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Barroso strikes back

EU Exit“David Cameron will today be accused of leading Britain to the EU exit door where it will not retain even ‘marginal relevance’ on the world stage. … In a highly provocative speech, Jose Manuel Barroso will attack Britain’s ‘defensive’ leaders for failing to ‘make the positive case’ for continued membership of the EU, insisting: ‘Could the UK get by without a little help from your friends? My answer is probably not.’ … Yesterday Grant Shapps, Tory party chairman, insisted reform was achievable and attacked Mr Barroso as an ‘unelected bureaucrat’.” – Daily Mail

  • “The unelected oaf doesn’t grasp that we’ve had enough of our population soaring by one million every four years and our elected Government being powerless to stop it.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Such arrogance seriously misjudges the public mood. People are beginning to think Britain is more likely to sink if it stays in.” – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun (£)
  • “Eurozone stagnation is a greater threat than debt.” – Wolfgang Münchau, Financial Times

> Today: ToryDiary – Why is Downing Street pressuring Tory MEPs to vote for Jean-Claude Juncker?

> Yesterday: Andrew Bridgen MP on Comment – Why Cameron must make border control a red line in his EU renegotiation

The Prime Minister confirms: a Tory government would lower the benefits cap

CAMERON Marr Europe“Tens of thousands of families will have their benefits slashed by up to £60 a week under a new welfare cap, David Cameron will propose today. … Households would be unable to claim more than £23,000 a year in handouts for housing and living costs if the Conservatives win the next election. … And jobless youngsters would be stripped of benefits altogether under radical plans to save £300million. … The welfare cuts would squeeze the incomes of 100,000 families, but plough massive investment into creating apprenticeships for school leavers.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ford is to create 318 new jobs at Dagenham, Essex, in a new plant to build low-carbon engines for cars.” – The Guardian
  • “Taxpayers are forking out £2,000 a day for David Cameron’s grace-and-favour country retreat, it emerged today.” – Daily Mail

Cameron under pressure to end fixed terms…

PARLIAMENT“David Cameron is under growing pressure to agree to tear up the Government’s controversial fixed term parliaments act … The minister who oversaw the legislation said it would make it all but impossible for either Mr Cameron or Labour leader Ed Miliband to run a minority government if they fail to win a Commons majority next year – as polls currently suggest is likely. … Mark Harper, speaking as MPs prepared to debate the issue this week, said few had appreciated the long-term impact of the constitutional change…” – Daily Mail

  • “Britain’s economy could suffer a ‘huge uncertainty shock’ if next year’s general election delivers a hung parliament, a leading economic forecaster warns.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “David Cameron has lived up to his claim to be ‘the heir to Blair’. Unfortunately. Nowhere is this more obvious than in his administration’s habit of treating the law of the land as a public relations exercise.” – Dominic Lawson, Daily Mail

…as the recall vote awaits

Zac Goldsmith“MPs are less more popular than they think they are, according to new research. … The new polls, commissioned by campaigners 38 Degrees, come as MPs prepare to vote tomorrow on a new law to recall ‘bad apple’ MPs from Parliament and force them to face a new by-election. … Amendments proposed by Tory MP Zac Goldsmith would allow a by-election if five per cent of voters in a constituency sign a ‘notice of intent to recall’ and 20 per cent of voters sign a ‘recall petition’.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “For anyone looking for an example of why the public has lost faith in its rulers, the way in which Mr Clegg and his allies mutilated the recall proposals would be an ideal starting point.” – Daily Telegraph editorial

Further questions about the Big Society Network

“Individuals with links to the Conservatives put ‘intense pressure’ on a public body to give taxpayers’ money to a charity that collapsed leaving a string of failed projects, a report has concluded. … In the six months after the last election, Nesta (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) agreed to give two grants worth nearly £500,000 to the Big Society Network (BSN). The Government has always maintained that the grants were awarded properly.” – The Independent

The Treasury warns against pre-election giveaways

MANIFESTO money“Cabinet ministers have been warned by the Treasury that it is likely they will have to rein in their spending in the run-up to the election because of a shortfall in tax revenues and against a backdrop of growing concern about the global economy. … Danny Alexander, Treasury chief secretary, told the cabinet last week that tax revenues were not recovering as quickly as the economy and that he might have to impose new spending controls in the Autumn Statement. … The warning confirms that although Britain’s economy is growing strongly, the fiscal position remains serious and chancellor George Osborne has no room for significant pre-election giveaways.” – Financial Times

  • “There is absolutely nothing not to like about the [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership]. As Churchill might have said, it is altogether un-sordid.” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph
  • “The unending economic crisis makes us feel powerless – and paranoid.” – Paul Mason, The Guardian
  • “Why did Britain’s political class buy into the Tories’ economic fairytale?” – Ha-Joon Chang, The Guardian

Hunt backs Bill making it easier for doctors to use experimental treatments

HUNT Doctor Carla Millar“Dying patients could be given access to untested medicines from early next year after the Government and doctors gave their backing to a bill proposed by Lord Saatchi. … Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has now thrown his department’s weight behind the Medical Innovation Bill which will make it easier for doctors to try out new treatments on patients without the fear of being sued. … The Bill – which has sharply divided the medical profession – has also received tentative backing from the General Medical Council, which earlier this year come out firmly against any change in the law, and a leading cancer charity.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “A startling jump in the number of people dying of liver disease has been triggered by an increase in alcohol consumption, Public Health England (PHE) has warned.” – The Guardian
  • “NHS staff will be urged to join weight-watching groups and take out gym memberships in the fight against obesity crisis, the chief executive will announce this week.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “If it works for Ebola, it can work for cancer.” – Maurice Saatchi, Daily Telegraph
  • “Like the overwhelming majority of my colleagues, I want to be available to patients and provide them with the care they deserve. Please release me to do so.” – Martin Edwards, Daily Telegraph
  • “Saatchi’s model Bill.” – Daily Telegraph editorial

Press watchdog will investigate the Newmark sting

“The Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) is to continue to investigate the Sunday Mirror for the sex sting carried out against MP Brooks Newmark even though the complaint against the newspaper has been dropped. … This will be the first time that a press regulator has continued to investigate a complaint in the absence of a complainant. It follows new rules by the industry in the wake of the Leveson inquiry into the failures of newspaper publishers that followed the phone-hacking scandal.” – The Guardian

Carswell on the Tory leadership: “They think Love Actually is a manual for how to govern.”

CARSWELL Douglas Marr“Oh, come on, I say, we all know what politics is like; you can’t really be shocked. He looks at me, intensely serious. ‘It’s news to me. I didn’t think it was like that. Maybe I’m learning. But it shouldn’t be like that. And if you had recall and open primary it wouldn’t be like that. Why do we have to be governed by these mediocrities? Why do we have to be governed by people who read what they read in the Economist and the FT and regurgitate all the failed cliches that got us in to this mess? I think they’ve just watched Richard Curtis’s Love Actually, and think it’s a manual for how to govern the country.'” – The Guardian

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Cameron shows he is taking the concerns of UKIP voters seriously

Clegg wants to defeat “Edwardian” attitudes towards parenthood

“Fathers should be able to take a year off work to look after young children with the same pay and benefits entitlements as women, Nick Clegg will say today. … Announcing changes to the Civil Service’s benefits, the Deputy Prime Minister says he wants to smash an ‘Edwardian’ attitude that women rather than men should stay at home to look after their families. … Under his reforms, fathers working in the Civil Service are to be given the same package as mothers do now to enable them to take advantage of a new system of shared parental leave.” – Daily Mail

Labour to call a Commons vote over Lord Freud

“Labour will force a Commons vote on Lord Freud’s future after David Cameron refused to dismiss him as welfare minister for his suggestion that some disabled workers are not worth the minimum wage. … The Conservative peer has been allowed to remain in his job after apologising for the comment, but Labour will table a motion of no confidence to be voted on later this month.” – The Guardian

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – The disability charities should not demonise Lord Freud

The Mail confronts Labour over the state of the NHS in Wales…

NHS“Over the next few days, our investigation will expose horrifying neglect and a political establishment in denial. … Despite his party’s dismal record in Wales, Ed Miliband wants to place the running of the NHS at the heart of Labour’s election campaign next May. … Yet families whose loved ones have suffered in Welsh hospitals say the situation is even worse than the Mid Staffordshire scandal.” – Daily Mail

Read the Daily Mail’s case studies in full

  • “Radiographers across the UK will go on strike today in the latest outbreak of industrial action against the Government’s decision not to accept a recommended 1% pay rise for all NHS staff.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Miliband’s terrifying blueprint for the NHS.” – Daily Mail editorial

…as the party also faces decline in Scotland

Scottish flag“Ed Miliband is being warned a lack of support in Scotland and a surge by the Green Party in England and Wales could cost him the next general election. … Pollsters say Scottish Nationalists are on course to seize as many as 20 seats in Labour’s heartlands north of the border, while the resurgent Greens are joining Ukip in eating into its traditional support across the rest of the country. … Green leader Natalie Bennett said yesterday her party was aiming to outpoll the Liberal Democrats next year and hoped to seize half a dozen Commons seats.” – Daily Mail

  • “In the debate over English devolution, all eyes are on Greater Manchester. Suddenly ‘devo Manc’ – the north-west England take on Scotland’s independence compromise ‘devo max’ – has entered the vernacular.” – The Independent
  • “Voters chosen at random from across the UK should play a part in deciding the country’s constitutional future, a group of academics declared yesterday.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “Ex-leaders share the blame for Labour’s Scottish woes.” – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph

Milburn: Miliband’s minimum wage policy isn’t enough

Pay“Ed Miliband’s plan to raise the national minimum wage to £8 by 2020 is ‘not at all ambitious’, Labour’s former health secretary Alan Milburn will say on Monday. … Mr Milburn, the social mobility ‘tsar’ for the government, will say that the policy will not be enough to improve the prospects of those struggling financially. … He will argue that the annual increases implied in the Miliband policy are less per annum than the average rise in the minimum wage between 1999 and 2014. – Financial Times

  • “All three main Westminster parties will be condemned by the Government’s anti-poverty tsar today for their failure to improve social mobility and reduce the number of children growing up in poor families.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “No political party is facing up to worsening poverty.” – Alan Milburn, The Times (£)

The Opposition is divided over fracking

“The Labour leadership’s support for fracking is starkly at odds with opinion among the party’s MPs and voters, according to two surveys that raise doubts about whether a future Labour government would back the emerging shale industry. … More Labour MPs oppose fracking than support it, and women intending to vote Labour in next year’s general election are particularly concerned about its potential environmental impacts, with less than a quarter saying that hydraulic fracturing should be used to extract shale gas.” – The Times (£)

Labour to criticise wasted schools spending

School“More than £1m of taxpayers’ money has been spent on proposals for free schools that never opened. … The figures are disclosed in a dossier given to The Independent on which the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, is expected to be questioned by MPs on Wednesday. The report, compiled by the Labour Party, also shows that £50m has been spent on free schools either declared inadequate by the education standards watchdog, Ofsted, or requiring improvement. A further £1.043m was spent on applications that were cancelled or withdrawn.” – The Independent

  • “Ministers are under attack after a Christian school was slammed for failing to ask an Imam to run assembly.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Head teachers say pupils from poor families should jump to the front of the queue for places at any school – including those in the independent sector.” – Daily Mail
  • “Nearly a quarter of Local Safeguarding Children Boards — set up to protect kids from paedophiles — are failing, a report has found.” – The Sun (£)

Police hacking into people’s phones and emails

Police shield“Police are hacking into hundreds of people’s voicemails, text messages and emails without their knowledge, The Times has discovered. … Forces are using a loophole in surveillance laws that allows them to see stored messages without obtaining a warrant from the home secretary. … Civil liberties campaigners reacted with concern to the disclosure that police were snooping on personal messages so often, without any external monitoring and with few safeguards.” – The Times (£)

  • “When police misuse crucial powers established for the fight against terrorism and organised crime, they become their own worst enemy.” – Times editorial (£)

Harsher sentences for Twitter trolls could harm free speech, warn experts

“Harsher sentences for Twitter trolls who subject victims to vile abuse online could threaten the free speech of people who are simply vigorously expressing their opinion, civil liberties experts have warned. … Internet trolls who threaten to rape or kill will be subject to the ‘full force of the law’ as a new two year prison sentence is introduced under tough new plans to tackling growing vile abuse online. … However critics say that people who are simply ‘vigorous in their criticism’ could get ‘caught up’ and end up with a long prison sentence.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Most trolls are more to be pitied than hated.” – Isabel Hardman, Daily Telegraph

The battle for Kobani

Syria“The US military says it has airdropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces defending the Syrian city of Kobani against Islamic State militants. … The air drops on Sunday were the first of their kind and followed weeks of US and coalition air strikes in and near Kobani, near the Turkish border. The US earlier said it had launched 11 air strikes overnight in the Kobani area.” – The Guardian

  • “A top Syrian rebel commander was shot and wounded in an apparent kidnapping attempt by the Islamic State in a Turkish city, raising questions about Ankara’s readiness to stop jihadists operating on its soil.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “US Secretary of State John Kerry said the appointment of defence and interior ministers after weeks of delay was a ‘very positive step forward’ in the fightback against ISIS in Iraq, which Washington has made its priority.” – Daily Mail
  • “British hostage John Cantlie believes ‘two-thirds’ of what he is saying in propaganda videos released by Islamic State, according to his sister.” – Daily Mail
  • “A single mother travelled to the Turkish border near Syria in a dangerous attempt to persuade her British-born son to leave Islamic State.” – The Times (£)
  • “Britain’s Ministry of Defence is expected to sell its equipment repair and maintenance arm next month as it presses ahead with handing billions of pounds of work to the private sector ahead of the general election.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “Any treason prosecution, whether under an old or a new statute, risks glorifying the defendant in some eyes.” – Guardian editorial
  • “The campaign against Islamic State has to change gear.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Allegiance to Isis should be treated as seriously as support for Nazi Germany once was.” – Melanie Phillips, The Times (£)
  • “With US-led air strikes on Isis intensifying, it’s a good time to be a shareholder in the merchants of death.” – Robert Fisk, The Independent
  • “It may be good politics to target Syria’s Kobane, but Iraq is the key battleground.” – Shashank Joshi, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Martin Parsons – A humanitarian catastrophe looms for IS victims – our Government could avert it

News in brief

  • Up to 40 Britons still missing after heavy snow fall in Nepal – Daily Telegraph
  • The companies targetting the “silver economy” – Financial Times
  • Russia expands its crackdown on McDonald’s – Financial Times
  • Sweden searches for suspected Russian submarine – The Guardian
  • Blaze engulfs Didcot B power station – The Guardian
  • “The UK’s claim to be taking a lead in tackling the Ebola crisis does not bear scrutiny.” – Ian Birrell, The Independent
  • The British nurse who contracted Ebola has returned to Sierra Leone – The Sun (£)
  • Rape campaigners fear that footballer Ched Evans is getting special treatment – The Sun (£)
  • Hurricane Gonzalo makes landfall in Britain tomorrow night – Daily Mail

And finally 1) Boris on drugs – or not

borisfringe“In a characteristic show of entertainingly buffoonish behaviour, The Mayor of London famously said that he thinks he was ‘once given cocaine but I sneezed so it didn’t go up my nose. In fact, it may have been icing sugar.’ … The incident took place at Oxford University, where he ‘made an effort’ to inhale what he believed to be cocaine.” – The Independent

  • “Boris Johnson claimed yesterday that he suffers from extremely poor eyesight and can barely see anything around the house without his glasses on.” – Daily Mail

And finally 2) Mudslinging

“Iain Duncan Smith proves he is a Tory wet as he leaps into a muddy pond during a charity run yesterday. … The Work and Pensions Secretary, 60, competed in the event in Swanbourne, Bucks, to support the Medical Detection Dogs charity.” – The Sun (£)

10 comments for: Newslinks for Monday 20th October 2014

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