May’s message for Remainer rebels

‘Theresa May will today call on die-hard Remainer Tories to prove they respect the Brexit referendum result by backing her in a series of crunch votes. The PM will urge rebels to send a message of unity to the country as she tries to reverse attempts by Peers to scupper Britain’s departure from the EU. A group of pro-EU MPs are threatening to vote with Labour on a string of House of Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill which – if not overturned – would do catastrophic damage to the negotiations. Mrs May will tell them: ‘We must be clear that we are united as a party in our determination to deliver on the decision made by the British people.’ It comes on the eve of two days of high-stakes debates in the House of Commons. In an unprecedented show of unity, former Cabinet Ministers Amber Rudd and Iain Duncan Smith told pro-EU backbenchers to ‘march in lockstep’ or risk opening the door for Jeremy Corbyn.’ – Daily Mail

  • She will address the 1922 Committee tonight – The Sun
  • Raab and Lidington have different accounts of the future backstop – The Times
  • Whitehall ‘secrecy’ is harming the negotiations – The Times
  • The Prime Minister could win the 2022 election, Shapps claims – The Sun
  • Starmer tries to woo Tory MPs – The Guardian
  • Labour say immigration might go up under a Corbyn government – Daily Mail
  • Are they edging towards retaining ‘workers’ free movement’? – The Times
  • Questions over Banks’s Moscow trip – Daily Mail
  • He claims he briefed the CIA about the meetings – The Times



>Today: ToryDiary: Storm in a vodka glass


Rebalance post-school education funding away from universities, Lords propose

‘Youngsters who opt not to go to university are being let down by a post-school education system that is “too heavily skewed” towards degrees, a withering report has found. The House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee warned that funding was unbalanced, offered poor value for money to taxpayers and requires immediate reform. Funding for youngsters wanting to take an alternative route after leaving school was “less generous and confusing”, the report said. Peers called for a “better distribution of public funding” across all forms and institutions in higher and further education, and recommended a single regulator for all higher education (Level 4 and above) and a single regulator for other post-school education (Level 3 and below). In its report entitled Treating Students Fairly: The Economics of Post-School Education, the committee concluded: “Our system of post-school education is not a system. It is unbalanced in favour of one route, and as a result offers poor value for money to some individuals, taxpayers and the economy. It requires immediate reform.”’ – The Sun

  • Baby boomers’ wealth means windfalls for millennials later on – The Times
  • The LGA warns that Right to Buy could collapse – The Sun
  • A year after Grenfell, thousands still live in unsafe buildings – FT
  • Ending homelessness would cost £10 billion but save £26 billion, report finds – The Times
  • Lack of data hampers drive for racial equality – The Sun
  • Teaching union boss attacks Shakespeare – The Times


>Today: Rebecca Lowe’s column: Fight for the right to choose of the poor, the fat and, yes, the stupid

Javid: Our counter-terrorism plans are controlled by careful checks and balances

‘Our updated counter-terrorism strategy sets out how we will deal with the unprecedented challenge we face, and today the counter-terrorism and border security bill will be debated in parliament for the first time. This important piece of legislation will allow the police and MI5 to disrupt threats earlier, and ensure our laws reflect modern use of the internet. It will change existing laws to better manage terrorist offenders and permit more effective investigations. It will also give police more powers to investigate hostile state activity in the wake of the Salisbury attack. These changes will make us safer – but there was no blank cheque when we went about deciding what these new powers would be. The bill is the product of a carefully considered process. We have built safeguards and oversight into this legislation so that the public can have confidence in its proportionate use.’ – Sajid Javid, The Guardian

  • Fast-track push for new detectives – Daily Mail
  • Cocaine glut drives surge in violence – The Sun
  • Young barristers urge strike action – The Times
  • May won’t back Javid on hostile environment – The Sun
  • Italy turns away rescue boat carrying migrants – Daily Mail
  • Palermo mayor defies his government – The Guardian

Inside Williamson’s Ministry of Defence

‘Insiders at the Ministry of Defence raised serious doubts about his performance so far – some say he fails to take on board policy ideas from colleagues…Others believe he has struggled to make the leap from the shadowy underworld of Westminster manoeuvring as government chief whip into the glare of a massive frontline department with an annual budget of over £36 billion and a workforce of almost 200,000 regular military and civilian staff and around 30,000 reserves. Williamson has told friends he was surprised and upset at the level of vitriol directed at him when Theresa May handed him the role…after Michael Fallon was forced to resign over allegations of sexual harassment in November. One thing is clear: He is determined to prove to the Conservative party that he is taking the job seriously and will not shy away from a fight with the Treasury for more military funding. Whether his motives are purely defence-focused remains to be seen…In January, after furious lobbying from Williamson, the government announced that a sweeping review into the military would be broken in two – effectively buying him more time to fight spending cuts being mooted to fill a £20 billion funding gap over the next decade.’ – Buzzfeed

  • 50 Afghan interpreters, and their families, gain right to visas – Daily Mail
  • Prince Harry seeks advice on preventing veteran suicides – The Times
  • Clarke calls for investigation into the UK’s role in torture – The Times
  • Ministers should fund a D-Day memorial – Clive Aslet, The Times

Afolami plans Private Members’ Bill to improve ‘joke’ rail compensation

‘Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, is due to submit the bill this week,calling for higher, automatic compensation for commuters, after disruption caused by the new timetable on Govia Thameslink Railway caused almost a month of delays. The bill, which has cross-party support, will also ask for faster payments. Mr Afolami told The Telegraph some of his constituents received compensation as low as £2 after their expensive trains into London were cancelled, and had to wait up to 28 days to receive that meagre amount. He said: “The low compensation is a joke- it needs to be more generous, it needs to be automatic and faster, and critically the rail ombudsman needs to set very clear service levels — if those are not met there must be generous compensation.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • What will it take for passengers to be treated with respect? – Alex Hayman, The Times
  • Firms are giving incorrect or inconsistent advice to customers – BBC News

The UK is the tech market capital of Europe

‘The UK has established itself as Europe’s tech powerhouse, playing home to 37 per cent of Europe’s unicorn-status tech firms and topping the list of global destinations for tech talent. With London Tech Week kicking off today, new figures show the UK claims 13 of Europe’s 34 unicorns – referring to companies with a $1bn valuation – including Deliveroo, Benevolent AI and Oaknorth Bank. As a result, the UK’s unicorns now represent $23bn (£17.1m) out of a combined value of $62bn for all 34 companies, making it the continent’s premier location for fast-growing technology firms. Over a third of all European firms that have gone on to become billion pound businesses since 1990 are from the UK, several of which have listed. Public companies like Zoopla, Purplebricks and Just Eat represent some of the UK’s 25 exits at $1bn or higher since 2010, research from Dealroom and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) finds. Additional analysis based on companies valued between $250m and $1bn shows the UK holds another 51 potential future unicorns for the years to come, including tech startups like Citymapper, Secret Escapes, Zopa and Atom Bank.’ – CityAM

  • Paris and London battle for the financial future – FT Leader
  • We must impose on tech firms a duty of care towards young users – Daily Telegraph Leader
  • Take phones off children at night, Hancock says – Daily Mail

Doctors should not be criminalised for ‘honest mistakes’, Hunt says

‘Doctors and nurses who make “honest mistakes” while treating patients should not fear criminal prosecution, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, will say today, under rules that will make it more difficult for the regulator to strike off staff convicted of manslaughter. Mr Hunt has accepted the main findings of a review into the use of gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare, which said that criminal proceedings should apply only in extreme cases of “very poor performance”. He ordered the inquiry by Professor Sir Norman Williams, former president of the Royal College of Surgeons, after the case of Hadiza Bawa-Garba, a trainee paediatrician found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter over the death of Jack Adcock, six, who developed sepsis at Leicester Royal Infirmary. The General Medical Council (GMC) and the boy’s family wanted her struck off but doctors said that criminalising clinical errors would create a “chilling effect” that could lead to mistakes being repeated.’ – The Times

  • Medical examiners will investigate patient deaths – The Guardian
  • Would anyone want their child treated by a doctor found guilty of manslaughter? – The Times Leader
  • The Opposition says ageing NHS machines are putting patients at risk – Daily Mail

>Today: Andrew Green on Comment: Staffing the NHS properly requires more training – not endless immigration

Brown: Corbyn is a ‘phase’

Gordon Brown has said that Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity is just a ‘phase’ – as he called for a tax rise to bankroll a rise in NHS funding. The former PM said the Labour leader is a ‘phenomenon’, but warned that his ratings will start to dip when people grow tired of him. He also urged Theresa May to put a penny on national insurance contributions to fund a cash injection for the health service ahead of its 60th birthday next month. Mr Brown told the BBC Andrew Marr Show: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a phenomenon and he recognises peoples’ concerns about a whole range of issues.’ Asked if Cobynism is a ‘phase’ he said: ‘Everything is a phase. Jeremy himself has got to accept no one goes on forever – we are all phases..Politicians have a short shelf life.” – Daily Mail

  • Corbynite Williamson poses for photographs with Livingstone and Wadsworth – The Times

Trump arrives in Singapore for talks with Kim

‘The U.S. president arrived in Singapore today for talks that could change the course of history and earn him the Nobel Peace Prize, if successful in convincing the world’s most isolated nation to end its pursuit of mankind’s most deadly weapons. After a grueling 21 hours of travel that included a refueling stop on a Greek island, Trump touched down at Paya Labar Air Base on Sunday evening. He gave a short wave as he deplaned, and told journalists nearby he was feeling ‘very good’ about his meeting on Tuesday morning local time with Kim Jong-un. Following a short conversation with Singapore government officials sent to greet him, the U.S. president then sped off in his motorcade to conclude his first evening in Singapore in the privacy of his room at the Shangri-La, the luxury hotel housing the U.S. delegation. Tomorrow, he meets with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, following in the footsteps of Kim, who sat down with the head of the summit’s host nation after his own arrival on Sunday afternoon local time on an Air China flight.’ – Daily Mail

  • The two will meet alone, without advisers – The Times
  • Putin is keen to secure some face time, too – Daily Mail
  • The White House accuses Canada of a ‘stab in the back’ – The Times
  • We can no longer trust the US – Alex Massie, The Times
  • Trudeau’s eyebrow appears to fall off – Daily Mail
  • Leaders denounce Trump’s ‘tantrums’ – The Times


Fresh call for an apology over ‘terrible injustice’ of historic adoptions

‘Women forced to give up their babies for adoption in the Fifties and Sixties told yesterday of their decades of heartache as MPs urged the Government to apologise for the scandal. More than half a million newborns were taken from young unmarried women at a time when being a single mother was often seen as shameful. Many of the adoptions were arranged by agencies run by the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the Salvation Army, with the tacit approval of the Government. Some of the women did not see their children again for decades and never recovered from the trauma… Last year, children’s minister Robert Goodwill rejected calls for a public inquiry into the issue, saying it was unlikely to uncover new facts. But a cross-party group of more than 20 MPs now wants the Government to follow Mr Varadkar’s example and make a formal apology.’ – Daily Mail

News in Brief