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Britain will have sovereignty over human rights, says Grayling – or we’ll leave the ECHR

EU Exit“Britain will force a showdown with Europe to seize back sovereignty over human rights if the Tories win the election. … It will ignore verdicts by Euro judges it does not agree with under an explosive Tory plan to reinstate the primacy of the UK courts and Parliament. … If Strasbourg objects, the UK will resign from the European Court of Human Rights and ‘walk away’. … The promise to reinstate Parliamentary sovereignty and reduce the court to a mere ‘advisory’ role was made by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.” – Daily Mail

  • “We won’t walk away from the principles of human rights. But we will say very clearly that we are a sovereign nation, which upholds the best of human rights, and that decisions about our nation should be taken by our Parliament and our courts, and not somewhere else.” – Chris Grayling, Daily Mail
  • “…our distinctive constitutional arrangements, and the way the Strasbourg court has distorted them, means that change must now come.” – Chris Grayling, Financial Times

And further comment:

  • Newspaper mastheads“The argument is not about human rights, to which we all subscribe. … No, the argument today is whether the European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act help to protect such rights or, by the way in which they have operated, bring the concept into disrepute.” – Michael Howard, Daily Telegraph
  • “Euro human rights gave crooks a soft option.” – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)
  • “The prime minister’s gamble on Europe is far more risky to the country’s future than the Labour leader’s airy plans.” – Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • “This has been a great week for those who believe in Conservative values.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “The Council of Europe, which runs the ECHR, may kick up over us ditching the Act. But, like the EU, it needs our money. … The threat of losing it might just focus their minds on giving Britain what we want.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “The Tories are not interested in sensible reform, but in a gesture to appease their rightwing.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Britain would like to find a reasonable compromise but Mr Cameron is quite right to threaten withdrawal if one cannot be found.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “The Tories’ plan promises not only to restore judicial balance, but to return human rights law to its original noble purpose.” – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today:

The Tories secure their first poll lead for two years

Opinion Poll graphic“The Tories have taken a narrow lead in a nationwide opinion poll for the first time since March 2012. … The dramatic turnaround after 30 months of Labour domination came after David Cameron’s barnstorming speech to close the Conservative conference on Wednesday. … The daily YouGov survey for The Sun is the first since the PM offered up £7billion of income tax cuts during the key Birmingham address – signalling the surprise move will be a big ballot box triumph. … Our latest YouGov poll put the Conservatives on 35%, Labour on 34%, and Ukip on 14%.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Labour has called the tax cuts promised by David Cameron if he is re-elected next year unfunded and regressive, but many of its senior MPs fear such popular offerings could undermine the party’s base.” – Financial Times
  • “While politicians talk of ‘aspiration’, those who have looked hard at the numbers think the next parliament will be more of a slog than a breeze.” – Financial Times
  • “Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, struggled to explain how his party would pay for a £7.2bn double tax-cutting pledge that was the centrepiece of the prime minister’s conference speech.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “…in the bid both to draw a clear dividing line with Labour and reassure the wavering right, [the Tories] have staked out a fiscal position that is neither sober nor realistic.” – Financial Times editorial

> Today: Iain Dale’s column – What I got up to at the Conservative Party Conference

> Yesterday:

Coalition tensions after May aide calls Clegg a “w*****”

MAY biffs Clegg“The row followed Home Secretary Theresa May’s bitter attack on the Lib Dem leader’s refusal to give police and intelligence services powers to monitor internet, email and phone use of terror suspects. … But the Prime Minister backed Mrs May last night and Mr Clegg’s complaint was ridiculed by senior Tories. One told the Daily Mail that Mr Clegg was a ‘w*****’, and claimed his request to see the Home Secretary’s conference speech in advance this week had been rejected. … Last night Lib Dem MP Duncan Hames called for an official investigation into the use of derogatory language to describe Mr Clegg.” – Daily Mail

  • “Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, said relations in the coalition have reached a ‘new low’ after the home secretary called the Liberal Democrat party ‘outrageously irresponsible’.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “For MPs there’s one thing worse than coalition: opposition.” – Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian

> Today: The Deep End’s Heresy of the week – Don’t let’s be beastly to the Lib Dems

Cameron visits Cyprus to meet the RAF squadron striking at ISIS…

Iraq flag“The frontline RAF Tornado squadron spearheading Britain’s air strikes on jihadist fighters in Iraq was saved from government defence cuts last night (TH) – for at least a year. … In a surprise visit to Cyprus, David Cameron announced that 102-year old No II Squadron, which had been due to be disbanded in April, would be reprieved. … He announced the two additional Tornados being sent to the base and confirmed: ‘We will also extend the lifetime of Number Two Squadron for a further year to April 2016 to ensure we can sustain this effort in the months ahead.’” – Daily Mail

  • “Britain is likely to provide training for rebels in Syria fighting on two fronts against Bashar al-Assad’s regime as well as Isis, The Independent understands.” – The Independent
  • “‘Today cabinet has authorised Australian air strikes in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government in support of the Iraqi government,’ Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.” – Daily Mail
  • “Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorised the use of force in both Syria and Iraq, even as the country’s leadership signalled doubts about the US-led campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis.” – Financial Times
  • “A US Marine who ejected from an airplane over the Persian Gulf is ‘presumed lost at sea,’ marking the first reported casualty from the ongoing operation against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “A former high-ranking Obama administration official writes in his forthcoming memoir that the White House was ‘so eager to rid itself of Iraq’ that advisers steered the president toward withdrawing all U.S troops instead of trying to ink an agreement to let them legally stay past 2011.” – Daily Mail
  • “The terrorism case against former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg collapsed after MI5 belatedly gave police and prosecutors a series of documents that detailed the agency’s extensive contacts with him before and after his trips to Syria, the Guardian has learned.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “The MoD has spent £85million on legal challenges arising from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I want money spent on supporting our troops – not fat cat lawyers.” – Michael Fallon, The Sun (£)
  • “The fatal flaw in the west’s fight against Isis” – Philip Stephens, Financial Times
  • “General or PM – who should call the shots?” – Ben Macintyre, The Times (£)
  • “Ankara’s engagement may be a tipping point in the war against Islamic State.” – Times editorial (£)

…and then flies to Afghanistan

“David Cameron has arrived in Kabul to become the first world leader to meet the new but fragile Afghan government led jointly by Ashraf Ghani and his defeated opponent in the presidential race Abdullah Abdullah. … After arriving in the Afghan capital, he said Britain had paid a ‘very high price’ for its involvement in Afghanistan, but that the work had been vital and had left a country transformed.” – The Guardian

UKIP 1) The Prime Minister wants an open primary in Rochester

Farage Nigel Eating Cakes“The Tories want to stop Mark Reckless being elected as a UK Independence Party MP by fielding a ‘people’s candidate’ chosen by members of the public. … David Cameron, the Prime Minister, is keen to hold an ‘open primary’ in the Rochester and Strood constituency before by-election day. … This would mean that any adult who is registered to vote in the constituency can help to choose the candidate to fight the seat for the Conservatives.” – Daily Telegraph

UKIP 2) Farage says, we’re lining up more defectors

“I’m sure there will continue to be talk of more defections, and it’s true, I have made no secret that I have been talking to politicians from both the Tories and the Labour Party. But I think that anyone considering making the leap will wait for the results of the three by-elections before they decide to do so.” – Nigel Farage, The Independent

  • “Ukip’s new multimillionaire donor was reeled in by a wealthy financier based in the Isle of Man for tax purposes, The Times can reveal.” – The Times (£)

UKIP 3) Support for UKIP surges in Heywood – but Labour retain a comfortable lead

“The exclusive Survation poll for The Sun on next week’s Heywood and Middleton vote reveals backing for the anti-EU party has surged to 31%, putting it in a firm second place. … At the 2010 general election, Ukip got just 3% and Labour held the Greater Manchester constituency comfortably with a majority of 5,971. … Labour chiefs are still on course to hold on to the northern constituency, retaining 50% of the support among those who have decided how they’ll vote so far.” – The Sun (£)

  • “The Ukip candidate fighting Labour in a northern by-election has admitted that he is a former Tory voter.” – The Times (£)
  • “It’s the snack that came back to bite one party leader – but Nigel Farage fearlessly tucked into a bacon buttie yesterday in front of photographers.” – Daily Mail

Maude hails Whitehall’s new chief executive

Francis Maude“John Manzoni, a former BP  executive who recently joined the civil service, has been chosen as Whitehall’s first chief executive with a brief to improve efficiency in an age of budget cuts. … Announcing the appointment of Mr Manzoni, current head of the Major Projects Authority, Francis Maude, cabinet office minister, also said all jobs below permanent secretary level would in future be opened up to external competition. … Mr Maude said that after six months in government, Mr Manzoni had ‘passed the tissue rejection test’ that sometimes scuppers the careers of corporate figures who enter public service.” – Financial Times

  • “The government has been accused of a ‘cosy love-in with big business’ after it appointed a former executive of oil giant BP to a new role running the civil service.” – The Guardian

Boris’s affordable flats could cost £2,800 a month

Boris Johnson event“Boris Johnson is set to approve plans for ‘affordable’ flats that the Guardian understands could cost tenants up to £2,800 a month to rent. … The London mayor is expected to grant consent on Friday for the construction of 98 ‘affordable rent’ apartments on the site of the Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant sorting office in central London in a deal that critics say makes a mockery of the idea that affordable housing is for the most needy.” – The Guardian

  • “When Boris Johnson was at university he had most in common with the Green Party, the London Mayor revealed in an interview on London Live today.” – The Independent
  • “Market towns could be forced to treble in size with ‘huge slabs of identikit’ housing developments after the election in the ‘biggest and most worrying threat’ of our time, the chief executive of a English Heritage has warned.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “We should reform council tax – not impose Ed Balls’s ludicrous mansion tax.” – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

The speech that Thatcher would have delivered in Brighton, 1984

“On the day she was due to address colleagues at the Brighton Centre, her hotel, the Grand, was hit by an IRA bomb. … As the nation reeled at such an attack on the heart of Government, the Prime Minister famously insisted on continuing with the party conference agenda, but with a radically revised speech to declare Britain’s defiance in the face of terror. … Now the original text, which historians believe would have eclipsed her address branding miners the ‘enemy within’ a few months earlier – has been revealed in her personal papers from 1984, released today by the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust.” – Daily Mail

Laws on English laws: there should be more proportional voting

England flag“A radical change to the voting system at Westminster, entailing parliamentary bills being passed in a more proportional way, should be introduced to resolve the row over English-only laws, the Liberal Democrats will say on Friday. … In a Guardian article, the Lib Dem minister David Laws calls on the Tories to follow the example of the Labour party in setting aside ‘narrow partisan interest’ to resolve the matter.” – The Guardian

  • “If the English want the union to survive, they must accept apparent unfairnesses.” – Martin Wolf, Financial Times
  • “It’s not because I’m sentimental about the North that I believe it needs devolved powers.” – Chris Blackhurst, The Independent

The Lib Dems want children taught about the realities of mental illness

“Schoolchildren would learn about the risks of sexting, cyber bullying and pro-anorexia websites under Liberal Democrat plans to educate young people about the realities of mental illness. … The junior coalition party wants an overhaul of the national curriculum in England to make personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons mandatory, including lessons about conditions such as anxiety and depression. … They want schools to reflect the NHS’s goal of ‘parity of esteem’ between physical and mental illness.” – The Guardian

  • “The exams regulator has approved a new English A-Level to be taught in schools which will see sixth formers study comedian Russell Brand and rapper Dizzee Rascal.” – Daily Mail

Serving in the Lords is “unaffordable” for normal folk, says Lib Dem peer

Olly Grender“Serving in the House of Lords is ‘unaffordable’ for normal people because peers only get a tax-free allowance of £300 a day, a senior Liberal Democrat said last night. … Olly Grender, deputy chairman of Nick Clegg’s General Election team, said the lavish expenses paid to peers were too low to allow people to give up their jobs. … Critics last night said her comments would be ‘deeply offensive’ to millions of people earning far less.” – Daily Mail

Bullying politicians: a former researcher reveals all

“…a Freedom of Information request has shown that the ‘harassment hotline’ has received a mere 31 calls since launch. … But the real number of people who experience bullying or harassment is likely much, much higher. And, as a former Parliamentary researcher, I should know. … I have witnessed a researcher being told repeatedly to ‘f*** off’ when raising a legitimate concern. Others have confided in me about being shouted at when things get too much.” – Harriet Maltby, Daily Telegraph

MPs criticise spending on green schemes

“In a damning report, the Public Accounts Committee said contracts worth up to £16.6billion were awarded without checks that it was value for money. … The eight deals, for renewable electricity generation projects including offshore wind farms, were agreed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. … But ministers failed to ensure they would lead to lower bills for hard-pressed Brits, the report said.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Levies on business are a burden for us all.” – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

Salmond attacked for “tax dodgers’ charter”

SALMOND on Marr “Alex Salmond has been accused of unveiling a ‘tax dodgers’ charter’ by banning councils from chasing hundreds of millions of pounds they are owed in historic debts from unpaid Poll Tax. … The First Minister said new laws will prevent local authorities using the pre-independence referendum surge in Scots joining the electoral register to track down those who failed to pay the Community Charge. … But Scotland’s councils reacted with fury after it emerged that Mr Salmond only plans to recompense them with a tiny proportion of the £425 million they are still owed.” – Daily Telegraph

Ofcom boss to stand down

“Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards will step down from his £393,000-a-year job at the end of the year, he announced yesterday. … The former adviser to Tony Blair, who applied unsuccessfully to lead the BBC in 2012, said it was ‘the right time to move on’ after eight years at the helm of the broadcasting regulator. … During Mr Richards’ tenure, Ofcom has repeatedly been accused of being too lenient on broadcasters who upset viewers with lewd or violent programmes.” – Daily Mail

NHS chief urges hospitals: open your own GP surgeries

NHS“Hospitals will be urged to open up in-house GP surgeries to make it easier for patients to get appointments. … Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, says the move could ease the strain for practices where there are too few doctors and rising numbers of patients. … The surgeries would be different from the walk-in centres and urgent care units that already exist in some hospitals alongside A&E units. … They would operate as a normal surgery with their own list of patients.” – Daily Mail

  • “A £3 pill which cuts cravings for booze is to be offered to heavy drinkers on the NHS.” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “David Cameron’s tax pledge won’t break the bank – but his NHS one might.” – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • France is finished, says John Lewis boss – Daily Mail
  • Wonga to write off £220 million of its customers’ debt – Daily Mail
  • Web troll who abused McCanns named – The Times (£)
  • William sets lawyers on paparazzi accused of hounding Prince George – The Times (£)
  • European Central Bank details its asset-purchasing scheme – Financial Times
  • Buffett admits “huge mistake” of Tesco investment – Financial Times
  • Two Burmese men admit killing British backpackers – The Independent
  • Hong Kong leader offers talks with protesters – The Independent
  • Alice Gross’s sister criticises BBC over Question Time discussion – The Guardian
  • Wedgwood Collection saved by £2.74 million of public donations – The Guardian
  • I may have made my last film by the end of the year, says Michael Caine – Daily Telegraph
  • Clarkson offends Argentina with Falklands numberplate stunt – Daily Telegraph

And finally 1) Too many tweets…

HANCOCK Matthew BBC“A rising Tory star had to issue an embarrassing apology after he shared a limerick on twitter which said the Labour Party is ‘full of queers’. … Matt Hancock, the Business minister, had tweeted his own five-line verse about the opposition to mark National Poetry Day – and some of his 17,300 followers responded with own poems. … The minister retweeted several of the replies, including one deriding Labour as ‘quite full of queers’.” – The Independent

And finally 2) What a load of rubbish

“Cherie Blair and her eldest son have become landlords of a £650,000 block of flats — with a stinking rubbish dump out back. … The wife of ex-Labour PM Tony and son Euan, 30, are set to earn £55,000 a year from the ten flats. … [One tenant said:] ‘There’s a rubbish dump at the back which hasn’t been cleared since I moved in — it’s such an eyesore and it stinks. It could attract vermin.'” – The Sun (£)

15 comments for: Newslinks for Friday 3rd October 2014

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