Rees-Mogg warns Lords not to block people’s will on Brexit in our ‘Moggcast’…

“The House of Lords was warned today by leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg not to try to wreck Brexit or force a second referendum on European Union membership. The high-profile MP who has been tipped as a potential future Tory leader suggested peers would inflame demands for their chamber to be fundamentally reformed if they tried to frustrate the will of the people… Mr Rees-Mogg noted in a new fortnightly “Moggcast” podcast on the ConservativeHome website that peers included “retired Eurocrats desperately trying to ensure that their beloved project is maintained” who could create a “peers versus the people” situation. “Peers versus the people is always won by the people,” he went on.” – Daily Express

  • Even Rees-Mogg says the NHS needs more money – The Huffington Post
  • Catholic MP the star of new podcast – The Tablet
  • Good news for all who love dry Tory political discussion – The i


…as he’s appointed head of the European Research Group

“Jacob Rees-Mogg last night vowed to hold ministers to their promises on Brexit after he was elected leader of an influential group of Eurosceptic Tory MPs. The vociferous Brexit supporter stood unopposed to become chairman of the Elected Research Group (ERG), which comprises more than 60 backbenchers. Mr Rees-Mogg has voiced concerns about how Britain could be forced to allow free movement to continue and remain subject to the European Court of Justice during the transition period. Yesterday he pledged to be ‘helpful, vigorous and supportive’ towards the Government as it implements its policy of ‘making a success of Brexit’.” – Daily Mail

  • Tusk calls for a second referendum on Brexit – The Times
  • May dismisses EU appeal for a ‘change of heart’ – Daily Mail


  • Tories must push back against Brussels’ bid for a second vote – The Sun

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: Where the parties stand – and more on that second EU referendum

May woos France to maintain Calais border post

“Theresa May will risk the fury of Tory MPs this week by agreeing to pay more money to France – and take-in more child migrants – to keep UK border posts in Calais. Sources last night said officials were “haggling” over the final details of a revised Le Touquet deal that could be announced as early as tomorrow – when President Macron makes his first official visit to Britain.  Despite a likely backlash from Eurosceptic Tories, Home Office insiders see the deal as a victory given previous threats by Msr Macron to rip up the 2003 agreement altogether. Speaking in 2016 he said Brexit could scupper Le Touquet, raising the possibility of thousands of illegal migrants massing at Dover in a bid to get into Britain.” – The Sun

  • EU bosses say Britain must have open borders for three more years – The Sun
  • Macron loans Bayeux Tapestry to Britain – The Guardian

Ministers 1) Hammond reconsiders ‘anti-democratic’ referendum tax demand

“Private donations to referendums might not be taxed in future, a Treasury minister has said, after an outcry over ‘anti-democratic’ tax demands running into millions of pounds were sent to Brexit donors. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, is said to be “sympathetic to looking carefully” at the changing tax law so that large scale donations to referendums campaigns by private individuals are not subject to inheritance tax. However any change as result of the rethink will not affect the demands running into millions of pounds which were sent to the prominent donors to the 2016 European referendum campaigns. Last night donors facing the large bills welcomed the change of heart – but urged Mr Hammond to change the law retrospectively.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Former SNP minister attacks Sturgeon’s ‘dubious’ forecasts – Daily Telegraph
  • UKIP ‘on the brink of bankruptcy’ – Daily Mail


  • Why self-employed NICs will come back to haunt the Chancellor – Edwin Morgan, Times Red Box
  • Business can help accelerate ‘Phase Two’ – Jonathan Hill, FT
  • Don’t punish the UK for Brexit, we stood by Europe in her darkest hour – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Ministers 2) Johnson wants ‘Brexit dividend’ spent on the NHS

“Boris Johnson has warned Theresa May that the Government must make a public commitment to giving the NHS an extra £100million a week after Brexit if the Tories are to beat Jeremy Corbyn at the next election. The Foreign Secretary believes that the Government must adopt the flagship Vote Leave pledge and spend £5.2billion a year that would have been paid into Brussels on the health service instead. His intervention comes as hospitals struggle to cope with the winter flu crisis amid an ongoing row between the Government and NHS England over funding.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Row erupts between May and Johnson over controversial stance – The Sun
  • Labour complains about latest Brexit claim – The Guardian


  • Foreign Secretary says pressure must be kept up on North Korea – Daily Mail
  • MPs criticise UK over Burma – The Guardin


  • Tories still have much to learn from Keith Joseph – Robert Colvile, The Times
  • Davis must change the EU’s ridiculous negotiating style – Dominic Hallas, Daily Telegraph
  • Corbyn would tear our foreign policy to shreds – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Higher taxes. Social insurance. New Commissions. Reforming NI. Debate on health and social care gathers pace.

Ministers 3) Crouch appointed to lead fight against loneliness

“A minister has been appointed to help tackle the loneliness suffered by an estimated nine million adults. Tracey Crouch will lead a drive against a ‘social epidemic’ that experts say can be as unhealthy as heavy smoking. Announcing the new brief, Theresa May said isolation was a sad reality of modern life for too many people. The Prime Minister added: ‘I want to confront this challenge and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones, people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.’ The move was recommended in a report from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Robert Halfon MP’s column: The Conservative Party must regain the territory of social justice

Ministers 4) Grayling ‘engulfed’ by East Coast express experiment

“When Chris Grayling announced last year that he was cutting the Virgin Trains franchise on the East Coast main line by three years, the transport secretary spun it as a bold experiment. The London to Edinburgh route, run since 2015 at a loss by Richard Branson’s Virgin and the listed transport group Stagecoach, would be a pilot attempt to form “public private partnerships” between train companies and Network Rail, the state-owned track utility. “Bringing the perspective of train operators into decisions on rail infrastructure will help ensure passengers are better represented in the process,” he said. But since then Mr Grayling has faced mounting scepticism about the government’s real intentions. He has been accused both in parliament and by a former transport secretary, Lord Adonis, of attempting an unjustified, covert rescue of the franchisees for political reasons.” – FT

Penning ‘lifts lid’ on defence cuts

“The former Armed Forces minister lifts the lid on shocking military shortfalls on operations – as he issues a dire warning about Britain’s fading prowess. Sir Mike Penning has told The Sun that the UK is on the verge of “no longer being taken seriously” around the globe because defence has been cut “to the bone”. The respected senior Tory insisted he is speaking out for the first time since stepping down in June last year as “enough is enough”. In his most damning indictment, Sir Mike reveals military operations that he presided over when in government are now in serious jeopardy because of the funding crisis… Sir Mike also issues a plea for Theresa May to relieve massive pressure on the MoD budget by making the Treasury pay for renewing the Trident nuclear deterrent instead.” – The Sun

Bradley under fire for controversial remarks about unemployed (made six years ago)

“The Tory Party’s new youth Tsar suggested men on benefits should get a vasectomy and stop relying on the welfare state to support their children. Ben Bradley, who was promoted by Theresa May last week, said Britain would drown ‘in a vast sea of unemployed wasters’ if the poorest families had too many children. And he said people on benefits must take responsibility for their lives and stop having babies if they cannot afford to support them. He made the controversial remarks in a controversial and now deleted blog post written in 2012 in which he backed Tory reforms to bring in a benefits cap. But he apologised for the comments after they surfaced online today, saying he has ‘matured’ over the past six years.” – Daily Mail

  • Become a politician: normal people need not apply – Peter Allen, Times Red Box

>Yesterday: Adam Holloway in Comment: This affirmative action reshuffle was wrong. Why not just appoint the best person to the job?

Parole Board chief attacks Government’s Warboys appeal

“The head of the Parole Board criticised ministers last night for considering challenging the decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys from prison. Chairman Nick Hardwick said that the move could threaten the independence of the justice system. Justice Secretary David Gauke has asked for legal advice on whether the decision to free one of Britain’s most notorious sex offenders can be contested in a judicial review. Worboys – jailed in 2009 with a minimum term of eight years – was convicted of offences against 12 victims but has been linked to more than 100 attacks… Professor Hardwick said: ‘We should be open to legal challenge, but I hope when people think about it, they will agree it is right we resist political interference in our decisions.’” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Worboys, acid attacks, knife crime – and why the Conservatives are vulnerable on law and order

Corbyn branded head of ‘leftist clique’ after internal battle

“Jeremy Corbyn was branded the head of a “leftist clique” yesterday as his supporters removed the head of Labour’s disciplinary panel. Veteran Ann Black was ousted as chair of the body reviewing racism and abuse claims and replaced by Christine Shawcroft, a director from the pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum. She was suspended from the party just three years ago… Within minutes of Ms Shawcroft’s election, Labour was hit by claims the disciplinary panel blocked the escalation of a series of anti-Semitism investigations. Labour sources “categorically” denied the claim. But the upheaval sparked fresh fears about the hard-left takeover of Labour. Christine Shawcroft was temporarily suspended in 2015 for publicly backing the disgraced mayor of Tower Hamlets.” – The Sun

  • ‘Arms race’ as unions race to sway MP reselection battles – The Guardian
  • Labour moderates could stand as independents if purged – The Sun


  • Carillion scandal must bury rip-off PFI dogma for good – John McDonnell, The Guardian

>Today: Rebecca Lowe’s column: Keir Hardie’s lessons for Conservatives (and others)

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Momentum marches on – but it has even bigger ambitions

News in Brief:

  • Why stability in Ulster is still a long way off – Owen Polley, Reaction
  • Momentum’s NEC purge is a sign of things to come – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • The radical compassion of Sir Keith Joseph – Oliver Letwin, CapX
  • SNP ought to grasp that Brexit could give Scotland a brighter future – Rory Broomfield, Brexit Central