Lawyers and bosses demand right to block ‘unpatriotic’ Brexit

Lords“Dozens of senior business figures, academics and lawyers are demanding that ministers give parliament the power to block an “unpatriotic Brexit” that would go against the national interest. In a letter to The Times the signatories, including a major donor to the Conservative Party and a former senior UN official, call on the House of Lords to amend the Article 50 legislation to give parliament a say in what happens if negotiations with Europe collapse. It comes as peers begin nearly three weeks of debates on the bill, which is expected to end in several defeats for the government. However, figures in the Lords say that if their amendments are rejected by the Commons they would not try to reinsert them, thus avoiding a constitutional stand-off with the elected chamber.” – The Times (£)

More Brexit:

  • Ministers divert aid from Africa to Eastern Europe to get better deal – The Independent
  • Divide and rule tactics could lead to no deal, EU warns – The Guardian

Matthew d’Ancona: Blair has a far bigger mission than saving us from Brexit

“Undoubtedly he regards Brexit as the clear and present danger, and a prospect that mandates his return to the political scene. But it would be a mistake to imagine that our departure from the EU is all that is animating Blair. Those who imagine that his ideas have not evolved since 1997 are allowing their loathing to cloud their observation. Ostensibly a call to arms over Brexit, his speech last Friday was also about much else. It expressed despair at “the absence of an opposition which looks capable on the polls of beating the government”. It conceded that globalisation has spawned a series of pathologies: “communities left behind”, a rancorous debate over immigration, the crashing wave of “technological revolutions”.” – The Guardian

  • Arrogant, unelected peers are no help to we democratic Remainers – Jane Merrick, Times Red Box
  • The British people knew what they were doing, Mr Blair – Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph
  • Backroom deals are no way to secure our place in the world – Lord Newby, Times Red Box
  • The right reforms will slow migration but be fair to migrants – Liam Byrne, Times Red Box


  • Anything to declare, Lord Mandelson? – Daily Mail



Ministers 1) Javid suggests business rate revolt is based on ‘myths’

tax“Sajid Javid risked enraging small firms last night after he wrote an extraordinary letter insisting the row over business rates was based on myths. In a five-page missive to MPs, the Communities Secretary said anger over the shake-up was unfounded and that firms had ‘nothing to worry about’. Fearing a revolt from Tory backbenchers and peers over the controversial revaluation, he told them the row had been the result of campaigners spreading ‘half-truths’. In sending the letter, the minister will face accusations that the Government is in the grip of panic.” – Daily Mail

  • Lies fuelling row over rates, ministers insist – The Times (£)
  • Treasury to push on with changes – FT
  • Chancellor considers softening blow – The Sun
  • May faces Government split on business tax – Daily Telegraph
  • Supermarket chains get £200 million cut – Daily Mail

More economy:

  • UK borrowing and growth better than expected, says report – The Guardian

Ministers 2) Fallon warns of refugee wave if UK pulls out of Afghanistan

“As many as four million men from Afghanistan could travel to Britain and other European nations along migrant routes if the West abandons the war-ravaged country, the Defence Secretary has warned. Sir Michael Fallon admitted the UK and Nato cannot pull troops out of Afghanistan because the terrorist groups that existed there when soldiers deployed in 2001 remain and ‘still pose a threat’. As the Ministry of Defence considers sending more troops to the country, Sir Michael warned that if Afghanistan collapses, Europe ‘will feel the consequences, very directly’.” – Daily Mail


  • We must defend states in Putin’s firing line – Edward Lucas, The Times (£)


Ministers 3) Hunt urged to act on transplant ban

NHS_Logo“Jeremy Hunt has been urged to intervene on behalf of cancer patients “abandoned” by the NHS in a row over a potentially life-saving treatment it will not fund. The blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan wants the health secretary to take action over a decision barring the health service from funding a second stem cell transplant for patients who relapse after an initial transfusion. NHS England said last year that the second treatment was too expensive with a low clinical benefit, meaning it compared poorly with other drugs and treatments.” – The Times (£)

  • NHS cuts 15,000 beds in six years, report reveals – Daily Mail
  • Year-round pressure keeps NHS in ‘permanent winter’ – FT
  • Patients left stranded as hospitals are at ‘breaking point’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: “What do Cabinet Ministers do all day?”

Ministers 4) Truss defends press freedom over Article 50 coverage

“Justice Secretary Liz Truss insisted the freedom of the Press was a vital tenet of democracy yesterday as she was urged to condemn coverage of the Brexit court case. Liz Truss said she would “never say to the media what they should be printing” after law chief Lord Neuberger complained reporting of the case risked undermining the rule of law. Defending her position, Ms Truss told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I will never say to the media what they should be printing on their headlines. “I think it would be totally wrong for a Government minister to go around saying ‘this is acceptable, this isn’t acceptable’.”” – The Sun

  • Judges have been using the law as a political tool since Roe v Wade – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Truss claims she has ‘consistently stood up for the judiciary’

Osborne’s living wage will absorb social care spending, warn councils

MANIFESTO money“Inflation-busting council tax rises to pay for social care will be eaten up by the cost of George Osborne’s national living wage, town halls warn today. The ex-Chancellor’s policy, which will see the minimum wage rise to £9 an hour by 2020, will have a huge burden on firms and councils that employ care workers, as they often paid very little. Local authorities are being allowed to levy an additional 3 per cent on council tax bills this year – over and above the standard 2 per cent increase – to help fund social care.” – Daily Mail

Corbyn will stay even if Labour lose upcoming by-elections, insists Abbott

“Jeremy Corbyn must stay as Labour leader even if the party loses two previously safe seats in crunch by-elections this week, Diane Abbott has insisted. Labour’s position looks perilous in both Stoke and Copeland with just three full days of campaigning to go before polls open on Thursday morning. Both seats should be safe holds for the opposition, which has never lost the Cumbrian constituency of Copeland. But even in the event of two calamitous defeats, Ms Abbott insisted the party should ‘go forward’ with Mr Corbyn.” – Daily Mail

  • In nuclear Copeland, it’s the Labour leader that’s radioactive – The Independent

More Labour:

  • Khan wars diesel cars could be banned from London – The Sun


  • Without a real shift left, UKIP will have no place in Brexit Britain – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Abbott talks about the case for a parliamentary inquiry into racist and sexist abuse

Pence faces Europeans angered by Trump’s rhetoric

US flag“The US vice-president will hold talks in Brussels today with European officials who are furious about Donald Trump’s “unfriendly” and “repeated attacks” on the EU. After reassuring European allies about Washington’s commitment to Nato, Mike Pence will face questions from Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, on comments by Mr Trump expressing hostility to the EU. During a speech in Munich at the weekend, Mr Pence pledged to “keep faith” with Nato and promised that America “now and will always be your greatest ally”.” – The Times (£)

  • Ministers expected to say state visit is in the national interest – Daily Telegraph
  • US still values the special relationship – The Times (£)


  • The President shows no sign of curbing his disruptive streak – Ian Birrell, The i
  • Can Democrats find the man to take on Trump? – Justin Webb, The Times (£)

News in Brief:

  • Oxford to open overseas campus to maintain EU funding – Daily Telegraph
  • New laws will permit first British spaceports – Daily Mail
  • Kraft Heinz drops $143 billion pursuit of Unilever – FT
  • Merkel deports record 80,000 asylum seekers – Daily Express