8.45pm Parliament update: Three Conservative MPs vote for Afghanistan amendment critical of present strategy
- George Osborne: "There will be further welfare cuts"
- Former News of the World journalist: "I'm happy to break the law"
9.15am ToryDiary BREAKING NEWS: Boris starts re-election bid with 55% satisfaction rating
Peter Bone MP on Platform: Can the Big Society Help Fight Modern Day Slavery?
- Labour and Greens make gains at the expense of the Conservatives and Lib Dems in the 13 by-elections in Norwich
- Lib Dems the biggest losers in the 13 by-elections in Exeter
- Elected Mayors and the Big Society – A Conflict of Interest?
Answering ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010, Christopher Pincher MP explains why he'd like to run the Department for Energy and Climate Change: "I think we face a clear and present energy security threat in the coming decade, which not only has implications for our defence and foreign policy but live domestic issues such as fuel poverty and the green economy."
George Osborne to cut further £4 billion from welfare bill
"The Government is to reduce a welfare budget that is "completely out of control" by a further £4bn, George Osborne said last night. The Chancellor, who announced £11bn of savings on welfare in June, said he would no longer provide the money for the unemployed to make a "lifestyle choice to just sit on out-of-work benefits". The combined £15bn cuts represent about 6 per cent of the budget of Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary. In return, he is trying to persuade the Treasury to allow him to bring in a universal working-age benefit to ensure that everyone who moves from welfare to work is better off." – The Independent
"Hundreds of thousands of people are likely to lose sickness benefits under a new assault on the welfare state, The Times has learnt. The Treasury is considering means-testing incapacity benefit — given to those considered too sick to work — a change under which 800,000 people on modest to high incomes would lose it altogether." – The Times (£)
Coup for Osborne as think-tank boss Robert Chote is unveiled as head of spending watchdog
"Respected economist Robert Chote is to become the new head of the Government's tax and spending watchdog in a major coup for Chancellor George Osborne. The current director of the influential think-tank Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) will succeed Sir Alan Budd as chief of the Office for Budget Responsibility, it was announced today." – Daily Mail
Samuel Brittain: The secret of Osborne’s popularity – FT (£)
Jeff Randall: There is no soft option when confronting our economic reality – Daily Telegraph
David Cameron's 'nudge unit' aims to improve economic behaviour
"A "nudge unit" set up by David Cameron in the Cabinet Office is working on how to use behavioural economics and market signals to persuade citizens to behave in a more socially integrated way." – The Guardian
Ken Clarke launches first payment-by-results prisoner rehabilitation plan
"A "payment-by-results" project to cut re-offending is being officially launched. Investors have put £5m in social impact bonds to fund rehabilitation work with 3,000 Peterborough Prison inmates. They could earn a potential return of £3m from the government if their cash helps to rehabilitate criminals." – BBC
"Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has championed the initiative, which initially will cost the taxpayer nothing. Mr Clarke told Sky News: "The key thing is they get a return if they achieve results. "We should concentrate on actually paying people if they can reduce the level of crime, by reducing the rate at which people re-offend." – Sky News
My generation has wrecked the country, claims Nick Clegg
"Nick Clegg has issued an extraordinary denunciation of the last two
generations, accusing them of wrecking Britain by embracing a culture
of 'instant gratification'. The Deputy Prime Minister said his parents'
generation and his own had 'run up debts, despoiled the planet and
allowed our institutions to wither'. Mr Clegg said that in all walks of
life – including the political, commercial and personal – people had
become focused only on the short-term." – Daily Mail
Nick Clegg announces cross-party talks on funding – The Guardian
Andrew Lansley denies NHS Direct closure
"The Health Secretary has been accused of a climbdown over plans to
scrap NHS Direct. Andrew Lansley said he had "not announced plans to
scrap NHS Direct", just to phase out its telephone number. This appears
to contradict statements from the Department of Health last month,
including to the BBC, which said the service would be scrapped." –
Michael Gove brings back technical schools to train new generation of plumbers and mechanics
"Ministers yesterday announced a new generation of technical schools to trainteenagers to become engineers, plumbers and mechanics. Students aged 14 will be able to quit mainstream comprehensives to study at specialist centres where they will ‘get their hands dirty’. The plan – outlined by Education Secretary Michael Gove – marks a dramatic revival of the secondary technical schools established in the 1940 and 1950s." – Daily Mail
Boris Johnson: Migrant cap plans 'bad for economy'
"Plans to cap the number of migrants from outside the European Union who are allowed to work in the UK will damage the capital's economy, London Mayor Boris Johnson said. In his response to the Government's consultation, Mr Johnson said "a major rethink of Government policy is required" as the cap was "likely to have a significant negative and disproportionate impact on London". – Press Association
How Tory MP and now minister, Jonathan Djanogly, hired a firm of private detectives to conduct an undercover investigation into his aides and colleagues
"Investigators employed by Mr Djanogly used subterfuge to trick several people, including the MP’s constituency agent, into discussing their concerns about the politician. Their findings were set out in a private report sent to the Huntingdon MP in July 2009 which concluded that aides in his local party believed he was a poor politician and had lied over his expenses claims, through which he paid more than £13,000 for a cleaner who also acted as his children’s au pair… “I am sorry if some people judge that I made a mistake, with hindsight I can see that I may have overreacted, but I was being subjected to very malicious, anonymous attacks on my family." – Daily Telegraph
Standards Committee to probe hacking of MPs' mobiles
"The pressure on David Cameron's communications chief Andy Coulson has intensified after MPs approved an investigation by a parliamentary sleaze watchdog. Claims that MPs' mobiles were hacked by News of the World (NotW) reporters will be examined by the powerful Standards and Privileges Committee. All parties backed the fresh probe – sparked by Labour frontbencher Chris Bryant who said he believed many MPs from all sides of the Commons had been targeted." – Press Association
Paul Goodman forecasts that cuts will make life difficult for Tory MPs – and whips
"Tory MPs will face the campaigning equivalent of flash floods – sudden campaigns to vote them out if they don't sign this petition or back that campaign. Some of these initiatives will be funded by trade union money specially hoarded for this purpose… During the coming months, some will take refuge on overseas trips or in Commons bars. Others will stand by the government and hope for promotion. Others will "Do a Boris" – that's to say, seek to gain local kudos by standing up to the Treasury. There will be more than a few of them. The coming months will be a Conservative whips' nightmare." – Paul Goodman in The Guardian
Steve Richards: Welcome to a more vibrant Commons
"Politics has acquired a new character, a more vibrant Commons. The Government will have cause to fear and despair of it, but could be saved by it on occasions too. As voters, we should welcome the partial return to life of a moribund institution. After all, we elect MPs to the Commons. Their subsequent irrelevance was becoming dangerous in a supposedly democratic country." – Steve Richards in The Independent
The Economist looks ahead to the Strategic Defence Review
"Given the ten-year time horizon that defence planning requires, attempting severe cuts too quickly may be risky militarily and financially, since it might prove costlier to revive needed capabilities in the future than to preserve them now. That will be the message that Dr Fox will take to his colleagues on the NSC. It may well fall on deaf ears. The government’s priority is the deficit, not a sensible defence review." – The Economist
US anti-tax activists advise UK counterparts
"British anti-tax campaigners are taking advice from leaders of the rightwing Tea Party movement in the US in a bid to import the mass-protest techniques that have seen a million activists march on Washington DC to call for lower taxes and smaller government. The Taxpayers' Alliance, an influential campaign group that calls for tax cuts and low government spending, is being advised by Freedom Works, a powerful Washington organisation credited with helping to destabilise the Obama administration through its mobilisation of 800,000 grassroots activists." – The Guardian
Bob Crow calls for ‘general strike’ – The Times (£)
Commons vote backs Afghanistan deployment – The Guardian
William Hague condemns Koran burning plan in United States – BBC
And finally… Margaret Thatcher dominates the Times' front page this morning
"Baroness Thatcher was among VIP guests at a party last night to celebrate 40 years of the Saatchi name’s presence in the advertising world. Her successor, Sir John Major, and Conservative Party supporters including Lord Lloyd-Webber also attended the party at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. The event was a rare public outing for Baroness Thatcher, 84. Saatchi & Saatchi’s iconic “Labour isn’t working” poster was seen as central to her arrival at No 10 in 1979." – The Times (£)