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Obama suggests that the Iraq operation will last for months; UK to provide humanitarian aid

Iraq flag“‘I’m not going to give a particular timetable, because as I’ve said from the start, wherever and whenever U.S. personnel and facilities are threatened, it’s my obligation, my responsibility as Commander-in-Chief, to make sure that they are protected,’ Obama said. … ‘I don’t think we are going to solve this problem in weeks,’ the President said, noting that rebuilding Iraq ‘is going to be a long-term project.’ … The U.S. president said that he spoke on the phone this morning with United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande and both leaders said they would join the U.S. in providing humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “The Islamic State has threatened a fresh wave of violence against the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq, saying they will execute 300 families whom they have surrounded in northern Iraq.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “US air strikes are boosting Kurdish morale as they hit Isis fighters, and Kurdish forces say they have opened a road for thousands of Yazidis cut off in the mountains.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “The 2003 invasion of Iraq contributed to the country’s current disintegration and mounting crisis at the hands of Islamist militants, David Miliband has conceded, as he expressed fresh regret over Britain’s involvement in the war.” – The Observer
  • “Prince Harry has revealed the horrors he saw of the battlefields of Afghanistan and his memory of flying home alongside ‘young lads . . . wrapped in plastic and missing limbs’.” – The Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

  • Ian Birrell“‘He told us that either we become Muslims or they would kill us all,’ said Falah, mayor of the village made up mainly of members of the ancient Yazidi sect. ‘We offered money but they would not accept it.’” – Ian Birrell reports from Iraq for the Mail on Sunday
  • “Iraq has disintegrated. Little is exchanged between its three great communities – Shia, Sunni and Kurd – except gunfire.” – Patrick Cockburn, Independent on Sunday
  • “We know the dangers of inaction – the West must intervene in Iraq” – Lord Dannatt, Sunday Telegraph
  • “The Government should be doing more to speak out about the suffering of religious minorities” – Douglas Alexander, Sunday Telegraph
  • “A good friend of mine has vanished into an Iranian prison. I am writing this in the hope that it will help to free him.” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • “It is precisely because of our participation in the Iraq war that we now have an obligation to intervene once again” – Independent on Sunday
  • “What a bloody mess. And what a source of shame for the West that so much blame for the carnage now visiting Iraq lies with us.” – Mail on Sunday editorial
  • “Let us hope that Mr Obama’s credibility withstands this test better than it did his unhappy drawing of red lines in Syria.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)
  • “The outside world must help Iraqis turned into refugees, and prevent the creation of an Islamist semi-state” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday:

Borismania 1) How the “Friends of Boris” plan to install their man as party leader

Boris Hurdles“A hard core of pro-Boris Tory MPs are privately vowing to force the Prime Minister to quit if he tries to form a second Coalition with the Lib Dems. … The Friends Of Boris (FOBs) then expect their man to sweep to victory in a party leadership contest before calling a second Election during the honeymoon period to capitalise on his popularity. … The FOBs believe that up to 100 Tory MPs would vote with Labour against the Queen’s Speech of a second Coalition – enough in a hung Parliament to kill the agreement at birth and force Mr Cameron to resign, they say.” – Mail on Sunday

Borismania 2) He reckons that he’s up to the job

“Today Boris Johnson pitches to be the next Conservative leader, making clear that he is ready to lead his party after six years running London. … In an interview with The Sunday Times, the capital’s mayor reveals for the first time that he decided to take his current job to ‘show what I can do’ and says he now has the ‘ruthless energy’ to succeed David Cameron. … In his clearest signal that he is planning to succeed the prime minister as Tory leader, Johnson admits that he ran for mayor to burnish his CV. He said: ‘I thought: how could I rapidly acquire massive administrative experience? How can I show what I can do?'” – Sunday Times (£)

Read the Sunday Times’ interview with Boris in full (£)

  • “Boris Johnson has opened a huge lead over rivals in the race to succeed David Cameron as Tory leader. … An exclusive poll for The Sun on Sunday puts him 19 points clear of Home Secretary Theresa May — up from six points in June.” – The Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Boris Johnson’s father has told him to ‘sock it to them’ when he returns to Parliament and suggested that he would like to see his son become the next Prime Minister.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Conservative Central Office is lining up Boris Johnson as a ‘spinner’ for David Cameron if live leaders debates are repeated in the 2015 election campaign.” – Independent on Sunday

Borismania 3) Andrew Gimson casts him as the Tories’ Fletcher Christian

Andrew Gimson sketch pic“Tory politics over the next year or two may turn out to be more like Mutiny On The Bounty, with Cameron as Captain Bligh and Boris as Fletcher Christian, the leader of the mutineers. … But the time for this parting of the ways has not yet come. Cameron and Osborne have the chance to achieve in 2015 the victory which eluded them in 2010. Any Conservative who disrupts the General Election campaign will not be forgiven.” – Andrew Gimson, Mail on Sunday

And further comment:

  • “There is no MP in any party with the combination of talent and achievement that can rival the Boris stardust. … Unfortunately for Osborne, he is already yesterday’s man.” – Nadine Dorries, Mail on Sunday
  • “‘Johnson versus Johnson’ may not be as far-fetched as it sounds, say acolytes of young Jo.” – Anne McElvoy, Mail on Sunday
  • “The Mayor’s return is only a problem for No 10 if it is interpreted as a zero-sum game” – Matthew d’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph
  • “The Tories need Boris, the Eton everyman, to woo minority voters” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “…we love Johnson because he is good at making us love him, and we feel disdain for Miliband because he seems incapable of stopping it.” – Archie Bland, Independent on Sunday
  • “Blond Bombshell is back… but Cam’s still team captain” – Louise Mensch, The Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “You can tell it’s silly season: Boris and the Eurosceptics are out in force” – William Keegan, The Observer
  • “Boris would refresh Westminster” – Euan McColm, Scotland on Sunday
  • “Boris, prove that you are big enough to unite your party, not divide it. Good luck.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)

Warsi casts aspersions on the Tories’ electoral changes and on Cameron’s people

WARSI Sayeeda“David Cameron cannot win a majority at the next general election because the Tories have neglected ethnic minority voters, Britain’s first female Muslim cabinet minister warns today. … Baroness Warsi says party bosses are failing to face ‘electoral reality’ by ignoring non-white voters and it is now ‘too late’ to hope that they will support the Conservatives next year in the numbers needed to win outright. … She also lashes out at the coterie of ‘public school’ allies around Cameron who dismissed her as ‘a brown, working-class woman’ who was ‘not good enough’ to be a minister, branding them the ‘bitchiest’ people she has known.” – Sunday Times (£)

“Then she adds: ‘The electoral reality is that we will not win outright Conservative majorities until we start attracting more of the ethnic vote. This issue is not linked to a particular ethnic vote. It is a broader issue about the party being open to a broader range of views and experiences.’ … She is also intriguingly complimentary about Boris Johnson, contrasting him indirectly with Cameron – and perhaps opening the door to another possible leader.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “How ironic that Sayeeda Warsi should make her dramatic exit from the Foreign Office just as it is struggling to shake off decades of prejudice against women diplomats.” – Sue Cameron, Sunday Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – Warsi gets one thing right – and everything else wrong

Cameron goes against the Home Office, and vetoes higher fees for firearm licences

“David Cameron has vetoed plans to raise the cost of firearms licences, despite the agreement of the police and the Home Office. … The prime minister, who has hunted stags on his stepfather-in-law’s 20,000-acre shooting estate, has refused to sign off on proposals to raise the gun licence fee from £50 to £88. … The decision has surprised civil servants, ministers and the police and provoked a further rift between No 10 and the Home Office.” – Sunday Times (£)

May wants tighter border controls

MAY Home Office“Millions of holidaymakers crossing the English Channel face long delays under ‘unworkable’ new immigration laws, travel chiefs warned yesterday. … Home Secretary Theresa May wants ferry and rail firms to carry out stringent exit checks to improve border security and identify illegal immigrants. … Staff at firms including Eurostar, Eurotunnel and P&O face taking on the role of border guards by scanning all passports and checking that photographs match the passengers before they board.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A murderer from Bangladesh will be allowed to come to live in Britain on human-rights grounds after a legal error by the Home Office.” – Sunday Telegraph

The Foreign Office warns of Russian spies

“Russian spies will break into the hotel rooms of visiting British businessmen, tap their phones and hack their laptops, according to a stark warning from the Foreign Office. … An updated risk assessment published last week alerts travellers that Vladimir Putin’s agents could follow or film them, search their cars and offices or approach their staff. … The new guide adds that corruption is ‘endemic’ in Russia and there is a ‘high threat’ from terrorism as well as ‘human rights’ breaches.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “President Barack Obama and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, agreed on Saturday that Russia would face ‘additional consequences’ if it intervened in Ukraine without permission from the Ukrainian government, the White House said.” – The Observer
  • “Alan Duncan has been made Britain’s ‘special envoy’ to Oman by David Cameron after resigning as international development minister. Details of the appointment were quietly announced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) last Monday…” – Sunday Times (£)

IDS: My reforms are working

IDS on Marr“Iain Duncan Smith will signal a new war on welfare tomorrow when he argues that his crackdown on benefits is slashing unemployment. … The Work and Pensions Secretary – who is engaged in a behind the scenes battle with No 10 over the stringency of Tory benefits policies in the election manifesto – will use a hard-hitting speech to call for a further toughening in policies. … It comes as Whitehall sources say benefits policies will form a key part of the party’s Election manifesto, including the idea of lowering the £26,000 cap on benefits to bring it closer into line with the average take-home pay of about £18,000, and a plan to limit to two the number of children for whom benefits can be claimed.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A quarter of Britain’s teachers, a third of police officers and one in 10 nurses have been dragged into the 40p rate in the past decade as it has become the ‘norm’ for millions of people, official figures have revealed for first time.” – Sunday Telegraph

Redwood wants to keep Scottish MPs away from English legislation

Scottish flag“A leading Tory will this week call for Scottish MPs to be banished from the Commons chamber for several days each week to end “lopsided devolution” that gives Scots more rights than the English. … John Redwood, the former cabinet minister, will use a speech on Tuesday to argue that there is ‘no way’ voters in England will tolerate further devolution of tax powers to Edinburgh unless they get an English parliament. … He will call for MPs in England to sit for part of the week in the House of Commons without their Scottish and Welsh counterparts to discuss English-only issues.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Alex Salmond’s ‘blokeish attitude’ has made him a liability among women in Scotland during the independence referendum campaign, according to one of his chief opponents.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “With only weeks to go until Scotland goes to the polls to decide on its future, key strategists for the Nationalist and Unionist movements unveil their battle plans for the campaign’s last 40 days.” – Scotland on Sunday
  • “Scotland’s government is spending vast sums from state funds on the campaign for separation – yet it doesn’t have to publicly declare a penny” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “One of Scotland’s top breast cancer surgeons has warned the country’s heath could suffer if it wins independence.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • Andrew Roberts“For all that the Yes campaign has tried to discount all non-Scots’ views on independence, there is nothing wrong with the rest of the United Kingdom reminding the Scots they are admired, valued and respected co-creators of the United Kingdom, indeed central to the whole fabulously successful project. … The rest of the country regards them with an affection bound over three centuries of a joint endeavour, a unity which it would be tragic to throw away.” – Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday
  • “… we know that most English people really like the Scots. Pleasingly, most ordinary and decent English people don’t feel it necessary to write open letters to the Scots to show how much they value us.” – Kevin McKenna, The Observer
  • “Surprisingly, the two groups that are coming out most in favour of staying in the UK are the under-25s and women.” – Margareta Pagano, Independent on Sunday
  • “Alex Salmond’s green dream requires a huge cheque from England” – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Suddenly Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond no longer looks like the cat who got the fried Mars bar.” – Tony Parsons, The Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Salmond’s problem is simple. A voter with zero interest in macroeconomics, and no desire to remedy that lack of knowledge, knows exactly what it means to have a Plan A and a Plan B.” – Scotland on Sunday editorial

> Yesterday:

Baroness Newlove vows to give victims “the voice they deserve”

“Victims are fed up with being dismissed and treated with zero respect. … This week we have seen yet again a victim’s family let down in the most shocking way. … Two parents relived the anguish of their son’s murder by putting it into a victim personal statement. Their words were then dismissed by a parole board judge as being of no importance. … I want to see everyone in the justice system getting a better grip on why this statement is so important. It must be considered with the respect and humanity that victims deserve and explained to them in an honest way.” – Baroness Newlove, The Sun on Sunday (£)

“The fight has gone out of him.” Clegg’s people brief against Cable

CABLE Dr Evil“Allies of Vince Cable reacted furiously last night over a Liberal Democrat ‘whispering campaign’ suggesting that he is on the brink of walking out of the Coalition. … The Mail on Sunday has been told by two well-placed sources within the party that the 71-year-old Business Secretary is considering leaving the Cabinet immediately after the party’s autumn conference. … One source close to leader Nick Clegg insisted: ‘He wants to step aside from the grind of office and take up an Election campaigning role in which he would woo back disaffected Lib Dems.’” – Mail on Sunday

Davey intends to draw heat from rivers

“More than 20,000 homes could be heated by drawing energy from just 40 urban rivers and estuaries, from the Tyne in Newcastle down to the Stour in Bournemouth, according to new government research. … The Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, wants to see quick development of water-source heat pumps. These draw residual heat from rivers, which is then fed into local networks or single buildings to provide a low-carbon form of energy.” – Independent on Sunday

D. Miliband discusses E. Miliband

David Miliband“Relations between the brothers are said to be effectively non-existent. Do they still talk? ‘Of course,’ he said. ‘I’m not going to go into it with you. But at a personal level, it’s not something you can come away from’. … ‘Both Ed and I want the other to succeed,” he said. “Strongly, passionately. And we also both work hard to keep personal lines open and private. I’m focused in succeeding in my job … and I want him to succeed in his job. And I’m sure it’s the same for him.'” – The Observer

Labour MPs attack the Royal Navy’s “disgraceful” sacking of female warship captain…

“Royal Navy top brass were last night accused by women MPs of ‘disgraceful’ sexual prejudice over their treatment of a female warship captain stripped of her command after allegations of an affair with a male officer. … Gisela Stuart, a member of the Commons Defence Select Committee, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I am wondering that if she had been a man and it had been the other way around whether the [military] machinery would have managed to move with such speed.’” – Mail on Sunday

…and the closure of Sure Start centres

“More than 600 Sure Start centres for families with young children have been shut or merged since the coalition came to power, according to a Labour Party survey of local authorities released today. … The party claims that as a result of council funding cuts, Sure Start centres have been shutting at the rate of three a week, while many others have been forced to reduce the services they offered.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “Union leaders have warned of increased poverty, crime and unemployment for a generation of young people as coalition cuts devastate council budgets reserved for running youth services.” – Independent on Sunday

“I am here because of who I am, not what I did.” MacShane reflects on his time in prison

Prison bars“C Wing’s squalor is shameful. Food falls off plates on stairs going up to landings and stays rotting on the floor. Little wonder there is always  a queue outside the bars of the medical room. … The door opens and a guard hands me a dozen letters, emails and Christmas cards forwarded from Belmarsh. … I was certain when in Belmarsh that mail was being withheld as an extra punishment for prisoners. Now I am getting my Christmas cards three weeks late. I get a Season’s Greetings card from Tony Blair and Cherie. ‘Thinking of you,’ writes Tony, and I know his hand so it’s for real. Bless.” – Denis MacShane, Mail on Sunday

  • “Peers exposed by The Sunday Times for claiming excessive or fraudulent expenses are asking for up to £4,000 a month in allowances for turning up at the House of Lords.” – Sunday Times (£)

Labour fears a “brain drain” from Parliament

“More than 15% of Ed Miliband’s MPs are set to quit parliament before the next election, raising fears among senior Labour figures of a ‘brain drain’. Thirty Labour MPs – 15 with ministerial experience – have announced that they are leaving, despite polls suggesting that the party will form the next government. … A senior Labour party source said it expected at least 10 more of its MPs to stand down before the election, pushing the proportion of those leaving to 15.5% of the parliamentary party.” – The Observer

UKIP MEP: Hitler was a “magnetic and forceful public speaker”

UKIP glass“Nigel Farage was facing a storm of protest last night after one of his MEPs was revealed to have coached Ukip candidates to emulate Hitler. … Bill Etheridge described the Nazi dictator as a ‘magnetic and forceful public speaker’ who ‘achieved a great deal’ – and said the candidates should copy the rhetorical style deployed by Hitler at the Nuremberg rallies. … Mr Farage is on the brink of formally confirming his intention to stand for Parliament in the Kent seat of Thanet South.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “One of the leading contenders to become the new chairman of the BBC Trust once attended gatherings of a far-Right group who gave Nazi salutes, sang songs glorifying Adolf Hitler and campaigned in favour of ‘racial purity’.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “I’m not going into policy, because I can’t” – UKIP’s Jane Collins is interviewed in the Observer
  • “… while BNP support typically comes from areas affected by a rapid influx of migrants, Ukip is popular in predominantly white areas that have seen little demographic change.” – Independent on Sunday

Watchdog admits that they failed the elderly from fear of legal action

“The elderly and vulnerable were failed by a watchdog set up to protect them because it feared legal threats from owners of care homes, it has admitted. … The head of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it has too often ‘backed off’ from making attempts to close unsafe homes and “tended not to fight back” when was legally challenged. … David Prior, chairman of CQC, made the disclosures as the regulator vowed to change its approach, to be ‘much more robust’ in taking on poor providers of care.” – Sunday Telegraph

  • “Fifty carers for the disabled are staging one of the longest strikes in the history of the health service to secure a living wage for staff working in privatised services formerly run by the NHS.” – The Observer

And comment:

  • “It is not good enough for care homes merely to pass an inspection on technicalities: they must also show a requisite degree of compassion, humanity and patience” – Sunday Telegraph editorial
  • “Care workers do a valuable and essential job and deserve to be properly rewarded, not treated so disgracefully” – Observer editorial
  • “The Doncaster Care UK strike is about putting values over profit” – Will Hutton, The Observer

Bad doctors allowed to keep on practising

NHS“Some of Britain’s worst doctors have been allowed to carry on practising despite making fatal medical errors and engaging in criminal behaviour, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. … In spite of such failings as overlooking cancer symptoms, botching operations and kerb-crawling, they have been effectively let off with a slap on the wrist. … Cases included: A surgeon who threw a scalpel across an operating theatre during an operation.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A NHS director groped a teenage worker on a boozy night out. … Bosses have launched a probe into inappropriate sexual behavour — but Ashford has been allowed to continue in his £100,000-a-year job.” – The Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Jeremy Hunt is facing an unprecedented High Court challenge over the potential closure of dozens of GP surgeries in inner-city areas” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Nurses are pushing Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to find up to £15m to fill a black hole in their regulator’s accounts.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “A Tory party donor has emerged as one of the biggest investors in a medical trials company being investigated on suspicion of being a tax avoidance scheme.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “A&E units forced nearly 310,000 patients to wait more than half an hour outside hospitals in ambulances last year, latest figures reveal.” – The Sun on Sunday (£)

Is the Islamification of schools in Birmingham still going on?

“Five head teachers who suffered bullying at the hands of hardline Muslim governors in Birmingham have warned of a ‘second layer’ of extremists plotting to take over state schools in the city. … Providing striking accounts of the intimidation that they claimed they had been subjected to during the so-called Trojan Horse affair, the group urged Nicky Morgan, the new education secretary, to support further investigations into the Islamification of schools in Birmingham.” – Sunday Times (£)

Pupils to spend more time studying for GCSEs

School“A revolutionary shake-up of the secondary school timetable will mean pupils spend three years, instead of the current two, studying for GCSEs in crucial subjects such as maths and English … Many schools are expected to begin GCSE studies when pupils are 13, in response to government education reforms that have made exams harder.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “Bright pupils are being discouraged from applying to Oxford and Cambridge by state school teachers who believe Britain’s top universities are full of ‘toffs’, according to research.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “A head teacher has urged the government to scrap the ban on parents taking their children out of class for cheap holidays after his own study suggested that pupils who went on term-time trips performed ‘significantly better’ academically.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Pushy middle-class parents should not risk their children’s job prospects and happiness by insisting they take traditional degrees and enter professional careers, the head of the universities admissions service has warned.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “University applicants with rock-bottom A-level grades will win places this year as the government relaxes the cap on student numbers, leading universities have warned.” – Sunday Times (£)

News in brief

And finally: John Prescott, climate champion

John Prescott“He is meant to be helping to save the planet. Yet Lord Prescott has clocked up more than 40,000 air miles in five months – all while travelling to and from climate change conferences. … Since February the ex-Deputy Prime Minister and former Environment Secretary has attended all-expenses paid summits in Europe, North America, India and China. … The circumference of the globe is about 25,000 miles, meaning the former Hull East MP has travelled around the world almost twice in less than six months.” – Mail on Sunday

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