May meets Trump…

TRUMP and MAY Gone with the wind“Theresa May arrived in Washington last night ahead of crunch trade talks with Donald Trump that will help shape the way Britain and America co-operate in the post-Brexit world. The pair will attempt to sweep aside as many trade barriers as they can ahead of Britain leaving the EU when they meet this evening UK time at the White House. The Prime Minister will also attempt to secure Mr Trump’s commitment to supporting NATO after earlier calling it ‘the cornerstone of the West’s defence’.” – Daily Mail

  • Call to stand together and ‘halt eclipse of the West’ – The Times (£)
  • May evokes Reagan-Thatcher ties – Daily Telegraph
  • Tearing up nuclear deal will backfire, May to warn Trump – The Times (£)
  • Europe looms large over talks – FT
  • May gets three standing ovations from top Republicans – The Sun
  • Labour MPs urge Patel to stand against Trump’s abortion ‘gag’ – The Guardian


  • UK could limit intelligence sharing if US uses waterboarding – Daily Mail
  • Britain will never back torture, says Johnson – Daily Mail
  • Sometimes it can be ‘justified’, says Tory MP – The Independent


  • Premier strikes balance between courtship and candour – FT
  • Poodle can lead the way for erratic new master – The Guardian
  • Flurry of executive orders as President kicks off radical agenda – Daily Telegraph
  • State trip overshadowed by administration’s policy shocks – The Independent
  • May faces diplomatic dangers – The Guardian
  • Hannan on why the end might be in sight for populism – FT

>Today: ToryDiary: Trump and May. She channels Reagan and Thatcher in the first speech of her American visit.

>Yesterday: Garvan Walshe’s column: Leaked Transcript of May’s meeting with Trump

…and calls for an end to ‘failed’ overseas interventions

“Theresa May has ripped up 20 years of foreign policy to declare an end to Britain’s “failed” wars of choice. No longer will UK troops go abroad to help make countries democratic and more like ours, the PM declared. Addressing US law makers in Philadelphia, Mrs May declared: “It is in our interests – those of Britain and America together – to stand strong together to defend our values. This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over.”” – The Sun

  • UK could deploy troops to Syria to enforce peace deal, says Johnson – The Sun

>Today: MPs Etc.: “NATO – the cornerstone of the West’s defence”. The Prime Minister’s speech to the Republican Party Congress: full text

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: We need more realism in post-Brexit foreign policy

Michael Gove: How Britain can help reinvigorate the West

NATO“While Donald Trump may be flat wrong on torture, and appears alarmingly blind to the dark cynicism driving Putin, there is now, at the very least, an opportunity for Britain to use our closer relationship with America to spell out what is required on the international stage. The first requirement is the reassertion of western power. We should accept that Trump is right that others must do more to fund Nato but be uncompromising in our insistence that only a strong, American-led Atlantic alliance can possibly advance our shared interests. We should press for an assertive new secretary-general, like the pro-Brexit former Canadian premier Stephen Harper, and ensure that he helps America woo Turkey and Greece back from Russia’s embrace.” – The Times (£)

  • Why the President needs the Prime Minister – Tom Rogan, Daily Telegraph
  • This trip is a necessary exercise in ‘poodling’ – Matthew Parris, Times Red Box
  • We don’t need a poodle, May must stand up to Trump – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • The May-Trump meeting is a political journalist’s dream – Joey Jones, Times Red Box


  • Trump must be talked out of a return to waterboarding – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
  • Prime Minister calls an end to Anglo-American military adventures – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail


  • Downing Street needs some of Don’s optimism – Iain Martin, The Sun
  • If May is changing our foreign policy for a trade deal, it had better be worth it – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • We should replicate the President’s assault on the regulatory state – Ryan Bourne, Daily Telegraph


  • With the new President in charge Boris is on his best behaviour – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph


>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: What do the voters expect from Trump? My new poll of 10,000 Americans reveals all.

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Trump and torture

EU 1) Government introduces Brexit bill

“Battle lines have been drawn for the Westminster showdown over Brexit after the government tabled the legislation that will finally trigger Article 50. The ‘notification of withdrawal’ Bill will empower ministers formally to tell the EU we want to quit. The text will be at the heart of the impending ‘hand to hand combat’ in parliament – sparked by the Supreme Court’s ruling that Theresa May cannot use executive powers to invoke Brexit. Pro-EU parties are set to try to make dozens of amendments in a bid to hem the PM in when she begins negotiations with the bloc… But the government has kept the bill as short as possible to limit the scope for changes.” – Daily Mail

  • Mundell says Holyrood will vote on Great Repeal Bill – Daily Telegraph
  • UK confirms plan to leave European atomic energy community – FT
  • Ministers urged to stop EU making holidays more difficult – The Sun
  • Prominent Greens lend support to legal case for reversing Article 50 – The Guardian


  • Regulators seeks EU access for UK banks – FT
  • No deal with US until EU obligations end, Hammond admits – The Independent
  • South Africa vows to agree trade deal before Brexit – Daily Express


  • The bill to trigger Article 50 is blunt, but will get the job done – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • Public must have a say on this monumental act of self-harm – Tim Farron, Times Red Box
  • Challenging Brexit in the Irish courts is a long shot, but sometimes they work – Gavin Barrett, The Guardian


  • At 137 words the long goodbye is too short for some – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)


  • Threat to create a UK tax haven is a transparent bluff – FT

>Today: Iain Dale’s column: No matter what detail the Government gives on Brexit, the Remainers will never be satisfied


EU 2) Corbyn faces resignations over Article 50

Labour holes“A Labour MP quit Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench today after he ordered all his MPs to back the Government’s legislation to start Brexit. Tulip Siddiq, the shadow minister for early years, said she ‘cannot reconcile myself to the frontbench position’ in supporting the Article 50 bill, which will notify Brussels of our intention to leave the EU. The Labour leader is braced for further resignations after confirming he will impose a three-line whip on his MPs to support the bill, which was finally tabled by the Government today. But the Labour leader insisted he ‘fully understands’ why some Labour MPs representing constituencies who voted Remain would want to vote against the legislation.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour’s candidate in Stoke by-election insults Brexit decision… – Daily Mail
  • …and calls Corbyn an ‘IRA-supporting friend of Hamas’ – Daily Telegraph


  • Corbyn is leading Labour to the grave – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

May ‘preparing to abandon Bill of Rights’

“Theresa May is preparing to abandon plans for a British Bill of Rights after Britain leaves the European Union, Government sources have suggested. Ministers have confirmed that the Government’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act have been shelved until after Brexit. However sources told The Daily Telegraph that the plans may now be abandoned entirely because Brexit will significantly strengthen the sovereignty of British courts. They also highlighted the Brexit judgement by the Supreme Courtearlier this week which made clear that Britain will no longer be subject to European Court of Justice rulings after Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

Britain enjoying fastest growth in the G7

Building shield“Britain grew at the fastest pace of all G7 leading nations last year and the economy did not skip a beat after the Brexit vote, official figures have confirmed. The gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.6 per cent in the final three months of 2016, the same rate of growth as in the previous two quarters, in stark contrast to the Treasury’s warning before the referendum that the country would slip into recession if it voted to leave the EU. Over the year as a whole, Britain grew by 2 per cent, down from 2.2 per cent in 2015 but better than estimates for growth in the rest of the G7, including the US. Britain has now topped the world’s leading economies for two of the past three years.” – The Times (£)

  • How the gloomy Treasury got its Brexit sums wrong – Daily Mail
  • Abandoning free trade would be a disaster, warns regulator – The Times (£)


  • May can’t magic up a brand new economy – Ed Conway, The Times (£)

Watchdog criticised over Osborne’s new role

“A Whitehall watchdog was accused of an extraordinary cover-up last night over the lucrative investment job given to George Osborne’s former top aide. Rupert Harrison, nicknamed ‘the real Chancellor’ when he was Mr Osborne’s chief-of-staff, got a six-figure salary to work for asset management firm BlackRock two years ago. But now it has emerged that the official appointments committee, Acoba, was reprimanded for approving the job without disclosing meetings he held with the firm while he worked for the ex-chancellor.” – Daily Mail

  • Highly-paid job suggests the former Chancellor is in it for himself – Jane Merrick, Times Red Box

Tam Dalyell, ‘dissenter’ against devolution, dies

LABOUR dead rose“Former Labour MP Tam Dalyell – one of parliament’s most eloquent and astute dissenters – has died after a short illness aged 84. He was famed for warning the Labour government against devolving power to Scotland, saying it would become a ‘motorway to Scottish independence with no exit routes’. His appetite for pointing out the constitutional anomaly which allowed MPs from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to vote on English-only legislation was named the ‘West Lothian Question’, after his then constituency – by his friend Enoch Powell.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • NHS trusts introduce new pain threshold to ration operations – Daily Mail
  • ‘Staff crisis’ grows as foreign nurses leave NHS – The Times (£)
  • Government’s secret £300,000 overseas teacher recruitment revealed – Daily Telegraph
  • Prisons in crisis as suicides hit record levels – FT
  • Baroness Scotland ‘humiliated’ as Whitehall fixers enter Commonwealth HQ – The Sun
  • Denmark snubs Brussels and keeps border control – Daily Express
  • Fillon vows to prove wife earned money paid in ‘fake jobs’ claim – Daily Mail
  • Super-rich paying £1 billion less tax after ‘special treatment’ by HMRC – The Times (£)