Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read posts from today, on airbrushing, Europe and parliament_spy

1. Tories and unionists: what is David Cameron planning?

Henry McDonald blogs at the Guardian about nationalists' reactions to revelations that the Conservatives have held secret talks in England with both the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.

2. Lib Dem MPs split on Euro referendum?

Stephen Tall at Liberal Democrat Voice blogs on reports of disagreements over a Lisbon Treaty referendum.

3. Tories search for new ad chief after Cameron airbrushing furore

Following the Tories' disastrous poster campaign, Public Affairs Central notes that the party is advertising for a "General Election Brand Communications Manager".

4. After the Robinson affair, is a deal on policing and justice within reach?

At Left Foot Forward, Ed Jacobs discusses the state of play with the devolution of policing powers to Northern Ireland.

5. Parliament's Twitter spy is back

James Kirkup celebrates the return of the crowd-sourced gossip project parliament_spy (now called Eye Spy MP) to Twitter.


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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.