May ‘shuts down’ Sturgeon on second independence referendum

Scottish flag‘It was her big chance to tackle the Prime Minister over Scottish independence, but Nicola Sturgeon was only “briefly” allowed to mention a second referendum before she was shut down by Theresa May, it has been claimed. The Prime Minister is understood to have dictated terms during their meeting at a Glasgow hotel, running down the clock by talking about Article 50 and a policing exercise before Ms Sturgeon tried to grab her chance at the end of their talk. But sources made it clear that there was no “substantive” discussion of a referendum because Mrs May had already reiterated her position that “now is not the time”.’ – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: May’s Scotland gambit – to place EU departure at the heart of her Unionist appeal


A majority of Osborne’s constituents want him to choose between Parliament and the Standard

‘Most of George Osborne’s constituents believe he must quit as an MP if he goes ahead with his new job as a newspaper editor, according to polling. More than half, 57%, said the Evening Standard role would harm his ability to represent Tatton voters and four in ten Tories said they would now be less likely to vote for him in the future, Survation found. Around six in ten constituents agreed the former Chancellor has a “moral obligation” to only have one job and 66% said he should choose between being sitting in Parliament and running the capital’s main newspaper.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • Uber urged young voters to register for the referendum at Downing Street’s request – Daily Mail
  • Korski’s key role – Daily Mail
  • Feldman hired by Messina – Daily Mail
  • MPs should investigate Uber allegations – Daily Mail Leader

Hague: Some in the EU still think we won’t really leave

William Hague 14-01-16‘The persistent doubts on the continent about Britain’s determination to implement Brexit demonstrate a serious danger in the talks about to begin when Article 50 is invoked: that each side will underestimate the determination of the other. In the EU, the small government majority in the Commons, the difficult numbers in the Lords, the fall in the pound and the sight of Nicola Sturgeon in full rebellion can all be read as indicators of weaknesses in Britain’s ability to stand firm. And that in turn can lead to a harder stance than is wise, such as Jean-Claude Juncker’s ludicrous assertion that the request for the U.K. to pay €60 billion is a “take it or leave it” demand.’ – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Iain Duncan Smith’s column: My personal journey to Brexit

Immigration will go up and down after Brexit, says Davis

‘Immigration levels may still need to go up “from time to time” after we quit the EU to help industries and public services dependent on migrant labour, according to David Davis. The Brexit Secretary also refused to commit to a cap on citizens from the continent coming here after we quit Brussels. His words are a strong indication the historic vote to leave the 28-member bloc may not result in a dramatic fall in net migration. Mr Davis said he believed the Tory target of reducing it to the tens of thousands would be reached as part of a “sustainable” policy.’ – The Sun

Fallon accuses tech giants of failing to aid security

TECHNOLOGY‘Sir Michael Fallon accused internet giants of acting like the ‘enemy within’ yesterday as he threatened new laws to force them to hand over jihadists’ messages. The Defence Secretary said a modern democracy could not tolerate ‘fifth column activity’ by encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp. He added that they were giving terrorists the space to operate in secret ‘WhatsApp clusters’ on their smartphones.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: What social media should do, can’t do – and shouldn’t be asked to do in the fight against ISIS

Select Committee: stockpile aid for when it’s really needed

‘Britain should stockpile its aid budget to use when needed rather than trying to meet spending targets, MPs have said. Under its controversial aid target, the Government must spend 0.7 per cent of national income – more than £12.2 billion a year – on aid. But the Commons’ international development committee said funds should be able to be carried forward, rather than spending them in a last-minute splurge each year…They said: ‘We think that Dfid should explore the idea of creating a mechanism for carrying funds forward which could then support its work when the need arose.’ The MPs also warned they were ‘concerned about the lack of strategic direction and management’ within the department, as they said its work was not necessarily done ‘in a consistent and coherent manner’.’ – Daily Mail

  • The report criticises cuts based on negative coverage – The Guardian

Plan to open chief constable jobs to outsiders

Police‘Business leaders, army veterans and senior civil servants could become chief constables under government plans to let outsiders run police forces, The Times has learnt. In a fundamental change to policing, the Home Office has drawn up proposals for a new law enabling civilians to compete with senior police for each of the 43 chief constable jobs in England and Wales. The plans will cause anger in the police service, where the idea of rising through the ranks is deeply ingrained. Sources said that the move was designed to boost the talent and experience of chief constables, who often take over forces with no knowledge of how to run a large organisation. It should also attract more professionals to the police service.’ – The Times (£)

  • Top cops can be made in the boardroom, not just on the beat – The Times Leader (£)

The deadline for a Stormont deal passes

‘The UK government will later outline details of how it intends to foster an agreement to save powersharing at Stormont. Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire will make a statement to the House of Commons after the region’s main parties failed to form a new coalition executive before Monday’s statutory deadline. Mr Brokenshire has already warned local political leaders they will only be afforded a “short few weeks” to resolve their differences. The Democratic Unionist/Sinn Fein administration collapsed in January amid a bitter row over a botched green energy scheme. The subsequent snap election campaign laid bare a range of other contentious issues dividing the parties.’ – Belfast Newsletter

  • Brokenshire rules out snap election – The Guardian
  • The collapse comes at the worst possible time – The Times Leader (£)
  • Sinn Fein plays a waiting game – FT


Clampdown on NHS prescription costs and health tourism

NHS_Logo‘Painkillers, cough remedies and gluten-free foods will no longer be available on the NHS. GPs will have to stop prescribing items that can be bought cheaply in supermarkets and chemists. Unveiling a major cost-cutting plan in the Daily Mail today, the head of the NHS says patients will also be expected to pay for their own indigestion pills, hayfever remedies and sun cream.’ – Daily Mail

  • Hundreds of thousands are addicted to drugs prescribed by their doctors – Daily Mail
  • A million are on anti-depressants ‘they don’t really need’, university estimates – Daily Mail
  • Time to cut out prescription waste – Daily Mail Leader

>Today: Maurice Saatchi on Comment: Enough of the fake news and alternative facts – the NHS needs a Royal Commission

UKIP is set to ditch its colours and its logo

‘The UK Independence’s famous purple and yellow colours and its pound sign could be ditched as part of a major rebrand as the party prepares for a post-Brexit future. Only the name – Ukip – is safe because it is worth “millions of pounds”, Paul Nuttall said. The party’s leader said that he would unveil a new image of a “post-Brexit Ukip” at the party’s annual conference in Torquay in September. Mr Nuttall told The Telegraph: “We are going to rebrand the post-Brexit Ukip and it will all be launched at the annual conference in Torquay in September.” The party’s pound sign logo might disappear as well as its familiar yellow and purple colours. Mr Nuttall said: “Everything is up for debate.”’ – Daily Telegraph

Corbyn is less popular in the UK than Trump

Jeremy Corbyn‘Jeremy Corbyn is more unpopular among Brits than Donald Trump, a new poll has revealed. Just 17 per cent of voters in the UK think the Labour leader is doing a good job. But 18 per cent approve of the US President, according to a poll of 2,000 adults by GfK Research. Theresa May is two and a half times as popular with Mr Corbyn, with 46 per cent approving of the job she is doing as Prime Minister. A third disapprove, the poll found. She is more popular than the Government as a whole, with four in ten saying it is running the country well. The same number disapprove.’ – The Sun

>Yesterday: LeftWatch: Labour is vanishing from the news

Bew: NATO is under threat

‘The truth is that NATO has, for more than seventy years, been a far more important factor in maintaining peace and security in Europe. It is NATO that forms the bedrock of the Western alliance. We let it unravel at our peril. NATO faces an immediate threat from those hostile to the alliance: chiefly, Russia. Against this growing challenge, however, NATO is also undermined by the internal fragmentation of the broader Western alliance, which is more strained than at any time for decades. The lack of synchronicity between the United States, the United Kingdom and the key European partners in NATO is becoming a growing problem, and must be addressed before it gets out of control…As I will tell the Defence Committee on Tuesday, we need a new grand strategic rethink for NATO that addresses its role in the Western alliance more broadly – one that goes beyond practical questions of efficiency, balance sheets and coalition management and addresses these changing political realities.’ – John Bew, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • The wife of the Westminster terrorist condemns the attack – Daily Mail
  • Mary Berry attacked by goat – Daily Telegraph
  • Monkman versus Seagull on University Challenge – Daily Mail
  • Hancock says the Met is discriminating against grime music – The Guardian
  • Judge releases cricketer who beat his wife and made her drink bleach – The Times (£)
  • The BBC charges extra to those who pay quarterly – The Sun