8pm WATCH: Seconds Out! Terry Eagleton from the left takes on Roger Scruton from the right in an Intelligence Squared debate on culture and society

Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 16.17.415pm Kwasi Kwarteng MP on Comment: Why the Government must end national pay bargaining

2.30pm WATCH: Local MP says community is in shock over police killings

Noon David T Breaker on Comment: "Inheritance Tax is hugely unpopular – the pledge to increase the
threshold to £1 million is what scuppered Brown's early election – and
abolishing it, going that stage further, would be a clear and concrete
achievement of an election pledge." The LibDems may be right about abolishing Inheritance Tax

10.30am MPsETC: Only one supportive Conservative question for Philip Hammond yesterday (and it was from one of his recent Ministerial colleagues)

Two differing takes on the LibDems:

Matthew Goodwin on Comment: If the Conservatives want to win younger voters, they should ease up on immigration control

Also on Comment: Benedict Rogers – Democracy against dictatorship and Islamism in the Maldives – it cannot be in our interests to betray our friends and our values

Tony BaldryMPsETC: Tony Baldry MP urges Justine Greening to celebrate Britain's world leading aid budget

Local Government:

The Deep End: The Eurozone disaster: if you’re already in, there’s no way out

WATCH: Those Romney dinner videos: Republican candidate on Iran and Israel/Palestine

Cameron: the murder of two Manchester police officers was "pure evil"

" 'What we have seen is the absolutely despicable act of pure evil. The cold blooded murder of two female police officers doing their job out there protecting the public – another reminder of the incredible risks and great work our police service does. My thoughts and I think the thoughts of the whole country will be with their families at this impossibly difficult time.’ " – Daily Mail

  • A return to capital punishment? It is time we thought once more about the deterrent effect – Lord Tebbit, Daily Telegraph

Hammond hammered after being summoned to Commons for urgent question on Afghanistan patrol shift‬

Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 07.24.13
"Mr Hammond had to explain why he had failed to mention the reduction in joint patrols when he defended Britain’s plans for Afghanistan on Monday. He said that he had only become aware of it later and did not attach huge importance to it. “No significance was attached to this particular measure at that time,” he said. “It is a tactical measure decided by commanders in theatre.” His words led to criticism over his competence, particularly after he admitted he needed to be reminded about the briefing on reduced joint patrols once media outlets reported the development." – The Times (£)

  • Cameron pledges Afghanistan policy review following American Presidential election – The Guardian

MPs in and out of the Commons:

  • Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 07.31.29John Baron MP, whose demand for a statement forced Hammond to the Commons, says that the decision adds to the uncertainty as to whether Afghan forces will keep an undefeated Taliban at bay once Nato forces have left – Financial Times (£)
  • Bob Stewart MP says: bring the troops home – Daily Express
  • Labour MP Stephen Pound admits falling asleep during statement – The Independent
  • "Liam Fox, the former defence secretary who was obliged to resign over his personal dealings, tried blue-on-blue violence when he asked Mr Hammond if he recognised that "the nuances between tactics and strategy can be lost on insurgents". I translated this as, "stop talking gibberish," but then I'm not acquainted with the correct military terminology." – Simon Hoggart, The Guardian
  • "Mr Flynn, with commendable candour: ‘That’s precisely what I am saying. I believe we have had lies.’ Mr Bercow said that was ‘not acceptable’. Mr Flynn refused to budge, insisting that his accusation remain on the record. Catapult time. Kerjannnnnng! Off he went." – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail


  • A breakdown in trust between local and Nato forces does not justify retreat from Afghanistan – Times Editorial (£)
  • What will they tell the next war widow? – Daily Mail Editorial
  • "The politicians making “troops home by Christmas” demands are doing a disservice to the families of those who have died, by intimating their sacrifice has been in vain." – Daily Telegraph Editorial
  • It is time for a mature conversation about Afghanistan, Jim Murphy MP, Daily Telegraph
  • I work closely with the Afghan army every day – a good relationship is crucial to our success – Lt Col Charlie Maconochie, Daily Telegraph
  • The cruel reality is that we've lost in Afghanistan – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

> Yesterday: WATCH – Labour MP Paul Flynn is thrown out of the Commons after calling Philip Hammond a liar

Grayling ditches Clarke plan to cut jail numbers

Grayling Chris Newsnight"In his first appearance before MPs as Justice Secretary, Mr Grayling took a far harder line on law and order than his predecessor. He told the Commons: ‘The only changes I want to see to the prison population will come through returning more foreign national prisoners to their countries of origin'…Mr Grayling yesterday said his strategy for making room in packed jails would be to try to deport more foreign convicts to serve their sentences overseas" – Daily Mail

  • ECHR rules that thousands of dangerous prisoners whose human rights have been breached are in line for compensation – Daily Express

Clarke tells TRG event that the Government has “accidentally drifted to the Right” after the reshuffleThe Times (£)

Davis warning over BAE/EADS merger

"Mr Davis, whose constituency is near BAE Systems’s Brough plant in
Yorkshire, said: ‘With strong French and German government interest in
EADS, there is a risk the British factories will come to be seen as
peripheral to the core business of the merged company, with all the
threats to employment that that involves. ‘[The deal] raises serious
concerns both in terms of competition and strategic national interest.
Suggestions this could be resolved before the end of the year strike me
as wildly optimistic." – Daily Mail

Teenage domestic violence victims to be recognisedDaily Express 

Gove asks schools to consider ditching GCSEs for more traditional IGCSEs

Gove said he would encourage all schools to look at whether the rival
exam would be an "appropriate preparation" for his new qualification.
The past few years have seen a massive growth in the IGCSE – which is
designed on traditional O-level lines with the emphasis on end-of-course
examinations, as will be the case with the EBacc which will be
introduced from 2015. Take-up by UK schools in the past two years has
more than doubled, with 900 (400 state and 500 independent) now choosing
it compared with just 399 (97 state and 302) in 2010." – The Independent 

Gay marriage news 1) Maria Miller comes out for gay marriage in the wake of criticism by gay rights campaignersThe Independent

Gay marriage news 2) Splits as Ulster local council backs gay marriageNewsletter

> Today: Columnist Jill Kirby – The dead hand of the Liberal Democrats can be felt on Gove's E-bac plan

Osborne wants to freeze working age benefits…

"The Chancellor believes that a Welfare Bill in 2014 could cut more than £10 billion of benefits. It would be the centrepiece of his forthcoming spending review. However, the prospect of pre-election legislation opens the way to two years of skirmishing with Liberal Democrats over the scale of cuts. This began in earnest yesterday when it emerged that ministers are pushing plans to freeze working-age benefits for two years, saving £2.3 billion." – The Times (£)

  • Clegg "will support benefits U-turn" – The Sun
  • IDS warns that an independent Scotland would have to raise taxes or cut services to maintain welfare payments – Herald Scotland

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The powerful position of Iain Duncan Smith

…But Conservative MPs fear that the Chancellor will drop his promise to reduce overall government borrowing by 2015-16…

"One former Tory minister said his colleagues on the backbenches were “wearyingly resigned” to the prospect that – even with new cuts – Mr Osborne will have to drop his promise to reduce overall government borrowing by 2015-16. Although some MPs believe the markets would react calmly if Mr Osborne allowed the target to slip a year, they would need reassuring that the chancellor was still serious about cutting the deficit." – Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday: Joe Armitage on Comment – On entrepreneurship and tax cuts, David Cameron is another Margaret Thatcher

…As LibDems mull a new-mansion-tax-for-inheritance-tax-cut-deal

Clegg Thumbs Up"Lib Dem officials have drawn up proposals for an exemption from inheritance
tax on homes where owners agreed to pay more council tax. The proposals, which will be discussed at the Lib Dem party conference later
this month following Nick Clegg’s call last week for new taxes on
wealth. An exemption from death duties might make the long-standing Lib Dem plan for a
“mansion tax” on the most valuable houses more acceptable to
Conservatives, who have repeatedly rejected the idea." – Daily Telegraph

  • What the Prime Minister could learn from Nick Clegg’s coolness under pressure – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph
  • Simon Hughes says LibDem recovery hangs on economic recovery – The Independent

> Yesterday: Columnist Peter Hoskin asks whether we will have cause to celebrate the Coalition during its landmark year of 2017

Davey "to take five million out of fuel poverty by changing the definition"

"Ed Davey, the new Liberal Democrat cabinet minister, is re-thinking who gets benefits amid concerns the number of people classified as “fuel poor” is about to spiral out of control. The Government currently has a legal obligation to help lower bills for people living in “fuel poverty” – those who spend more than 10 per cent of their income on gas and electricity. Currently, some households can get up to £300 per year to help them with their bills." – Daily Telegraph 

Former aide warns that neutrality of Prince of Wales may be questioned if 'black spider' memos made publicDaily Telegraph 

Guto Bebb MP backs trade union campaign against regional pay

Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 08.03.05"A
Welsh Conservative MP has come out in support of a trade union campaign
against UK Government proposals to introduce regional pay in the public
sector. The backing of Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb is seen as a significant
boost to the campaign, which Wales TUC officials are increasingly
confident of winning. Unions fear that moves to increase differential
pay rates would result in pay freezes lasting years for public sector
workers in Wales." – Wales Online

Watchdog claims Arab peoples have no more freedom than under the tyrants they deposedDaily Mail

Fresh Start group to publish repatriation of powers plan by Christmas 

dozen members of the Fresh Start group will launch a report in December
demanding the Prime Minister to take back control of immigration,
energy and business policy. Mr Cameron is facing growing calls to take a
tougher line with Brussels to see off the electoral threat posed by the
UK Independence Party…Andrea Leadsom, a leading Tory MP elected in
2010, revealed the catalogue of rules and regulations requiring change
will be wide-ranging." – Daily Mail

  • EU heavyweights call for radical foreign and defence policy overhaul – The Guardian

He is tasked by the man who appointed him, chairman of the BBC Trust
Lord Patten, to restore creativity and improve the quality of the BBC's
output by 20 per cent
– First interview with new BBC director-general
George Entwhistle, The Independent

Ann Widdecombe: Tory talk of ditching Cameron for Boris is just daft

"You don’t win battles by changing the generals half-way through nor by considering every reverse a decisive defeat. The problem for the Conservative Party is that it does not have a working majority and changing the leader is not going to alter that. Only a general election can do so. Therefore the priority for the party must be to form a strong, united front on a strong, credible manifesto. That rather than the leadership is what should preoccupy Tories at Westminster over the next three years." – Daily ExpressScreen shot 2012-09-19 at 06.11.04

  • Sales of Boris Johnson underpants have "exploded" since the Olympics – The Sun

Romney under fire from all sides after "victims" tape leak.  But latest poll finds Obama ahead by only a single pointFinancial Times (£)


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