Gove says GM animals could be sold in the UK post-Brexit

“Genetically-modified animals could be sold in the UK after Brexit, Michael Gove has said. The Environment Secretary said that “bio-tech changes” are coming which will “challenge us to think about the future” as he suggested gene editing could be used to create “more valuable livestock”. But he admitted that the science was still “in its infancy” and that its use would raise “political and moral questions”. Meanwhile, he also revealed the Government intends to create a new “gold-standard” for food labelling to signify British quality after Brexit.” – Daily Telegraph

  • His speech referred to “gene editing technology” – Daily Mail
  • Though he “admits there are questions” about it – The Sun
  • His new subsidy system could pay farmers to priorities public health – The Times
  • SNP’s rural economy secretary says Gove has left “too many questions unanswered” – Herald



  • Most of humanity’s protein now comes from plants – Philip Lymbery, Daily Telegraph
  • Is Gove thinking about himself or farming? – Anne Perkins, Guardian
  • Will we farmers be supported to produce food? – Noreen Wainwright, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: David Amess in Comment: How we can protect bees and increase food at the same time

Harris: What better way to guarantee the worst deal than by holding a referendum on it?

“…Consider, for a moment, the consequences of ministers acceding to Blair’s request to commit to a referendum on whether the deal should be accepted or rejected. Bear in mind that this would not be a “take it or leave it” scenario: Blair’s notion is that if the electorate rejected the deal, we would revert to the status quo ante and remain full members of the EU with all this Article 50 nonsense well behind us and forgotten. How would the EU’s negotiators respond to such a commitment, knowing that whatever deal they put on the table will be subject to a popular vote in Blighty? Given their horrified reaction on the morning of June 24, 2016, are they likely to make every effort to deliver the best possible deal for the UK outside the EU? – Daily Telegraph

  • Blair Brexit document “likely to form basis” for second referendum campaign – Daily Telegraph


  • Either Wollaston or Corbyn should lead the “remain” cause’s side – Philip Collins, The Times
  • Blair and the cosmopolitan elites are “not best placed to sway the lady in Newcastle” – Timothy Garton Ash, Guardian
  • EU has dealt with migrant crisis in a divisive way – Asa Bennett, Daily Telegraph
  • Blair is “unrecognisable” as a former success – Ross Clark, Daily Express

>Today: David Campbell Bannerman in Comment: We’ve voted to leave the EU but, until Brexit takes place, we need to keep our MEPs

Wollaston and Mercer talk of extra NHS tax as May apologises for cancelled operations

“Sarah Wollaston, Tory chairwoman of the Commons health select committee, called for taxes on the over-forties to pay for reforms that would unite the NHS and a crumbling social care system. “If you link taxes, people are happier to pay them,” she told The Times. “You have to factor in how you can fairly bring in money from those who are in retirement so you can spread this across the generations rather than have it fall all on younger people.” Johnny Mercer, another Tory member of the health select committee, called on the government to examine a “hypothecated tax”, ringfenced for the NHS, as other influential figures in Westminster spoke out in favour.” – The Times



  • Here’s what’s at the root of the problem – Ravi Jayaram, Independent

>Today: Profile: Henry Willink, the Conservative who proposed a National Health Service before Bevan created one

Morgan, Tugendhat, and Neill amongst others calling for U-turn on students’ inclusion in immigration figures

“Theresa May is being urged to remove international students from the net immigration figures by a number of high-profile Conservative MPs, including a string of select committee chairs. The prime minister remains determined not to change the system but is likely to come under intense pressure this spring when MPs lay down an amendment to the immigration bill. The home secretary, Amber Rudd, fears that there are enough potential rebels to inflict a defeat on the government. Now Nicky Morgan, who leads the Treasury select committee, Tom Tugendhat, who runs foreign affairs and Bob Neill, at justice, have emerged as among those urging May to consider a U-turn.” – Guardian

Leaked Leadsom group report on new complaints system criticised as insufficient

“Campaigners have criticised proposals that could allow MPs accused of sexual harassment to be let off with making an apology or completing an online training course. A leaked Commons draft report, from a group set up by the prime minister to create a new complaints system, suggests measures including learning modules on bullying and a human resources service for parliament, where MPs are responsible for hiring their own staff… Sarah Green, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, who gave evidence to MPs, said she feared that progress would not be made this year. “It’s kicking a lot of the details into the long grass,” she said.” – The Times

  • The plans will “leave too much power with the whips” – Guardian

MPs call for disposable cup levy

“MPs have today called for drastic action to tackle the UK’s mountain of unrecycled disposable coffee cups, demanding a new 25p tax on every one used. The members of an influential Commons committee hit out at big-name coffee chains for failing to act on the growing problem and said if all cups are not recycled within five years an outright ban should be placed on them. In a report published on Friday, they said the Government had “sat on its hands” as the country has proceeded to throw away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year.” – Independent

  • The charge would be 25p – Daily Mail
  • The environmental audit committee’s report comes out today – FT
  • The aim is for all disposable cups to be recycled by 2023 – The Sun 

More parliament 

  • Ministers considering “splitting up” the defence review – FT

May criticises Conservative council leader who called for homeless people to be “cleared” from Windsor before royal wedding

“Windsor council’s chief has called for the town’s homeless to be removed in time for the royal weddingIt has also emerged he accused homeless people of forcing tourists to withdraw cash from the bank and hand it over. Asked about his comments today, the Prime Minister – whose constituency of Maidenhead is in the same council area as Windsor – blasted Mr Dudley. She said: “I don’t agree with the comments that the leader of the council has made. “I think it is important that councils work hard to ensure that they are providing accommodation for those people who are homeless.”” – The Sun

Truss responds to Labour’s “reckless” economic plans

“Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner told The Spectator that Britain was at a point when it needs “real investment” in its future and that in the past the country had made great advances when politicians were ready to take a risk. … Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss responded: “Labour have admitted their economic policies are a high risk gamble which could see the country go bust. “Labour’s reckless plans would put people’s jobs, livelihoods and funding for our public services all at risk. Once again, it’s working people who would pay the price of Labour with more debt, higher taxes and fewer jobs.”” – Daily Express

More Labour

  • Corbyn accused of hypocrisy for planning to make peer nominations – The Times 
  • He’s “expected” to nominate “three close allies” – The Sun
  • Adonis wants him to push for a second referendum – Independent
  • Cooper calls for Parole Board to publish why it’s releasing “black cab rapist” – Guardian

>Today: ToryDiary: Labour MPs have out-tweeted Tory MPs every single day since the election

More other parties

Trump plans massive expansion of oil and gas drilling

“Donald Trump’s administration has announced plans to vastly expand oil and gas drilling in nearly all US coastal waters, reversing protections in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific. Environmentalists, and some Republicans, sharply criticised the move which is part of Mr Trump’s “American Energy Dominance” plan. It would be the most expansive US offshore drilling proposal in decades, including opening up federal waters off the California coast for the first time in more than 30 years.” – Daily Telegraph

  • His lawyers try to block Wolff book – The Times
  • The publishing house will bring it out today instead of Tuesday – Daily Mail


  • Here are some thoughts on the book – Ed Pilkington, Guardian
  • What do you remember about Bannon? – Nash Riggins, Independent
  • There are “signs” Trump is moving to the centre – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief

  • Blair is back in the bubble – Kate Hoey, BrexitCentral
  • He’s been rumbled – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Disposable cups are infuriating – india Bourke, New Statesman
  • My interview with Rayner – Fraser Nelson, Spectator
  • Immigration in the Trump era – Jonathan Blitzer, New Yorker