Johnson calls on Russia to face ‘complete ostracisation’

Russian flag“Boris Johnson will today lead calls for Russia to face ‘complete international ostracisation’ unless Vladimir Putin removes his support for the Syrian regime. At a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Italy, the Foreign Secretary will demand the Kremlin is slapped with sanctions unless it agrees to the removal of Bashar al-Assad within months. Mr Johnson at the weekend faced claims he was Washington’s poodle after he agreed to pull out of a planned visit to Moscow following discussions with the US. The trip was cancelled so the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and America – can agree a joint plan, which will then be delivered by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson instead.” – Daily Mail

  • Britain to push for tough new sanctions – The Times (£)
  • Fallon blames Russia for ‘every civilian death’ in gas attack – The Sun
  • Johnson bites back – The Times (£)
  • McDonnell criticises cancellation of Russian visit – The Sun

More Syria:

  • Russia and Iran warn of ‘real war’ with America – Daily Mail
  • Washington ramps up pressure on Moscow – FT
  • Regime change one of many priorities, says Haley – Daily Telegraph
  • Trump defends not hitting runways – Daily Mail

Gordon Rayner: The Foreign Secretary is no poodle, he’s the tail wagging the dog

“The Foreign Secretary is said to be furious at the ill-informed jibe by Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat leader, which followed his decision to pull out of a planned trip to Moscow and leave the way clear for the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. But Mr Johnson, who chose not to defend himself on Sunday, is said to be biting his lip for the sake of the greater good. Whitehall sources say that far from being Mr Tillerson’s lap dog, Mr Johnson is the tail wagging the dog as he quietly plays a longer game that is starting to pay dividends.” –  Daily Telegraph

  • May should back Trump if he wants to escalate in Syria – Matthew d’Ancona, The Guardian
  • Why the Government should be spending more on defence – Roger Bootle, Daily Telegraph
  • Now is the time for cool heads, not gung-ho politicians – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • Trump lacks the commitment to impose a lasting solution – Juliet Samuel, Daily Telegraph


  • We need diplomacy, not this sabre-rattling – Daily Mail
  • America warns Russia to bring poisonous client to heel – The Times (£)
  • Russia needs to stop its warlike posturing – Daily Telegraph



Elphicke calls for tax on high-emission cars to fund diesel scrappage scheme

ELPHICKE Charles Dover“Taxes on gas-guzzling cars should be put up to fund a diesel scrappage scheme, a Tory MP argues today. Charlie Elphicke said vehicle excise duty should be raised on the top 5 per cent highest-emission cars – including luxury SUVs and sports cars as well as older models – to help to raise the £2billion needed to pay for the scheme. He argued that his proposal to pay the owners of older diesel models £1,000 to get rid of their cars would be much fairer than plans for a £20-a-day ‘toxin tax’. The MP for Dover said the plan would help families and small businesses switch from the most polluting diesel vehicles.” – Daily Mail

  • May urged to approve £2 billion plan to help replace polluting cars – The Sun
  • Britain proves economy can expand as emissions fall – The Times (£)
  • Speed bumps could disappear from British roads to cut pollution – Daily Telegraph
  • UK to ‘scale down’ climate change measures to boost trade – The Independent


  • UK a cleaner, more prosperous country than 25 years ago – The Times (£)

Ministers accused of ‘cover up’ over insurance speeches

“Ministers have been accused of an unacceptable lack of transparency after claiming to have no record of secret speeches made at a luxury weekend away with insurance bosses. Pensions Minister Richard Harrington and Economic Secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby both say they made speeches at Gleneagles golf resort last September from memory and have no record of what they said. Days after their return from the five-star trip the Treasury announced that it was abandoning its flagship plans to allow pensioners to cash in their rip-off annuity incomes for a lump sum.” – Daily Mail

Pro-Brexit Tory MPs distance themselves from hard-line immigration report

IMMIGRATION mat“Calls to stop unskilled migrants from moving to Britain in order to cut annual net migration below 50,000 have divided leading Brexiteers, The Times can reveal. Leave Means Leave, the hard Brexit campaign group, released a report yesterday calling for a five-year halt to unskilled migration. It believes this would lead to greater opportunities for the 826,000 British 16 to 24-year-olds who are not working… However, a number of Tory MPs listed as supporters of Leave Means Leave distanced themselves from the report. One said: “I am a supporter [of Leave Means Leave] but I don’t subscribe to all their positions. This is one of them.” Another said: “I’m sympathetic but staying out of this one”.” – The Times (£)

  • Senior Conservative MPs demand five-year immigration ban – The Independent
  • Pro-Brexit group unveil 50,000 annual immigration target – The Guardian
  • British workers for British jobs a ‘fallacy’, warn industry leaders – Daily Telegraph

More Brexit:

  • Brexit ‘liberating’ if May seizes opportunities in Asia, claims Lord O’Neill – Daily Telegraph
  • Spaniards living near Gibraltar say Madrid is putting their jobs at risk – Daily Express
  • Civil service outsourcing deals extended amidst Brexit workload – FT
  • Row over Rockall could cause Brexit breakdown – Daily Express


  • How Britain can take back control of immigration – Owen Paterson, Times Red Box

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: The parties.The leaders. And leaving the EU. What my 10,000-sample poll and focus groups found.

Salmond claims May’s position on a Scottish referendum will ‘crumble’

Alex Salmond has predicted that Theresa May’s opposition to a  new independence referendum will “crumble” within a few months. The former first minister said the Prime Minister’s insistence that “now is not the time” for another vote on breaking-up Britain “just won’t stand” in the face of public support. Mr Salmond refused to be drawn on claims that Nicola Sturgeon could hold an advisory independence referendum, saying only that he would “leave these matters to the person responsible”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Scottish Government considers tabling referendum bill without permission – The Scotsman
  • Sturgeon rules out snap election over indyref standoff – The Independent
  • Eurocrats demand Scotland be offered ‘swift’ EU accession – Daily Express
  • Shetlands could stay British if Scotland seceded, claims Lamont – The Independent

More Scotland:

  • SNP’s economic management blamed for £6.5 billion of lost growth – The Scotsman


  • Sturgeon should be at home amidst economic woe – Brian Monteith, The Scotsman
  • How the Prime Minister outlasted those who branded her ‘dull’ – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

McCluskey accused of ‘clutching at straws’ after attack on moderate MPs

Labour holes“Len McCluskey has been accused of “grasping at straws” after he claimed critics of Jeremy Corbyn are attempting to manipulate a union election battle to force him out of the top job and damage the party leader. The Unite general secretary is facing a challenge from Gerard Coyne, who he has accused of being backed by a “cabal” of MPs “fighting a proxy war against Corbyn” in what is being seen as a battle between moderate and left-wing factions of the party. Mr McCluskey, who has been at the top of the powerful union since 2011, is one of Mr Corbyn’s biggest and most powerful backers but he has been damaged by concerns about the way Unite supports pro-Corbyn group Momentum and about a flat he bought in London with the help of union money.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Powers to fine rule-breaking unions could be watered down – The Times (£)

More Labour:

  • Leadership split over Livingstone expulsion – The Sun
  • Senior Labour figures spoke out against anti-terror drive – The Times (£)
  • Labour pledge £10 living wage – The Times (£)
  • Teach fat children to grow carrots, says Thornberry – The Sun

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: McDonnell: Livingstone needs to apologise

Now ex-UKIP leader James floats defection to the Conservatives

“Diane James, who led UKIP for just 18 days after Nigel Farage quit, has said she is considering running for Parliament as a Conservative. Ms James told Buzzfeed she thinks UKIP could be a party without a purpose once Brexit has been completed and suggested the party may have reached its sell-by date. Ms James is the latest high-profile UKIP politician to desert the party following the defections of former MP Mark Reckless back to the Tories and of the party’s only sitting MP Douglas Carswell who announced last month he would become an independent.” – The Independent

News in Brief:

  • Sun backs campaign to win justice for Hyde Park bomb victims – The Sun
  • China offers concessions to avoid a trade war with the US – FT
  • Turkish opposition face intimidation and harassment in referendum – Daily Telegraph
  • GMC faces off with locum doctors over new tax rules – The Times (£)
  • Sweden will ‘never go back’ to mass immigration, says Prime Minister – Daily Mail
  • Colombian peace deal rocked by violence from drug gangs – Daily Telegraph
  • Wealth tax riles and divides French candidates – FT
  • NHS seeks £10 billion cash boost from hedge funds – The Times (£)
  • DUP urge ‘unionist pact’ on Ulster Unionists – Belfast Telegraph