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Cameron’s plan to seize powers back from Europe will fail, claims Barroso

CAMERON EU fence“David Cameron’s plan to claw back powers from Brussels is ‘doomed to failure’, the president of the European Commission has claimed. … In a provocative intervention Jose Manuel Barroso rubbished Mr Cameron’s plan to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Europe, saying it was ‘unreasonable’ to expect other member states to agree to fundamental changes.” – Daily Mail

> Today, by Bill Cash MP: Sorry, Nigel Farage – UKIP can’t deliver on Europe, but the Conservatives can

As the Prime Minister looks to China

“Ministers hope to seal the rapprochement [with China] with a series of investment deals, including one by the state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in a £650m enterprise zone at Manchester airport. … Mr Osborne will also hope to clinch an investment by state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group in a new nuclear reactor planned by EDF.” – Financial Times

  • Cameron is nearly twice as trusted with the economy as Miliband, according toe Sun/YouGov poll – The Sun (£)
  • Britain’s economy is now growing at one of the fastest rates in the developed world, suggest new figures – Daily Telegraph
  • New report predicts growth of 1.2 per cent in the thrid quarter of this year, among other glad economic tidings – Daily Mail

Downing Street in a battle with defence chiefs over job cuts

Defence cuts“The Army proposes to axe almost 3,000 soldiers in a new round of redundancies in January. … More sackings are certain to embarrass the Prime Minister who has come under fire for the scale of cuts. … Armed Forces documents seen by The Times reveal friction between the Ministry of Defence and Downing Street over how the full-time Army should be shrunk to an affordable size. … David Cameron is increasingly sensitive to the bad publicity that surrounded soldiers losing their jobs, an Army source said.” – The Times (£)

  • Government’s plan to replace full-time soldiers with reservists could encourage post-traumatic stress disorder, campaigners warn – Daily Mail
  • The MoD is taking “huge risks” by outsourcing buying, claims defence think-tank – The Guardian

Osborne set to clash with Davey over green energy targets

“Liberal Democrat Ed Davey and Conservative George Osborne face another coalition clash after the Committee on Climate Change said there was no economic or legal reason to amend a policy that Mr Osborne fears could upset his plans to boost natural gas use. Mr Davey, the energy secretary shares the committee’s view.” – Financial Times

  • “The chancellor claims he’ll balance the books and avoid tax rises. But his record so far is of failure.” – Alistair Darling, The Guardian

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: New nuclear power stations, shale gas exploration – we must deliver new energy sources

Crosby linked to Maltese tax haven

“David Cameron’s election strategist owns and runs an offshore company in Malta, it has been claimed. The link between Lynton Crosby and the tax haven could make uncomfortable reading for the prime minister, who has described legal ploys to avoid tax as morally wrong.” – The Guardian

Grayling proposes tougher sentencing laws for terrorists and paedophiles

Chris Grayling“[Terrorists and paedophiles] will join murderers on a list of criminals not eligible for automatic early release and be kept locked up until either their jail term has been served in full or they are no longer considered a risk to the public. … Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘It’s outrageous that offenders who commit some truly horrific crimes in this country are automatically released from prison halfway.'” – Daily Mail

A thirds of pupils to receive extra help after failing new literacy test

“Almost 177,000 schoolchildren will be given intensive reading support after failing a new government literacy test for six-year-olds, it emerged today. … Pupils will receive extra tuition in phonics, the back-to-basics reading method, because of concerns that they struggle to decode basic words. … [Elizabeth Truss said:] “Many thousands of children will now receive the extra support they need to catch up with their peers and develop a love of reading.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Nearly half of assisted place pupils now earn over £90,000 – Daily Mail

Sarah Wollaston attacks abortion clinics for taking a “no questions asked” approach

“Clinics are employing a ‘no questions asked’ approach to gender abortions, a Tory MP claimed yesterday. … Sarah Wollaston accused a leading provider – the British Pregnancy Advisory Service – of misogyny for refusing to condemn doctors who help parents seeking to get rid of a girl.” – Daily Mail

Will Karen Brady be the Tory candidate for London Mayor in 2016?

“There are rumours of Brady standing as the Tory candidate for London mayor in 2016 when Boris Johnson’s second term is complete. … However, the timing might not work out. Brady will still be working to transform the Olympic Stadium for West Ham after winning the battle with Tottenham Hotspur to secure the site at Stratford.” – The Guardian

Lord Ashcroft: Here’s why the Tories could still win the next election

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 11.05.31“So why, as a Tory, do I think we are in for the closest election for 40 years? And that we could see another term of Prime Minister Cameron? … First, the choice of PM. … Second, the economy. … Third, Miliband is doing surprisingly little to address the worries people have about his party.” – Lord Ashcroft, Daily Mirror

> Yesterday by Lord Ashcroft: What I told the Tories in Manchester

Clegg backs the Tories’ new benefit measures – to a point

“Nick Clegg backed Tory plans to strip the under-25s of benefits if they refuse to take a job or training yesterday saying young people should not be allowed to simply ‘cross their arms and sit on the sofa’. … The Deputy Prime Minister said he would block any ‘blanket removal’ of handouts based simply on age.” – Daily Mail

  • “Removing benefits for the under-25s is the opposite of caring conservatism” – Jane Merrick, The Independent

More from Clegg’s latest radio Q&A

  • Daily Mail is overflowing with bile about modern Britain, says Clegg – The Times (£)
  • Clegg happy to include Farage in TV debates – Daily Telegraph

The Mail on Sunday apologises to Miliband after reporter attends private memorial service

Times Mail Miliband“The Labour leader, who was giving a speech at the service, said he was ‘appalled and shocked’ by the intrusion. … Geordie Greig, the editor of the Mail on Sunday, issued an apology for what he called the newspaper’s ‘terrible lapse of judgment’. … And last night Lord Rothermere, the chairman of Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the Mail and the Mail on Sunday, also apologised in a personal letter to Mr Miliband.” – Daily Mail

But the Labour leader wants more than just that apology

“Labour officials said the apology from Rothermere was ‘an important step’, but noted that the letter made no reference to the controversial article published by the Daily Mail on Saturday … Stoking the row, a Labour spokesman said Miliband still believed the culture and practices of the two papers needed addressing and, until they were, ‘many people will continue to believe that these newspapers are not upholding the values and decency of the British people’.” – The Guardian

  • “The fury of Ed Miliband and other maligned politicans should not be allowed to kill off ailing newspapers” – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • “The Daily Mail and Labour: It is tempting to wish a plague on both their houses” – Simon Kelner, The Independent
  • “Ed Miliband’s stand against the Daily Mail could represent a significant political turning-point” – Donald Macintyre, The Independent
  • “No retreat for Ed Miliband – he’s now Daniel in the lions’ den” – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
  • “The Ralph Miliband I knew embodied the British values the Daily Mail rejects” – Ian Aitken, The Guardian
  • “Is the Daily Mail a force for good or bad?” – Ross Clark and Helen Rumbelow, The Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Ralph Miliband. Plumb wrong – but no hater of Britain

Meanwhile, the Mail keeps on attacking Labour, this time over their “cover-up on failing hospitals”

NHS“Labour tried to block the publication of a devastating report into appalling hospital neglect before the last election. … Ministers told the Care Quality Commission not to release its verdict on Basildon and Thurrock hospital in Essex, where patients were dying from poor care. … Newly-released emails show that the then Health Secretary Andy Burnham was furious when the report was later made public amid massive media coverage.”- Daily Mail

  • “The NHS cover-up has shamed Labour” – Daily Telegraph editorial

And the unions feel the paper’s wrath, too

“Ten unions affiliated to Labour raked in almost £10 million from their investments last year. … In total, the unions concerned have given Labour more than £21 million since the last election. … But, despite attacking tax dodging by major companies, none of them paid a penny of corporation tax on their profits.” – Daily Mail

  • Unite official attacks Miliband ally for criticising union tactics – The Guardian

Ed Balls questions Alex Salmond’s plans for currency union

“The shadow chancellor said that the first minister’s plans for Scotland to set up a sterling zone with the rest of the UK after independence were seriously flawed and illogical. … Balls said the eurozone crisis had proven that a shared currency only worked successfully with ever closer political, monetary and economic union – the exact opposite of the Scottish National party’s project.” – The Guardian

Labour considers another set of energy policies

“Tens of thousands of people would club together to set up their own energy companies under plans being considered by the Labour Party. … The initiative would lead to 600,000 people in ten cities and towns belonging to community-owned or co-operative energy schemes.” – The Independent

Stella Creasy attacks new package of payday loan controls for not capping interest rates

Stella Creasy“One MP who has campaigned vociferously on the issue, Stella Creasy, warned that concerns over payday loans could turn into a scandal to match the mis-selling of payment protection insurance unless more urgent action is taken. … Miss Creasy said the new rules should have included a cap on interest rates.” – Daily Mail

  • “The rise of payday loans is a worrying sign that many families are struggling with low pay and indebtedness” – Times editorial (£)
  • “…the vulnerability of payday loan clients cries out for something swifter and clearer.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Protect the poor from payday loan sharks” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “Modest curbs strike the right balance on payday lenders” – Financial Times editorial
  • “New rules on payday lending are welcome” – Independent editorial

Philip Stephens: Both main parties are fleeing the middle ground

Left and Right“The Conservatives have embraced the politics of pessimism. They are at war with modernity. Lynton Crosby, the party’s campaign chief, hails from a school that says politicians define themselves against the enemy. … Mr Miliband could have seized the chance to claim the territory vacated by the Conservatives. Instead, while a featherweight prime minister has been blown rightward, the leader of the opposition has strolled leftward.” – Financial Times

  • “Cameron cannot speak to the North, Miliband relies on his core vote. Only Clegg can bridge the gap.” – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

Social services and other organisations questioned after the death of Keanu Williams

“A woman murdered her two-year-old son after social services allowed unqualified workers and students to conduct key reviews into his safety. … A serious case review into two-year-old Keanu Williams’s death found authorities failed at ‘fundamental levels of care’, missing ‘horrifying’ cruelty.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Government has the power to take children’s services away from inept councils and hand them to independent trusts. … The question is: Why is it not doing so?” – Sun editorial (£)

Social services and other organisations questioned after the death of Hamzah Khan

“But the agencies were so focused on helping Hutton – believing she was a victim of domestic abuse – that they were oblivious to the threat she posed to her son and the other five young children living in the home. … All the main public agencies have serious questions to answer over Hamzah’s death and the failure to discover his fate until September 2011.” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • “Legalise drugs and you’ll save people’s lives” – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • A disabled woman has won an appeal against the Government’s spare-room subsidy policy – The Times (£)
  • Greenpeace asks the Government to help free six Britons who have been charged with piracy in Russia – The Times (£)
  • At least 19 firms will face investigation over claims that they broke data protection rules – Daily Mail
  • GCHQ faces legal challenge in European court over online privacy – The Guardian
  • The leader of Britain’s GPs attacks the Government for criticising GPs, natch – The Guardian
  • Welsh and Northern Irish pay quarter less tax than English – Financial Times
  • One in three Britons “uncomfortable” with prospect of non-white Prime Minister – The Independent

And finally: “You little weasel”. A driver’s altercation with John Bercow

Weasel“Commons Speaker John Bercow has been called a ‘little weasel’ by a mother who reported him to police for allegedly ‘walloping’ her car. … Nathalie Pulford dismissed the MP as an ‘arrogant toff’ after watching him try to squeeze his Volvo into a tight parking spot in Chelsea. … Mr Bercow denied pranging her car and said he had been offended by her behaviour.” – Daily Mail

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