Brexit: Davis unveils radical new blueprint in bid to solve Irish border…

“David Davis is devising a new Brexit plan to break a talks deadlock by giving Northern Ireland joint EU and UK status as well as a border buffer zone. Under the radical blueprint, the province would operate a double hatted regime of European and British regulations at the same time, so it can trade freely with both. The Brexit Secretary is also drawing up a 10 mile-wide buffer zone the length of Northern Ireland’s 310 mile border with Ireland. Dubbed a ‘special economic zone’, it will be for local traders such as dairy farmers – who make up 90 per cent of the cross border traffic – and share the same trade rules as south of the border. The two plans will together eradicate the need for any border check points, which is a major EU demand. But both run the risk of infuriating the DUP, whose 10 MPs are propping up Theresa May’s minority government.” – The Sun

  • Brexit Department could merge with Foreign Office after departure – Daily Telegraph
  • Rees-Mogg tells EU to stop ‘dragging its feet’ and use Swiss model – The Sun
  • Northern Irish police ask for more funds to protect border – The Guardian
  • Ministers fear Italian crisis could jeopardise deal – Daily Express


  • Brussels will thwart this plan, we must prepare for no deal – The Sun

…as Labour MPs defy Corbyn to demand second vote

“Jeremy Corbyn is once again facing opposition from within his own ranks after a group of Labour MPs defied the party leader’s wishes and publicly called for a second Brexit vote. Among the 10 Welsh MPs backing a vote on any withdrawal deal are two shadow ministerial aides. Anna McMorrin, the MP for Cardiff North, and Tonia Antoniazzi, the MP for Gower, are parliamentary private secretaries to shadow cabinet members. Some Tory MPs, meanwhile, have called on Jeremy Corbyn to sack them from their posts after their calls for another referendum vote. A unnamed Labour source said that Ms McMorrin and Ms Antoniazzi had been “spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities”.” – Daily Express

  • Left wingers launch campaign to shift party’s position – The Guardian
  • Adonis forecasts Cabinet resignations when deal is presented to Parliament – Daily Telegraph
  • Legatum Institute ruled to have ‘abused charitable status’ – The Times
  • Lawson denies charges of hypocrisy over French residency – Daily Telegraph


  • Let’s drop the pretence that Brexit can be stopped – Philip Collins, The Times

Ministers 1) Fox won’t rule out ‘counter-measures’ as Trump risks trade war

“Britain threatened retaliation last night as Donald Trump triggered a global trade war. The US President’s decision to hit the European Union with tariffs on steel and aluminium sparked fury as Brussels warned it would not back down under ‘threat’ from the US President. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who spoke to the US commerce secretary yesterday, said the UK would not rule out counter-measures over the ‘patently absurd’ tariffs. Meanwhile, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker called for the EU to respond by boosting ties with Russia – a move likely to cause discomfort in Downing Street.” – Daily Mail

  • Trade Secretary urges Brussels to avoid retaliation – The Times
  • Trudeau decries US tariffs as insult to Canada – Daily Mail


  • The Eurozone needs a Trump to shake it up – Ed Conway, The Times


  • Allies should persuade the President that he’s wrong – The Times

>Today: Chloe Westley in Comment: Enough talk of tax rises from Tory Ministers. Let’s have tax cuts instead. Or else what are they for?

Ministers 2) Gauke ‘humiliated’ as prison is placed in special measures

“Justice Secretary David Gauke was left humiliated today as one of Britain’s most notorious prisons was placed in “special measures”. The Ministry of Justice admitted HMP Bedford required “additional, specialist support” after unions revealed the move. It came as inspectors urged the Government to intervene at another jail – Exeter – as they claimed safety levels were “unequivocally poor”. HMF Chief Inspector Peter Clarke gave the government 28 days to respond to an urgent notification letter. The Government has already had to intervene at HMP Nottingham after a similar scathing report by the Inspector at the start of the year.” – The Sun

Ministers 3) Grayling may be grilled by MPs over rail chaos

“The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, could be called to face MPs over the botched timetable changes that have led to chaos across England’s rail network. As the mass cancellations of trains by Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) continued into an 11th day, Lilian Greenwood, the chair of the transport select committee, said she would ask the committee on Monday to review the situation, which may lead to a full parliamentary inquiry. Greenwood, the Labour MP for Nottingham South, said Grayling, Network Rail and the train operating companies all had questions to answer about the introduction of the timetables on 20 May and how they managed the subsequent disruption, which has become a “complete shambles”.” – The Guardian

  • Minister ‘asleep at the wheel’ as Northern transport problems deepen – Andy Burnham, Times Red Box

Tory MPs urge May to relax visa rules for Health Service workers

“Theresa May is facing a backbench revolt over the availability of foreign workers for the NHS. Dozens of Conservative MPs have signed a letter written by Heidi Allen, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, to the prime minister begging for a relaxation of immigration rules to address the NHS staffing shortage. If a British employer wants to hire a skilled worker from outside the EU on a tier-two visa, it must prove that the position could not be filled by anyone already in the country. The government has also capped such visas at 20,700 a year in a bid to reduce annual net migration to tens of thousands. Applications have regularly exceeded the monthly cap this year. One government source suggested yesterday that the approach to the issue inside government, including inside No 10, was changing. The Times has obtained Ms Allen’s letter, which is supported by more than enough Tory MPs to defeat the government.” – The Times

  • Sturgeon told to stop ‘putting nationalism before the NHS’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Scottish anger and frustration at UK immigration rules – FT


  • Solving problems, not ‘appealing to voters’, will deliver Tory victories – Ryan Bourne, Daily Telegraph

Muslims want Blackman to be Islamophobia ‘test case’

“A Conservative MP who shared a fake story from an anti-Muslim website should be the subject of a test case for how the party deals with Islamophobia, Muslim leaders said yesterday. Bob Blackman, the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for British Hindus, shared a tweet by the website ShankhNaad, which has been repeatedly accused of publishing false stories designed to cause community tensions between Hindus and Muslims. Six months ago he shared a tweet with his 10,000 Twitter followers that said: “BREAKING: Hindu woman Tina Rajawat stabbed to death by her Muslim driver Naeem Khan for rejecting marriage proposal in #Udaipur! #LoveJihad.”… Mr Blackman, the MP for Harrow East, deleted the tweet last month but it was archived by the website Politwoops, which records every tweet deleted by members of parliament.” – The Times

  • Tory members tell of Islamophobic experiences – The Guardian
  • Council candidate suspended for ‘sick joke’ – The Sun


  • Party needs to tackle impression that it is hostile to Muslims – The Times

>Today: ToryDiary: Wanted. A Muslim, a woman, and a fearless campaigner to review claims of Tory anti-Muslim prejudice.

Justine Greening: Eight reasons why Heathrow expansion is a bad idea

“We’re an island without an airport strategy. First, at least get on and add some more capacity where it is viable. Gatwick causes less air pollution, is much cheaper, is less noisy to far fewer people, supports Scotland routes more than Heathrow, needs much less transport investment, has flights over far fewer people, and is less risky to build as the space has been set aside for it for years. But even that’s not a long term strategy. After that we need a smarter South East England and regional airports strategy reflecting that people want point to point flights. Who likes wasting time changing planes in a hub airport if you can fly direct? Low cost carriers on point to point are moving into long haul already which could be just the market shift regional airports and our economy needs.” – Times Red Box

Umunna criticised for advertising unpaid internship

“A Labour MP has been slammed for advertising for an unpaid intern while campaigning for fairer salaries. Former leadership contender Chuka Umunna is currently seeking a student to work for free for a year at his London office. According to the advert, the post only covers travel costs and ‘maybe some additional expenses, but that’s all.’ The advert, which was circulated to students at the University of Leeds, says: ‘Chuka Umunna is seeking an enthusiastic placement student to join his London-based office.’ Work responsibilities include researching a wide variety of policy issues and constituent enquiries, preparing letters and briefings and assisting in management casework. Mr Umunna has been a long-standing critic of low paid jobs and unfair work practices.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbyn rebukes MPs over hiring practices – The Times

Original ‘loony left’ council boss has new Labour job

“The Trotskyite 1980s leader of Lambeth council has won a senior position in the local Labour party. “Red” Ted Knight, 84, was unanimously elected on Wednesday as a trade union representative to the south London council’s local campaign forum, a committee that presides over candidate selection, campaign activities and election strategy across three parliamentary seats. Labour moderates fear that he could help to propel far-left allies on to candidate shortlists. A source at Lambeth Labour said: “Ted Knight is a relic from a very unpleasant era. He was primarily responsible for the self-indulgent rate-capping rebellion which left residents paying off debts from his illegal budgets for decades. The fact that he now has a seat on the committee sends a terrible message our voters.”” – The Times

  • Corbyn ally criticised for attending rally in support of suspended member – The Sun

>Yesterday: Left Watch: McDonnell’s new spinner wants voters to learn all about the time Livingstone sacked him for messing up London’s finances

SNP under fire for £1.7 billion downgrade in Scottish tax receipts

Scotland is facing a £1.7 billion black hole in its spending money for public services thanks to a dramatic decline in wages and tax revenues, according to official forecasts that prompted accusations of SNP incompetence. The Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) said it had downgraded its projections for devolved tax revenues in the current financial year by £220 million, compared to when it last conducted the calculations in February… Mr Mackay set out the forecasts while presenting his first medium-term financial strategy to MSPs at Holyrood. He blamed Brexit and UK Government austerity, which he described as a “fiscal straitjacket” on Scottish growth. But Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tories’ Shadow Finance Minister, claimed the figures were the product of years of SNP “neglect” while the party obsessed about the constitution.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Tories accuse Nationalists of putting independence ahead of governing – Daily Express
  • Scotland faces five years of anaemic growth – FT
  • Telegraph wins ‘fake news’ ruling against SNP over Union Flag story – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Henry Hill’s Red, White, and Blue column: SNP blueprint for independence alienates left-wing supporters

Former DUP minister says Government won’t risk abortion move

“Former DUP Health Minister Jim Wells has said the Prime Minister “is not going to endanger” its Westminster arrangement with his party by “trying to push through abortion” here. The South Down MLA was speaking outside the Lisburn DUP offices of Edwin Poots MLA, Jeffrey Donaldson MP and Paul Givan MLA as pro-choice activists from Rosa NI protested against his party’s stance on the issue. He described abortion in Northern Ireland as “absolutely crucial” to the confidence and supply deal in the Commons, and said there were “other big issues” for Theresa May. “For instance, there’s been 54 votes on Brexit in our Parliament – 49 of them have been won by 10 or fewer votes,” he said.” – Belfast Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Britain and abortion. Women are more likely to support new restrictions.

News in Brief:

  • The deadly campaign against vaping – Christopher Snowdon, CapX
  • NATO and Russia heading for a clash over Poland – Hugo Blewett-Mundy, Reaction
  • Trump has turned the Mueller investigation on its head – Byron York, The Spectator
  • The European Union versus democracy – Austin Mitchell, Brexit Central
  • Are centrists a threat to democracy? – Peter Franklin, UnHerd