Ministers 1) Johnson suggests World Cup boycott over poisoning

“British dignitaries including the Duke of Cambridge could boycott the World Cup in Russia if there is proof that Moscow is behind the poisoning of two people in Salisbury, Boris Johnson has suggested. The foreign secretary told MPs it was clear that the state was now “in many respects a malign and disruptive force and the UK is in the lead across the world in trying to counteract that activity”. He said there might be “no UK representation” at the World Cup if the host nation turned out to be responsible for putting the double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, in a coma… An aide to Mr Johnson later clarified that this applied to officials and dignitaries rather than the England squad. Prince William is president of the Football Association and among those who had been expecting to go.” – The Times

  • Strain increases on UK-Russian relations – FT


  • We need more power to hit Russia where it hurts – Tom Tugendhat MP, Times Red Box
  • Putin must understand that bad behaviour won’t pay – Professor Robert Service, The Sun

>Today: ToryDiary: Mordaunt climbs to second in our Cabinet League Table, while Gove retains the top spot

Ministers 2) Gauke sets out to tackle drugs in prisons

Drug smuggling and mobile phones are so prevalent in prison that criminals can order “Deliveroo-style” deliveries of illegal substances direct to their cells, the Justice Secretary has said. David Gauke compared the ease with which people can obtain drugs in prison to the fast food delivery app as he made his first major speech since becoming Justice Secretary in January. He announced that new technology will be introduced at 30 prisons to allow officers to download data immediately from phones seized from prisoners in a bid to disrupt the movement of drugs. He also set out plans to “cut off” kingpins from their operations by moving them to higher security facilities in order to stop prisons being the “perfect marketplace” for gangs.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Reforms target role of organised crime – FT

Ministers 3) Hunt gets his way as May backs junk food crackdown

“Curbs on junk food adverts and two-for-one deals for biscuits and cakes are being drawn up in Downing Street as Theresa May prepares for a U-turn on obesity, The Times has learnt. Action to clamp down on unhealthy food is expected in the summer after the prime minister’s team has reconsidered her earlier decision to rule out restrictions on advertising and promotions. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has been pushing for tougher measures and now has willing allies in the No 10 policy team who are circulating options in Whitehall, it is understood. Fiona Hill, Mrs May’s former joint chief of staff who quit last year, is said to have once boasted about “saving Tony the Tiger”, the Frosties mascot.” – The Times

  • Why are we spending billions on civil servants who patronise us? – Damian Thompson, The Sun


Michael Fallon: For patients’ sake, stop re-organising the NHS

“I make that at least 19 different bodies that have been “running” the NHS in Sevenoaks, almost one for every year I’ve been its MP.  All these changes have been accompanied by hopeful PR, promising better patient service. But each has involved more cost and more management time which could be better spent on patients. So much change erodes public confidence: nobody really knows who is responsible for what. Ever-changing bureaucracies undermine local institutions and affections. In twenty-five years we’ve moved from local to district, from strategic to local, and now back up to county again. Who can be sure of the right level at which to allocate resources and prioritise services when there’s nobody in charge long enough? The damage isn’t just to patients and the public but to front-line staff.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Gary Porter in Local Government: Co-location is delivering better value for money in the public sector

Brexit: Hammond warns that Brussels will hurt EU consumers if it targets the City…

“European consumers will pay dearly if Brussels tries to punish the City, Philip Hammond will warn today. In the last of the Government’s ‘Road to Brexit’ speeches, the Chancellor will tell the EU it is ‘very much in our mutual interest’ to strike a trade deal giving extensive rights to Britain’s financial services sector. Mr Hammond will point out the critical role played by the City as the cornerstone of Europe’s financial system. And he will warn that European consumers would face higher prices for a wide range of goods, including cars, loans and fuel, if the City is cut out. Mr Hammond will stress that the UK and EU markets are ‘deeply interconnected’, with the City providing finance for European bank loans and car financing, as well as helping firms cope with fluctuating exchange rates and fuel prices.” – Daily Mail

  • France will fight for frictionless trade, but not on finance – The Sun
  • Brussels and Paris to rebuff May’s hopes for the City – FT
  • May ‘double cherry-picking’, claims EU report – The Guardian


  • Ten per cent of UK exports risk immediate tariff hikes post-Brexit – The Sun
  • Ryanair boss threatens to ground planes in pro-Remain stunt – Daily Mail
  • Italian election winners demand EU changes Brexit stance – Daily Express
  • Car makers step up warnings over uncertainty – The Guardian


  • Britain could be hurt of NAFTA falls apart – Andrew Hammond, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Newman’s column: May is right – the EU cherry-picks whenever it is politically convenient. Brexit should be such a time.

…as Tories ‘try to block’ Labour move to publish referendum donors

“Ministers will try to block a change in the law that would reveal the details of a £425,000 donation used to fund Brexit adverts in the EU referendum campaign. The money was given to the Democratic Unionist Party but most was spent outside Northern Ireland on a national advertising campaign in support of Vote Leave. Had the money been given to the Vote Leave campaign its origin would have had to be declared but under Northern Irish election law dating back to the Troubles it was allowed to be given in secret. Ministers are seeking to bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of Britain so that the origin of donations is declared. Today Conservative MPs are under a three-line whip to oppose a move by Labour that would backdate that change to before the referendum in 2016.” – The Times

  • DUP warns that it will block any deal which divides Ulster from Britain – Daily Telegraph
  • Foster rejects claim that her party ‘briefed loyalists’ on negotiations – Belfast Telegraph


  • We must embrace a smart border with Ireland – Emma Little-Pengelly MP, Times Red Box
  • Why Sinn Fein will not take its seats in Westminster – Paul Maskey MP, The Guardian
  • Brussels should start listening to voters – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

Ministers pledge new security standards for smart devices

“Tighter security on internet-connected gadgets is promised by ministers today after fears that millions of us are being spied on in our homes. A kitemark-style code of practice for the 420 million ‘smart’ devices expected to be in use by 2020 is being launched by the Government. It comes after a Daily Mail investigation revealed how surveillance cameras costing as little as £25 are unwittingly leaving households, businesses and schools and colleges open to snoopers. A sinister website, thought to be hosted in Moldova, broadcasts hundreds of thousands of hours of real-time footage that can be viewed by anyone with access to the internet. The devices, known as IP (internet protocol) cameras, let those worried about home security monitor what is happening when they’re away by logging on via their smartphone. Many cheaper models, however, have default passwords which are widely known by hackers.” – Daily Mail

  • Government calls for end to tech firms buying their way out of trouble – The Sun
  • Norman launches study into self-driving vehicle legislation – The Sun

Scottish Tories accuse SNP of ‘dry run’ on independence referendum

“The SNP is being accused of using the row over Brexit powers as a “dry run” to push through legislation for a second independence referendum at the Scottish Parliament. Ministers announced last week they would press ahead with a Scotland-only Brexit Bill at Holyrood, despite Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh judging it to be outwith the Scottish Parliament’s Powers. This is the first time any Scottish Government has defied Holyrood chiefs in such a way… But Tory MSP Donald Cameron has now warned the SNP could repeat the “wilful ignoring” of parliamentary authorities when it comes to legislating for a referendum re-run. He said the Scottish Government would cite the case of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) which is being rushed through Holyrood this month. MSPs will vote on the measures today and it will be finally passed in a fortnight.” – The Scotsman

  • Former SNP minister leaves party over treatment of women – Daily Telegraph

Cameron receives lobbying ban

“David Cameron has been slapped with an ‘extended lobbying ban’ after taking a new job advising a genetics firm. The ex-Prime Minister was ordered not to approach current members of the Government in his new post at California-based Illumina. Mr Cameron has taken on the post after praising the firm’s ‘incredible’ work and reflecting on how it would have helped his late son Ivan, who suffered from a rare neurological disorder. While PM, Mr Cameron set up Genomics England, a government-owned company tasked with mapping 100,000 whole genomes from patients with rare disorders. Genomics England has a £77 million partnership with Illumina and the close ties have meant the Whitehall watchdog charged with managing ex-ministers conflicts of interest ordered Mr Cameron to stay under strict rules until he had been out of office for two years.” – Daily Mail

Communists ordered to work ‘full tilt’ to elect Corbyn

“Communist Party members have been ordered to work ‘full tilt’ to get Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street after they decided they would no longer stand candidates against Labour. Susan Michie, of the Communist Party of Britain, said the two parties were in a ‘really good situation to work much more closely than we have in the past’. At a meeting of activists in North London on Monday night, she confirmed the party would campaign for Labour at the next election. Professor Michie said: ‘At the 2017 general election we decided not to contest in the election, and fully support Jeremy Corbyn, and CPB has agreed that supporting Labour is the priority and that it would be inappropriate to stand candidates’… She added: ‘Communist Party members should absolutely be involved in electoral work, and working full tilt to get Jeremy elected as leader, and the Labour Party into government.’” – Daily Mail

  • McDonnell backs £1.5 billion tidal energy plan – FT

Transgender model quits as Labour adviser

“A transgender Labour Party adviser has resigned after The Times revealed offensive comments she made on Twitter, as the party said that anyone who “self-identifies” as female will be allowed on its women-only shortlists. Munroe Bergdorf, 31, announced yesterday morning that she had stepped down from her position because of “attacks on my character by the conservative right wing press”. Her resignation came on a key day for Labour in its approach to transgender rights. The party’s equalities committee approved a statement opening its women-only parliamentary shortlists to “self-defining” transgender women, without the need for them to have legally changed gender. The text, obtained by Huffington Post, must be approved by Labour’s full national executive committee.” – The Times

Ex-UKIP leader sets up (another) new party

“The ousted leader of Ukip has launched his own political party. Henry Bolton said yesterday that he had set up OneNation, a “100 per cent Leave” party, to try to unite the UK after a “highly divisive Brexit debate”, and to secure independence for Britain in all areas of law, government and public administration. Last month Ukip members backed a motion of no confidence in him at an emergency meeting, ending his stint at the helm after less than six months… Mr Bolton explained on OneNation’s website why he had set it up: “There is a need for a truly professional political party that believes in Britain, that preserves our national identity, culture, heritage and confidence and talks our great nation up rather than down.” He added that Ukip had enjoyed that position until the EU referendum but its influence had since diminished.” – The Times

  • Chiefs admit that ‘People’s Army’ is days from bankruptcy – The Sun
  • Party official demands compensation over logo change – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Selmayr scandal threatens to engulf European Commission – Iain Martin, Reaction
  • Our trade policy must put power in the hands of consumers – Ranil Jayawardena MP, Brexit Central
  • Can South Africa’s catastrophic land grab be stopped? – Marian L Tupy, CapX
  • Why opponents of the Thatcher statue are wasting their time – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator