Ministers 1) Hammond hints that he could ‘turn on the spending taps’

“Philip Hammond has claimed that bullish signs from the economy mean that he should soon be able to ‘turn on the spending taps’ to counter the political threat from Jeremy Corbyn. The Chancellor, who will deliver his first Spring Statement on Tuesday, declared that there was ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ after nearly a decade of austerity – raising the prospect that he will soon be releasing more money for the public services. Mr Hammond has been under intense pressure from Downing Street to release more money for the NHS, students and key workers after being alarmed by the ease with which Mr Corbyn has picked up votes by promising to plough billions of pounds into public pay rises and welfare payments.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Tories slam Corbyn for locking Labour into £106 billion splurge – Sun on Sunday


  • It’s time for a new economic recycle – Philip Hammond, Sun on Sunday


Ministers 2) Gove to ban electric dog collars

“Cruel electric shock collars used to train pets will be banned under new animal welfare laws to be unveiled today. Environment Secretary Michael Gove believes the devices – which cost as little as £20 – cause unnecessary suffering. The move has delighted animal charities who have been campaigning for many years for the collars to be outlawed. A consultation period will be held before the government amends the law to make it a criminal offence to use the collars, which give an electric shock if the pet disobeys an instruction. The new laws will also cover devices which squirt noxious sprays or emit sounds which can upset a dogs’ acute sense of smell or have a painful effect on its hearing.” – Sun on Sunday

Ministers 3) Cabinet rebels urge May to punish Russia

“Theresa May is facing a cabinet revolt over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, with senior ministers demanding tough measures to punish Russia. Ministers were amazed when May banned a cabinet discussion of the poisoning last Tuesday, silencing Boris Johnson when he suggested the Kremlin was responsible. Skripal, 66, a Russian former double agent, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon. The prime minister faces an ambush at a meeting of security ministers tomorrow… Those pushing for a hard line include Johnson, Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, and even Philip Hammond, the chancellor, who has told ministers Britain should make a “strong” response. The home secretary, Amber Rudd, is also “more hawkish” in private than her public statements suggest.” – Sunday Times

  • Rudd reveals scale of Salisbury attack investigation – Mail on Sunday
  • Tories break May’s vow to ban Russian donors – Sunday Times
  • Australia, Poland, and Japan could join World Cup boycott – Mail on Sunday


Amber Rudd: Our once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape our response to domestic abuse

“Our new consultation on domestic abuse is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve Britain’s response to this terrible crime. I know The Sun’s readers care deeply about domestic abuse survivors and I urge everyone, but especially those who have suffered to take part. It’s appalling that 2 million people are victims of domestic abuse every year. The majority are women and whilst convictions are up by a third since 2010 we must do more. We are providing new money to stop abuse occurring. Children who witness domestic abuse are far more likely to experience abuse as an adult and so I am setting up an £8m fund to support them with their recovery. £2m has been dedicated to female offenders because it is a telling statistic that over 60% say they have suffered domestic abuse.” – Sun on Sunday

Remainers mount legal challenge to force second referendum…

“A legal challenge to force Theresa May to concede a second EU referendum has been launched by anti-Brexit campaigners. They claim a loophole in the Prime Minister’s Brexit tactics means that she will be legally obliged to offer a second vote. Anti-Brexit group Best For Britain, which is leading the challenge, says it is using the same legal arguments successfully deployed by campaigner Gina Miller. Last year, she forced Ministers to give Parliament a say before the Brexit process was triggered. The new challenge centres on claims that existing legislation guarantees a new referendum if Mrs May pushes ahead with plans for the UK to remain part of some EU bodies such as the European Medicines Agency.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Cable attacks Corbyn over failure to ‘keep Brexit promises’ – Sun on Sunday


  • The EU has revealed itself as a grubby old boys club – Dia Chakravarty, Sunday Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: Even fans of the EU are getting fed up of its bullying approach to the Brexit talks

>Yesterday: Suella Fernandes MP in Comment: Brexit. I am more excited than ever about what the future holds.

…as Duncan Smith outlines impact of EU migration on the welfare system

“A paper produced by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader and Work and Pensions Secretary, states that migrants in work claimed more than £2 billion, while those out of work received £1.1 billion in tax credits and benefit payments, in the last year for which figures are available. The figures, based on calculations by the Migration Watch think tank, came as Mr Duncan Smith set out proposals for post-Brexit rules preventing EU migrants from entering Britain unless they have already secured a job, and imposing a five-year delay before they are allowed to claim  income, family or housing benefits. The senior Conservative MP said HMRC and the Treasury had been “reluctant” to provide similar information on claims in the past – meaning it was not available during the referendum campaign – but could now be calculated based on statistics published by HMRC and his former department.” – Sunday Telegraph

>Today: Peter Marshall in Comment: We must all now focus on finding a way to build a positive future relationship

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Trump’s economic nationalism could be his undoing

Tories must become ‘party of hope’, says Skidmore

“Jeremy Corbyn has positioned Labour as the “party of hope” and the Conservatives must set out a “positive vision of the future” in order to claim the title for themselves, the Tories’ new policy chief says. Writing in the Telegraph, Chris Skidmore, the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman for policy, says Brexit offers the party an opportunity for “renewal” amid a looming “threat of socialism”. Mr Skidmore, a former Cabinet Office minister, warns that the answer to “combating this threat” is not simply to highlight it but to set out a “positive vision” and formulate policies “that will resonate with the electorate, demonstrating that we are on their side”. His comments come amid mounting concern among senior MPs and ministers that the Conservatives are losing the battle of ideas as the party and Government focus on the mechanics of Brexit.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • The public expect us to do more than just deliver Brexit – Chris Skidmore, Sunday Telegraph

Harman mulls bid for Speakership as Tory MPs take aim at Bercow

“Harriet Harman is preparing to launch a campaign to become Speaker of the House of Commons as John Bercow faces a fresh bid to oust him. The former Labour deputy leader has told friends she is “prepared to throw her hat into the ring” after bullying allegations were raised against Bercow. The BBC’s Newsnight programme alleged last week that Kate Emms, who was Bercow’s private secretary from May 2010 to February 2011, developed post-traumatic stress disorder after working for him. The Speaker denied the claims. With allegations of bullying by MPs sweeping Westminster, however, the Tory MP Andrew Bridgen will table a motion of no-confidence in the Speaker tomorrow. James Duddridge, a Tory MP who has previously called for Bercow’s head, revealed he is considering reporting the Speaker to parliament’s sleaze watchdog.” – Sunday Times

  • Speaker ‘should step back’ as bullying probe goes on – The Observer

Civil war looms as Momentum tries to wrest Labour from the unions

“When Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) met on Tuesday, Jon Lansman – the gnome-like founder of Momentum, the grassroots supporters of Jeremy Corbyn – mischievously sat down next to Jennie Formby, the political director of Unite, Britain’s biggest union. A month ago this would have been a scene of hard-left harmony, a duo representing Corbyn’s loudest cheerleaders and his party’s biggest paymaster. Last week it was an act of passive aggression as the two wings of the Corbynista coalition found themselves locked in a bitter civil war to control the party… The contest has laid bare personal, political and factional disputes that have riven the party for decades, but had remained dormant while the far left rallied to Corbyn’s cause in his battle with the moderates. Last week these tensions boiled over.” – Sunday Times

  • Party pledges ‘no purge of staff’ after bitter battle for top post – The Observer
  • Fresh doubts over group’s adherence to donation rules – Sunday Telegraph


  • Communists join other factions vying to control a hollow Dear Leader – Sarah Baxter, Sunday Times
  • Don’t look to McLuskey and his sorry ilk to defend workers’ interests – Nick Cohen, The Observer

Hundreds of Labour activists threaten to resign over new all-women shortlist rules

“Hundreds of women Labour members are planning to quit the party if its ruling body confirms that men who believe they are female can stand on all-women shortlists for parliamentary candidates. The threat comes after Labour’s equality committee announced last week that ‘all-women shortlists and women’s reserved places are open to self-defining women’. About 200 women members now plan to quit if Labour’s National Executive Committee make it an official policy.  A campaign group, known as MayDay 4 Women, has drawn up a resignation statement, which 100 Labour women members have put their names to and a further 100 have signed anonymously.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Sixth Form colleges back campaign for votes at 16 – Mail on Sunday