Leadership 1) Johnson to fight back against charges he is avoiding scrutiny

“Boris Johnson begins a fightback today with the first of a series of public appearances intended to dispel accusations that he is hiding from scrutiny after police were called over an argument with his partner. He will attempt to highlight his campaigning credentials and reassure Tory activists of his suitability to lead their party with five events in the southeast of England today, including a visit to a high street. He is expected to make further appearances across the country in the coming days. The change in strategy comes after an argument with Carrie Symonds, his girlfriend, led to police being called to their London flat by neighbours who heard screaming and shouting.” – The Times

  • Sorry Lefties, but the Tory grass roots is sticking with Boris, come what may – Angela Epstein, Daily Telegraph
  • His private life does matter – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Claims that Johnson objected to media access to the hustings – The Guardian
  • The UK is under threat – Gordon Brown, Daily Mail
  • I was Boris Johnson’s boss: he is utterly unfit to be prime minister – Max Hastings, The Guardian
  • Tory donor complains about “marauding” love life – The Times


Leadership 2) Hunt pledges £15 billion more on defence

“Jeremy Hunt says he would boost defence spending by £15 billion over the next five years if he becomes prime minister. The Tory leadership candidate’s promise would mean spending on defence would rise to 2.5% of GDP by 2023/24, from its current 2%. He said the move would help combat “new threats to western values” and show the UK is “ready to defend its interests”. Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who backs Mr Hunt, said the government must give the armed forces “what they need.” “Jeremy’s clear commitment to do that is one reason why he has my support,” she added.” – BBC

>Today: ToryDiary: Hurry hurry hurry Hunt hurry hurry hurry

Leadership 3) Rees-Mogg attacks “snooping neighbours”

“Jacob Rees-Mogg led a string of senior backbenchers in rallying around the former foreign secretary following the political storm about a row with his girlfriend that has threatened to derail his leadership campaign. They spoke out after an exclusive telephone poll for the Daily Express showed that nine out of 10 readers believe the frontrunner for Downing Street should not have to explain himself over the bust-up with partner Carrie Symonds that led to the police being called to their flat. Mr Johnson, 55, and Ms Symonds, 31, fled their home after anarchist protesters targeted the property in Camberwell, south London, in the wake of incident last week when neighbours alerted police to the argument. He said: “I think it is absolutely dreadful, I really do. I think the idea that snooping neighbours are recording what is going on for political advantage and then class war protesters are coming to politician’s front door, which happened to me as well, is not a good place for politics to be. I think that politicians should feel safe and unmolested in their own homes.” – Daily Express

Leadership 4) We would need EU co-operation to avoid tariffs, Johnson admits

“Boris Johnson has admitted he would need EU co-operation to avoid a hard Irish border or crippling tariffs on trade in the event of no deal. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, the favourite to be next prime minister said: “It’s not just up to us.” But he said he did “not believe for a moment” the UK would leave without a deal, although he was willing to do so. Asked about a row he had with his partner, he said it was “simply unfair” to involve “loved ones” in the debate…In an interview with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Mr Johnson said the existing deal negotiated by Theresa May “is dead”.” – BBC

  • Interview in full – BBC

Leadership 5) Speculation photograph was “staged”

“Yet with insiders suggesting that Miss Symonds was the driving force behind what appear to have all the hallmarks of staged photographs, could the clumsy PR attempt actually have done more harm than good? Believed to have been taken by one of Miss Symonds’ female friends in the Sussex garden of another close confidante, the two cameraphone pictures first raised eyebrows when they appeared on a news website without any credit or fees attached on Monday morning. Although dressed down in a checked shirt and with his back to the camera, blond-haired Mr Johnson appears unmistakable in the images as he leans over a picnic table holding smiling Miss Symonds’s hand.” – Daily Telegraph

Leadership 6) IFS warns against cost of tax cuts

“Boris Johnson’s tax cut proposals would cost the exchequer as much as £20bn a year while mainly benefiting richer households, according to calculations by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The think-tank warned that the Tory leadership front-runner’s “expensive pledges” to cut taxes for high earners and lift the national insurance contributions threshold were incompatible with the government’s promise to end austerity. Mr Johnson announced his proposal to raise the NIC threshold last week after coming under heavy fire for his earlier promise to cut income tax for higher earners and rich pensioners.” – Financial Times

Leadership 7) Hague: No frontrunner can take victory for granted

“The conventional wisdom in all elections is that a candidate who is solidly ahead should play safe, avoid mistakes and win without taking risks. Yet I seem to know a lot of people who were dead certs to win in recent years for whom playing safe didn’t exactly work out well. Remember how Theresa May was so far ahead at the last general election that she was bound to win by a landslide? Or how Hillary Clinton was the hot favourite for the US presidency? Both suffered from the perception that their campaigns were too risk averse and over keen to avoid scrutiny. Surely, you might think, Tory members are so opinionated about Brexit and so sure of who they want already that there is no need for the frontrunner to go flat out. But I would say: don’t underestimate those members.” – William Hague, Daily Telegraph

  • A snap election may be necessary to deliver Brexit – Leader, The Sun
  • Johnson must show he is up to the challenge – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Ireland under pressure from the EU to set out border plans

“Ireland is facing demands from six fellow EU countries to set out detailed plans for how it will manage a no-deal Brexit as fears grow in Brussels that such an exit may be unavoidable, The Telegraph can reveal. In the first clear sign that EU solidarity with Ireland is starting to come under strain, a gang of six states: France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands; are insisting that Ireland must set out in operational detail how it will protect EU borders…The UK Government has already said it will not impose checks on the border in the event of no deal raising the prospect that the full burden of border checks will fall on Ireland.” – Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

  • Boris Johnson: There are “abundant technical fixes” to Irish border issue – Belfast Telegraph

>Today: Columnist Henry Newman: The Alternative Arrangements Commission offers the best route through the backstop problem

Tories choose disgraced MP to stand again

“The Conservatives have selected a former MP ousted by his constituents last week to fight the by-election to retake the seat. Chris Davies lost his job amid an outpouring of public anger over his conviction for fiddling his expenses. Nearly one in five of his constituents voted for a recall petition, far above the number needed to trigger a by-election. Mr Davies was convicted in March after he admitted submitting two false expenses invoices totalling £700 for nine photographs for his office. He was fined £1,500, ordered to pay £2,500 towards legal costs and told to carry out 50 hours of community service for breaching the Parliamentary Standards Act.” – The Times

Gove to bring in new law to protect allergy sufferers

“A law protecting allergy sufferers will be introduced following the death of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse. The teenager died after an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger baguette. Under ‘Natasha’s law’, food businesses will have to include full ingredients labelling on pre-packaged food. Natasha’s parents said “helping save other allergy sufferers and their families from the enduring agony that we will always bear is a fitting legacy for her life.” Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the couple were an “inspiration”. “These changes will make food labels clear and consistent and give the country’s two million food allergy sufferers confidence in making safe food choices,” he said.” – BBC

Grayling joins Hammond to oppose May’s spending plans

“Chris Grayling and other Cabinet Ministers are joining forces to try and block Theresa May’s “outrageous” £27 billion school funding push in a serious blow to Downing Street plans. The Transport Secretary is among a group who have sided with Philip Hammond in the blistering row over the legacy blitz. Sources told The Sun the ‘rebel’ group could even write an official complaint to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill in a staggering move. They claimed Home Secretary Sajid Javid is another “worried” about the plans along with Treasury chief secretary Liz Truss. It comes 48 hours after we revealed Mrs May was planning to try and bypass the Treasury and ask for a show of hands at Cabinet to try and win the green light for her multi-year package.” – The Sun

Javid suggests visa rules could allow varying regional pay requirements

“Home secretary Sajid Javid on Monday asked the government’s migration advisers to examine the case for having discrete visa rules for skilled overseas workers in different UK regions after Brexit. Mr Javid has raised the prospect of geographical variation in the minimum salary threshold for migrants seeking work in the UK after Brexit in a letter to the Home Office’s Migration Advisory Committee. The floor is currently set at £30,000. His intervention comes amid a push by the Scottish National party government in Edinburgh for powers to have its own work visa system because of concerns that Brexit could hurt the country’s economy. “Leaving the EU gives us the opportunity to ensure our immigration system works in the best interests of the UK whilst controlling our border,” said Mr Javid…Employers have long warned that once Brexit takes place, they will struggle to fill job vacancies based on a £30,000 minimum salary level for skilled overseas workers given that three-quarters of EU nationals currently employed in the UK earn below this figure.” – Financial Times

Labour MPs fear new deselection push

“Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby has written to Labour MPs asking them if they intend to stand as candidates in the next election. She wants a reply by 8 July…This is in case a confidence vote against a new Conservative leader succeeds – or indeed if that new leader calls a general election themselves. But that’s unlikely to be the only reason for the letter. One source told me the NEC officers discussed “trigger ballots”- i.e. the process of selection/de-selection – at their meeting. It seems they haven’t changed the rules to make deselections easier – but MPs can still be ousted under existing rules. Essentially, a local party can decide to “trigger” a contest rather than automatically re-adopt the sitting MP. The incumbent -if s/he doesn’t throw in the towel – then has to face a competition to become the Labour election candidate. Some on the Left wanted to see “open” selections in all cases, but that failed to get the support of big unions at last year’s Labour conference.” – Iain Watson, BBC

  • Lord Prescott recovering after stroke – The Times

McDonnell plans “could undermine the entre financial system”

“Shadow chancellor John McDonnell sent shockwaves through the Square Mile tonight amid warnings that his plans to tackle climate change could undermine the entire financial system. In a speech to trade body UK Finance, McDonnell promised a future Labour government would delist companies with poor green credentials from the London Stock Exchange. He also unveiled a plan to stop money being invested in companies whose business model or actions run contrary to Labour’s environmental policy. Many in the City reacted with disbelief to the plans. Top financier Michael Spencer was scathing, describing the policies as “financial totalitarianism”. The former Tory party treasurer said : “It would be a catastrophe for Britain’s business community and the country’s economy if it was ever carried out.” Mervyn Metcalf, managing director of Dean Street Advisers, warned such interference in the free movement of capital risked London’s place as a global financial centre.” – City AM

Brexit Party launches legal challenge to by-election result

“The Brexit party is to launch a formal legal challenge against the result of this month’s Peterborough byelection, where it was narrowly beaten by Labour, claiming that allegations of corruption connected to postal votes need to be investigated. Nigel Farage, the party’s leader, insisted the challenge was about more than the loss to Labour by 683 votes, saying the wider use of postal votes was open to abuse and needed to be investigated. “I know people will say: ‘Oh, but it’s sour grapes.’ It isn’t,” Farage told a press conference in London. “Actually, as far as I’m concerned, this is about a lot more than Peterborough. It is about a system that is wide open to corruption, to intimidation, to bribery, to abuse on a whole number of levels. I have mentioned this a number of times in the past.” The party plans to issue a petition under the 1983 Representation of the People Act, which allows election results to be challenged retrospectively for reasons including errors or corruption connected to the polling.” – The Guardian

Trump imposes new sanctions on Iran

“US President Donald Trump has said he is imposing hard-hitting new sanctions on Iran, including on the office of the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Mr Trump said the additional sanctions were in response to the shooting down of a US drone and “many other things”. Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s highest authority, was singled out because he was “ultimately responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime”. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the Americans “despise diplomacy”…Tensions between the two countries have been escalating in recent weeks.” – BBC

Complaint over Lilley telling “sexist” joke

“A Tory peer has been accused of making sexist and offensive remarks after telling a story about a “very pretty sixth former” at an industry awards dinner. Lord Lilley’s comments were reported to the Conservative Party by the head of an investment bank. The former minister finished part of his address to the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association with the words “as open as your homes and your daughters were to me”, according to a witness. Last night Lord Lilley, 75, said that the “daughters” comment had been a quote from a letter written in about 1673 by an MP. He added: “I told a story about a very pretty sixth former, yes, is that sexist?” The speech at the House of Lords event was reported to Rodney Schwartz, chief executive of the investment bank ClearlySo, by a colleague. Mr Schwartz described the comments as shocking and called for an apology.” – The Times

Lobby groups demand huge state spending on housing

“The next PM must spend billions himself to build 145,000 more new cheap homes every year as the only solution to the housing crisis, housing groups today declare. The giant investment programme will cost the Government £12.8bn a year.But an unprecedented alliance of pressure groups and charities insist all other Government attempts over the last decade to build the 300,000 new homes a year that are needed have failed. Only by raising state spending levels back to those last seen under Winston Churchill in the 1950s will enough homes be erected, they argue. In the rare move, five different charities and organisations have joined forces to issue the call. Lead by the National Housing Federation, the group includes charities Shelter and Crisis, the Campaign To Protect Rural England and the Chartered Institute of Housing.” – The Sun

Fox: A US/UK free trade deal could be a trailblazer

“Research by the International Monetary Fund suggests that liberalising trade in services could add about $350 billion (£275 billion) to the GDP of G20 countries in the long term. As an open, liberal services economy, the UK will be strongly placed to champion services trade liberalisation. And in the case of a US-UK free trade agreement, not only will it be a boon for businesses and communities across our countries, but it could also be a trailblazer, setting the global benchmark for how two leading economies can trade with each other. We have always embraced the future as friends, and I have every confidence that America and the United Kingdom will continue that journey together hand-in-hand.” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • A wafer-thin majority could put the next PM in peril from day one – Ashley Cowburn, Independent
  • Could Boris Johnson command the confidence of the Commons? – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • The EU is seeking yet more power from the member states – John Redwood
  • Don’t give up on the Conservative Party just yet – Harry Phibbs, The Article
  • Boris Johnson, not Rory Stewart, is the real Tory insurgent – Ian Acheson, CapX