The Telegraph says that the French refuse to join backers of EU reform (quelle surprise!)

France opposes David Cameron’s plan for European Union reform despite the Prime Minister securing the backing of Germany for a “two-speed” Europe, diplomats have said.

Downing Street was on Friday celebrating German support for a plan to offer new legal protections to EU countries that do not use the euro when Europe’s basic rules are renegotiated.

The Daily Mail also reports this.

The Telegraph also reports that: A deflationary future beckons for much of Europe, but still the ECB won’t listen

Your starter for 10. When is a deflationary threat not a deflationary threat? Answer: when you see the world through the eyes of the European Central Bank.

For some reason, there is a general expectation in financial markets that the ECB is about to see the light and take some form of action against sub-1pc inflation in the eurozone when its governing council meets next week, as indeed there was at last month’s meeting, and the one before that. They should prepare to be disappointed.

General Election 2015

The Daily Mail reports that: Blow for Tories as only one in 10 Ukip voters would switch to stop Ed Miliband.

Just one in 10 Ukip supporters would consider switching their vote to keep Ed Miliband out of Downing Street, a major new poll revealed yesterday. The study by the former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft found that most supporters of the anti-EU party do not believe to David Cameron’s warning that they risk wrecking hopes of an EU referendum by aiding a Labour victory.

The finding is a major blow to the Tories who fear a strong showing for Ukip in next year’s General Election could cost them dozens of seats.


Benedict Brogan, leading in The Telegraph has a piece on: Energy investigation: Does Ed Miliband know what he’s fixing?

Labour is making big efforts to make sure it gets credit for the competition inquiry into the Big Six energy companies. Ed Miliband wants everyone to know that it was his pledge of a price freeze last autumn that triggered a political panic in Number 10 that led, eventually, to yesterday’s announcement from Ofgem. He will propose additional price controls today, extending his market-rigging idea to business. The Guardian has the details and leads with them (Miliband calls for new curbs on energy bills). Labour will try to call a Commons vote next week on an immediate price freeze to keep the pressure up. Mr Miliband is due to speak to the Federation of Small Business today. His argument is that the inquiry ordered by Ofgem dovetails with the 20-month price freeze he’s promised for after the election.

On a different tack, a Guardian article is quietly saying that its Methane which is the “real” problem rather than CO2: White House opens door to new rules to cut methane emissions.

The White House on Friday opened the way to cutting emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry, saying it would study the magnitude of leaks of the powerful greenhouse gas.

The announcement seemed designed to please the international community – which is meeting in Yokohama to finalise a blockbuster climate report – as well as environmental groups suing to force the Obama administration to regulate the oil and gas industry.


According to The Guardian an Independent Scotland ‘may keep pound’ to ensure stability

A currency union will eventually be agreed between an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK to ensure fiscal and economic stability on both sides of the border, according to a government minister at the heart of the pro-union campaign.

The private admission comes amid increasing jitters at Westminster, after opinion polls showed an increase in support for independence despite the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats all arguing that Scotland could not keep the pound after a yes vote.

(Isn’t it funny, within weeks of most high-level government pronouncements, there is a quiet back-track!)


The Guardian reports that Putin calls Obama to discuss proposal for Ukraine, says White House

Russian president Vladimir Putin called Barack Obama on Friday to discuss a US diplomatic proposal for Ukraine and the US president told Putin that Russia must pull back its troops and not move deeper into Ukraine, the White House said.

It was believed to have been the first direct conversation between Obama and Putin since the US and its European allies began imposing sanctions on Putin’s inner circle and threatened to penalise key sectors of Russia’s economy.

Meanwhile, The Express has published this: The EU IS to blame for Ukraine crisis, says Farage as he accuses Lib Dem MEPs of extremism

UKIP leader Nigel Farage today claimed today the Liberal Democrats are part of an “extreme” group determined to expand the borders of the European Union at any cost. Mr Farage once again repeated his belief that the EU is ultimately responsible for the current crisis in Ukraine, by offering “false hope” to its citizens and persuading them to turn away from Russia.

The MEP originally made the claim during Wednesday’s LBC Radio debate with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg on Britain’s relationship with the EU. Yesterday the Deputy Prime Minster had described Mr Farage as “extreme” for making the remarks.


The Independent has an exclusive on a new Free School: Anger over new free school set to be Britain’s most expensive:

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has approved a plan to spend £45m on a free school, making it almost certainly the most expensive in the country even though it has just 500 students, The Independent has learnt.

The cost of setting up the Harris Westminster Sixth Form for high-achieving students is six times the average cost of establishing a free school and equates to around £90,000 per pupil.

The paper does have it in for him, also with this headline:  Two years on, former Education Secretary’s adviser reflects on Michael Gove’s ‘remarkably unintelligent’ term for opponents.


Surprising that The Independent seems to be first to report this: Number of Muslims in prison doubles in decade to 12,000, but their take on it is not surprising:

The dramatic rise prompted calls for ministers to investigate whether police and the courts are treating Muslims more harshly, with some suggesting the rise is due to Islamophobia.

Muslims represent only 4.7 per cent of the population in England and Wales, according to the most recent Census, yet one in seven prisoners (14 per cent) in England and Wales is a Muslim, according to the statistics.

(Or perhaps it is because they DO commit more crimes?)


The Telegraph digs the dirt on their own: Maria Miller ‘to have to repay thousands of pounds and apologise over expenses claims’

The Culture Secretary abused the Parliamentary expenses system by over-claiming for her mortgage and then failing to fully co-operate with an investigation into her conduct, The Telegraph can disclose.

Maria Miller, the Culture secretary, is set to have to repay up to £5,000 and be censured for her claims – following an official Parliamentary inquiry which is expected to report as soon as this week. It can also be disclosed that Mrs Miller has recently sold the south London house at the centre of the scandal for a profit of more than £1million.

(And we are reliably informed she rarely sets foot in her Basingstoke constituency).

The Guardian also runs the story.