Brexit 1) Johnson ‘personally in favour of free movement’

BORIS Change Britain‘Boris Johnson has been “openly telling” European Union ambassadors that he is in favour of free movement, despite the government’s insistence that it must end after Britain cuts ties with Brussels. The foreign secretary told ambassadors at an official lunch last month that he “was personally in favour of free movement as it corresponds to his own beliefs, but he said it wasn’t government policy”, according to an authoritative account of the meeting. Another ambassador said Mr Johnson had suggested that while he “was personally in favour of it, Britain had been more affected by free movement of people than other EU member states”’. – The Times (£)

  • He ‘denies’ this is government policy’ – FT
  • And says he ‘hasn’t expressed support for uncontrolled freedom of movement’ – Daily Express
  • Johnson also ‘told colleagues’ that illegal immigrants should be given amnesty after ten years – Independent
  • Labour criticises him for promoting book on official trip – Guardian
  • Lord Green says free movement deal would be ‘immoral’ – Daily Express


  • Johnson’s amnesty idea is ‘crackpot’. And he ‘may be the most hated man in Britain’ – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Lord Green in Comment: Brexit and Immigration – time for some clarity on aims

Brexit 2) May repeats aim of ‘giving assurance’ quickly on UK-EU citizens’ mutual rights

may‘UK prime minister Theresa May has repeated her wish to have the mutual rights of UK and EU citizens concluded as soon as possible, in a brewing row between the government and Brussels before the official start of Brexit talks. Speaking to the House of Commons, Mrs May told MPs she wanted the status of British citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK sorted “at an early stage in negotiations” with the bloc. “We want to give reassurances”, said Mrs May after president of the EU Council Donald Tusk rebuked 80 UK MPs who had criticised Brussels for refusing to discuss any guarantees before the triggering of Article 50. “I hope this is something we will be able to address at an early stage to give people the reassurances they need”, added the prime minister.’FT

  • Starmer says she should ‘unilaterally pass legislation’ on this – Guardian
  • May says government was correct not to guarantee right of EU citizens in Britain immediately after referendum – The Times (£)
  • Government ‘wants controls’ on skilled and unskilled EU immigration – Guardian

Brexit 3) ‘Senior Tory backbenchers’ push for quicker Brexit

REDWOOD News‘A former Cabinet minister urged the Prime Minister to accelerate the country’s departure from the bloc to maximise the economic boost of freedom from Brussels rule. And another senior MP tabled a Commons motion seeking to outlaw any backsliding on Mrs May’s pledge to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March…. Senior Tory backbenchers indicated a growing enthusiasm for accelerating the departure. Former minister John Redwood said a swift Brexit would bring the maximum trade benefits. In a pamphlet for the think-tank Politeia, he wrote: “The EU leaders are urging Mrs May to speed up the UK’s plans for exit, and saying they want to get on with it. Let us agree with them! It is in the EU’s interest to sort this out quickly, and definitely in the UK’s interests… He called on the Government to hasten the departure by passing a law at Westminster repealing the 1972 legislation that confirmed the UK’s membership of the European bloc. Meanwhile, Tory backbencher Peter Bone tabled a Bill designed to compel Mrs May to keep her promise of triggering Article 50 no later than the end of March.’ – Daily Express

Brexit 4) Joshua Rozenberg: the ‘reputation of the judiciary is at stake’ over Article 50 case

‘For once, a cliché is justified: the government’s appeal to the Supreme Court next week really will be a landmark case. The underlying issue could not be greater: the political future of the United Kingdom and its relationship with the European Union. The number of judges could not be greater either: 11 is the largest panel to have heard a single appeal, not just since the court was created seven years ago but since its predecessor was established in 1876. But perhaps the greatest issue at stake is the reputation of the judiciary, at a time when judges are under attack as never before.’ The Spectator

>Today: ToryDiary: The Supreme Court cannot be allowed to negate the referendum result

Brexit 5) Shirley Williams: the effect of a Lib-Dem Richmond win

Zac Goldsmith‘At my age I tend not to dwell on anniversaries. But I have just celebrated an anniversary that gives me nothing but pleasure: 35 years since my victory in the Crosby by-election… The battle against arch-Brexiteer Zac Goldsmith is seen by everyone bar Goldsmith as the Brexit by-election… Sarah Olney could celebrate Richmond Park in future anniversaries as the by-election that saved Britain’s place in Europe. It is no exaggeration to say that the people of Richmond have Britain’s future in their hands.’ – Independent

More Brexit

  • Davidson sets Brexit tests for Sturgeon – Daily Telegraph
  • May and Merkel ‘share top spot’ on Brexit power list – Guardian
  • Carney calls Britain ‘Europe’s investment banker’ – Guardian
  • He says the EU needs the City – Daily Telegraph
  • And that firms should be ‘told as must as possible’ – The Sun
  • Carney is right – Editorial, Daily Telegraph 
  • MPs ‘furious’ that Dutch politician attended Brexit meeting – The Sun
  • Downing Street to begin briefing foreign media on Brexit – FT
  • Trump’s team favour bilateral deals – Daily Telegraph


  • Leavers are right to be getting suspicious – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph (£)
  • The government doesn’t know what it’s doing – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)
  • Merkel’s ‘obstinacy’ could help clean Brexit – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: What kind of post-Brexit deal do you want? Take our monthly survey here.

Fallon ‘to announce’ that injured troops won’t have to go to court for compensation

Michael Fallon 02-07-15‘British troops with battlefield injuries will no longer have to go to court to claim compensation from the Ministry of Defence under a major shake-up, Sir Michael Fallon will say today. Soldiers and their families are set to receive bigger pay-outs for bomb blast injuries or their loved ones’ deaths than ever before and they won’t have to fork out for legal costs. The Defence Secretary will today announce a 12-week consultation on new proposals to pay out money to anyone injured even if there is no fault by the Army and shut out greedy law firms.’ – Daily Mail

  • This should reduce lawsuits against MoD – The Times (£)
  • And stop ‘battlefield decisions being pored over in civilian courts’ – Daily Telegraph

Rudd pledges money to guard synagogues and Jewish educational establishments

Amber Rudd‘Amber Rudd has pledged to spend millions to provide guards for all Jewish schools, colleges, and nurseries and synagogues. The Home Secretary said she was forced to act after receiving 924 reports of anti-Semitic incidents, including 86 violent assaults, last year. Ms Rudd warned against the “increasingly sophisticated” tactics of far-right extremists in the wake of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. She said that groups were becoming better at harnessing the use of social media for promoting their cause and hauling in new members.’Daily Telegraph

  • And warns of extremist threats – The Sun
  • Cross-party backing for anti-hate-crime campaign – Guardian

Labour MPs defeat motion calling for investigation into Blair Iraq claims

BLAIR Europe‘Labour MPs overwhelmingly turned out yesterday to defeat a parliamentary motion attacking Tony Blair over the Iraq war. More than 150 Labour MPs voted against the SNP motion that called for a parliamentary investigation into the claims about Iraq made by Mr Blair before the invasion. Jeremy Corbyn had angered party moderates by choosing not to force all Labour MPs to vote against the motion. The Labour leader, an outspoken critic of Mr Blair, allowed his MPs to stay away from the Commons when the vote took place and did not turn up himself. Five Labour MPs and six Conservatives were among those who voted in favour of the non-binding motion. It was rejected by 439 votes to 70.’ – The Times (£)


  • Labour needs to collaborate – Mark Seddon, Guardian

More Government

  • Cyber ban plans are ‘unpractical outside of a totalitarian state’ – Guardian
  • Hunt wants more clinicians in charge – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs call for review of tax credit decisions – FT
  • ‘Pressure’ on Greening to make sex education mandatory – The Sun
  • SNP can feel smug this St Andrew’s Day – Daily Telegraph 
  • Labour vows to protect pensioner benefits – FT
  • May says Christmas should be ‘celebrated not denigrated’ – Daily Telegraph 
  • May’s proposals unlikely to make businesses’ behaviour better – Sarah Gordon, FT

>Today: Sajid Javid in Comment: My top priority is clear – we need more houses

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: How May’s Government differs from Cameron’s

Trump confirms he is ‘leaving his business interests in total’, but again fails to clarify

TRUMP victory speech‘Donald Trump has announced that he will be stepping away from his business interests “in total” in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest once he enters the White House. The president-elect, who has been criticised by constitutional lawyers and ethics counselors for refusing to give up ownership of his business empire, said in a series of tweets on Wednesday morning that he would hold a press conference two weeks from now to discuss the plan, but provided little detail.’ – Guardian

More world news

  • Syria’s ‘bloody end’ to 2016 – Editorial, The Times (£)
  • May says Russia should get Assad to allow aid through – Daily Mail
  • Castro’s ashes begin four-day tour – Guardian


  • The West needs to recognise Putin for who he is – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
  • My Castro ‘inFidelity’ story – David Aaronovitch The Times (£)
  • Cuba isn’t such a ‘sad story’ – Katie Hopkins, Daily Mail

>Today: International: How Sunday’s vote in Italy could plunge the Euro into crisis

News in Brief

  • Opec deal means rise in fuel prices – The Times (£)
  • Regulator to approve three-parent baby technology – FT
  • School bans hand raising – Daily Telegraph
  • Izzard spent over £36,000 on Remain – Daily Express
  • Nuttall lied about football career – The Sun
  • Vegetarians’ anger over fiver’s tallow – Daily Express