Brexit: May puts the Union at the heart of British exit strategy

Britain shield“A Whitehall shake-up is underway to make sure that saving the Union from Scottish independence is at the heart of Brexit negotiations. The country’s most senior civil servant tasked with defending the UK will move into the Brexit Department, it can be revealed. Philip Rycroft, who heads up the “UK Governance Group”, will scrutinise every Brexit decision to make sure it does not undermine the Union. He is also understood to be looking at which powers coming back from the EU should be handed on to the Scottish Parliament. Meanwhile ministers are planning to spend more time in Scotland for meetings with business, academic and UK Government figures. And Government figures are reading up on how the SNP was defeated in the 2014 independence referendum in anticipation of another vote.” – Sunday Telegraph

More Brexit:


  • We must remain dependable to continue to lead in Europe – Nadhim Zahawi MP, Mail on Sunday
  • Brexit’s a bigger test than terror for May – Adam Boulton, The Times (£)
  • The EU will make sure the British people aren’t punished – Guy Verhofstadt, Independent on Sunday
  • Leadsom and the ultras want a kamikaze Brexit – Dan Hodges, Mail on Sunday

…as she faces row over EU benefits

“Ministers face an explosive row over migrant benefits amid claims that they are poised to violate another manifesto pledge as Theresa May fires the starting gun on Brexit this week. EU migrants who have come to Britain will continue to be paid child benefit after Brexit to send to their families back home, under plans sent to ministers last week. A paper submitted by the Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) to the cabinet’s Brexit committee recommended that the 3m EU migrants in the UK when the prime minister takes the historic step of triggering article 50 should keep their rights to state handouts even after Britain leaves the EU. Those who arrive after Wednesday will not get the benefits.” – The Times (£)

  • Cabinet warned return of British pensioners could worsen social care crisis – Sunday Telegraph

More Brexit:

  • Remain MPs blast back over ‘bullying’ BBC bias claim – Mail on Sunday
  • Labour to set out tough new conditions for backing Brexit – The Observer
  • UK has contributed half a trillion pounds to the EU – Sun on Sunday
  • Brussels try to bill Britain for EU battlegroups – Sunday Express


>Yesterday: David Rutley MP in Comment: Life sciences are vital to Britain’s global future

Rudd says social media companies ‘must do more’

Computer“Amber Rudd has named social ­media companies as she demands more action to tackle online terror and help in fighting radicalisation. The Home Secretary picks out the little-known websites Telegram, ­Wordpress and as she ­widens the Government’s criticism of internet firms. In an exclusive Telegraph ­article she reveals Google, Twitter and Facebook bosses have been summoned to a meeting to discuss ­action over extremism. She also hints that new proposals to make internet giants take down hate videos quicker will be included in a counter-terrorism strategy due within weeks.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Johnson savages ‘disgusting’ Google over refusal to take down jihadist sites – The Times (£)
  • Ellwood breaks silence on bid to save policeman – Sun on Sunday
  • Warsi accuses Gove of supporting ‘crazy’ anti-Muslim policies – Independent on Sunday

More terror:


Michael Gove: How we can stem the flow of Islamist fanatics

“We need to tackle the drivers of segregation and division. Instead of taking the pronouncements of self-appointed “community leaders” at face value we should instead pay more attention to genuinely elected representatives like Khalid Mahmood MP. We should also challenge practices that some say are rooted in faith but are really more about men enforcing control, such as FGM and so-called “honour-based” violence. And, of course, we need to be more assertive in our determination to uphold British values in our schools, not least in the way we teach our history and citizenship, and counter challenges to legitimate authority in our prisons made in the name of Islam. This is a challenge which will take a generation to meet. But unless we do, we will condemn future generations to a world where anger and division allow new fevers and fanaticisms to lead to more massacres of innocents.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • We cannot discount the role of religion in these atrocities – Michael Nazir-Ali, Sunday Telegraph
  • How men like Masood trick us by pretending to be nice – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)
  • Parliament can’t be defeated by terror, but it could be changed – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer


>Today: Bob Blackman MP in Comment: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards should be designated a terrorist organisation

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Wednesday reminded people that Westminster is worth defending

Truss hits back at judges

Truss“A senior judge signed off plans to let alleged rape victims face cross-examination away from the courtroom despite claims last week by the lord chief justice that ministers had misled the public about them. Elizabeth Truss, the justice secretary, has hit back in an extraordinary row with Britain’s top judge, insisting there would be a national roll-out for the scheme, under which alleged victims would be interviewed on video before a trial. Truss told The Sunday Times last weekend that video cross-examination would be introduced in adult rape trials after a pilot scheme involving child victims of sexual assault.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Both sides are wrong to treat women as helpless – Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times (£)

New tax return system will ‘harm economy’

“lans to force millions of self-employed people to file multiple tax returns each year become reality from next week in the face of blanket opposition from taxpayers, business groups and senior political figures across all parties. Worst-hit will be the self-employed with turnovers of more than £85,000, who from April 2018 will have to file at least five returns per tax year. That will be in addition to regular VAT returns. Accountants predict that under the new regime – called “making tax digital” – those affected will face a tax deadline of one sort or other in most months of the year. The scheme begins this April with a pilot “ramping up to include hundreds of thousands of businesses”, according to the Treasury.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Yesterday: Alan Ward in Comment: Private landlords need a better deal from Universal Credit

Carswell quits UKIP

UKIP glass“UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell has quit the party to become an independent amid claims he ‘jumped before he was pushed’. Announcing his departure on his website, Clacton MP Mr Carswell said UKIP has ‘achieved what it was established to do’ and described the party as the ‘most successful in Britain ever’. He added that he is leaving ‘amicably’ and that ‘Brexit is in good hands’. However, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage told Sky News that Mr Carswell ‘should have gone some time ago’.” – Mail on Sunday


  • If Carswell no longer sees the point of UKIP, who else will? – Asa Bennett, Sunday Telegraph
  • This confirms the end of UKIP and no, it didn’t ‘win’ – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • Cranky Douglas can stop holding UKIP back now – Bill Etheridge MEP, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Carswell scorned the old politics. Now it takes its revenge.

Unite contender vows to cut off cash to Corbyn

“Backing Jeremy Corbyn — or another hard-left leader of Labour — will condemn the party to “electoral disaster”, the man challenging Len McCluskey for command of Britain’s biggest union has declared. In an article for The Sunday Times today, Gerard Coyne accuses McCluskey and his acolytes of pursuing a “pointless cause” by helping bankroll Corbyn. Coyne, the union’s regional secretary in the West Midlands, criticises McCluskey for pouring £225,000 of “Unite members’ hard-earned money into Jeremy Corbyn’s two leadership campaigns”. And he signals that he would cut off the funding taps to Corbyn or any hard-left successor if he won election as Unite’s general secretary.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • Would-be union boss warns that Labour faces a ‘Militant tendency’-type coup – Sunday Express
  • Momentum welcomes members expelled from Labour – The Observer
  • We ask historians: is this the end of Labour? – Independent on Sunday

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