data shows that the housing crisis has spread beyond London, with regions in the North and the Midlands becoming increasingly unaffordable.’ – Independent

  • The ‘housing crisis’ – The Guardian
  • Home ownership falls the most in Greater Manchester – Daily Telegraph
  • LSE suggests housebuilding on greenbelt corridor – FT

Committee report to call for BBC salaries transparency

‘MPs will today demand BBC bosses publish the salaries of all stars paid more than the Prime Minister. Beeb chiefs claim revealing total pay would make it easy for rivals to poach top names. But a hard hitting report by the Culture, Media and Sport committee insists earnings are “common knowledge in the industry” and should not be “hidden”. MPs said there was “no good reason” why the identities of BBC stars earning over £143,000 shouldn’t be laid bare.’ The Sun

  • And for review of BBC Trust chairman’s appointment – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘iPlayer loophole’ closure will cost students – FT

Michael Rosen: My advice to Greening

GREENING Flickr‘So Nicky Morgan didn’t last long. I might have said that her obvious lack of qualifications for the job doomed her chances of survival but that would be casting aspersions on you, too, now you’ve replaced her. Continuity will be safeguarded by Nick Gibb, never one to endear himself with teachers if he can help it, but staying on as schools minister. Ever since 1988, teachers and parents have had to put up with the bloodsport of education ministers and heads of Ofsted hounding us for being inadequate. Let’s hope at the very least you’ll ban this and remember that the cohort of teachers and parents is the one you’ve got. A better approach would be to consider how the combined wisdom within these thousands of people can be harnessed.’The Guardian

Peer suggests Lords could delay Article 50

‘Baroness Patience Wheatcroft argues it is “imperative that the House of Lords don’t press the button on Article 50” – the step that will kick off Brexit talks. There is currently dispute over whether the Government needs to secure Parliamentary approval before triggering Article 50 of the EU rulebook. Lady Wheatcroft told the Times: “If it comes to a Bill, I think the Lords might actually delay things. I think there’s a majority in the Lords for remaining.” “I would hope, while we delayed things that there would be sufficient movement in the EU to justify putting it to the electorate, either through a general election or a second referendum.’ Daily Express

More Brexit

  • Report suggests 600,000 Europeans may have to leave over Brexit – Daily Mail
  • But 3m will have the right to stay – The Sun
  • Juncker’s little list of foes – Daily Mail
  • And he has ‘no intention’ of resigning – Daily Express
  • ONS claims’ Brexiteers £350m claims were an ‘underestimate’ – Daily Express
  • Police data show hate crime rise – Daily Express
  • Summary of Nick Timothy’s ConservativeHome columns shows support for single market access – FT
  • Trio of Brexit ministers continue to share Chevening and jobs – FT
  • Cornwall keeps Brussels office – Independent
  • Fraudsters capitalising on Brexit – Independent
  • We should bring back the dark blue passport – The Sun (£)
  • The peers’ ‘extraordinary’ Brexit plot – The Sun (£)
  • May needs more clarity on Brexit’s questions – The Guardian


David Blair: Social fracture, Schengen, and security overload put France at risk

‘The murder of an 85-year-old priest in Normandy and the daily round of threats and vitriol show, yet again, that Isil terrorists have kept their promise to make France a priority target. When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) was carving out its domain in the Middle East, its official spokesman singled out France for a chilling threat. Abu Mohammed al-Adnani urged Muslims to “kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French”.’Daily Telegraph


  • May must focus on Sharia – Melanie Phillips, The Times (£)
  • Assange’s transparency helps the bad guys, Hugo Rifkind – The Times (£)
  • The drive for freedom is faltering: we must act before it’s too late – William Hague, Daily Telegraph
  • Brazil’s strategy against terrorism – Samantha Pearson, FT

Corbyn backed by big communications union

CORBYN Jeremy Marr June 2016One of the country’s biggest trade unions has reaffirmed its support for Jeremy Corbyn as the Labour leader vowed to put an end to “rip off Britain”. The Communication Workers Union, who threw their support behind Mr Corbyn at last year’s election, said the establishment was attacking the left-wing leader because they knew he represented a “serious vote for change”. The union boasts around 200,000 members in the Royal Mail, BT, the Post Office and various other firms.’ – Independent

  • Allegations of homophobic abuse towards Eagle – Daily Telegraph
  • Corbynism exemplifies the trend for personality politics – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph 
  • Corbyn hasn’t listened to me about the economy – David Blanchflower, The Guardian

News in Brief

  • ‘Influx’ of migrants to Greek islands since Turkey troubles – Daily Mail
  • Romania’s former Queen dies – Daily Mail
  • Steve Redgrave says best olympics opportunities at independent schools – Daily Telegraph
  • Strictly Ed Balls – Daily Telegraph
  • Karoshi: Japanese people working themselves to death – Independent
  • Danczuk ‘urged to quit’ – The Sun (£)
  • Kuwait puts up petrol by 80% – The Guardian
  • Destroyers all docked for sailors’ holiday – FT
  • Ambulance service at ‘breaking point’ – Daily Express
  • ‘Exodus’ of civil service online experts – The Times (£)
  • Paramedic ‘poaching’ causing emergency crisis – The Times (£)
  • Woolfe ‘forgot about’ drink-driving conviction – Independent