Downing Street rejects calls to cancel Trump’s visit

US flag“Number Ten has rejected calls to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK despite a petition against it gaining almost a million signatures. A spokesman for Downing Street said it would “undo everything” following Theresa May’s talks with the US President last week. It comes after the row over his Muslim travel ban has escalated, with protests planned across the UK for today amid growing calls to ban Mr Trump from Britain. A petition saying it would “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen” if he were to be welcomed here has raced to almost a million signatures in 24 hours, and could now be debated by MPs in Parliament.” – The Sun

  • More than 900,000 sign petition to ban President’s state visit – Daily Mail

Johnson negotiates with Trump to ease ‘Muslim ban’

“Britons were exempted from Donald Trump’s travel ban last night following talks brokered by Theresa May and Boris Johnson. The White House agreed to ease the blanket exclusion of dual nationals from seven mainly Muslim countries on its blacklist. The diplomatic breakthrough followed a chaotic day in which Olympic star Mo Farah and Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi warned they could be among those prevented from seeing their families in America. Sir Mo, who was born in Somalia, a country on the list, said the ban made him feel like an alien. He later spoke of his relief at the climbdown.” – Daily Mail

  • Tory MP says he feels discriminated against – The Sun

More US:

  • Defiant Trump refuses to back down – Daily Mail
  • Administration gives ground on green card migrants – FT
  • Mexicans unite against the President’s plan for sanctions – Daily Telegraph
  • US risks losing race for 2024 Olympics – The Sun


  • America gives the Prime Minister a sarcastic thumbs up – Phil Snape, The Times (£)

Charles Moore: I’ve found the foaming attacks on Trump more ridiculous than anything he’s done

TRUMP victory speech“At present, I find the foaming against Mr Trump more ridiculous than what he is doing or even (most of) what he is saying. But one must admit that things could quite easily go the other way. Surely it is best to put one’s faith in the American system. Unlike the Kaiser, President Trump cannot be a tyrant. His position is immensely important, but it is hedged around by a constitution, a legislature, a federal system and the rule of law. The most important of those orders last week, for example, have to get past Congress. If the system works as it should – and usually has – Mr Trump should be able to effect huge changes in America’s role in the world, but not to tear the republic up and start again.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Hysterical response to Trump is more about feeling smug than changing anything – Clare Foges, The Times (£)
  • The President is trading on prejudice, if May is a true friend she’ll tell him – Sarah Wollaston, The Guardian
  • When men who risked their lives for the US are denied entry, the American dream is dead – Rob Crilly, Daily Telegraph
  • Hard-bargain Brexit rhetoric drives the UK into the arms of the US – Wolfgang Münchau, FT
  • May’s ‘global Britain’ can show the President a better way – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph
  • How the Prime Minister should have reacted – Robert Fisk, The Independent
  • We can’t cosy up to a nation that scorns our values – Zoe Williams, The Guardian


  • Trump, May, and the power of friendship – Daily Mail
  • The President is wrong to impose this ban – The Times (£)
  • Trump’s answer is questionable, but there is a problem to solve – Daily Telegraph



Brexit 1) May says devolved governments will not have ‘decisive role’ in negotiations

“Theresa May has made it clear the devolved administrations will not be given a decisive role in the UK’s divorce from the European Union ahead of talks with leaders from across the UK. The Prime Minister said she hoped the meeting would be constructive but warned they “will not agree on everything”. And she highlighted how the Supreme Court ruling on triggering Article 50 had set out “beyond doubt” that relations with Brussels would be determined by the UK government. Mrs May said: “We will not agree on everything, but that doesn’t mean we will shy away from the necessary conversations and I hope we will have further constructive discussions today.”” – The Independent

  • Prime Minister meets first ministers in Cardiff – Wales Online
  • May to hold talks with Irish counterpart over border concerns – The Guardian
  • SNP chiefs poised to abandon support for full EU membership – The Times (£)
  • Premier ‘shuts down Sturgeon’s Brexit moan’ to focus on deal ‘for UK as a whole’ – The Sun
  • ‘Deluded’ Salmond claims Scotland can be in the UK and the EU – Daily Express
  • Majority of Scots oppose second referendum – The Scotsman

More EU:

  • Goldman press May to protect City – FT
  • UK and EU heading for ‘economic cold war’, warns Italian minister – The Guardian


  • Another show of disunity looms as EU elite fight to save the bloc – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph


  • Ministers don’t need more powers than they’ve got – Raphael Hogarth, The Times (£)
  • Brexit has let the banks get off Britain’s naughty step – Larry Elliott, The Guardian
  • It’s time for a written constitution – Alexandra Runswick, Times Red Box

>Today: ToryDiary: How far should we go to preserve the Union? Take our monthly survey.

Jonathan Ford: Copying EU laws post-Brexit sells British interests short

Red Tape Britain“It is certainly a vision that offers exporting companies and their investors a degree of certainty. But it is also one that sells Britain’s wider interests worryingly short. Regulation is, after all, a dynamic process. Promising to swallow whatever you are sent in future is not some modest concession. It exposes Britain not only to a stream of future directives about product standards, but also to a host of legislation promoting fuzzier social and environmental goals, as well as harmonising edicts whose principal purpose is to sweep more activities into Brussels’ bureaucratic embrace. Worse, these affect not only the 13 per cent of Britain’s economy that comes from trade with Europe. They are loaded on to every business, voluntary organisation and government body – with consequent costs for all.” – FT

  • Brexit will boost our green and pleasant land – Matt Ridley, The Times (£)

>Today: Nicky Morgan MP’s column: Tolerance. Fairness. Looking outwards. The values I prize as I prepare to vote for Article 50.

Brexit 2) Labour’s turmoil over Article 50 continues

“Shadow ministers who vote against Brexit could be welcomed back into Labour’s top team ‘within months’ despite Jeremy Corbyn’s three-line whip, it emerged last night. Mr Corbyn has attempted to lay down the law on the crunch Commons vote on triggering Article 50, the formal process for leaving the EU. His three-line whip means that shadow ministers who cannot accept last year’s referendum result will be forced to quit their posts or be sacked… The Labour leader said yesterday that it would be ‘impossible’ for rebels to remain in the Shadow Cabinet after defying the will of the people. But his deputy, Tom Watson, revealed that any sanctions will be only temporary – with rebels set to be welcomed back to Labour’s top table ‘within months’.” – Daily Mail

  • Support Brexit, Corbyn warns rebels – The Times (£)
  • Leader vows to back Brexit bill despite mounting criticism – FT
  • Corbyn would ‘welcome back’ seven who quit – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Ross Archer in Local Government: Labour’s own goal at Millwall

>Yesterday: Robert Jenrick in Comment: Stoke-on-Trent Central can turn blue with your help. We haven’t written this by-election off.

Shapps says foreign aid is ‘out of control’

aidgraphic“Foreign aid spending is ‘out of control’ and the department responsible for it should be scrapped, a former minister who helped run it declared today. Grant Shapps, who left the Department for International Development (Dfid) only 14 months ago, slammed its ‘profoundly worrying’ tendency to ‘shovel cash out of the door’. The senior Tory said it should be merged back with Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office in order to ensure aid money goes to the world’s poorest. In an unprecedented attack, he said Dfid saw its remit as being to ‘spend the cash, regardless of Britain’s other national objectives’.” – Daily Mail

Ghani calls for ban on term ‘honour killings’

“The term “honour killing” should be banned because “political correctness” is putting police off investigating domestic violence, a Conservative MP has said. Nusrat Ghani warned that police officers can be wary of intervening fully in so-called honour cases for fear of offending the community. The MP for Wealden is proposing a Bill which will ban the term “honour killing” in official publications and strengthen the support given to women who are subjected to domestic violence and killed while abroad. It comes after a whistleblower told the Telegraph that the Crown Prosecution Service is failing to prosecute honour crimes for fear of causing “unrest” in Asian communities.” – Daily Telegraph

MPs launch probe into ‘fake news’

Computer“An inquiry into ‘fake news’ will be launched today by a group of cross-party MPs amid fears the phenomenon is undermining democracy. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is to examine rising concerns that the public is distrusting traditional sources of news and instead turning to the internet and social media. This new trend comes despite the fact the source of the stories is often unclear and it is not known whether the reports are factually accurate, a statement by the committee said.” – Daily Mail

  • Brussels warns social media to take action or face intervention – FT


  • Facebook and Google must stop the spread of fake news – Damian Collins, The Times (£)

Ministers confirm health budget cut

“The Government will cut the National Health Service’s budget per person in real terms next year, ministers have admitted in official figures for the first time. Numbers released by ministers show NHS England will face a sharp reduction of 0.6 per cent in real terms of per head in the financial year 2018-19. The numbers corroborate claims by NHS chief Simon Stevens earlier this month that “in 2018-19, real-terms NHS spending per person in England is going to go down”.” – The Independent

  • Number of patients forced onto mixed-sex wards soars 70 per cent in one year – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Public Appointments: Calling Conservatives: New public appointments announced. NHS, UKRI – and more

News in Brief:

  • Ministry of Defence tells troops told to ‘take comfort’ in prosecution of lawyer who drummed up false claims… – Daily Mail
  • …and faces pressure from watchdog over single-source procurement – FT
  • Five dead in Canadian mosque shooting – The Times (£)
  • Assange breaks pledge to leave Ecuadorian embassy – The Independent
  • More than 25,000 drivers join legal action against Volkswagen over ‘dieselgate’ – Daily Mail
  • Hard-left candidate wins French Socialist primary – FT
  • Greens ‘hopeful’ of budget deal with SNP – The Scotsman
  • Sinn Fein can do business with the DUP after the election, new leader says – Belfast Telegraph