Ministers 1) Clark in urgent Paris talks over Vauxhall jobs

Building shield“Business secretary Greg Clark rushed to Paris last night in a desperate bid to save 3,500 British jobs threatened by a proposed takeover of Vauxhall. The French car giant that owns Peugeot and Citroen is in talks to buy Vauxhall – taking control of its two factories in Bedfordshire and Cheshire. But it is feared the move will result in thousands of job losses and even the closure of the Vauxhall plants at Ellesmere Port – which is known as the ‘Home of the Astra’ – and Luton. The row over the future of Vauxhall comes just weeks after Theresa May launched her industrial strategy for post-Brexit Britain.” – Daily Mail

  • Talks yield thin job assurances – FT

More business:

  • Plastics firms pressured ministers into cutting recycling targets – Daily Mail
  • Mystery of who paid £80,000 for Osborne’s speech – The Times (£)


  • General Motors’ decision to quit Europe can’t be blamed on Brexit – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Addressing executive pay would restore trust in business – Paul Drechsler, Times Red Box

Ministers 2) Javid criticised for ‘vanishing’ during business rates row

“Sajid Javid – the minister in charge of business rates – came under fire last night for staying on holiday amid uproar over the planned rises. Government insiders said the Communities Secretary is abroad despite the continued furore over the levy. It comes a year after he was forced to fly back from a trip to Australia while the future of the Port Talbot steel works hung in the balance. Last night there was anger in Whitehall that the ‘Where’s Wally’ search for Mr Javid was happening again.” – Daily Mail


  • Will Javid fight to save small shops? – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: The real challenge isn’t sorting business rates. It’s ending that stubborn structural deficit.

Neuberger accuses politicians of being too slow to defend judges

Supreme Court“The UK’s top judge has criticised politicians for undermining the rule of law by failing to defend the judiciary from attacks. Lord Neuberger’s comments come after judges – including the lord chief justice – came under fire when they ruled that parliament’s approval was needed to trigger Brexit. Politicians, Lord Neuberger said, did not speak out quickly or clearly enough and some media attacks were unfair. Such attacks undermined the rule of law, which it was the task of judges to maintain, he said. Judges were the “ultimate guardians” of it.” – The Times (£)

  • Top Supreme Court judges hit out at Truss – The Sun
  • Judge branded ‘over-sensitive’ – Daily Express
  • Supreme Court seeks judges who will ‘improve its diversity’ – The Guardian

Michael Gove: Our increasingly assertive judiciary brought this on itself

“The trend towards the exercise of greater judicial power is an alteration in our constitution. It is, like all the best constitutional change, evolutionary, but it is no less profound for that. And if our constitutional arrangements have changed, with judges playing a more assertive role, then that will invite a reaction. On one level the public could become more appreciative of the judiciary’s role in safeguarding essential liberties. But that may not always be the case.” – The Times (£)

  • Neuberger is right, we must take on the mob – Hugh Muir, The Guardian

May to relaunch Troubled Families Programme

Family shield“Theresa May is to relaunch a £1.3 billion programme designed to help Britain’s most troubled families, despite warnings it has had no measurable impact. The government faced huge embarrassment last year after an official analysis of the Troubled Families Programme, launched after the riots in 2011, flatly contradicted David Cameron’s claim that it had “turned around” the lives of more than 100,000 families. Mrs May had been expected to wind down the programme after abolishing a Cabinet task force looking at the project when she came to power.” – The Times (£)

EU 1) May says Britain won’t ‘cherry pick’ during deal

“Britain will not try to “cherry pick” which parts of the European Union it maintains access to after Brexit, Theresa May has said. The Prime Minister defended her decision to withdraw the UK from the single market and try to negotiate a trade deal with the EU, saying this did not amount to trying to unfairly keep hold of the best aspects of membership. Her comments came as she prepares to host Bernard Cazeneuve, the French Prime Minister, for talks at Downing Street on Friday.” – The Independent

  • Prime Minister hails France as French leaders call for UK to be ‘punished’ for Brexit – Daily Telegraph

More Brexit:

  • Davis is right to be confident of Article 50 timetable – FT
  • Scotland ‘overlooked’ in division of powers – The Scotsman

>Today: James Cartlidge MP in Comment: Beware an unexpected consequence of Brexit – opening our doors to a new mass of unskilled migrants

EU 2) Blair urges Remainers to keep fighting to block Brexit

SWIVEL-EYED EUROPHILES“Tony Blair will today deliver a call to arms for pro-Europeans, urging them to band together and block Brexit. In a major return to frontline politics, the former prime minister will urge those who support Britain’s continued EU membership to unite and fight against departure. He will insist that despite last year’s referendum result, the people have the right to change their mind on leaving once they realise the consequences. Speaking to the pro-EU Open Britain think tank, Mr Blair will hint the decision to leave could be overturned following a second referendum or a snap election.” – Daily Mail

More EU:

  • Brussels ‘will block’ British GM food post-Brexit – The Times (£)
  • Food price fall could save families £305 per year – The Sun
  • Irish Government prepares possible checkpoint locations – The Independent


  • In a democracy, no decision should be irreversible – Dick Taverne, Times Red Box
  • A stronger centre-left can resist the Brexit bullies – Pat McFadden, Times Red Box

>Today: Graeme Archer’s column: Labour’s plight – and why it is the Blairites for whom I feel the least pity

Corbyn now less popular than Foot

“Jeremy Corbyn is now more unpopular than former Labour leader Michael Foot was at the same stage of his leadership, polling has found. According to a survey by Ipsos Mori, Mr Corbyn now has a net rating of minus 38, lower than that of Mr Foot after he had been Labour leader for 17 months. In a further blow to Mr Corbyn it has emerged that Labour is facing an investigation to the Information Commissioner about breaches of data laws.” – Daily Telegraph

Nuttall pulls out of Stoke hustings as campaign is rocked by Hillsborough claims

UKIP glass“Paul Nuttall has pulled out of a by-election hustings today after facing calls to resign as an MEP over inaccurate claims that he lost close friends in the Hillsborough disaster. Organisers of the campaign event ahead of next week’s Stoke Central by-election say they were only told the Ukip leader would not be attending about an hour before it was scheduled to begin. Mr Nuttall’s principal political adviser and fellow MEP, Patrick O’Flynn, stepped in to speak on his behalf at the event organised by Stoke-on-Trent’s City Centre Partnership business group.” – The Sun


  • Labour’s heartlands aren’t racist, they need listening to – Lynsey Hanley, The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: In Copeland, the campaign is exposing problems with the Tory ground operation

Trump to Russia: prove we can be friends

“The United States told Russia yesterday “to prove itself” if it wanted friendship, as President Trump’s top officials set out conditions for a rapprochement between the countries for the first time. European nations have been nervous of Mr Trump’s admiration for President Putin and his apparent willingness to cut a deal. However, Mr Trump’s defence and state secretaries, making their debuts in Europe, showed there would be no carte blanche for Moscow.” – The Times (£)

  • Davidson says UK is ‘reassessing’ America’s ‘reliability’ – The Scotsman


  • Political shocks show that democracy is working, not the opposite – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph


>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: An armed forces visit. A trip to a new expanded port. How to make the best of Trump’s visit

News in Brief:

  • Commissioner warns Metropolitan Police may have to ration services – Daily Mail
  • Spending on cigarettes and alcohol falls to 15-year low – The Times (£)
  • Zuckerberg sparks speculation about political ambitions with manifesto – Daily Telegraph
  • Samsung leader arrested for bribery and embezzlement – FT
  • Shetland isles mull independence from Scotland to stay in the UK – Daily Express
  • British general issues warning over ISIS’ use of commercial drones – Daily Mail
  • Southern drivers reject latest deal – The Times (£)
  • Caerphilly councillors warned to distance themselves from leaders’ pay scandal – Wales Online
  • Poll says Northern Ireland’s voting habits are still driven by tribalism – Belfast Telegraph
  • Sinn Fein leader honours IRA dead – News Letter