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Europe 1) Merkel undermines Cameron’s plans

CAMERON EU fence“Angela Merkel has delivered a potentially fatal blow to David Cameron’s attempt to cap immigration from the European Union. … The German chancellor told The Sunday Times that she would not support Cameron’s plans to limit freedom of movement within the EU as part of his planned renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with Brussels. … questioned by this newspaper during an EU summit in Brussels, Merkel categorically denied that there was any possibility of Germany supporting any limitations on the freedom of movement — a potentially terminal intervention from Britain’s key ally.” – Sunday Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Cameron, victim of Merkel’s problems

> Yesterday: Dr Lee Rotherham on Comment – The question is not Brexit, but Brentry

Europe 2) Gove blames Barroso for Britain’s £1.7 billion bill

“Michael Gove has taken a vicious sideswipe at outgoing EU chief Jose Manuel Barroso over the demand for Britain to pay more money to Brussels. … He compared the £1.7 billion bill, which Downing Street blames on Mr Barroso, to the way Bill Clinton’s staff sabotaged computers when they left the White House in 2001. … The Chief Whip fiercely criticised the EU Commission President, who steps down in the next few weeks, for failing to mention the issue when he visited Downing Street last week.” – Mail on Sunday

  • Euro meltdown“Furious MPs rallied round David Cameron and urged him: ‘Don’t hand over a penny.’ … One said he should send it back to European Commission boss Jose Manuel Barroso and tell him to stick it ‘where the sun don’t shine’.” – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “Labour has called on George Osborne to explain what he knew and when, about Europe’s demand for Britain to pay an extra €2.1bn (£1.7bn).” – The Observer
  • “Jose Manuel Barroso, the outgoing president of the European Commission, is to retire this week with a taxpayer-funded pension worth £102,000 a year — days after hitting Britain with a bill for £1.7bn.” – Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

  • Newspaper mastheads“A British Prime Minister defying the law and simply refusing to pay the Brussels bill is unprecedented. But Cameron has no other choice. For if he endorses this cheque, he would be signing away his chances of winning the next Election.” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday
  • “David Cameron has been betrayed in his fight to prevent Brexit.” – Matthew d’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Juncker is off his Ed if he thinks he will defeat David Cameron.” – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “David Cameron’s fury over budget risks alienating European partners.” – Toby Helm, The Observer
  • “This crude assault on Europe strikes at the very heart of Enlightenment values.” – Will Hutton, The Observer
  • “Back off, Europe, and cut Cameron some slack.” – Sunday Times editorial (£)

Europe 3) May stands up for the European Arrest Warrant

MAY Theresa menacing“Theresa will go to war with her cabinet colleagues and Tory backbenchers today over Britain’s right to keep foreigners accused of terrorism, murder, rape and paedophilia behind bars. … The home secretary is warning that a failure to back Britain’s membership of the European arrest warrant (EAW) system raises a risk that the country would have to release more than 500 people from jail and the prospect that EU partners such as Ireland would refuse to hand over suspected republican terrorists or Islamist jihadists for trial in Britain.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Yes, life should mean life — but not only for those who kill police officers.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

Paul Goodman imagines the aftermath of the Rochester by-election…

Paul Goodman portrait“As matters stand, Farage’s party is set to triumph – in which case, welcome to the Conservative Apocalypse. … Three main questions would follow the return of a triumphant Reckless to Westminster – and the consequent turmoil in the Tory ranks. Which of those options would Cameron take? Could any hold the party together? Would any be enough to stave off defections to Ukip – and, worst of all, a vote of no-confidence in him? … Cameron’s best chance lies in the dire weakness of Miliband – and that Conservative MPs, recognising this, will stick with him…” – Paul Goodman, Mail on Sunday

  • “The threat from Ukip over Europe and immigration has forced the Conservatives to divert their election war chest towards seats that they are defending more than at their target seats, new figures revealed last night.” – Independent on Sunday
  • “Immigrants should be banned from joining council housing lists for five years, says the Tory out to derail the Ukip bandwagon. … Kelly Tolhurst wants tougher curbs on new arrivals gaining access to the NHS, schools and homes.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

…as UKIP promises to fight in more battlegrounds

Farage Nigel Eating Cakes“UKIP is to make a serious attempt to win 100 seats at next year’s general election and will try to oust even Eurosceptic Tories. … At a strategy meeting last week, senior party figures agreed to field candidates in every seat — and run serious campaigns in 100 of them — and not give a free ride to MPs who want to leave the EU. The decision was backed by Douglas Carswell, who became Ukip’s first elected MP earlier this month after defecting from the Tories.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “The phenomenal rise in support for Ukip is underlined by a new Opinium/Observer poll which shows almost one-third of voters would be prepared to back Nigel Farage’s party if they believed it could win in their own constituency.” – The Observer
  • “Most parties are too afraid to speak through one idea for fear of alienating groups of other voters. But Ukip is doing well precisely because it talks in words that people understand and has one agenda.” – the advertising executive Kate Stanners talks to the Independent on Sunday
  • “An estreme right-wing Polish MEP has warned that a new deal with Ukip will allow him to ‘blackmail’ the party’s leader Nigel Farage.” – Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

  • “A liberal elite wants to brush Ukip aside.” – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • “Farage has the last laugh in Strasbourg.” – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph

The Treasury expects further defence cuts after the next election

DEFENCE cuts“Military chiefs have been warned by the Treasury to expect further swingeing defence cuts after the next election, sources revealed this weekend. … The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is braced for cuts of about 7.5% between 2016-17 and 2020-21 as part of a renewed austerity drive, according to several well-informed sources. … The prospect of another budget squeeze has raised fears the army, already at its lowest level since Napoleonic times, will be slashed below 82,000 regular troops. … It is likely to anger senior officers who believe David Cameron gave a commitment in 2010 to increase the defence budget after the election.” – Sunday Times (£)

Camp Bastion closes

“Camp Bastion, the once sprawling British base in Afghanistan where the war against the Taliban was waged, is due to close today – eight years after the first UK troops pitched their tents in the Helmand desert. … Following the deaths of 453 British personnel and an outlay of well-over £20 billion, Britain’s largest operational base built anywhere since the Second World War will be handed over to Afghan troops. … It comes as Britain prepares to withdraw entirely from the country by the end of this year.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Defence chiefs have attempted to block the production of a new film about the death of a British soldier in Afghanistan – because it portrays how the RAF botched a rescue mission.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “The UK is poised to quietly ratify a defence treaty that critics say will see it become more dependent on US expertise for its multi-billion pound Trident nuclear weapons programme, without the agreement being scrutinised by MPs.” – The Observer

And comment:

  • “Iran and the West: on the brink of a choice to trust again.” – Rob Hastings, Independent on Sunday

British military figure calls for a ground fight against ISIS

ISIS“The general, who left the military in August, dismissed Britain’s involvement in air strikes and aid drops as ‘futile gestures’. When it comes to dealing with Islamic State, he said: “If you’ve got a terrorist organisation that’s equipped like a state army, albeit a pretty ropey state army, there’s only one thing you can do about it. If you want to get rid of them you’ve got to go and fight them, and that means deploying effective military force to fight them.'” – Independent on Sunday

  • “British ISIS hostage John Cantlie has appeared in another video released by the extremist group in their latest piece of propaganda against the West.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “British jihadi fighters who want to come home from Syria and Iraq are being given death threats by senior ISIS members, it has emerged.” – Mail on Sunday

Jihadists said to have joined tour groups of Parliament

“Islamic extremists have joined tour groups of Parliament to ‘scope out’ the building for a potential terrorist attack, intelligence sources have told The Mail on Sunday. … The disclosure, in the wake of last week’s gun attack on the Canadian Parliament, last night led to demands by MPs for Speaker John Bercow to restrict the number of visitors to the Commons. … One MP said it was a ‘wake-up call’ which proved plots to blow up Big Ben do ‘not just belong to the realms of Doctor Who’.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Canadians returned to the grounds of their parliament building on Saturday, three days after a homegrown radical rushed in armed with a rifle after shooting dead a soldier in the second attack on the country’s military at home in a week.” – The Observer

And comment:

  • “Don’t make an ‘Islamist conspiracy’ out of a few cannabis-crazed losers.” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

Morgan to relax her predecessor’s holiday ban

MORGAN Nicky headshot“The ban on parents taking their children out of school during term time is to be relaxed under guidelines drawn up by head teachers’ leaders. … After a series of high- profile controversies in which parents have been taken to court and fined, the new guidance spells out clear exemptions where families can take children away from classes. … These include going to family weddings or funerals, recovering after a personal or family crisis, attending a religious event or visiting a relative who is seriously ill. Parents will, however, still be barred from taking advantage of cut-price breaks in term time.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Ofsted has dramatically announced that it is launching an independent investigation into allegations that schools overseen by a controversial ‘superhead’ close to former education secretary Michael Gove had advance knowledge of inspection dates.” – The Observer

New benefit rules to come into force tomorrow

“Benefit claimants will be forced to wait for one week before receiving their payments under new rules coming into force tomorrow which will save taxpayers more than £2 million a month. … Unemployed people on Jobseeker’s Allowance currently wait three days before receiving their payments, but this will be extended to seven days from this week. … Ministers calculate that the plan will save £125 million over five years.” – Sunday Telegraph

Government to reduce driving licence charges

pound-coin“Young drivers facing rising costs of taking to the road might well breathe a little easier after the Government announced it was slashing the price of obtaining a licence. … The measure, which will see the cost of provisional licences fall to £34 from £50, was announced by ministers – a cut of 32 per cent. … Other cuts coming into effect on Oct 31 include the costs of renewing a licence online every 10 years, from £20 to £14, and a tachograph card used by businesses to monitor how far staff drive, from £38 to £32.” – Sunday Telegraph

Crabb recalls his difficult childhood

“The childhood memories of Tory Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb, the youngest member of the Cabinet, are rather different to those of David Cameron with his loving, stable family and the playing fields of Eton. … ‘One of my earliest memories is of getting between my mother and father as he came at her with a knife – terrifying,’ says Crabb, talking to me in his Westminster office. … He has had virtually no contact with his father, who is still alive, since the family left in a hurry, even though they still both live in the same part of Pembrokeshire.” – Mail on Sunday

Leadsom helping to develop new regulations for porn sites

“All adult websites will be expected to check the age of people using them under laws being drawn up by the government. … Pornography sites and those selling guns and other age-restricted material will have to use the same age verification tools that are already in place for gambling websites. … The plans are being drawn up by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in tandem with the Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom, who has responsibility for the bank payments system.” – Sunday Times (£)

Cohen versus Grayling

Grayling470“Chris Grayling, a Tory bully boy, announced last week that he would quadruple the maximum jail sentence for internet trolls who spread ‘venom’ on social media or, rather, he fed an old story from March to a naive and punitive media. … Even though internet trolls are among the worst specimens the human race can offer up for inspection, there are many reasons not to nod through yet another hardline restriction of personal freedom.” – Nick Cohen, The Observer

  • “The Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, has quietly shelved plans to nearly double the fee for filing a divorce petition.” – Independent on Sunday

Clegg plans a “Daddy month”…

“A ‘Daddy Month’ plan to boost new fathers’ rights to paternity leave was promised by Nick Clegg last night. … The Deputy Prime Minister wants to increase statutory paid paternity leave from two weeks to four. … The pledge came as Mr Clegg lashed out at ‘dinosaur’ critics who opposed his call last week to let fathers share mothers’ parental leave to look after a new child.” – Mail on Sunday

…but what about women? ask his MPs

Curse of Clegg 2“Nick Clegg’s decision not to reshuffle his Liberal Democrat ministers before the general election – and thereby finally promote a woman to the Cabinet – has been criticised by a leading candidate for the party presidency. … Daisy Cooper last night urged Mr Clegg to rethink his decision. She is one of three candidates, all women, to succeed Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, to one of the party’s most powerful positions.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “The first woman to run the Foreign Office has hailed the transformation of the Diplomatic Service, once the bastion of traditional Whitehall, into a modern employer.” – Independent on Sunday

Davey commissions report on the risk of power cuts

“Ed Davey, the energy secretary, has commissioned a ‘blackout Britain’ report, to assess the growing risk of significant power cuts and how they might undermine the economy. … The study, by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE), was prompted by growing concern in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that the nation could face serious cuts from this winter because of power station closures and fears over the reliability of energy from wind turbines.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has told The Sunday Telegraph that energy regulators have asked for extra contingency measures to cut consumption in event of a cold winter or more power station failures.” – Sunday Telegraph

Miliband accused of “cynicism” after immigration speeches

MILIBAND Ed red background“Ed Miliband was accused of ‘total cynicism’ last night after he made two sharply contrasting speeches on immigration and race equality in just seven hours. … During a visit to Rochester on Thursday, where Ukip is tipped for a by-election victory next month on an anti-immigration platform, the Labour leader pledged to crack down on immigration if he wins power next year. … But at a meeting with ethnic minority activists in Croydon, South London, a few hours later, he pledged a crackdown on race inequality and consider ‘all-black shortlists’ to recruit more ethnic Labour MPs.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Tony Benn left more than £5 million in his will – but not a single penny is going to the Labour Party or any of the radical causes he championed.” – Mail on Sunday

And comment:

  • “It is remarkable that I, a campaigner against mass immigration, should this week have been granted a life peerage. A decade ago that would have been unthinkable, but the fact that it is now happening is a measure of how much attitudes have changed.” – Andrew Green, Mail on Sunday

Working women would be better off under Labour, claims De Piero

“Working women are more than £3,000 a year worse off than men as they bear the brunt of the wages squeeze. … Shadow equalities minister Gloria De Piero said: ‘We would give 3.9million women a rise by raising the minimum wage, providing 25 hours’ free childcare for parents with three and four-year-olds, scrapping zero hours contracts and tackling the gender pay gap.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “A record 5 million workers are now in low-paid jobs, according to a new report, sparking calls for government action to help tackle the problem.” – The Observer
  • “The amount of pocket money parents give to children has increased twice as fast as earnings since the Eighties, a study has found.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Women’s wages have gone backwards. Labour would give women the pay they deserve.” – Gloria De Piero, Independent on Sunday
  • “We’re the fastest guns in the West — and still losing the living standards battle.” – Stephanie Flanders, Sunday Times (£)

Much ado about Lamont’s resignationScottish flag

“The Labour party erupted into open civil war as Ed Miliband loyalists and supporters of Johann Lamont, the Scottish Labour leader who resigned this weekend, exchanged accusations and insults. … Following claims from Lamont that colleagues in Westminster had treated Scotland ‘like a branch office of London’, Miliband supporters revealed that she would have faced a coup if she had not stood down. … ‘Ed is relieved she’s gone,’ said one Scottish Labour source.” – The Observer

  • “Senior Labour sources believe the party could lose up to 15 seats to the nationalists, whose membership has more than tripled since last month’s independence referendum as ‘yes’ voters look to the SNP to extend the powers of the Scottish parliament, short of separation.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond has accused Ed Miliband of being responsible for the ‘meltdown’ of the Scottish Labour party after the resignation of its leader Johann Lamont.” – The Observer

And comment:

  • “Leaderless Scottish Labour is now a party bereft of ideas.” – Kevin McKenna, The Observer
  • “Labour may pay for its failure in Scotland.” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

Failures in the Welsh NHS: doctors and nurses suspended

“The row over the NHS in Wales took a dramatic turn last night when two senior doctors were banned after a Mail on Sunday exposé of the cruel abuse of elderly patients. … The pair have been put on ‘restricted duties’ and reported to the General Medical Council disciplinary body, which has the power to strike them off. … In addition, two more nurses have been suspended following this newspaper’s investigation into Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl, North Wales.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Carers for disabled people, who have been involved in one of the longest strikes in the history of the health service, accused Ed Miliband in a private meeting of failure to offer public support for their cause.” – The Observer

MPs’ anger at GPs’ pay

NHS“The cash-strapped NHS is paying GPs £100,000 a year for working only weekends, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. … Dr Sarah Wollaston, a GP and Conservative chair of the Health Select Committee, said: ‘The underlying problem here is the workforce shortfall in general practice, so it’s possible for people to work for agencies for these kind of rates.’ … Fellow select committee member Valerie Vaz, Labour MP for Walsall South, said: ‘I’m astounded at these figures. There are many permanent GPs who are working for much less.’” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A mentally handicapped patient died after being left without food for 10 days at an NHS hospital, a damning official report found.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “An independent adviser to the government quango that approves drugs and devices for use in the NHS also works for a consultancy firm that advises companies on how to get their products approved by the same body.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “British couples are to get access to a relatively cheap IVF treatment that experts claim may provide a ‘realistic opportunity’ to end the fertility postcode lottery.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Family doctors are being told to ask teens during appointments if they are being bullied online.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And comment:

  • “Championing the NHS thrills and unites the Labour party. But as Stevens and the Tories sketch out alternative health scenarios, it starts to look like a tactic to rally the core vote rather than an issue powerful enough to win new recruits.” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “The health service needs more than a bag of grapes to get better.” – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • “he public deserves better than stealth NHS closures.” – Julia Manning, Sunday Telegraph

Further pressure on Woolf to resign from the child abuse inquiry

Fiona Woolf“Fiona Woolf was under fresh pressure to resign from the Government’s child abuse inquiry last night after The Mail on Sunday uncovered new evidence suggesting undeclared links with Leon Brittan, a key figure at the centre of the scandal. … The under-fire inquiry chairman hosted a VIP drinks reception at which the Tory peer was a guest, official documents indicate, but she did not declare it in a list of possible conflicts of interest.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Pressure on Lady Woolf to step down as the new head of the government inquiry into child abuse has intensified after a lawyer representing almost 50 victims said a number would not participate because of their concern about how it was going to be run.” – The Observer
  • “A Mail on Sunday journalist trying to uncover the truth about Fiona Woolf’s appointment to the child abuse inquiry received unwarranted threats from a PR man claiming to be working with the Home Office.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “The £120,000-a-year director of children’s services in Manchester has quit after a damning Ofsted report that raised concerns about safeguarding young people from child sexual exploitation in the city.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “More than 10,000 children could be entitled to payouts totalling millions of pounds over the unlawful use of force in young offender institutions, it has emerged. – Mail on Sunday

And comment:

  • “This is turning into a farce – Fiona Woolf must stand aside.” – Simon Danczuk, Mail on Sunday
  • “Woolf must quit for sake of the victims.” – Mail on Sunday editorial

Archbishop of Canterbury: Child abuse has been “rampant” in British institutions

WELBY, Justin“The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted child abuse has been ‘rampant’ in British institutions and that the church’s failure to ‘face the misdeeds of those in its service’ has been ‘inexcusable’. … In his most frank comments yet on historic child abuse, Justin Welby admits there is a ‘very significant legacy of unacknowledged cases’ in the Church of England. … His comments are in a private letter to Marilyn Hawes, whose three sons were allegedly groomed and abused by a Church of England headmaster.” – Sunday Times (£)

HS2 boss makes an environmental case for its construction

“Vast swathes of countryside in southeast England will be destroyed by house-building unless a proposed £50bn high-speed railway is built to rebalance Britain’s economy, Sir David Higgins, who is chairman of the HS2 project, warned this weekend. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Higgins also predicted that a new motorway would have to be ploughed through the Chilterns — where public opposition to the HS2 line is strongest — if the rail project is scrapped.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Sir David Higgins, the mastermind behind the High Speed 2 railway, believes that an equivalent track in France would come in at one-third of the cost.” – Independent on Sunday

News in brief

  • Trouble at Heathrow, after major computer system crashes – Mail on Sunday
  • US State Department demands an investigation after Israeli forces shoot dead a Palestinian-American teen – Mail on Sunday
  • Conservationists call for ban on ‘Tree of hell’ that threatens to damage native plants – Independent on Sunday
  • Carbon trading edges closer as UN brokers deal – Independent on Sunday
  • Karren Brady has encouraged her daughter to take a Saturday job – Sunday Times (£)
  • Google executive breaks freefall record – Sunday Times (£)

And finally 1) Don’t vote! (Unless it’s for me!)

Russell Brand“Comedian Russell Brand is considering running as London Mayor – despite saying that voting is a waste of time. … The controversial comic has told close friends he wants to succeed Boris Johnson when the Tory Mayor’s second term ends in 2016. … Essex-born Brand would stand for the mayoralty on an independent ‘anti-politics’ ticket.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Rambling, half-baked, shifty and unpleasant: Russell Brand’s Yawny Wawny Booky Wook.” – Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

And finally 2) Osborne of Grantham

“Chancellor George Osborne is to be guest of honour at a ‘Downton Abbey’ party fundraiser — after the Tories were mocked for being out of touch. … Guests in white tie and tails will pay £145 to mingle with show creator Julian Fellowes.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And finally 3) Pickles the pin-up

PICKLES Eric 2009“Mr Pickles gets dozens of emails every month from fans in Russia — home of the communists’ Hammer & Sickle flag. … In one seen by The Sun on Sunday, a Russian called Anna tells the 62-year-old Communities Secretary: ‘I have great respect for your dedication to your country. … I will be very happy if you can send me your autograph. I will treasure it always.'” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “…seven years after Lord Falconer left the cabinet, he is two-thirds the man he used to be after shedding five stone on a regime of apples and Diet Coke.” – Sunday Times (£)

And finally 4) Mycroft Mandelson

“One is a Machiavellian figure ruthlessly controlling the levers of power; the other is Peter Mandelson. … The former Labour minister, nicknamed the Prince of Darkness, is to be played in a Channel 4 drama by the actor who portrays Sherlock Holmes’s menacing brother Mycroft in the BBC series about the fictional detective.” – Sunday Times (£)

And finally 5) Lord Tebbit, movie mogul

Norman Tebbit“The former Conservative party chairman is in talks about a screen version of his children’s book, Ben’s Story. The book tells how a talking dog, Ben, helps a 14-year-old boy called Sam discover the truth about the death of his father. … ‘With a bit of luck it will go into production next year,’ says Lord Tebbit. ‘It’s a bit of a departure, but even former cabinet ministers have to earn a crust.'” – Sunday Times (£)

16 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 26th October 2014

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